Palestinian seeking to visit her jailed brother is strip-searched, robbed and finally allowed to see him from afar

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing  / Judaization

Peace Now: Israeli govt secretly approved settler outpost
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — After the Israeli government gave official sanction to three settler outposts last year, a fourth illegal community has been included in the boundaries, an Israeli peace group said Tuesday. All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. However, Israel distinguishes between settlements it has approved and the outposts which were never granted official authorization. In April 2012 the Israeli government retroactively authorized three outposts — Rehelim, Sansana and Bruchin. Settlement watchdog Peace Now said the Israeli army issued a military order officially establishing the boundaries of Rehelim a few days ago, and it includes a further outpost, Nofei Nehemia, not included in the original list.

Settler council lied to High Court to prevent West Bank outpost evacuation
Haaretz 7 Jan — The Gush Etzion Regional Council provided false affidavit claiming families were dwelling in four structures built without permits in the illegal Sde Boaz outpost; evacuating a family in place is legally much more complicated than preventing one from being inhabited … The appeal regards four structures built without permits at the Sde Boaz outpost, next to the Neve Daniel settlement. A group of Palestinian residents from the Al-Hadr village petitioned the High Court in December, demanding the access road to the area be destroyed, since it encroaches on their private property. They have also requested the four structures be demolished and an interim injunction issued that bars any further construction.

Khader inhabitants protest the establishment of new outpost
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 7 Jan — Inhabitants of Khader town, south of Bethlehem, have protested the Jewish settlers’ construction of a new outpost on the village’s land. They said that the outpost was built between the village and the Gush Etzion settlement compound, noting that the Israeli higher court had passed a temporary verdict banning any expansion in it. The inhabitants said that Jewish settlers had recently built a road that cut through a number of cultivated land lots of the village and installed four mobile houses near it.

Israeli forces demolish house in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Israeli forces demolished a house in East Jerusalem on Tuesday on the pretext that it was being built without a permit, a local official said. Fakhri Abu Diab, head of the Committee for the Defense of Silwan, told official news agency Wafa that Israeli bulldozers arrived early Tuesday and destroyed the home, which was under construction at the time. The house, located in the Silwan neighborhood south of Jerusalem’s Old City, was uninhabited at the time … A 2011 report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel found said that Israeli authorities have revoked the status of 14,084 Palestinian Jerusalemites since 1967, no longer permitting them to live in the city.

Why Netanyahu put the brakes on his plan to build in E1 / Alex Kane
Mondoweiss 8 Jan — The contentious plan to build in the E1 corridor has been put on hold for now. The reason? Forging ahead with the plan would do irrevocable damage to Israel’s worldwide image and spark international consternation at a time when Israel needs Western support. But at the same time, a building approval binge has taken place in other areas in Jerusalem.

Settler attack on the Mosque of the Prophet Daud in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Jan — For the second time in two weeks, Israeli settlers stormed the historical Mosque of the Prophet Daud in Jerusalem, and they broke the ceramic and marble tiles covering three walls. The tiles date back to the 17th century. The incident sparked widespread anger and condemnation amongst those concerned with holy places in Jerusalem, especially that it is not the first time the mosque is attacked. The occupation authorities have already seized the mosque and turned its first floor into a Jewish synagogue … The [Aqsa] Foundation’s head, Zaki Mohamed Aghbarieh, denounced the attack that came “in light of repeated Israeli attacks on Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem in general, and those surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular.” Aghbarieh considered it as an attack on Islamic architecture especially that the marble that has been broken down dates back to the Ottoman era.

Water for life, water for all
Grassroots Int’l 7 Jan by Shadia Lahlou — Palestinians organize for water rights and local solutions — Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories (oPt) has not only physically dominated the land that supports the Palestinian people but also the vital water resources that feed the land. The natural cycles and recharging of these important water resources have been altered by the systematic confiscation and control policies imposed by Israel that deny Palestinians’ right to the water resources in the oPt. Drought-induced water scarcity, poor sanitation conditions and low economic development further add to the hardship of water-starved Palestinians. Currently, Israel controls 100 percent of the Jordan River Basin — along with approximately 75 percent of diverted water from the Jordan River and 80 percent of the Western Mountain aquifer. Altogether, that accounts for 85 percent of total groundwater resources in the West Bank.

