Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Israeli policemen assault MK Taleb Al-Sane
NAZARETH (PIC) 10 Jan — Israeli police forces assaulted Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Talab Al-Sane on Wednesday while trying to protest the demolition of two Arab homes in Tal Al-Saba‘ village. Sane, in a statement by his office, said that the police forces prevented him from entering the area where the two houses were being razed at the pretext of lack of construction permit. He said that the policemen then shoved him and beat him with their hands and batons to push him back … Sane said that in any civilized and democratic country the government extends assistance to the people during natural disasters and/or harsh weather conditions, yet the Israeli regime is the only government to mercilessly destroy people’s homes at such times leaving children and women without shelter.
Activist: Ambulance stopped by soldiers in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli forces blocked the entrance to southern West Bank town Beit Ummar on Thursday morning, preventing an ambulance from leaving, a local activist said. The ambulance officer informed the soldiers that the Red Crescent vehicle was taking a woman in labor and another patient to hospital in Hebron, popular committee spokesman Muhammad Ayad Awad said.
Israeli wall traps rain, sewage in Palestinian town
QALQILYA (Reuters) 9 Jan — Heavy winter downpours have turned some Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank into a morass of filth and flooding as an Israeli barrier blocks the waters from draining away. In Qalqilya, a town of 42,000 in the northern West Bank almost completely surrounded by the concrete wall, Khaled Kandeel and his family huddled by an open fire in a shed as trash-laden water swelled through his pear orchard. “Before the wall, the water used to drain fine, and flowed down to the sea easily. They could just flip a switch and end our suffering, but they don’t,” Kandeel said, his breath steamy from the winter cold.
450 Bedouin families steadfast in their homes despite hardships
TUBAS (PIC) 9 Jan — Despite the harsh living and weather conditions and the ongoing Israeli military harassment, 450 Palestinian Bedouin families in the Jordan Valley and Wadi Al-Maleh areas are determined not to leave their homes and try hard to cling on to an age-old way of life. To the east of Tubas city, the Bedouin families are facing double dangers by the Israeli military exercises on the one hand and the flash floods and strong winds, especially nowadays, which destroy their tents and primitive homes on the other. Head of the Bedouin hamlets and Wadi Maleh municipal council Aref Daraghmeh appealed to all Palestinian officials and concerned authorities to urgently intervene to save 450 Bedouin families living in vulnerable tents in the Jordan Valley and Wadi Maleh.
Israeli excavations cause large cave-in in Silwan district
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 Jan — Wide subsidence occurred Tuesday afternoon at the entrance to Silwan district in east occupied Jerusalem because of the Israeli underground excavations. Many Palestinian natives from the district saw a big cave-in at the entrance near the Israeli outpost Ir David. The Israeli police prevented the Palestinian passersby from getting near the site or take pictures of the cave-in which was cemented over by Israeli workmen … The popular committee of Wadi Hilwa district had warned earlier that such cave-ins and collapses could happen because of the extensive underground excavations. During the last few days, multiple cave-ins and rifts occurred on the main street of Wadi Hilwa and the Israeli municipality has not made the necessary repairs.
Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
Settlers attack Urif and Qusra with guns, knives and stones
ISM 10 Jan — As the villages around Nablus woke up to the rare scene of a snow-covered landscape, Israeli settlers violently attacked groups of youngsters playing with snow in the villages of Urif and Qusra. Two people were both hit in the leg by live bullets fired from settlers’ guns and six people were hospitalized because of rubber-coated steel bullets shot by the Israeli army. In Urif, a group of thirty-five settlers came down the hills from the nearby Yizhar illegal settlement and attacked youth engaged in a snow-battle. One settler, who was carrying a sword, went to slash one of them but was stopped in time by the villagers. Other settlers started shooting live bullets and attacked two houses, smashing their windows. Shortly after the attack started the Israeli army also came down the hills, openly protecting the settlers from people that were gathering to defend their village. International human-rights activists that arrived in Urif saw settlers throwing stones and filmed them uprooting olive trees while the Israeli army shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, preventing the activists and villagers from approaching the settlers … A similar scenario occurred in the village of Qusra.
