Palestinian owners barred from Jordan Valley land while Israeli farmers profit
Haaretz 3 Jan — Thai workers from the Israeli settlements are allowed across the border fence into the area, while the Palestinians are not; IDF spokesman also refuses to let Haaretz reporters tour the area – Settlers in the Jordan Valley are farming more than 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of private Palestinian land located between the border fence and the actual border with Jordan. They received the land from the World Zionist Organization in the 1980s. The original owners, some of whom fled in 1967 and returned to the West Bank after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, are still not allowed to access the land because of a military order preventing them from entering the border area.
Israeli Violence / Raids / Attacks / Arrests
Israeli army dogs attack elderly Palestinian
Al-Akhbar 3 Jan — Israeli army dogs attacked a 93-year-old Palestinian woman as an undercover unit raided the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday morning, according to Ma‘an news agency. The agents were dressed as Palestinians and backed up by the army when they staged an incursion into the city’s industrial zone. The raid is the latest in a string of Israeli attacks on Palestinian towns in the West Bank. On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors invaded the northern West Bank town of Tamoun and fired ammunition at residents. Amneh Hisnawi was alone in her house when soldiers stormed her home and dogs belonging to security personnel attacked her. She was sent to an Israeli hospital for treatment. An army spokesman said the raid on Jenin was conducted to arrest a Palestinian suspected of ‘terror activity’, but that the suspect was not at home.Around 500 Palestinians hurled rocks, firebombs, and burned tires, according to the spokesman. Fadi Ijawi, 23, was wounded in the leg by a a live bullet and taken to a Palestinian hospital, a Ma‘an reporter said. Dozens also suffered from tear gas inhalation, the reporter added.
Watch: Palestinians hang on to IDF jeep in Jenin
Ynet 3 Jan — [One-minute] video shows Palestinian youths riding on top IDF jeep, trailed by dozens of stone throwers, surrounded by burning tires; no injuries reported … An IDF official said in response to the video: “The vehicle was bullet proof; stones can barely scratch it, so why stop (the vehicle) and endanger soldiers’ live because of such a riot? “Even if it doesn’t look good, it is better than a soldier shooting and killing a protester, which could ignite the entire region,” he said.
Israeli settlers burn two vehicles and spray paint racist slogans on a Palestinian home in Beit Ummar
ISM 2 Jan — Israeli settlers from the illegal Beit Eyen settlement, which borders the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar, attacked a family home located in area C on the outskirts of Beit Ummar in the early hours of Tuesday morning. At around 1 am on Tuesday 1 January 2013, Sohel Mohammed Hussein Briget was awoken by the sound of his car engine exploding. Briget gathered some of his family members and went outside to find his car and tractor on fire and his walls vandalized by graffiti. The family were unable to extinguish the car fire as it was already out of control, however, they managed to salvage the tractor before it was destroyed. The walls of the property were covered with the star of David and racist slogans in Hebrew that translate to, “The only good Arab is a dead Arab”. Shortly after 1 am Israeli occupation forces arrived at the Briget home and the soldiers apologized for the actions of the settlers but have yet to make any arrests, even though there is a surveillance camera positioned between the settlement and the house.
Settlers attack Palestinian farmers near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 2 Jan – Extremist Jewish settlers Wednesday attacked Palestinian farmers, raided their agricultural land and burned tires around it in the village of Jaloud, southeast of Nablus, according to witnesses. They said settlers wreaked havoc in the village, attacked and prevented farmers from entering their agricultural land to harvest it. Female settlers threw themselves in front of the agricultural trucks to prevent farmers from working. Settlers have been targeting the village for two days now; they attacked on Tuesday a Palestinian in the village, hurling stones at him, causing him severe injuries.
Official: 2-year-old hurt as settlers raid village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Israeli settlers attacked a northern West Bank village on Wednesday evening, leaving several Palestinians wounded, an official said. Dozens of settlers entered Jalud village, south of Nablus, and pelted it with rocks, settlement monitoring official Ghassan Daghlas said. Two-year-old Farah Nanseem was hit in the head, and his father and uncle were also hurt. Several villagers were evacuated to hospital with light to moderate wounds. Several house and a car were damaged during the assault, Daghlas added.
