Report: Israel plans to complete wall around E1
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans to finish building the separation wall around planned Israeli settlement zone E1 which cuts off the West Bank from Jerusalem, Israeli media reported. The proposal to close a three-kilometer gap in the wall will prevent Palestinian access to E1, where activists erected a tented protest village last week, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday. If completed, the wall would surround Palestinian village al-Zayyem on both sides, the newspaper said. Barak also decided to move ahead with building a road past al-Zayyem for Palestinians to travel from the southern to northern West Bank without entering Israeli settlements in E1. The plan will be put to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu for approval next week.
Threats to Islamic sites / Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
More Israeli desecration of historic Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem
MEMO 21 Jan — Israel is continuing to desecrate the Ma’man Allah Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, with a new wave of construction on the historic site. Details were revealed by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowment and Heritage on Monday. The foundation reported that Israeli bulldozers are digging to a depth of 15 metres at the cemetery to build what they call a “Museum of Tolerance”. The project covers around 6 acres of the site and is being sponsored by the US based Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Other parts of the cemetery have been destroyed to build a coffee shop and storage rooms for the construction workers. Many headstones have been destroyed, some dating back almost 1,400 years. The head of Al-Aqsa Foundation, Zaki Ighbariyeh, and his team were shocked when they saw this “new wave of destruction”. He called for the Islamic, Arabic and Palestinian people to move urgently to save the “prominent” Islamic site where a number of Prophet Muhammad’s noble companions and prominent Muslim scholars were laid to rest. According to the foundation, Israeli desecration of the cemetery started in 1948.
Video: Naftali Bennett stands by party member who raised idea of destroying the Dome of the Rock
Mondoweiss 21 Jan by Annie Robbins — Check out this knockout interview with Naftali Bennett on an Israeli news program. The interviewer tried pinning him down on a statement made by Jeremy Gimpel, a candidate from his HaBayit HaYehudi party (Jewish Home party), about blowing up the Dome of the Rock. The clip has gone viral in Israel and there have been calls to disqualify Gimpel over his statements. As a result Bennett has come under pressure to drop Gimpel from his list but he’s having none of it.
From high hopes to ‘disaster’ for Israel’s far-right star
RAMAT GAN, Israel (Reuters) 23 Jan — Young religious Israelis danced under showers of confetti after exit polls showed the far-right Jewish Home party winning more seats in parliament, but their leader, high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, had little to smile about. “This is a disaster,” one party activist told another as they gathered on the sidelines of the celebrations to reflect on a disappointing outcome to an election campaign in which the charismatic Bennet and his calls to annex West Bank land had generated worldwide headlines and hopes of greater power. The star in the end turned out to be the centrist Yair Lapid, whose new Yesh Atid party finished a surprise second.
Report: Israeli police arrest man in Al-Aqsa compound
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Israeli police arrested a Palestinian man in the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on Tuesday, the official news agency Wafa reported. A guard at the Al-Aqsa Mosque said that Israeli police officers were escorting a group of over 100 Jewish extremists on a tour of the mosque grounds, Wafa reported. A man shouted ‘Allah Akbar’, or ‘God is Great’, at the group as they began to perform religious rituals, and was arrested by police, according to the report.
Aqsa Foundation: The IOA stepped up its diggings in Maghariba area
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 22 Jan — Al-Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) intensified its excavations at Al-Maghariba Gate ramp to the west of the Aqsa Mosque. In a report, the foundation stated that the IOF raised the number of diggers and their working hours, and expanded the area of its excavations. It affirmed that the IOF intends to expand soon Al-Buraq square for Jewish rituals and open a chapel for women beneath Al-Maghariba Gate ramp. The foundation added that the workmen destroyed most of the Islamic ruins and monuments at the dig site.
Witnesses: Settlers, forces expand Halamish settlement
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Jewish settlers, accompanied by Israeli forces, on Tuesday began work expanding Halamish settlement in the central West Bank, witnesses said. Settlers and Israeli forces arrived at dawn with trucks and bulldozers and set up 50 mobile homes on land belonging to Nabi Saleh, a village near Ramallah, witnesses told Ma‘an. Nabi Saleh is a center of popular resistance in the West Bank, and holds weekly demonstrations against the confiscation of its land and the takeover of its natural spring.