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Arrests

Israel arrests 13 across West Bank
Al-Akhbar 7 Jan — Israeli soldiers arrested at least 13 Palestinians, including three teenagers, overnight Monday in the Jewish state’s newest round of West Bank raids, local media reported. Security sources told WAFA news agency that soldiers arrested 22-year-old university student Toufic Hassan Taha in the village of Kufeirat, south of Jenin,and confiscated his computer. Soldiers arrested brothers Ammar and Faleh Abou Nasser, and Ibrahim Saad Daraghmeh during separate raids on the same village. The source said soldiers ransacked Daraghmeh’s home before ‘exploding an unknown object’ they discovered inside.
Fifteen-year-old Sakr Sadiq Abu Maria and 16-year-old Yahya Falah Hamdi Abu Maria were arrested in the northern town of Beit Ummar after soldiers raided their home, according to a spokesman for the Popular Committee Against Settlements.
The occupation forces also arrested 17-year-old Jihad Taqatiqa after raiding his home in Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem.
Sources added that four people were arrested in the areas of Jenin and Tubas.
In Hebron, Israeli forces kidnapped 21-year-old Ahmed Jihad Sharbati. Local sources said the soldiers broke into his home and destroyed his belongings before arresting him.
Forces also arrested Ibrahim al-Tmizi after raiding his home in the town of Idna.

Soldiers kidnap four Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Jan –  Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, four Palestinians in the northern West Bank city of Jenin and in Bethlehem, after invading the two cities and searching several homes forcing the families out in the cold and the rain. Local sources in Jenin reported that the soldiers invaded Al-Jadeeda village, south of Jenin, broke into and searched several homes and kidnapped two residents after repeatedly hitting and kicking them. The sources said that, approximately at 3 at dawn, at least eight armored Israeli military jeeps invaded the camp and kidnapped Sameh Ahmad Suleiman Qalawla, 25, and Hazem Ahmad Mohammad Qalawla, 26. The soldiers forced the families out of their homes and violently searched the property causing excessive damage, and interrogated a number of residents.
Furthermore, the army invaded As-Saff Street and Jabal Al-Mawaleh area, in Bethlehem city, broke into and searched several homes and kidnapped two residents.
In related news, the army invaded Kufr Dan village, west of Jenin, and detained several farmers under the rain; the farmers were heading to their hothouses.

Israeli forces arrest 9 in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Israeli forces arrested 9 people overnight Monday, locals and Israel’s army said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said four people were detained in Bethlehem, two in Jenin, two in Nablus and one in Ramallah. All detainees were taken for security questioning, she added. Locals said soldiers raided al-Saf street in Bethlehem and arrested two people.

Israelis detain even more Palestinians in occupied West Bank
MEMO 7 Jan — Israeli occupation forces have made several raids across the West Bank and detained at least 13 Palestinian civilians. Local sources confirmed that houses in Jenin, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah were raided by the Israelis during the heaviest storms to hit the region for some time. Two minors were among those abducted from their homes.
n the inevitable clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli forces following the raids, one Palestinian was reported to have been wounded by a plastic bullet fired by an Israeli soldier in Hebron. Witnesses said that plastic bullets and gas canisters were shot towards houses in the city.
Also in Hebron, but in a separate incident, local activist Mohammed Awad said that the Israelis used live ammunition, wounding 20 year-old Alaa al-Saleebi in the shoulder. According to Awad, there was no clash or disturbance taking place at the time. Several areas in the city were swept by the Israeli forces, including a motor mechanic’s workshop, where spare parts were “confiscated” by the soldiers.
In Beit Amer, dozens of illegal Jewish settlers broke into a petrol station for the second time in 24 hours, causing severe damage under the watchful eye of Israeli police and army officers, who took no action to stop the vandalism.

Israeli pours putrid skunk gas over homes in occupied Palestine
Mondoweiss 7 Jan by Philip Weiss — Three days ago, January 4, Haim Schwarczenberg took this photograph. He writes: “Skunk trunk spraying putrid liquid all over residential homes in the village of Nabi Saleh.” If you’ve ever been to this village, you know that these are ordinary people’s homes, and that almost all the village, whether it likes it or not, is involved in resistance efforts to the takeover of its lands and spring by the neighboring Jewish colony, Halamish. Halamish is an illegal settlement under international law; but the United States says nothing about the human rights abuse and civil rights violations documented by Schwarczenberg above.

