Settlements / Land Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid & Occupation
Israel expedites plan for 1,700 housing units in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 4 Dec — Israel is continuing to take retaliatory measures in wake of the United Nations decision last week to accept Palestine as a non-member observer state. In two weeks the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee will discuss a controversial plan to build 1,700 homes in the East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, in the north of the capital.
The committee will reconvene the following day in emergency session to approve another project, this one for hundreds of homes in Givat Hamatos, a Jewish neighborhood in the south of the city. It too is located on the other side of the Green Line.
In addition, after a two-year hiatus during which the Interior Ministry demolished no homes, this week supervisors from the ministry began patrols in Arab East Jerusalem in preparation for resuming the destruction of illegally built homes.
Settlers take over East Jerusalem apartments
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — A settler organization took over three apartments in a Palestinian-owned Jerusalem building on Monday, official news agency Wafa reported. Settlers entered the five-story building in Jabal al-Mukabbir and took over three of the ten apartments, Wafa said. The owner of the building, Suleiman Abu Diab, lives on the top floor with the other nine apartments vacant … The Jabal al-Mukabbir settlers were supported by the Elad organization, which claimed ownership of the apartments, Wafa added. The Elad association is a private Israeli organization which promotes settlement building in East Jerusalem. The US state department in July criticized the group for disregarding the diverse religious history of sites it controls in East Jerusalem.
Israeli MP, settlers storm Aqsa mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 Dec — An Israeli MP led a group of 25 Jewish settlers into the Aqsa courtyards in occupied Jerusalem on Monday and offered Talmudic rituals. The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a press release that the MP for the Likud bloc Moshe Feiglin led the group under heavy security measures. The Jerusalemite foundation pointed out that another group of Israeli soldiers in their uniform toured the Aqsa mosque at the same time.
Occupation begins digging tunnel at the entrance of Silwan, southern al-Aqsa
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 Dec — The Information Center of Wadi Hilweh revealed that the occupation authorities have begun digging a tunnel connecting the Israeli outpost of “Ir David” and the Square of Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, at the entrance to the town of Silwan, south of Al Aqsa Mosque. According to the Center, the Jerusalem Development Company “Moriah” has distributed a flyer in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, regarding the arrangements for the traffic movement in the area because of the excavations carried out by the occupation authorities. It stated that “according to the map attached to the bulletin, the excavation work are concentrated in the Wadi Hilweh’s main street in order to build a tunnel for pedestrians, only for settlers and tourists, and which will be linking the Ir David settlement outpost, built on the territory of the town of Silwan, with the Square of Wadi Hilweh neighborhood.”
By demolishing homes, Israel is demolishing hope / Khaled Diab
Haaretz 3 Dec — While the world’s attention is turned to Gaza, the UN, and Jerusalem-area settlements, stealthier military maneuvers in the West Bank are pushing Palestinians off their land. If the recent joint U.S.-Israel military exercises actually took place in the Jordan Valley, then Washington is complicit in torpedoing the two-state solution … Under international law, Israel has no right to designate any part of the West Bank as a military zone because this, like settlement building, is not permitted on occupied land, despite the inventive efforts of government-appointed Israeli legal experts to argue away the existence of the occupation and frame it as little more than a Palestinian preoccupation.
Building settlements in the E1 area
Resource: What is the E1 area, and why is it so important?
[maps] 972mag 2 Dec — In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the Israeli government has decided to promote zoning plans for the area known as E1, northeast of Jerusalem. The project is intended to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega-settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin, thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible
‘Doomsday’ hill may be one settlement too far
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 3 Dec — The hillside called E1 is one of the few places around Jerusalem that Jesus Christ might still recognize: a stony, dusty, barren slope on the way down to the desert and the Dead Sea. If Israel carries out plans announced this week, it is destined to be the site of another Jewish settlement, on occupied land that the Palestinians believe must be part of the state for which they have just won de facto UN recognition … Critics immediately warned that populating E1 with Israelis would cut off East Jerusalem and carve up the West Bank, effectively thwarting any chance of viability for a Palestinian state and thereby extinguishing the Middle East peace process. “This is not a routine settlement. This is the doomsday settlement,” said Daniel Seidemann, the founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem, an Israeli non-governmental organization that monitors urban development in and around the holy city. “The message Israel should have learned from the UN vote is that we are on very thin ice,” he added. “By threatening E1 you are standing on thin ice and jumping up and down.”
