Israeli forces kill woman near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Israeli forces shot and killed one person and injured another in the Hebron district on Wednesday, medics said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers traveling in a civilian car opened fire at a group of people at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem. Lubna Munir Hanash, 22, was shot in the head and died from her injuries, medics said. Suad Yusuf Jaara was shot in the hand and transported to Ahli hospital in Hebron. Witnesses told Ma‘an that after the shooting Israeli soldiers prevented an ambulance from arriving at the scene for around 10 minutes. Locals said there were no clashes in the area at the time.
Witness: Israeli soldier killed woman ‘in cold blood’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Jan – “I saw an Israeli soldier on the main road firing gunshots haphazardly, so I put my left hand on Lubna’s back, and grabbed her to try and run backward. A gunshot hit my hand, and I shouted as I ran. “I thought Lubna was running behind me until I reached the security guards of Al-‘Arrub College who took me to a clinic in the camp before an ambulance arrived and took me to hospital.” This, says Suad Jaara, 28, is what she witnessed Wednesday afternoon when Israeli officers near al-‘Arrub refugee camp shot her and her friend Lubna al-Hanash. Lubna, 22, died hours later. Speaking to Ma‘an, Jaara said Thursday that she and Lubna were walking on the campus of Al-Arrub College about 100 meters from the main road when they came under fire. “An Israeli soldier was shooting from his rifle while a white car was parked on the roadside. There was nobody in the area except Lubna and I. He was a criminal … yes, a criminal who opened fire at us in cold blood killing Lubna and injuring me.” Jaara’s testimony contradicts claims by the Israeli army’s chief of central command on Channel 10 Wednesday evening that the woman was trying to hurl a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle.
Teenager dies following shooting in Bethlehem
[photo of CT scan] ISM 23 Jan — On Friday January 18th at approximately 3.20 pm, fifteen year old Saleh Elamareen [or Salih al-Amarin] was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem. Today Wednesday 23 January he was pronounced dead. Salah Elamareen was outside the Lajee Refugee Centre when he was shot through the left forehead. The Centre lies some distance from the wall itself. At the time of the shooting eyewitnesses have said that protests were not happening, and that the people of Aida were simply watching the soldiers from afar. This is supported by video documentation of the incident, which shows a group of youth carrying Elamareen after he was shot. Two of the doctors who treated Elamareen did not rule out previous rumours that he was shot with a dumdum bullet, due to the fragmentation of the bullet within his head. Another doctor has claimed it was definitely a dumdum bullet in his opinion. Dumdum bullets expand after impact and are designed to cause maximum damage and pain. Due to the brutality of these bullets they are illegal under international law.
Mourners bury woman, teen killed by Israeli forces in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Hundreds of mourners on Wednesday attended the funerals of a woman and a teenager shot and killed by Israeli forces in Bethlehem. Lubna Hanash, 22, was shot in the head on Wednesday morning as Israeli soldiers in a civilian car opened fire at a group standing at the entrance to al-‘Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem. She was buried in the Hussein Ubayyat cemetery on the eastern outskirts of Bethlehem.
Also Wednesday, 15-year-old Salih al-Amarin, from ‘Azza refugee camp, died in hospital after Israeli forces shot him in the head during clashes in Bethlehem on Friday. Mourners carried the teenager’s body from his family home to a cemetery in ‘Aida refugee camp. Clashes erupted near ‘Aida camp as angry residents threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters at mourners, injuring 10 Palestinians.
Israel reviews military after West Bank deaths
Sky News 24 Jan — Israel’s military has called for an immediate review of its terms of engagement after a spate of fatal shootings provoked violent clashes in the West Bank. The funerals of a female student and teenage boy on Wednesday night were followed by hundreds of Palestinian youths attacking an Israeli check point in Bethlehem. Tear gas and plastic-coated steel bullets were fired at the angry crowd and at least three people were seriously injured and remain in hospital.Earlier in the afternoon 22-year-old Lubna Hanash had been shot in the face by an Israeli soldier … Local witnesses say two other people were also shot, but were not seriously injured. Fifteen-year-old Salih al Amarin from Bethlehem also died on Wednesday, after being shot on Friday.
Israel’s commander of operations in the West Bank, Brigadier Hagai Mordechai, has ordered an immediate review of the rules of engagement used by soldiers. Traditionally Israeli military are expected to shoot below the knee when using live rounds, but at least six Palestinians have been shot dead this month alone.
Teen says beaten at Israeli checkpoint
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Israeli soldiers on Wednesday beat a teenager at a checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, the boy said. Ibrahim Adnan Hasan, 17, told Ma‘an that soldiers stopped the car he was traveling in at Huwwara checkpoint and checked passengers’ ID cards. “When I said I was from Kafr Qaddum, the soldiers all of a sudden started to beat me and insult me saying that it was in retaliation to the weekly rally in my village,” said Hasan, who was badly bruised. Kafr Qaddum holds weekly rallies demanding that Israel reopen the main street in the village east of Qalqiliya. Murad Ishteiwi, a spokesman for the protests, said Wednesday’s assault was not unprecedented. He said soldiers frequently attacked residents of Kafr Qaddum at checkpoints.