Israeli forces arrest man in Palestinian-controlled area of H1, Hebron [includes video]
ISM Team Khalil 8 Jan — A Palestinian man was arrested in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. Soldiers invaded homes without permission, indiscriminately beating men and children and forcing the residents out onto the streets. At around 22:30 pm on Monday 7 January Israeli occupation forces entered the Palestinian-controlled H1 area of the city for the second time in a week. The soldiers forcibly entered homes; in one house five soldiers kicked the front door and forced their way past a young boy. On hearing the disturbance Sabri Dwaik aged 29 got out of bed and went downstairs. The soldiers attacked Sabri, pinning him to the floor and hit him with a rifle butt on his head. Sabri was handcuffed and still in his pyjamas was dragged out onto the street. The soldiers then threw a sound bomb towards the front door to deter anyone from following them. One of Sabri’s cousins, who had gone onto the street to see what was happening, tried to intervene. The cousin attempted to free Sabri but was beaten, thrown on the floor, and dragged away by the neck.

PA security arrest 5 Hamas cadres in WB
WEST BANK (PIC) 8 Jan — PA security apparatuses have arrested five members and cadres of Hamas in the West Bank and summoned four others for interrogation, while the occupation forces arrested three liberated prisoners. Two liberated captives; Tariq Da’is in al-Khalil and Abdul Rahman Hindiya in Nablus, have been arrested by the General Intelligence Service, while the Preventive Apparatus arrested liberated prisoner Tariq Noaman in Ramallah. The Preventive Security Service arrested in the town of Beit Ula, to the west of the city of al-Khalil, on Monday evening, Hamas leader Sheikh Hammad al-Omla, 55, after storming and searching his house.

IOF arrests Palestinian prisoner’s wife
RAMALLAH (PIC) 7 Jan — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have arrested early on Monday the wife of a Palestinian prisoner from “Al-Qassam Brigades”, sentenced to life imprisonment seven times, where she was transferred to Ofer prison for interrogation. Local sources Silwad town near Ramallah city in central West Bank said that the IOF released Worud Hammad after being interrogated in Ofer military prison west of Ramallah … Hammad told PIC that the IOF stormed her home at 4 am and asked her to wear her clothes and to go for interrogation, noting that she refused to allow them to search her home because her children were asleep, and she refused to go out with them alone and, where she asked to accompany her father-in-law with her. She added that the IOF transferred her to Ofer detention center where she was subjected to interrogation about her husband, detained since ten years, and his relations within the prison, and his friends, pointing out that the occupation has threatened her and her family against involvement in any activity against the occupation.

IOF soldiers arrest son of martyr
NABLUS (PIC) 7 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested the 22-year-old Rashid, the son of liberated prisoner Zuhair Lubada who died on 31/5/2012 one week after his release from Israeli jails. The Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights said in a statement on Monday that IOF soldiers nabbed Rashid after breaking into his home and searching it. Rashid’s mother said that a big number of troops stormed the family home, wreaked havoc in it, and maltreated all those inside. She said that the soldiers confiscated computers in addition to 10000 Jordanian Dinars and 20000 Shekels.

Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions

Desperate to break Samer Issawi hunger strike, Israel relentlessly targets his family
Palestine Monitor 7 Jan by Jessica Purkiss — …On 18th December Samer was publically beaten in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court after he tried to greet his family. He was dragged from his wheelchair and carried away, repeatedly crying out as he was hit on his chest by the guards around him. As a result the family were barred from the trial and his sister Shireen Issawi was later during the same day arrested by the Israeli army. She was held for 24 hours before being released to house arrest for ten days. They also confiscated her license to practice her profession as a lawyer for six months. When asked why the authorities were targeting the Issawi family Shireen replied, “When they realised that they will never break Samer’s hunger strike, when they realised everyday he is stronger, and everyday more people are supporting him, the Israeli authorities started going crazy. In the end Samer will have his victory.” … From her front room Shireen explains how even the house she resides in has been targeted. Two days ago the Israeli military came and cut off the water line from the house. The family now rely on neighbours who bring them a bucket of water every day. The Israeli authorities claim they must pay around 50, 000 US dollars for water they apparently have not paid for, despite paying a monthly bill. They are currently gathering the papers in the hope of disproving this. This comes after Samer’s brother, Ra’fat Issawi, had his house demolished on 1st January.  According to his family there was no court decision on this; the Israeli army simply came and destroyed the home of Ra’fat, his wife and their three children.

