Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israel to seize hundreds of dunums of West Bank land
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 29 Dec – The Israeli authorities Friday issued a number of notices to seize 456 dunums of land in the village of Beit Iksa northwest of Jerusalem to build a barrier that will separate the West Bank village from the nearby settlement of Ramot, said local officials. Head of Beit Iksa village council, Kamal Hababa, said village residents were shocked when they saw the notices distributed on the outskirts of the village that say the Israeli army plans to seize a large area of mostly agricultural land to build the controversial barrier on it. He said that, according to the notices, the residents were instructed to take part in a “tour” with Israeli officers on Sunday on the proposed route of the barrier which will cut off the village from most of its land. Hababa said the residents have decided not to take part in the “tour” and instead they will confront the soldiers if they come to the village.
The notices were issued by the chief of the Israeli army’s central command, Nitzan Alon, who claimed that seizing the land is strictly for security reasons and as protection for the Jewish settlers in the area. The barrier, if commenced, will surround the village from all sides cutting off over 12,000 dunums of land planted with olive and almond trees and grape vineyards. The village of Beit Iksa, home to nearly 2,000 people, is already isolated from its surroundings with a checkpoint separating it from the nearby village of Biddu. Mohammad Tari, an official in the Jerusalem governorate, told the media that this new plan would leave Beit Iksa residents with only 300 dunums for any growth in their village.
Israel’s education minister: British condemnation of West Bank college upgrade baseless
Haaretz 29 Dec — Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, a leading candidate for foreign minister, levied harsh criticism against Britain for its condemnation of the upgrade of Ariel college in the West Bank to the status of university. Sa’ar said during an event in Nes Ziona on Saturday that the British condemnation is “baseless,” explaining that the university is not an obstacle to peace, since peace was no closer before the upgrade when Ariel was only a college. The “incitement propagated by the Palestinian education system is the obstacle to peace,” the education minister said. “The refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the conflict is the obstacle to peace. Palestinian terror is the obstacle to peace,” he said. Evoking former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Sa’ar said “the connection between Israel and Ariel is no less strong than that of England and the Falkland Islands.”
Court delays home demolition orders
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Lawyer Ziad Ke’war has secured a 3 month freeze on the demolition order issued to Silwan resident Fatme Ja’afre. She was originally told by Israeli authorities that her and her son’s families must evacuate their homes by 27/12/12 so that it could be demolished. However, after local pressure and international condemnation from the Jordanian, Egyptian, Turkish and Norwegian embassies the demolition order has been delayed.
Support the communities of Fasay’il al Wusta
Jordan Valley Solidarity 28 Dec — Located in-between the settlements of Petza’el and Tomer in area C, the community in Fasay’il al Wusta is prevented from accessing running water or electricity, they are not allowed to tarmac the stony track that is the only road access to their homes, and they have been subjected to the violent destruction of their homes four times since October 2011. In November 2012, the Israeli Occupation Forces issued new directions to members of the community in Fasay’il al Wusta — this time they are threatened not only with demolition of their homes but with eviction. In order to resist this forcible displacement, members of the community now want to build more homes to stay on their land.
New Israeli way to seize the territory of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 28 Dec — Palestinian popular bodies engaged in active defense against settlement revealed a new way devised by a settlement association to size lands of al-Khader village south of Bethlehem city south of the occupied West Bank. The coordinator of the “Popular Committee against Settlement” in al-Khader village, Ahmed Salah, said that this project, implemented by “Women with Green Hats” settlement association, based on the purchase of every Israeli of a wooden bench at $500 and put it in the territory of Khallat Um Fahm after registering his name on it, so that Palestinian citizens are prohibited from sitting on these seats or approaching them for a certain distance. Salah told Quds Press that the proceeds of this project go in favor of support settlement projects and to implement the extremist Jewish Assembly’s plans that aim for “distorting the history and the future of the occupied Palestinian territories.” He confirmed that the association actually began during last week to erect wooden benches in the territory of al-Khader town
Report: Palestinians hold protest in Israeli city of Lod
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Hundreds of Palestinians in the city of Lod, or al-Ludd in Arabic, demonstrated on Friday against attempts by Israel’s government to Judaize the city, Ynet reported. The protest in the Israeli city was organized by the Islamic Movement and other groups and saw demonstrators march from a mosque towards the city center. “They are doing everything to expel all Arabs from Lod. We will not be daunted by this policy. We shall continue to fight and protect our lands,” an organizer of the protest was quoted as saying by Ynet.