EU’s Ashton calls on Israel to reverse settlement plans
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — The foreign policy chief of the European Union on Sunday called on Israel not to follow through with new plans to increase settlement building … EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said she was “extremely worried by the prospects of settlement expansion on such a scale.” “The reaction of the international community to any such decision is likely also to be influenced by the extent to which such expansion may represent a strategic step undermining the prospects of a contiguous and viable Palestine with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both it and Israel.”
US ‘shocked’ by new settlement plan
Ynet 2 Dec — New York Times says Israel gave United States only few hours’ notice of decision to pursue development that could prevent creation of viable, contiguous Palestinian state. ‘This is one of the most sensitive areas of territory,’ says former Ambassador Kurtzer
‘US angered by claim that new building at E-1 aimed at Obama, not Palestinians’
Haaretz 3 Dec — The U.S. Administration intensified criticism of Israel’s decision to proceed with construction at the E-1 site near Ma’ale Adumim in response to indications that the move was meant to “retaliate” against U.S. President Barack Obama for his refusal to endorse the 2004 Sharon-Bush letter on settlement blocs. “What that suggests to Washington is that Jerusalem was waiting for an opportunity to do this, that it was designed to provoke anger in the Administration, and that they picked what they thought was a convenient moment,” Kurtzer said. “It was a low blow.”
US repeats opposition to new Israeli settlements
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 3 Dec — The United States urged Israel on Monday to reconsider its plan to erect 3,000 more homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying the move was counterproductive to peace efforts with the Palestinians … “We urge Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions and exercise restraint as these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations to achieve a two state solution,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing. “We reiterate our long-standing opposition to Israeli settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction,” he said.
Australia calls Israeli ambassador to protest settlements
Reuters 4 Dec — Australia summoned the Israeli ambassador on Tuesday to protest against Israel’s decision to expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and withhold tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority. “Australia has long opposed all settlement activity,” Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement. He added that “such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel.”
PLO applauds European response to Israel’s settlement plan
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Senior PLO officials on Monday applauded Europe’s response to Israeli settlement building plans announced after the United Nations’ de facto recognition of Palestine.
Britain, France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their capitals to hear appeals for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reverse course and deep disapproval of the plan to erect 3,000 more homes in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem. Ahead of a Netanyahu visit this week, Germany, considered Israel’s closest ally in Europe, urged it to refrain from expanding settlements, and Russia said it viewed the Israeli moves with serious concern.
France’s Hollande says not planning sanctions against Israel
LYON, France (Reuters) 3 Dec 16:32 — French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday he did not want to start imposing sanctions on Israel after it announced plans to expand settlement building in occupied territories. “We don’t want to shift into sanctions mode,” Hollande said at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. “We are more focused on convincing.”
Politicians: Netanyahu endangers Israel
Ynet 3 Dec – Leading Israeli politicians have leveled harsh criticism at government’s decision to approve the construction of thousands of housing units in the territories, a move that has sparked a major diplomatic crisis with several European countries. “A leader must bring the world closer to us, but (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is distancing the world. This must stop,” Hat’nua chairwoman Tzipi Livni said.
“The Netanyahu government is endangering Israel. The decision to build (in the territories) isolates Israel and invites international pressure. In one month of perilous conduct, Netanyahu established a Hamas state in Gaza and a Palestinian state in the UN,” she said.
Israeli security services oppose government decision to build more settlements
IMEMC 3 Dec — The Israeli Security Services expressed rejection of the new Israeli government decision to build additional 3000 units for Jewish settlers in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, and said that “the move is un-calculated”. Israeli daily, Maariv, reported that the new decision that was also described as “an angry move” by Israeli security officials who also described the decision as hasty, as there is no need to punish the Palestinians for garnering UN General assembly overwhelming approval vote as a nonmember state as long as the Palestinians refrain from suing Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Video: Israel rejects outcry over settlement plan
Al Jazeera 4 Dec — A defiant Israel has rejected a wave of American and European condemnations over plans to build thousands of new homes in east Jerusalem and West Bank settlements, vowing to press forward with the construction in the face of widespread international opposition.