Issawi’s mother deplores preventing her from meeting Abbas
RAMALLAH (PIC) 8 Jan — The mother of hunger striker Samer al-Issawi condemned preventing her from meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and holding her in al-Muqata‘a in Ramallah. Issawi’s mother told Filastin TV channel yesterday evening, that she went to the Muqataa headquarters to meet President Abbas and tell him about the suffering of her son who has been on hunger strike for nearly six months, but the guards prevented her from entering. She added that the guards started making fun of her son’s strike, then forced her to leave the headquarters without meeting Abbas.

A message from Samer Issawi on the 164th day of his hunger strike / Malaka Mohammed
Mondoweiss 7 Jan — A letter from Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for over 164 days now, was submitted through one of the lawyer’s who visited him on Sunday, January 1st, 2013. The message in the letter contains how Samer has several pains and diseases as a result of his extensive and epic hunger strike. He suffers from severe pain all over his body especially in the areas of the abdomen, kidney, double vision, dizziness, and has a severed bone in the chest due to the brutal attack by Israeli prison offers while he was handcuffed in his wheelchair at his court hearing. This fracture shows in the X-rays that were conducted after he was hospitalized following his court hearing … Despite his battle against Israeli prison injustices Samer stands firm and is continuing his heroic hunger strike and sends his greetings to all who are fighting along side of him in this battle for freedom and justice for the Palestinian political prisoners.

Israeli officials strip-search, humiliate prisoner’s sister
PNN — On Tuesday 8th January, Israel’s Prison Service (IPS) at Rimon prison prevented the sister of the prisoner Iyad Nassar from Tul Karem from visiting her brother following a punishment imposed on the prisoner few weeks ago on claims he owned a sharp tool. The prisoner’s sister, Ghada Nassar, told the Palestinian prisoners society that as she arrived to the prison, she wanted to buy few things to her brother but one of the officials tore up the money she was holding, threw the clothes and strip-searched her for several hours. After arguing with Israeli officials, they allowed her to see her brother from afar. They also tore up the visit permit and her ID, and told her that her family is not allowed to visit their son anymore.

Occupation renews administrative detention of 7 prisoners
NABLUS (PIC) 8 Jan — According to Al-Tadhamon Foundation for Human Rights, the Israeli Ofer Court rejected on Tuesday the appeal submitted by seven administrative prisoners, including two MPs … The court decided to extend the detention of MP Mansour, from the city of Nablus, for six other months and the detention of MP Qraawi, from the city of Tulkarem, for three additional months, the researcher added … Betawi pointed out that the Ofer court had also refused the appeal presented by five other prisoners and decided to renew their detention.

Court extends remand of alleged TA bus bomber
JPost 7 Jan — Muhammad Abed al-Jaffer Nasser Mafarja is remanded into custody until the end of legal proceedings against him … Mafarja was indicted on December 19 for planting an explosive device on a Tel Aviv bus, which injured 24 on November 21 at the tail end of Operation Pillar of Defense. The 18-year-old Taiba resident was charged with aiding the enemy in a time of war, dozens of counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime, causing an explosion, aggravated assault, illegally transporting weapons and providing assistance to an illegal organization..


More than 600 medications missing in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Jan — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip reported that more than 602 types of medications and medical supplies are not found in Gaza, including several types of essential medications such as heart medications and medications used by patients who suffer from anemia. The ministry said that, by the end of 2012, the Gaza Strip ran out of 160 types of medications and 442 types of medical supplies, adding that most of the missing medications and supplies are urgently needed as they are used in Intensive Care units, anesthesia, urgent care, kidney failure treatment, and several other sorts of health condition.

Israel closes Gaza crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Israel closed the Erez crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, sources in Gaza said. Travelers, patients and internationals were waiting to cross the border when Israeli authorities made the announcement. Erez is used by foreigners and the few Palestinians with permits. Israel grants some patients needing urgent medical treatment and some traders permission to use the crossing.