Farmers: Nablus village flooded by settlement sewage
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Farmers in the northern West Bank village of Sebastiya in Nablus say their fields have become a dump for waste-water from the nearby Israeli settlement Shave Shomron. Since early January, settlers have been pumping their sewage into the al-Khallah area of Sebastiya, flooding fields and damaging crops, local mayor Nael al-Shaer told Ma’an on Tuesday.
Settlers uproot olive saplings in Al-Khader
MEMC — Tuesday January 22, a number of armed extremist Israeli settlers invaded an orchard that belongs to a local resident of the Al-Khader city, near Bethlehem, and uprooted several olive saplings in addition to digging a road in the middle of the orchard. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Al-Khader, told the Palestine News & Info Agency (WAFA) that the settlers uprooted more than 50 saplings that belong to resident Khaled Saleh Salah … He also said that a settler woman identified as Nadia Matar, of the Women In Green, is behind incitement that led to these attacks against the Palestinian orchards, and added that Matar previously installed a tent in the land of Khaled Salah, WAFA said.
Israel demolishes sheds, water well in south Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Israeli forces on Monday morning demolished sheds and a water well used for irrigation in a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank. Local farmers told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers to al-Deirat village, south of Hebron. Last week, Israeli forces demolished four sheds in the same area, they said.
Israel issues demolition orders to 3 Hebron homes, official says
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Israeli forces issued demolition orders to three homes in a Hebron village on Monday, a local official said. Homes belonging to Hussein Allah, Abdulla Allah and Abed Abu Zalata, as well as a chicken coup, were issued demolition orders on the pretext that they were unlicensed, the mayor of Idhna village, Hashim al-Tamaizi, told Ma‘an. Israel is trying to force Palestinians to leave the area, al-Tamaizi said, adding that the separation wall had already annexed a large amount of land from the village.
Army demolishes six residential structures near Hebron
IMEMC — Monday January 21, Israeli soldiers invaded the Ath-Thaheriyya [also spelled Daheria] town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and demolished six Palestinian homes and structures. Resident Shihada Hamad Al-Wreidat, a resident of the Al-Rahwa area, stated that the army forced six families out of their homes, including his own home, and demolished them. The soldiers also demolished several structures in the area, detained and interrogated a number of residents. He added that the soldiers attacked several residents and homes leading to injuries and property damage. The Al-Rahwa area is located south of the Ath-Thaheriyya, and is one of several areas in Hebron that the army is trying to illegally confiscate for “military considerations” and for the construction and expansion of Jewish settlement.
IOF troops bulldoze land, olive trees in Shu‘fat
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 21 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) bulldozed vast tracts of cultivated land in Shu‘fat in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday to pave the way for constructing a road. Local sources said that IOF soldiers used bulldozers to level 90 dunums of cultivated land in Ras suburb and destroyed many old, fruitful olive trees in the process. They said that soldiers were deployed in the scene of the destruction to block citizens from approaching and to protect the bulldozers.
The situation in Khan al-Lubban deteriorates
ISM 22 Jan — The far-right settler organisation Regavim has filed a lawsuit against Khan al-Lubban, taking the Darragmah family and various other Israeli institutions and groups to the Israeli Supreme Court. They claim that their home is a historical site on Israeli state land … The image on the right is a still from one of Regavims promotional videos; it claims that all Palestinian land including the Gaza strip is Israel and that Palestinians are illegally building on it. The appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court unfortunately seems to be working. Soldiers arrived once again in Khan al-Lubban with documents, this time stating that all building work must stop prior to a hearing, scheduled in less than a week … In recent weeks attacks have been again on the rise, an ISM activist and Khaled Darragmah have both been threatened with guns in separate circumstances … The family’s dog was attacked with sticks and stones, leaving him with open wounds on his neck and legs.
Activists plan to establish Bab Al-Qamar village in Yatta to face settlement
Al-KHALIL (PIC) 22 Jan — Palestinian and foreign activists on Monday declared their intention to establish a new anti-settlement village named Bab Al-Qamar on the eastern mountain slopes of Yatta town, south of Al-Khalil city. Rateb Al-Jabour, coordinator of the national committee against the wall and settlement in Yatta, told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the village would be established in order to encounter the expansion of Israel’s settlements and the Judaization activities in this area. Jabour affirmed that the activists are embarking on making preparations for the establishment of Bab Al-Qamar village in a step similar to the idea of Bab Ashams and Al-Karama villages which had been created lately to confront Israel’s settlement activities.