Israel says won’t retreat on settlement plan
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 3 Dec — Israel will not backtrack on a settlement expansion plan that has drawn strong international condemnation, an official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Monday. “Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision that was made,” the official said. Britain, France and Sweden summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their respective capitals to hear appeals for Netanyahu to reverse course and deep disapproval of the plan to erect 3,000 more homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Violence / Aggression / Destruction
Israel kills Palestinian driver
Al-Akhbar 3 Dec — Israeli soldiers rammed their jeep into a Palestinian car near the West Bank town of Nablus, then shot and killed the driver after he stepped out of the vehicle wielding an ax, Israeli media reported Monday. Ynet initially wrote that an investigation into the early morning incident revealed that the soldiers chased the man, identified as 35-year-old Hatem Shadid, after “he raised the suspicions of troops stationed there,” before hitting his car. But the news site later changed its story, claiming that “a Palestinian terrorist crashed his car into an army jeep,” adopting the official Israeli account of the incident.
Israeli soldiers gun down Palestinian youth
NABLUS (PIC) 3 Dec — A Palestinian young man was killed at the hands of Israeli occupation forces (IOF) after a traffic accident west of Nablus city on Monday. Eyewitnesses said that the traffic accident occurred near Deir Sharaf village west of Nablus between an IOF jeep and a Palestinian car. They said that the passengers in the civilian car tried to help the soldiers out of their jeep that turned turtle but when the soldiers got out one of them fired at the driver of the Palestinian car killing him instantly. They denied the Israeli version of the incident that claimed the Israeli soldiers fired at the driver when he tried to attack them with an ax.
68 Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists last month
GAZA (PIC) 3 Dec — An official report revealed that the Israeli occupation forces committed during the month of November 68 violations against the Palestinian journalists and media workers in the Palestinian territories. The Government Information Office explained, in a report on Sunday, that the most prominent Israeli violations took place during the aggression on the Gaza Strip … The report added that the occupation killed three journalists … The report also pointed out the arrest cases of journalists in the West Bank during covering the events involving the occupation forces, in addition to two attacks committed by the PA security services.
Concern that the military permits lethal firing on stone throwers
B’Tselem posted 3 Dec — The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has written urgently to the IDF OC Central Command, the Commander of military forces in Judea and Samaria, and the legal advisor for Judea and Samaria, demanding that it be made unequivocally clear to soldiers and commanders in the West Bank that there is an absolute prohibition on shooting live ammunition at stone throwers. Background: The letter follows the killing of two Palestinians and the wounding of dozens by live ammunition fired at stone throwers, and by the unlawful use of crowd control weapons, during clashes and demonstrations against operation “Pillar of Defense” in the past week.
IOF soldiers, settlers uproot 150 olive trees
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 3 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and Jewish settlers bulldozed vast tracts of Palestinian farmland in Jaba village to the west of Bethlehem on Monday and destroyed 150 olive trees in the process. Khaled Mashala, a farmer, said that the soldiers and the settlers uprooted the olive trees then took them away in trucks. He said that the operation was still ongoing in the morning hours.
Settlers hit activists at peaceful roadblock protests in the West Bank
ISM 3 Dec — On two different occasions while Palestinians, accompanied by international activists, peacefully blocked roads leading to illegal settlements to demonstrate against the occupation and settlements, settlers purposefully injured activists in hit and run incidents. On November 14 while a group of protesters blocked a road leading to an illegal settlement, a settler tried to drive through the crowd, then accelerated, deliberately hitting an international activist, as the activist was trying to get out of the way. The activist hit the front of the car, then bounced off the windshield and hit the ground. The settler then drove away, careless about what he had just done. An ambulance was called, and the activist was treated for injuries to his head and arm. A similar incident occurred on November 19, as a roadblock protest was held on another settler road. As a settler car approached the crowd, he accelerated into Palestinian popular struggle coordinator Abdallah Abu Rahmah, hitting him with his car, before fleeing the scene.
Settlers burn car, spray-paint hate slogans in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian car and sprayed hate slogans on homes in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning. The assailants tagged their slogans with “price tag” and “settlers of Suseya,” an Israeli settlement in the south Hebron hills, witnesses said. Mahmoud Abu Sundus’ car was completely burnt out by the vandals in the Wadi al-Asja neighborhood, they said.
Separately, Israeli forces detained three settlers suspected of torching a car and spraying “price tag” graffiti in Dhahiriya village south of Hebron on Monday morning, Israeli media reported. The settlers were carrying weapons, flamable substances and spray paint cans, Israeli news site Ynet reported.