IOF uproot dozens of fruitful trees in Wadi al-Gharous area
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Dec — A large force of Israeli troops along with two bulldozers raided Wadi Al-Gharous area east of Al-Khalil city and uprooted dozens of fruitful trees. According to Al-Khalil demarcation agreement which the Palestinian Authority signed with the Israeli occupation regime, Wadi Al-Gharous area is located within the so-called zone C under Israel’s control. The troops guarded the bulldozers as they were destroying agricultural lands planted with almonds, olives and grapes. The lands belong to the families of Jaber and Al-Jabari. One of the landowners Shaban Jaber told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the bulldozers uprooted about 135 fruitful trees and demolished one water well and two irrigation ponds at the pretext they had no permits issued by the Israeli army’s civil administration.
Witnesses: Settlers raid Hebron village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Dozens of settlers raided a Hebron village on Friday, locals said. Settlers from Haggay settlement raided the village of Dura accompanied by Israeli soldiers and threatened to take control of a water spring in the area, witnesses told Ma‘an. Settlers also entered an area of al-Khader village near Bethlehem, locals said.
Settlers raid Hebron village, set mobile houses on Khader lands in Bethlehem
PNN — On Friday 28th December, 100 Jewish settlers, under the protection of Israeli forces, raided Ein Canar area in Durah village, southwest of Hebron in the West Bank. Eyewitnesses said that settlers came from Beit Hagai nearby settlement.
In another context, settlers set mobile houses in the lands of al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. Coordinator of the committee to resist Apartheid Wall and settlement in al-Khader, Ahmad Salah, said that settlers placed eight mobile houses “Caravans” in Wadi al-Ghaweed area, west of the village, which is considered an extension of the settlement outpost ‘Ein al-Qassis’ that was built on the lands of al-Khader. Salah noted that in the past two months, the Israeli forces razed around 300 dunums in Ein al-Qassis area and built infrastructure and roads linking the two settlements Daniel and Beitar Illit, which were built on the lands of Husan, Wadi Fokin and Nahalin villages.
Jewish settlers assault Palestinian farmers
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Dec — Jewish settlers from Susiya settlement assaulted Palestinian farmers in Yatta town, south of Al-Khalil, on Saturday. The village’s national committee against settlement said in a statement that a group of settlers attacked the farmers and expelled them out of their land under protection of Israeli occupation forces.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
Israeli forces arrest Palestinian policeman in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Israeli forces arrested an off-duty Palestinian Authority policeman in Yatta on Friday, Ma‘an’s reporter said. Firas Abu Aziza, 27, was detained by soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in Yatta and taken to an unknown location, witnesses said … Locals said that the attempted arrest of Abu Aziza in Hebron on Dec. 6, while he was on-duty, sparked clashes between Israeli soldiers in which 20 Palestinians were wounded. During the incident, Abu Aziza had resisted the arrest and several fellow police officers rushed to his aid.
Dozens of cases of suffocation in Bil‘in weekly march
PNN — Friday 28th December, dozens of demonstrators suffocated after inhaling tear gas in Bil‘in weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in … Dozens of Israeli and international activists Participated in the march along with the people of Bil‘in … Upon the arrival of the participants to the Abu Lemon area adjacent to the wall, they cut some of the barbed wire around the apartheid wall and removed them away. The Israeli soldiers Who situated behind the wall shot tear gas , sound grenades, lead rubber-coated metal and they also sprayed wastewater mixed with chemicals at the protesters, which led to the injury of dozens of cases of suffocation, all of them were treated in the field. Violent clashes broke out between the youths and the Israeli occupation soldiers continued for hours.
