Official: Israeli forces kill man, wound another in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Israeli forces fired at the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, killing one man and injuring another, medics said. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that Anwar Muhammad al-Mamlouk, 22, was killed by Israeli fire east of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. Another man was seriously wounded and taken to the Kamal Udwan hospital by paramedics. The incident happened near a cemetery by the refugee camp, al-Qidra said. Al-Mamlouk was in an outdoor area studying for an exam when he was killed, according to his brother Hani, who was not harmed in the incident. An Israeli military spokesman said that “dozens of Palestinians approached the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip in an area which is forbidden for entry. IDF soldiers at the scene acted in accordance with the rules of engagement.”
19-year-old law student Anwar Al-Malouk from Gaza City shot dead
Jabalia, Gaza Strip 11 Jan — The fragile ceasefire announced on 21st November, following Israel’s eight-day offensive on Gaza, was yet again violated by the Israeli military today after a fatal attack on a group of Palestinian civilians east of Jabalia. 19 year-old Anwar Al-Malouk, a law student from the Shajaia district of Gaza City was shot dead and 21 year-old Omar Wadi from the Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City, was injured as he came to Anwar’s aid. At about 2.30pm on 11th January, Omar was in a local cemetery visiting the graves of friends killed under the occupation. He noticed a group of around 30 Palestinians a few hundred metres away to the east, between the cemetery and the fence marking the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. From the cemetery, which was over half a kilometre from the border fence, Omar approached the group to investigate the situation.
Man killed, 3 wounded in Gaza tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — A Palestinian man was killed when a tunnel under Gaza’s border with Egypt collapsed on Sunday morning, rescue services said. Ali al-Fadi, 20, died immediately and three others were wounded when the tunnel partially caved in near Rafah, south Gaza, civil defense spokesman Muhammad al-Maathneh said. He said two tunnel workers who went missing in another tunnel collapse on Friday are still missing. On Saturday, one Palestinian was man was pulled out alive from the rubble.
Egypt border tunnel collapses near school
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — A smuggling tunnel on the Egyptian side of Rafah collapsed on Saturday, Egyptian security sources said. The tunnel collapsed near a high school for girls, causing panic among local residents, sources said. Many of the tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt have flooded or collapsed due to heavy rainfall in recent days.
Gaza search continues for missing tunnel worker
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — The search for a missing tunnel worker in Gaza continued on Saturday, relatives said. Relatives of Bassam Khader told Ma‘an that he has been missing now for four days [since Tuesday?], after last being seen working in a smuggling tunnel in Rafah. Khalil, his brother, said that the family have looked for him since a tunnel he was working in collapsed due to severe weather conditions. The family called on Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh to intervene and send rescue crews to help find him.
Gaza shuts down border tunnels citing safety
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Gaza’s border authorities decided on Monday to shut down all smuggling tunnels between the coastal enclave and Egypt until further notice. A spokesperson of the border authorities told a Ma‘an reporter the decision was precautionary after several tunnels have collapsed in the past week as a result of heavy rain and stormy weather. Palestinian civil defense crews are still searching for two workers who went missing last week
4 children injured in Gaza house fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Four children were seriously wounded in a house fire late Thursday in the Gaza Strip, medics said. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman of Gaza’s health ministry, told Ma‘an that four relatives from the al-Far family were injured in the blaze, with one in a critical condition. The fire was caused by candles the family had lit during an electricity blackout in Jabalia refugee camp.
Official: Man dies from Fatah Gaza rally injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — A 21-year-old man died on Friday from wounds sustained during Fatah’s 48th anniversary celebrations in Gaza last week, a party official said. Muhammad Tayeh was electrocuted during the celebrations in Gaza City and transferred to a hospital in Israel, Fatah leader Jamal Obeid told Ma‘an.
Energy authority: Qatari fuel shipments to Gaza resumed
GAZA (PIC) 13 Jan — Deputy chairman of the Gaza energy authority Fathi Khalil has said that Qatari fuel supplies to Gaza Strip via Egypt had resumed after one month stoppage. He told a TV program that power would improve in the besieged enclave after arrival of the Qatari fuel.
Hamas flagship university grooms Hebrew teachers (AP)
GAZA CITY (AP) 10 Jan — Hamas’ flagship university in Gaza has a new diploma on offer — Hebrew, the official language of its arch-foe Israel. Gaza’s Hamas rulers say they want to produce qualified teachers as the government gradually introduces Hebrew studies in its high schools. The aim is simple: It wants Palestinians in Gaza to learn their enemy’s language. “As Jews are occupying our lands, we have to understand their language,” said Education Ministry official Somayia Nakhala.