Israeli soldiers attack, arrest Palestinian youths playing with snow in Jerusalem
IMEMC 10 Jan — The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reported that Israeli soldiers violently attacked and arrested several Palestinians playing with snow, in Sheikh Jarrah, in occupied Jerusalem, amidst the current snowfall that is covering nearly every part of Palestine. The clashes took place when a number of extremist Israeli settlers started throwing rocks at the local Palestinian youths who were playing with the snow, and started shouting and cursing at them, while chanting racist slogans against the Arabs and the Muslims. The Center said that the current situation in the area is tensed as dozens of settlers and soldiers are still in the streets, and that the Palestinians were forcibly removed. Several members of the Israeli Internal Security were also deployed in the area ordering the local Palestinians to leave; the extremist Israeli settlers were not ordered to leave, the center added.
Blanket of snow covers Jerusalem, West Bank
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 10 Jan — The worst snowstorm in 20 years shut public transport, roads and schools in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Thursday. The Palestinian Authority cabinet agreed to meet on Thursday morning to deal with emergency response to this week’s storms, which had left hundreds homeless and injured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. West Bank schools were closed on Wednesday and Thursday in anticipation of the severe weather conditions. The Palestinian meteorological institute said that snow levels in the Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas had reached 10-20cm and as much as 30cm in Hebron. In Jerusalem, the Israeli official in charge of emergencies said the area had overnight seen its greatest snowfall since 1992.
Photos: Jerusalem blanketed with heavy snow
ET 10 Jan — A week of stormy weather characterized by heavy rain, frequent hail storms, and high winds culminated on Thursday in a rare heavy snowfall that blanketed Jerusalem overnight. The snowfall shut down government offices, most businesses, schools, and most public transportation. Numerous felled trees throughout the city crushed cars and the outside of buildings after cracking under the weight of the snow.
A week in photos: Jan 3-9
Activestills Jan — This week: Snow blankets the region, homeless Israelis and Palestinians cope with the storm, repression of hunger strikers extends to their families, and Palestinian residents of Israel and the West Bank resist demolition and displacement.
IOF kidnap four young men from their homes in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 9 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Thursday four Palestinian young men from their homes in Beit Fajar town south of Bethlehem city and took them in chains to an unknown place. According to local sources, the IOF forced many families outdoors in the freezing cold and embarked on ransacking their houses…
In an earlier incident on Tuesday evening, the IOF stormed Nablus city and kidnapped a young man from Al-Ein refugee camp.
Israeli forces ‘detain 4′ in West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Israel’s army said it detained four Palestinians across the West Bank overnight Tuesday. A pistol was confiscated in Nablus and a Palestinian held, an army spokesman said. Two others were detained in al-Arrub camp, and another in Beit Ummar, both between Bethlehem and Hebron. Locals said four Palestinians, all aged 18 and 19, had been detained overnight in the Ein Beit Al-Mai refugee camp in Nablus.
Witnesses: Israeli forces detain 3 in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) — Three Palestinians were detained early Thursday in the Jenin villages of Yamoun and Jaba, witnesses told Ma‘an. An Israeli army spokeswoman said there had been no detentions overnight. Locals said Muhammad Salash Hmarneh, 47, and Muhammad Mahmud Alwneh, 17, were detained in the dawn raid on Jaba‘, and forces set up a military checkpoint at the entrance to the village.
In near Yamoun, Israeli forces detained Abed al-Ghani Abu al-Hayja, 53, from his home, witnesses said. They told Ma‘an that troops were accompanied by an intelligence official who questioned the family about their son Samid, who has been wanted by intelligence for a month.
Arrests and incursions in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 10 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) held, on Thursday morning, a number of citizens in Rummana village west of Jenin outside their home in the cold and rainy weather, while raiding and searching a number of houses in Jenin. Local sources said that the IOF stormed the house of Mahmoud Ahmed Abu Hammad in Rummana village, and drove the home’s residents out in the cold weather, and searched the house, where the house was raided more than once in the recent period. Israeli forces also raided the nearby village of Zbobh, and roamed the streets without reporting arrests, where Rummana and Zbobh villages were subjected to continuous Israeli raids because they are located adjacent to Salem military camp.
