Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
VIDEO: Demolition and bulldozing Palestinian land in Jerusalem
Silwanic 1 Feb — Israel Nature Authority as a settlement arm in Silwan — Monday morning 28 of Jan 2013 the occupation bulldozers [led] by Israeli National Park Authority supported by large Israeli forces stormed into Wadi Al-Rababa [Hinnom Valley] in Silwan. Occupation forces close the entrances to the village and attack residents. Bulldozers start destroying houses, olive trees and lands. Residents were not informed beforehand or allowed to take as much as a chair out of the houses, and were attacked with dogs. The injured had to be carried for more than a kilometer. Possessions were burned. [Background music is Fairouz's Jerusalem, the Flower of Cities]
Attacks continue against Silwan
IMEMC 1 Feb — For the second day in a row, Israeli soldiers and policemen continued their campaign in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The army broke into homes and stores, and kidnapped a number of residents … On Thursday evening, the army kidnapped three Palestinian youths in Silwan, including one who carried a West Bank ID card. They were kidnapped at the military roadblock in Wadi Al-Rababa. The two have been identified as Sa’id Al-Tawil and Shihab Abu Rmeila. Jawad Siyam, head of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan reported that a similar campaign was carried out for a month in the Al-Esawiyya town, in East Jerusalem, adding that the army kidnapped dozens of residents, including women and children; four residents are still imprisoned. Siyam stated that the arrests are arbitrary, without any cause or warrant, and that the army also broke into dozens of stores and homes, and repeatedly shutoff water pipes leaving the town without water.
Siyam also stated that the ongoing attacks are acts of collective punishment practiced against the residents, and that there is an Israeli special task force that repeatedly invades and attacks Jerusalem villages and towns that protest the ongoing Israeli settlement activities, the illegal confiscation of Palestinian lands and the ongoing arrests.
Court hears petitions on fate of Palestinians in Sussiya
JPost 1 Feb — The High Court of Justice on Thursday heard two petitions affecting the future of the Palestinian part of the village of Sussiya. One of the petitions, filed by the Regavim organization and villagers from the Jewish part of Sussiya, is to expedite the demolition of portions of the Palestinian village. Although the IDF has ordered the demolitions, Regavim believes the IDF has been too slow to carry them out, permitting continued new “illegal” building activities.
The other petition, filed by some of the Palestinian villagers and various human rights groups, seeks to restore the villagers’ access to 300 hectares (741 acres) of land that they are currently being blocked from farming. The Palestinians allege that a combination of attacks from Jewish settlers, and the villagers’ unjustified and unexplained eviction from their land by IDF and police, is preventing them from farming their land. They also claim that the police and IDF fail to investigate complaints of violent acts committed against them. The court did not render any decisions, but the arguments between the sides were heated.
Feiglin plan would pay Palestinians to leave West Bank
JERUSALEM (JTA) 2 Feb — Moshe Feiglin of the Likud Party offered a plan to pay Palestinian families to emigrate from the West Bank. The plan offered Tuesday evening came during a conference in Jerusalem on ways to make a one-state solution work. Earlier in the day, Feiglin was detained by Israel Police for praying on the Temple Mount. At the conference, Feiglin said that Israel could use the money it uses for security and defense to pay Palestinians to immigrate to the West. He added that recent poll data showed a majority of Palestinians living in the West Bank would be willing to leave. Feiglin set the amount per Palestinian family at $500,000. Several Likud lawmakers at the conference reportedly expressed support for annexing the West Bank … Feiglin, head of the Likud’s Jewish Leadership faction, visits the Temple Mount on the 19th of each Hebrew month and brings guests with him.
Israeli right-wing groups use ‘right of return’ to evict Arabs from East Jerusalem
Haaretz 3 Feb by Nir Hasson — In December 2012, a Jerusalem court ruled to evict a Palestinian family from its Sheikh Jarrah home, where it had been living for decades, on March 1. The eviction suit, filed by the Justice Ministry’s Custodian General, was engineered entirely by far-right activists. The Shamasna family of Sheikh Jarrah is one of several Palestinian families to have been evicted in recent years using a similar method. The law enables Jews, but not Palestinians, to reclaim property they left behind enemy lines in 1948. A number of rightist NGOs have been acting vigorously in recent years to track down the Jewish heirs of properties in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods and assist them in “releasing” the property, held in trust by the Custodian General. They then buy the property from the heirs or rent it to Jewish settlers.
Israeli court freezes evacuation of Sheikh Jarrah family
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — An Israeli court in Jerusalem on Wednesday decided to freeze evacuation of a family’s houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. The family of Abdul-Raziq al-Sabbagh’s case has been pending in Israeli courts since 1972. The Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper quoted the family’s lawyer Salih Abu Hussein as saying the court decision will pave the way for other Palestinian families to retrieve their properties in Sheikh Jarrah which Israeli settlers have already occupied or are planning to occupy. An Israeli magistrate court ordered the al-Sabbagh family last year to evacuate the buildings. The decision was frozen after an appeal by the family against a committee of eastern Jews which claimed ownership of the houses.
