Beitar Jerusalem fans holding up a banner that reads, “a pure Beitar forever.” (Photo: Ynet)
Israeli soccer club’s fans object to Muslim players
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 27 Jan — An Israeli soccer club notorious for the anti-Arab chants of its fans plans to recruit two Muslim players, fueling protests in the stands that a senior cabinet minister condemned as shocking and racist. At a Premier League game on Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem supporters held a banner reading “Beitar will always remain pure”. Other signs hoisted by fans also protested against its owner’s intention to have two Muslim Chechen players join. The Beitar club is a bastion of Israel’s political right-wing and the only leading soccer team in the country never to have signed an Arab player because of fan pressure.
Israel’s ultra-racist Beitar Jerusalem football team in uproar over hiring of Muslim players from Chechyna
Electronic Intifada 26 Jan – Eli Cohen, the manager of Israel’s notoriously racist Beitar Jerusalem football team, has tried to calm fans angered by a decision to recruit two players from the Russian Premier League side FC Terek Grozny which is based in the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Chechyna.
But while ostensibly refuting the fans racism, Cohen simply compounded it by developing a hierarchy of Muslims against which bigotry is acceptable. European Muslims are OK, Arab Muslims – such as Palestinian citizens of Israel who already play for many other Israeli teams including the national squad – are out.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Gov’t to recognize illegal Bedouin villages
Ynet 27 Jan — Proposal for regulating Bedouin settlements accepted; majority of illegal villages to be recognized, end to ownership claims; Bedouins say proposal ‘uproots numerous communities’ – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Bedouins’ illegal encampments in various areas in the Negev, and said that regulating the issue would serve as a “historic decision” that will put an end to illegal construction in the Negev. “Israel’s previous administrations have avoided dealing with this issue, but this brave decision will allow for the continued development of the Negev, which benefits the area’s entire population,” he said … Head of the Council of Unrecognized Villages, Ibrahim Al-Valkili, said: “I would prefer they amend the current proposal instead of authorizing it as is. There are many articles that we’re uncomfortable with. “Our position was that we should be partners in this process, as it deals with land, compensation and moving people from one place to another,” he said. Al-Valkili criticized the proposal and warned that it does not benefit the Bedouin residents.
The most violent settlement in the West Bank encroaches on Asira al-Qibliya
ISM 27 Jan — According to OCHA statistics Yizhar is the most violent settlement in the whole of the West Bank with 70 recorded incidents in 2011 alone. Every week there is at least one attack by Yizhar settlers in the six affected villages. Four months ago, settlers from Yizhar built a temporary outpost on top of a hill belonging to villagers from Urif. This continued until earlier in the week when Israeli authorities delivered maps to the village which showed that Yizhar had laid claim to 2 dunums of land. This was a massive understatement; they had in-fact seized the entire hill. The land grab of this hillside seems to be all but complete; a shepherd who was working the land around the Yizhar outpost was recently beaten whilst tending to his sheep: the injuries he sustained were serious but not critical. In another incident, as the Palestinian owners of the land were walking along the road towards the hill this week, they were fired on by Israeli soldiers. Villagers want to challenge this latest land grab, however the law in this country is anything but just. [See map of Yizhar and villages ]
Continued harassment of the Nasser family in Madama
ISM 27 Jan — A month after unprovoked settler and army attacks, the victim of severe violence Mamun Nasser remains in Israeli prison. The arrest of yet another member of the Nasser family shows Israeli army’s continued harassment in Madama. On December 18th the notorious security guard charged with the protection of the illegal settlement of Yizhar, Jacob, attacked Mamun Nasser while he was tending to his flock of sheep in a hill outside the settlement. Mamun was handcuffed and beaten in front of his entire family, who desperately tried to intervene. The Israeli army arrived on the scene, who responded by firing live ammunition on the Nasser family and others who tried to help, quickly ending their attempt to stop the vicious assault. One round passed through Mamun’s sister’s clothing narrowly missing her while another one hit his brother, Amir, in the leg. His mother told us “They wanted to kill him [Amir]. I heard the officer giving that order. He was lucky that he was only shot in his leg.” Severely beaten, Mamun was then arrested and taken away by the Israeli military into custody. One month later he remains detained in Majdou Prison. On January 23rd at 4 pm, the Israeli army followed up the harassment by raiding the Nasser family home in Madama, arresting Mamun’s brother Amir who was still recovering from the gunshot wound he received only a month prior. This is another episode in the continued harassment of villagers surrounding Yizhar which is described as the West Bank’s most violent settlement by the United Nations.