Israeli forces demolish Jerusalem protest village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Israeli forces on Monday morning demolished a protest village erected by Palestinian activists last week in northwest Jerusalem to protest Israeli land confiscation. Activists told Ma‘an that Israeli troops demolished all the tents and evacuated all the activists in the the Al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa. “The demolition of Bab al-Karama does not mean the end of our stand. Activists will again occupy the site on which the village was built and they will rebuild their tents when the opportunity arises,” activist Nabil Hababa said.
Beit Iksa’s peaceful camp protest evicted and destroyed by Israeli forces
[photos] ISM 22 Jan — In the early hours of Sunday morning, Israeli forces stormed into a peaceful Palestinian camp protest in the small village of Beit Iksa to demolish a half built mosque and tear down four large tents that had been erected since Friday. Israeli occupation forces surrounded the camp after giving only 6 hours notice to the organisers that the building of a mosque and erection of tents was illegal due to the fact it was in Israeli controlled area C. The land on which the camp was set up on belongs to local Palestinian villagers and was a communally organised event to protest against the annexation of land by the Israeli government. After forcing young and elderly civilians into the centre of the camp, Israeli forces then dragged and pushed the group down a rocky valley to check each individual’s ID. The group of peaceful locals and international and Israeli activists were then made to wait in cold temperatures as the mosque was destroyed and the tents were ripped down and confiscated.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
PLO report gives details of 266 Palestinians killed by Israel in 2012
MEMO 22 Jan — The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Department of International Relations has issued a brief report giving details of the 266 Palestinians killed by Israel in 2012. Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and their property last year include 2,300 who were wounded and 3,000 who were detained. Notable issues covered in the report are the following: i. Israel’s violation of the right to life; ii. Israeli attacks on journalists; iii. Palestinian prisoners; iv. Israel’s destruction of trees; v. Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and infrastructure; vi. Israel’s illegal settlements; vii. Judaising Jerusalem
Lawyer: Woman detained with baby to face court
[includes video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — A 31-year-old Palestinian woman who was arrested with her baby by Israeli forces in south Hebron on Saturday is set to face a charge of assaulting officers, her lawyer said Monday. Rima Ismail Awad, from al-Deirat, was released on bail on Sunday morning but is under suspicion of aggression towards soldiers and police, lawyer Neri Ramati said … An activist at the scene captured footage of the detention of Rima and her 18-month-old child. The baby was released Saturday evening.
Soldiers kidnap four Palestinians, demolish property
IMEMC 21 Jan — Palestinian sources reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped four Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Jenin and Tubas. The army also demolished a Palestinian home, a hothouse and a well near Hebron. The army invaded Rommana village, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped one resident identified as Farid Ghazi Mahajna, 27, after breaking into his family’s home and violently searching it. It is worth mentioning that the brother of Mahajna was kidnapped by the army a month ago after the soldiers shot and injured him.
In Qabatia town, also near Jenin, the army kidnapped one resident identified as Jasser Amin Nazzal, 32. Soldiers broke into his home and violently searched it after forcing the family out in the cold.
The army also invaded Al-Arqa village, west of Jenin, and fired several flares and concussion grenades while the soldiers marched in the village.
Furthermore, soldiers invaded Aqaba town, in the Tubas district, broke into a home and searched it before kidnapping a father identified as Suleiman Radi As-Sayyid, 55, and his son, Firas, 28.
In the Hebron district, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, the army invaded the nearby town of Yatta, and demolished a home, a hothouse, and a well.
Soldiers invade several West Bank districts, kidnap residents
IMEMC Tuesday January 22, Israeli soldiers invaded several towns and villages in the occupied West Bank, broke into and searched dozens of homes and kidnapped a number of residents including two children …
Local sources in Borqa village, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, reported that several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded the village, adding that the soldiers broke into and searched dozens of homes. The army also kidnapped two residents identified as Monjid Ragheb Salah, 23, and Maher Ahmad Salah, 23; they were cuffed and blindfolded before being taken to an unknown destination.