Raids and attacks near Jenin, leading to clashes
JENIN (WAFA) 2 Jan – Israeli soldiers Wednesday at dawn raided al-Arka village, al-Yamon, and Jaba‘a, near Jenin , and clashed with the residents, said security sources
Video captures overnight attack on Palestinian vehicles
[with map] Times of Israel 4 Jan — Human rights group B’Tselem released on Thursday evening a video of a suspected “price tag” attack on Palestinian vehicles in the West Bank village of Qabalan. The video, captured by a gas station security camera, shows two figures crouching by the tires of a car and a fuel truck that were parked at the station. Later, the figures are seen standing by a wall near the vehicles. On Thursday morning, the tires of four vehicles were found slashed, and graffiti — reading (in Hebrew) ‘mutual responsibility’ and ‘holy fire’ (Esh Kodesh) — was discovered spray-painted on the gas station wall. A Star of David was found spray-painted on another wall nearby.
Settlers, officers clash near Esh Kodesh outpost
[with very short video] Ynet 2 Jan – Settlers and security forces at the Esh Kodesh outpost continued to clash on Wednesday. The settlers are trying to prevent the plowing of what they claim is a disputed field. Both settlers and Palestinians torched tires as part of the clashes. On Tuesday, four settlers were arrested in the area. One claimed he had been beaten by Border Guard officer and filed a complaint with the police investigations unit. On Wednesday, officers prevented settlers from reaching the tractors plowing the field. Earlier, another disputed field was set on fire. Meanwhile, security forces are clashing with Palestinians who are hurling stones at them. On Tuesday, security forces allowed Palestinians to plow a field adjacent to the outpost. The settlers claim they own the land. The IDF stressed that the decision was in line with a High Court ruling and that plowing will continue in the coming days.
Israeli army attacks four family homes in Beit Ummar, arresting an activist and three teenagers
ISM 2 Jan — A Palestinian activist and three teenagers were arrested by Israeli occupation forces this morning during an early morning raid on the village of Beit Ummar in the West Bank. Soldiers entered the village at around 1 am to capture Yousef Abu Maria, the coordinator of the recently formed Popular Movement Against the Wall and a father of three children. He was arrested because of his presence in a military zone during a demonstration in June 2012. Yousef was made to stand outside the police station in the illegal Israel settlement of Karmei Tzur from the time of his arrest until 10 am. He was released on a charge of 1000 shekels (270 USD) and made to sign an agreement not to go near the illegal settlement, some of which is built on Yousef’s farmland.
In separate family homes, three teenagers, Eyad Omer Sbarna, 17, Ehab Omer Awad, 18, and Mohammad Hussain Ade, 17, were arrested for an unsubstantiated charge of throwing stones at Isreali army vehicles.
Israeli navy attacks Gaza fishermen for 22nd time during ‘truce’
MEMO 3 Jan — Israeli naval vessels opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the northern Gaza coast early on Thursday. Witnesses said that the fishermen did not exceed the six-mile limit imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on Palestinian territorial waters. This limit was agreed upon in the truce which ended the Israeli war on Gaza in November. The fishermen were obliged to return to port as the Israeli forces continued to shoot at them. Medical sources in Gaza confirmed that there were no casualties. According to Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian fishermen have been exposed to many Israeli attacks following the November truce, at least twenty-two at the last count. Thirty-three fishermen have been detained in that period and several boats and their nets have been damaged. One fisherman remains in detention, although all of the others have been released after spending time in Israeli jails.
Israeli military vehicles level land inside Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Israeli military vehicles briefly entered the Gaza Strip borders on Thursday to level land, eyewitnesses told Ma‘an. Four bulldozers traversed the border fence near Juhor al-Dik, central Gaza, and leveled land 100 meters inside the Gaza Strip, they said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said routine activity was carried out in the area.