Egypt delegation arrives in Gaza to discuss bilateral sports ties
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — An Egyptian delegation from the Ministry of Youth and Sport arrived in Gaza on Saturday, Egyptian sources said. The 60-strong delegation, headed by Egypt’s minister of youth and sports Farouk al-Amiri, entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing for a meeting to support bi-lateral sports ties between Gaza and Egypt. Meanwhile, a Turkish medical delegation also arrived Gaza on Saturday carrying medical supplies.
Video: Gaza restaurant staffed by deaf people beats prejudices
BBC 11 Jan — According to statistics, 1.5% of all Gazans over the age of five has some form of hearing disability. Now a restaurant in the Gaza Strip is giving some of these deaf people a chance to break down prejudices about their potential. A charity called Atfaluna – Arabic for “our children” – has helped set up a restaurant of the same name where 12 out of its 14 staff are deaf. Roopa Suchak reports.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement / Apartheid
Israel-oPt: Aid agencies tread gingerly in Area C
RAMALLAH/AL-JIFTLIK (IRIN) 11 Jan — As night descends in the Jordan Valley in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), a family in the village of Ras Al-Ahmar lights a small paraffin lamp in the tent they call home. There is no electricity here and the nearby Palestinian villages are enveloped in darkness. The only visible cluster of light is from a nearby Israeli settlement. Humanitarian agencies are well aware of the needs in this part of the West Bank but they face a challenge: play by the rules established by Israel or face the risk of having projects demolished. Despite being outside the state of Israel, 90 percent of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli civil and military control as part of Area C, a zone that covers 60 percent of the West Bank. Palestinian communities here, among the poorest and most vulnerable in oPt, desperately need access to water, electricity, sanitation and other basic infrastructure. But despite the needs, development organizations that try to improve living conditions in Area C say they find their ability to make any lasting impact hampered by Israeli restrictions and bureaucracy. Like Palestinians, organizations that want to build basic service infrastructure such as houses, schools or water systems are required to submit an application for a permit to the Israeli authorities. Often, these permits are not granted.
Israel publishes plans for new settlement units in West Bank
IMEMC 14 Jan — The Israeli government published plans for the construction of additional 170 units, and 84 “guestrooms”, for Jewish settlers in Rotem illegal settlement, in the Jordan valley, Hagit Ofran of Israel’s Peace Now movement said. Ofran stated that the construction has been previously authorized by Israel, and that what has been declared recently is the construction plan. Construction maps were submitted last week for review; they include 200 homes (30 have already been built), in addition to construction plans for 84 “guestrooms”.
IOA halts entry of West Bankers to 1948-occupied Palestine
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 13 Jan — The Israeli occupation authorities have stopped issuing permits for Palestinian West Bankers to enter occupied Jerusalem or 1948 occupied Palestine, sources in the Palestinian liaison office said Saturday. They noted that no permits were issued for more than a month except for patients, adding that the ban started after the UN accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state. An official at the chamber of commerce and industry in Al-Khalil affirmed the news saying that 1800 permits were tabled with the Israeli civil administration but no response was made to any of them.
The short but notable life of Bab al-Shams
Video from Bab al-Shams set to the great US civil rights anthem “We shall not be moved”
Video: Israel forces Palestinians from ‘tent city’
13 Jan — Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reports from Jerusalem.
Video, photos of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Bab al Shams
[from many different sources; click on ‘older post’ to go backwards in time to establishment of village] Australian activist ‘Kim’: please find below videos and photos of Israel’s attack on the Palestinian resistance village of Bab Al Shams which was established on Friday by Palestinian activists in the Occupied West Bank/Occupied East Jerusalem corridor known by Israel as E1. Israeli Occupation Forces, in violation of Israel’s own High Court, brutally attack the unarmed, non violent inhabitants of the village in the early hours of the morning on 13 January … I will update when more information comes to hand.
Anyone who hasn’t been following the events since Friday can read the following four articles to catch up:
Palestinians establish new village — Bab al-Shams,’Gate of the Sun’ — in occupied E1
Mondoweiss 11 Jan by Allison Deger and Annie Robbins — Today in a show of defiance against Israel’s occupation and announced settlement expansion in the E1 area between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 250 Palestinians erected tents near the village of Za’I’m and announced the establishment of a new Palestinian village named Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun). “Because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it,” said a statement by the Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee (PSCC) who spearheaded the action, “we will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues.”
On foot through the hills of E1 — Palestinians join Bab al-Shams protest village
[photos] Mondoweiss 12 Jan by Allison Deger — …After instructing the activists to run from the highway into the hills, the bus parked a few kilometers past an intersection in E1. This is the same way medical teams and journalists from mainstream outlets have accessed the village, get down and walk ten minutes to reach Bab al-Shams. However, today doctors had trouble. The Israeli border police, although technically barred from raiding the encampment by a preemptive injunction filed by lawyers supporting the village, had blocked the southbound roads leading to E1.
