Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Restriction of movement
Official: Israel demands 52,500 shekels to delay home demolitions
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israel’s high court on Wednesday ordered 21 Palestinians to pay 52,500 shekels to delay the demolition of their homes in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity, told Ma‘an the homeowners, from Yatma, were ordered to pay 2,500 shekels to the court by Friday to delay demolition while the court considers their case. [from PIC: Mayor of the village Abdulmunem Jibril … expressed surprise at the demolition order as no Jewish settlements were in their proximity, charging that the verdict was political and aimed at pleasing the settlers before the general elections.]
Israel orders demolitions near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israeli forces on Wednesday issued 10 demolition orders to residents of Idhna village west of Hebron in the southern West Bank. The forces claimed the buildings were built without Israeli permission, a Ma‘an reporter said.
Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah days away from eviction
972mag 27 Dec by Mya Guarnieri — On December 31, as Americans celebrate New Year’s Eve and Israelis lift a glass to ‘Sylvester’, a Palestinian family will be evicted from their East Jerusalem home to make way for Jewish settlers. The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that the Shamasneh family must leave the house they have been living in 1964 — three years before Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem began — by 2:00 PM on Monday afternoon. Ten people currently live in the home, including six children. The court has granted ownership to the Israeli Custodian for Absentee Property, which was represented by lawyers who also represent settlers’ organizations, including the Israel Land Fund.|
Tel Aviv University’s role in settler-run archaeological dig ‘playing into hands of BDS’, Israeli academics complain
EI 27 Dec by Ben White — Dozens of academics from Israel and abroad, worried about the threat of academic boycott, have sent a petition to Tel Aviv University (TAU) requesting the cancellation of the university’s participation in the settler-run archaeological dig in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The partnership between TAU and Elad’s project was revealed in October, and TAU’s Institute of Archaeology began digging in the “City of David” national park last week. Elad “is responsible for settling over 500 Israeli Jews throughout Silwan,” and the organization’s director “has himself been caught on tape admitting the digs he oversees endanger Palestinian homes situated above.”
Official: Settlers uproot olive trees in Qusra
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Dozens of Jewish settlers uprooted around 40 olive trees early Thursday in Qusra village south of Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity, said the trees belonged to Bahjat Hassan and Ali Abed al-Hamed. The farmers will replant the trees, Daghlas told Ma‘an.
972’s Person of the Year: The Settler
972mag 27 Dec by Lisa Goldman & Mairav Zonszein — The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and — most importantly — settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal.
Settling the Bedouin question
Haaretz 27 Dec by Meirav Arlosoroff — Israel is finally listening to the Bedouins’ grievances in hopes of convincing them to settle down – They live in poverty similar to sub-Saharan Africans, even though they live just 30 minutes from Be’er Sheva and 15 minutes from Arad by car. In fact, many Bedouin people’s standard of living is comparable to that of people in world’s poorest countries. They are the poorest population group in the Israel by several orders of magnitude — making Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews look well off … Some 200,000 Bedouin live in the Negev, and nearly half of them live below the poverty line. … Since the 1970s, the State of Israel has been in active conflict with its Bedouin citizens. The Bedouin, who see themselves as nomads and the original inhabitants of the desert, live more or less where they see fit. The government, though, wants to place them in organized communities, which it says it the only way it can provide them with public services like education and healthcare. The Bedouin have another explanation. They suspect the government views them through the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a hostile population that is trying to control the Negev. Whatever the government’s motives, it has refused to recognize unofficial Bedouin communities and denied them public services, like water, electricity, healthcare and education.
IOA approves the final stage of Judaizing the names of Jerusalem’s streets
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 Dec — Jerusalem municipality revealed that it will hold a hearing on Thursday to approve the Judaization of 43 streets’ names in neighborhoods where Palestinians live in Jerusalem. The municipality stated in a press statement that the approval of Judaizing 43 streets’ names in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem came in addition to the approval of Judaizing 141 streets’ names in East Jerusalem last year.