Dozens of workers attacked by soldiers near Jenin
IMEMC 23 Jan — Wednesday January 23; Palestinian medical sources reported that dozens of Palestinian workers have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation after the army attacked them at the At-Taiba roadblock, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. Eyewitnesses reported that the army closed the roadblock nearly at 5 at dawn, and prevented the workers from heading to their construction sites in Israel. They all carried valid work permits. The soldiers ordered the workers to go back home, and hurled several gas grenades at them leading to dozens of injuries. The wounded workers were moved to local hospitals in Jenin, and were all sent back home later on.
Israeli soldiers disperse funeral procession
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Israeli forces fired tear gas and sound grenades at a funeral procession in southern West Bank town Beit Ummar, a local activist said. The town had gathered to mourn Fayqa Ikhlayel, a female resident in her 50s, when soldiers tried to direct the procession down another road, local committee spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad said. Forces fired tear gas and some youth threw stones at the soldiers, but no injuries were reported.
Israeli forces escort Jewish worshipers to West Bank tomb
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Hundreds of Jewish worshipers visited Joseph’s tomb in Nablus overnight Wednesday escorted by Israeli soldiers, leading to clashes with locals, witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that troops accompanied around 1,000 worshipers to the tomb, near Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Palestinian Authority security officials said around 30 Israeli military jeeps had deployed to the area by midnight, before 10 buses of Israelis arrived with more army vehicles. Witnesses told Ma‘an that clashes erupted as local youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades … Jews believe the tomb is the final resting place of the biblical figure Joseph. Muslims believe that an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Yusef (Joseph) Dawiqat, was buried there.The Israeli army regularly escorts Jewish worshipers to make nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.
Group: Israeli forces arrest youth activist
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Israeli forces arrested a youth activist overnight Tuesday in Ramallah, Addameer prisoners group said. “Human rights defender Hassan Karajeh (29 years old) was arrested from his home last night at 2:30am by a large convoy of IOF soldiers,” the group said on its social media sites. Muhannad Karaja, a lawyer for the activist, said that Israeli forces confiscated three computers, three cellphones and took five bags of paperwork from the house. Hassan is from Saffa village near Ramallah and is a well-known activist working on youth issues and prisoners’ rights. He is also the youth coordinator for grassroots organization Stop the Wall.
His brother Muntasser is serving a 10-month sentence in an Israeli jail, and his sister Sumoud was released in 2011 as part of a swap deal between Hamas and Israel.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “Karaja was arrested for suspicion of involvement in a terror organization,” without providing further details.
Israel frees PA officials held in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Israeli forces released the Palestinian Authority minister of public works and deputy minister of information after detaining them in occupied East Jerusalem, an official said Thursday. Maher Ghnaim and Mahmoud Khalifeh were treated poorly and their diplomatic papers were ignored, said Nasr Abu Foul, the Palestinian representative in the International Federation of Journalists. Abu Foul said the men were given orders banning them from meetings in Jerusalem without Israeli coordination … Earlier, the PA’s deputy prisoners minister said the men were taken to the Russian compound and a legal team had been dispatched to help secure their release.
Including two children, six Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC 23 Jan — …The army invaded the Safa village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, broke into and searched a number of homes, and kidnapped one resident. The soldiers used an explosive charge to detonate the main door of Hasan Yasser Karaja’s house, and kidnapped him after confiscating three personal computers that belong to the family … Furthermore, the army kidnapped two Palestinians at the Huwwara roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus … In Silwan, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the army kidnapped, earlier on Wednesday at dawn, two Palestinian children after breaking into their families’ homes and searching them. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, reported that the soldiers kidnapped the two children from their homes approximately at 4 at dawn. The kidnapped children have been identified as Alaa’ Tawfiq Abu Tayeh, 14, and his cousin Majdi Wael Abu Tayeh, 14 … Two days ago, Israeli soldiers kidnapped an 8-year-old child, from Al-Eesawiyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, after claiming that he ““hurled stones at their jeep.” The soldiers chased the child, identified as Ali Dirbas, as he was heading back home from school, and grabbed him as he reached the main door of his family’s home.
Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Israeli forces on Wednesday detained three Palestinians after they raided and ransacked their houses in Hebron in the southern West Bank, locals said. Islam Awad Shaker Bader, 19, Rami Azmi Mahmud Bader, 22, and Ahmer Mohammad Bader, 30, were detained and taken to an unknown location.
Army invades several West Bank districts
IMEMC 24 Jan — …The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights reported that the army invaded ‘Awarta town, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and kidnapped one resident identified as Samer Salim Sharab, 37 … Furthermore, soldiers invaded Snieria town, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and kidnapped Ahmad Sadeq Omar, 32, the brother of Ala’ who spent 10 years in Israeli prisons. Earlier on Thursday at dawn, soldiers invaded Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, broke into and searched several homes after forcing the families out of their property. Soldiers further invaded ‘Arraba town, south of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank, and interrogated several residents in its streets. Local sources reported that the army invaded the Ath-Thaheriyya town, south of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, installed several roadblocks, and broke into homes before kidnapping one resident identified as Nabil Elias At-Til.