Letter to my people in the village of Bab al-Shams / Elias Khoury
Mondoweiss 12 Jan — Elias Khoury posted this letter to the villagers of Bab al-Shams, named after the Palestinian village in his epic novel by the same name. The title of his novel is translated: Gate of the Sun. I won’t say I wish I were with you, I am with you. I see you, and I see how the dream through your hands has turned into reality rooted in the earth.
Netanyahu ordered eviction of Bab al-Shams
Mondoweiss 13 Jan by Allison Deger — Israeli special forces have detained Palestinian villagers in the protest encampment of Bab al-Shams, in the E1 area of the West Bank, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the eviction Saturday night. The Israeli Supreme Court had issued a stay of eviction Friday (responding to a petition filed in anticipation of the raid).
Palestinians vow return to Bab al-Shams following raid
Al-Akhbar 13 Jan — Updated 4:57pm: Palestinians have vowed to erect a new set of encampments across the Israeli-occupied West Bank Sunday following an overnight raid on a newly established tent village. Witnesses said that hundreds of soldiers invaded the two-day-old Bab al-Shams encampment at around 2:30am, destroyed their tents and beat the occupants before forcing them into vans and releasing them in other parts of the West Bank. “We’re going to return to Bab al Shams,” Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, a Bab al-Shams coordinator, told Al-Akhbar. “It seems the army has besieged the village completely so it will be difficult, but we’re trying to organize our ranks to return.” Some of the injured were sent to Ramallah for medical treatment. “The wounded were punched in the face and left with injuries near their eyes,” Abir Kopty, an activist who was camped out at Bab al-Shams during the assault, told Al-Akhbar. “Then the army started attacking the Al Jazeera crew. They were shining bright lights making it impossible for the cameramen to capture any footage at night,” she added.
Ghussein: Bab al-Shams village is a new and important form of resistance
GAZA (PIC) 13 Jan — Ihab Ghussein, head of the Government Information Office, said that setting up the tent village of Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun) east Jerusalem, is a new and important form of resistance against settlement. “The construction of the village is a step in the right direction, and a Palestinian need to restore resistance in all its forms against the occupation,” Ghussein said in a written press statement on Sunday. He rejected the notion that the destruction of the village, at dawn on Sunday by the Israeli occupation, is a failure for the protesters, stressing the need to continue similar steps to impose the reality against the occupation in light of international silence.
E1 protest marks change of tactics by Palestinian activists
Haaretz 14 Jan by Amira Hass — The Palestinian Popular Committees are facing a contradiction: They won the attention of the world, but failed to spark a mass movement against the occupation … The desire to resolve this contradiction and fashion the tools for a popular uprising obligated the committees to devise actions that would fire the imagination of more young people. The actions, they decided, would have to relate to news events – like the construction plans for E-1 – so that the media would be interested. From both these perspectives, the Palestinian “outpost” was successful.
Eviction of Palestinian outpost exposes double standard on settlements / Aziz Abu Sarah
972mag 13 Jan — The consequences of the the Israeli government decision go beyond the action against the Palestinian community in Bab Al-Shams. By evicting the residents, Netanyahu has made a mockery of the Israeli High Court and, in turn, the rule of law — In the early hours of Sunday morning, hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the newly-founded Bab Al-Shams village, evicting Palestinian and international activists. The eviction took place despite an injunction by the High Court of Justice. However, Palestinians at the site were notified ahead of time that they will be removed regardless of the decision. The Bab Al-Shams village was created only three days ago by over 250 Palestinians and internationals as a nonviolent response to Israel’s recent decision to build settlement units in the E1 area.
Eviction of Bab Al Shams exposes Israel as a racist state / Max Blumenthal
Ramallah (EI) 14 Jan — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was clearly troubled by the establishment of Bab Al Shams, a Palestinian protest village erected on privately owned Palestinian land, the planned route of what Israel calls the “E-1” corridor in the occupied West Bank. The E-1 area was to be capstone of Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise, a long segment of housing units expanding east from the Jews-only mega-settlement of Maale Adumim, permanently severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and virtually slicing the West Bank in half. And now, 400 Palestinians and their supporters stood directly in the way of the plan. “We will not allow anyone to touch the corridor between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim,” Netanyahu declared (“Israeli security forces evacuate activists from Palestinian tent outpost in E-1 area,” Haaretz, 13 January).