Rights group: Israel detains Gaza patient at border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian at a border crossing from the Gaza Strip who was seeking medical treatment in Jerusalem, a human rights group said. Rafiq Ayesh Abu Harbeed, 38, went to the Erez crossing for an interview with Israeli intelligence on Tuesday morning, in order to seek treatment outside Gaza for a herniated disk, the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said. Late Tuesday afternoon, Harbeed’s family in Beit Hanoun were informed that he had been detained by Israeli authorities. Israeli officials could not be reached for comment on Harbeed’s detention. Harbeed was wounded by a live bullet to the spine during the first intifada, causing back and leg problems, and he was applying for permission to get treatment at the Maqasid Hospital in East Jerusalem.
Tunnel collapse creates crater in Egyptian border town
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Part of an underground tunnel collapsed on Thursday in the Egyptian town of Rafah, bordering the Gaza Strip, creating a seven-meter wide hole in the road. A public transport vehicle fell into the crater, which engineers said was caused by the tunnel network used to transport goods to the Gaza Strip, a Ma‘an correspondent said.
25 trucks of aid from Namibia at Gaza border
El-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — An Egyptian security source said Thursday that 25 trucks loaded with aid from Namibia arrived at the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip. The trucks are carrying 150 tons of food and construction materials from the African nation, the source said.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Newspapers review: Ordeal of Jordan Valley families focus of dailies
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 3 Jan – The ordeal of the Palestinian families forced by the Israeli army to leave their homes in the Jordan Valley to make room for military exercises was the focus of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies on Thursday. The three papers highlighted the agony of these families, composed of 1000 people, who were forced by the Israeli army to stay in the open fields in the cold night while the army was playing its war games in and around their homes.
The Shamasneh case has been postponed until March. The truth of this article remains.
Ongoing ethnic cleansing: Israeli settlers to take over another Palestinian home
Jadaliyya …Sheikh Jarrah is a residential neighborhood in the north of the Old City of Occupied East Jerusalem and home to 2,800 Palestinians. Due to its strategic location around the Old City, It has been the site of an aggressive ethnic cleansing campaign … More recently, a group of Jewish-Israeli settler young men took over part of the Al-Kurd family home. Nadia Al-Kurd explains that they release their dog on them frequently, which has terrified their children and caused injuries. In response to international solidarity campaigns aimed at supporting the Al-Kurd family in reclaiming their confiscated property and remain in their home, the settlers poured sewage over the solidarity encampment to drive them away. Today, the Al-Kurd continues to live in constant fear of settler violence and further control of their home.
Israel launches demolition campaign against Palestinian houses in East J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Jan — The Israeli municipal council in occupied Jerusalem has started to re-distribute dozens of demolition orders to the Palestinian natives in Arab neighborhoods and towns in the eastern part of the city. Tawfik Ghazzawi, one of the natives who received demolition notices, told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that he was surprised one morning to see Israeli municipal employees sticking a renewed demolition order on the wall of his house in Sahel neighborhood of Attour district. Ghazzawi noted that his house is composed of two floor apartments, one has been closed by an Israeli municipal court in 2007 until he obtains a permit and the other is where he lives with his family of 12 members … “They tried to knock down my house in 2006 without prior warning, but the lawyer was able at the last minute to stop the demolition order after the troops had forced us out of our home along with our luggage, belongings and all the furniture, and stole my wife’s gold jewelry, an amount of money and every precious thing inside the house,” he affirmed. He said he filed a complaint with the Israeli police to have his stolen things back, but to no avail.
Three more Jerusalemites detained in Issawiye
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested three Jerusalemites from Issawiye village, north of occupied Jerusalem, the Wadi Hilwa said in a statement on Thursday. It said that the three were detained on Wednesday evening after storming their homes, adding that the IOF released 11 others.