Factsheet: Palestinian refugees
Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition – Palestinian refugees represent the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world today. In 2005, there were approximately 7.2 million Palestinian refugees, equivalent to about 70% of the entire Palestinian population which is estimated at 10.7 million worldwide. The breakdown of the refugee population is as follows: 1. During the creation of the Zionist state in 1948, approximately three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced to become refugees. Together with their descendants, more than 4.3 million of these refugees are today registered with the United Nations while over 1.7 million are not… 2. Approximately 32,000 Palestinians also became internally displaced in the areas occupied in 1948. Today, these refugees number approximately 355,000 persons. Despite the fact that they were issued Israeli citizenship, the Zionist state has also denied these refugees their right to return to their homes or villages. 3. When the West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied in 1967, the U.N. reported that approximately 200,000 Palestinians fled their homes. These 1967 refugees and their descendants today number about 834,000 persons. 4. As a result of home demolitions, revocation of residency rights and construction of illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian owned-land, at least 57,000 Palestinians have become displaced in the occupied West Bank. This number includes 15,000 persons so far displaced by the construction of Israel’s Annexation/Apartheid Wall.
Israel dismantles Arab tent communities in West Bank, leaving residents to face the elements
Haaretz 3 Feb by Amira Hass — The Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration are intensifying operations designed to uproot entire Palestinian communities. This holds true in three main areas in the West Bank: south of Mount Hebron, particularly villages defined as firing zone 918; the Khan al-Ahmar region (between the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and the Inn of the Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho), which is populated by Bedouin; and the northern Jordan Valley. As the Israeli authorities see it, and as has been conveyed to the High Court of Justice and the communities’ representatives, villagers in the southern Mount Hebron area should move to the Yatta and Dahariya townships — that is, from Area C to Area A under exclusive Palestinian control — because the region is vital to IDF training and one village is located at an archaeological site. The Israeli authorities intend to dismantle the communities and concentrate the Bedouin, against their will, in two permanent neighborhoods near Jericho.
Haaretz editorial: Cleansing the Jordan Valley
4 Feb — Israel is causing grave injustice to dozens of old, poverty-stricken communities that make a living from herding and farming — The campaign of destruction in the northern Jordan Valley continued for a week. As reported by Amira Hass (on February 1) it started in January 17 at 6:30 in the morning, when bulldozers and Jeeps with soldiers and representatives of the IDF’s Civil Administration in the West Bank removed 60 Palestinians, including 36 children, and destroyed 46 tents and improvised structures … The declared reason for the destruction is usually “military exercises.” In 2012, eight times the IDF ordered the 17 communities of shepherds and farmers to temporarily leave their tents for that reason. But despite the fact that firing ranges already make up 45.7 percent of the area of the Jordan Valley, this is not enough for Israel: 20 percent of the area was declared a nature reserve; hundreds of thousands of mines were laid in the area; 2,500 dunams (about 625 acres) that were farmed by Palestinians were confiscated for the separation barrier. In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million — some 77.5 percent — where Palestinians are forbidden to enter. All this comes at the same time that Israeli settlements in the very same region live in peace and quiet, and are not required to evacuate.
Barak sanctions establishment of 346 housing units
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Feb — Israeli war minister Ehud Barak has sanctioned the building of 346 new housing units in Gush Etzion settlement complex south of occupied Jerusalem. Gush Etzion Local Council Head Davidi Pearl told English-language Jerusalem Post on Friday that the construction plans were approved weeks ago. He said that 200 of those units would be built in Tikwa settlement while 146 others would be built in Nokdim settlement.
Israel re-opens Nablus roads closed since second intifada
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Israeli forces on Sunday reopened several roads in Nablus which had been closed for 13 years, the governor of the northern West Bank district said. Jibril al-Bakri told Ma‘an that his office in Nablus worked extensively with the Israelis to have the roads reopened, after being closed since the beginning of the second intifada. The roads connect the Nablus villages of Awarta, Yanun, Aqraba and surrounding areas, and will give Palestinians quick access to over 13,000 dunams of land.
Israeli settlers uproot tens of olive trees in Burin
NABLUS (WAFA) 3 Feb – Jewish settlers Sunday uprooted tens of fruitful olive trees in the village of Burin near Nablus, according to local sources. Witnesses said that settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, which is built on land that belongs to the residents of Burin, uprooted nearly 64 olive trees … The Israeli Army had closed roads to Nablus on Saturday, blocking Palestinians from reaching the area where activists have set up a tent village near the illegal settlement of Bracha to protest confiscation of land.
No act too mean or petty for them…
Jewish settlers puncture the tires of 19 Palestinian cars
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Feb — Unknown assailants believed to be Jewish settlers punctured the tires of 19 Palestinian cars in occupied eastern Jerusalem. An Israeli police spokesperson said on Friday that the incident took place on Thursday night in Salahuddin Street. She said that police forces were investigating the incident.
Standing defiant: Khalid Daragmah’s family protect their land in a sea of settlements
MEMO 1 Feb by Amelia Smith – Khalid Daragmah’s home dates back to the Ottoman times. Set on 22 dunams of green, arable land, it is sprinkled with trees, a spring and rolling hills to the back. It has been in his family for generations; his grandfather ran a business pressing olives from inside. These days, the entrance has been fitted with solid iron doors; a preventative measure to keep out the groups of settlers who arrive at night with sticks and stones to harass his family. They mainly come from Ma’ale Levona, a settlement on the West side of his home, which has been built on the land of Al Libban village near Bablus. Across the valley, on the mountain in front of the house, the Naley and Shilo settlements stretch for miles from here until the green line. When I spoke to Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots organisation, ‘Stop the Wall’ who are helping Khalid with his case, he explained that the family are protecting a very sensitive part of the West Bank. “The Israelis want it because it’s connecting the settlements together. In this area they are planning to cut off the West Bank from the north and the middle of the south. So from here, until the Armistice Line, there are over thirty kilometres of settlements continuously. There are gaps between the settlements, and one of the main gaps is this one, that’s why Khalid has been under heavy attack for years now.” In August last year, Khalid’s wife and sons were beaten at their house. They have also been subject to arson attacks, and jailed for fighting with the aggressors.