Soldiers also invaded ‘Aba village, east of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, kidnapped one resident, detained and interrogated several residents before and handing one resident a warrant demanding him to head to a Salem nearby Israeli military and security base for interrogation. The kidnapped resident has been identified as Salim Suleiman Hazhouzy, 20; he was kidnapped from his own home after the soldiers violently broke into the property and searched it.
Soldiers further invaded the Al-Baq‘a area, east of Hebron, broke into the home of Badawi Ikhlayyil, and kidnapped his 15-year-old son, Yazan. Several soldiers attacked the child and pushed him around before hurling a gas bomb and a concussion grenade at the family’s home. Another resident, identified as Ibrahim Mohammad Ibregheeth, 40, was also kidnapped after the army broke into his home in Al-Baq‘a and searched it.
IOF arrests two children in Beit Ummar
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 22 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up three Palestinians in Beit Ummar village, north of al-Khalil, on Tuesday including two children one of them 12 years old. Mohammed Awad, the spokesman for the village’s popular committee against settlement, said that an IOF force stormed the village at noon and took away 12-year-old Rabee Abu Ayyash. He said that the father was surprised at the arrest, adding that one of the soldiers carried the child in his arms and took him to the army jeep en route to Etzion camp and told his father that he has to pay 1000 shekels in order to regain his child. The spokesman said that army troops broke into the home of Ashraf Badawi and took his 15-year-old son Yazan, adding that the soldiers also arrested Ibrahim Mohammed, 40, after forcing their way into his home.
Medics: Israeli forces shoot man near Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian worker near the Erez crossing in north Gaza on Monday, medics said. Adbullah Maaroof, 19, was shot in the leg by Israeli forces and taken to the Kamal Udwan hospital for treatment, Palestinian medics said.
Ministry: Boy wounded in Gaza explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — A 12-year-old boy was critically injured Tuesday in an explosion near al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, a health ministry official said. An unidentified object exploded in an agricultural area east of the camp, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said, adding that the device may have been left by Israeli forces during their eight-day assault on Gaza in November.
Gaza crossing closed for Israel elections
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, as general elections take place across the country. An official in the Palestinian crossings department told Ma‘an that the crossing would reopen Wednesday. Erez crossing is also partially closed due to voting, with medical patients the only passengers allowed to cross, Palestinian sources said.
UN: Psychological trauma ‘doubled’ in Gaza since war
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Incidence of psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder have more than doubled in Gaza since Israel’s November war in the enclave, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees says. Since Israel’s eight-day bombardment of Gaza, which ended on Nov. 21, 42 percent of patients treated by UNRWA for psychological trauma have been under the age of nine, the agency says … UNICEF conducted a rapid psychosocial assessment of children in Gaza in December and found a 91 percent of increase in sleep disturbances, while 84 per cent of respondents were reported as looking “stunned or dazed.”
Bulldozing the ceasefire
ISM 22 Jan — At about 8.30pm on Tuesday 15th January, Israeli tanks and military bulldozers breached the border adjacent to the village of Khuza‘a, east of Khan Younis and intruded inside the Gaza Strip. The incursion into Palestinian farmland continued through the night and added to the long list of Israeli ceasefire violations. Heavy shooting was reported during the assault but fortunately there were no injuries on this occasion. Also, explosions were heard but no homes were damaged. Terrified locals contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross but were told that the Israeli military wouldn’t listen to anyone. The raid continued on the night of Wednesday 16th January, when Apache helicopters were reported to have also been deployed. Then, on Thursday 17th January, the Israeli military aggression continued in the area for a third consecutive night.
A large swath of agricultural land was damaged, about eight kilometres along the border fence and about 250 metres back from it. Within this area about 300 dunums were razed, including wheat crops planted in December. Fields belonging to about 500 different farmers were affected, according to local officials. Farmers have attempted to approach their lands since the attack but haven’t been able to reach land closer than 100 metres from the fence.