‘All they want our children to do is take drugs and throw stones': Drugs, Israel, and Silwan
Silwanic 3 Jan by Alice Holt — …Alongside house demolitions, arrests of children, clashes with the private security, Israeli police and the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces), and the ‘uncovering’ of the City of David, Israel implements more subtle, indirect means of controlling and ultimately ethnically cleansing the population of Silwan. A major factor underpinning this project is the drugs trade in Silwan … To this day, Israeli citizens supply the drugs trade, the Israeli secret police monitor it with the intent to fuel the self destruction of Palestinian people and Palestinian communities. It must be noted that, according to sources, drugs are not and were not made and or grown in historic Palestine or Israel. Instead, drugs are brought in through the borders by the Israeli army. As soon as drugs are imported across the borders they are directed towards cities in historic Palestine with a larger Palestinian populations such as Lod or Akka, or into Palestinian neighborhoods like Silwan. The trade is manufactured so that Israeli citizens operate at the top of the chain.
East Jerusalem villagers: Israel police subjecting us to collective punishment
Haaretz 1 Jan — Up to 50 residents of Issawiya have been arrested over the last month, accused of throwing stones or firebombs; police forces are consistently on site, and a legal crackdown is ongoing … The tensions in Issawiya, located near the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University and the French Hill neighborhood, have intensified since the arrest of village resident Samer Issawi … He has been on a hunger strike since August, and his condition has since deteriorated … Employees of Jerusalem’s water and sewage company, Hagihon, came to the village two days ago to remove water meters and solder the pipes at several homes that had run up a debt. Inspectors from the Nature and Parks Authority also came to the village a few days ago to fine residents in possession of wild birds. A police force enters the village almost every evening to carry out arrests, and usually encounters stone throwing and responds with tear gas and stun grenades. “There’s an intifada here, but it’s an intifada of the police and not of the residents,” said Hani Issawi, a village resident. “In the past days, there have been no demonstrations, no marches, nothing – only police provocations.”
Jordanian minister accuses Israel of planning to erect the third Temple
Times of Israel 3 Jan — A Jordanian minister accused Israel on Wednesday of planning to partition the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount plaza surrounding it in order to erect the third Temple. Islamic Endowments Minister Abdul Salam Abadi told a visiting clerical delegation from Australia that he received instructions from the ‘Hashemite leadership’ to safeguard the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem, Jordanian media reported. Abadi said Israel was planning to divide the mosque from its courtyards with a 144-dunam structure. Jordan, which extended its sovereignty to East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1950, continues to administer the Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount Islamic endowments minister says Israel wants to partition the Temple Mount.
IOA plans to raze 60-year-old agricultural installation
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 Jan — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) served a demolition notice to a Palestinian owner of an agricultural installation in Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, that was built 60 years ago. Ahmed Salah, the coordinator of the town’s popular committee, told Quds Press on Wednesday that Israeli occupation forces glued the demolition warning on the installation. He charged that the IOA wants to raze the installation in order to pave the way for expanding a nearby Jewish settlement at the expense of the 20-dunum piece of land on which the installation is built.
Likud minister and two party MKs say they want to annex the West Bank
Times of Israel 2 Jan — Netanyahu didn’t speak about a Palestinian state ‘in the full sense,’ lawmaker Yariv Levin tells Times of Israel at conference promoting a one-state solution — Senior members of the ruling Likud party called Tuesday night for the government to annex all or part of the West Bank, running up against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated commitment in principle to a Palestinian state. At a Jerusalem conference entitled “Application of Israeli Sovereignty of Judea and Samaria,” a government minister and two Likud MKs declared the two-state solution dead and spoke of the legal and legislative steps needed to make the West Bank — biblical Judea and Samaria — a part of Israel proper.
PLO official sounds alarm over Likud deportation proposal
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Senior PLO official Ahmed Qurei said on Wednesday that officials in Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s party demonstrated the extremism and dangerousness of the government’s position. On Tuesday, Likud officials called for the annexation of the West Bank and deportation of Palestinians at a conference organized by pro-settler activists Women in Green. Likud’s Moshe Feiglin proposed that Israel should pay $500,000 to each Palestinian who leaves Palestine voluntarily.