Stepping over the line by accident: still possible, ever more disturbing
972mag 26 Dec by Yuval Ben Ami — A stroll west of West Jerusalem can lead to a surprising discovery, confronting the casual walker with various layers of the Palestinian tragedy — I just finished an ordeal at the Knesset. The next thing on the agenda was a long phone call, one that would last for at least an hour. Instead of walking about West Jerusalem for an hour, I decided to begin heading west on foot … While speaking leisurely on the phone, I crossed to the other ridge and began climbing a slope that I thought would lead me to Mevaseret Zion and to the bus. It did not. The houses atop the hill were not lined along neatly planned streets, as they would be in Mevaseret. Instead, homes were freely scattered along badly paved roads, some of them were new, others – as old as those of Lifta. This was a Palestinian village, and various signs told me that it was not Palestinian-Israeli, such as nearby Abu Ghosh. The roads really were in a very poor shape, and the roofs bore black water tanks, rather than the white ones typical in Israel. How could this be? I have been walking west from West Jerusalem. I am supposed to be in Israel proper, in the “Jerusalem corridor” — sandwiched between the north and south West Bank. This village is located only a half a mile from the Jerusalem — Tel Aviv freeway, which trails the adjacent slope … Walking a bit further in, I began to see cars. Their license plates were white and green — Palestinian. Such cars are not allowed on Israeli roads. The mystery thickened. I haven’t crossed a fence nor a wall, and yet I entered the West Bank on foot … I knew that the separation barrier was not complete, but was amazed to find it nonexistent at such proximity to West Jerusalem … Then I turned back, looked over at Jerusalem and felt a great sadness take over me. The people who live in the house shown in the above photo are not allowed to walk down the trail I took. It is unlikely that they possess a rare “Jerusalem pass” issued by the Israeli authorities. Most likely, they risk arrest and interrogation if they dare to visit the city. It is a city that appears every morning through their windows, a city that is sacred to them, a city that is the birthplace of their culture. A city that is off bounds.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (22-26 Dec 2012)
27 Dec — The Israeli Forces Continued to fire at Palestinian fishermen in the northern Gaza Strip. 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. 8 Palestinian civilians, including 1 child, were wounded in the West Bank; 2 of whom were arrested. The Israeli Forces conducted 71 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 44 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were arrested in the West Bank. The Israeli Forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. Dozens of Palestinian protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation….[Details follow]
Palestinian critically wounded in Yatta clashes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — A Palestinian man suffered a critical head injury on Wednesday in clashes with the Israeli army in Yatta in the southern West Bank. Mohammad Kamal Abu Qbaieta was hit in the head by a tear gas canister and taken to Al-Mezan Hospital, a Ma‘an reporter said. Clashes broke out in Yatta after Israeli forces raided the town and detained Yousif Ibrahim Nawajaa, a disabled grocery store owner. [From 26 Dec story: Nawajaa was injured during the second intifada and received medical treatment in Iran. On his return, he was denied entry to the West Bank by Israel until human rights groups intervened on his behalf.]
Settlers heavily injure Palestinian teen in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Dec – Four Israeli settlers Wednesday attacked a Palestinian teenager, while he was on his way home in Silwan town south of Jerusalem, injuring him seriously, said Wadi Hilweh Information Center on Thursday. It reported that 17-year-old Abed Asslam al-Qimari was riding his bicycle to his house in Wadi Hilweh along with his eight-year-old brother when he discovered four settlers chasing after him. According to the center, settlers attempted to take the bicycle from al-Qimari claiming that they own it. The four settlers hit him and sprayed pepper spray in his face then pushed him off a 10-meter high hill before fleeing the location. Al-Qimari was transferred to hospital after he was found by three men who were passing by and called an ambulance.
Attacks on Urif continue, soldiers invade the village
ISM 27 Dec — Following three days of incessant attacks from Israeli soldiers and settlers on the village of Urif, south of Nablus, around seventy soldiers on ten military jeeps soldiers invaded the village at 9:30 this morning. They started firing tear gas on children aged three to six years that were leaving their school after having finished an exam. The whole village was put under curfew for a few hours. International solidarity activists arrived in Urif to find scores of terrorized children running away from a school that had just been attacked with tear-gas by the Israeli military. The soldiers ordered everyone to stay off the streets and shot tear-gas directly at old women who were next to a home in the village centre.
Urif under attack
ISM 26 Dec — Over the past three days, the village of Urif, south of Nablus, has been under constant attack from Israeli settlers and soldiers. Soldiers invaded the village twice and numerous people sustained injuries from rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters. People in Urif said that settlers attack their village almost daily, especially now that Palestine has been granted observer member status in the UN…
Urif has a long history of attacks by illegal Israeli settlers. Some years ago a person was shot by Jacob, the guard of the Yizhar settlement, who is notorious for attacks on Palestinians in the area. In May this year Jacob violently attacked a farmer in Urif, tied him up and shot him in the back. In the last few weeks, attacks on Urif have intensified as settlers, with the protection of Israeli soldiers, attacked the village on most days of the past month.
Injuries and arrests during confrontations in Ramallah, al-Khalil, and Nablus
OCCUPIED WB (PIC) 27 Dec — Violent confrontations have erupted on Thursday morning between the occupation forces and Palestinians, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. In the north-east of the city of Ramallah, specifically in the town of Silwad, clashes took place between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths from the town, on Thursday morning. Eyewitnesses told PIC correspondent in Ramallah that Israeli soldiers fired during clashes live bullets towards school students who pelted Israeli soldiers with stones and empty bottles, noting that there were no casualties among the Palestinians…
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces stormed at dawn today, the city of Nablus in northern West Bank, to protect the Israeli settlers who came to Youssef Tomb in the city to perform Talmudic rituals. Eyewitnesses said that dozens of military vehicles accompanied the Israeli buses and cars carrying hundreds of Israeli settlers who came to visit Youssef’s Tomb, east of the city … Israeli settlers have repeatedly stormed the Tomb which was an Islamic mosque built over a tomb of an Islamic Sheikh named Youssef Dweikat from the town of Balata. It was seized by Israeli settlers just after the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 under the pretext that it contains Tomb of Prophet Youssef.