IOF attack Friday marches against settlement and wall in West Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 29 Dec — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled on Friday afternoon the peaceful marches that were held against settlement activities and the segregation wall in different West Bank villages.
Israeli forces attack school, PSP activists during another attack after a funeral
PSP 28 Dec — For the third time in 4 days, Israeli forces attacked residents of Beit Ommar after a funeral. On Wednesday, December 26, over 100 soldiers and the ‘skunk’ truck were used in a prolonged attack on the residents of Beit Ommar that lasted over two hours. Soldiers began by firing on the the youth who had gathered near the entrance to the cemetery during the funeral of a man who died suddenly at the age of 37. Soldiers immediately began using rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition, as they had on December 22 when they wounded two young men with live ammunition … the Israeli forces entered the village, and spotted three Palestinian activists with PSP and two youth with them standing on a nearby roof taking pictures. The Israeli forces rushed the home, blocking the entrance to it with the three men and two boys inside. They then threw at least 4 tear gas canisters into the house. The activists, including PSP co-founder Mousa Abu Maria and boys aged 10 and 13, were forced onto the roof, where they could not escape the tear gas. The two youth lost consciousness and all five were captive in the house for over 45 minutes until the Israeli soldiers left the entrance.
Unedited security camera footage shows Israeli officer fired at Palestinian teenager after he retreated
Mondoweiss 27 Dec by Adam Horowitz — Robert Mackey at the New York Times Lede blog has the story behind the video above. It is security camera footage of Israeli border police killing 17-year-old Mohammed Salayme at a Hebron checkpoint on December 12th. The Israeli military released a version of the video on December 17, and it was clear it had been edited. Allison Deger wondered at the time what had been edited out? Now we know. [Al-Akhbar: It is not clear what the soldier said to provoke the boy, but Israelis routinely harass and humiliate Palestinians at checkpoints.]
After riot, settlers leave illegal outpost at will
Ynet 30 Dec — Dozens of rightist activists who camped out at the illegal West Bank outpost of Oz Zion on Friday night left the area of their own accord on Saturday evening … Only a day earlier the settlers clashed with the security forces that tried to remove them from the makeshift town. Five border police officers were lightly hurt before the forces decided to retreat. Dozens of IDF soldiers, cops and Border Guard officers took part in the failed evacuation … At least one settler was arrested during the incident. The Oz Zion outpost has been evacuated several times in the past year, but the settlers returned shortly afterwards.
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian facing charges after settler violence in Madama
ISM 28 Dec — …Last week in the village of Madama, a farmer by the name of Ma’mun was tending to his sheep when he was attacked; witnesses again blame a Yizhar security guard they know by the name of Jacob. Ma’mun was severely beaten and strangled by this security guard. Ma’mun’s face was swollen and full of blood and he was last seen in Madama foaming from the mouth. The harrowing account of the attack, which included injuries to Ma’mun’s family when they tried to assist him, can be read here. During the attack two other people were injured when soldiers and settlers attacked the villagers that arrived at the scene of the aggression. One was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in his leg, while the other was hit on the side of the head with a tear gas canister. Ma’mun was taken by the settlers then handed over to the Israeli Police who arrested him.
Ma’mun has now been indicted with three “offences”: assaulting a soldier, assaulting a settler, and an indictment from two months ago which was the same assault of both a soldier and a settler. All together, the prosecution has 13 witnesses against Ma’mun. Ma’mun’s lawyer has therefore asked for some time to study the case. The next hearing is scheduled for January 17, but this is still subject to change.
Three children sentenced to 4 months each
IMEMC 29 Dec –… Lawyer Mustafa Azmouti told the Center that that Salem court sentenced Qais Waddah Shbeita, 16, Mohammad Adel Shbeita, 16, and Mohammad Abdul-Fattah Radwan, 15, to four months each. They were all kidnapped after the army broke into their homes in Azzoun on December 7, and are currently held at the Majeddo prison.