Israel prevents farmers from accessing fields south of Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Israeli forces on Friday afternoon prevented Palestinian farmers from accessing their agricultural lands in Susiya village east of Yatta in the southern West Bank. A resident of Susiya, Fuad al-Shamisti told Ma‘an in Hebron that soldiers detained Fadi and Shadi Shamisti as they tried to reach their fields. The two were given warrants to meet Civil Administration officers next week. Soldiers then declared the area a closed military zone and forced residents and farmers to go back home, according to al-Shamisti.
IOF stops road construction work northern Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 27 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stopped on Sunday morning the construction work of an agricultural road near the village of Zawata, north of the city of Nablus. Omar Sobh, the supervisor of the project which is sponsored by the Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committee (PARC), stated that the IOF raided the project area, confiscated machinery and bulldozers and detained the workers and the project supervisor for more than an hour. Sobh added that the arrival of the people to the scene to support the workers forced the occupation forces to withdraw, where they threatened them with arrest and confiscation if they restart construction work in that area under the pretext of being close to Shavei Shomron settlement … The farmers in Zawata village and neighboring villages are constantly suffering from the severe economic conditions in light of the Israeli attacks, where they are prevented to have access to their agricultural lands located along the bypass road that lead to Shomron settlement.
Dozens of Jewish settlers storm Al-Khader village
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 26 Jan — Dozens of armed Jewish settlers stormed the village of Al-Khader to the south of Bethlehem on Friday and took shots of a number of areas. Local sources said that around 200 settlers came from the Efrat settlement and stormed the Solomon Pools and the Palace of Conferences under heavy Israeli military escort. The sources said that the settlers took shots in the vicinity of the Palace of Conferences and near the Pools before performing Talmudic rituals.
For Palestinian tree planters, regards from a nearby Israeli settlement are anything but warm
Haaretz 27 Jan by Amira Hass — Israeli prosecutors will explain to the High Court of Justice Monday why it’s hard to protect two elderly people from attacks by young Jews — On Monday the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli police in the West Bank will continue trying to convince the High Court of Justice that the routine of fear in which two elderly farmers live due to attacks by settlers is reasonable and proportionate … At issue are the attacks on brothers Hammad and Mohammed al-Sleibi, age 78 and 70, from the village of Safa southwest of Bethlehem. For about 50 years, the brothers have been making a living from a 45-dunam plot in Wadi Abu Rish west of the village of Beit Omar … In 2009, about 20 young Jewish men heading from Bat Ayin beat Hammad and another brother, Abdullah, who needed 17 stitches in his head. That year the plot was set on fire three times; the brothers say hundreds of trees went up in flames. From the middle of 2011 the frequency and severity of the attacks increased.
Increase in innovative activism, resistance
Activists protest road closure at Hebron settlement
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Dozens of activists protested on Friday by a settlement near Hebron demanding Israel reopen a road linking the city with southern towns. Protesters gathered at Haggay settlement demanding Israel reopen a main road linking Hebron to al-Samu, Dura and Dhahiriya. “We are fed-up with the bypass roads. We want to live with dignity on our own lands which the settlers stole from us,” a taxi driver told Ma‘an. Another activist said the protest marked the beginning of a campaign to reopen the road.
Activists raise Palestinian flag at settlement entrance
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Activists raised Palestinian flags at the entrance to a Bethlehem-area settlement on Friday, at a protest in solidarity with Palestinians jailed in Israel. Activists gathered at the Elazer settlement, south of Bethlehem, chanting “Free the prisoners,” local committee activist Muhammad Braijieh said. The settlement is built on lands belonging to the Bethlehem town of al-Khader.
Israeli troops intervened in the protest and a fistfight erupted, he said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 30 Palestinians blocked the entrance to Elazer and forces asked them to leave, but she was not aware of any physical confrontations. After the protest, activists blocked the bypass road in front of the settlement. The protesters condemned the fatal shooting by Israeli forces of Bethlehem woman Lubna Hanash on Wednesday.
Hebron holds rare festival in Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Palestinians in Hebron celebrated a religious holiday on Thursday with a large festival in the Israeli-controlled Old City. Hebron was split into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control under a 1997 agreement. The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, and the former commercial center, now a virtual ghost town. Palestinians were stunned on Thursday as thousands of worshipers at the Old City’s Ibrahimi mosque poured into al-Shalala street, buying gifts and listening to a religious musical performance. The celebration was held on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a national holiday in Palestine. Shop keeper Shadi al-Qawasmi told Ma‘an he hopes that such celebrations will encourage people to visit the Old City, and to do shopping there in order to help the economy. Hebron Governor Kamel Hmeid said the festival shows “this land is for Palestinians and will be for Palestinian people forever.”