Latest protest village
Palestinians erect ‘tent village’ to protest settlement expansion
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 2 Feb — Palestinian activists erected a “tent village” to the north of a West Bank village Saturday to protest against Israeli plans to confiscate the land for settlement expansion. The activists pitched eight tents and decorated them with Palestinian flags in the mountainous area which the Israeli army has announced a closed zone before Palestinians months ago. The village is located near Nablus city and the activists say 80 percent of its land was used or allocated for the use of Jewish settlement activities. Ghassan Daghlas, head of the popular resistance movement, said that 400 activists are holding a sit-in protest in the area, adding that the Israeli army intensified its presence there, blocking roads leading to the tent village. The village is located in Area B of the West Bank, where Israel retains security control while the Palestinian National Authority’ s (PNA) mandate there is limited to administrative issues.The activists started the tactic of tent villages since the beginning of 2013 in a bid to draw attention to the confiscation of land. The idea is based on erecting the tents before Israel starts any activity on the lands set for seizure.
Photos: Israeli forces attack Palestinian protest village
Activestills 3 Feb — Palestinian activists create a new village, Al Manatir, on private Palestinian land near the West Bank village of Burin threatened by nearby Israeli settlements. Israeli forces violently evacuate the area, resulting in arrests and injuries.
Israeli army, settlers attack new Palestinian neighborhood
Al-Akhbar 2 Feb — Israeli soldiers shot a 17-year-old Palestinian with live fire as a group of activists established a new neighborhood in the embattled village of Burin, activists reported Saturday. Four others were also reportedly wounded in the raid. The army, backed by stone-throwing settlers, also attacked a school and home in Burin, declaring the area a closed military zone and trying to forcibly evict activists from the newly inaugurated neighborhood of Manatir …
Hundreds gathered to set up huts and tents in Manatir – the name refers to the traditional stone huts built by Palestinians on agricultural land – braving tear gas and stun grenades. Settlers standing on a nearby hill are reported to have thrown rocks at the village as activists started to set up the neighborhood. Journalists were also reportedly attacked.
Al-Manatir is the third in a series of grassroots building projects enacted in the West Bank this year. Activists say they are trying to “create facts on the ground” through the encampments to thwart Israeli settlement expansion. The movement mirrors Israel’s efforts to expropriate Palestinian territory through the construction of Jewish-only units.
Israel razes West Bank encampment despite being told it had no authority to operate there
Haaretz 4 Feb — The Israel Defense Forces demolished an encampment set up by Palestinians near the West Bank village of Burin over the weekend even though the Civil Administration says the army is not authorized to operate there. Before the demolition, the Civil Administration informed the IDF that it was not authorized to take action because the land is in Area B, which is under Palestinian civilian control. The IDF said the site, which is south of Nablus, is “on the seam between Areas B and C.” .. [Border Police Lt. Col. Oriya] Hetzroni ordered the encampment demolished anyway and the soldiers began to break up the tents with their hands. Residents of the nearby Jewish outpost made off with the tin structure.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
PCHR Weekly Report: Woman, child dead; 11 civilians wounded by Israeli forces this week [23-30 Jan]
IMEMC 1 Feb — …During the last week, the Israeli forces conducted 75 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 33 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were abducted during those incursions. The Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 11 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and an old woman, were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank. Israel has continued efforts to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. 2 rooms and some other civilian facilities were demolished in Silwan village…. Full Report
Palestinian Monitoring Group Daily Situation Report 02.02.13
7-page highly detailed daily report on Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza, from the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Dep’t – for the day before (1 Feb) see here
Senior IDF officer tells West Bank commanders to show restraint in dealing with Palestinians
Haaretz 1 Feb — The head of the Israel Defense Force’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, has instructed commanders of units stationed in the West Bank to act with restraint and moderation when dealing with the civilian population. In a letter sent to the commanders earlier this week, Alon told them to instruct their soldiers to strictly adhere to the IDF’s rules of engagement. The instruction followed four incidents in the West Bank in the past two weeks in which soldiers opened fire and killed unarmed Palestinians.The IDF’s operational investigations of the incidents are being completed and the results will soon be presented to Alon. Meanwhile, four separate Military Police investigations have been opened into the incidents … Alon wrote that taking human life without justification damages the legitimacy of the IDF’s actions in the territories, in the eyes of both Israeli society and the international community.
Israeli soldiers shoot two Gaza teens
AFP/Al-Akhbar 1 Feb — Israeli soldiers on Friday shot and wounded two Palestinian teens near Gaza’s northern border, medical officials said. “Two Palestinians, aged 16 and 17, were hit in the legs by Israeli army gunfire east of Jabaliya,” Ashraf al-Qidra, Gaza health ministry spokesperson, told AFP. An Israeli army spokesman said the two children had strayed “very near” the barrier. “Several Palestinians came up to the security barrier. The soldiers used tear gas and fired in the air to try to stop them, but without success. They then fired at their legs,” he said.