Israeli soldiers violently break into five homes in the Al Ayn camp
ISM 9 Jan — Hundreds of Israeli soldiers in 27 military jeeps violently broke in and ransacked five homes in the Al Ayn refugee camp, Nablus. They caused widespread destruction in the houses involved in the raid. No arrests were made. Weam Reda Khaled, a woman whose house was ransacked, recounted how forty soldiers with dogs broke open the door of her home at three this morning. They came into the living-room and bedroom, shouting and intimidating her and her children. The family was forced to stay in the doorway while soldiers searched the house and broke everything that came to their hands. One of her sons was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated for two hours under the staircase. In the meantime, the army smashed furniture and electronic appliances in the kitchen, living-room and bedroom. They threw the television and some furniture on the roof, under the rain. Weam described how her four year old son was terrorised by the scene of the military violently breaking in and searching their house. Initially, soldiers even refused to let him go to the bathroom. This is the second time in the last eight months that Weam received such a visit. In May, soldiers broke into her home and arrested her husband, who is still being held in administrative detention without any charge brought against him.
4,600 prisoners face the cold wave without protection
GAZA (PIC) 9 Jan — The Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies confirmed that 4,600 Palestinian prisoners in nearly 20 Israeli prisons are facing the present cold wave without protection under harsh prison conditions.Liberated prisoner Rafat Hamdouna, the director of the Center, stated in a press statement on Wednesday, that prisoners in general and those on hunger strike in particular suffer extreme weather conditions at a time when the Israeli Prison Service refuses to allow winter clothing, blankets and shoes for those prisoners.
IOA tightens Abu Sissi’s isolation after the aggression on Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 9 Jan — The deputy director of the Gaza Power Plant, Dirar Abu Sissi, the only isolated prisoner in Israeli jails, confirmed that the prison administration has tightened its measures in isolating him since the recent aggression on Gaza. The Israeli intelligence service Mossad had kidnapped Abu Sissi, 44, in 2011 from Ukraine where he had been applying for citizenship to enable his family to leave Gaza, as his wife is Ukrainian. He was transferred to the occupied Palestinian territories and held in solitary confinement. The occupation authorities refused to end Abu Sissi’s isolation despite the fact that they agreed to end all the prisoners’ isolation after April strike, for fear of revealing the mysteries of his abduction process.
Shafei declares hunger strike to protest his torture
NABLUS (PIC) 10 Jan — Prisoner Mehdi Shafei, from the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, announced two days ago an open hunger strike in protest at being tortured during interrogation at Al-Jalama Interrogation and Detention Center, Palestinian human rights sources revealed. Tadamun foundation for human rights confirmed that the prisoner Shafei declared and an open hunger strike protesting against the interrogation methods carried out by the Israeli officers against him since the moment of his arrest on 17 December, where they tied his hands and left him hanging, in addition to assaulting and humiliating him.
AOHR calls to end administrative detention
LONDON (PIC) 9 Jan — Arab Organization for Human Rights in UK (AOHR) called for a wide Parliamentary movement to address administrative detention policy used by the Israeli intelligence to detain Palestinian citizens, deputies and ministers. The organization issued on Wednesday a detailed report documenting the detention of Palestinian MPs elected in Palestinian legislative elections that took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem in January 2006, where 12 deputies were arrested in Israeli jails, including seven deputies who were transferred to administrative detention. The report highlighted the policy of administrative detention as a form of detention based on a decision issued by the so-called “regional military officer” who detains Palestinians based on being “guilty until proven innocent.”
Special, don’t miss it
Film: When the boys return
10 Jan — Al Jazeera Witness film by Tone Andersen (47:49) A group of Palestinian youths try to come to terms with their experience of being jailed by Israel — In Hebron in the West Bank, 11 young Palestinian men come together each week in a room at the YMCA. All of them have spent time in Israeli jails. They are just a few of the 7,500 Palestinian minors aged between 12 and 18 who have gone through the prison system over the past 11 years. The arrests of these youngsters, undertaken by the Israeli army, often happen at night. The most common charge is stone-throwing and the average sentence is two years. Upon release, many former detainees display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and almost all find it difficult to slip back into the position they occupied in their families and communities prior to arrest … When the boys return follows the group over 10 weeks as they take part in a structured course of therapy, run by counsellor Nader Khallaf, aimed at helping them re-integrate into normal life.