Clashes break out at new protest village in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian official on Saturday during clashes at a newly erected protest village in Jenin, witnesses said. Dozens of Palestinian activists set up the Al-Asra, or prisoners, protest village in the village of Anin, northwest of Jenin, on Saturday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe announced during a press conference. Anin village is located next to Israel’s separation wall. The governor of Jenin Talal Dweikat and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Jamal Hwail attempted to enter the village with activists, but were prevented from doing so by Israeli forces. Physical clashes ensued, and Israeli soldiers assaulted Hwail and fired tear gas at the activists, witnesses said, causing several injuries.
Beit Iksa’s residents standing strong after the forceful eviction of Bab Al Karama
ISM 26 Jan — A large group of enthusiastic men, women and children made their way from the village of Beit Iksa to the hill top that hosted Bab Al Karama, in a convoy of vehicles while waving Palestinian flags from the windows. They gathered to pray alongside the ruins of the mosque, demolished alongside Bab Al Karama. With over one hundred people to help, a number of olive trees were then planted around the hill top; which is classed as area C and in Israeli control. This same area was picked by the council of Beit Iksa for the site of the camp protest which was assembled the previous Friday and then destroyed by Israeli forces just two days later in the early hours of Monday morning. The people of Beit Iksa are planning to plant more olive trees at the site every Friday. At this Friday’s demonstration of resistance the desire for a peaceful existence in the village shone from the faces of young and old alike.
Israeli Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
B’Tselem: IDF using deadly force on protesters
Ynet 28 Jan — A new report released Monday by the B’Tselem human rights group alleged that over the past eight years at least 10 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank over the IDF’s use of crowd-control measures. The group claims that the Israeli military “systematically violates” protocols associated with the use of crowd-control measures, which include tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades – to name a few.
Violent clashes in Al-Khalil, 3 Palestinians arrested
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 25 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested at dawn on Friday 3 citizens in al-Khalil in the southern occupied West Bank. Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Jasser al-Omla, 24, after raiding and searching his house in the town of Beit Ula west of al-Khalil, according to local sources. Israeli forces arrested also the two brothers Mohammed and Issa Hassan Rashaida from Bethlehem, at a military checkpoint in the Nabi Yunis area, north of al-Khalil. In the predawn hours, IOF troops were deployed in the Nuba town west of al-Khalil, and in a number of the residential outskirts of the city, including Ein Sara neighborhood, Ras Jura.
Meanwhile, violent confrontations erupted between Palestinians and the occupation soldiers in ‘Arroub refugee camp north of the city of al-Khalil in the southern West Bank, where Israeli soldiers fired a barrage of live bullets and tear gas and sound bombs at the camp’s entrance towards a number of houses. Palestinian youths addressed the occupation forces with stones and stayed until Friday morning on alert for fear of storming the camp.
Israeli forces detain 3 people in Hebron, locals say
HEBRON (Ma’an) 26 Jan — Israeli forces detained three people in the city of Hebron late Friday, locals said. Jibril Abdul Hathim Abu Turki, 22, and his brother Mosam, 20, were detained during an arrest raid in southern Hebron.
Israeli forces arrest man near Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) 26 Jan — Israeli forces detained a man suspected of carrying a knife in Hebron’s Old City on Saturday, Witnesses said. Hamzeh al-Fakhouri, 22, was arrested at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a man was detained for possessing a knife.
IOF arrest 6 Palestinian civilians in WB and Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM (PIC) 27 Jan — The Israeli Occupation Forces arrested at dawn on Sunday 6 citizens in occupied Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nablus. Eyewitnesses told PIC reporter that Israeli soldiers stormed the town of Beit Fajar in Bethlehem and arrested two citizens, while a third citizen was detained near a military checkpoint in the city under the pretext that he approached an Israeli settlement. The Israeli forces also arrested two citizens from the town of Hawara, south of Nablus claiming that they attacked a military checkpoint by Molotov cocktails. In a related context, the occupation forces stormed at dawn today the town of Silwan to the south of al-Aqsa Mosque. Wadi Hilweh Information Center confirmed that Israeli military forces, accompanied by Shin Bet members, raided in the early hours of the morning Bustan neighborhood in the town of Silwan and raided the house of political activist Mousa Odeh and arrested his son Mohammad Mousa Odeh, 25 years old. The center stressed that Mohammad is a liberated prisoner
[Settlers attack Palestinian; Israeli forces arrest victim]
HEBRON (Ma’an) 26 Jan — …locals said that a settler attacked Muhammad Isaac Abu Hatta in Hebron on Friday while he was walking home with his sisters and mother. The settler sprayed mace in Abu Hatta’s face in full view of Israeli soldiers, who then arrested Abu Hatta and took him to an unknown location, witnesses said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said there were no reports of any arrests overnight.