PCHR weekly report: 10 civilians, including 3 children, wounded by Israeli forces this week [17-22 Jan]
24 Jan — Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: This week in Gaza, a 2-year girl was wounded by Israeli shrapnel while she was playing in front of her family’s house in al-Salqa valley in the central Gaza Strip, in addition to 3 other civilians wounded by Israeli gunfire…. In the context of targeting fishermen, the Israeli gunboats positioned off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats 6 times on 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 January 2013. As a result, the fishermen were frightened and fled back to the shore for fear of being wounded or abducted … Israeli attacks in the West Bank: The Israeli forces conducted 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 37 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were abducted…. Full Report
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israeli forces prevent help reaching Bedouins in al-Agwar
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 20 Jan – Israeli forces have prevented participants in “The Winter delivery,” organised by The Network Radio Raya FM, from delivering help to the Bedouins of al Ag’war. Ma‘an Samara, the director of Raya FM, told Wadi Hilwe’s Information Center that they were surprised in the morning when they saw Border police on the way to al Ag’war. The ‘delivery’ participants were stopped near each border; the first in Al Oja, and the second on the entrance of Jericho and the third near Road 90. Samara confirmed that they tried to enter al Ag’war through many roads but they faced border police everywhere, despite the fact that it had been agreed that they could take 5 trucks (containing sheets, winter clothes… to al Ag’war
Demolitions in Al Maleh and Abu Al Ajaj
On 24th January 2013 villagers in Al Maleh, northern Jordan Valley, faced their 8th day of demolitions and persistent harassment by the Israeli Occupation Forces. At 8am the IOF came to the village yet again and demolished two homes and an animal shelter, which had been hastily constructed following the levelling of the whole community just seven days earlier. The Israeli army then moved south to the village of Al Jitflik, where four homes and two animal shelters were destroyed in the Abu Al Ajaj community, which has been subject to regular settler attacks and demolitions over recent years. Activists on the ground report that all demolitions on the 24th were carried out using JCB machinery. … Around 12 Jeeps and two JCB bulldozers were used in the demolitions, the speed of which meant that there was not time to remove the residents’ belongings from the houses.
Israeli forces demolish in two villages, damage a crucial road in South Hebron Hills
ISM 23 Jan — On 21st January the Israeli army demolished a building in the village of Ar Rifa‘iyya and a water cistern in the village of Hawara. The army went on and damaged the only road that connects the village of At Tuwani and the nearby villages with the city of Yatta in South Hebron Hills. The three villages lie in Area C … “The aim of demolitions is to expel us from here and to take us to the other side of 317 road”, said Sabbri M. J. Amor from the village of Ar Rifa‘iyya, “Nevertheless, we will rebuild this house again. Palestinian resistance is like the grass: it gets dry, but when it rains it grows back.” [map of the area here]
Protest tent in Shuafat against land confiscation
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Jan — People of Shuafat village in occupied Jerusalem set up on Tuesday a new protest tent, calling it “Somud Zaytun” (Olive Steadfastness), in protest against the Israeli confiscation policy. The Jerusalem Municipality has confiscated more than 80 dunums of the land between Ramat Shlomo settlement and the town of Shuafat in order to establish road No. 21 to link the Israeli settlements with each other.
Military exercises in firing zone 918, Massafer Yatta
ISM 23 Jan — On Monday 21st January over 100 soldiers from the Israeli army held training exercises in the firing zone 918 in Massafer Yatta, also known as South Hebron Hills. The exercises continued throughout the day on Tuesday 22nd January. The Israeli military set up tented encampments near to two Palestinian villages, Mirkez and Jinba. Live fire could be heard in the area until late on Monday evening and on Tuesday … Soldiers constantly walked from one camp to another over the fields where crops have been planted for sheep to graze. Residents in Mirkez complained about interference from the soldiers when taking their sheep out to graze, being told they could not bring their sheep close to the soldiers. One resident of Mirkez said soldiers had thrown stones at their sheep hitting three of them, he also complained of being a prisoner in his own village unable to move freely. Residents of Jinba expressed similar sentiments saying there were soldiers camped in front of the village and settlements behind.
This must be the place — Campaign for the abolition of firing zone 918 in South Hebron Hills
ISM 21 Jan — Sign the petition here – In the southern West Bank (oPt), in the South Hebron Hills, there exists an area called Masafer Yatta. The area encompasses some 1000 inhabitants and twelve Palestinian villages: Tuba, al-Mufaqarah, Isfey, Maghayir al Abeed, al-Majaz, at-Tabban, al-Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, Kharoubeh and Sarura. According to the Oslo Accord this is defined as Area C, under complete civil and military control of Israel. . However, already in the early 1970s. Israel declared the area as ‘Firing Zone 918’, a closed military zone. In 1999 Israeli military forces, accompanied by Civil Administration officials, expelled the inhabitants living within Firing Zone 918, destroying Palestinian-owned private property in the process. The residents petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice, which issued a temporary injunction allowing people to return back to their homes and forbidding the state to expel them until a final decision in the matter was rendered.