IOF quell W. Bank peaceful marches against wall and settlement
RAMALLAH (PIC) 2 Feb — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) violently suppressed the peaceful marches that were held in different West Bank villages on Friday against the segregation wall and the settlement expansion. In Kafr Qaddum village east of Qalqiliya, the IOF detained one protester and caused tear gas injuries to many citizens, including seven children. Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli troops fired tear gas heavily at the Palestinian and foreign protesters in the march, and a large number of canisters fell in the house of Dawoud Ishteiwi, wounding seven of his children. [Other villages were al-Ma‘sarah, Bil‘in, Ni‘lin and Nabi Saleh]
In Yatta town south of Al-Khalil, the IOF kidnapped at dawn Friday Mufdi Rabei, an anti-wall activist in the town, from his home and took him in chain to Etzion detention center.
Death at a cemetery
Haaretz 1 Feb by Alex Levac and Gideon Levy — We stood still in front of the cemetery fence. Karam stared at the well-worn asphalt road. This is where his cousin, Salah, fell right in front of his eyes two weeks ago. This is where Karam asked, “What is this – a joke, Salah?” before he saw his cousin’s body convulse. Then he tried to pick him up, but Salah slipped from his arms. Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired a live bullet into Salah’s head in circumstances that posed no threat to their lives. The soldiers were stationed in a protected watchtower that looks out onto the road. Salah and Karam Amarin, two 15-year-old cousins and ninth-grade students in the same secondary school, had been standing alone on this desolate road. A few minutes earlier, the two youths had roamed around the graves in the cemetery, trying to find a place to hide from the gas grenades being fired by the soldiers in the tower; the soldiers aimed at a group of young people who threw rocks at the cement wall of the separation barrier near the cemetery, and then retreated.
IOF kill 7 Palestinians, arrest 300 others during January
Ramallah (PIC) 1 Feb — …Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights stated, in its monthly report released on Thursday, that four Palestinians, including two children and a woman were killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank, while 3 other citizens were killed in the Gaza Strip, including a child. Regarding arrests, the report pointed out that the occupation forces arrested more than 300 Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza, including more than 60 children and 5 women. The report noted that the arrest number does not include those detained during the clashes that erupted during the storming of Bab al-Shams village
Israeli forces ‘detain 2 brothers in Bethlehem’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces detained two brothers in Bethlehem at dawn on Friday, locals said. Ahmad Khader Masalmeh 20, and his brother Ismael, 19, were from seized from al-Fawaghreh neighborhood, according to residents. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was not aware of any detentions.
Israeli forces arrest 14 Palestinians across West Bank
EEST BANK (WAFA) 3 Feb — Israeli forces Sunday arrested 12 Palestinian youths from the West Bank cities of Qalqilia and Bethlehem, in addition to two others from East Jerusalem, according to local and security sources. T hey said Israeli forces arrested a 24-year-old Palestinian from the village of ‘Azzoun, east of Qalqilia, while he was crossing Atara checkpoint, south of Nablus on his way to work in Ramallah. Forces also arrested 11 Palestinian youths between the ages of 18 and 29 from the village of Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem after raiding their houses. Israeli Forces have recently escalated the arrest campaign in the village. In East Jerusalem, Israeli police arrested two 18-year-olds from the neighborhood of al-Abbasieh in Silwan after raiding their houses.
PA’s intelligence service arrest liberated prisoner Khader Sarkaji
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Feb — A large force of the PA’s intelligence service arrested in the city of Nablus the liberated captive Khader Sarkaji, 37, after raiding his home on Thursday night. Sources close to the Sarkaji family confirmed that a unit of the intelligence men surrounded the house last night at midnight, and arrested Sarkaji after long altercations with the family and neighbors.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions
Ministry of prisoners: 4,750 detainees in Israeli jails, including 198 kids
RAMALLAH (PIC) 2 Feb — …According to a report released by its statistics department, the majority of the prisoners, 82.5 percent, are from the West Bank, while 9.6 percent of them are from the Gaza Strip, and the rest are from Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied territories. All of them are held in about 17 detention centers and prisons. The report stated that there are 186 Palestinians detained administratively without any charges or trials. It said that 12 women are still held in Israeli jails, the oldest of them is Lina Jerboni who has been in jail for 11 years. Among the prisoners as well, there are 12 Palestinian lawmakers, three former ministers and dozens of teachers and political figures.
Waed: Occupation still prevents visits of a number of prisoners’ families
GAZA (PIC) 3 Feb — Waed Society for prisoners and ex-prisoners said that the forces of the IPS continue to prevent a number of prisoners’ families from visiting their sons in the Israeli occupation jails. Waed Society pointed in a statement on Sunday that the visits program, which had been suspended for six years, was resumed after the mass hunger strike that was waged by the prisoners in May last year and lasted nearly a month. The IPS started allowing family visits for some prisoners, but a number of other captives’ families are still not allowed to visit their detained sons. It added that the occupation authorities have not informed the families who had already visited their sons about the dates of the next visit, which is against the most basic international humanitarian laws. It also stated that only some first-degree family members (father, mother and wife) are allowed to visit the captives, while the children are still not allowed to visit their detained fathers in Israeli jails.
ICRC urges Israel to allow family visits to hunger strikers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — The International Committee of the Red Cross is urging Israel to find a solution to save the lives of hunger-striking Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and to allow their families to visit them. The ICRC is concerned that long-term hunger strikers Samer Issawi, Tareq Qadan, Jaffar Ezzedin and Ayman Sharawneh could suffer cardiac arrest or other fatal complications, representative Dr Nikoloz Sadradze said in a video recorded on Friday. He said the Red Cross was trying to ensure the detainees would not be force-fed or forcefully treated, in line with international standards protecting their free will. “We also constantly remind Israel that family visits are a right,” he said.