Dog medicine given to Palestinians
Gaza (Arabstoday) 9 Jan by Mohammed Habib — A campaigner for the human rights group, the Hurriyat Centre has accused Israeli prisons of treating Palestinian prisoners who fall ill with dog medicine. In a statement Ibtisam Annata, a lawyer at the Centre said a prisoner had told her that he suffered with back pain during his detention in Raymond prison prompting the doctor in charge to prescribe him with medicine used to treat dogs. He continued to take it for several years. Other inmates revealed that many of them had been prescribed the same medicine by prison doctors.
Israeli units assault detainees in Ofer prison
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Jan — Israeli special units stormed at dawn today section 15 in Ofer prison and assaulted the prisoners, causing a state of tension inside the prison. Sources from the prison told PIC’s correspondent that the occupation units broke into section 15, which includes prisoners from the different Palestinian factions, and started executing searches and taking the prisoners out of the jail under rain after attacking them. The sources pointed out that four captives have been attacked during the search; and that repressive measures have been taken against them.
Egyptian official says Gaza tunnels flooded, collapsed
EL ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — After three days of intense rainfall, many of the tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt are flooded or collapsed, an Egyptian security official told Ma‘an. The underground trade has halted during the stormy weather due to concerns that many tunnels remain unstable, the official in Egyptian Rafah said.
Two Palestinians trapped in Gaza tunnel destroyed by storm
Al-Akhbar 10 Jan — Two Palestinian workers have been trapped inside one of Gaza’s tunnels to Egypt after heavy rainfall destroyed some of the underground trade network, Palestinian medical sources said Thursday. Two others were also trapped and later rescued as floods destroyed entrances to the tunnels over the last two days. It is unclear whether the workers still stuck underground are alive or dead. A rescue mission is currently underway.
Soldiers face jail time for selling info to smugglers
Ynet 10 Jan — Plea bargains for two Gaza Division soldiers who leaked classified data on IDF activity to smugglers on Egyptian border … The information, which included a detailed account of deployments, timetables and exact patrol and observation point locations, granted the smugglers on both sides of the border the opportunity to sneak in and out with goods, most likely narcotics, with great ease and without getting caught.
Civil defense: 105 people treated during Gaza floods
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Over a hundred people needed medical treatment in southern Gaza on Wednesday due to severe weather conditions, the rescue service said. Emergency services treated 100 people on site during flooding near Rafah, and five people have been hospitalized, Muhammad Mathana, spokesman of Gaza’s Civil Defense service, told Ma‘an. The crews have also extracted 17 cars stuck in floods, and removed 25 felled trees, he said.
Boat teams rescue families from Gaza floods
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Rescue crews used fishing boats to help 25 families trapped in a flooded plain in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, amid icy storms have in the region this week. Civil defense spokesman Muhammad Al-Maathaneh said a low plain in Rafah was under water, and 300 homes were at risk of flooding.
Israel floods east of Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 10 Jan — The civil defense department in Gaza said the Israeli occupation state opened on Wednesday the floodgates of one of its dams in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip. The department called on the Palestinian citizens living along the Gaza Valley area to be cautious and get in touch with the authorities in case of any incident. For days, the occupied Palestinian lands have seen heavy rains that caused floods in different areas. The Israeli regime last year had flooded several Gaza villages and displaced their residents when it opened the same floodgates.
Witnesses: Israeli military levels land in north Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli military vehicles crossed into northern Gaza to level land on Thursday morning, witnesses told Ma‘an. Six military vehicles, including two bulldozers, crossed two hundred meters inside Beit Lahiya agricultural land, leveling an area called Bouret Abu Samra. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the incident was “routine activity.”
IOF incursion reported in northern Gaza
BEIT LAHIA (PIC) 10 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) entered a northern Gaza Strip area on Thursday morning amidst heavy shooting. Eyewitnesses told Quds Press that IOF troops in a number of armored vehicles advanced 200 meters into Burat Abu Samra in Beit Lahia town to the north of Gaza Strip. They said that the invasion forces opened heavy fire in the raid but no casualties were suffered.