In related news, the Salem court postponed deliberations in the case of a detained child identified as Ihsaan Ayman Aabed, 14, until December 30 after ordering a psychological assessment, but refused to release him. The court released his brother Osama, 13, after ordering his family to pay a NIS 3000 fine. The two brothers were kidnapped by the army, on December 13, while in their family’s orchard, close to the Annexation Wall.
One released; 12 MPs remain in Israeli jails
PNN — On Friday 28th December, Palestinian researcher, specialized in detainees’ affairs, Abdul Nasser Farawna said that Israeli occupation authorities released yesterday, the member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohammed Jamal (MP) Mohammad Jamal al-Natsheh after serving 23 months in administrative detention. The number of the detained MPs in Israeli jails has been reduced to 12 deputies … Farawna noted that among the MPs detained in Israeli jails; nine are affiliated with Hamas movement, the deputy Ahmad Sa’dat is the General-Secretary of the Popular Front, and two other deputies Marwan al-Barghouti and Jamal al-Terawe are affiliated with Fatah.
A sit-in calling for ending Arab silence toward prisoners’ issue
Gaza, (Alresalah.ps) 29 Dec — Dozens of citizens protested in front of the Muqataa in Ramallah on Saturday afternoon, at the moment of the arrival of Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Araby and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Kamel. The protesters said they aim to send a message to the authority of Ramallah and the Arab League stressing the need to support the hunger striking prisoners, especially Samer al-Issawi and Ayman Sharawna, as they are an integral part of the Palestinian cause. They held Egypt responsible for the prisoners’ conditions, being the sponsor of the prisoners’ exchange deal and the party responsible for the protection of the ex-detainees who have been re-arrested. One of the protesters denounced the silence and inaction by the Arab League and PA’s leadership toward the issue of the prisoners, and said “PA must form a Palestinian delegation to go to Egypt, in order to find a solution to the captives’ issue.”
Group: Prisoner’s fingers severed in Israeli jail
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — A Palestinian jailed by Israel has filed a complaint after his fingers were severed during a cell inspection, he told a prisoners group on Saturday. Khalid Muhammad Ahmad Khalawi, 30, told the prisoners association that he was trying to open a door in Rimon jail to allow a guard entry, when the prison official shoved the door back on his hand, severing the top of his index and middle fingers. Khalawi’s fingers were later reattached by prison doctors, but the prisoner complained he waited five hours before treatment.
UK-based Arab HR group accuses PA of abuse
LONDON (JPost) 30 Dec — From 2007-2011, the PA detained 13,271 Palestinians, and tortured 96% of them resulting in six deaths, report says — An Arab human rights group based in London accused the Palestinian Authority of inhumane practices and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in a scathing report published on Friday. The Arab Organization for Human Rights has put the primary blame for the human rights abuses on PA President Mahmoud Abbas and called on the UN, Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take urgent action … “It is staggering that the PA should, in the shadow of the Arab Spring, cultivate its own system of impunity, in total defiance of its people’s demands for freedom and dignity. They seem to be oblivious of the factors which led to the downfall of the tyrannical regimes across the region. There is absolutely no justification for its acceptance of becoming a subcontracted security instrument of the Israeli occupation, crushing at every opportunity the legitimate aspirations of their people for freedom and self-determination.”
Egypt officials: Qatar building materials enter Gaza
ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) 29 Dec — Egypt allowed building materials into Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Saturday for the first time since Hamas seized control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007, an Egyptian border official said. It was part of a shipment of building materials donated by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which has pledged $400 million to finance reconstruction in Gaza … The border official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while the Egyptian authorities had agreed to allow the Qatari-donated material into Gaza, the shipment did not mark the start of the full opening of the crossing sought by Hamas … Cairo has long feared that opening Rafah fully might prompt Israel to close permanently the other crossings with Gaza, which it captured from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war.
