More houses, more olive trees — Israeli demolitions in villages from the Jordan to Bethlehem

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Danger to Islamic sites

Israel to change route of separation fence near Jerusalem to cut off Palestinians from E1 area
Haaretz 12 Jan –- Defense Minister Ehud Barak has decided to close the breach in the separation fence between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, thereby positioning the fence between the Palestinian village of Al-Zaim and the contested E-1 area. This would mean that Ma’aleh Adumim would be located outside the security fence and that Palestinians would be prevented from reaching area E-1. The plan is to be presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his approval next week…
Barak has also decided to move ahead with opening the Hizme-Anata road, which traverses the thin strip between Al-Zaim and Jerusalem and is meant to serve Palestinians driving from the northern West Bank to the southern West Bank. The political benefit of opening the road is that it would allow Israel to counter the claim that E-1 cuts the West Bank in two, as the Hizme-Anata road passes west of E-1 but east of Jerusalem. In fact, when the road opens, following repairs, Israel can claim that it is improving transportation between Ramallah in the north and Bethlehem in the south.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-to-change-route-of-separation-fence-near-jerusalem-to-cut-off-palestinians-from-e-1-area.premium-1.495178

Binyamin Netanyahu rejects calls for Palestinian state within 1967 lines
Guardian 20 Jan by Harriet Sherwood — Israeli prime minister says border would be impossible to defend and allow ‘Hamas 400 metres from my home’ – Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed to rebuff international demands to allow a Palestinian state with a border based on the pre-1967 Green Line and its capital in East Jerusalem, as hardline pro-settler parties and factions are expected to make unprecedented gains in Tuesday’s election. “When they say, ‘Go back to the 67 lines,’ I stand against. When they say, ‘Don’t build in Jerusalem,’ I stand against,” the Israeli prime minister told Channel 2 in a television interview.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/20/binyamin-netanyahu-palestinian-state-1967

Palestinian ghettos were always the plan
Haaretz 20 Jan by Amira Hass — Right-wing politician Naftali Bennett’s plan to annex Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank is just the logical next step in Israel’s historic effort to ghettoize the Palestinians — When Habayit Hayehudi party leader and rising political star Naftali Bennett calls for annexing Area C, the part of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civil control, he is following the logic of every single Israeli government: maximize the territory, minimize the Arabs … According to Bennett, about 60 percent of the West Bank – a.k.a. Area C – is annexable. What’s important about Area C is not whether 50,000 Palestinians live there, as democratic, benevolent Bennett claims, while suggesting to naturalize them and grant them Israeli citizenship, or whether the number is around 150,000 (as my colleague Chaim Levinson reminded us earlier this week). Don’t worry. Even if there are 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C and all of them agree to become citizens, the Israeli bureaucracy will find ways to embitter their lives (the way it does the lives of the Bedouin in the Negev), revoke their citizenship (the way it does the residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem) and leave them without the little share of their land they still have (the way it did to the Palestinian citizens of Israel within the 1948 borders). This is why Bennett can allow himself to be munificent.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/israeli-elections-2013/israeli-elections-opinion-analysis/palestinian-ghettos-were-always-the-plan.premium-1.495144

55 buildings demolished in Al Maleh
On 17th January 55 buildings were demolished in the Al Maleh area of the northern Jordan Valley. At around 9.00 am these two communities were invaded by two busloads of soldiers, Israeli police, a number of jeeps and three JCB bulldozers. Some came from a nearby military base, and others from Maskiyot settlement complex, which overlooks al-Maleh. The bulldozer drivers were clad in balaclavas to hide their identity … This large scale military operation happened simultaneously in two separate locations in Hamamat al-Maleh, and another further up the valley in Al-Mayta …Of the 55 buildings demolished, 23 were family homes: 5 in Hamamat al-Maleh (leaving 37 people homeless) and 18 in Al-Mayta (leaving 150 people homeless). In addition 33 other building, used to shelter the communities animals, and therefore the livelihood of these communities, were destroyed. Amongst the destruction, purposefully wrecked water tanks were found — in a region of the West Bank where water is deliberately made scarce for Palestinians. Al-Maleh and Al-Mayta are two marginalized villages located in the north of the Jordan Valley, near the Tayasir checkpoint. They have been subject to repeated harassment and demolitions and only two weeks ago were forced to leave their homes overnight, purportedly due to Israeli military training.
http://palsolidarity.org/2013/01/55-buildings-demolished-in-al-maleh/

Urgent call to action following demolition of Al Maleh village in Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley Solidarity 20 Jan — On 17th January the Israeli military destroyed 55 homes and animal shelters in Al Maleh, northern Jordan Valley. As of 19th January the entire village has been declared a Closed Military Zone and the road to the village has been closed. The army have confiscated the possessions of those made homeless and 18 Red Cross tents which were donated after the demolitions. The residents are now sleeping out in the fields with no shelter. When international activists and journalists tried to access the area via the Tayasir and Al Hamra checkpoints and Mehola junction off road 90 they were refused entry. Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) is concerned that this is a tactic to make the residents of Al Maleh leave the area, and one which could spread to other areas in the Jordan Valley.
http://palsolidarity.org/2013/01/urgent-call-to-action-following-demolition-of-al-maleh-village-in-jordan-valley/

Fresh evidence of how Volvo bulldozers damage farms, uproot families
EI 17 Jan by Adri Nieuwhof — My recent report on the use of Volvo equipment on the demolition of a mosque and two homes by Israeli forces prompted readers to send me information about other demolitions. The photo above shows the Volvo machine that Israeli forces used for demolitions in the Palestinian villages of Umm al-Kheer and Hawara in the South Hebron Hills on 14 January. Click here to watch a video. I received the following report from an eyewitness … The Electronic Intifada obtained the above photo which shows the Volvo machine that was used by Israeli forces to demolish the Palestinian village of al-Khalayla on 18 April 2012. The village is situated in the occupied West Bank next to the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev. The International Committee of the Red Cross immediately provided the six displaced families with emergency shelter kits. However, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated the emergency shelters the following day, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/fresh-evidence-how-volvo-bulldozers-damage-farms-uproot-families

Settlers uproot olive trees near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 17 Jan – Jewish settlers Thursday uprooted dozens of olive trees belonging to two Palestinian families in the village of Hussan, west of Bethlehem, according to one of the farmers. Mahmoud Sbateen said that they were shocked when they reached their land, located near the settlement outpost of Sdaa Boaz, to find that around 95 olive trees were destroyed and uprooted. Settlers have been targeting that area, harassing and preventing farmers from reaching their land while seizing hundreds of dunums of land to establish a new outpost.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=21515