Jewish settlers drench Palestinian land with wastewater
NABLUS (PIC) 24 Jan — Jewish settlers drenched Palestinian cultivated land to the west of Nablus with wastewater and ruined crops causing huge material damage to the farmers. Nader Al-Shaer, the mayor of Sabastiya village, told the PIC on Wednesday that Jewish settlers in Shavi Shimron settlement used to collect their wastewater [sewage] in two pools, yet they recently opened those pools and flooded Palestinian fields. He said that the practice, which has been ongoing for the past month, led to vast destruction in the cultivated lands leading to big financial losses
A surrounded city: Nablus and its settlers
Palestine Monitor 23 Jan by Jessica Purkiss — In 1995, following the signing of the Oslo Accords two years prior, Nablus became an autonomous Palestinian city. Designated under Area A, the newly formed Palestinian Authority were responsible for the civil and security administration. As in many areas of West Bank however, this is not the reality. The region of Nablus is surrounded by Israeli settlements making it not only subject to Israeli military control but also to the flourishing radical Jewish communities that live within these settlements. Ghassan Daghlas, an official in charge of the settler violence file for the Nablus governorate, pointed out that a chunk of all settlements and outposts are built within the governate itself. “We have 184 settlements and 176 settler outposts in the West Bank,” he said. “In Nablus alone there are 12 of the settlements and 36 of the settler outposts. These take up a total of 3500 dunams of fenced land, not including the security parameters.” As a result the villages around Nablus are subject to settler attacks on a daily basis. According to the Nablus governorate, 2012 registered the year of the highest number of settler attacks. A total of 395 attacks on Palestinians were registered in the West Bank, with Nablus accounting for 35% of the assaults.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Extremists attack Arab children in Jerusalem for boarding Israeli bus
IMEMC 25 Jan – Last Sunday, and following the end of a normal school day in Jerusalem, a number of Arab Palestinian schoolchildren from Jerusalem (around age 12) boarded an Israeli bus while heading home; a number of adult Israeli extremists started insulting the children, and one of them spit a gum he was chewing on a child’s face. Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported that after the Palestinian children boarded the bus, two settlers “noticed” that the children were speaking in Arabic, and started cursing at them, insulting them and one of the settlers even spit a gum, he was chewing, in the face of one of the children. The Arab children study at a Jerusalem school attended by both Arab and Jewish students. After the two settlers left the bus, a settler woman started harassing the children, cursing at them and uttered a number of racist statements against the Arabs and Palestinians. The settler woman did not only use words to show her racist nature against the Palestinians, but even physically attacked one of the children by grabbing her hair and pulling it. The bus driver then stopped his bus, and demanded the settler woman to leave, and when she refused he called the police who detained her.
Report from Beit Lahiya: Israel continues to break the cease-fire in Gaza
Mondoweiss 21 Jan by Jenny Linnell — A ceasefire was announced on 21st November, ending eight days of horrific bloodshed in Gaza. Has the delicate truce held over the past two months? It depends who you ask. Israelis or Gazans, each going about their daily lives on opposite sides of a border fence. There has not been a single report of a rocket fired out of Gaza since 21st November. In contrast, four Palestinians have lost their lives and over 80 have been injured by Israeli forces since then. Yet these violations have received little or no coverage in the mainstream media. Palestinian civilians whose only crime is to live in the border areas are terrorized on a daily basis by the Israeli army. This is what everyday life under the ceasefire has meant for them. Beit Lahiya, in the far north of the Gaza Strip is one such place. A week ago it saw the brutal murder of 20 year-old Mustafa Abu Jarad. Today, it was the site of another Israeli violation.
‘We were too afraid to stay on our farmlands’
PCHR 24 Jan — Since 2007, Israeli authorities have unilaterally and illegally established a so-called ‘buffer zone’ along the border, which officially extends 300 metres into the Gaza Strip. However, in reality, the ‘‘buffer zone’ can extend up to 1,500 metres from the fence, and is enforced with the use of lethal force. This area includes approximately 35% of the Gaza Strip’s agricultural land, which can only be accessed under high personal risk, as Israeli attacks may result in the injury or death of civilians. This seriously impacts the livelihoods of farmers who work in the border area. Following the ceasefire agreement of 21 November 2012, it was reported that the people of Gaza would be allowed to freely access the land in the border areas once more. However, attacks against civilians in the border area have continued; since the ceasefire came into effect, 4 Palestinian civilians have been killed, and a further 67 civilians, including 14 children, have been injured. The lack of clarity regarding access to the border area causes great uncertainty for farmers.
IOF incursion in northern Gaza
BEIT HANUN (PIC) 23 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced into northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning in the company of a number of bulldozers that leveled cultivated land lots. The PIC reporter in Beit Hanun city said that the soldiers in three armored vehicles escorted the bulldozers to the east of the city. He said farmers in the area opted not to go to their land fearing possible IOF attack on them.
IOF incursion reported in southern Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 24 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided southern Gaza Strip areas to the east of Khan Younis on Thursday morning and damaged cultivated land lots. The PIC reporter said that IOF troops combed citizens’ lands to the east of Khan Younis and bulldozed agricultural fields in the process. He said that four huge bulldozers escorted by three army tanks infiltrated into Abu Reida area, east of Khan Younis city, and leveled land stretching from there to Abasan village amidst shooting of live bullets and smoke bombs at civilian neighborhoods.
Gaza teens graduate from Hamas military school
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 24 Jan — More than 3,000 Palestinian teenagers on Thursday graduated from the ruling Hamas militant group‘s first high school military training program in the Gaza Strip, displaying mock weapons, crawling commando-style on the ground and taking up fighting positions for thousands of cheering supporters. Hamas officials said the Futuwwa, or “Youth,” program is aimed at fostering a new generation of leaders in the struggle against Israel. “We teach the youth to honor the national flag and anthem, to strengthen their affinity with the homeland and Jerusalem, the spirit of resistance and the principles of steadfastness,” said Abu Hozifa, a 29-year-old national security officer who teaches in the program. “We also prepare them in terms of faith and physical fitness to serve as resistance fighters if they want to be in the future.”