Japan donates $2 million to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Japan has donated $2 million to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, a statement from UNRWA said Thursday. The donation will go towards emergency bedding materials and hygiene kits for adults and babies in the Gaza Strip. It will also help provide non-food items to assist UNRWA in combating the effects of Israel’s recent war on Gaza, which killed at least 170 Palestinians. In 2012, Japan donated $22.5 million to the UN agency.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
‘Arab’ Balad party election video has Lieberman singing Hatikva Arab-style
posted 27 Dec — Video uses humor against proposed laws by nationalistic Jewish Israeli politicians — like requirement (to obtain an identity card) of allegiance to state symbols (flag and the Israeli national anthem) that ‘do not represent us, but cancel our existence!‘
IKEA attempts to dodge responsibility for Israeli stores’ discriminatory delivery practices
EI 28 Dec by Adri Nieuwhof — Ikea shows no intention of ending delivery of its products to Israel’s illegal settlement colonies in the West Bank, a 10 December letter from the furniture giant shows. For years, Ikea has been facilitating the delivery of products from its Israeli stores to residents of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Ikea has been informed several times that facilitation of such transport services boils down to complicity with Israel’s settlement colony enterprise. Ikea was asked by the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to respond to the fact that Ikea in Israel’s transport company, Moviley Dror, delivers to Israeli settlements but refuses to deliver products to Palestinian population centers in the occupied West Bank, as I reported on my Electronic Intifada blog last month. In its response (which can be downloaded fromt the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre website), Ikea attempts to evade responsibility for this blatant discrimination and normalization of an illegal situation and fails to address its delivery to Israel’s West Bank settlements.
Palestinians in Syria
4 Palestinians killed in Syria refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 28 Dec — Four Palestinians were killed on Thursday when Syrian forces shelled a Damascus refugee camp, sources told Ma‘an. Over 15 shells were fired by Syria’s military at Yarmouk refugee camp since Thursday morning, with four Palestinian family members killed in the attacks, sources in Syria said. Ahmad Salameh, Loai Salameh, Muhammad Awad Salameh and Ali Awad Salameh were named by locals as those killed. The latest attack is the first of its kind since Syrian fighter jets rocketed the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus on Dec. 16, killing at least 25 people sheltering in a mosque and prompting over 95 percent of the camp’s residents to flee.
Gaza man killed in Syria was ‘Qassam commander’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — A Palestinian man who was killed in Syria on Friday was a senior figure in Hamas’ armed wing, rebels and Hamas officials said Saturday. Muhammad Qunneita, 31, from Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, had been in Syria for four months, his brother told Ma‘an. Rebels told Reuters on Saturday Qunneita was killed in fighting around Aleppo airport where he had been helping to train Arab and Muslim fighters.
Fatah to celebrate 48th anniversary in Gaza on Jan. 4
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Fatah will hold its 48th anniversary celebrations in Gaza on January 4, a PLO official said Saturday. Nabil Shaath told Ma‘an that celebrations will take place in al-Saraya square in Gaza City after Friday prayers. Preparations are in full swing, with bulldozers leveling the ground and technical teams setting up a large stage, Shaath said. Fatah will take full responsibility for the event, including security arrangements, he added. Hamas officials will deliver a speech at the festival and representatives from all Palestinian factions will attend.
Gaza ministry releases 6 Fatah detainees
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Gaza’s interior ministry released 26 prisoners on Thursday, including 6 detainees affiliated with Fatah, an official said. Kamal Abu Madi, an official from the ministry, said in a press conference that the release of Fatah prisoners was a gesture to create a positive environment for national reconciliation.
Arab League chief calls last 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations ‘waste of time’
Reuters/DPA 29 Dec — …”Our next move in agreement with the Palestinians and with full support from the Arab countries and the European Union is to change the current formula (for the peace process),” he added. “We cannot continue with the methods of the last 20 years. It was a waste of time.” According to al-Arabi, the Middle East conflict should be taken back to the United Nations Security Council after consulting with all parties, including the United States, “to discuss and agree on a new approach to this issue with a goal to end the conflict and not just to manage it.”