Activists hand out fliers promoting ‘price tag’ attacks at IDF center
Haaretz 3 Dec — Army says Shin Bet candidate, at the induction center for procedural purposes, distributed the fliers without permission –Two yarmulke-clad young men went to the Israel Defense Forces induction center in Tel Hashomer on Thursday to distribute fliers promoting “price tag” revenge attacks against Palestinians, and urging recruits to refuse orders that contradict Jewish law.
Illegal arrests / Prisoners
Israel detains Fatah official, 10 others in West Bank
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israeli forces detained a mid-level Fatah official in the West Bank at dawn on Monday, among 11 Palestinians seized overnight. Ahmad abdul-Karim ad-Dik, 43, who is a member of the Fatah leadership in Salfit, was detained from his home in Kafr al-Dik, his brother Faris told Ma‘an. Faris, who heads the Salfit branch of the PA ministry of sport, said intelligence officers also called him instructing him to turn himself in or become a fugitive. He blamed Israel for starting a new campaign against Fatah supporters…
An Israeli army spokesman said one person was detained in Kafr al-Dik, and another in Hebron, Abu Sheikhedim, and al-Maazra, near Ramallah. Five Palestinians were arrested in Hebron refugee camp al-Arroub, and two others in Nablus, he said.
IOF soldiers round up ten Palestinians half of them children
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained ten Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem at dawn Monday. Locals said that IOF soldiers rounded up five children in Silwan town in occupied Jerusalem including three brothers, adding that one of the children is 12 years old.
IOF soldiers also arrested three Palestinians in Nablus after storming the city in a big number of armored vehicles, and two in Al-Khalil villages of Dhaheriya and Yatta
IOF soldiers storm Jenin, clash with inhabitants
JENIN (PIC) 3 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed a number of towns in Jenin district at dawn Monday and clashed with inhabitants. Local sources said that IOF troops raided the city of Jenin and nearby villages of Rummane, Yamon and Kufr Dan without arrests reported …The sources said that the occupation forces combed Yamon and Kufr Dan villages while other troops broke into Rummane where violent clashes were reported with young men some of whom suffered suffocation as a result of the IOF intensive firing of tear gas grenades.
PA apparatuses arrest 2 Hamas supporters and summon 2 others
WEST BANK (PIC) 3 Dec — Authority security services arrested two supporters of Hamas movement in Tulkarem and Nablus, and summoned two others from Ramallah and Nablus, while Israeli forces arrested a liberated prisoner.
The Preventive Security has continued detaining two leaders in Al-Quds Brigades in the West Bank who had been arrested on the morning of Friday May 3, 2010.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrested at dawn yesterday a former detainee by the Authority security apparatus and liberated captive who had served nearly ten years in Israeli jails, after raiding and searching his home in Hendaza area east of Bethlehem.
Prisoner Jihad Assi: IOF tortured me during my arrest
NABLUS (PIC) 3 Dec — The Palestinian prisoner Jihad Rabah Assi, 29, from Beit Liqya in Ramallah district and detained in Ofer prison informed lawyers of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society that he was tortured with his brother Fuad during their arrest from their home, by the Israeli occupation forces, which caused him injuries all over his body, especially in his head and forehead. The prisoner added that after their arrest, they were transferred to an Israeli military jeep in very bad condition after being wounded in the head, explaining that Israeli soldiers continued to beat him on the head using different tools, causing bleeding in his head and forehead, while his brother was unconscious after being severely beaten.
Relatives of Gaza prisoners resume visits after three weeks
GAZA (PIC) 3 Dec — A new batch of relatives of Gaza prisoners crossed the northern Strip’s crossing of Beit Hanun (Erez) on Monday to visit their relatives in Nafha jail after three weeks’ halt, the Waed society for prisoners said. The society said in a statement that 59 relatives of 36 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails left in Red Cross buses. It said that the number of relatives allowed to visit Gazan prisoners was still small, adding that children are still barred from accompanying their relatives in those visits. The society said that the relatives are not informed of any future visits, meaning that the test period for those visits was not over yet.
Prisoners to repeat solidarity hunger strike on Tuesday
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails will go on hunger strike again this Tuesday to show support to long-term hunger strikers, the Palestinian Authority ministry of prisoners affairs said. Last Tuesday, prisoners launched a solidarity strike in support of the Ayman Sharawna, Samer Issawi and Odai Kilani. The ministry said inmates warn that “the situation inside prisons will explode if anything bad happens to them.”