Settlers uproot 20 olive trees near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 19 Jan – Jewish settlers Saturday uprooted around 20 olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, according to local source. Coordinator of the committee against the Apartheid Wall, Ahmad Salah, told WAFA that settlers from the nearby settlement outpost of Sdaa Boaz, built illegally on private Palestinian land, uprooted the newly planted olive trees.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=21522

Jewish settlers storm southern Jenin, close main road
JENIN (PIC) 20 Jan — Jewish settlers stormed the site of the evacuated settlement of Homesh to the south of Jenin at dawn Sunday and closed the Jenin-Nablus main road. Local sources in the nearby Seelat Al-Dhaher village said that settlers tried to attack citizens’ houses at the outskirts of the village and insulted them while chanting racist anti-Arab slogans. A number of those settlers also set up a roadblock at the Jenin-Nablus main road and blocked traffic under protection of Israeli occupation forces.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s75YDXY9UkfIJ0RSoB67cPjSCFLQr28NfRSplZ5peg4yHHpVEbEoF%2ff9jLfudbu4%2bk6KLfDTRfWi1SbokaCC2qd8hcguYDCAPLr8IpcQwt%2f8g%3d

Knesset candidate calls for bombing Aqsa Mosque’s Dome of the Rock
NAZARETH (PIC) 20 Jan — A Knesset candidate from the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish house) party called for blowing up the Aqsa Mosque’s Dome of the Rock and building the alleged Jewish temple in its place. According to Hatnua, a rival party, Habayit Hayehudi’s candidate Jeremy Gimpel, publicly discussed the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement with a Jewish temple, during a recent lecture he gave in Florida. A video of the lecture was broadcast on the Israeli channel 2 on Friday.
In another incident, the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem said the Israeli municipal council issued last week demolition orders against two Palestinian Mosques in Tur town and Bab Al-Amoud neighborhood east of Jerusalem. It added that that the orders were issued after Aryeh King, director of the Israel land fund and a noted right-wing figure, filed a complaint about the two Mosques.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7MCuscdw0PYlyDLGVxcGqpbVZ2TS4M%2fP4rATwOTUXWsXru7bktR6V68sDpnAG%2b2JOUvbGbHRGgONOY%2f5rJltmBKGdaf4gBwDa6oA33djbO00%3d

Another new Palestinian village

Gate of Dignity was built on lands of Beit Iksa north of Jerusalem
IMEMC 18 Jan — The Palestinian village of Beit Iksa overlooking Jerusalem just built a new village they called Bab Al-Karama (Gate of Dignity) on their land behind the apartheid wall that Israel has built on their land and call on Palestinians and Internationals to join them in their popular struggle to hold on to their lands. The wall Israel is building on the village land would leave 96% of the village land inaccessible and behind the segregation wall. Over the past 24 hours, the villagers built a mosque and set up 5 tents for dwelling on their land behind the wall. The head of the Beit Iksa village council Mr. Kamal Hababa stated that idea of building this village extension is to protect their legally owned lands and to be the second such village built to protect from growing efforts at transforming Arab Jerusalem … The erection of Bab Al-Karama village comes shortly after Palestinian activists erected a village they called Bab Ashams [Bab al-Shams] to counter Israeli settlement construction in the area known as E1, located between Jerusalem and Jericho, which signals a new model in popular struggle against the ongoing expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
http://www.imemc.org/article/64913

Activists set up new protest village north of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Palestinian activists on Friday established a new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks. Activists set up three tents and a small building in the area near Beit Iksa, naming the village al-Karamah (Dignity). Locals said around 400 Palestinians performed Friday prayers in the open area. Saed Yakrina, an activist from nearby village Beit Ijza, said the camp was “a message to Israel and all democratic societies that we are human, and we want peace.” Activists from across the political spectrum, mainly from nearby villages, have gathered and will sleep in the tents overnight, he told Ma‘an.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557212

Forces enter Jerusalem protest village, no clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Israeli forces entered a Palestinian protest village newly erected in northwest Jerusalem on Sunday morning, but no confrontations were reported. Local activist Muhammad Rabei said troops entered the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving. He said it was the third time troops had entered the area.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557573

Palestinians discover the strength of soft power
Haaretz 20 Jan by Amos Harel — The Palestinians built a new tent city Friday, a tactic likely to win them much more sympathy than clashing with the IDF at the border or committing clear acts of terror … The West Bank is not about to break out in a third intifada. But two trends have taken shape over the past two weeks that might put Israel’s next government in an awkward position, particularly because of the hostility in Washington and West Europe toward Netanyahu’s Palestinian policies. The first trend involves the separation fences with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where four unarmed Palestinians were killed in one week … Israel has no answer to the second trend. It is linked to the so-called Bab al-Shams outpost, which Palestinian activists and left-wing Israelis and foreigners have put up the in E-1 corridor … On Friday, some 400 Palestinian and foreign activists set up a new protest camp near the village of Beit Iksa, which they called Al-Karaa. For the Palestinians, such an outpost is an ideal platform for a popular struggle. Such efforts are nonviolent, so they won’t draw criticism from overseas, especially considering Israel’s intentions to build in the area.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/palestinians-discover-the-strength-of-soft-power.premium-1.495002

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests

PCHR Weekly Report: 4 civilians killed, including 1 child, by Israeli forces this week
IMEMC 18 Jan — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 10- 16 January 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 4 civilians were killed at the border area as a result of excessive use of force. Also, 2 Palestinian civilians were shot by Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded a third … Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.   Full report
http://www.imemc.org/article/64909

Israeli soldiers ‘shoot, critically injure’ Bethlehem teen
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan  — Israeli forces shot a Palestinian teenager in the head on Friday during clashes in Bethlehem’s ‘Aida refugee camp, leaving him critically injured, a Ma‘an reporter said. Salih al-Amarin, 15, was taken to the Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala, where medics said he was in a critical condition.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557257