Study: Allow Gaza population to expand into Sinai
JPost 22 Jan — A study published Monday by a Palestinian engineer recommends solving the Gaza Strip’s “population explosion” by allowing the enclave to expand into the Sinai Peninsula. The study also recommends transferring some of the Gaza Strip’s residents to the West Bank and setting rules for birth control as a way of solving the problem. The study was prepared by engineer Mustafa al-Farra and published in the daily Al- Quds newspaper. He also suggested vertical construction and filling parts of the sea as possible methods to solve the problems facing the residents of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas security forces in Gaza arrest several journalists
PNN — On Tuesday 22nd January, Hamas security sources arrested at dawn, several Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources revealed that Hamas arrested Al-Horya Radio reporter, Joma Abu Shomar, in Gaza after the Hamas security services detained his father and uncles, to force him turn himself in before releasing his family. Hamas security services also arrested the journalists: Munir Al-Mawri, Ashraf Abu Khsewan and Mustafa Megdad without informing them of the reasons behind their arrest. The Hamas’ Internal Security Agency summoned Sunday several Palestinian Journalists including Abdul Karim Haji and Hussein Abdul Jawad Karsou’, without revealing reasons for their arrest.
Haneyya receives Hamas official Osama Hamdan in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 21 Jan — Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya received on Sunday director of Hamas’s international affairs Osama Hamdan who visits Gaza for the first time since he left it more than thirty years ago. During the meeting, premier Haneyya hailed Hamdan as one of the Hamas prominent leaders of the resistance project.
Malaysia donates $800,000 to Gaza health projects
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Malaysia will donate $800,000 to fund two healthcare projects in the Gaza Strip, the Malaysian premier’s wife announced Tuesday during a visit to the enclave. Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhammad Najib Abdul Razak, announced the funds during a reception at the Abdul-Aziz al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza City attended by Health Minister Mufeed Mukhalalati. Mukhalalati said the visit by the Malaysian delegation reflected the fraternity and unity between Muslim countries. The delegation arrived Tuesday in Gaza via the Rafah crossing and was welcomed by a Hamas delegation led by Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh.
UNRWA employees escalate protests
GAZA (PIC) 22 Jan — The union of UNRWA employees in Gaza announced on Monday that the staffers would go on strike next Tuesday if their demands were not met. Suhail Al-Hindi, the chairman of the union, said in a statement on Monday that the staffers demand an increase in UNRWA’s contribution to the Savings Fund and the implementation of the insurance and pension systems.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers
Beit Ummar teens spend year in Israeli jail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Eight teenagers from the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar have spent almost a year behind bars in Israeli jails, deprived of their basic rights including education. On March 7, 2012, Israeli troops ransacked the homes of eight teenagers who then found themselves in prison cells facing Israeli interrogators. Saed Suleibi, Muhab Aadi and Sami Abu Judah are now 15 years old, and Bilal Awad, Ayish Awad, Basil Abu Hashim and Ahmad Suleibi are 16. They are being held at Ofer prison. The eighth detainee, 14-year-old Zein Abu Marya was recently released and placed under house arrest after his family paid a 5,000-shekel ($1,340) fine. Initially, an Israeli military court ordered the other seven teenagers to be banned from Beit Ummar. The ruling received negative media attention and on Jan. 16 the court instead ordered the teens to pay 3,000 shekels ($800) each before the next hearing on Sunday. Lawyers say they expect the boys to be sentenced to between 14 and 18 months if their families pay the fines.
Sharawna resumes his hunger strike
IMEMC 23 Jan — Palestinian political prisoner, Ayman Sharawna, resumed his open ended hunger strike that he suspended less than a month ago, due to a very serious health deterioration … Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe‘, stated on Tuesday evening that Sharawna decided to resume his hunger strike due to the fact that Israel is deliberately delaying the deliberations in Sharawna’s case, especially since he is being held without charges.
Umm Hamza on hunger strike until her husband released
NAZARETH (PIC) 21 Jan — Umm Hamza, the wife of prisoner Jaafar Izzuddin, insists on continuing her hunger strike which she started 28 days ago in solidarity with her husband, who has been on hunger strike for 56 days in protest at his administrative detention without any guilt. Izzuddin had gone on hunger strike last year for 55 days for the same reason before he was released and then administratively detained once again.