Medics: Israeli soldiers shoot teenager in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israeli soldiers shot and injured a Palestinian teenager on Monday near a border fence area of central Gaza, medics said. Jihad Sawarka, 16, sustained minor injuries in the incident, which took place east of al-Bureij refugee camp. The boy was taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital for treatment.Mushtaq Zidan, a fisherman and trader for more than 30 years, was clearly excited with the new phase the fish market is witnessing. “The six-mile [zone] can’t even be compared to the three miles,” he said, referring to the new fishing limit settled upon last week following the cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza … Meanwhile, despite the cease-fire, the Israel Navy has been arresting fishermen.
Throwing Gaza’s fishermen a lifeline
Haaretz 3 Dec by Abeer Ayyoub — Despite loosened restrictions, Gaza fishermen struggle to eke out a livelihood. Concerns abound over diminishing fish stocks and arrests by the Israeli navy … Mushtaq Zidan, a fisherman and trader for more than 30 years, was clearly excited with the new phase the fish market is witnessing. “The six-mile [zone] can’t even be compared to the three miles,” he said, referring to the new fishing limit settled upon last week following the cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza.
Israeli army used radioactive and heavy materials in aggression on Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 3 Dec — Major Hazem Abu Murad, assistant director of explosives engineering and member of the Committee to document war crimes, revealed that the occupation used radioactive materials in the explosives with which it had bombed the Gaza Strip. Abu Murad told the Interior Ministry that the weapons with which Israel targeted Gaza contain heavy elements, including uranium, tungsten, aluminum and nickel, and pointed out that these materials raise the temperature in the center of the explosion to 7 thousand degrees Celsius, and boost the destructive ability of the shell. He also pointed to the types of weapons used by the occupation during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, noting that among those weapons there are 3 types of ammunition which have been used for the first time.
Haniyeh urges friendly states to help Gaza rebuild
GAZA (Reuters) 3 Dec — Gaza’s prime minister has appealed to Arab states and friends of the Palestinian people to help pay for reconstruction after a week of Israeli aerial attacks on the enclave inflicted damage assessed at between $250 million and $545 million … Haniyeh noted that Gaza had still not recovered from destruction suffered in a three-week war with Israel in December 2008-January 2009. Donor states pledged some $4.8 billion for Gaza reconstruction in 2009 but little of that promised aid has materialized, apart from $400 million guaranteed by the wealthy Gulf emirate of Qatar just weeks before the latest conflict.
PFLP’s Leila Khaled to visit Gaza Tuesday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Leila Khaled, the iconic Palestinian resistance fighter and PFLP member, will visit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a party official said … Khaled, born in Haifa but forced to flee to Lebanon in 1948, gained worldwide notoriety for her role in the PFLP’s strategy of hijacking aircraft in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. She currently lives in Amman, Jordan.
Diary of a war: Questions of life and death / Ahmed Ferwana
Ma‘an 3 Dec – This is the last of a series of journal entries documenting life in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Cloud. Previous entries can be read here. Another unusual wake-up alarm came with heavier and more intense shelling on the tunnel areas during the first hours of Nov. 20. Another unstoppable wave of fear spread among my family members, and another bundle of fast, strategic tactics and survival procedures overcame my mind. The sounds of the explosions were deafening, the house constantly shaking with thunder-like airstrikes from F-16 fighter jets. It was more terrifying and threatening than ever and the eyes of everybody in the family widened with the trembling rush of adrenaline.
Testimonies: Grad rocket hits Beersheba apartment building, 20 November 2012
B’Tselem 3 Dec — On the morning of 20 November 2012, the seventh day of Operation Pillar of Defense, a Grad rocket landed near an apartment building in Beersheba, in southern Israel, extensively damaging a vehicle and nearby homes. Two of the apartment building’s tenants described the incident to B’Tselem:
Political developments / Other news
Fatah members return to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Twelve Fatah members returned to the Gaza Strip on Monday after fleeing the enclave in 2007 amid a fierce battle with Hamas … Musleh said around 450 Fatah members had fled Gaza during a brief war between Hamas and Fatah in 2007. Around 190 Fatah affiliates fled Gaza to Egypt, 70 were spread around the region in Yemen, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates and nearly 200 were in the West Bank, he said. They will return once procedures are complete, he added. “There should be good initiatives to gather Palestinians back together and release all political prisoners after victory which was achieved in both Gaza and the UN,” Musleh said.