Gaza’s archaeological treasures at risk from war and neglect
[with photos] BBC 6 Jan — Years of conflict have exacted a heavy toll on centuries of history in the Gaza Strip. While traces of its rich past remain, the race to preserve what is left beneath the surface of this battle-scarred land is fraught with problems, as Ruqaya Izzidien reports.  Settled by civilisations spanning some five millennia, Gaza has been built layer-upon-layer since the Bronze Age. As each era ended, its people left behind remnants of their times – churches, monasteries, palaces and mosques, as well as thousands of precious artefacts. “Underneath Gaza there is a whole other Gaza, but every archaeological site here is found by accident,” says Hayam Albetar, an archaeologist at the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Fatah leader sentenced to 15 years by Gaza military court
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — A military court in Gaza City on Tuesday sentenced a Fatah military leader to 15 years in jail. Muhammad al-Sakani told Ma‘an that his brother Zaki was accused of terrorism and illegally possessing explosives and weapons.
Muhammad condemned the verdict as unjust and vowed to appeal the decision. Zaki, from Gaza City’s Shujaiyya neighborhood, was detained four years ago and held in a Gaza jail. Fatah denounced the verdict in a statement, describing it as “unjust because it was issued by an illegitimate court, and because the motive behind the verdict was merely political.” “The man was a prominent leader of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades and one of its best fighters.”

Egypt allows Qatar building materials to enter Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — Egypt allowed building materials into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on Sunday, the second shipment of its kind since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. Sixty-two truckloads of gravel entered the coastal enclave, part of a shipment by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which has pledged $400 million to finance reconstruction in Gaza.

Political, economic developments

Leaders unmoved by Israeli objections to State of Palestine IDs
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — The Palestinian leadership couldn’t care less about Israel’s objections to planned State of Palestine passports and other identity documents, a Fatah official said Monday. Party spokesman Ahmad Assaf said Israel’s opposition to the measure, implemented after the UN accepted Palestine as a non-member state in November, would not change their course. “Since when does the occupier allow the occupied to attain liberation and self determination?” he remarked.

Abbas avoids clash with Israel over state symbols
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 7 Jan — Palestinian officials said Monday they will not rush to issue new passports and ID cards with the emblem “‘State of Palestine”’ to avoid confrontation with Israel … Hassan Alawi, a deputy interior minister in the Palestinian Authority, said documents and stationery with the new emblem will be ready within two months. But he said all documents Palestinians need in their dealings with Israel, such as passports, ID cards and drivers licenses, will only be changed if there is a further decision by Abbas. Israeli officials declined comment Monday on whether Israel would refuse to deal with documents bearing the “‘State of Palestine”’ logo. However, Alawi said his office was informed by Israeli officials after Abbas’ decree that “they will not deal with any new form of passport or ID.” … Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide, said the new emblem will be used in correspondence with countries that have recognized a state of Palestine.

Nuland: ‘US will not refer to PA as State of Palestine’
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Jan — U.S. State Department Spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, stated that, until peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the United States will not refer to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) as the state of Palestine … In a press conference Monday, Nuland said that “a Palestinian state cannot be created through speeches and documents, as states are established through talks and negotiations.” She also said that U.S. special envoy, David Hale, will be holding a meeting with Abbas, Tuesday, to inform him that his decision is “a bad idea,” and that “peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians must be resumed without any further delay.”

Abbas willing to cooperate with US to achieve two-state solution
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Jan — Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that he is willing to continue to cooperate with the United States and the Obama Administration to achieve a peace agreement with Israel based on the two-state solution.  The statements of Abbas came on Tuesday evening during a meeting, in Jordan, with the visiting U.S. Middle East Envoy, David Hale, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported … Abbas said that “he appreciates the stances of the U.S. Administration as it considers peace in the Middle East as a top priority,” PNN reported

New US defense secretary vows full support for Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Jan — U.S. Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, of the Republican Party, who was named by President Barack Obama Monday, stated that he will grant Israel his utmost support under all circumstances, and slammed several Republican officials who criticized what they called “his attitudes regarding the Middle East, especially Israel and the conflict with the Palestinians.”

Mashaal, Abbas to overlap in Cairo, no meeting confirmed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Hamas’ chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal arrived in Cairo on Tuesday evening, while Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas was set to arrive Wednesday morning, but the parties said they had not arranged to meet. Member of Hamas’ politburo Izzat al-Rishiq said a Hamas delegation, headed by Mashaal, arrived in Cairo where they will follow up on reconciliation with Fatah in a meeting with Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi.  Abbas is set to arrive in Cairo on Wednesday for a meeting with Mursi on the same issue.

Abbas appoints Fatah leadership in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday appointed the new leadership of the Fatah committee in the Gaza Strip, its new chairman told Ma‘an. Ahmad Nasar, appointed head of the committee, said that the newly formed group will work to improve Fatah’s organizational structure and increase its membership in Gaza. Faisal Abu Shahla, Muhammad al-Nahal, and Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, and Sameh Nasser, all members of Fatah’s revolutionary council, will be part of the committee, Nasar said. Fatah officials say it is not logistically possible to hold elections for the leadership in Gaza.