Violence / Raids / Arrests
Israeli forces shoot, kill worker south of Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian worker on Saturday who was attempting to cross into Israel, Israeli medical sources said. Uday Kamil Muhammad Darawish, 21, was attempting to cross the border in an area south of Hebron when he spotted an Israeli military patrol and began to run away. Darawish, from Dura, worked in Israel but did not have a permit. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers and evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israeli medical sources said. An Israeli army spokesman told Ma‘an that “a man attempted to infiltrate Israel through its security fence. Soldiers at the scene acted in accordance with IDF rules of engagement and fired at his legs…”
Child hit by Israeli car in West Bank, moderately wounded
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — A seven-year-old Palestinian boy was hit by an Israeli car in the central West Bank on Sunday morning, his teacher said. Ali Mousa al-Jahaleen was hit by the car near the Qedar settlement, on his way to the Jahalin school in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. He was transferred to Jerusalem’s al-Maqasid hospital with moderate wounds, teacher Saed Salah said. [IMEMC: the settler fled the scene]
Official: Settlers destroy over 200 olive trees in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Settlers destroyed over 200 olive trees in a Nablus village on Friday, an official said. Dozens of settlers from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh raided the village of Qusra early Friday and uprooted at least 210 olive trees, settlement monitoring official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an. The trees were owned by Gamal Abdel-Aziz, Abdul Hassan, Abdul Ahmed and Noman Abu. The village of Qusra has been subject to several violent attacks in recent weeks by settlers from nearby outposts.
Israeli settlers flood Zbobah village in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 11 Jan — Rainwater flooded houses in the village of Zbobah west of Jenin after the settlers opened the floodgates of their sewage system and drowned the village’s land and homes. Ahmed Jaradat, one of the Zbobh inhabitants, confirmed that the Israeli settlers opened the sewage pipes towards land and homes in the village to alleviate the rainwater pressure, causing a real disaster in low-lying areas. They behave as if there were no human beings living in this area where we suffer constantly from their practices even in these difficult days, he added … The village of Zbobah which is inhabited by three thousand people and located near Salem military camp, is also surrounded by a number of Israeli settlements, which engulfed most of the village’s agricultural land.
Israeli forces arrest cancer patient in Nablus, locals say
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israeli forces arrested a man suffering from cancer in Nablus on Sunday, locals said. Hassan Turabi, 22, was detained after Israeli forces raided the village of Sarra early Sunday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Turabi has suffered from cancer for nearly 10 years and was preparing to resume treatment in Jordan. The director of a prisoners association in Nablus, Raed Amer, called on Israel to immediately release Turabi and allow him to undergo medical treatment.
Qassem Turabi, Muhammad Turabi, Muhammad Sweisa, Ali Hussein, Hassan Turabi, Ali Turabi and Jaafar Turabi were also detained in Sarra village, locals said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that four people were arrested overnight, two in Ramallah and two near Bethlehem.
PCHR Weekly Report: 7 wounded, including 3 children, by Israeli troops this week [3-9 Jan]
IMEMC 11 Jan — … Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 4 protesters, including 2 children, were wounded. Israeli forces conducted 54 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 26 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted … In the Gaza Strip, on 05 January 2013, a trash collector was wounded when the Israeli Forces stationed at the border fence, north of the landfill, north of Beit Hanoun, opened fire at a waste truck in the landfill. The truck was 150 meters away from the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Full Report
IOF arrests 320 Palestinian workers within ten days
NABLUS, (PIC) 11 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested within ten days since the beginning of this year (2013) more than 300 Palestinian workers inside the occupied territories in 1948. The General Union of Palestine Workers, said in a statement on Thursday evening, that the Israeli police arrested about 320 Palestinian workers from the West Bank within the Green Line, claiming they had no work permits in their work places, where 40 workers are still detained after the extension of their arrest for security reasons, and turning them to Jalamah detention center for interrogation. According to the Union, an Israeli force and police launched since the beginning of this year wide arrest and prosecution campaigns against Palestinian workers, during which the IOF raided their houses and work places in the cities of Hadera, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth, Um Fahm and Tel Rabi.
IOF soldiers arrest two sons of detained Qassam leader
TULKAREM (PIC) 12 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) took away two brothers from their home in Qufin village, north of Tulkarem, on Friday. Relatives told the PIC reporter that the soldiers broke into the home of detained Qassam leader Fathi Al-Khasib and asked for the IDs of all members of his family. They said that the soldiers then searched the house before taking away Khasib’s sons Muadh, 28, and Mujahid, 21, blindfolded and handcuffed.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers
PA delegation discusses prisoners with Egyptian, Arab officials
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — A delegation from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees met with Egyptian and Arab League officials in Cairo on Friday to discuss the issue of Palestinians jailed by Israel. The delegation, led by PA minister of detainees Issa Qaraqe, held talks on Palestinian hunger strikers and the re-arrest of prisoners released under a swap deal with Israel in 2011, a statement said … Egypt has exerted considerable efforts to intervene to save the lives of Palestinian hunger strikers, Qaraqe said.
PA ministry: Israel prison cells flood due to heavy rainfall
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Prison cells in Israel’s Gush Etzion detention center have flooded due to heavy rainfall, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees said Friday. Hussein al-Sheikh, a PA lawyer, said that floodwater has ruined prisoners’ mattresses, clothes and blankets. Prisoners have called on Israeli prison authorities to transfer them to new cells, with no response so far, al-Sheikh said after visiting the prison. Prisoners have said that there are many detainees who require medical treatment due to the cold conditions.