Jewish settlers beat up Palestinian child, IOF arrests him
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Jan — Jewish settlers assaulted a 15-year-old Palestinian child in Shuhada street in the Old City of Al-Khalil on Saturday night. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli occupation soldiers were standing nearby watching the scene as the child Fathi Al-Shirbati was battered and did not intervene to stop the battering. They said that the soldiers arrested the child after the assault and took him to an unknown destination.
An infiltration thwarted, a Palestinian youth left to die
Haaretz 25 Jan by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac — After the semester’s final exam, Samir Awad and his friends from Budrus went down to the separation fence, where teenagers often provoke soldiers to see how they respond. It ended with live bullets in his back … I saw a photograph of his corpse, which documents the entry and exit points of bullets, leaving no room for doubt: Samir Awad was hit in the back by live bullets. The Israel Defense Forces announced that it will investigate the matter, and a Central Command officer told Haaretz: “Clearly this event is not good.” Samir fell on one of the rocks next to the cacti and lost consciousness, blood flowing from his wounds and mouth. Soldiers approached him but didn’t have anything that could be used to treat him, apart from one standard-issue army bandage, which ended up being left hanging on the fence.
IOF soldiers storm home of liberated prisoner Bilal Diab
JENIN (PIC) 25 Jan — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed and searched at dawn Friday the home of liberated prisoner Bilal Diab in Kafr Ra‘i town south of the city of Jenin. A large number of occupation soldiers surrounded the house in the town of Kafr Ra‘i, before storming it, and forced all the family members to stay in the cold weather for hours, where they searched the house and damaged its contents before withdrawing, family sources told PIC reporter. Bilal Diab stated that “the raid is an Israeli message in response to our support for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,” adding: “it will not deter us from our support for the prisoners, and we will continue to stand with them until their release.” The liberated prisoner Bilal Diab fought a 78-day hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention, where he was released on August 9, 2012.
A grenade here, a grenade there, so they’ll learn
972mag 27 Jan by Dor Sandak — A 21-year-old Palestinian student was killed by Israeli army fire last week. ‘I suppose that just like myself back then, today too, soldiers shoot because that is what their sergeant ordered them to do: to teach a lesson, to remain in charge.’ — …This brings me back to 11 years ago: I was a young soldier, stationed in that precise area – Road 60, Hebron-bound, in the localities of Al Aroub and Beit Ummar. We were assigned to secure a section of the road near the Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur. We were told that the road must be ‘clean’ in the mornings and afternoons when the Jewish settlers from Karmei Tzur drive to and from Jerusalem for work. ‘Clean,’ meaning devoid of Palestinians. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that 15,000 Palestinians live in the nearby refugee camp of Al Aroub and the village of Beit Ummar. At the time, Palestinians were not permitted to travel on Road 60, except for taxis and vehicles with special permits. But they still had to go about their everyday lives, getting from home to school, to work and to the hospital, which they did by walking along the side of the road. Life, you know. So how does one keep the road ‘clean’? Gunfire.
Palestinian patient dies at Erez due to prolonged security measures
GAZA (PIC) 26 Jan — A Palestinian patient died at the Erez crossing to the north of Gaza Strip on Friday evening due to the delay in allowing the ambulance car carrying him to cross. Medical sources told the PIC that Salah Salluha was carried in an ambulance car and had to wait for two hours at Erez due to complicated security measures. The sources said that Salluha, a dentist, was suffering from acute pneumonia for the past two weeks and was held in ICU in Gaza hospitals before deciding to transfer him to Carmel hospital in 1948 occupied Palestine.
Palestinian killed in tunnel accident
IMEMC 27 Jan — Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian man was killed, and another was injured, in a tunnel accident in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip … The body of the slain Palestinian, age 33, and the wounded resident, were moved to the Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.
Medics: Gaza man hurt by Israeli gas canister
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — A 20-year-old Palestinian was hit in the face by a tear gas canister fire by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said. Adham ad-Dabaji was wounded when Israeli forces fired high-velocity tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinians north of Beit Lahiya. He is being treated at the Kamal Udwan Hospital.