Gaza security launch crackdown on Palestinian media
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Palestinian human rights groups say internal security services in the Gaza Strip have stepped up harassment of journalists in the Gaza Strip over the past 48 hours. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights distributed a list of media workers it said had been arrested since Monday and condemned the seemingly coordinated campaign, which Hamas officials quickly challenged. According to the PCHR, internal security officers arrested al-Katab satellite channel employee Ashraf Jamal Abu Khseiwan and journalist union official Monir Joma al-Monirawi on Monday in Deir al-Balah. The same day, forces arrested Fatah Youth website employee Mostafa Mohammed Meqdad and Joma Adnan Shawamra, a journalist who works for al-Hurriya radio, in the Gaza City area, the group said …
The Palestinian media freedoms watchdog Mada issued a statement Tuesday highlighting the same cases and confirming details of the abuse, which it said included confiscation of property and searches. The statement added that photographer Ashraf Abu Amra was assaulted while covering a solidarity sit-in on Sunday …
At a meeting with human rights groups Wednesday in Gaza City, a spokesman of the interior ministry, Islam Shahwan, said no journalists had been detained in Gaza recently, a Ma‘an correspondent reported. Shahwan said that his ministry guaranteed freedom of the press, and went on to claim that recent detainees were charged with recognizable offenses. He also said they admitted to the charges, the reporter said.
Hamas urged to free journalists, end media crackdown
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — The world’s largest federation of press unions on Thursday blasted the Hamas government’s week-long crackdown on the media in Gaza and called for the release of six journalists. The International Federation of Journalists accused the security forces in Gaza of launching a major crackdown on the media and particularly members of its local affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. “The climate of sheer brutality and ruthless intimidation targeting media in Gaza has again shown that Hamas is no friend of press freedom,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha, in a statement. “These journalists are being held with no charges against them while their families and colleagues live in fear of raids and arrests. They should be released immediately and their families left in peace.” The Palestinian syndicate says Hamas forces launched the crackdown Sunday, raiding the homes of journalists and detaining them over a 48-hour period.
Egypt briefly detains Hamas MP at Cairo airport
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Egyptian authorities on Wednesday allowed deputy speaker Ahmad Bahar to enter the Gaza Strip after detaining him for over two hours at Cairo airport, officials said. Majed Abu Murad, a spokesman for the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Ma‘an that the delegation of two other parliament members and media was held for over two hours. The delegation was free Wednesday to continue toward Gaza, he said. It was not immediately clear why Egyptian authorities stopped the group.
Foreign ministry: Technical problem delayed MPs at Cairo airport
GAZA (PIC) 23 Jan — The Palestinian foreign ministry in Gaza said that a “technical” problem delayed the departure of the Palestinian legislative council members from Cairo international airport. A foreign ministry statement on Wednesday said that the problem was solved with the Egyptian intelligence after which Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the deputy PLC speaker, and two other MPs left the airport en route to Gaza … The ministry hoped that media outlets would not publish more news about the incident, warning them of indulging in inaccurate reports in this regard.
Rebuilding in Gaza between war and peace
GAZA (IRIN) 23 Jan — Ashraf Azzam, 33, stands in the ruins of his house in Zeitoun Area, Eastern Gaza City, destroyed in an Israeli bombing attack two months ago. “Everything went so fast. In the beginning, a warning rocket fell on our house and adjacent houses as well; we rushed out of the house, running for safety – we didn’t have the time to think,” he told IRIN. “The Israeli attack targeted a nearby house in front of ours – it was like an earthquake, everything was shaking; dust and smoke were all over the place with devastating consequences,” he said. In the morning light, they discovered their house had been destroyed. No one from the family was injured though some of their neighbours had been killed. For now, Ashraf’s extended family (15 members including his mother, married brothers and their children) are dispersed, living in rented apartments.
Israel’s land theft means Gaza camels have few places to graze
EI 23 Jan by Rami Almeghari — …In the southeastern village of al-Qarrara on Saturday evening, a few kilometers away from the Israel-Gaza boundary fence, local municipality board member and farmer Abdlerahim al-Smairy began milking his naqa for the second time that day. Al-Smairy owns arable land in the village. “I began taking care of camels several years ago,” he said. “You need large areas of arable land that are filled with various grass types. Prior to 1948, my [father’s] family alone used to own tens of acres of farmland, but almost 60 percent of those lands were seized [by Israel] after the 1948 Arab-Israel war,” he explained. More of the family’s land was stolen after the breakout of the 1967 War. The number of camels the family could raise was reduced due to Israeli restrictions. “In the past several years, for example, the restrictions got higher than before, due to Israel’s creation of a buffer zone along the eastern borders of Gaza [farmers could not enter]. What we need is muddy land in which grass can grow plentifully.”
