Just other day in the oPt: Israeli forces invade and terrorize Palestinian towns from Jenin to Hebron

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Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests / Clashes

But this sort of thing happens all the time – are they trying to make it seem unusual?
WATCH: Soldiers ‘punish’ Palestinian village
Ynet 7 Feb —  An IDF force operating near Nablus has been disturbing the peace of the residents of the Palestinian village of ‘Urif, which is adjacent to the city, by using the public address system mounted on its vehicles, Ynet learned Thursday. The force, which patrolled the villages area in December, would enter the village in all hours of the day and night, and sound the PA system’s sirens and horns, as well as use stun grenades and light flares — for no reason. The IDF said that the troops were found in violation of military protocols and were reprimanded.

IOF soldiers exercise in Tobas, storm Jenin village
JENIN (PIC) 6 Feb — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed at dawn Wednesday Tobas city and nearby Fara‘a valley and performed military exercises and combed both areas. Eyewitnesses said that IOF performed military drills in the valley after a landing operation using helicopter gunships and fired flare bombs in the process. IOF soldiers also stormed Faqu‘a village, east of Jenin, and combed its alleys and streets before stationing in the vicinity of the village’s main mosque.
IOF troops on Tuesday afternoon broke into the village of Orif [Ureif], south of Nablus, and attacked the village’s secondary school, locals said, adding that the soldiers ordered the headmaster to evacuate the school immediately and to turn himself in. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers used violent means in storming the village, recalling that they had frequently attacked the village earlier this week firing teargas canisters, stun grenades, and rubber bullets at citizens. They said that dozens of the village inhabitants were treated for gas suffocation including a month old baby girl.

IOF soldiers wreak havoc on Palestinian municipality
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 7 Feb — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided the Beit Ola village’s municipality [building] at dawn Thursday and wreaked havoc on it. A responsible source in the municipality, south west of Al-Khalil, said that the soldiers blasted their way into the premises. He said that the soldiers destroyed all external and internal doors before ransacking it and destroying its furniture in the process.

Army invades Yatta near Hebron
IMEMC 6 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at night, Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, broke into several homes and searched them. The soldiers invaded Khirbit Z’ayma area, located east of Yatta, and broke into several homes before violently searching them after forcing the residents out of their property, local sources reported …
In related news, the soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem …
Also on Tuesday, soldiers detained seven Palestinian women near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem. They were interrogated at an Israeli police station in the Old City, and six of them were released later on, while the seventh woman, Nojoud Abu Teir, remained in custody pending a court hearing on Wednesday. The Israeli Police said that Nojoud used her mobile phone’s camera to film Israeli soldiers touring the vicinity and yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Army invades Ya‘bod near Jenin
IMEMC 8 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday afternoon, the schools area in the village of Ya‘bod, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, clashed with dozens of school students, and fired round of live ammunition, gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets. Injuries were reported. Eyewitnesses reported that at least 10 students have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation after the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs into schoolyards in the area. The attack led to clashes between dozens of students and the invading Israeli soldiers …
Furthermore, eyewitnesses reported that the army installed a roadblock at the eastern entrance of the village, stopped and harassed dozens of residents. The soldiers installed the roadblocks after a number of extremist Israeli settlers invaded Al-Hafeera area in the city …
In related news, the army kidnapped one Palestinian youth, identified as Sameh Jamal Al-Qitt, 19, after the soldiers invaded an area close to the Salem Israeli military base, north of Jenin city. …
In Ramallah, Israeli military sources claimed that two Israeli soldiers have been mildly injured during clashes that took place between the soldiers and the residents after the army invaded Budrus village, west of the city. The army invaded the village through the western gate of the Annexation Wall, and harassed dozens of residents leading to clashes.