Ramla jailers bar int’l medical delegation from visiting hunger strikers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 Feb — The Israeli administration of the Ramla jail infirmary prevented an international medical delegation from visiting the Palestinian hunger strikers without giving reasons. The Palestinian prisoner committee said the medical delegation was supposed to assess the health conditions of the hunger strikers and patients in the infirmary and work on providing their medication needs. The committee also expressed in a press release its grave concern over the Israeli decision to return the hunger strikers from the infirmary to their cells, despite their need for continuous medical care according to the recommendations of doctors.
In another incident, the Israeli jailers transferred prisoner Bassam Diyab, from Kafr Ra‘ei village in Jenin, to administrative detention for six months. Diyab, 29, was jailed at the pretext of his participation in prisoner solidarity events.
Gaza factions rally in solidarity with prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Several factions held a joint rally Friday in the northern Gaza Strip in solidarity with Palestinians in Israeli jails. After noon prayers, demonstrators marched from al-Awda Mosque in Jabaliya, chanting slogans denouncing the Israeli Prison Service and urging Arab and international support to end the suffering of political prisoners.
British activists censure G4S role in torture of Palestinians
Press TV 2 Feb — British activists have staged a protest outside the London headquarters of security company G4S over its complicity in the illegal detention and torture of Palestinian children in the Israeli regime’s prisons. Pro-Palestine activists took park in the demonstration on Friday, which was organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and Inminds, to condemn the private company’s provision of expertise and security systems to Israeli jails … The protest was also in solidarity with Palestinians on hunger strike … G4S has been heavily criticized for its cooperation with the Israeli regime, including providing equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints, illegal settlements, the apartheid wall and jails where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are held in violation of international law and subjected to mistreatment and torture.
Israeli court sentences eight teens to jail
HEBRON (WAFA) 3 Feb — Ofer Israeli Military Court Sunday sentenced eight Palestinian teenagers from Hebron to jail under the pretext of damaging an Israeli vehicle, said local sources. Spokesman of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Mohammed Awad said that the teenagers from Beit Ummar were arrested in March 6, 2012. hTe teens were accused of smashing an Israeli settler’s car window. They were detained, threatened and tortured to confess the incident. He said five were sentenced to 14 months, one to 16 months, another to 11, and one sentenced to a month. They had to pay fines that amounts to 5000 shekels. This came in light of the settlers’ ongoing attacks against Palestinians in Hebron; despite documenting these attacks by activists, the court somehow, under the pretext of self-defense, still finds it not enough evidence for the settlers to be prosecuted.
Trial of 10 prisoners from Qaryut postponed
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Feb — Salem military court postponed on Thursday the trial of 10 youths from the town of Qaryut near the city of Nablus, after spending two months in Israeli jails. The father of prisoner Aysar Moneer Ayesh, 21, told Ahrar center for Prisoners studies and human rights that the court postponed the trial to February … The Israeli occupation arrested the ten youths in November and December, for throwing stones, and participating in marches against the apartheid wall, and settlement.
Man killed in Gaza house fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — A Palestinian man died Saturday in northern Gaza after his house caught fire, medics said, two days after a family of six died in a blaze. Raed Abu Hayya, 42, died when his house caught fire in the al-Saftawi neighborhood of northern Gaza. Medics said the fire was the result of a candle left unattended.
Fire in Gaza kills family and stirs rage against the power company
GAZA (NY Times) 31 Jan by Fares Akram — Twelve hours after Palestinian electricity workers cut off power to a building because of nonpayment by one of the tenants, it went up in flames on Thursday, killing a married couple and their four children, ages 3 months to 7 years. It was the latest in a series of house fires, most started by candles, in power-starved Gaza, and it set off bitter finger-pointing … The power in Gaza regularly goes out for six to eight hours daily. The territory’s lone power plant often does not produce at full capacity, and diesel supplies from Egypt have been disrupted. Israel supplies most of Gaza’s power, with about 20 percent coming from Egypt. Last year, a house fire in central Gaza killed three children in April; another in September killed a fourth child. The Hamas government focused on Israel, blaming it for constricting Gaza’s electricity supply, noting that Israel bombed the Gaza power station in 2006 and has long blockaded the territory from receiving many supplies, including fuel needed to run the station … But relatives of the family blamed the electricity company, not Israel.
Taher al-Nunu: Electricity crisis is caused by occupation
GAZA (PIC) 3 Feb — Taher Nunu, Gaza government spokesman, held the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip. Nunu said in a statement on his Facebook page on Saturday evening that the government is striving in every way to find solutions to the electricity crisis. He stressed that the power crisis is caused by the occupation due to the siege imposed on Gaza … “We will not sell our country in exchange for electricity,” said the government spokesman, denouncing some media comments which say that the government is in charge of providing electricity even through holding agreements with Israel.
Interior ministry decided to close unsafe Rafah tunnels
GAZA (PIC) 4 Feb — Committee of military affairs at Interior and National Security Ministry has discussed with the Civil Defense procedures of public safety in Rafah tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip. It was agreed to begin immediately closing all unsafe tunnels, in addition to forming two technical and safety committees by the Civil Defense to examine the tunnels.
VIDEO: Doing the Gangnam, Gaza style
3 Feb — CITIZENS of Gaza have filmed their own Gangnam Style video to highlight the plight of their people and the poor conditions they are forced to live in. The darkly ironic clip, which has been posted on YouTube, shows a group of men and a young boy performing South Korean pop star’s Psy’s signature dance in the streets of Gaza. In one scene, the group draws attention to Gaza’s lack of jobs and work prospects by showing several men playing cards on the beach – with one man wearing a placard bearing the word “unemployment”. In another scene, a man is forced to use a donkey as his mode of transport after turning up to a petrol station only to find a sign reading “no fuel”.