Teachers despair over unpaid salaries
JENIN (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — Civil servants in the West Bank are struggling to cover transportation costs, as the delays in their salary payments stretches on amid the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis … Teachers in the northern West Bank city of Jenin described emotionally to Ma‘an the struggles the salary delays had caused them. Teacher Issam Nasar told Ma‘an he is worried about the health of his children, as a partial payment for November fell far short of their needs. “In fact, I am embarrassed amongst my children, who keep asking me for things which I can’t buy for them. My younger son was sick last week and I couldn’t take him to the doctor, I treated him just with herbs,” he said. “I borrowed money from all friends and relatives till my debts reached 7,000 shekels so far.  I don’t have a social life, I don’t leave my house, I only go to school and come back to bed to think how I am going to provide my family with food.”

West Bank public sector on partial strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — Over two days this week, West Bank civil servants will work half days as part of a strike against salary delays that will be upped next week, their union said Monday … Next Tuesday they picket the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah and governors’ offices in all West Bank districts between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Then the following two days will be full strikes, he said. Zakarneh said the strike action would be a protest of Israel’s seizure of tax revenues since December, and a call to Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority government to resolve the financial crisis.

Public transport workers to strike Wednesday
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Public transport workers across the West Bank will go on strike on Wednesday, saying the government failed to respond positively to their demands. Spokesman of the public transport committee Ibrahim Awadallah told Ma‘an on Tuesday the ministry of transportation had stopped all contact with the union for more than ten days.

Israeli Racism / Discrimination

Palestinians forced to disembark bus
Machsom Watch 3 Jan — Oranit Bus Depot, Thursday 4:15 p.m. Irit Sela and Daphne Banai — 2 minutes after we arrived at the site, a police car came and 3 black-clad policemen disembarked. A minute later, bus no.286 arrived, coming from Tel Aviv`s central bus station, destination Ariel colony in the West Bank. The bus stopped at the station. One of the policemen got on through its front door, another through the back, and then, slowly, Palestinians began to disembark – one, then another one, and another… about 20 men. Some take out their bags from the luggage compartment, others carry their ragged plastic bags. A policeman lines them up in front of him and orders them to show their IDs and permits. I ask whether he is the one who took the Palestinians off the bus. He affirms. “Why?” I ask. “To check whether they have entry permits into Israel.” … The bus drives off and I ask the policeman how these people are going to continue their journey, after all they had bought a ticket. He told me not to worry, while one of the Palestinians gestured a walking man with his fingers. When I tell the policeman that he is committing an unlawful act, he angrily orders me to show him my ID, and if I don’t shut up, he’ll detain me.

Other news – Palestine

Photos: West Bank hit by floods, lightning
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — The West Bank was hit by flooding and lightning overnight Sunday, causing extensive damage to residential properties. Lightning struck 19 homes in Nablus overnight, local resident Mahir al-Juneidi told Ma‘an, causing serious damage to electrical circuits and the exterior of several homes. No injuries were reported. Heavy rainfall also caused flooding, as stormy weather continued into Monday.
Rescue teams in Tulkarem were to dispatched to 14 emergency cases in the city, with homes flooded and vehicles stuck due to excess rainwater.
In East Jerusalem, worshipers at Al-Aqsa mosque arrived on Monday to find four large trees damaged by the storm. Two other trees were uprooted.

Missing persons found safe amid West Bank floods
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Three Palestinians feared dead after their vehicle was swept away by floods in the northern West Bank were found to be safe on Tuesday evening. A taxi driver and two women were returned by Israeli authorities after the taxi was caught up in severe flooding near Anabta, east of Tulkarem. The deputy governor of Nablus, also near the village, Anan al-Atira told Ma‘an that the passengers were not injured.
Ambulances are unable to access most of the Tulkarem district due to heavy flooding, Raed Yasin, director of ambulance and emergency services in Tulkarem Red Crescent association, told Ma‘an. The Palestinian civil defense department appealed to all the West Bank residents to avoid leaving their houses because of the severe weather conditions. Tulkarem security official Ibrahim Hneihin urged citizens who own trucks or bulldozers to contribute to rescue efforts.