Local activist detained in Hebron [for walking on the 'Jewish side' of the road]
ISM 1 Jan — Israeli soldiers in Hebron tied up and blindfolded a Palestinian activist this afternoon because he walked on the ‘Jewish side’ of the road. Issa Amro, coordinator for Youth Against Settlements, was detained on Shuhada Street, sections of which are segregated with the majority reserved for the illegal Israeli settlers and Israeli military, leaving only a tiny portion open for Palestinian use. Issa claimed he wasn’t walking in the Israeli only section of the road and that the soldier became infuriated when he told him to check the rules with a commanding officer. The soldier then told Issa he would be detained for 2 hours, however, he was released after 20 minutes. Issa believes that one of the illegal settlers had instructed the soldier to harass him. Locals, members of the press and international activists turned up and the soldiers refused to answer questions about why he was being detained, or let anyone bring him water.
Attacks on non-Jewish religious sites
Anti-Christian graffiti sprayed on church in destroyed Galilee village of Bir‘em
972mag 2 Jan by Haggai Matar — The internally displaced community of Bir‘em found abusive graffiti, stars of David and the word ‘revenge’ sprayed on its church, graveyard and other buildings. Yet the act of vandalism is but one of the community’s problems, as it continues its struggle for return — Last week, several days after they celebrated Christmas, the former residents of Bir‘em discovered the graffiti, as well as flammable liquid that had been poured at the entrance of the Church of Our Lady in the village, which has been mostly demolished. As reported in Haaretz, the Committee for the Uprooted of Kafar Bir‘em filed an official complaint to police, but no suspects have been identified. “This is the second time in the last month that something like this has happened,” says Deeb Maroun, a member of the committee … “While of course you can’t be certain as to the identity of these vandals, it appears to be part of an ugly plague that has been sweeping the entire country, through Jerusalem churches, the Latrun Monastery and more.”
Settlers desecrate mosque in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 3 Jan — Israeli settlers desecrated on Wednesday afternoon Hamidiya mosque in al-Faghour village in Bethlehem district located in the southern occupied West Bank, after storming it. Ibrahim Moussa, of the popular committee against settlement in the region, told Quds Press that a group of Israeli usurpers stormed Hamidiya mosque with their boots and wandered in its corridors for about half an hour, before heading to the Islamic cemetery in the area. He noted that the settlers had burned the mosque two years ago and the people of the village restored it with the help of farmers who worshipped in the mosque when they tended their fields.
Lawyer: Hunger-striker’s hearing postponed until next month
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — An Israeli military court postponed a hearing on the case of hunger-striker Samer Issawi for one month on Wednesday, prisoners society lawyer Jawad Bulous said. Ofer court held administrative session on Wednesday and will hear Issawi’s case in a three-judge session in one month. Issawi, from East Jerusalem, has been on hunger strike for 155 days. He arrived in court by wheelchair looking frail, Bulous said.
Sharawne resumes hunger strike
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 Jan — Detainee Ayman Al-Sharawne, from Dura town south of al-Khalil, announced on Wednesday resumption of his hunger strike until his release. Sharawne, who had suspended his hunger strike for a week, has decided to resume his hunger strike after the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) backtracked on earlier promises to release him on Tuesday. His brother Jihad told the PIC that Ayman during the suspension of his hunger strike only consumed 25 tablets and water, adding that his health condition was still very delicate because his body did not respond to the medication.
Israeli jailers isolate Jalama prisoners for their hunger strike
RAMALLAH (PIC) 2 Jan — The Israeli jailers of Jalama prison punished some Palestinian prisoners for their hunger strike in protest at their detention without any guilt. A lawyer sent by the Palestinian prisoner society said that after his visit to one of the prisoners in Jalama, the jailers attacked some prisoners after they refused to have any meals and locked them in solitary confinement. He noted that the incarceration conditions inside this jail are inhumane and the prisoners suffer from maltreatment and are deprived of visits by their families, the Red Cross and lawyers.
Fatah’s 48th anniversary
Fatah, Hamas meet in Gaza ahead of party anniversary
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday convened Hamas and Fatah delegations ahead of the first Fatah rally in the Gaza Strip since the parties’ bitter division … Haniyeh welcomed a Fatah delegation, including senior official Nabil Shaath, ahead of the event to discuss security arrangements. “This festival and the general environment will prepare for reconciliation and end the split. We gave directions to security services to make the festival successful,” Haniyeh told the meeting … Shaath stressed no security incident could undermine the conciliatory atmosphere of the festival. “We have tried negotiations sponsored by Egypt and reached many agreements, but this time it was inspired by the spirit of the masses,” Shaath said, referring to popular pressure over the repeated failure of reconciliation talks between the parties.