Video: 95% of Gaza’s water is contaminated
Press TV 1 Feb — The Israeli blockade continues to take its toll on Gaza’s population of over 1.7 million. According to a UN report in late 2012, the lack of clean drinking water is the greatest immediate concern in the impoverished coastal enclave.
Most of Gaza’s water is now polluted and unfit for human consumption. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility says that by 2016 there will be no drinking water available in Gaza unless measures are taken to improve the territory’s water sources. Sewage treatment plants were targeted during Israeli attacks which caused raw sewage to seep into the aquifer and contaminate it. The Tel Aviv regime also prevents the entry of spare parts for desalination and water treatment plants allegedly for security reasons.
Twilight of Gaza’s smuggling tunnel millionaires
Business Week 31 Jan — …A recent report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimated unemployment was 31.5 percent in early 2012. Real gross domestic product per capita in 2011 was $1,165, 88 percent of the 1994 level. Yet there has long been a sure way to make money in Gaza: by going under it. The tunnels that move goods into the Strip from Egypt have been linchpins of the economy, employing 12,000 to 15,000 and supplying as much as 75 percent of the products sold in the markets, according to Sameer Abumdallala, head of the economics department at Al Azhar University in Gaza. Now the smugglers say their importance is waning: Access to Israeli goods is improving, and the Gazan government has begun regulating the tunnels, sapping profits.
Gaza: Two fighters injured in clashes between fighters and security forces
IMEMC 3 Feb — Two Palestinian fighters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, have been injured during clashes that took place, Saturday, with members of the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, and members of the Hamas-run security forces of the Interior Ministry in Gaza. Eyewitnesses reported that members of the Al-Quds Brigades established a training area in the former Israeli settlement of Nitzarim, south of Gaza city, and clashed with security forces and members of the Al-Qassam bridges who tried to remove them. The clashes were relatively brief; the two wounded Palestinians suffered moderate injuries.
‘Miles of Smiles’ activists arrive at Gaza crossing
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — International activists arrived at a crossing into the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning ahead of a humanitarian aid convoy they had organized. An Egyptian security source said 50 Bahrainis and three Egyptians entered the Rafah land crossing and would be joined by 100 more activists later on Saturday. The humanitarian supplies, as part of the 19th Miles of Smiles aid convoy, will arrive later. They will be shipped to the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria and transferred to Rafah, the security official said.
Political / Economic News
Health workers to go on strike Monday, official says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — Health workers in the West Bank will go on strike next week, the federation of healthcare unions said Saturday. Osama al-Najjar, the head of a healthcare union, told Ma‘an that healthcare workers will strike from Feb 4-6 to protest dire work conditions and the late payment of salaries by the Palestinian Authority. The strike is likely to paralyze medical services in the West Bank.
Official: Reconvening parliament will delay unity talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — Fatah official Faisal Abu Shahal said Saturday that reconvening the Palestinian Legislative Council before Palestinian elections would delay political reconciliation. The speaker of the defunct Palestinian parliament, Aziz Dweik, said Friday that the legislative body should resume work before any new national election. The Palestinian Legislative Council has not sat since Hamas and Fatah violently split Palestine into separate governments in 2007.
PFLP: Egypt unrest will not affect upcoming unity talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Unrest in Egypt will not affect an upcoming PLO committee meeting in Cairo, an official from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Sunday. PFLP official Kayid al-Ghoul told Ma‘an that “it is possible to find a place to meet away from the chaos and unrest.” The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8 and aims to push forward reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions, he said.
PA plan to import fuel from Arab countries on hold
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb – A plan by the government to import fuel from Arab countries is still being considered despite that a feasibility study has not yet been prepared, says the head of the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation. Fuad al-Shubaki told Ma‘an on Friday that contacts were made with companies in Jordan and the Gulf states, but there were no further follow up talks. With regards to the current fuel price rise, he said the Palestinian government shouldered a percentage of the price rise.
Fatah official: No negotiations in London
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — An Arabic-language newspaper reported Friday that the UK was hosting talks between Palestinians and Israeli officials to discuss possible ways of resuming the peace process. Al-Quds al-Arabi quoted unidentified Palestinian sources as saying that the Israeli side was headed by Yossi Belin, one of the masterminds of the Oslo Accords, while the Palestinian side was headed by Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Ishtayya. The report added that Nabil Shaath was expected at the conference but did not attend. But Muhammad Ishtayya said the conference held at the Wilton Park Resort in southern England only discussed the Middle East crisis, and there were no secret negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Erekat: PA refuses to ‘repeat lunacy of returning to talks’
JPost 4 Feb — In response to Netanyahu’s call to revive stalled peace talks, the Palestinian Authority reiterates its refusal to return to negotiating table unless Israel halts settlement construction, releases Palestinian prisoners.
Mishaal: Hamas will not accept temporary borders for Palestine
AMMAN (PIC) 3 Feb — Khaled Mishaal, head of the political bureau of Hamas, announced that saying his movement accepted a Palestinian state with temporary borders is fabrication. This came during Mishaal’s speech, which was broadcast on the Jordanian official TV channel on Saturday evening, and in which he asserted “We cannot accept a substitute for Palestine”.