United Nations to investigate drone killings
LONDON (Reuters) 24 Jan - The United Nations launched an inquiry on Thursday into the use of unmanned drones in counter-terrorism operations, after criticism of the number of innocent civilians killed by the aircraft. The inquiry, announced in London, will investigate 25 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories. Most attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles have been by the United States. Britain and Israel have also used them, and dozens more states are believed to possess the technology.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers
Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands’ words ring true for Samer Al-Issawi
PNN 24 Jan — Palestinian Political Prisoner and Hunger striker, Samer Al-Issawi, was wheeled into the Israeli magistrate court yesterday to hear the verdict on his appeal. Having now been on hunger strike for more than 183 days, Samer’s body is now starting to break down, he is no longer able to walk on his own. In short order it was soon announced by the Israeli court that his appeal was denied. The next step is to go before the Israeli Military court on 5th February at which time a decision will be made to release him, or keep him imprisoned. Either way the next few weeks are dangerous and critical for Samer and his family … UFree Network recently organised a Delegation from Palestine 48 consisting of the Yousef Al Sedeeq Institute for Prisoners Protection and the Meezan Centre for Human rights. The Palestine 48 Delegation was facilitated by the Irish Friends of Palestine and visited the two cities of Derry and Belfast in the North of Ireland. Both of these cities are steeped in the history of occupation, struggle. During the visit members of the Delegation held many important meetings with people who were involved in both of the recent Hunger strikes in Ireland.
Three hunger strikers in critical stage
JENIN (PIC) 24 Jan — A human rights group said that the health condition of three Palestinian detainees who have been on hunger strike for 59 days in Israeli occupation jails had entered a critical stage. Mohammed Al-Abed, a lawyer with the international Tadamun foundation for human rights, said that Tarek Qaadan, Jafar Ezzuddin, and Yousef Yassin have started to vomit blood.
Israeli attempts to force the prisoners to break their strike
RAMALLAH (PIC) 23 Jan — The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) confirmed on Tuesday that the Israeli prisons services (IPS) practiced on striking prisoners psychological pressure to force them to break their continued strike. IPS failed to undermine the prisoners’ will, where they refused to listen to the Israeli lies showing great steadfastness and patience, the PPS added. The hunger striker Tariq Hussein Ka’adan, 41, revealed that IPS has deliberately put a cart full of food and dairy outside the strikers’ room in Ramle prison hospital in order to pressure them.
Video shows Border Police abusing Palestinian man
JPost 25 Jan — Officers seen abusing what appears to be mentally disabled man in 2009 video presented as evidence in trial against 4 officers. In the video, which was shot in 2009 next to the al- Jib checkpoint north of Jerusalem, the officers yell at the Palestinian man, “Where’s your identity card?” and shout at him that the police dog next to him will bite him if he doesn’t answer. The man, who was detained for not having an ID card on him, was sitting in the back of a Border Police jeep during the incident. Throughout the video he sobs loudly as he pleads that he doesn’t have his card or know his ID number. The officers throw water at the man several times, yell at him, “Don’t cry like a whore!” and throw a plastic water bottle at him that hits his face.
Israel releases Palestinian after 20 years
JENIN (Ma‘an) 23 Jan – A Palestinian prisoner from ‘Arraba village south of Jenin was released from Israeli custody on Wednesday after spending 20 years in jail. Dozens of people gathered at the al-Jalamah checkpoint north of Jenin to greet Ahmad Abdullah Ali al-Aridah.
Israeli court extends administrative detention of Abu Munshar for sixth time
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 23 Jan — An Israeli court endorsed the renewal of detainee Dirar Abu Munshar’s administrative detention for three months for the sixth consecutive time. Family members said on Wednesday that the court promised to release Abu Munshar, from Al-Khalil, at conclusion of this sixth renewal of administrative custody. They said that Abu Munshar, 33, was arrested in November 2010 and was held in administrative detention, without charge, since then.
Former prisoners protest PA neglect in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Three former prisoners of Israel protesting in Tulkarem say the Palestinian Authority is neglecting their rights. Mohammad Sabah, Samer Salah and Bassam Mari set up a protest tent outside the PA’s detainee affairs office in the northern West Bank city on Sunday. Sabah told Ma‘an the former detainees would continue their protest until the PA met their demands, and that they may go on hunger strike. He also thanked activists for their support. Political prisoners are entitled to financial assistance from the PA after their release from Israeli jails.
Radwan leaves for Lebanon to distribute financial donations to refugees
GAZA (PIC) 24 Jan — Minister of Awkaf and Islamic affairs in Gaza Dr. Ismail Radwan left the Strip on Wednesday en route to Lebanon to distribute financial donations to Palestinian refugees fleeing embattled Syria to neighboring Lebanon. Radwan, heading a ministerial delegation, told Quds Press on departure via Rafah border terminal that the money were donated by the people of Gaza to his ministry’s fundraising campaign last month in all Gaza mosques. The minister said that the campaign aimed at helping “our Palestinian brothers” who experience very difficult living conditions.
Three Palestinians killed in clashes in Syria’s refugee camps
DAMASCUS (PIC) 23 Jan — The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said three Palestinian refugees were killed in different refugee camps, which see ongoing shelling and clashes every day. According to the action group on Wednesday, a four-year old boy Abdullah Shihabi, from Al-Yarmouk refugee camp, was shot dead in his head during his presence on a farm in Khan Al-Sheikh refugee camp where violent armed clashes broke out between the free Syrian army and the regime forces. The other two Palestinians were killed in shelling incidents in the refugee camps of Husseiniyeh and Dara’h.
The group affirmed that the Syrian regime forces is still imposing a tight blockade on the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, especially the camps of Al-Yarmouk, Dara’h and Husseiniyeh.