Israeli prison administration isolates Palestinian hunger strikers
NABLUS (PIC) 12 Jan — The Israeli administration of Ramle prison hospital has isolated three Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, the international Tadamun (solidarity) foundation for human rights said. Tadamun said in a press release on Saturday that the prisoners Tarek Qadan, 41, Jafar Ezzuddin, 42, and Yousef Yassin, 34, were isolated in a room with a soundproof glass door. It added that the prison administration confiscated a radio from their room and daily raids and searches it. Lawyer of Tadamun quoted Qadan as saying that all three of them were adamant on maintaining their strike until the end of their administrative custody, without trial or charge. Qadan said that they decided on their 47th day of hunger strike to stop taking vitamins and salt
‘My family is living through hell’: Samer Issawi speaks from jail
EI 10 Jan by Shahd Abusalama — …Samer can barely stand on his feet and hardly turn his body on his borsh — a bed of metal that has a very thin mattress, which my father and friends who are ex-detainees often complained caused back pains. In winter, one of the most brutal practices that the Israeli Prison Service uses to oppress our prisoners is depriving them from their winter needs such as heavy blankets and warm clothes, often even depriving them of hot water … Moreover, Israeli forces get a sadistic pleasure in making the heart of Samer’s mother burn in worry over her sons and daughter. They arrested her son Fares and her daughter Shireen several times and called them to the investigation centers on numerous occasions.
BBC’s cruel excuses for ignoring Palestinian hunger strikes
EI 10 Jan by Amena Saleem — For almost 170 days, Samer Issawi, held without trial, has been refusing food in an Israeli jail. Aged just 33, he is now skeletal and his family says his life is on the line. His fellow prisoner, Ayman Sharawna, is also refusing food. Like Issawi, he is being held by Israel under administrative detention, a system which ignores all due process and interns civilians without charge, trial or sentencing for an indefinite period of time. Both Issawi and Sharawna are protesting against their arbitrary imprisonment and the brutal conditions under which they, and other prisoners, are held. Their protest, a peaceful weapon of resistance against Israel’s occupation of their land, has been ignored by the largest state-funded global broadcaster in the world, the BBC. This is despite the fact that it is not an isolated act of resistance, but part of a mass nonviolent uprising in the form of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners that began in September 2011 and was further fueled in December that year by Khader Adnan’s refusal to take food.
Jerusalem family anxiously awaits son after 25 years in Israeli prison
EI 13 Jan by Shahd Abusalama – Palestinian detainee Jihad al-Obeidi will be freed on 20 January after 25 years in Israeli prisons. His family has already started decorating their house in Jerusalem with colorful lights and Palestinian flags to celebrate Jihad’s freedom. They are excited to welcome him home and fill his place, which has been empty for 25 years. Jihad al-Obeidi was charged for affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and accused of trying to kill Israeli soldiers. He was sentenced to 25 years of detention, despite never having attended a trial. He was absent from the court that sentenced him, after he was expelled for refusing to stand for its racist judges. Jihad wrote to his family that the first place he will visit after his release will be the grave of his nephew, Milad Ayyash. Milad was a 17-year-old boy whose life was cut short in May 2011 as he fell prey to an Israeli criminal who still walks freely somewhere, having escaped from justice by virtue of being an Israeli settler.
‘Palestine1948’ prisoners rights delegation visits Derry in Ireland
PNN 14 Jan — A delegation from Palestine 48 comprised of Meezan Centre for Human Rights and Yousef Al Sedeeq Institute for Prisoners Protection was today officially greeted by Kevin Campbell, Mayor of Derry, Ireland. The Mayor received the group at historical Free Derry Corner where they each exchanged welcoming gifts. The Delegation then toured the Museum of Free Derry and met with Bloody Sunday family member John Kelly who lost his brother Michael Kelly aged 17 on that day.
PA cooperation with Israel
PA security apparatuses arrest liberated prisoner in Al-Khalil
WEST BANK (PIC) 12 Jan — PA security apparatuses arrested a liberated captive in Al-Khalil, while Israeli forces arrested two former political prisoners in Tulkarem. A force of the preventive security arrested the liberated prisoner Loay Alyan Al-Tawil, 25, from Beit Sihra in the city of Al-Khalil, from his father-in-law’s house after raiding it on Friday night, and then he was taken to the preventive security headquarters, despite the severe weather conditions and the accumulation of snow…
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces arrested in Tulkarem in the northern West Bank two brothers, one of them is a student at Khadouri University, after breaking into their home at dawn Saturday.
Political arrests continue in the West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 13 Jan — PA security apparatus arrested the preacher of a mosque in Jenin, and summoned seven Hamas supporters for interrogation in al-Khalil, Nablus and Qalqilya. In Jenin, the Preventive Security Apparatus arrested Sheikh Mohammed Habayba, the preacher of the Dhou Nourain mosque in Sanour. The Authority security apparatus summoned in areas in the south of al-Khalil governorate 4 supporters and cadres of Hamas movement….