Committee: 3 teens detained in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Israeli forces on Thursday detained three teenagers in a raid on Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank, the local popular committee said. Committee spokesman Mohammad Awad said five jeeps and dozens of soldiers entered the town in the early hours of Thursday morning. They detained Nassem Abu Maria, 15, Jihad Ikhlayel, 16, and 17-year-old Ahmad Ikhlayel, he said.
Abu Maria was due to undergo hand surgery at Hebron Governmental Hospital, Awad said. Witnesses said the teenagers were handcuffed and brutally beaten before they were taken to an unknown location. An Israeli military spokeswoman said there was no military activity in the town.
Soldiers’ negligence exposes children to risk, says Operation Dove
AT-TUWANI, SOUTH HEBRON HILLS (WAFA) 27 Dec — Israeli military escort that normally accompanies Palestinian children walking to school near Jewish settlements in the South Hebron Hills left 13 Palestinian children of Tuba and Magayir Al-Abeed alone along the way to school near the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on thus exposing them to life-threatening risk, a press statement said on Wednesday. “This path is dangerous because the children were repeatedly attacked by the settlers of the outpost,” said the statement by Operation Dove, an international organization that has maintained presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004. “The army was over an hour late on the way to school and on the way back didn’t arrive at all, without explanation,” it added … “In the last month the escort has rarely fulfilled its duty…”
Israel arrests 900 Palestinian children in 2012
Al Arabiya 27 Dec — The Palestinian Authority is currently looking into the possibility of filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel for arresting 900 Palestinian children in 2012. In taking such an action, Palestine will be using its newly-acquired rights as an observer state at the United Nations, said Eissa Karakea, Palestinian Minister of Detainees’ Affairs. “We need to use the newly gained state status to take measures against Israel for its crimes especially the arrest, detention, and abuse of Palestinian children, let alone trying them before military courts,” he told Al Arabiya.
Christmas Day in the firing zone
ISM 25 Dec — The residents of two villages in the Israeli firing zone 918 in the South Hebron Hills experienced a fearful Christmas day as the Israeli soldiers and a tank conducted firing exercises in close proximity to their homes. From late afternoon on 25 December the villagers were shocked as an Israeli tank fired several practice shots near the villages of Mirkez and Jinba. Shortly afterwards around forty soldiers from the Israeli army fired blanks as they simulated a skirmish. The soldiers staged an attack on a hillside which lasted for around an hour, during which the sound of gunfire echoed around the hillside barely fifty metres away from Mirkez. One Jinba resident remarked that the Israeli army had not held training exercises this close to the villages in twelve years and the villagers shut their doors in fear of another night raid.
Israeli forces ‘detain student, beat father’ in Qalqiliya
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israeli soldiers assaulted a Palestinian official Wednesday during a raid at his home in Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, says a human rights activist. Muyassar Atiyani said Israeli soldiers beat Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Issa al-Deik, director of the Qalqiliya office of the Palestinian ministry of endowments. She quoted al-Deik’s son Wisam as saying that his father sustained bruises and fractures. Atiyani added that Israeli soldiers ransacked the home before they detained Mujahid, an 18-year-old son of Sheikh Abdul-Hakim al-Diek. He is a freshman at the Salfit branch of Al-Quds Open University.
Locals: Israel detains 7 in Nablus, Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israeli forces on Wednesday detained seven Palestinians in Nablus and Tulkarem after military vehicles crossed into the area, locals reported. They said soldiers abducted five people from the Nablus area … All of the detainees are affiliated to Fatah. Earlier, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from Tulkarem … Later Wednesday an army spokeswoman said eight people were detained in Nablus.
IOF soldiers enlarge arrest campaign, round up 17 West Bankers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) increased their campaign of arrests in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem at dawn Thursday and rounded up 17 Palestinians.
The Hebrew radio said that four Palestinians were nabbed south of Nablus while local sources in Al-Khalil said that five were rounded up in the province.
The sources said that three minors detained in Beit Ummar, to the north of Al-Khalil, after searching their families’ homes.
Two other Palestinians were arrested one in the Old City of Al-Khalil after storming a number of suburbs in the city, and one in Yatta village, south of Al-Khalil, after setting roadblocks to its entrances and in the vicinity of two other nearby villages.
Locals in Bethlehem said that three Palestinians, all from Takatka family, were detained.
Local sources in Jenin said that IOF soldiers arrested two brothers from Ya‘bad village to the south west of Jenin city and interrogated family members of Muayad Qabaha.
Three Jerusalemites from Issawiye village were also rounded up at the hands of the occupation forces at dawn Thursday including two brothers.
PA says secures release of Qalqilya child
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — The Palestinian military liaison in Qalqliya secured the release of a 14-year-old after Israeli forces detained him near the West Bank town, security officials said. The family of the boy, Anas Tabib, said he was taken to an investigation center in Ariel settlement after claiming he was carrying a sharp object. After a file was opened with the Palestinian liaison, however, the boy was freed, they said.