In Budrus, grief stings
Mondoweiss 19 Jan by Allison Deger — The final act of every Palestinian funeral is a military incursion into the deceased’s village, at least since the 2012 Palestinian bid for non-member observer status with the United Nations. In the case of Sameer Awad, the 16-year-old killed by the Israeli army in occupied Budrus after taking his exams last Tuesday, the military began firing tear gas into the village while Awad’s peers were still mourning over his grave. Similarly two months ago, Rushdi Tamimi, 31, from Nabi Saleh was killed by Israeli-fire during a protest over the bombardment of Gaza– and then Tamimi’s loved ones were hanging over his headstone as the Israeli military walled in the village with tear gas. And then an epilogue: within five minutes of the last funeral speech the distinct crack of live-fire bullets was heard … The renewed suppression of Palestinians organizing burials recalls a commonplace tactic during both the first and second Intifada. Just the other night a Palestinian friend told me about the funeral of her cousin during the second Intifada where she and her family were assaulted with tear gas before reaching the grave site. Now Israeli government officials decrying a third Intifada — which Palestinian leaders have yet to call for — and their labeling of a time of troubles coincides with flourishing crackdowns on any Palestinian organizing with even the slightest political tenor.
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/budrus-grief-stings.html

IOF raid the town of Burin in Nablus; clashes in Jenin
WEST BANK (PIC) 20 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed last night the town of Burin, south of Nablus, searching a number of the houses in the village. According to the citizen Mazen al-Najjar, more than 15 military jeeps and dozens of soldiers stormed the town, where they erected a barrier at the entrance of the town and they began searching the cars and detaining a number of citizens. Al-Najjar confirmed that the occupation forces closed the town for more than two hours, and stormed and searched a number of houses, combing the area near the bypass road and the junction near Yitzhar settlement on the territory of the town and surrounding villages…
Meanwhile, limited clashes erupted at dawn today, between the Palestinians and the Israeli occupation army in Zububa village to the west of Jenin in the northern West Bank. Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli military vehicles stormed the village of Zububa in the early hours of the morning and started combing operations to the area adjacent to the apartheid wall built on the village’s land, where clashes erupted during which Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades and gas towards Palestinian young men and boys who responded by throwing stones and empty bottles.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7loO4UguI5RmGZMBkxj6Itf2fH%2bPUqFWdxz7gtkfxrlVSD7UkY%2f7iiB0X9JFvMzmAwSROyrDObIoA2qeEkF9Hp30dMVFBkzond1HUPRxm%2bXk%3d

Israel forces ‘detain 14′ at south Hebron protest
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli forces blocked a demonstration in the south Hebron hills on Saturday, detaining at least 14 protesters in the area. Local farmers and foreign activists had gathered at al-Qawawis village to protest Israel’s plan to confiscate an agricultural area called Um Al-Arayes, according to popular committee spokesman Rateb Jabour. He said the demonstration was blocked by Israeli forces and 14 activists and farmers were detained …
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557410

Israeli forces break up south Hebron protest, detain activists
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration against land confiscation in the south Hebron hills village of Susiya on Friday, detaining three Palestinians, protesters said. Around 200 demonstrators marched to lands recently confiscated by Israeli authorities for the Israeli settlement Suseya, they told Ma‘an. Israeli troops stopped the demonstration and detained a Palestinian woman, Huriyya Shamisti, her son Raafat and another man named as Muhammad Shamisti, according to the group.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557246

Dozens injured in Bil‘in’s weekly protest
IMEMC 18 Jan — The Friends of Freedom and Justice Committee in Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, reported that dozens of nonviolent protesters have been treated for the effects of gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements. The week’s protest was held in condemnation of the killing of Palestinian youth Samir Ahmad Awad, 17 who was shot and killed, Tuesday, by Israeli military fire in Budrus village near Ramallah…
Elsewhere on Friday of this week, anti-wall protests were also organized at the village of Ni‘lin, and Al Nabi Saleh, central West Bank, in addition to Al Ma‘sara village in the south and Kufer Qadum in the north. Israeli soldiers suppressed the nonviolent protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
http://www.imemc.org/article/64914

Israeli forces ‘detain 9 in Bethlehem town’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians from the Bethlehem-area town of Beit Fajjar at dawn on Friday, locals said. More than 30 Israeli military vehicles entered the village in the early morning hours, and raided several homes, they told Ma‘an…
An Israeli military spokeswoman said two Palestinians were detained overnight — in Hizme and al-Janiya near Ramallah — and was checking reports of detentions near Bethlehem.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557166

IOF soldiers arrest two citizens in Bethlehem, summon 11 in Yatta
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 20 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up two Palestinian youths in Abayat area, east of Bethlehem city, at dawn Sunday. Local sources said that the young men were blindfolded and handcuffed, adding that both are 19 years old.
They said that the soldiers stormed their families’ homes and searched them …
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers burst into the towns of Sa‘eer, Halhoul, and Yatta, south of Al-Khalil, and a number of suburbs in Al-Khalil city. Local sources said that the soldiers broke into the home of Ratib Al-Jabour, the coordinator of the popular committees in Yatta, and handed his two sons, Shady and Louay, summonses for intelligence questioning. Jabour said that the soldiers searched many houses in the town including his and served summonses to 11 young men.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7WZyR0KZ6hKBveOJmUoKMGkdUEuxfxc7L7n%2fQK%2bhwn20jjY2o8CGYiqC6P52zykgTTGiuRxntZum6g9UNgMPKbBdJYIkj0GU5O8to3o68u8E%3d

Officials: Nablus teens detained Friday released by Israel
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Four Palestinian teenagers detained on Friday at Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus were released on Saturday, Palestinian officials said. The freed detainees were identified as 18-year-old Amir Masoud Mihyar, 15-year-old Basim Isam Zahran, 17-year-old Wael Alaa Tabanja and 15-year-old Rajab Samir Daghlas. Officials said the Palestinian civil liaison department had secured their release after they were accused of carrying knives.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557433

IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian
Haaretz 16 Jan — Investigation finds no reason to use live ammunition in the November shooting death of Rushdie Tamimi, 31, in Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank An IDF probe has concluded that in November, Israeli soldiers fired 80 bullets without justification causing the death of a Palestinian man shot in the back during clashes in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Rushdie Tamimi, 31, was killed when a group of Palestinians in the village began throwing stones toward a road from a long distance, and an army reserve unit tried to disperse them. The army probe of the November 19 shooting in Nabi Saleh arrived at harsh conclusions regarding the conduct of the IDF company commander and the reserve unit called in to disperse the stone-throwers. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-probe-80-bullets-fired-without-justification-in-death-of-west-bank-palestinian.premium-1.494352

Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions

Detainee Al-Eesawy [al-Issawi] moved to Israeli hospital
IMEMC 20 Jan — Saturday January 19, Palestinian detainee Samer Al-Eesawy, was moved from the Ramla Prison Clinic to the Assaf Harofeh Israeli hospital, after a sharp deterioration in his health condition due to his ongoing hunger strike. His sister, Lawyer Shereen Al-Eesawy, stated on her Facebook page that her brother, who started his strike 179 days ago, was urgently moved to hospital due to the seriousness of his health condition.
http://www.imemc.org/article/64920

Rights group worried about life of striking detainees
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 Jan – The human rights group, Addameer, expressed deep concern for the lives of four Palestinian hunger strikers as their health continues to deteriorate, a press statement by the group said Thursday. It said its lawyer, Fares Ziad, recently visited three hunger strikers – Jafar Azzidine, Yousef Yassin and Tarek Qa‘adan – who have been on hunger strike for two months. All three were arrested on November 22 and were placed in administrative detention, which is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on ‘secret information’ without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=21516

Foundation: Former mayor put in administrative detention
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A former Palestinian mayor detained by Israeli forces this week will be held in administrative detention for six months, a prisoners group said Sunday. Sheikh Jamal Tawil, who had held the mayoral post in al-Bireh, a neighborhood of Ramallah in the central West Bank, was detained on Tuesday. The Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights said Ofer military court gave the former mayor six months in detention without charge
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557620

Two Israeli citizens charged with planning Be’er Sheva terror attacks
Haaretz 20 Jan — Bedouin brothers confess to targeting central bus station, train station; Jewish IDF soldier arrested on suspicion of selling them ammunition for drugs The indictment, filed Friday at Be’er Sheva District Court, charges two brothers from an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev with gathering intelligence about the intended targets of the attacks and buying explosives to make rockets that would be launched at various sites in the country. Both Mahmoud Abu Qwider, 24, and Sameh Abu Qwider, 21, have confessed to planning the attacks, which also included a plot to run people over with a rental car outside the Mirs Communications building in the city. They were arrested at the end of December, but a gag order on the case was not lifted until recently.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/two-israeli-citizens-charged-with-planning-be-er-sheva-terror-attacks.premium-1.495165

Gaza

Another killed in Gaza tunnels as rights group urges action
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A Palestinian man was killed and two others are missing after a tunnel under Gaza’s border with Egypt collapsed, medics said Saturday. Ibrahim Abu Mour, 19, was found dead after the tunnel caved in near Rafah, in south Gaza, they told Ma‘an. After a week of stormy weather, Gaza’s tunnel network became unstable, and at least three people have died in the tunnels over the past week … A human rights group in Gaza this week urged the government to implement better safety measures and assess the benefits of the network as a whole, saying 232 people had been killed in collapsing tunnels.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557520

Egypt vows to round up undocumented Palestinians
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A Sinai security chief said Sunday that Egypt had detained ten Palestinians entering illegally from Gaza in the past three days, and would act to round up all Palestinians without permission to enter the country. Maj. Gen. Sameeh Bashadi told Ma‘an a list of names and descriptions of Palestinians who had entered Egypt through the tunnels had been distributed to all security bureaus. He said Palestinians on the list were involved in issues related to Egypt’s national security, without elaborating.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557524

IOF wound two farmers in Gaza
BEIT LAHYA (PIC) 18 Jan -The Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra told PIC that two farmers in their twenties were wounded by the IOF in Abu Safeyya area in the northern Gaza Strip. He added that one of the farmers was hit in his foot and sustained a moderate injury while the other had a bullet scraping his head lightly injuring him. Both were taken to Kamal Odwan hospital.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7mWjgsyh2rXAjrcFI6ecfgjXPEQLWk%2b%2fwQquY%2b9eSImefyvgqW6eAAlet6knO6jUXsYsSlzPrE5rsedeX1tZVXiVI1CehC0CrbXmYkA1Rcrw%3d

IOF soldiers fire at Palestinian homes in southern Gaza Strip
RAFAH (PIC) 19 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at Palestinian homes to the east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on Saturday. The PIC correspondent in Rafah said that soldiers stationed in military watchtowers and armored vehicles opened heavy machinegun fire at the Gaza international airport with no reports of casualties or damages reported.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7LJQZnQfuHakG6OAU%2fM2XaYRp%2bHeh3WNvdgTXriWLhTj1bp0diY2LMyX6Qmu8%2faojM6BB5ITH9Hoo6VoXO2Ft%2byYNXML8dNoO1NbwwpYSf34%3d

EC donation to UNRWA to create thousands of new jobs
GAZA, (WAFA) 17 Jan — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced Thursday that it will provide thousands of temporary jobs to Gaza refugees following a European Commission (EC) donation of 14 million euros over three years to its Job Creation Program (JCP) … Following the EC donation, UNRWA will provide job opportunities for 7,270 unskilled beneficiaries, nearly 4,000 skilled beneficiaries, as well as professionals and graduates. Of these 11,270 jobs, more than 5,000 jobs over a one year period will be provided to support UNRWA and its partners in the delivery of basic services, according to an UNRWA statement … “In addition, 6,222 jobs will be provided over three years to support the private sector, contributing to economic growth in Gaza, but to be sustainable, there will have to be a significant easing of the blockade regime, leading to a total lifting, particularly on export restrictions,” [UNRWA director, Robert Turner] added.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=21512

Gaza’s health ministry develops plan to ensure drug provision to the Strip
GAZA (PIC) 20 Jan — Dr. Moufid al-Makhallaty, Palestinian Minister of Health, said that the intensive meetings with a number of relief and humanitarian institutions in Cairo, led to developing a plan to ensure provision of medicines and medical supplies to the Palestinian health sector. He stressed that the plan aims to provide the strip with its monthly emergency needs estimated about three million dollars, where this plan will go into effect early next February.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7NWbax9Zh6el0oqD%2b%2bE4CtGTbU%2f%2fCrL05RDWEsCcM%2b1sO2RpF4VX05oW8eG%2fBjQZLtNQOMvJYTHS5hHi9YGShSld1dMcBoICKaoyOqJ0%2fM%2fw%3d