UAE donates $50 million to ‘prisoner city’ in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Gaza’s housing minister said Thursday that the United Arab Emirates has donated $50 million to build a housing project for Palestinians released from Israeli jails. The “prisoners city,” which will be located in central Gaza, will be named after the UAE leader Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of public works and housing Yousef Subhi Al-Ghariz said.
Egypt allows entry of 25 wheelchair-accessible vehicles into Gaza
IMEMC 11 Jan — An Egyptian security source told Ma‘an that vans were donated by an Egyptian charitable society.
Photo Story: Hajazi family — Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza
ISM 9 Jan — Amna Hajazi (43) sitting on her bed in a rented room in Jabalia refugee camp, after her home was destroyed by a bomb. On November 19th 2012, a missile hit her home, killing two of her sons – Mohammad (4) and Suheen (2) – and her husband Fu’ad (45). As a result of the explosion, her collar bone was broken (as seen on the X-ray) and got shrapnel embedded into her head, damaging her central nervous system and rendering her unable to walk … Noor Hajazi (19) lying in bed sustaining a severe spinal injury caused by the explosion that destroyed her home. She was thrown by the blast around 20 meters, hitting the stairs of a neighbour´s home. The impact damaged six vertebrae, leaving her bed-ridden for the next six months. Prior to the attack, she was a university student, and as a result of her injuries she will not be able to continue her studies.
Rights group concerned by Gaza death in custody
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — The death of a Palestinian man while in the custody of the Gaza government in recent weeks must be thoroughly and transparently investigated, human rights groups say. Atef Khamis Derbas, 52, was being held in the central Ansar prison in Gaza City for unpaid debts, before he died on Dec. 27. His family told the Al-Haq human rights group they had informed prison authorities of his pre-existing medical problems, and that he was suffering in jail due to cold conditions and not taking his medication regularly. A representative of Al-Haq told Ma‘an an official investigation was opened by Gaza authorities on Monday.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Abbas rejects Israeli offer to allow refugees from Syria to enter West Bank and Gaza
Times of Israel 10 Jan — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected an Israeli offer to allow Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to enter the Palestinian territories on condition that they forgo their “right of return” to Israel proper, Abbas told the Egyptian press on Wednesday evening. Following a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Abbas said that he had appealed to the UN to intercede on behalf of Palestinian refugees living in Syria and demand that Israel allow them to enter the West Bank and Gaza. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Abbas that Israel agreed to the request, on the condition that the refugees sign a document in which they forgo the “right of return” to areas within Israel. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the report. Abbas said he rejected that condition.
A ‘humane’ Israel sets conditions for Palestinians fleeing Syria
972mag 10 Jan by Ami Kaufman — When it comes to helping victims in far away countries (like Haiti and more), Israel does a great job. Not so great if you happen to be a Palestinian trying to flee the civil war in Syria — The comparison to that ‘deal with the devil’, who eventually gets the victim’s ‘soul’, could not be more appropriate considering that the right of return is one of the most cherished, valued principles a Palestinian refugee holds dear to their hearts. Even Abbas, who although said to Channel 2 that he “has no right to live in Safed,” could never agree to imposing such a ridiculous condition on other Palestinians. If Israel wants to show any kind of humanity, it should let those people through without holding a virtual gun to their heads. God knows they’ve suffered enough already.
Palestinian refugees denied entry to Jordan and its cities
MEMO 9 Jan — Dozens of Palestinians from Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria have been refused entry to Jordan as they flee from the Syrian army’s bombardment. Al-Jazeera reported that the refugees tried to cross into Jordan last week through Al-Jaber border crossing. According to the news reports, Palestinian refugees with Jordanian IDs were allowed to enter the country, while their children who are not citizens are being refused entry. Several media and statistics sources say that more than 126,000 Syrian refugees have been absorbed by Jordan. However, Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria are being placed in compounds under strict conditions. They are being banned from entering Jordanian cities.