Gaza rallies ahead of Fatah anniversary
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Palestinian supporters of Fatah started massing in the main squares in the Gaza Strip ahead of an official anniversary festival for the party on Friday. A Ma‘an correspondent said traffic was at a standstill around Saraya square in Gaza City on Thursday night, where flag-waving crowds gathered to celebrate Fatah’s 48th year. Supporters carried Fatah banners and chanted slogans of the party, in the first mass rally since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. Similar marches took places in cities across the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, witnesses told Ma‘an.
Earlier Thursday, Fatah founder Abdul Aziz Shaheen, known as Abu Ali, entered Gaza for the first time in more than five years, accompanied by Fatah Central Committee member and former PA security chief Jibril Al-Rajoub, as well as Osama Al-Qawasmi, the spokesman of Fatah in the West Bank.
Over 30,000 join Fatah festival in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — More than 30 thousand people participated in a festival for the 48th anniversary of Fatah in Nablus on Thursday. The festival began with a parade of security forces who marched from headquarter of the national security of Al-Junaid prison towards the location of the main rally near Al-Najah university. Member of central committee of Fatah Abbas Zaki delivered a speech saying that those who think that the Palestinian people are weak [are] delusional.
Political, economic developments
Official: Israeli talk of West Bank collapse ‘wishful thinking’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — The spokesman of the PA security forces Adnan Dimeiri on Wednesday accused Israeli officials of engaging in “wishful thinking” in their warnings that the West Bank government and security situation is on the brink of collapse. Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday sounded a note of defiance after President Shimon Peres urged haste in negotiating peace with the PLO. “Every intelligent person knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu warned.
PA cancels electricity debts for every West Bank resident
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — The Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday that it is cancelling outstanding electricity debts for each West Bank resident, on the heels of a deal that aims to help assuage the electricity companies’ own arrears. Government spokeswoman Nour Oudeh told Ma‘an that all residential bills owed until Dec. 31, 2012 will be canceled. Businesses and people facing investigation for electricity theft will not be included in the deal. The decision aims to open a new chapter of 100 percent enforcement of payment of electricity bills, she said.
On Sunday, PA premier Salam Fayyad signed a deal with popular committees in West Bank refugee camps ending refugees’ exemption from electricity costs, but also canceling all their outstanding debt. Palestinians in Nablus gathered on Tuesday to protest the exclusion of non-refugees from the debt amnesty, leading to violent clashes with Palestinian security forces.
Israel ‘yet to decide’ over tax revenue transfer to PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — The Israeli government has not yet decided whether to transfer tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority this month, the spokesman of the Israeli Prime Minister said Thursday. Ofir Gendelman told Ma‘an the government will announce its position in the coming days. In December, the Israeli government seized Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA under international agreements.
PLO studies steps to join UN treaties, bodies
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — The PLO’s ruling body met Thursday and affirmed the need to go to the UN Security Council for a resolution against Israeli settlement building on Palestinian land … The group considered a detailed report on the implementation of the UN resolution accepted Palestine as a non-member state on Nov. 29. It includes concrete steps on accession to international treaties and joining other international bodies, the PLO said, without elaborating.
Official documents to begin using ‘State of Palestine’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas signed agreement on Thursday to start using “State of Palestine” on all official documents, according to PA news agency Wafa. This comes to implement the resolution of General Assembly of the UN on Nov. 29 to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, the report said.
Fatah: Mursi invites Abbas to meet over reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas received a formal invitation to meet his Egyptian counterpart Muhammad Mursi in Cairo next week, a Fatah official said Wednesday. The meeting will focus on reconciliation between Abbas’ Fatah party and their Hamas rivals, Fatah official Faysel Abu Shahla told Ma‘an. Fatah welcomes the invitation to resume the reconciliation dialogue, he said.