Islamic Jihad ‘will respond’ to Israeli ceasefire violations
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Islamic Jihad’s military wing warned Friday that it would respond if Israel continued to violate a ceasefire deal agreed in November.  In remarks published on Islamic Jihad-affiliated media, Al-Quds Brigades spokesman Abu Ahmad said the group never expected Israel to adhere to the agreement, signed on Nov. 21 to end an eight-day war that left 170 Palestinians and six Israelis dead. “We are observing what is happening on the ground, however we want to give the Egyptians an opportunity to maintain what has been agreed on,” Abu Ahmad … Israel agreed to refrain from targeting individuals in border areas of the Gaza Strip, but Israeli forces have shot dead at least three Palestinians and frequently breached the border since the ceasefire was signed.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557233

First fatality in Gaza as swine flu toll rises to 21
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — A Palestinian has died of swine flu in the Gaza Strip, among four Palestinian fatalities from the virus in the last 48 hours, the health ministry said Saturday. The Palestinian death toll from the latest outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) has risen to 21, director of public health Dr. Asad Ramlawi told Ma‘an. The announcement marked the first fatality in Gaza from the virus. Ramlawi said two others had died in Ramallah and another person in south Hebron in the last two days. All the victims were children or elderly, he added.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557447

Gaza govt says will give grants to citizens
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — The Hamas government in Gaza said Sunday it will give small grants to citizen-led projects in the coastal enclave. In a meeting of professional associations in Gaza, vice premier Ziyad al-Thatha said the grants would be up to $10,000 and citizens should submit project ideas to the government. Al-Thatha said Gaza’s government was financially self-sufficient, allowing it to be politically independent, a clear dig at the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority which is struggling with a financial crisis after donor funds fell short and Israel seized tax revenues.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557679

Malaysian premier to visit Gaza Monday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Malaysian Prime Minister Muhammad Najib Abdul Razak will visit the Gaza Strip on Monday, Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. The prime minister will be accompanied by his wife and foreign minister, the sources said. A delegation will arrive in Gaza on Saturday to prepare for the delegation.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557391

Gaza official: Tunisian president to visit in February
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — An official in the Hamas government in Gaza said Sunday that the president of Tunisia will visit the coastal strip in early February. Cabinet secretary-general Abdul Salam Siyam said preparations are underway for the solidarity visit of President Moncef Marzouki.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557666

Israeli reporter admits suppressing images of ‘piles of bodies of civilians’ when Israel went ‘crazy’ in Gaza
Mondoweiss 20 Jan by Philip Weiss — A staggering, doom-laden interview published by Haaretz with an Israeli television journalist suggests that the full truth of what happened in Gaza 4 years ago was suppressed not only when the United States and its author stomped the Goldstone Report — which alleged deliberate targeting of civilians — but suppressed by Israelis too. Shlomi Eldar was Gaza correspondent for Channel 10 news. Here is what he saw and could not live with but put in “an envelope” and has never published, awaiting a commission of inquiry that never has come: “I came into possession of shocking material. The kind of material that sends you to a psychologist. I have never shown it. Children who were shot. Piles of bodies of civilians… I came into possession of material about very grim events relating to the idea that Israel was deliberately ‘going crazy.’ Testimonies, images and much more. So many people were killed there.” Reflect that this was a slaughter initiated by a centrist government now perceived as center-left in Israeli politics. Reflect that a story that Eldar did report, a documentary called “Precious Life” about Israelis working to treat a Gaza infant born with an immune deficiency, was written up at great length by Tom Friedman in the New York Times, with a lecture to his readers that if they were going to criticize Israel, they should watch this video about the “real Middle East” so as to be “constructive.”
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/reporter-suppressing-civilians.html

BDS

Subscription offer to liberal Israeli newspaper helps JNF, a ‘charity’ implicated in ethnic cleansing
EI 16 Jan by Asa Winstanley – Israeli newspaper Haaretz is currently circulating this email. Subscribe to the paper’s digital edition during an upcoming Jewish holiday season and you will be helping the work of the Jewish National Fund, it promises. The English edition of the liberal Zionist paper has a global reputation and is read and trusted by many Palestinian rights activists, who often look forward to the work of dissident journalists like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy. Recently the paper put its English edition behind a paywall, requiring a subscription to read articles. But this link-up with the JNF is a new reason to make you think twice before handing over your money to Haaretz.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/subscription-offer-liberal-israeli-newspaper-helps-jnf-charity-implicated

Podcast: As refugee population grows, so do rights violations
18 Jan — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: How Palestinians made history in Bab Al Shams, a village established on private Palestinian land in a direct action against Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank; Israeli forces kill four young Palestinians in one week in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; A new study by Palestinian human rights and advocacy group BADIL reveals that Palestinian refugee services are slashed despite ongoing displacement, we’ll have an interview with Amjad Alqasis, BADIL’s legal advocacy coordinator in Bethlehem; Settlement firms don’t benefit Palestinians, says new study; News from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement including Veolia Water withdrawing its bid on a contract in northern California following sustained BDS campaigning, and Sodastream’s Super Bowl ad gets spoofed by activists.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/podcast-palestinian-refugee-population-grows-so-do-rights-violations

Political and economic news

Fatah: Abbas will head unity government
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas will head a unity government to be formed by Jan. 30, a Fatah official said Friday. Yahya Rabah told Ma‘an the new government would be comprised of technocrats and dignitaries not affiliated to any political party. It will serve for an interim period to supervise parliamentary and presidential elections and oversee administrative procedures, Rabah said. Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal agreed to set a timetable to implement their parties’ reconciliation deal during a recent meeting in Cairo, Rabah said, adding that they set a Jan. 30 deadline for forming the unity government.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557269

Elections committee awaiting authorization for Gaza work
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — The head of the central elections commission said Friday the organization is ready to start work in the Gaza Strip as soon as it receives authorization from the government. Hisham Kuhail told Ma‘an the electoral body had almost finished preparing the voter register in Gaza when its work was blocked at the last minute in July. According to a deal with Hamas outlined by Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad on Thursday, the commission should resume work by Jan. 30.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557139

Saudi Arabia to contribute $20 million to PA each month
RIYADH (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Saudi Arabia will contribute $20 million each month to the Palestinian Authority while Israel continues to withhold Palestinian tax revenues, a Saudi official said Saturday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557478