Afifa: The PA security ties with Israel impede the Palestinian unity
GAZA (PIC) 13 Jan — Political analyst Wisam Afifa said the Palestinian authority’s persistent security collaboration with the Israeli regime would get the inter-Palestinian reconciliation situation back to square one. In a press statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Saturday, Afifa said the national unity in Palestine cannot be restored without renouncing the security coordination with the Israeli regime.
Palestinians in Syria
Seven Palestinian martyrs in Syria on Saturday
DAMASCUS (PIC) 13 Jan — The Working Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria confirmed on Saturday that 7 Palestinian refugees were killed in Yarmouk and Husseiniya refugee camps in the Syrian capital Damascus. Seven martyrs of the Palestinian refugees were reported on Saturday, four of them in the Yarmouk refugee camp, and three others in Husseiniya camp, the group said in a press statement on Sunday.
Shelling on Yarmouk camp kills child
DAMASCUS (PIC) 12 Jan — A Palestinian child died on Friday evening from injuries suffered in shelling of the Yarmouk refugee camp, south of Damascus, a few days ago while other refugees were wounded during bombings in Husseiniyeh camp. The workgroup for Palestinians in Syria said in a press statement that the child Hala Rayyan died from wounds she sustained when boiling oil spilled on her after a shell landed next to her family’s home in the Fedaya neighborhood in the Yarmouk refugee camp.
Two young men have also been wounded by sniper’s bullets, one of them in a serious condition as he was shot in the head.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Tom Hurndall, RIP
[with videos] ISM 12 Jan — Tom was 21 years old when he was shot. A photography student, he had left the UK to volunteer as a ‘human shield’ in Iraq. Here he heard about the ISM, one of whose volunteers, Rachel Corrie, had just been killed by a bulldozer whilst protesting house demolitions in Rafah. He headed there himself, arriving on the 6th April. On the day of his shooting, Tom was with other ISM activists walking through Rafah when Israeli sniper fire started. Almost everyone ran for safety, but Tom noticed that three children, aged between four and seven, had remained motionless, paralysed with fear. Tom went back for them. He got the little boy to safety, and then went back for the two girls. He was wearing a fluorescent vest, and was clearly unarmed. An Israeli sniper shot him in the head.
Israeli prison contractor G4S nominated for ‘worst company’ award
EI 10 Jan by Michael Deas — Private security company G4S has been nominated for the notorious Public Eye “worst company of the year” award over its support for Israeli apartheid and involvement in other human rights violations. G4S provides services and equipment to Israel’s prisons, checkpoints, police and the apartheid wall in the West Bank. It has also come under fire for its role in Iraq and Afghanistan and for failing to prevent abuse by its staff working in the UK deportation system. Public voting will now decide whether G4S or one of the six other shortlisted companies will be presented with the final award at a counter-summit during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Switzerland. Voting closes at midday on 23 January (click here to vote).
Thanks, Stanley Jordan, for pulling out of Israeli jazz fest
EI 11 Jan by Alexander Billet — It appears that the movement for a cultural boycott of Israel can claim another victory. On Saturday (5 January) guitarist Stanley Jordan announced he will not be performing at the winter installment of Israel’s Red Sea Jazz Festival. In a brief statement on his Facebook page, Jordan said: “My performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival has been cancelled. I apologize for any inconvenience to anyone.” Jordan, an acclaimed and innovative guitarist, had been billed as a headliner at the festival. The outpouring of gratitude has been substantial.
Pro-Israel blogger attacks Canada First Nation chief, but Palestinians express solidarity with Idle No More
EI 9 Jan by Asa Winstanley — …Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, Theresa Spence launched a hunger strike last month in solidarity with Idle No More, an indigenous rights movement that has swept Canada since it was launched by four women in November. The grassroots movement has been organizing teach-ins, flash mobs, demonstrations and blockades to draw attention to its demands. At the center of these is the call to revoke C-45, a new law activists say is “a legislative attack on First Nation people and the lands and waters across the country.” Spence is demanding a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and has vowed to continue hunger striking to draw attention to C-45 and other items of legislation that threaten indigenous sovereignty and degrade environmental protection … In a short time, Idle No More seems to have inspired expressions of solidarity from indigenous peoples around the world – including Palestinians. Palestinian and solidarity groups have signed a statement of solidarity. Signatories include resistance icon Leila Khalid, and Iltezam Morrar, the popular resistance leader who helped lead her village Budrus against the wall being built on its land (as documented in the film of the same name).