4 Palestinian martyrs in Syria
DAMASCUS (PIC) 24 Jan — Working Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria declared the martyrdom of 4 Palestinian refugees yesterday, in light of the heavy shelling on the Yarmouk and Husseiniya camps. Meanwhile, the Palestinian camps network news union announced the Palestinian camps in Damascus as disaster areas, including al-Sabina camp. The group said the Palestinian refugee Nadim Al-Ghunaim from Yarmouk refugee camp was killed under torture, while Osama Suhail, from the refugee camp of Yarmouk, was killed while going to work by sniper fire. In addition, Kamil Shawish from Husseiniya camp was killed by a rocket at his house, and Awad Ahmad was killed after being hit by shrapnel.
Hamas and Fatah
Hamas officials: No dispute over Abbas heading unit govt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — There is no disagreement within Hamas about Mahmoud Abbas heading a unity government to be formed later this month, deputy head of Hamas politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq said Tuesday. “We have agreed to the next government, headed by President Abbas, but the process of its formation and the selection of its members will be discussed further, because we all want a government that supports and strengthens reconciliation,” Abu Marzouq said during an interview with Palestine TV.
More Fatah leaders return to Gaza Strip
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Several Fatah leaders who fled Gaza amid fighting with Hamas in 2007 returned to the enclave on Thursday. Prominent security official Nasser al-Saqq, who headed the Palestinian Authority’s preventive security service in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, returned with his wife and five children through the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border, a Ma‘an reporter said. Hassan Abu Jandal, a leader in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades in Khan Younis, also returned with his family, as did Fatah leaders Fayiz al-Qassas and Khalid al-Shaer.
Haniyeh invites elections commission to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday invited the Central Elections Commission to the Gaza Strip, a government spokesman said. Haniyeh phoned CEC chief Hanna Nasser and invited him to bring a delegation to Gaza to discuss updating the electoral roll, Taher al-Nunu said in a statement. Al-Nunu said the invitation came in line with agreements reached between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo earlier in January.
PA forces arrest 4 Hamas supporters
WEST BANK (PIC) 24 Jan — PA security forces continued in the West Bank targeting Hamas supporters, where they arrested 4 of Hamas activists in Nablus and al-Khalil. In Nablus, PA preventive security arrested 3 citizens from Osarin village south of the city, during a raid launched on Wednesday. In al-Khalil, PA General Intelligence arrested the liberated prisoner Omar al-Omla from Beit Ula, after being summoned few days ago. In Qalqilya, PA security apparatus prevented the Imam Mujahid Nawfel, a former detainee in PA prisons, from speaking in the mosques in the city until further notice.
Hamas slams PA’s position against visit of Malaysian premier to Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 23 Jan — The Hamas Movement repudiated the Palestinian authority in Ramallah city for declaring its disapproval of the Malaysian premier’s current visit to Gaza and described its attitude as unjustifiable. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank had criticized the visit made by Malaysian premier Mohamed Abdul-Razzak to Gaza and claimed it would affect the Palestinian representation and strengthen the rift in the Palestinian arena. In a press release, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the position of the Palestinian authority and said such visits by Muslim and Arab officials contribute to strengthening the steadfastness of the Gaza people in the face of the Israeli blockade.
PM in Gaza: Najib’s groundbreaking visit
CAIRO (New Straits Times) 24 Jan : PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his ground-breaking visit to Gaza on Tuesday was humanitarian in nature and should not be misconstrued as an interference into the domestic affairs of Palestine. Najib said he would have visited the Fatah-ruled West Bank if not for the constraints placed by Israel’s air control over the Palestinian Territories. “It was my every intention to also visit Ramallah (de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority) but since I have to fly to get there and the sky is controlled by Israel, I could not make the trip,” he said at the end of his three-day visit to Gaza and Egypt.
Political, economic news
Abbas to work with any Israel govt committed to two states
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — The Palestinians will deal with any Israeli government that abides by a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, an official said Wednesday. President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman said that “this is the way we will deal with the coming Israeli government, which has to choose between peace and stalemate that can be negative to all parties.”
Abbas to invite newly elected Israeli MKs to Ramallah
IMEMC 25 Jan — Israel daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, intends to officially invite newly elected Israeli members of Knesset (MK) from leftist and centrist parties to visit him in Ramallah. The Israeli paper said that a Palestinian source stated that the Palestinian leadership considers the rising Israeli party Yesh Atid (There is Future), headed by Yair Lapid, has a great significance and potential in Israeli politics … The Palestinian source added that Lapid will be the first to be invited to Ramallah, and that newly elected MK’s from the Labor Party, Meretz and even from the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu will be invited to visit Ramallah.
PA says may have no choice but to take Israel to ICC
Reuters 23 Jan — The Palestinians declared Wednesday that they will have no choice but to complain about Israel to the International Criminal Court if it proceeds with plans to build housing on land the Palestinians want for a future state. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the UN Security Council on the Middle East, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said his government’s decision will largely depend on what the Israelis do with the so-called “E1″ area outside the Arab suburbs of east Jerusalem.
Minister says PA financial crisis is structural
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — The Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis is structural, the finance minister said Wednesday, adding that the deficit has exceeded $1.4 billion. “A structural solution is needed in order to fill the gap between expenses and revenue,” Nabil Qassis told a committee of lawmakers in Ramallah … The finance minister criticized the general culture which he said exhausted the PA’s resources and increased the deficit. Qassis called for greater cooperation between his ministry and the PLC to find solutions and minimize expenses.