Abbas celebrates Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — President Abbas attended midnight mass in Bethlehem’s Nativty Church on Sunday evening to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas. The mass was led by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and attended by Jordanian official Bassam Haddadin, representing King Abdullah II, the consul general of Greece and a host of diplomats and clergymen. Theophilos congratulated Abbas on the recognition of Palestine as a non-member state … The Assyrian, Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Patriarchs had arrived in Bethlehem earlier Sunday from Jerusalem, entering via a checkpoint in the north of the city. Scouts and marching bands paraded through Bethlehem’s streets on Sunday to welcome archbishops and patriarchs to mark Christmas in the Orthodox calendar. The majority of Palestinian Christians belong to the Orthodox church, with significant communities from other Christian denominations.

Other news – Israel

Netanyahu visits Ariel University on campaign trail
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 8 Jan — It’s Bibi against the world on a campaign trail that took the combative Israeli prime minister to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. Enjoying a wide opinion poll lead before a Jan. 22 election, Benjamin Netanyahu has been lecturing the international community — vocal in its criticism of settlement expansion on occupied territory and his hints of military action against Iran — about what it should really be worried about. The right-wing candidate, known by his childhood nickname “Bibi”, has been striving in campaign appearances to strike a common chord in a country where a song titled, “The whole world is against us”, was once a hit.

Second group of cyber defenders graduates from IDF
Haaretz 9 Jan — Military putting emphasis on defense, not just attack — The Israel Defense Forces are doubling the number of soldiers whose job is to defend the military against cyber attacks. Over the next year, the IDF intends to increasing the size of its computer defense courses, with dozens of additional soldiers be being trained for such posts. The military’s cyber operations have grown in recent years, both its defensive capabilities and those for attack.

Biggest ever international air force exercise taking place in Israel
MEMO 7 Jan — The biggest ever international air force exercise is taking place in Israel, the country’s Channel 2 TV has reported. The countries taking part, it is claimed, are ready to assist Israel in a pre-emptive strike should Syria’s chemical weapons fall into rebel hands. Over one hundred state of the art fighter aircraft have arrived in Israel from around the world for the exercise. Channel 2 did not disclose which countries are taking part. It is known, however, that an Israeli jet which cannot be detected by radar is among those involved. The exercise, claims the TV station, resembles the NATO missions against the former Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Shas spiritual leader threatens mass exodus if IDF drafts ultra-Orthodox
Haaretz 8 Jan — If the government decides to draft yeshiva students into the army, ultra-Orthodox Jews will respond by leaving the country, Shas’ spiritual leader predicts. “We will, heaven forbid, have to leave the Land of Israel and go abroad,” Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said in remarks reported on Haredi website Kikar Shabbat as part of Shas’ election campaign.

Palestinians in Syria

Official: PLO seeking return of refugees to Damascus camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Jan — PLO leaders, the Free Syria Army and Syrian regime forces are in ongoing talks to finalize an agreement to allow Palestinian refugees who fled fighting in a Damascus camp to return, a PLO official said. Anwar Abdul-Hadi, a senior PLO official in Damascus, told Ma‘an late Sunday that the deal had been delayed because of several demands by the Free Syria Army … Abdul Hadi said that PLO representatives responsible for holding talks had rushed into announcing an agreement had been reached without having secured guarantees that Palestinian refugees could return to the camp. PLO representatives have put forward three major demands in the negotiations. All armed groups, including Palestinian gunmen, must withdraw from the camp, food and fuel must be allowed in for residents, and the neutrality of the camp must be respected by all sides, Abdul Hadi said. The PLO will not call for refugees to return to Yarmouk while gunmen still operate inside the camp, he added

4 Palestinians killed in Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Jan — Four Palestinian refugees have been killed, Monday, in the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria during clashes between gunmen stationed in the outskirts of the camp, and in a number of neighborhoods on the edges of the camp. Medical sources reported that Rami Majdalawi and Ahmad Kousa have been killed by a sharpshooter in Ath-Thalatheen in the camp. The two were active in charitable and voluntary work.
Also on Monday, a Palestinian youth in his twenties, identified as Samer Othman, died of serious injuries he suffered fifteen days ago after he was repeatedly beaten on his head near the camp. He suffered hemorrhage and died of his wounds. A fourth refugee, identified as Mohammad Ajayny, died of a serious gunshot injury he suffered more than a month ago.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Nabi Saleh, still fighting
ISM 5 Jan — …  A Palestinian activist was shot in the shoulder with a rubber-coated steel bullet and another was hit in the head, neither of them critically. As the demonstration continued, the Israeli army invaded the village, continuing to shoot. Whilst we were running from the soldiers, a door suddenly opened and the woman inside said “fadaleh, fadaleh”, and so we went in. Just then, I realized it was the same house and the same woman that provided me with the same shelter almost three years ago in a very similar situation. Then, I was also running from the soldiers and a pregnant woman opened the door of her house and invited me to enter and hide there. I sat down on a sofa and straight away she served me tea and delicious food. Her little daughter offered me a small yellow teddy bear as a present. Yesterday, almost three years later, she welcomed us with the same hospitality and generosity. We stayed in her house for an hour. Her family were there, including her two-year-old daughter with whom she was then pregnant. As we were sitting, soldiers continued to raid the village.