Arab League chief says to work on PA ‘safety net’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — The head of the Arab League said on a rare visit to the West Bank on Saturday that he was still working on securing pledged funds from Arab states to the beleaguered Palestinian Authority … “Arab countries agreed at their Baghdad summit (in March) for an Arab safety net of $100 million dollars each month, but unfortunately none of this has been achieved yet,” he said. Al-Arabi said he had agreed in a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas certain steps to work out a solution to this problem, without elaborating. The leaders also discussed Abbas’ next political steps, which are supported by the Arab League as well as Europe, he said.
PA official: US pressuring Arab FMs not to visit
JPost 29 Dec — Arab League Secretary-General visits Ramallah for the first time while four foreign ministers cancel visit at last minute — Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Saturday accused the US of putting pressure on Arab foreign ministers not to visit Ramallah. The accusation came as Arab League Secretary- General Nabil Elaraby arrived in Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amru was the only minister to accompany the Arab League chief on his visit to Ramallah. PLO Executive member Wasel Abu Yusef told reporters that the US administration was behind the cancellation of the four Arab ministers’ visit to the West Bank. “The Americans prevented the Arab foreign ministers from visiting Ramallah,” Abu Yusef charged. Some of the ministers who called off their visit claimed that they did not want to pass through IDF checkpoints on their way to Ramallah. But Elaraby and the Egyptian foreign minister arrived in the city aboard a Jordanian helicopter, which landed in the Mukata presidential compound.
Israel has reduced security links, says Palestinian leader
RAMALLAH (Gulf Today) 28 Dec — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that Israel has reduced its security co-operation with Palestinians in the West Bank after the successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations.
Israel’s military denied the charge, saying security co-operation continues. Abbas said in an interview published on Friday that Israeli soldiers have started entering West Bank cities without Palestinian co-ordination. He spoke in a meeting with a dovish Israeli lawmaker and Israel’s daily ‘Haaretz.’ An Abbas aide, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, said Israel’s army detained 200 Palestinian officers in recent months, mostly for short interrogations. Israeli defence officials responded that soldiers enter Palestinian cities only when they think Palestinians are not providing enough support. They spoke anonymously in line with government regulations.
Israel earlier suggested the possibility of reducing security co-operation in retaliation for the Palestinian UN campaign.
Israeli-Palestinian talks only after Abbas goes: Lieberman
JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 28 Dec — The head of Israel’s ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, ex-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, lashed out Friday against Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, saying new peace talks would be possible only if he leaves office. “Only after his disappearance from the leadership of the Palestinian Authority will it be possible to renew the diplomatic process,” Haaretz daily’s website quoted him as saying in a statement. Lieberman’s comments came a day after Abbas told the paper he would disband his West Bank administration if there was no Israeli movement towards renewing peace talks after the general election on January 22.
Israel bulks up its Syrian border to prepare for Assad’s fall
Al Bawaba 27 Dec — Israel is bulking up its defences along its border with Syria in order to prepare for the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported on Thursday. The Jewish state plans to add cameras and trenches to the barrier along with strengthening the existing fence along the 90 kilometres of border between the two countries … Construction on the barrier began around a year ago but according to recent reports, Israel has now significantly increased the rate of improvements.
Israeli PM meets Jordan king on Syria: media
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 28 Dec — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on the violence in Syria and the country’s chemical weapons stock, Israeli media said Thursday. Public radio and several local newspapers said Israeli and Jordanian officials had confirmed the meeting, which was first reported in Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper Wednesday. A spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment on the reports.
13-year-old Palestinian girl, Ah’d Tamimi, wins Hanzala award for courage
[photos] 28 Dec — Dear friends, Ah’d [‘Ahd, Ahed] Tamimi, the daughter of my friends Bassem and Nariman Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh has just awarded the Hanzala [Handala] Courage Award in Turkey. Many of you will have seen photos of Ah’d and other children from Nabi Saleh regularly challenging Israeli occupation forces who invade the village and terrorise the residents on a regular basis … Please find below, a news article from Time’s Turkish online magazine about A’hd’s award.