Report: DFLP chief Nayif Hawatmah to return to Palestine
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — The secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Nayif Hawatmah will return from Syria to the West Bank soon, the al-Liwaa newspaper reported Thursday. Hawatmah is the last veteran PLO leader still in exile. The 84-year-old co-founded the Arab Nationalist Movement and played a major role in initiating the Palestinian revolution. He founded the DFLP in 1969 and was known as the “philosopher of the Palestinian revolution.” … President Mahmoud Abbas, secretary-general of Fatah, told the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen satellite channel on Monday that efforts were ongoing to bring Hawatmah back to Palestine. The DFLP leader is the only secretary-general of a PLO faction living in the diaspora. [following is a list of PLO factions and their S-Gs]
Israeli Arabs defy expectations with higher turnout
JPost 24 Jan — Efforts to increase Arab participation in election bear fruit; Arab party leaders disappointed that turnout was not higher — Arab voter turnout increased by 3% to reach 56%, the first increase since 2000 as Israeli Arab parties maintained 11 seats from 2009, and additionally, an Arab was elected on the Meretz list. A higher Arab turnout was needed to maintain their seats because overall turnout in the general population went up by 3% to reach almost 68%.
EU supports farmers, herders with over €11 million
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Jan — The European Union (EU) announced Thursday an €11.45 million financial support for the Palestinian agricultural sector, according to a press statement. It said that the EU is partnering with four organizations in the field of agriculture – Agricultural Development Association (PARC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Oxfam Italy and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) – to continue its work in the fields of olive production and livestock … [The projects] will take place in the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip with particular focus on some of the most vulnerable communities, said the release.
FM addresses UN as Palestine representative for first time
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister on Wednesday addressed the UN Security Council as a representative of a world-recognized state for the first time. “A new era has begun,” Riyad al-Malki said, adding that the General Assembly’s acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state marked “the turning point for making peace and security a reality between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.”
US protests ‘State of Palestine’ placard in UN
UN (AP) 24 Jan – U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice objected Wednesday to the Palestinians’ latest bid to capitalize on their upgraded U.N. status when their foreign minister spoke at the Security Council while seated behind a nameplate that read “State of Palestine.” It was the first Palestinian address to the Security Council since the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 29 to upgrade the Palestinians from U.N. observer to non-voting member state. Rice said that the United States does not recognize the General Assembly vote in November “as bestowing Palestinian ‘statehood’ or recognition.” … Canadian Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski also complained later that allowing the Palestinians to sit behind the “State of Palestine” nameplate “creates a misleading impression” and said Canada would oppose the Palestinians’ attempts to upgrade their status in symbolic ways.”
In response to Israeli elections, US renews call for peace negotiations
Reuters 23 Jan — White House press secretary reiterates need for direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state solution.
Israel expected to boycott UN human rights scrutiny session
Reuters 24 Jan — Israel is expected to boycott a session of the UN Human Rights Council next week despite the United States urging its ally to show up for an examination of its record, the US ambassador said on Thursday … If the review goes ahead, Israel would likely face criticism for its practices in the Palestinian territories, including treatment of detainees, settlement expansion and its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip which Palestinians say is collective punishment of the enclave’s 1.6 million residents … Israel’s last review was in December 2008, when it attended. A boycott would be unprecedented and diplomats fear other countries might follow suit to avoid scrutiny of their own human rights records.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Graphic details: how Visualizing Palestine designed a fight for justice
London (EI) 24 Jan by Asa Winstanley — Visualizing Palestine (visualizingpalestine.org) is a project which “uses creative visuals to describe a factual rights-based narrative of Palestine/Israel,” says its website. It debuted in February last year with a stunning graphic illustrating the effects of hunger striking on the human body. Its release coincided with political prisoner Khader Adnan concluding an epic 66-day hunger strike that led to his release from Israeli internment. Spread online via social networks, the group has since released several more ‘infographics’ illustrating aspects of Israel’s systemic violence and discrimination against the Palestinian people. The work is distributed under a Creative Commons license, which means it can be freely shared under certain conditions.
IOF soldiers block tour of foreign diplomats in Beit Iksa village
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 24 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) blocked on Wednesday a tour by a number of foreign ambassadors and diplomats in Beit Iksa village in occupied Jerusalem. Dr. Saada Al-Khatib, a lecturer at the Quds university and a member of the anti-wall and anti-settlement committee in Beit Iksa, told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers obstructed foreign ambassadors and consuls when they tried to visit an isolated house. He said that the house, owned by Amjad Hamayel, is near to Ramot settlement and is surrounded by settlers.
He said that inhabitants briefed the foreign diplomats on their suffering, noting that the diplomats saw for themselves part of that suffering when IOF soldiers insulted and assaulted a Japanese diplomat during the tour.
Farming injustice: End all trade with Israeli agricultural companies
22 Jan — Palestinian agricultural organisations and the Palestinian BDS National Committee call for the launching of worldwide campaigns on February 9 against Israeli agricultural export corporations in light of their deep complicity in Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. Following the successful campaign against Israel’s former leading agricultural export corporation Agrexco, and in light of the growing international consensus on the duty to enforce an effective ban on trade with the illegal Israeli settlements, we invite social movements, nongovernmental organisations, trade unions and human rights campaigners to take creative and effective action on February 9th in support of Palestinian farmers defending their land and natural resources. The sale and purchase of goods from Israeli agricultural companies, such as Mehadrin and Hadiklaim, finance and reward the on-going illegal Israeli exploitation and colonisation of Palestinian land and further undermine the chances for a just peace based on international law and respect for universal human rights.