Captive editor Jihad al-Obeidi released after 25 years
Demotix 21 Jan — A delegation representing the President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas offers congratulations to the prisoner editor Jihad al-Obeidi in Jerusalem, after 25 years of captivity. The delegation was headed by President of the Presidential Office Hussein Araj, and member of the Executive Committee of the PLO Hanna Amira, and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, … Araj pointed to the presence of 123 Palestinian prisoners still detained before the Oslo agreement in 1993, and Israel refuses to release them.
Captive Sami Sha‘balou suffers difficult health condition in Israeli jails
NABLUS (PIC) 21 Jan — Umm Kamal, wife of captive Sami Sha’balou detained in Ofer prison, urged human rights organizations to intervene for the immediate release of her ailing husband … For her part, the prisoner’s daughter told Ahrar center that her father suffers from extremely difficult health condition, noting that the Israeli authorities prevented her and other family members from talking to him. Director of Ahrar Center for the Study of prisoners, Fuad Al Khuffash, explained that Sami, 67, was only accused with visiting his son Kamal, the ex-prisoner who had been liberated under Wafa al-Ahrar deal and who had been exiled to the Gaza Strip.
Former detainee dies due to medical neglect while in prison
IMEMC 22 Jan — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported, Monday evening, that a former Palestinian political prisoner from Hebron, died at a hospital in Jerusalem after falling into a coma 50 days ago due to a serious health condition resulting from his imprisonment by Israel, and the lack of medical treated while in prison. The PPS said that Ashraf Abu Thra‘ [Masalma], 27, from Beit Awwa village, west of the southern West Bank city of Jenin, was hospitalized at the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem where he fell into a 50-day coma until his death. Nasser Qous, director of the PPS in Jerusalem, stated that Abu Thra‘ spent six years in the Al-Ramla prison clinic that lacks basic supplies and specialized physicians; he was wheelchair bound, and suffered numerous health complication that were left untreated.
Life in Lebanon ‘horrible’ for Palestinian fleeing Syria
BEIRUT (Reuters) 22 Jan — Palestinian refugees who fled Syria’s war to neighboring Lebanon are living up to 20 in a room with no water, fresh air or electricity, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday. Donors needed to do more to help at least 20,000 Palestinians who have already come in from Syria and more than 200 who join them every day to endure “horrible” conditions, UN Relief and Works Agency chief Filippo Grandi told Reuters … Most of the Palestinians crossing Syria’s southwestern border into Lebanon were living with friends and family in existing Palestinian camps set up to take in refugees after the creation of Israel in 1948, Grandi said in an interview. He had toured the Shatila Palestinian camp and found “the conditions were horrible” for new arrivals.
40 Palestinian martyrs in Syria during a week
DAMASCUS (PIC) 21 Jan — The international working group for Palestinian refugees in Syria issued a statistical report documenting the Palestinian martyrs’ numbers ad names who were martyred in Syria during the past week. The report, which covers the period between 12 January 2013 and 18 January 2013, confirmed that 40 Palestinian refugees were martyred in Syria during a week, including a large number of children, women and elderly.
Abbas: Israel agreed to let refugees into the West Bank from Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Israel agreed to allow 150,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria to return to the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen satellite channel on Monday. The offer was reportedly made last week, but Abbas rejected an Israeli condition which would force refugees to sign a statement saying that they would give up the right of return to Israel, according to The Associated Press. The president said it was better to die in Syria than give up the right of return, the AP reported.
Israel refuses the entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria into West Bank
NAZARETH (PIC) 22 Jan — The Israeli government denied receiving an official request from the Palestinian Authority to allow entry of 150 Palestinian refugees from Syria into the West Bank. Israeli media sources said that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas had tabled a request with the Israeli government to allow the entry of those refugees from Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, which came under repeated military strikes. However, an official statement by the office of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that Israel did not and would never accept entry of those refugees.
Belgium donates €11 million to support Palestinian refugees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — Belgium has donated €11 million to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA said Tuesday. The aid supports the agency’s General Fund, including its social safety net program, as well as its emergency appeal in the West Bank and Gaza. The UN agency relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions and has operated at a deficit for several years … Belgian consul-general Geert Cockx said Belgium supported UNRWA “because it is a reliable agency that works on the ground, providing daily support to more than five million Palestine refugees.” Cockx added: “Belgians recognize the growing needs of these people — especially in Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory — and the importance of supporting them as much as possible.”