Peace group funds football club in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma’an) 29 Dec — The Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron is establishing a football club for young men who live in an area of Hebron’s old city affected by Israel’s military occupation … The initiative is seen by locals as a good opportunity to relieve the political and psychological pressures young people face when their lives are controlled by Israeli military procedures in order to protect a small group of Jewish settlers living nearby. The Wadi al-Hussein neighborhood is located in a seam zone connecting Kiryat Arba settlement with the H2 area of Hebron’s old city. The area is controlled by Israeli military forces who are stationed there to protect settlers.
PA health ministry: Swine flu death toll reaches 9
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Nine people have died in the West Bank after contracting swine flu with 187 cases of the H1N1 virus recorded, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said Saturday.
Report: Israeli leaders reiterate Arafat AIDS claims
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Israeli officials on Friday reiterated claims that late President Yasser Arafat died from AIDS, as a probe into suspected poisoning of the Palestinian leader got underway. Arafat led the bid for a Palestinian state through years of war and peacemaking, then died in a French hospital aged 75 after a short, mysterious illness in 2004.
Forbes ranks Ma‘an most popular Palestinian news-site
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Ma‘an News Agency is the 24th most popular news website in the Arab world and number one in Palestine, according to a new study published Thursday by Forbes Middle East … with a total of 47 million visitors over the one year study period … allegations of foul play surfaced immediately, and many Palestinians pointed the finger at Israel, which confined Arafat to his headquarters in Ramallah for the final two and a half years of his life after a Palestinian uprising erupted…
Yossi Kuperwasser, director-general of Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs and a former military intelligence officer, told Maariv newspaper on Friday that he believes Arafat became infected with HIV when his plane crashed in the Libyan desert … Israeli minister Avi Dichter told the Maariv newspaper that the blame for Arafat’s death lies with Hamas “because Hamas and other Palestinian factions were interested in the murder of Arafat.”
Analysis / Opinion
Haaretz editorial: The Zuabi test
30 Dec — …There is no fine or vague line between terror and expressing an opinion that opposes the occupation or identifies with the Palestinians. The gap between the two is wide and deep. One can assume that if the attorney general believed that Zuabi had committed a crime against the state by being on the Mavi Marmara during the May 2010 flotilla that attempted to break the blockade on Gaza, he wouldn’t have closed the case against her. That decision by Weinstein should have been sufficient for the Central Elections Committee. But we’re not dealing with rules of evidence or the definition of terror; what we’re dealing with is a political crusade against all the Arab political parties.
Israel gets a kick(back) out of conflict / Charlotte Silver
Al Jazeera 25 Dec — Israel’s image as “an isolated, besieged country” is good for its weapons and homeland security exports — 2012 did not turn out to be Israel’s finest year, diplomatically: from being called out for its war-mongering against Iran to its defeat (however symbolic) at the United Nations General Assembly’s vote on Palestine’s bid for statehood. But that didn’t stop its homeland security industry from coming out ahead in the global market. As Shimon Peres put it during the International Homeland Security Conference held in Tel Aviv on the eve of Israel’s November attack on the Gaza Strip, “When it comes to science there are no borders.” Peres was speaking at an event intended to showcase Israel’s latest homeland security wares to the world, so “science” was his shrewd euphemism for security and surveillance technology – the kind of technology that not only helps to break down political borders but personal ones, too. Israel is in the process of developing its national biometric database, which political economist Shir Hever described to me as, “One of the harshest biometric surveillance systems in the world”, and civil liberties groups have described as creating dangerous infringements on individual privacy.
How the New York Times erases Israel’s crimes / Robert Ross
EI 29 Dec — According to The New York Times, there is no siege of Gaza, no occupation of the West Bank, and never was there a Nakba (the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine). Three recent articles erase these key Israeli crimes from the historical record.In a 13 December 2012 article entitled “Hamas Gains Allure in Gaza, but Money is a Problem,” Steven Erlanger explores the reasons for Gaza’s increasingly debilitating poverty. Never once in this 1,300-word piece does Erlanger even mention the Israeli siege on Gaza or the 2008 and 2012 Israeli bombardments as factors (much less the principal causes). Instead, Erlanger goes through a long list of regional developments (the weakening of the Assad regime in Syria, sanctions on Iran) and, most emphatically, decisions by Hamas (new taxes and fees), which have supposedly left Palestinians in Gaza not only increasingly impoverished but also more resentful than ever of Hamas.