PA: Iraq will contribute to ‘Arab safety net’
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 20 Jan  — Iraq has pledged to contribute to the “Arab safety net” of monthly donations to the indebted Palestinian Authority, PA foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said Sunday. Iraq’s foreign minister announced the country will pay into the safety net funds at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit preparatory meeting on Sunday, al-Malki said. The PA is cautiously optimistic that the two-day summit in the Saudi capital will result in more contributions. Al-Malki said he expects Qatar and Kuwait to also pay into the safety net. Any Arab states that don’t attend the Riyadh summit will be visited by PA premier Salam Fayyad to encourage their contributions, he said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557584

Abbas arrives in Riyadh for Arab summit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Riyadh on Sunday to participate in the third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit due to be held in Saudi Arabia on Monday. Abbas was greeted in the Saudi capital by Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz and PA ambassador Jamal al-Shubaki, official news agency Wafa said. The first Arab Economic and Social Development Summit was held in Kuwait in 2009 and the second in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2011.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557769

Workers union to strike Wednesday, chief says
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Civil servants will strike on Wednesday as part of ongoing action against the late payment of salaries, the workers union head said Sunday. Bassam Zakarneh said that the situation for workers is getting worse. In addition to the strike, Thursday is an Islamic holiday to mark Isra and Miraj. The union will also hold protest action on Monday in front of the offices of the council of ministers across the West Bank, the union chief said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557756

Arab League urges Arab Israelis to go vote
Ynet 20 Jan — Group representing Arab nations calls on Arab sector to stand up to ‘racist, radical Right,’ warns that by not voting Arabs are giving a hand to ‘ethnic cleansing’ — The Arab League is urging Arab Israelis to go vote in the national elections on Tuesday in order to battle the rise of the “radical Right” in the Jewish state.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4334844,00.html

An Arab MK’s campaign against apathy
Haaretz 20 Jan by Gideon Levy — On the campaign trail with United Arab List-Ta’al chairman Ahmed Tibi, who is doing his best to get out the vote in Arab towns and villages — There are many differences between preelection gatherings conducted by Jews and Arabs … The bitter griping, complaints and criticism characteristic of Jews is nowhere to be found. The questions asked are a mirror of the woes that Arab citizens face in their daily lives: difficulties getting connected to the electricity grid or becoming tenured employees with the Israel Electric Corporation; issues related to housing, sewerage, industrial zones, public transportation, family unification, university study and the lack of hospitals in the Arab sector … And one word is uttered again and again, in Hebrew, and its echo can be found everywhere in this election campaign: “a-d-i-s-h-u-t” (apathy). ggThis is the lurking, all-dangerous, enemy, in the face of which this election campaign is being conducted. Tibi will not emit a single negative word about the other Arab parties vying with his own United Arab List-Ta’al list; his words are directed at the fear that, this year, more Arabs than ever before will simply choose not to cast ballots at all.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/an-arab-mk-s-campaign-against-apathy.premium-1.495001

PA says Israel to allow more olive oil past Green Line
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Palestinian and Israeli sides have reached an agreement to facilitate the entrance of Palestinian olive oil inside the Green Line without obstacles, officials say … Al-Jinaidi said that the meeting would help market surpluses of olive oil by local farmers.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557307

Governor: Nablus gunmen hand themselves in to PA custody
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Ten Palestinian gunmen turned themselves in to Palestinian Authority security forces in the northern West Bank on Thursday evening, according to the regional governor. The group, from Balata refugee camp in Nablus, are being held in Junaid prison and will face charges, Nablus governor Jibrin al-Bakri told Ma‘an. But he said there had been a deal with the group which led to their surrender, without elaborating.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557135

Palestinian Authority police use live fire inside of al-Amari refugee camp
Mondoweiss 20 Jan by Allison Deger — On Sunday night, Palestinian police fired live rounds at demonstrators in the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the roughest encounter between security forces and West Bank Palestinians to date. Clashes started after residents congregated earlier in the day in opposition to the poor treatment of a high-profile Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison. By 7:30pm police entered the camp and at 10pm over 100 officers in riot gear from the special operations unit were inside of al-Amari, shooting at the refugees … The number of refugees injured by the Palestinian Authority (PA) police is not confirmed, but a witness and camp resident said seven were shot with live fire, with three sustaining critical injuries including shots to the head, and an additional six arrested. A spokesperson for the PA police told Mondoweiss he was unable to confirm the number of injured, for security purposes. It is unconfirmed if refugees also used live fire when battling the police, but Ynet News reported 15 officers were injured in the clashes
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/palestinian-authority-refugee.html

Israel considers ban for far-right candidate over mosque gaffe
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 20 Jan — An Israeli panel weighed a request on Sunday to disqualify a candidate of a powerful far-right party from running in a Jan. 22 election for alluding in a speech to the possibility of seeing one of Islam’s holiest shrines in Jerusalem “blown up.” The controversy is over a United States-born parliamentary nominee with the pro-settler Jewish Home party, one of the more serious contenders against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though polls still predict he will win Tuesday’s vote.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557825

Israeli racism

thought-provoking article not only because of the racism but because SodaStream is a main target of boycotts as a settlement enterprise
Embarrassment at Israeli President Shimon Peres’s house / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 17 Jan — It was supposed to be a routine ceremony, just another one of those events that appear on the official calendar of the President’s House … But just a few weeks ago, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum, who was selected to receive this year’s Outstanding Exporter Award from the president, turned one such ceremony into a thought-provoking occasion and the subject of considerable discussion and debate … “our main plant is located in Mishor Adumim in Area C (West Bank territories under Israeli civil and military control after the Oslo Accords). At this factory we employ some 900 Arabs from the Palestinian Authority, who live in an arc stretching from Jericho to Ramallah; the other half of the employees are Arab residents of East Jerusalem. When we were informed that we received the Outstanding Exporter Award, I thought about including some of our Palestinian workers in the ceremony to highlight the sense of solidarity and hope that can be felt throughout our factory. After all, these are the very people who produce the products for which we were receiving that award.” … “What happened was that three Palestinians and an Israeli Arab arrived at the ceremony, but despite our initial agreement, their inspection was different from ours. I protested, but that didn’t help. They let the Israelis go through first, while they left them out in the rain and cold for three-quarters of an hour. Then security conducted an entirely different kind of search on them. I stood at the entrance to the President’s House and saw how they were forced to undo their belts and drop their pants.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/pride-and-embarrassment–at-the.html#ixzz2IJRP8wyh