Political and economic news
Protests continue against PA detentions in Nablus camp
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Demonstrators burned tires at a Nablus refugee camp on Monday in protest against the Palestinian Authority’s continued detention of Fatah members. At Balata camp, protesters accused the PA of escalating measures against Fatah gunmen who gave themselves in to PA security services on Thursday. PLC deputies Jamal Hwail and Jihad Tamliyeh have requested permission to visit the detainees and Junaid prison in Nablus, but PA security forces have not yet responded to the request
Abbas office criticizes Malaysia premier visit to Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — The office of President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday criticized a visit by Malaysian premier Muhammad Najib Abdul Razak to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority media reported. Abbas’ office said in a statement that the Malaysian prime minister’s visit to the Hamas-run enclave harmed the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and enhanced division, Wafa reported. “This visit also serves plans to keep Jerusalem segregated from the state of Palestine which the whole world recognized on Nov. 29, 2012,” the president’s office said.
Al-Ahmad: Fatah, Hamas, Egypt to form committee
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Jan — Hamas and Fatah will form a tripartite committee with Egypt to implement national reconciliation, a Fatah leader said Monday. Azzam al-Ahmad told Voice of Palestine radio that he will represent Fatah in the committee and Musa Abu Marzouq will represent Hamas. An Egyptian delegation will visit the West Bank and Gaza to follow up on reconciliation, al-Ahmad said, adding that no date had been set for the trip. The visit may be considered after a PLO leadership meeting on Feb. 9, the Fatah leader said, stressing that Egypt was closely monitoring the application of agreements between his party and Hamas.
Palestinians see no hope for peace in Israeli polls
RAMALLAH (Reuters) 22 Jan — Palestinians evinced weary indifference on Tuesday as Israelis voted in an election set to produce a hardline government keener to expand Jewish settlements on occupied land than seek peace. “Regardless of who wins, the result is the same: Israelis want this land but not the people,” said Ahmed Amro, a professor at Al-Quds Open University in Ramallah.
Campaign to demand Britain to apologize for its historical mistake
LONDON (PIC) 22 Jan — The 4th Palestine Memorial Week was launched in the United Kingdom on 19 January 2013 under the title “Britain’s Legacy in Palestine”, calling on Britain to apologize for its historical mistake for the Palestinians. The conference, which was the launch pad of a week of events around UK, gathered British MPs, Arab ambassadors, academics, experts, activists, journalists, and supporters to the Palestinian cause to hear about Britain’s Legacy in Palestine … The Palestinian ambassador in Britain, Professor Manuel Hassassian, stressed in his speech the need for such campaigns to put pressure on the British government to apologize for its colonial past in Palestine, and he confirmed that Britain’s current policy has not changed since the Nakba, insisting that there is a need to change its policy.
What happened to Palestinian books when Israel was created in 1948?
Reuters 21 Jan — Israel’s founding in a 1948 war is seen by Palestinians as “the Nakba” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of their brethren fled or were forced to leave their homes. Now, a new documentary being screened in Tel Aviv and Ramallah this week highlights a less known aspect of the war and its implications: the loss of thousands of books, which the librarians of Israel’s National Library took from deserted Arab homes amid the fighting. ‘The Great Book Robbery’ has generated strong reactions from both sides of the conflict: Palestinians say Israel looted their cultural heritage in 1948 while many in Israel say the books were saved.
Stolen books, stolen identity
Mondoweiss 22 Jan by Annie Robbins — Since 2010 we’ve been tracking The Great Book Robbery, the documentary by Israeli-Dutch director Benny Brunner, including here and here. But nothing quite prepared me for Nora Lester Murad‘s review Stolen Books, Stolen Identity: What Did Israel Do with Palestinians’ Literary Heritage? as she captured the audience reaction at the first screening in Palestine last week with almost 150 people in attendance.