Israeli racism / discrimination
Disturbing new video of Israeli Jews assaulting Africans in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Eve
EI 13 Jan by Ali Abunimah — A disturbing new video by David Sheen shot on New Year’s Eve on the streets of Tel Aviv shows Israelis rallying against Africans and then Jewish youths assaulting, insulting and humiliating African people – presumably identifiable only by the color of their skin. A rally speaker called for buses to be brought to Tel Aviv to transport 12,000 Africans to a desert internment camp. After the rally a group of Israeli Jewish youths went through the streets assaulting and abusing Africans as police followed them doing nothing. One man, apparently a rally participant, is seen assaulting Sheen and threatening him with further violence.
Beersheba country club forbids Bedouin from praying
Ynet 13 Jan — Heated argument erupts when Rahat resident told by gym manager he can’t pray on grounds, should ‘go to Ahmad Tibi’ — Zuhir Abu Jumaa of Rahat is a 32-year-old driver’s ed instructor and a married father of four who works out at the Beersheba country club. About a week ago, Abu Jumaa and his friends asked to conduct their evening prayers prior to their routine workout, but were greatly disappointed upon hearing the response.
Elections commission ‘to restart work in Gaza’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The Palestinian elections commission will begin working in Gaza in the next few days, a political official told Ma‘an on Saturday. Independent coalition chief Khalil Assaf said factions meeting in Cairo in recent days had agreed to move forward with the electoral process in the Gaza Strip. Holding fresh elections was a key component of the stalled 2011 unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Since the parties split into separate governments in 2007, elections for parliament, president, and local councils have been delayed. The West Bank held separate local council elections in recent months, after Hamas had called off electoral registration in the Gaza Strip at the last minute, citing political partiality concerns and highlighting repression of its members in the West Bank.
Hamas officials arrive in Cairo for reconcilation talks
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — A Hamas delegation left Gaza on Friday to participate in reconciliation talks with Fatah representatives in Cairo. Twenty-two officials from the Islamist group, including Salah al-Bardawil and Ismail al-Ashqar, crossed the Rafah terminal en-route to the Egyptian capital to meet Egyptian and Palestinian officials. Independent Palestinian political leaders and some faction representatives had traveled to Cairo on Friday
DFLP: Egypt to host reconciliation meeting in Feb
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Sunday that Egypt has agreed to host the PLO for reconciliation talks at the beginning of February. DFLP official Talal Abu Zarifeh told Ma‘an that the meeting will discuss obstacles to reconciliation, and stressed the importance of using proportional representation in presidential and parliamentary elections. Recent meetings in Cairo between Palestinian factions have been positive and have moved parties closer to implementing an Egyptian-sponsored deal from 2011, he added.
Fatah military wing urges Hamas to release detainees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Fatah’s armed wing on Friday called on Hamas to release all prisoners from the movement jailed in Gaza, a statement said. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades urged the Islamist group to release all Fatah detainees and end the division, adding that armed struggle is the right way to liberate Palestine. The group also said that Hamas’ decision this week to sentence jailed Fatah leader Zaki al-Sakani to 15 years in prison “reinforced” the division between the factions.
Arab League urges members to ease PA financial crisis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Arab foreign ministers agreed Sunday to form a delegation to press member states to fulfill their financial obligations to the Palestinian Authority, a statement said. The delegation will be comprised of PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, the Iraqi foreign minister, and Lebanon’s foreign minister, Adnan Mansour.
The Arab League called on the international community to force Israel to release PA tax revenues, a statement from the Cairo meeting added.
Report: EU developing 2013 Mideast peace plan
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The European Union is developing a proposal to restart peace talks between Israel and Palestine that it will put forward in March, Israeli media reported on Sunday. The plan will set out the principles of a future peace accord, and a timetable for negotiating all the key issues during 2013, Israeli diplomatic sources told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. It has been championed by British and French foreign ministers, is supported by Germany, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is trying to get the rest of the union on board. According to the report, the plan poses a regional Middle Eastern committee to oversee the process, and Palestinian officials have already said they will join the body.
Erekat: Palestinians have not seen ‘EU peace plan’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Jan– The Palestinian negotiating team has not been updated on any plan by the European Union to complete peace talks with Israel during 2013, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Sunday.
Israel’s center-left signs pact pledging Arab-Jewish equality within 10 years
Haaretz 13 Jan — Representatives of the center-left parties signed a covenant Sunday pledging to work toward equality and the closing of gaps within 10 years between Jews and Arabs in various aspects of life. No right-wing parties were present at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Arab-Jewish Theater in Jaffa. Also absent were representatives of the ultra-Orthodox parties and the Arab parties Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al. Some of the speakers at the ceremony called on Israeli Arabs to vote in larger numbers in the upcoming election.
Signing the covenant, which was initiated by the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development, were MK Isaac Herzog (Labor); MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz); MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash); MK Doron Avital (Kadima); Hatnuah candidate Amram Mitzna; and Yesh Atid candidate Ya’akov Peri. The leaders of Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al initially said they would take part in the ceremony but cancelled shortly before it began.