Israeli forces seize vehicle south of Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israeli forces stopped a car for hours at a checkpoint near Ya‘bad village south of Jenin late Tuesday, citing a suspicious object discovered inside the vehicle. The owner of the car, Ahmad Marii, told Ma‘an that when he was coming back from Barta‘a village, the Israeli forces stopped him at the checkpoint and forced him to exit the car. “All of a sudden, the Israeli forces blocked the checkpoint and called for military reinforcements and an Israeli ambulance. They detained me in a room, and called an expert of explosive devices. They also seized my car, and prevented anyone from approaching the checkpoint.” Soldiers searched the car with dogs and after four hours allowed the driver to leave.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel bars prisoner studies on grounds that most popular course is ‘Genocide’, featuring Americas, Germany, Rwanda
Mondoweiss 26 Dec by Philip Weiss — More than a year ago, Israel decided to end course instruction for prisoners at the Open University of Israel in an effort to pressure Hamas to release Gilad Shalit. Then Shalit was released in an exchange, but Israel has maintained the policy, no courses for prisoners. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has been fighting the decision. And below is the translation of a comment by Dan Yakir of ACRI, thanks to Ofer Neiman: “On December 24, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by prisoners classified as “security prisoners” against the decision to deny them studies at the Israeli Open University. At first the decision was applied only in the case of Palestinian security prisoners (residents of the OT, as well as Israeli citizens), 200 of whom are studying at the Open University. When the Israeli Prison Service realized it would be impossible to defend the discrimination between Palestinian security prisoners and Jewish prisoners in court, it terminated the studies of the only Jewish security prisoner who was studying at the time….”
Prisoners wounded in attacks on their cells
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Dec — Israeli prison guards and special forces attacked Palestinian prisoners in two prisons on Wednesday wounding four of them, the Palestinian prisoner’s association said in a statement on Thursday. It said that joint forces of Matsada, Nahshon, and Dror attacked wards 4, 6, 9 in the Megiddo jail wounding four prisoners, adding that ward 4 was closed. The statement said that other units stormed ward 14 in Nafha desert prison last night and injured a number of prisoners in the process … The association noted that the Palestinian prisoners have complained of growing provocations on the part of the Israeli prison administrations against them.
Eichel prison witnesses tension after an attack on a prisoner
GAZA (PIC) 26 Dec — According to Ministry of Detainees and Ex-detainees in Gaza, a state of tension between the prisoners and the prison administration has prevailed [in] Eichel prison, following the attack on prisoner Mohammed Misbah. The ministry said in a statement that the state of tension has prevailed in the prison after the Israeli forces attacked Misbah and transferred him to the solitary confinement. It added that there are fears that the prison administration will carry out break-ins into some of the prison’s rooms and suppress the prisoners who have expressed their solidarity with prisoner Mohammed Misbah.
Issawi: PA did not take prisoners’ issue to UN
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 Dec — Shireen Al-Issawi, the sister of hunger striker Samer Al-Issawi, has called for greater support for the issue of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. She told the PIC in an interview that the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) refused to allow medical checkups on her brother, whose health condition is deteriorating. Shireen, a lawyer, criticized the Palestinian Authority for not heading to the UN, human rights groups and the international criminal court and filing complaints against Israel’s practices and crimes and to demand freedom for the Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli settlers indicted over ‘price tag’ attack
AFP 27 Dec — Three Israeli settlers in the West Bank were on Thursday charged in Beersheva district court with carrying out a “price-tag” attack against Palestinian property, the justice ministry said. According to the chargesheet, the three men, in their 20s, drove to the West Bank village al Asja, northeast of Dhahiriya in the southern Hebron hills, on December 2. There they set a car on fire and sprayed “price tag” and “Mazal Tov” (congratulations) on a nearby wall. They then headed to the nearby village of Samu but were intercepted en route by Israeli police, who arrested them after a short pursuit. A fourth suspect managed to escape. “The indictment includes charges of conspiring to commit a crime, arson, using a vehicle to commit a crime and assaulting a police officer,” the justice ministry said. Price tag is a euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli extremists, which normally target Palestinians and Arabs. Initially carried out in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorised settler outposts on the West Bank, they have become increasingly unrelated to any specific moves
Poll: Gaza op not Israeli victory
Ynet 27 Dec – Survey results seem to indicate widespread dissatisfaction with government’s decision not to proceed with ground invasion to eliminate rocket arsenal — VIDEO – As the year 2012 comes to a close, a new poll has found that Israelis have a dismal view about the year’s most significant event for them, Operation Pillar of Defense. According to the survey, only 26% of Israelis believe Israel won the latest round of fighting with Hamas, while 81% of Palestinians believe the Islamist group that rules Gaza had the upper hand.