London, Jan. 11: Protest BBC refusal to cover Palestinians hunger strikers
Samidoun — …According to the internationally brokered deal to release captured Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit both Sharawna and Issawi should be free men today but Israel reneged on its agreement and rearrested both men after Shalit had been released. The BBC describes its mission as one to “inform” and “educate” and the news in particular is described as “providing trusted World and UK news..” so you would think they would cover this story and follow it with updates as it developed over the last six months. The search engine Google has indexed over 21 million articles from the BBC website yet it returns no results from the BBC for Samer Issawi or Ayman Sharawna*. Neither prisoner has ever been mentioned by the BBC – those 21 million articles.. empty of any reference to Palestinian hunger strikers Issawi and Sharawna, both nearing death after nearly six months without food.

BDS campaigners cost Veolia £4.7 bn in London
8 January 2013 | No 2 Veolia Action Group, London — Vociferous local campaign by the No2 Veolia Action Group leads Occupation profiteer Veolia to withdraw from colossal waste management contracts. No 2 Veolia Action Group (No2VAG) are celebrating a huge victory with the withdrawal of Veolia, a multinational company complicit in Israeli violations of international law, from the final stage of the North London procurement process.

Young American Jew works for Palestinian justice
AFSC — Being involved in the Israel-Palestine struggle is not a choice. “My identity as a Jew makes me inseparable from it. I’m going to be part of it whether I want to be or not,” Daniel says. The choice he has made is working in solidarity with Palestinians.

UCI students visited by FBI over Palestine organizing
IRVINE, California 7 Jan – Earlier this afternoon, two UC [University pf California] Irvine students were visited at their homes by FBI agents.  The agents were asking questions about individuals involved with UCI’s Muslim Student Union and their work on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) organizing at UCI.  The students told the agents that they would only answer questions with a lawyer present.

Analysis / Opinion

Why is Israel declaring the start of the Third Intifada? / Annie Robbins
Mondoweiss 8 Jan — Two days ago, an Israeli army commander announced a Palestinian intifada, or uprising: “We’re no longer on the verge of a third intifada – it’s already here. We anticipate many more (clashes) from now on,” [Yaniv Alaluf] said. Commander Alaluf’s pronouncement is merely the latest in a month-long series of pronouncements from Israeli sources that Palestinians are launching a Third Intifada. You’d think that Palestinians living under occupation– who launched intifadas in 1987 and 2000– would be the ones to declare their own uprising. Apparently not.

Denying Palestinian rights is the core issue in Israeli elections / Rashid Shahin
Ma‘an 5 Jan — For the Palestinians, especially in the occupied territories, Israeli elections always mean an acceleration of actions against them; it means more violations of human rights, collective punishment, more arrests, land confiscation and other unjust measures. In general, it is an unpleasant event. Israeli political parties compete between each other as to how they will deal more harshly with the Palestinians, how they will create more obstacles before the peace settlement and obstruct peace negotiations, and how they will frustrate the ambitions of the Palestinians to have their own independent state.

The Arab elephant in the Knesset / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 8 Jan — The left wing parties have the best of intentions for helping Israel’s Arabs, but like the most right-wing among us, wouldn’t dream of publicly forming an alliance with them — It’s absurd. In order to assist Israel’s Arab citizens, the parties on the left and center have to keep Arabs out of sight. They have to steer clear of any cooperation with Arab parties and instead put on a nationalistic guise. That’s the only way they can pick up a few more Knesset seats from Jewish voters, which could perhaps put them in a position to offer a more scraps to the country’s Arab population after the January 22 election … From the standpoint of ideology, what could have been a better match than the Arab parties and the left and center Jewish parties? Just think of the huge potential to make changes to the social-justice agenda. But how could the Jewish parties hatch an alliance with a population that is perceived as the enemy? (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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