Israelis wound two young Palestinians in Gaza
MEMO 26 Jan — Israeli forces shooting into Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza have wounded two young Palestinians. A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said that the two were taken to Kamal Odwan Hospital where they were treated for light injuries. Witnesses said that a number of young people were playing in an open area not far from the border and were surprised when the Israelis started shooting at them. They called for an ambulance, which evacuated the casualties from the area. This is yet another Israeli breach of the truce reached with the Palestinians to bring the offensive against Gaza to an end last November.
Three Palestinians injured in Gaza explosion
IMEMC 26 Jan — Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that three residents were injured in the Az-Zawayda area, in central Gaza, after an explosive device detonated near them. Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health In Gaza, reported that one of the wounded residents suffered serious injuries to the face, and was moved to the Ash-Shifa hospital in Gaza. The remaining two suffered moderate injuries to various parts of their bodies, and were moved to the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah. Dozens of Palestinians were previously killed and wounded in similar accidents after coming in contact with undetonated missiles and bombs fired by the Israeli army during its repeated wars on Gaza.
Paralyzed by Israeli missile, child faces Israeli legal system
IMEMC 25 Jan — The Israeli Supreme Court delayed, Thursday, deliberation in an appeal filed on behalf of a Palestinian child from Gaza who was paralyzed by an Israeli missile that also killed several family members in Gaza. Maria Aamen is now 11, but when she was only three years old, an Israeli missile struck a civilian vehicle in Gaza leading to the death of her mother, grandmother and her 7-year old brother. Maria did not die in the attack but was seriously injured when the explosion threw her body out of the car causing Quadriplegia; seven Palestinians were injured in the attack.
Maria now lives in Um Al-Fahem, north of the country, receiving medical attention at a specialized Israeli medical center. Following her serious injury, the Israeli Supreme Court made a rare decision in favor of Maria allowing her to receive the needed medical treatment. But the Israeli Defense Ministry did not want to pay the expenses for Maria’s treatment, and in 2007, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, decided to stop the funding for her treatment. Since then, the family of Maria has been in legal battles with Israel, trying to ensure continued treatment in Israeli medical centers.
IOF fires artillery shells east of Gaza City
GAZA (PIC) 25 Jan — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) fired on Thursday evening artillery shells toward the Zeitoun neighborhood south east of Gaza City. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli artillery fired at a late hour on Thursday evening a shell toward Malaka area east of the Zeitoun neighborhood. There were no reports of injuries, although the shell has exploded. The sources added that after firing the shell, Israeli occupation forces opened fire towards Palestinian homes in the neighborhood, no injuries were reported.
Qatari fuel for Gaza halted again due to Egypt unrest
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Qatari-donated fuel to Gaza has again been suspended due to the security situation in Egypt, security sources said Sunday. Officials said the last delivery, of 235,000 liters of fuel, crossed on Wednesday, but transfers were since halted until further notice.Unrest in Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya caused the suspension in deliveries, the security officials said.
Official: Gaza facing domestic gas shortage
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Gaza is facing a shortage of cooking gas, an official said Friday, calling for more deliveries through an Israeli-controlled crossing. Samir Hamada, from Gaza’s society of petrol companies, said suppliers of gas for domestic use have almost run out of fuel. He said Gaza’s daily gas requirements is 250 tons, while on average around 150 tons are being delivered through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing each day.
IOF soldiers arrest three Gazans after crossing separation fence
GAZA (PIC) 27 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested three Palestinians from Gaza Strip after crossing the separation fence into 1948 occupied Palestine on Saturday. Palestinian sources said that the three were arrested in two separate incidents after crossing the fence. They said that the three citizens were not armed and that the IOF soldiers took them to an interrogation center.
Military academy to be built in Gaza
MEMO 25 Jan EXCLUSIVE PICTURES – The Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza has announced that a military academy is to be built in the territory. Speaking during the graduation ceremony of a military youth camp attended by 10,000 students, Ismail Haniyeh said that a school with physical and theoretical military training on the timetable would be followed by the establishment of a “Palestine Military Academy” … During his speech, Haniyeh said that the new military school would be an educational and scientific military institution, working to the plan already adopted by the education ministry. “Today’s celebration programme is being held on the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who is the leader, the strategist and the teacher of principles for creating a state with Jerusalem as its capital,” said the Prime Minister. “It is the birthday of return and liberating prisoners.”