Fourth anniversary of massive Israeli assault on Gaza
MEMO 27 Dec — December 27th 2012 is the fourth anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, known in Israel as “Operation Cast Lead” and in Palestine as “The Battle of al-Furqan’. Many others refer to it simply as the “massacre of Gaza” … The war lasted for 22 days during which Israeli aircraft, warships and tanks pounded Gaza with hundreds of thousands of high explosives, including munitions such as white phosphorus, banned internationally for use in built-up areas. Israel used it against a UN school where Palestinians were sheltering … The first day was the bloodiest of the war, with the largest number of casualties since the creation of Israel in 1948. Israeli F-16 fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters struck 100 pre-planned targets within a span of 220 seconds. Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at an additional 60 targets. More than 400 Palestinians were killed and around 700 were injured; most of the casualties were civilian police officers.
COGAT breaks a new record: counts containers instead of goods
Gaza Gateway 26 Dec — “News Flash 20 12 12: 4,100 tons of strawberries. 13,700 tons of tomatoes and 1,109 tons of spices were exported from Gaza Strip. The export coordinated by the Gaza CLA through Kerem Shalom crossing” Were 4,100 tons of strawberries really exported from Gaza? No. COGAT is confusing tons and kilograms … It was likely just a simple mistake, but it does reveal how deceptive numbers can be without context. Who can even appreciate the difference between 4,000 tons and 4,000 kilograms? How many of the people who read the newsflash really pondered how Israel could facilitate the transfer of 1,000 truckloads of strawberries in one day when only 11 trucks of strawberries left Gaza during the entire month of October, or how tens of thousands of tons of strawberries could be placed on only ten truck beds?
Oxfam: Farming is a risky business
PNN 26 Dec — Ibrahim Abutair, an 85 year-old Palestinian farmer from Abbsan, eastern Khan Younis, was picking olives with his 15 year-old niece, Ameera, on 17 November when the field they were working in was hit with three Israeli rockets, killing them both instantly… Ibrahim’s son, Sami, says that up until 2002 his family was doing a decent business in farming, but since then Israeli government access restrictions have kept them from cultivating 8 dunums of land and the blockade has prevented them from exporting what produce they do grow, leaving the family to survive on sometimes as little as 10 NIS a day from local vegetable sales. While struggling to cope with the loss of his loved ones, Sami is now also burdened by the financial loss brought by the airstrikes which hit his fields, causing the bulk of his crops to burn and leaving him with craters to fill and military debris to clean up … Sami said that until he is given clarity about what land he can access he will not feel safe. “We used to move around freely on our land, going to the perimeter with Israel and coming back without any restrictions. Even with the ceasefire I am scared to go back there.”
More international delegations arrive in Gaza
MEMO 27 Dec — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES — Two more international delegations have arrived in the Gaza Strip, where they have been received by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The groups are from Australia and Turkey. The Australian delegation is made up of 25 senior Muslim scholars, headed by the Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Ibrahim Salem. Members of the Turkish Welfare Party made up the second delegation.
Foreign activists enter Gaza on solidarity mission
AFP 27 Dec — Delegation organized by French group EuroPalestine delivers drugs, surgical supplies, and French textbooks to residents of Hamas-ruled territory — A delegation of pro-Palestinian activists, mainly French and Egyptian, crossed into Gaza from Egypt on Thursday to deliver aid, AFP correspondents at the border reported. The “Welcome to Palestine” delegation of about 90 people is to stay in the territory until January 1, in solidarity with the people of Gaza and in protest against the Israeli blockade in force since 2006, organizers say.
Hamas forbids Palestinian journalists to liaise with Israeli media
PNN 26 Dec — The Hamas government in Gaza has decided to forbid Palestinian journalists to maintain contacts and work with Israeli reporters. The government cited the Israeli media’s “hostility” as the reason behind the ban.
Fayyad signs agreement with World Bank for Gaza water improvements
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Mariam Sherman, the director of the World Bank in Palestine, signed on Thursday an agreement of rehabilitation for the Gaza Strip. This agreement is to finance and focus on expanding the water supply and sewage in the Gaza Strip. The agreement also includes technical and operational assistance to the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility
Gaza’s only fisherwoman continues to sail
Countercurrents 27 Dec — “The problems started for me at eighteen,” Madleen Kulab said quietly, sitting just meters from the shore of the Mediterranean. “The police and port authorities did not want me to sail as a woman.” Though Madleen has emerged from this recent challenge, receiving a permanent permission to fish from the Gazan Interior Ministry, this is not the first hardship she has stared down and overcome in her lifetime. As Gaza ‘s only professional fisherwoman, Madleen’s sailing career began at an early age. Her father, Mahrous Kulab, taught her how to fish from the time she was six years old. “I went with my father from six years to thirteen. Our boat had no engine at that time,” she remembered with a certain fondness. At thirteen, Madleen personally made the decision to carry on fishing and support her family when her father’s legs were paralyzed from a form of palsy. Her father initially refused to allow her to go alone, but having no other viable means to support the family, he conceded … There were frightening times, like the instance she fell overboard in rough waters or when the Israeli Navy fired on her with water cannons and live ammunition.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
A call from Palestine to the European Union four years after Israel’s 2008 war on Gaza
Occupied Palestine 27 Dec — To take action click: http://palsolidarity.org/timeforjustice/ On the fourth anniversary of Israel’s 2008-2009 war on Gaza in which it killed 1400 Palestinians including 300 children, a call urging EU citizens to ask their representatives to suspend the EU’s trade agreements with Israel, until it complies with international law has been issued by grassroots networks and organizations across Palestine.