Official: PA will not interfere in Jordan elections
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath insisted Wednesday that the Palestinian government would not interfere in upcoming Jordanian elections, after a party official declared public support for candidates. Fatah secretary in Jordan Najeeb al-Kaddoumi threw his weight behind one electoral list for the Jan. 23 parliamentary vote, causing consternation in Jordanian political circles.
Palestinians in Syria
Palestinian martyrs’ number in Syria has risen to 855
DAMASCUS (PIC) 3 Jan — The number of Palestinian martyrs in refugees camps in Syria has risen since the start of the conflict between the formal and free armies, to 855, while the bombing and siege of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus continues … The coordinating committee of Yarmouk refugee camp stated that regime forces, stationed in the Sufian al-Thawri barracks in al-Ka’a neighborhood, fired dozens mortars at the Yarmouk refugee camp for the second consecutive day.
Resheq: Medical and food supplies are still being denied access to Yarmouk camp
BEIRUT (PIC) 2 Jan — Member of Hamas’s political bureau Ezzat Al-Resheq said the Syrian regime forces still prevent for the 10th day the access of medical and food supplies the Palestinian refugee camp Al-Yarmouk in Damascus…. For its part, the action group for the Palestinians in Syria strongly denounced on Tuesday the killing of two human rights activists from Al-Yarmouk refugee camp at the hands of the Syrian regime forces. In a press release, the action group said the Syrian regime forces killed the activists Taha Hussein and Omar Harith after detaining them at the entrance to the camp as they were trying to bring bread for the refugees in the camp.
Popular committees in Yarmouk call for demilitarization
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Popular committees in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria on Wednesday called for Palestinian leaders to use all possible means to expel armed groups from the camp. Most residents of al-Yarmouk camp, near Damascus, have left the camp after fighting intensified there last month. Those who are left behind, the popular committees said, are suffering at the hands of militants who steal from and burn down homes and harass the residents. The committee did not specify which armed groups were operating in the camp.
2012: The year in review
Ma‘an 2 Jan — In a year when the Middle East struggled to adapt to a new political landscape, 2012 brought little reprieve for Palestinians. A newly-elected president in Egypt, continuing civil war in Syria, and the Iranian-Israeli standoff moved world attention away from the long-elusive pursuit of an independent Palestine. But Palestine also had its taste of war, of high-stakes diplomacy, financial crisis, and mass popular protest, in what proved to be a turbulent year.
BDS roundup: the victories of 2012
2 Jan — 2012: A year of BDS successes – Worldwide: From Glasgow to Cairo, Jerusalem to Olympia, activists tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing human rights violations. Here’s a look back at The Electronic Intifada’s coverage of the significant BDS victories of 2012.
Israel completes bulk of Egypt border fence
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 2 Jan — Israel completed the main segment of a razor-wire fence along its border with Egypt on Wednesday, a barrier against illegal migrants and Islamist militants hiding out in the lawless Sinai region. The five-meter high fence, bolstered by military surveillance equipment, is touted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as proof of his commitment to Israel’s security as he campaigns for a national election on Jan. 22. Once the final 14 kilometer section is completed within three months, the fence will stretch from Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat to the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean.
Soldiers imprisoned for abandoning post
Ynet 3 Jan — Golani troops sentenced to short prison terms for abandoning Mount Hermon post say they were mistreated. IDF condemns ‘any act of insubordination’ … The “Yisraeli” outpost is considered important because it commands a view of the borders between Israel, Syria and Lebanon. According to the soldiers, who serve in one of the veteran companies in the brigade, their supervising officers abused them over the course of the past few months and refused to bring new troops to the outpost, which forced them to perform many administrative chores such as cleaning and guard duty.