Gaza Interior Ministry releases 34 prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — The Ministry of Interior in Gaza released 34 prisoners on Saturday to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, the ministry said. The prisoners had served the majority of their sentences in rehabilitation centers and were released under the orders of Interior Minister Fathi Hammad said in a statement. The ministry said that it would use all religious and national holidays as an opportunity to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Russian aid convoy ‘Hope and Love’ leaves for Gaza today
MOSCOW (PIC) 27 Jan — The fourth Russian aid convoy “Hope and Love” is expected to leave Moscow on Sunday on its way to the besieged and war-torn Gaza Strip. A number of Muslim activists from Russian charities will be participating in this convoy, which is composed of medical supplies for kidney and cancer patients. The expenses of the medical aid convoy were covered from donations collected from Russian Muslims under the auspices of Al-Tadamun charity, according to Eve Tatieva, deputy head of the charity. A Russian TV channel team will also come along with this aid convoy to make a documentary film about the suffering of the Gaza people.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers
Family: Israel sentences Hamas MP to 30 months
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Hamas lawmaker Hassan Yousef was sentenced to 30 months in Israeli jail after serving several administrative detention terms, his family said on Sunday. Israel’s Ofer military court handed down the sentence on Thursday. Yousef is appealing the sentence and another court session will be held on Tuesday, relatives said. Yousef, an MP for the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, was detained on Nov. 1, 2011 with his son from his home in Beituniya, near Ramallah, and held without charge. He had recently left jail in an August prisoner release deal.
IOA turns the prisoner Zarir’s to administrative detention
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 25 Jan — The Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies reported that the Israeli courts refused the appeal presented by lawyer of the prisoner MP Ahmad Zarir, 51, from the town of Samu‘, south of al-Khalil. The Center said in a press statement that the court decided to keep Zarir’s administrative detention for six months, where he was arrested by the IOF on November 23 following the recent aggression on Gaza, with 5 other MPs on charges of supporting the people of the Gaza Strip, where they were all turned to administrative detention without charge or trial.
Minister: Prisoners threaten mass hunger strike action
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — The Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs warned Saturday that detainees in Israeli jails may launch mass hunger strike action if their conditions do not improve. Issa Qaraqe said the situation in Israeli jails could “blow up at any time” if prison conditions remain the same, a statement said.
Around 2,000 prisoners joined a mass hunger strike launched in April 2012 to demand fairer prison conditions.
Haniyeh calls Egypt over hunger strikers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — The office of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he contacted several Egyptian officials on Thursday evening on the fate of Palestinian hunger-strikers in Israeli jails. Egypt assured Haniyeh they will work hard in order to ensure that the swap deal will not be breached, and to make an agreement to end the hunger strike, his office said. An Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap deal in late 2011 saw Israel agree to release a total of 1,027 Palestinians in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Samer Issawi, who at 167 days is holding the longest hunger-strike of the prisoners, was arrested after his release in the prisoner exchange.
IPS imposes harsh penalties against 27 prisoners
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Jan — The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) imposed unprecedented severe penalties and harsh measures against 27 prisoners, where they were isolated in Elah prison after being repressed and transferred from Eichel prison by Israeli special unit armed with different types of repression tools.
PA security detain two liberated prisoners
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Jan — The PA security apparatuses continued its arrest and summons campaigns in the various governorates of the West Bank, where they arrested two citizens in Nablus and al-Khalil, summoned two others in Ramallah, and extended the arrest of liberated prisoners in Jericho and Ramallah prisons…
In a related matter, the Ministry of Awqaf in Ramallah prevented the preacher of Saifullah mosque in Beitunia Ibrahim al-Saba’a from delivering the Friday sermon under the pretext of not committing to the Ministry of Awqaf’s recommendations
Ex-prisoner’s life ‘at risk’ after joining hunger strike
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — The medical situation of a former prisoner is deteriorating after he joined a hunger strike in Tulkarem protesting Palestinian Authority policies, an activist said. Mohammad Sabah, a spokesman of former prisoners on hunger strike, said that Mosaab Abu Tanin’s life was in danger, and the PA ministry of prisoners affairs was responsible.
Analysts: Reconciliation held up by Egypt clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Reconciliation between Palestinian political factions will be held up by Egypt’s security situation, as the parties won’t do anything without Egyptian leadership, political analysts said Sunday. More than 30 people were killed in Egypt protests on Saturday, following a day of anti-Mursi demonstrations on Friday, when nine people were killed.
Analyst Akram Atallah told Ma‘an that while Egypt deals with internal issues, Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas are unlikely to meet. If Egypt does not bring the parties together, neither will initiate a meeting, he said.