DFLP: PA contacts Israel to allow exiled chief to return
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel to allow the exiled secretary general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine to return to the West Bank from Syria, a DFLP official said Sunday. Senior DFLP leader Qais Abdel Karim, or Abu Leila, told Ma‘an that Israel has not responded so far to the PA’s requests to allow Nayif Hawatmah to return to the West Bank. Hawatmah is the last veteran PLO leader still in exile. Karim dismissed reports that Israel had stipulated that the DFLP renounce armed struggle before Hawatmah could return, adding that the DFLP chief has a Palestinian identity card which should allow him entry to the West Bank, but Israel refuses to activate it.
New US Secretary of State Kerry calls President Abbas
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 3 Feb – President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday received a phone call from the new US Secretary of State John Kerry, said Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh. He told WAFA that Abbas and Kerry discussed the necessity to hold meetings in the near future to talk about a number of issues which help maintain the peace process. Kerry affirmed that US President Barack Obama cares about the peace process and supports efforts related to it. He added that the US administration is aware of the financial crisis that the Palestinian people are going through.
New initiative calls for Arab parties to join gov’t
JPost 3 Feb — Abraham Fund director: “The question is, is it natural that 20% of the population does not have a representative in the cabinet?” … A statement published by the organization titled, “The Abraham Fund Initiatives to Netanyahu” says that Arab citizens of Israel would like to see their representatives integrated into the decisionmaking process and have Arab politicians invited to join the government.” The co-executive directors of the Fund in Israel, Amnon Beeri-because it conveys a positive message and encourages Arab citizens.
Report: 17 Palestinians killed in Syria over the past week
DAMASCUS (PIC) 2 Feb– 17 Palestinians were killed in war-torn Syria over the past week including eight on Sunday while 14 were kidnapped from a bus, a report on the conditions there said on Saturday. The national workgroup for Palestinians in Syria said that those Palestinians were killed by snipers, during shelling, and shooting at roadblocks. It underlined that Syrian regular army forces kidnapped 14 Palestinian refugees from Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp in an attempt to pressure the free army, which kidnapped a colonel in the regular army.
Palestinian woman killed in mortar attack on Yarmouk refugee camp
BEIRUT (PIC) 2 Feb — The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said a Palestinian woman named Basema Zawawi died of serious wounds she sustained when a mortar shell fell in 30 street of the Yarmouk refugee camp.
Activists: Regime shelling kills 2 in Damascus Palestinian camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Two men were killed and more than 20 injured when Syrian government forces shelled a Palestinian refugee neighborhood in Damascus, activists said. A group based in the al-Yarmouk camp, the Yarmouk committees — Syrian revolution, said regime troops fired mortars at Al-Waseem mosque, causing the casualties. The shelling took place after hundreds of people returned to the camp, having fled in late 2012 as fighting intensified in the area, the group said.
Muslim soccer players at Beitar Jerusalem met with spitting and insults
Haaretz 1 Feb — About 150 fans of Beitar Jerusalem arrived at the team’s training ground in Bayit Vegan on Friday morning, which was surrounded by regular and riot police units brought there to maintain order. The fans were there to protest the signing on of two new players to the team, Gibril Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev, both from Chechnya. They were met with verbal abuse and were spat on, accompanied by demands to remove the Beitar team shirts. Every time one of them got the ball, the fans responded with derisive whistling. The two were finally forced to leave the area surrounded by police and security guards … Beitar officials say that the newcomers are stunned by developments over the last few days, but plan on staying on and coming to practice, receiving support from team members. In the meantime, the two are under the protection of bodyguards.
US Jewish donor to Upper Nazareth threatens to cut funding after mayor opposes Arab school
Haaretz 31 Jan — An American Jewish philanthropist who is one of Upper Nazareth’s biggest donors is threatening to stop giving money to the city unless an Arab school opens there. The philanthropist, Don Green, made his announcement after Mayor Shimon Gapso said two weeks ago he opposes the establishment of an Arab school in the city. Green is the son of the late Irwin Green, another big donor to the largely Jewish town.
Israel says kidnap plot foiled, Palestinians held
JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 3 Feb — The Shin Bet domestic spy agency said on Sunday that it had arrested members of a cell belonging to the radical Palestinian Islamic Jihad group who had plotted to kidnap Israelis. “A bid by Islamic Jihad to kidnap a soldier or an Israeli citizen was foiled by Shin Bet special forces and police,” the agency said in a statement. “Members of the cell were arrested on January 1… east of Kfar Saba” northeast of Tel Aviv, it added. Two members of the cell are from the West Bank town of Jenin and a third is an Arab Israeli resident of Kalansua in central Israel, Shin Bet said. Eight other suspects were arrested in Jenin as part of the investigation, it added.
UK provides emergency equipment to Palestinian civil defense
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Feb– The UK on Friday donated emergency equipment to Palestinian civil defense services after heavy rains caused serious damage in the West Bank earlier in January. “We admired the efforts the Palestinian civil defense services exerted during the heavy rain which affected the West Bank lately. It is a pleasure to offer this support which will help rescue more lives in similar conditions,” said David Robson, an official of the UK Consulate in Jerusalem.