Racism thriving on the streets of Tel Aviv: ‘Out with the Africans’
Mondoweiss 20 Jan by Annie Robbins — This video was taken last New Year’s Eve at a rally advocating the deportation of African asylum-seekers in south Tel Aviv.  A speaker with a bullhorn incites the crowd and demands the Israeli government round up African asylum-seekers: “Start to bring in buses and and get people out of here! There are 12,000 openings in the desert internment camp….Go home! Get out of my country!” After filmmaker David Sheen captures the stunned expression on the faces of some of the asylum-seekers, he then pans his camera around and we realize he has positioned himself between the racist screaming crowd and their target.
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/racism-thriving-on-the-streets-of-tel-aviv-out-with-the-africans.html

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Airstrike on Damascus kills 12 Palestinian refugees
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 18 Jan — Twelve Palestinian refugees were killed and more than 20 were injured in an airstrike on southern Damascus on Thursday, according to local media … Four women and six female children were among the fatalities in the strike on Husseiniyeh, a refugee neighborhood in Damascus, according to al-Yarmouk news, a Palestinian news source.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557142

Other news

Girl from Gaza takes first prize in international math competition
Palestine Chronicle 17 Jan — Gaza’s children affirmed their place at the forefront of creativity and innovation last week, as a 14-year-old girl from Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, took first place in an international math competition featuring the best young brains from all around the world. In recent years in Gaza, creativity and achievement has grown and flourished against extraordinary odds; a blockade and the rubble of many conflicts, the last of which was eight-day war on Gaza in November 2012. 14-year-old Palestine refugee Areej El Madhoun, a student at UNRWA’s school in Jabalia camp, received the first prize in this year’s Intelligent Mental-Arithmetic Competition, held in Malaysia every two years.
http://palestinechronicle.com/girl-from-gaza-takes-first-prize-in-international-math-competition/

Palestinian film opens Sundance Festival
PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) 18 Jan  — The Sundance Film Festival opened on Thursday with movies and documentaries from around the world, including a feature that examines the cultural divide between the Middle East and the United States. The 10-day Sundance Film Festival, founded by actor-director Robert Redford and now in its 35th year, will showcase 119 films from 32 countries. “May in the Summer,” the US dramatic competition opener, comes from writer-director Cherien Dabis, who caught the eye of Sundance organizers in 2009 with her directorial debut “Amreeka,” about a Palestinian family’s experiences living in post 9/11 America. Palestinian-American Dabis, 36, reverses the perspective on the Middle East, showing a Jordanian woman who has established a successful life in America but undergoes an identity crisis when she returns to her family in Jordan to plan her wedding.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557144

Red Sea – Dead Sea link feasible, World Bank says
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 18 Jan — It is possible to use the Red Sea to replenish the shrinking Dead Sea, the World Bank has determined after years of studying whether such a connecting lifeline could work … A World Bank feasibility report published this month said an underground pipeline would be the best way to channel water from the Red Sea some 180 km north to replenish the Dead Sea, which is located at the lowest spot on earth.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=557146

Analysis / Opinion / Reviews

For Palestinians, Israeli elections signal deepening occupation / Hanan Ashrawi
Haaretz 21 Jan — Predictably, over the past few weeks Israeli and foreign media have been hounding us for our expectations of the Israeli elections, and whether there will be any chance of a future breakthrough. Our answer is that the likely outcome does not bode well for the chances of peace. It is just a matter of reviewing the platforms of the various Israeli political parties: Almost every single Zionist party has promised to continue with the policies of colonial expansion, to tighten the isolation of Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of Palestine, and to focus on “managing” the occupation rather than on making peace. This formula is a sure recipe for disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/for-palestinians-israeli-elections-signal-deepening-occupation.premium-1.495169

Israeli-Arab female politician urges Arab citizens to vote in Israel’s elections
Guardian 18 Jan by Harriet Sherwood — Haneen Zoabi says a boycott would be an act of weakness, not one of active struggle — In the past four years, Haneen Zoabi has been threatened, spat at, manhandled, accused of being a terrorist and subjected to attempts to expel or disqualify her from the Israeli parliament. The vilification of the feisty Israeli-Arab politician comes mainly as a result of her participation in the flotilla of ships attempting to breach the blockade of Gaza in 2010. But in the next few days, she faces a different battle, this time within her own community: to persuade Arab citizens of Israel to exercise their right to vote. Polls predict that possibly fewer than half of Israeli-Arabs will vote in the elections in Israel next Tuesday, a far smaller proportion than the Jewish population, which is expected to see a turnout of around 70%.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/18/israeli-arab-vote-elections?intcmp=239

Palestinian citizens wearily eye Israeli elections / Jonathan Cook
EI 18 Jan — As Nazareth, the capital of Israel’s Palestinian minority, gears up for the country’s general election next week, the most common poster in the city features three far-right leaders noted for their virulently anti-Arab views. The posters, paid for by one of the largest Palestinian parties, are intended to mobilize the country’s Palestinian citizens to vote. The most prominent of the faces staring down from billboards is that of Avigdor Lieberman, the recently departed foreign minister who is under police investigation for fraud but still heads Yisrael Beiteinu. His party wants to strip some of Israel’s 1.4 million Palestinians of their citizenship by redrawing the boundary with the West Bank, while the rest would be forced to take a loyalty test. Alongside him, wearing his trademark grin, is Michael Ben Ari, a former leader of the outlawed Kach movement, which demands the expulsion of Palestinians from both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel. He won a parliamentary seat at the last election for the similarly racist Strong Israel party (Otzma LeYisrael).
http://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-citizens-wearily-eye-israeli-elections/12110

Did Israeli troops deliberately provoke boy, only to shoot him in the back? / Alistair Dawber
Independent 16 Jan — On Monday Samir was shot by the IDF near his home in the West Bank. Israel says he was trying to invade its territory. But the boy’s family claim the truth is much more sinister … “I lifted up his arm and it just fell to the ground. I looked into his eyes, but he was staring into space.  I was saying, ‘My son is dead’,” she said as she described the moment she found Samir in a field. He had been shot three times: in the legs, the back and the back of the head, according to eyewitnesses. Speaking at her home, surrounded by her other children and neighbours, Mrs Awad described how Samir had left for a science exam on Tuesday morning, and that the next time she saw him, “he was bleeding from his injuries. I gave thanks to God for his life and then started throwing stones at the Israelis who had done this.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/did-israeli-troops-deliberately-provoke-boy-only-to-shoot-him-in-the-back-8454650.html