Reconciliation committees hold remote meeting
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Two committees tasked with implementing aspects of a Palestinian reconciliation deal held a video conference on Sunday, officials said. West Bank and Gaza-based members of the social reconciliation committee and public freedoms committee spoke via video conference, MP Ashraf Juma said. The lawmakers said the meeting was the result of recent meetings in Cairo between the leaders of Hamas and Fatah.
Official: Morocco pledges $500 million to aid reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Morocco has pledged to give $500 million to support reconciliation between Palestinian factions, a reconciliation committee official said Sunday. Abdul Aziz Qudaih, a spokesman for the social reconciliation committee, said Morocco would donate the money to the committee once a unity government has been formed, without giving further details.
Tunisian president postpones Gaza visit until March
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has postponed his visit to the Gaza Strip until March, his office said Sunday. Marzouki had planned to visit the coastal territory in early February, but the Tunisian official’s office said the trip had been postponed after talks with President Abbas at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. “The decision to postpone the visit until the end of March aims to allow the path of reconciliation to progress,” the Tunisian president’s office said.
Fatah vs. Hamas
Palestinian press group urges Hamas to release journalists
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 27 Jan — The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate on Sunday called on Hamas to release 6 journalists detained in a media crackdown in Gaza last week. The Palestinian syndicate, together with other journalists, held a protest in front of the press group’s headquarters in Al-Bireh, which was attended by members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Fatah’s Central Committee, a Ma’an correspondent said.
Gov’t: News about arresting journalists is not true
GAZA (PIC) 27 Jan — The government information office in Gaza said that some citizens, described as journalists in some news reports, were summoned and detained because of their involvement in illegal practices threatening the security and stability in the Gaza Strip. In a press release, the information office stated that the citizens were not placed in custody because of their press activities, but because of their work for former Israel-backed security officials and their use of websites to trigger sedition in society. It affirmed that the internal security apparatus, which is now responsible for this case, discovered that those citizens are members of a cell working for rallying support for former Fatah security chief Mohamed Dahlan and inciting against Hamas and Fatah officials.
Hamas renews rejection of two-state solution
CAIRO (PIC) 27 Jan — Hamas movement renewed on Sunday its rejection of the two-state solution, affirming its refusal to recognize the “Zionist entity.” Hamas said in a press release that its acceptance of establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 land did not mean forsaking historical Palestine or recognizing legitimacy of the occupation on the remaining land of Palestine. The movement expressed dismay at statements of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas claiming that the Palestinian factions had accepted the two-state solution and popular resistance.
PA official: Female dress code at Gaza university ‘illegal’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — The Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education on Sunday issued an official condemnation over a Gaza university’s decision to implement an “Islamic” dress code for female students. Al-Aqsa University president Salam al-Agha told Ma‘an Sunday that the code, which is set to be implemented when the new semester begins, does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he termed dress befitting of the university. He said students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code. Ali Jarbawi, PA Minister of Higher Education, issued an official response to the university’s announcement, labeling the decision “illegal, and therefore null and unenforceable.”
Other political and economic news
US: Two-state solution cannot wait
WASHINGTON (Ynet) 26 Jan — Though officially waiting for Israeli coalition to form, US is implying two-state solution cannot wait; negotiations must resume — The US is patiently waiting until an Israeli coalition is formed, but is nonetheless sending out a clear message to Israel: Do not neglect the Palestinian issue. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stressed Friday that the US intended to work on bringing the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
PA minister expects Israel to resume tax transfers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — The Palestinian Authority minister of economy said Friday that he expects the Israeli government to stop withholding tax revenues in the near future. Jawad al-Naji told Ma‘an that the financial crisis would be solved if the Israeli government pays the tax revenues, if Arab countries contribute to the so-called safety net, and when European countries resume aid.
Teachers to launch strike action this week, union says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — Teachers in the West Bank will go on strike for three days this week, the teachers union announced Saturday. Ahmed Anis, secretary general of the teachers union, told Ma‘an that there will be no classes in West Bank schools on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, as teachers protest against irregular salary payments by the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinians of Syria rally outside UNRWA HQ for more support
BEIRUT (PIC) 26 Jan — Dozens of Palestinian refugees who fled the Syrian internal war rallied on Friday morning outside the headquarters of UNRWA in Lebanon at the invitation of the Hamas Movement to demand it to support them more actively … Baraka urged UNRWA, in particular, to provide better humanitarian aid to the Palestinian evacuees of Syria than its 40 dollars which it had decided to give for each refugee for only one time, stressing that the refugees need to live a decent life in Lebanon.