Titled Time For Justice – A call from Palestine to EU citizens, the call has gone out in the 24 EU languages. It states that while recent “statements of concern regarding Israeli war crimes and international law violations are welcome in practice Israel’s military occupation and apartheid policies receive direct and concrete support from Europe.“
How Israel’s supporters are attempting to shut down boycott debate in UK unions
LONDON 27 Dec by Asa Winstanley — A panel of three judges listened patiently last month as witness after witness lined up to support Ronnie Fraser’s case against the University and College Union, of which he is a member, for “institutional anti-Semitism.” Fraser alleges union motions passed over the last few years have discriminated against him as a Jew, after they called for discussion of the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli universities. But as previously reported by The Electronic Intifada, Fraser’s definition of anti-Semitism is so wide as to conflate all criticism of Israel with hatred for Jews (a form of logic some would argue is in itself anti-Semitic).
Hamas vs. Fatah / Reconciliation
Fatah cancels anniversary events in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Fatah decided Thursday to cancel its anniversary celebrations in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas government rejected proposed locations for the event, a party official said. Yahya Rabah, the deputy commissioner-general of the party, said Fatah made great efforts in the last 20 days to hold the celebration, but Hamas refused both al-Kateibeh and al-Saraya squares.
PA preventive security kidnaps Hamas activist
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Dec — Palestinian Authority’s preventive security apparatus kidnapped Khader Lafi, a Hamas leader, from his hometown Sourif village, north west of Al-Khalil. Relatives said that preventive security agents stormed the house of Lafi, 54, and searched it before taking him to a prison in Al-Khalil city on Wednesday night … PA security apparatuses have summoned and arrested Lafi, who suffers various diseases, several times and put him on trial for working at Zakat (Alms) committee in his village.
Palestinian Authority security agencies ‘undermine’ human rights
MEMO 27 Dec — A report issued by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR) has highlighted the abuse of such rights by the security agencies operated by the Palestinian Authority. At the time when Palestinians are living under the disastrous Israeli occupation, the report states, their basic rights are “undermined” by the “arbitrary actions” of the PA security services … The report covers the period January to July 2012 during which the AOHR monitored political detentions, summonses, torture, degrading treatment and employment dismissals affecting Palestinian men and women. The research was based on information derived from the victims who were detained, their families, eye-witnesses and some NGOs.
PLO reorganization key to Palestinian unity
AFP 27 Dec by Selim Saheb Ettaba — The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which has shaped Palestinian politics since the 1960s, is set for an overhaul as rivals Hamas and Fatah look to restart reconciliation. The organisation is recognised as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” and engages in activity on their behalf on the international stage, including negotiations and moves at the United Nations … Leaders of Abbas’s Fatah movement have said in recent weeks that the so-called provisional leadership of the PLO, tasked with integrating Hamas and Islamic Jihad, would meet soon at the invitation of Egypt, which mediates Palestinian reconciliation.
Political and other news
Abbas warns Israel of disbanding PA
Al Jazeera 28 Dec — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has warned that he will disband his Palestinian Authority if there is no Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks after Israel’s elections on January 22. Abbas, in an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz on Thursday, said that if such a situation arose he would hand full responsibility for the occupied West Bank to the Israeli government … He said he would be willing to renew negotiations with Netanyahu after the election but would demand that Israel freeze further settlement construction while they are being held, renew the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues that Israel has been withholding and release some 120 long-term Palestinian prisoners. “These are not preconditions, these are commitments Israel already took upon itself in the past,” he told Haaretz.
Barghouti warns of 3rd intifada if occupation continues
Gaza City (MENA) 27 Dec — In an interview from his prison cell, Fatah member Marwan Barghouti told Israeli Channel 10 that if he was Palestinian Authority president, he wouldn’t be able to promise that there would not be a third intifada, as PA President Mahmoud Abbas has done, the Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday. Channel 10 aired the interview – jointly conducted with Haaretz – on Wednesday night, marking the first Israeli interview of its kind after the ten years of prison time that the revered Palestinian figure has served. He warned that if the occupation continued, there will be a third intifada, but it will be a popular non-violent uprising.
Fatah’s revolutionary council to meet
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Fatah’s revolutionary council will meet in Ramallah on Wednesday to discuss party matters and national issues, the council’s deputy-secretary said. President Mahmoud Abbas and central committee members will join the meeting, Fahmi al-Zarir said, adding that 10 council members from Gaza were prevented from attending by Israel.
Al-Malki: Qatari emir postpones West Bank visit
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — The emir of Qatar has postponed his visit to Ramallah until the end of January, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Thursday. Sheikh Hamad Ibn Khalifa al-Thani was expected to visit the West Bank in December but has delayed the trip, Riyad al-Malki said. The minister said he did not know why the visit was postponed.
Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi will visit Ramallah on Saturday, al-Malki told Ma‘an.