Interviews / Analysis / Opinion
Palestinian farmer, activist, filmmaker — and Oscar nominee
Bilin, West Bank (LA Times) 2 Feb by Edmund Sanders — Emad Burnat talks about how he progressed from filming his newborn to teaming with an Israeli to create ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ a documentary about his village’s fight against Israeli occupation — Like many Palestinians, West Bank farmer Emad Burnat punctuates his life story with events from the Israeli occupation of his village … His youngest, Gibreel, was born the same week that Israel began constructing a separation barrier through his hometown of Bilin. That’s when Burnat got his first camera, initially to capture his newborn, but later to document his village’s fight against the Israeli military and nearby settlers. It was the first of five cameras he would use, all destroyed during filming by bullets, tear-gas canisters or angry settlers. With the help of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi, Burnat turned the footage into “5 Broken Cameras,” a deeply personal glimpse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nominated for an Oscar in the documentary feature category. The Oscars will be awarded Feb. 24 … There’s been some recent controversy around calling this an “Israeli” film since it was co-directed by an Israeli and got some Israeli funding. Is it Israeli or Palestinian? This came from my mind, my heart and my soul. It’s a Palestinian film, and that was the idea from the beginning. The collaboration between me and Guy is not between two states. It’s between two human beings because I knew him as a friend. It was never supposed to be about making an Israeli-Palestinian film or about Israeli-Palestinian collaboration.
The Gatekeepers’ Oscar-nominated director talks terrorism, national security and Netanyahu
Gothamist 2 Feb — Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh’s newest film, The Gatekeepers, is a haunting, in-depth look into the Shin Bet, Israel’s security and intelligence agency. Comprised of interviews with all six surviving heads of the agency, the Academy Award-nominated documentary focuses on terrorism, national security, Israeli and Palestinian leadership, and the quest for peace. We spoke with Moreh about the film, which was spotlighted at Sundance last month, to find out what he learned from his subjects. What gave you the idea to interview the heads of Shin Bet? It came from a a feature-length documentary I did about [former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, in which I tried to deal with the reasons that led Sharon to the disengagement from Gaza. I interviewed his Chief-of-Staff, Dov Weisglas, who was his closest advisor and he told me that prior to Sharon’s announcing the disengagement plan, there was an article that was published in a newspaper in Israel interviewing the former heads of Shin Bet. They said that they thought if Sharon continued with his policy of not speaking to the Palestinians, and maintaining or continuing the occupation in the way that it was, it would lead the Israelis to catastrophe. It was basically a game changer for Sharon, because these were guys that he knew personally, he appreciated and he talked with. I thought that if Sharon was moved by this interview, then a lot of Israelis and a lot of international figures will definitely be moved if I manage to create a movie about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the heads of the Israeli Secret Service for the first time.
Censored Ayalon hasbara video pictures collapsing Dome of Rock replaced by holy temple
[with video] Tikun Olam 30 Jan by Richard Silverstein — I tell you: Danny Ayalon is the gift that keeps on giving. I’ll miss not having him to kick around in the Knesset and foreign ministry. As his parting gift, he made a series of hasbara videos under the general rubric of “The Truth About…” The first three videos were on the subject of Jewish refugees, the West Bank, and the peace process. The fourth was about Jerusalem. Of course he wasn’t telling the real truth about any of these subjects, but rather that peculiar version of Israeli government truth called hasbara. The producers of the Jerusalem episode, an independent contractor working for the foreign ministry used a special effect that showed a little more truth than Ayalon was prepared for: it showed the Dome of the Rock collapsing (Hebrew–in above video it is a short 5-second clip immediately after the first ad) and being replaced by the ancient Jewish Temple. It exposed the ideological underpinning of the makers of the film. The heartfelt desire of every settler and ultra-nationalist is for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement with the Third Temple. This is a sentiment last heard on YouTube by the Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel, who told a Christian evangelical audience in Florida he imagined the mosque being blown up and replaced with the Temple. That news charmed his audience naturally. Gimpel was clearly exhilarated at just the thought of it.
Ethnic cleansing is ‘sexy’
Al Jazeera 1 Feb by Belén Fernández — Over the last 13 years, the Taglit-Birthright Israel programme has escorted over 340,000 young Jewish people on 10-day, all-expenses-paid excursions to the Jewish state. During the trip, which costs approximately $3,000 USD per capita – ie five times the annual per capita income of Gaza in 2009 - youth are presented with a thoroughly airbrushed, fantastical version of the country and are encouraged to immigrate. Eligibility requirements for the tour include possession of one Jewish grandparent and the ability to pass an interview without raising suspicions as to potential ulterior motives for participation in the project, such as determination to use it as a platform for pro-Palestinian activism. The first irony that should come to mind when contemplating the programme is, of course, that persons who possess no physical connection to what is now Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are magically endowed with a “birthright” not available to persons with, say, four Palestinian grandparents – or who were themselves born in the land in question.
Israel does as it pleases / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 Feb — Until now it’s worked. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and, of course, the Palestinians wiped the saliva, said it was rain and restrained themselves, because they are weak and Israel is strong – The prevalent basic assumption in Israel is that it is allowed to do anything. It is rooted deep in its consciousness, and any criticism or even doubt is seen as heresy and treason. Israel may fly in Lebanon’s sovereign airspace (or any other Arab state’s) as often as it desires − that’s taken for granted. It may, of course, bombard anytime that someone foresees danger. It may invade any place, settle anywhere. It may do (almost) anything. The “anything allowed” concept was shaped in the Israeli consciousness on the basis of several assumptions — some solid and justified; some irrelevant; some groundless. These include the Holocaust memory; our exclusive right to the land, being the chosen people; the danger to our survival; the whole world being against us; the Arabs all wanting to wipe us out. This is how Israel assembled its own behavioral code, which ignores the world’s. What the hell, the world wants to destroy us anyway. That’s why Israel allows itself to take aggressive steps without asking itself anything — like, for example, what would it do if Arab planes had invaded Israeli airspace, even for mere intelligence-gathering flights. Not to mention what would happen if they dared bomb a convoy of “deal breaking” weapons.