4 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria
DAMASCUS (PIC) 27 Jan — Working Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria confirmed in its report on Sunday that 4 Palestinian refugees were killed, while a bus carrying 14 passengers from Khan al-Shih Palestinian refugee camp was hijacked. The group confirmed that Sheikh Sultan Heil from Khan al-Shih Palestinian refugee camp was found dead after being kidnapped by an armed group outside the mosque after Friday prayers….
Sanctions hit humanitarian aid to Syria
DAMASCUS (IRIN) 25 Jan – Humanitarian and developmental aid agencies in Syria say international sanctions against the country have made their operations harder. Last August, Italian NGO Terres des Hommes (TDH) sent its regular request for a financial transfer from Europe for its aid operation in Syria. Then it waited. And waited. And waited. After 15 days of delay, it contacted the bank in Italy, which informed the NGO that the transfer had been rejected. “Receiving money from Europe to Syria is a disaster,” said Emanuela Rizzo, TDH country representative. The bank required a long list of documents, including the NGO’s agreement with the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, its memorandum of understanding with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, a letter vowing not to fund ‘terrorist’ groups, and a list of implementing partners…
Other aid agencies struggling to transfer money have resorted to wiring money to banks in Lebanon and physically driving across the border to pick it up. Aid coming in via social solidarity networks has had to do the same.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Israel admits giving contraception injections to Ethiopian immigrant women
Mondoweiss 27 Jan by Philip Weiss — A disturbing story of official racism in Israel. Haaretz reports: “Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera. Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.” The story broke on Israeli television in December, and the government denied it.
Druze says 2 nightclubs racially discriminated [against] him
Ynet 27 Jan — Rani Tarif, 27-year-old Druze, says two clubs denied him entry because of ethnicity. ‘I’m Israel’s flesh and blood,’ says enraged Tarif, IDF combat soldier
Pnina Tamano-Shata, blazing a new path
Ynet 26 Jan — Fighting for social justice since she was a child, new Yesh Atid MK plans to promote ‘equality, affordable housing’; stresses ‘Racism, discrimination still exist in Israeli society’ – Meet the first Israeli Ethiopian woman to be elected as member of the Knesset: After the results of the Knesset election were in, Pnina Tamano-Shata, a lawyer, news correspondent and 14th on the Yesh Atid Party roster, realized she will become a member of the 19th Knesset.
Suha Arafat: Cause of Arafat’s death to be announced on 20 June
BEIRUT (PIC) 26 Jan — The widow of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, Suha, said that the French authorities informed her that results of investigation into the cause of Arafat’s death would be announced on 20 June. She said in an interview with Al-Quds satellite TV to be aired on Sunday that she was late in following up the issue leaving it at the beginning to the Palestinian Authority. Suha said that she would exert all efforts to transfer the remains of Arafat from Ramallah to occupied Jerusalem as he had wished.
Hospital: Ariel Sharon responded to family photos, not in coma
Ynet 27 Jan — Soroka medical officials say ‘significant’ activity detected in ex-PM’s brain as he was shown photos of family members, heard recording of son’s voice — …Sharon suffered a stroke seven years ago. Soroka officials said he has never been diagnosed as suffering from a coma and that his diagnosis has been determined as “minimal conscious level.”
Analysis / Opinion
Capturing pride, not pity: Josh Jones on taking photographs in the Occupied West Bank
MEMO 25 Jan — EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW In a meeting room adorned with lime green chairs and a colourful tiled carpet at the University of the Arts, London, photographer Josh Jones is explaining the difference between an image that inspires pity and one that inspires respect. He lifts his arms in the air to illustrate a shot he took in the occupied West Bank of a young Bedouin boy holding his younger brother. The child in his arms is poorly dressed, his eyes averted; behind them is the land he and his family tend as goat herders. It is littered with unexploded devices from Israeli military weapons practice. Though there are disturbing elements to the photo, the young boy, who looks straight at the camera, is full of pride for his brother. Josh explains how the same picture could easily have turned into one of the child looking up at you, with big round eyes; a photograph intended to provoke sympathy. “Photographs that inspire pity are ultimately very negative towards the aims of resisting the occupation,” Josh tells me, “because they suggest that Palestinians are people that need our help, that they are suffering an endless plight. Whereas photographs that inspire respect can help build solidarity as we feel we can connect with someone else’s plight. Not as subjects or as charity, but as human beings who have their own voice.”