Secretary-General of PA cabinet resigns
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — The secretary-general of the Palestinian Authority cabinet resigned on Wednesday, his office said. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accepted Naim Abu al-Hummus’ resignation, which will be effective from Jan. 1. Abu al-Hummus will return to his previous work as a lecturer at Birzeit University, his office told Ma‘an.
Members of US House of Representatives urge Obama to close PLO office in Washington
MEMO 26 Dec — More than half of the members of the US Congress House of Representatives have urged President Obama to shut down the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Washington as punishment for its drive for UN recognition. A letter to the president, initiated by the outgoing and incoming leaders of both parties on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was signed by 239 members … The letter also called for an end to US funding for UN-affiliated organisations which back the PLO.
Report: Israel expects more EU pressure in 2013
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — Israel fears the European Union will step up efforts to pressure it and the Palestinians into an agreement in 2013, according to a government document quoted Wednesday in Israeli media. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the report states that the Europeans may try to promote the establishment of an actual Palestinian state independent of negotiations with Israel.
Knesset member appeals Israel election ban
Al Jazeera 2 Dec VIDEO — A Palestinian-Israeli politician is appealing a court ruling barring her from running in Israel’s general elections next month. Last week, Knesset member Haneen Zoabi was disqualified for “undermining” Israel because she was on board the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010 as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip … srael’s Supreme Court now has four days to decide whether to revoke Zoabi’s election ban. Speaking to Al Jazeera on Thursday, Zoabi said the ban was the culmination of a long process of persecution..
Far-Rightists attempt to blockade Zoabi at court
JPost 27 Dec — Security whisks Balad MK Haneen Zoabi away through back exit after mob tries to block her leaving High Court hearing on ban … Ben-Ari made a fiery speech at the High Court demanding that it uphold the ban. “If they don’t disqualify Zoabi today, tomorrow she’ll throw a bomb in the Knesset,” he said after a group of around thirty activists tried to prevent Zoabi from leaving the court. “They need to throw them into Syria.”
Former Netanyahu aide shaking up Israeli election with rightist challenge to Israeli leader
RAANANA, Israel (AP) 27 Dec — The charismatic new leader of Israel’s Jewish religious right is siphoning a large chunk of votes from the prime minister’s party, according to polls ahead of Jan. 22 elections, and if the trend continues, the high-tech millionaire and former commando could emerge as a powerful voice opposing Palestinian statehood.
Poll: 45% of Israelis support unilateral withdrawal
JPost 23 Dec — Rafi Smith poll: 80% of Israelis support IDF presence in W. Bank in the case of unilateral withdrawal until agreement is signed … Almost half of the Israeli population supports a unilateral withdrawal from large sections of the Palestinian territories based on the pre-1967 lines, according to a poll conducted by Rafi Smith for the Blue White Future movement.
5 ‘spying settlers’ to be convicted of ‘war room’ op
JPost 26 Dec — Five “spying settlers” are to be convicted as part of a plea bargain of running a “war room” to track military movements and block any IDF actions to demolish illegal outposts, but will be given much more lenient sentences than originally expected, the state prosecutor announced on Wednesday.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Israeli post office says Palestinian cannot send package abroad
Haaretz 28 Dec — Postal clerks refused to allow a Ramallah resident to mail a package from Jerusalem to Britain this week on grounds that his ID card from the territories did not constitute sufficient identification. B.M., 44, who works with an international aid agency and has a permit to cross into Israel, came Sunday to Jerusalem’s main post office on Jaffa Road to send a package containing two books to the U.K. After the clerk weighed the package, which he had left open for scrutiny, she asked B.M. for NIS 30 and his ID card. When he handed her a “green” ID card, issued to residents of the territories, she asked if he had any other identification. When he asked if she meant a Palestinian passport, she said definitely not, and asked if he had a passport from any other country.
JPost 27 Dec by Reuven Ben-Shalom — What has happened to the famous exotic Israeli beauty? Yemenite, Indian and Ethiopian woman are stunningly beautiful. Who decided that we consider only white to be presentable and appealing? … Wherever you look, Israeli mass media and advertising conduct cultural and racial discrimination.
Damascus Palestinian camp hit by fresh fighting
AFP 26 Dec — Fresh clashes erupted in the Palestinian Yarmuk camp in southern Damascus during the night, a watchdog said on Wednesday, a week after major fighting there sent some 100,000 refugees fleeing for safety. The latest violence came despite an agreement between rebels and pro-regime Palestinian fighters that they would withdraw from the camp, which houses some 150,000 people. “The camp was relatively quiet until Tuesday night, but new clashes broke out that lasted through the early hours of the morning,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
UNRWA closes West Bank offices amid protests
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Dec — UNRWA is closing three of its West Bank offices because protests are threatening the safety of its staff, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Wednesday … During protests, demonstrators stopped UN vehicles and their drivers, and one vehicle was chased away by protesters carrying stones. A female employee was treated badly by protesters, the agency said. Protests have been held in refugee camps across the West Bank over UNRWA’s decision not to renew the contracts of 114 employees due to budget cuts.