Jordanian PM: If we were to let in Palestinians from Syria, Israel would try to send more of them our way
Times of Israel 11 Jan — Hashemite kingdom, which holds general elections in two weeks, has closed its borders to ‘brethren’ fleeing Assad, fearing major influx — Jordan will not allow Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to enter the kingdom, for fear that doing so would encourage Israel to deport Palestinians to Jordan, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Thursday. “There are those who want to absolve Israel once again of its responsibility for banishing Palestinians from their homes,” Ensour said in an extensive interview with the London-based Arab daily al-Hayat. “Jordan is not the place to solve Israel’s problems…”
885 Palestinians killed in Syria since outbreak of revolution
DAMASCUS (PIC) 9 Jan — A new statistics report revealed that 885 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since outbreak of internal fighting after eight martyrs fell on Tuesday. The work group for Palestinians in Syria on Wednesday said that all those who fell in the ongoing armed conflict were registered and documented. It affirmed that the Syrian regular army was still imposing a tight siege on the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus for the 17th day running. It said that the roadblocks were preventing entry of foodstuff and medical supplies into the refugee camp as news spread that flour was no longer found inside the camp.
Two Palestinian refugees killed in Syria
IMEMC 10 Jan — Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians refugees have been killed, on Wednesday, in the Al-Yarmouk and Al-Handrat refugee camps, in Syria. Eyewitnesses told the Palestinian Information Center that a Palestinian woman, identified as Hamda Abu Rayya, was killed when a shell exploded in the camp. Furthermore, Samir Al-Khatib, from the Handrat refugee camp near Aleppo was also killed by shell fragmentation. Furthermore, according to Hamas sources, members of the Syrian Security Forces arrested a Hamas leader, a Palestinian refugee from the camp
Risheq mourns Palestinian activists killed in Syria
BEIRUT (PIC) 10 Jan — Izzat al-Risheq, member of Hamas’s political bureau, mourned two Palestinian activists, working in the field of relief work, who were killed in the Yarmouk and Husseiniya refugee camps in Damascus. The two Palestinian activists, Essam Khuzai and Omar Hilal Saleh, died after being targeted while they had been performing their duty in the refugee camps in Damascus. Risheq strongly condemned the targeting of the cadres of humanitarian and relief work in Syria, in statements published today on his Facebook page. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed that bodies of two Hamas cadres had been found, last night, in the Husseiniya Palestinian refugee camp. According to activists; the regular forces executed the two men after arresting them
Political, economic news
Abbas, Mashaal meet Mursi, hold side-talks
CAIRO (Reuters) 9 Jan — Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi held separate meetings with the leaders of Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah in Cairo on Wednesday, before the political chiefs sat together later in the evening. Palestinian and Egyptian officials said Mursi met President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Khalid Mashaal of Hamas to discuss how to implement a reconciliation deal that they agreed in Cairo in 2011. Egyptian mediators had hoped to coax all three into the same room, but Abbas and Mashaal held another meeting of their political factions later in the evening at a Cairo venue.
Egypt says Fatah, Hamas agree to enact unity deal
CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) 10 Jan — An Egyptian official said the leaders of Hamas and Fatah factions had agreed at talks in Cairo on Wednesday to implement a long-delayed reconciliation pact, although it was unclear if the deal would extend beyond holding more talks. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah movement based in the West Bank and Khaled Mashaal of the Hamas group that controls the Gaza Strip met face-to-face for the first time in over a year to discuss how to implement their 2011 deal.
Independents headed to Cairo to join unity talks Friday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Independent Palestinian political leaders and some faction representatives will travel to Cairo on Friday for a meeting on implementing the national reconciliation agreement, independent leaders said. Yasser Wadiya, head of a coalition of independents, said Thursday that the politicians will meet with the Egyptian and Arab League leadership to help implement the long-stalled deal.
Mashaal meets Arab League chief in Cairo
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met with the Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Arabi in Cairo on Thursday evening over Palestinian national reconciliation. In a joint press conference after the talks, Al-Arabi said he was optimistic that implementation of the 2011 Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah would be completed.
Reconciliation will strengthen the Palestinian position domestically and internationally, he said. Mashaal affirmed that the political leaders had agreed to reactivate the 2011 deal in recent Cairo meetings.
Transportation strike paralyzes West Bank
NABLUS (WAFA) 9 Jan – Drivers of public transportation sector in the West Bank went on a one-day strike Wednesday to protest government failure to meet their demands paralyzing as a result life across the West Bank. The drivers are demanding reduction in fuel prices in light of the current bad economic situation. They said they will escalate their strike if the government does not respond to their demands. Around 25,000 drivers went on strike in September protesting the high prices of fuel. Meanwhile, head of the public transportation union stressed that the union did not call for this strike and that it was conducted by the drivers themselves.