Methlon villagers attack Fayyad’s motorcade, clash with PA forces
GAZA (PIC) 12 Jan — Violent clashes broke out on Friday evening between the Palestinian Authority security forces and young men from Methlon [or Meithalun] village, south of Jenin city, after the latter attacked the motorcade of Salam Fayyad and barred him from visiting their village … The sources added that the head of the municipal council of Methlon had to meet with Fayyad in an area outside the village … The Methlon villagers had boycotted the municipal elections in protest at Fayyad’s decision to merge their village with five other municipal councils as part of the plan he called the united municipality.
PA to compensate citizens for storm damage
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The Palestinian Authority will compensate citizens for the damage wrought by a heavy storm last week, the minister of national economy Jawad Naji said on Saturday. Both private losses and public infrastructure damage will be compensated, he said. The minister visited some of the worst-hit areas in the Tulkarem and Jenin governorates to survey some of the damage. In Anabta village, where two women died after they were swept away by floods, local officials highlighted that rainfall far exceeded what the community could cope with … In Bartaa village, head of the local council Ghassan Qabaha told the minister: “The whole village was flooded in just four minutes.” More than 50 shops and dozens of houses suffered damage
Red Crescent helps Hebron community after stormy weather
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Red Crescent on Saturday provided emergency relief to a Hebron community adversely affected by recent stormy weather. The community of 47 people live in semi-permanent structures west of Hebron, near the village of Ithna. Recent stormy weather flooded most of their dwellings and uprooted tents and corrugated iron structures which they were living in … One woman Ma‘an spoke to had lost five goats and other livestock, including chickens, in the storms. “I’ve been living here with my husband and four of my children,” another woman Um Muhammad al-Azazmeh told Ma‘an. “My husband is a shepherd and my daughters help him. It’s a difficult life. We were forced to live here after we were forced to leave the Beersheba area in 1948. We’re dreaming of returning.”
Number of IDF recruits to hit 20-year low in 2013
Ynet 11 Jan — Gradual decline in number of recruits linked to lower birth rate, drop in number of olim; some 26% exempt from military service; IDF plans major haredi draft
Film / Music
Video: Gaza firm produces first Palestinian 3D animated film
BBC 12 Jan — Young filmmakers in Gaza are putting the final touches on The Scarecrow – the first Palestinian 3D animated film. The movie tells the fictional story of an orphaned girl whose parents left her a scarecrow which ends up being seized by the Israeli army. Murad Shishani reports.
Is Oscar-nominated 5 Broken Cameras an Israeli or a Palestinian film? / Asa Winstanley
EI 11 Jan — The film 5 Broken Cameras has been nominated for a Oscar in the best feature-length documentary category, it was announced yesterday. I reviewed the feature, the product of years’ worth of footage of demonstrations shot by Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, for The Electronic Intifada back in October… In a press release from the production company, Burnat responded to the news: “This is one of the happiest moments of my life. The village of Bil‘in is celebrating because of international support of my film. As a child I remember watching the Oscars on TV … I don’t recall seeing films about Palestine, the occupation or our struggles. Times have changed.” Israeli Appropriation But despite being a deeply Palestinian story about a collective Palestinian struggle, told by a Palestinian, the Israeli press almost immediately began referring to it as an “Israeli film,” along with some US media, and boasting of it almost as a national product.
Watch (and vote): Alaa A’s ‘Letter to Ahmad’ nominated for best short film in online competition
EI 10 Jan by Maureen Clare Murphy — …the Oscars aren’t the only venue where Palestine cinema is being honored. Palestinian writer and filmmaker Alaa Al Ali’s short film Letter to Ahmad is currently nominated for the Dragon Award for New Talent and the corresponding audience choice award (you can vote here until 24 January). According to its website, the Dragon Award, a project of the Göteborg International Film Festival, is the world’s largest online short film competition. Produced in 2011, Al Ali’s poetic film weaves together footage of one of Lebanon’s refugee camps with a narrated letter from one of the camp’s residents to his childhood friend Ahmad, who now lives in Europe. The narrator informs Ahmad about the changes in the camp and the fate of mutual acquaintances, and poses existential questions about exile.
DAM’s new album ‘Dabke on the Moon’: an interview with Tamer Nafar
EI 9 Jan — Palestinian hip-hop legends DAM — Tamer Nafar, Suhel Nafar and Mahmoud Jrere — have finally released their long-awaited second album. Dabke on the Moon (Nudbok al Amar)’s eleven tracks span critical political issues and complex musical expressions; DAM incorporates rich talent from an array of international instrumentalists while, as they’ve always done, telling stories of local and universal struggles for justice and equality. The song and video for one of the new album’s tracks, “If I Could Go Back In Time,” which targets violence against women, was highlighted on The Electronic Intifada back in November. Already, the song and video has climbed to number 4 on the World Music Network chart for January.