Nassif: The continuation of political arrests does not serve the reconciliation
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 Dec — Rafat Nasif, a Hamas leader, said that the security services of the Palestinian Authority continued its political arrests and summonses against Hamas supporters despite all the talk about reconciliation. Nassif said in an interview with Quds Press that the positive atmosphere that prevailed before going to the United Nations was not yet translated on the ground.
Hamas’ Al-Zahar urges Fatah members to join armed resistance
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar on Monday urged Fatah members to join the armed resistance. “Come to the program of resistance and stop wasting time and efforts, let’s put our hands together and carry the gun,” al-Zahar said at a ceremony to honor the victims of Israel’s war on Gaza … In recent years, Fatah has pursued a non-violent, diplomatic route to statehood, which has drawn harsh sanctions from Israel and increased settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. The Gaza-based head of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hanan al-Qassas, said Monday that his fighters had joined forces with Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades during Israel’s recent war on Gaza.
PLO official skeptical about Israeli tax seizure
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israel is unlikely to follow through on its announcement that it will withhold Palestinian Authority tax revenues, PLO official Muhammad Ishtayya said Monday. Israel’s cabinet said Sunday it will use the 460 million shekels ($120 million) of November tax payments to pay PA debts to the Israeli Electric Company. Ishtayya told Ma‘an: “Israeli leaders are just making hasty and prompt remarks to save face.
In response to UN vote, Israel unlikely to rescind economic accords with PA
Haaretz 2 Dec — As it weighs the legal implications of last week’s UN General Assembly vote which recognized Palestine as a nonmember observer state, the Israeli government is not expected to rescind the economic accords that govern relations with the Palestinian Authority. Among the matters Israeli officials have considered, in response to the Palestinian United Nations initiative, have been the provisions of the Oslo Accords, including the 1994 Paris Protocol, which regulates economic ties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Activists call on Arab parties to unite on one ticket
Haaretz 3 Dec — Social activists and members of the three Arab political parties circulated a last-minute petition at the weekend calling on Arab and Arab-Jewish parties to unite on one ticket for the January 22 election. The petition said the parties “stand together against rising nationalism, including growing incitement against the Arab minority.”
Hundreds march for Israel in Manila
Ynet 2 Dec — With Hebrew songs blasting from loudspeakers and shofar blowing, hundreds of Filipinos express their solidarity with Israel despite their government’s pro-Palestinian vote at UN … The march was organized by a handful of pro-Israel Christian organizations, which support Israel in myriad of ways throughout the year with weekly mass prayer sessions in support of Israel, fundraisers from different Israeli organizations and even similar marches held on an annual basis.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Freedom, not handouts, will save Palestine / Sam Bahour
Al-Monitor 30 Nov — Summary: Despite being reduced to begging for financial assistance, the Palestinian Authority has plenty of economic resources to stand on its own, writes Sam Bahour. Donor countries would be well advised to hold Israel accountable for its stranglehold and free Palestine to help itself.
Why did Israel kill Jabari? / Reuven Pedatzur
Haaretz 4 Dec — The real story behind Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza has not yet been investigated, but now that the explosions have stopped, we are obligated to delve into the truth. The decision to kill Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, which was the opening shot of the operation, was made even though he was involved in negotiations on signing a long-term cease-fire agreement. A few hours before he was assassinated, he had received a draft of an agreement for a permanent cease-fire with Israel, and he was apparently expected to reply to it affirmatively … Thus the decision to kill Jabari shows that our decision makers decided a cease-fire would be undesirable for Israel at this time, and that attacking Hamas would be preferable. It seems a view had developed that Israel needed to strengthen its deterrence against Hamas rather than reach agreement with it on a period of calm.
Book review: Touring the Nakba / Danit Shaham
972mag 3 Dec — A new guidebook provides readers with tours of 18 Palestinian villages depopulated in 1948, allowing Israelis to slowly learn the story of Palestine and create a new reality between the river and the sea — Once upon a Land, published by Zochrot and Pardes, offers 18 tour routes to depopulated Palestinian villages across Israel, from Zib (Achziv) in the north to Bir Saba’ (Beer Sheva) in the south. The book is written in both Hebrew and Arabic, and is laid out in such a manner that the text flows easily and continuously in either language.