Gaza govt workers to receive salaries Thursday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Gaza’s minister of finance said Wednesday that all government workers would receive their salaries by Thursday.
In the West Bank, public sector staff held a partial strike Wednesday and Thursday, which they threatened to extend next week, over salary delays by the Palestinian Authority.
PA hopes [January] summits will activate ‘safety net’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — The Palestinian Authority hopes two regional meetings this month will see the promised Arab “safety-net” payments activated, a minister said Tuesday. The government will again ask for the $100 million-monthly pledge to be implemented, as Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday and Saudi Arabia hosts a socioeconomic summit on Jan. 21, labor minister Ahmad Majdalani said … Majdalani said the government will not be able to borrow from the banks this month as they have exceeded agreed limits.
Abbas: ‘There are 63 UN organizations we have the right to join’
IMEMC 11 Jan — Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that the Palestinian Authority will act on the international level to stop Israel’s illegal settlement construction and expansion activities, and stated that there are 63 UN organizations that the Palestinians can now join … He added that the several countries have asked the Palestinians not to head to the International Criminal Court to sue Israel for its illegal settlement activities, and violations against the Palestinian people, but also stated that the Palestinian Authority reserves this right should Israel decide to go ahead with its E1 project,
Hammad discusses boosting bilateral relations in the Sudan
KHARTOUM (PIC) 9 Jan — Gaza interior minister Fathi Hammad discussed enhancing bilateral relations with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Hamed in Khartoum. Hammad arrived in the Sudanese capital on Tuesday coming from Qatar on a three-day official visit. Hammad, who is expected to meet a number of other Sudanese officials, hailed Sudan’s support for the Palestinian people, and briefed Hamed on the overall Palestinian conditions.
2 women found dead in West Bank floods
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Police and rescue workers on Wednesday found the bodies of two women killed after their car was swept away by floods in the northern West Bank. The victims were identified as Samah Kanan, 36, and Hana Al-Sarawi, 24, both from Nablus. They went missing on Tuesday evening, and were found on the road between Anabta village and Enab checkpoint east of Tulkarem. The driver of their car was found unharmed and taken to a Tulkarem hospital. Relatives told Ma‘an that the women had left work at an insurance company in Tulkarem, and they lost contact with them around 4 p.m. Rida Milhis, a relative of Samah, said: “We immediately headed to the location but death was faster than all of us. We kept looking for her for many hours until she was found dead this morning.” Samah had recently got engaged, while Hana, from the Samaritan community, had just joined the insurance company, family members said.
Man found dead in Tulkarem after 3-day hunt
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Rescue crews on Thursday found the body of a 28-year-old man who had been missing in the northern West Bank floods for three days. Maher Buriya, 28, had not been heard from since Tuesday, when he disappeared in the flooding in Wadi al-Tin, south of Tulkarem. Civil defense forces from Ramallah and Qalqiliya joined the local service in the manhunt. A lawyer from Tulkarem, Buriya had recently got engaged.
Nablus gunmen warn PA security services
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — A group of masked gunmen claiming affiliation to Fatah’s military wing warned on Thursday that they would fight back against the imprisonment of their members by Palestinian security forces. Parading through Nablus’ Balata refugee camp, firing into the air with semi-automatic weapons, the group insisted they were defending Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas against a takeover of the West Bank. As President, Abbas heads the security forces, but the unidentified gunmen said they were acting to defend the president against “the enemies of Fatah and the enemies of the Palestinian people.”
MP Mansour: Freedoms in the West Bank do not live up to expectations
NABLUS (PIC) 9 Jan — Palestinian lawmaker Mona Mansour said that freedoms in the West Bank have not lived up to the expectations and are still oppressed by the Palestinian authority security forces. “We want real freedoms on the ground and not only before cameras and the media,” MP Mansour said in a press statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC). She stressed that the picture of the violations committed against freedoms in the west Bank are completely different from what is propagated by the media. The lawmaker cited as evidence the presence of many political prisoners in PA jails in the West Bank, including 10 detainees who are jailed permanently in Al-Juneid prison in Nablus city.