Looking back at 2012 – and the last week
Ten most-read posts of 2012
972mag 26 Dec — The readers decide: +972 Magazine’s most popular posts of 2012, in descending order. 10. Palestinian youth beaten unconscious in attempted J’lem ‘lynch’ In August, two near-fatal attacks were committed against Palestinians – both by Israeli Jews. In the first incident, a firebomb was hurled at a taxi, injuring six family members. In the second, three Palestinian youths were severely beaten by a crowd of teenagers. Mairav Zonszein reported.
972 People of the Year — bloggers’ picks
972mag 27 Dec — Khader Adnan, Palestinian prisoner and hunger striker; Avigdor Lieberman, foreign minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman; The asylum seeker in Israel; The resident of the unrecognized village of Al Arakib; Daphni Leef, J14 leader and symbol; Benny Gantz, IDF chief of staff; The Syrian civilian; God
A week in photos: December 20-26
Activestills 27 Dec — ‘Tis the season for a winter wonderland at weekly demonstrations, shepherds tending their flocks visited by an unheavenly host, “no room at the inn’ for African immigrants, five hunger strikers, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Nakba revisited: Syria’s Palestinians and the centrality of the right of return / Ramzy Baroud
Mondoweiss 27 Dec — …If the tragedy of the refugees in Iraq seemed insufficient to iterate the centrality of the Palestinian refugee crisis, and the inalienable right of those refugees, the unfolding calamity that has befallen them in Syria should leave no doubt that the refugee issue is an integral part of the Palestinian narrative as it should in any serious political discourse. The Right of Return is not simply a reminiscent discussion of sentimental history and memories of a dying generation. It deserves to be treated as an extremely urgent political priority with an equally pressing humanitarian dimension.
E1 doesn’t matter: One-state reality is here / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 27 Dec — those who think that E1 is the nail in the coffin of the two-state ‘solution’ are willfully blind to the fact that a one-state outcome is already on the ground and that the Zionist militias started building it before there ever was an Israel – I know this is a little late. The big brouhaha about E1 was, what, a few weeks ago? I wasn’t paying that much attention because, as someone who spends a lot of time traveling between Jerusalem and the West Bank–and noticing the one unequal state already on the ground–I didn’t quite get the fuss about E1. It’s just more of the same; it’s part of the process that began in 1947. Every day, I take a Palestinian bus from East Jerusalem to Abu Dis, in the West Bank. We go through Sheikh Jarrah and then through the tunnels, popping out in the Palestinian land next to the Israeli settlement Maale Adumim. We pass through Azzariya and then take a winding road to Abu Dis. People were up in arms about construction in E1 making a contiguous Palestinian state impossible. As though there were any possibilities left. The West Bank has been carved up already. Israeli settlements dot East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the Palestinians are confined to separate bus line that connects their Bantustans.
Wars of identity: An Arab, Palestinian, Israeli Bedouin and the Gaza conflict / Rema Keriyah Irshed
Haaretz 27 Dec — As we watched the missiles, we were — and are — acutely aware that we are caught between two warring groups, neither of whom really recognizes us … I am an Arab, a Palestinian, an Israeli and a Bedouin. During times of tension, the Jewish population is preoccupied with issues of security and following the government-dictated precautions and procedures. For us, if we are seen to be in support of Israel we are traitors, and if we are seen to be in support of Palestinians outside Israel we are traitors; there is no position available to us that sits well with our identity. No one is calling me a traitor to my face — it’s the feeling of an identity warring with itself … During the sirens I feared for my life and that of my son and husband as well as our pets. Politics and who’s right and wrong were the last things on my mind. Yet between the sirens my stomach was still in turmoil. Israel was bombing my people. I don’t know if I have relatives in Gaza. They could be Hamas or not; I prefer not to know, but they are people, all of them. Not only was Israel bombing my people, but my people were bombing me! It’s like the Middle East conflict was playing itself out inside my gut.
Context of ‘October 1995: Right-wingers call for Israeli Prime Minister Rabin’s death, compare Israeli government to Nazis’
History Common — How Netanyahu first came to power
A Gaza doctor’s tragedy, brought to the stage by an Israeli soldier who was serving nearby
Times of Israel 27 Dec — A combat reservist who served in Operation Cast Lead, exactly four years ago, has dramatized the life story of Izzeldin Abuelaish, who lost three daughters and a niece to IDF fire. The play is on now at Israel’s national theater — The loss was documented in real time on Israeli television [heart-wrenching video included in the article]. Shlomi Eldar, Channel 10′s Arab affairs correspondent, took a live call from Abuelaish, breaking into the evening news roundup. The ob-gyn from Gaza, the first Palestinian to complete an Israeli medical residency and a father of eight who had recently lost his wife to sickness, rasped through Eldar’s speakerphone: “I want to save them. Their heads are not in place. What did we do to them? Ya rabi, ya Allah, what did we do? What’s left? What’s left? My girls! They’ve been killed … Pleased with the script and with the actor who plays him on stage, Abuelaish also praised Pitowsky’s integrity. He “did something and learned from it,” the doctor said. He was referring to Pitowsky’s failure to report for combat this year.