A silent Palestinian voice amid the din of the Israeli election/ Gideon Levy
Haaretz 20 Jan — Whoever believes that the Awad family will continue to be denied their rights forever is living a lie, the most revolting lie of this election campaign — Samir Awad won’t be voting in Tuesday’s election, not only due to his age (16 ) or his Palestinian nationality. Samir Awad won’t be voting on Tuesday because he was shot dead from close range last week by Israel Defense Forces soldiers: one bullet in his head, one in his back and one in his thigh. The soldiers who shot him will vote on Tuesday, because democracy is like that. All of the neighbors from the hills opposite Awad’s home will also vote, despite living beyond the sovereign borders of their country. Most of them will vote for those who wish to banish Samir’s family, or continue to make their life hard. His bereaved father, Ahmed, cannot vote in this election despite living next to Israeli citizens, and working for years in Israel, building its houses and renovating its villas. This is the elephant in the room. The monster at the door, who we try to ignore by saying, “If we won’t look at it, it won’t exist.” This is the worst deception of this election, the sickest lie of Israeli Democracy, promoted by all voters and candidates.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-silent-palestinian-voice-amid-the-din-of-the-israeli-election.premium-1.494991

From whence the defense stink comes / Yossi Sarid
Haaretz 18 Jan — The culture of lying in the Israeli army was around in Ben-Gurion’s time. The Harpaz affair proves it still exists —
Yaakov Sharett this week reminded us of some things we had forgotten. Writing to Haaretz, he quoted directly from the documentation in the diary kept by his father Moshe Sharett, Israel’s second prime minister. “Sharett: ‘In the army there is no truth.’” And David Ben-Gurion confirms: “That’s the worst of all.” Neither Sharett nor Ben-Gurion managed to root out the culture of lying in the Israel Defense Forces. Or maybe they didn’t even dare try. That culture makes a mockery of civilian military control, turning Israel into a formal paper democracy. Not much has changed since that exchange. It’s possible that relations between the military and the civilian leadership have become even more distorted.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/from-whence-the-defense-stink-comes.premium-1.494673

In letter to activists, UK foreign office blames Palestinians in Gaza for bringing suffering on themselves / Amena Saleem
EI 20 Jan — The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has this week exposed once again its one-sided view of relations between Gaza and Israel. In identical letters sent to Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and PSC members, the FCO reiterated its belief that Israel’s assault on Gaza in November 2012 was a response to rocket attacks into Israel. The letter came from Barry Griffiths of the Near East Department of the FCO, and was in response to emails sent in November asking for factual evidence for claims made by Foreign Secretary William Hague that “… it is Hamas that bears principal responsibility for starting all of this.”
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/letter-activists-uk-foreign-office-blames-palestinians-gaza-bringing-suffering

How the media let Israel get away with murder / Charlotte Silver
EI 17 Jan — Israel spends a lot of time talking about secure borders and how the need for them drives its policies regarding the Palestinians. With few exceptions, the media act as willing promoters of this perversion of reality. Between 11 and 15 January, four young Palestinians — aged 17 to 22 — were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces. The murders took place in the Gaza Strip and at different points along Israel’s wall in the West Bank. In all instances the Israeli army justified the use of lethal force by invoking its need to protect the integrity of the wall and Israel’s borders … English-language reports of these murders have been scant where they exist at all. For example, the press is in disagreement over the circumstances of Anwar Mamlouk’s death … The BBC, however, relayed only the Israeli military’s version of events … The New York Times took the murder of Samir Awad, the fourth in the spate of Israeli willful killing of unarmed Palestinians, as an opportunity to remark on the “growing unrest” in the West Bank, bizarrely shifting culpability for the deaths onto Palestinians (“Israeli forces kill Palestinian at barrier,” 15 January 2013).
http://electronicintifada.net/content/how-media-let-israel-get-away-murder/12107

Book review: Israel’s ‘foreign policy of deception’ documented in new book / Rod Such
EI 16 Jan — Avi Raz’s The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War is a meticulous examination of the two-year period that followed Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights. It is notable for a number of reasons: its documentation of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that occurred during and after the war and its exposure of a policy of deliberate lying to conceal Israel’s real aims in the newly occupied territories. And perhaps most importantly, its virtually unassailable argument that Israeli policymakers never intended to relinquish the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which it promptly annexed, and contemplated annexing Gaza. Also notable are the disclosure that Israeli officials acknowledged that the annexation of East Jerusalem and the construction of settlements in the West Bank violated international law, and Raz’s depiction of the US government’s steady supply of arms and political support to Israel during this period.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-foreign-policy-deception-documented-new-book/12103

Why all Americans should care about the Holy Land Foundation case / Stephen Downs & Kathy Manley
WRMEA Jan/Feb — In 2008, five directors of the Holy Land Foundation, formerly the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., were convicted on charges of material support for terrorism — essentially for feeding the poor and for building schools and hospitals in Palestine. Although none of the defendants were accused of violence or even encouraging violence, some of them received sentences of up to 65 years, and are incarcerated in mostly Muslim isolation prisons. At their first trial in 2007, the government conceded that no foundation money had gone to any terrorist organizations; rather, some money went to the same zakat (charity) committees in Palestine that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.N., the Red Crescent and many NGOs used to distribute aid to the Palestinian community during the same period. The first trial ended with a hung jury, without a single conviction on any count, and with some outright acquittals. At the second trial, the government called an “anonymous expert” to testify that some of these zakat committees were “controlled” in part by Hamas — a designated terrorist organization but also, since January 2006, Palestine’s lawfully elected government. The U.S. government claimed that channeling the foundation’s charitable activities through these “controlled” committees helped raise the prestige of Hamas and thus constituted material support for terrorism … The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to confront (cross-examine) the witnesses against the defendant. Anonymous expert witnesses violate this fundamental principle. Yet on the basis of this anonymous “expert” opinion, all the defendants were convicted at the second trial. Well, one may say, injustices are everywhere. Why should I care about this particular case? The reason goes back to a 2010 Supreme Court case, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which involved two groups that sued the government to determine if merely giving advice to a designated terrorist organization on how to stop engaging in terrorism would constitute material support. The Court held that it would, because even advice on how to live peacefully was material support.
http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/541-washington-report-archives-2011-2015/january-february-2013/11611-why-all-americans-should-case-about-the-holy-land-foundation-case.html

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About Kate

American (New Englander); Muslim; A.B., M.A. in political science; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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