West Bank Samaritans fight extinction
8 Jan — Many people know the story of ‘The Good Samaritan’ in the Bible – but most aren’t aware that the Samaritans remain to this day a religious community living in what is now the West Bank. Over thousands of years, their numbers plummeted so much that they nearly died out in the early 20th century. But the community has seen an increase in numbers since then, with couples risking birth defects as a result fo the dwindling gene pool. Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reports from Mount Gerizin, West Bank.
IDF: Israel-Egypt border road closed to civilians
Ynet 10 Jan — According to a statement published by the IDF’s Spokesperson Office, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has decided to close the area of Road 10, which travels parallel to the border fence with Egypt, and 300 meters west of the road, to all civilian vehicles who have not coordinated their plans with the IDF in advance. In August 2011, the road was closed by order of GOC Southern Command Major-General Tal Russo in the wake of a cross border attack. Thursday’s decision extends the prohibition to an additional year.
US Congress to debate visa exemption for Israelis
Ynet 11 Jan — New bill to be debated in Congress to promote exemption of Israeli citizens from entry visa, allowing free entry to US for up to 90 days… The House of Representatives has voted for admitting Israel to the plan before, but the bid was rejected in the Senate. Israel has been asking to join the plan since 2005, but did not fulfill two basic terms: Not all Israelis have biometric passports, and the entry visa rejection percentage of Israelis is higher than 3%. Another dispute is Israel’s insistence on stricter security checks for Palestinian-US citizens entering the Jewish state. The US demands that they be subjected to the same security checks as any American citizen.
Racism / Discrimination
Campaign video decrying intermarriage is labeled racist
[includes video] 972mag 9 Jan by Lisa Goldman — Now Shas, the Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox party that is predominantly Moroccan, is getting some heat for a campaign video that some have decried as racist. In an image that Mordecai Richler and Philip Roth would recognize, the video shows a short, swarthy, curly-haired man standing next to a gorgeous, statuesque blonde under the huppah, or marriage canopy … According to the script in the video (subtitled in English, below), the blonde’s name is Marina and she’s just obtained a quickie conversion, courtesy of Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
Woman verbally abused by haredi bus passengers
Ynet 9 Jan — A 22-year-old woman was subjected to verbal abuse and humiliation by haredim while traveling on a bus from Jerusalem to Arad on Saturday evening, Yedioth Ahronoth reported … A short while later she came under attack by the women passengers. “They told me I wasn’t Jewish and that I was trying to spite them,” she says.The verbal abuse continued throughout the ride. “I was insulted the entire way and was in tears,” she says. “No one helped me.” The nightmare lasted an hour and a half, until the bus reached Arad. Before disembarking, Miri was again subjected to slurs and was spat on by one of the passengers. “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe this could happen in my country.”
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
WATCH: Finally an Israeli politician demanding Arab-Jewish unity
972mag 10 Jan by Mairav Zonszein — …But if I do vote, I know who I will vote for: Da’am, the Arab-Jewish workers’ party. I’m not going to elaborate much more, at least not in this post (you can read their platform here), because I think the message in the video below by the party’s chairwoman, Asma Agbaria Zahalka – a Palestinian citizen of Israel from Jaffa – says it all. It is such a simple message, but for 2013 Israel, it is a revolutionary one. A message that you don’t hear from any politicians in Israel, Arab or Jewish, certainly not in such an assertive, unabashed, matter-of-fact-manner.
IDF conscientious objector says he won’t give in to pressure
Haaretz 10 Jan by Amira Hass — Natan Blank, 19, has been in prison for nearly two months for refusing to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces because he opposes the occupation. On November 19 he arrived at the induction center and declared his refusal to serve. He was immediately jailed for 10 days by an IDF disciplinary court, and since then has repeatedly refused to be inducted and has had his imprisonment extended three times. On Wednesday, Blank told Haaretz by phone from Military Prison No. 6 that he assumes the army is trying to wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists, but he does not intend to do so. “I don’t want to go to the mental health officer, as others have done [to get an exemption],” he said. “I’m not going to put on an act.”