US complicity in Israel’s deadly actions in Gaza / Josh Ruebner
Huff. Post 27 Dec — On November 18, an Israeli air force pilot flying a U.S.-made F-16 fighter jet fired a missile at the four-story home of the al-Dalu family in Gaza City, killing ten members of the family and two from the al-Muzannar family next door. An on-site investigation conducted by Human Rights Watch concluded that the attack was a “clear violation of the laws of war” and demanded that those “responsible for deliberately or recklessly committing a serious violation of the laws of war should be prosecuted for war crimes.” … Two weeks ago, on International Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the United States works to advance “the universal freedoms enshrined” in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the “right to life, liberty and security of person.” “When governments seek to deny these liberties through repressive laws and blunt force,” she intoned, “we stand against this oppression and with people around the world as they defend their rights.”Yet, when it comes to U.S. policy toward Palestinians, this rhetoric rings hollow. The United States arms Israel to the teeth, fails to uphold U.S. human rights laws when Israel uses U.S. weapons to commit abuses of Palestinians and, up to this point, has thrown around its diplomatic heft in international forums to shield Israel from the war crimes prosecutions advocated for by Human Rights Watch and others.
Tradition, social pressure keeping Palestinian women from their inheritances
RAMALLAH (National Post) 27 Dec by Diana Atallah — They may argue they enjoy better conditions than their peers in Arab countries, but Palestinian women share a similar problem with them: being forcibly denied their legitimate inheritance. Women are usually shy about making such demands or fear social pressure such as being ostracized by their family. Others simply believe their male relatives are more entitled to the inheritance because they are the family’s bread-winners, and give up their rights to inherit intentionally. Social workers and lawyers familiar who work on such cases blame Arab society’s culture and norms, since women’s right of inheritance is granted by Islam’s Sharia law and the Palestinian laws derived from it … Jwana Rafeedie, Coordinator of the YMCA’s Inheritance Denied Project, told The Media Line that the YMCA started their lobbying and awareness project after 2004 statistics showed only four percent of Palestinian lands and properties were owned by women. “We believe if women acquired their rights [to inherit], the figures would go up to 33%,” she added.
A surprising process of ‘Israelization’ is taking place among Palestinians in East Jerusalem / Nir Hasson
Haaretz 29 Dec — …The story of Isawiyah’s post office is a microcosm of the contrasting trends unfolding in East Jerusalem. Along with the nationalist radicalization, widespread support for Hamas and violent clashes reported in the media, far-reaching changes are taking place among the local Palestinians. These processes can be described as “Israelization,” “normalization” or just plain adaptation. The Israeli authorities, with the Jerusalem Municipality at the forefront, are encouraging and in some cases fomenting this process, and displaying surprising bureaucratic flexibility along the way. Examples of this trend are legion. They include: increasing numbers of applications for an Israeli ID card; more high-school students taking the Israeli matriculation exams; greater numbers enrolling in Israeli academic institutions; a decline in the birthrate; more requests for building permits; a rising number of East Jerusalem youth volunteering for national service; a higher level of satisfaction according to polls of residents; a revolution in the approach to health services; a survey showing that in a final settlement more East Jerusalem Palestinians would prefer to remain under Israeli rule, and so on. But dry statistics tell only a small part of the story; other elements are not quantifiable. For example, there is the pronounced presence of Palestinians in the center of West Jerusalem, in malls, on the light-rail train and in the open shopping area in Mamilla, adjacent to the Old City’s Jaffa Gate…
Everyone involved in developments in East Jerusalem agrees that a tectonic shift is occurring, the likes of which has not been known since the city came under Israeli rule in 1967. Opinion is divided about the source of the change … Everyone mentions the separation barrier, which abruptly cut off Jerusalem from its natural hinterland — the cities and villages of the West Bank — as a factor that compelled the Palestinians in Al Quds (“the holy sanctuary”) to look westward, toward the Jews.