Analysis / Opinion
Can Palestinian non-violent resistance make it into Israel’s education system? / Mairav Zonszein
972mag 3 Jan — By the time the documentary Five Broken Cameras came out in November 2011, the Palestinian village of Bil‘in in the occupied West Bank had already become the symbol of Palestinian non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation, Israeli settlements and the separation wall/barrier. It had already celebrated six long years of weekly Friday demonstrations led by the residents, joined by Israeli and international activists and aggressively repressed by the IDF; it had already seen several of its residents killed after being shot by IDF soldiers during these demonstrations (among them, Bassam Abu Rahme and his sister, Jawaher Abu Rahmah); and succeeded in pressuring the government to alter the route of the barrier and take down the fence (which was only implemented almost 4 years later). All these events are told in the documentary through the eyes (and lens) of Emad Burnat, a resident of Bil‘in whose ‘five broken cameras’ were used to document his life and activism between 2005 and 2011 and constitute the film’s story…
Guy Davidi has decided to take this film and use it as an educational tool to try and raise awareness among Israelis, most of whom either haven’t heard of Bil‘in or don’t really know (or believe) exactly what has gone on there. The Education Ministry’s ‘culture basket’, which determines which films and other media and programming are introduced in Israeli schools, doesn’t take politically charged films — certainly not one like this, which exposes the darkest sides of the IDF’s violent, illegal and unethical conduct — and which shouldn’t be surprising considering that Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar is behind instituting Israeli school trips to occupied Hebron, and the effort to open a university in the settlement of Ariel. Davidi is therefore launching a campaign to try and bring the movie to Israeli schools, to teenagers who are gearing up for their army service.
Marketing Israel: Is it the campaign, or does the product suck? / Ami Kaufman
972mag 30 Dec — A study shows that Israel’s tarnished image has nothing to do with its Hasbara mechanism. Actually, the reason for the failure is pretty straightforward — Some ad companies can do miracles. They can actually do the impossible: sell a bad product … Israel has its own ad company. It’s an enormous, cross-ministry-organization apparatus known as Hasbara. Yet, despite being one of the most successful propaganda machines ever made, Israel’s image in the world is tarnished. So, is there a problem with Hasbara? According to a study published today by the Molad think tank… no!
Hasbara fail: The ambassadors revolt / Annie Robbins & Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss 3 Jan – Some late developments from Israel only solidify the impression that this country is working hard to destroy its international reputation and simply cannot help itself because of internal pressures from rightwing politicians. First, annexation of the West Bank is being pushed aggressively so that Likudniks can win the Israeli election, in complete disregard of international opinion. Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian: “Prominent members of Israel‘s ruling Likud party have proposed the annexation of part of the West Bank as the battle for rightwing votes intensifies before the general election in less than three weeks…”
The settlers’ aim: Occupy Israel / Ari Shavit
Haaretz 3 Jan — The political forces now occupying Israel are extremist. Sooner or later they will lead the occupied country to collide with the wall of reality. After the collision there will finally arise a liberation movement worthy of the name, and the uprising it leads will end the second occupation — The new occupation is the occupation of Israel. This time it is not a military and settlement process, but a political process. This time the intention is not to deny the Palestinians their right to self-determination, but to deny Israelis the ability to end the first occupation. After the settlers succeeded in preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state by occupying Judea and Samaria, they are now asking to empty the Israeli state of all its substance by taking control of its political system.
Back from the USSR
[15 photos] TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) 3 Jan — In parts of Israel, it’s hard to find a single Hebrew sign in a sea of Cyrillic. Shopkeepers address customers in Russian, and groceries are amply stocked with non-kosher pork, red caviar and rows of vodka. Russian pop beats thump at bars, and in some homes, people will as likely be hunched over a chessboard as a computer keyboard. The Soviet Union crumbled 20 years ago, and in the aftermath, more than 1 million of its citizens took advantage of Jewish roots to flee that vast territory for the sliver of land along the Mediterranean that is the Jewish state. By virtue of their sheer numbers in a country of 8 million people and their tenacity in clinging to elements of their old way of life, these immigrants have transformed Israel. Israel has the world’s third-largest Russian-speaking community outside the former Soviet Union, after the US and Germany … While the wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union is widely regarded as successful, there were also frictions. Religion is a sensitive subject. Many immigrants have tenuous Jewish lineage or none at all.