“One of the Palestinians opens a book and finds ‘Khalil Sakakini’ written by hand in the inside cover. He gasps. The audience watching the film, crammed into the basement floor of Educational Bookshop on Salah Al-Din Street in Jerusalem, is captivated. I crane my neck to see past the tall woman in front of me. The importance of this book, a one-time possession of one of the Arab world’s most important educators and nationalists, jumps off the screen. I feel an unspoken sadness in the room as we grasp the reality: This priceless piece of Palestinian heritage, and so many others, is held by Israel’s National Library.”
Rights center says Israeli ministry violates privacy
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 21 Jan — A Palestinian rights center Monday accused the Israeli Ministry of Interior of violating the privacy of Palestinian applicants for family reunification. A statement by the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center said in two cases it was following for Palestinian spouses applying for family reunification, the interior ministry has asked them for details about conversations and telephone calls between them … “This is an illegal procedure and the questions asked by the Ministry of Interior are an invasion of personal privacy and the right of the individual to keep this private information to themselves,” said the statement.
Wattan TV demands compensation for damaged equipment
PNN — On Tuesday 22nd January, the Ramallah-based Wattan TV demanded the Israeli military government to replace damaged equipment and compensate it for losses occurred during an Israeli raid on the station in February. Wattan TV said in a press statement that Wattan TV lawyers and staff went to Beit El military base near Ramallah last week to inspect and return equipment and files confiscated during the raid on the TV station apparently after the Israeli High Court had questioned the purpose behind seizing the equipment. According to the statement, the government of Israel said in a letter sent to the High Court on December 16 that it will return Wattan’s equipment. After inspecting the equipment, the staff was shocked by the damage caused to them to a point they have become inoperable. Many of the station’s administrative files were also missing.
Highest-paid Israeli spy caught in Baalbeck
Al Akhbar 22 Jan — Military Tribunal Judge Imad al-Zein issued an arrest warrant, later approved by the Lebanese Army Intelligence, for Ali Taufiq Yari on charges of collaborating with Israel, al-Manar TV reported Monday. Yari, a former member of the Baalbeck City Council, and a former employee of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, was said to have received a total of $600,000 as an Israeli informant, making him the highest-paid spy caught to-date in Lebanon. He had been working with Mossad for 23 years since 1990 during which he went through several rounds of intelligence training.
Palestinian-American artists Manal Deeb on her memories of Palestine, painting portraits, and the United Nations
MEMO 20 Jan by Amelia Smith – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW To Manal, Palestine is her mother’s homemade bread, the smell of trees after the rain and sitting with her siblings, chatting about school. Artist Manal left Ramallah, Palestine in 1986, in her last year of high school, to study fine art in the States. Reflecting on her memories of Palestine, she explains they focus on the warmth of everyday life there, rather than the unrest.
Analysis / Opinion
US inaction, Mideast cataclysm? / Bernard Avishai & Sam Bahour
NYTimes 21 Jan — ISRAELIS go to the polls today in an election that will likely give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a third term; like the current one, Israel’s next governing coalition will probably be heavily reliant on right-wingers and religious parties. Even so, Mr. Obama’s second term could offer a pivotal opportunity to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In his first term, he backed away from the process, figuring that America could mediate only if the parties themselves wanted to make peace — and that new talks were unlikely to be productive.This is a mistake. The greatest enemy to a two-state solution is the sheer pessimism on both sides. Unless President Obama uses his new mandate to show leadership, the region will have no place for moderates — or for America either.
Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations and shifting the focus of blame / Ramona Wadi
MEMO 20 Jan — Israel’s practice of targeted assassinations against Palestinians, an evolution of ‘focused foiling’ or ‘liquidations policy’ by Israel, remains a contentious issue in the discourse on human rights and international human rights law. Perceived in a wider context, it is possible to discern a trend in the global media which fails to address assassinations as a lethal operation carried out by Israeli intelligence and the Israeli Defence Forces … Intelligence agency Shin Bet dismisses claims of favouring assassination over apprehending suspects. However, assassinations are recommended when there is difficulty in arresting the suspect and Israeli law has not prohibited the practice, preferring to rely on a supposed analysis of each case to determine illegality. Another odd assertion aimed at alienating people from the reality of targeted assassinations is Israel’s claim that ‘focused foiling’ is carried out with the intention of protecting Israeli citizens; hence the death of the targeted person can be classified as collateral damage.