14-year-old boy detained in Hebron
Hebron (ISM) 7 Feb by Team Khalil — A 14 year old boy was detained at checkpoint 56 in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. At 2 pm on 6th February Amir Ibrahim Shawar was taken by soldiers of the Israeli occupation forces near the Jewish cemetery in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. He was accused of throwing stones at the soldiers, he was then marched down to the checkpoint where he was detained for about an hour. Amir from Azaria near Jerusalem was on a family visit with his mother when the incident happened. Whilst at the checkpoint the soldiers said to Amir’s mother, “We know he is not guilty but we want him to tell us who threw the stones.” Members of the local community came to the checkpoint to complain about his detention and filmed the incident to help deter the soldiers from any unnecessary abuse of the teenager.

IOF soldiers arrest youth, break into elementary school
TOBAS (PIC) 7 Feb — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) manning the Hamra roadblock in the northern Jordan Valley arrested a Palestinian young man at dawn Thursday. Local sources said that the soldiers detained Suleiman Mohammed, 19, at the roadblock while heading from his hometown of Tobas to his work in the Jordan Valley.
Other IOF soldiers stormed Erka [maybe ‘Araqa? عرقه] village to the west of Jenin at dawn Thursday and questioned citizens who were going for dawn prayers.
IOF soldiers had burst into an elementary school west of Ramallah on Wednesday and threatened to beat students and teachers and called them bad names, Palestinian sources said.

Army: Israeli forces detain 6 in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians in raids across the West Bank overnight Wednesday, the Israeli army said. Four people were detained in Sanniriya, near Qalqiliya, and one person was detained in Beit Ur al Tahta, west of Ramallah, an Israeli military spokesman said.  Forces detained one person in Hebron and seized a pistol and ammunition from his home, the army official told Ma‘an.

Clashes erupt after settlers visit Nablus tomb
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Feb  — Israeli settlers visited Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus after mid-night accompanied by Israeli soldiers, locals said Thursday. Ten buses full of settlers raided the city after midnight to perform prayers at Joseph’s tomb. Many Israeli soldiers accompanied them, and deployed in the area. Witness said settlers celebrated on Amman street near the tomb. Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians, and soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades. No injuries were reported. The Israeli settlers performed prayers in the tomb until 5 a.m., and then they withdrew from the area.

Israeli settlers assault drivers in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Feb — an Israeli settler Thursday attacked two Palestinian drivers in Tel Biot area, south of Jerusalem, said Luba Al-Samari, the Israeli police spokesperson. The police arrested an 18 year-old Israeli settler from ‘Shabibit Al-Tilal’ — an Israeli youth organization in Jerusalem — and another one who is a suspect in the incident, according to Al-Samari. She said that the two settlers, who were at a nearby wedding, stopped the Palestinian taxi driver near the Western wall in the Jewish quarter, attacked him with tear gas spray and ran away. A while after the incident, a similar case was reported leading to the arrest of the two settlers. One of the drivers was slightly injured and transferred to hospital for treatment, said Al-Samari.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Threats to non-Jewish history and religion

Occupation bulldozers demolish ancient Islamic façades in Jerusalem
PNN 6 Feb — The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowments and Heritage said that the Occupation bulldozers continue, for the second day, their demolition of the facades and arches of a historic building on the north side of Buraq Square, about 50 meters from al-Aqsa Mosque by the Western Wall.  The Foundation reported that most of the demolition is now complete. The Foundation added in a statement that the Occupation is planning to build a new complex known as “Strauss” for numerous purposes, including a synagogue, reception hall, observation post, police station, museum, dozens of new bathroom units, and a new entrance to the Western Wall. The statement continued by saying that these ancient buildings are known as Islamic Endowments of the Moroccan Quarter of Jerusalem, and have been an integral part of that neighborhood. Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, stressed in an interview with PNN that “this work is a Judaicization of the city” and an attempt “to clear out everything that has to do with Islamic monuments.”

Salah: Demolishing part of Buraq Square crime against the Aqsa
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Feb — Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has lashed out at the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) for demolishing the facades of a number of historical buildings in the Buraq Square. Salah said in a press release on Wednesday that the demolitions, only 50 meters away from the Aqsa mosque, targeted tightening the siege on the Aqsa mosque. He charged the IOA with trying to isolate the Aqsa mosque from the Jerusalemite society.

Dozens of soldiers, settlers break into the Aqsa mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Feb — Around 110 officers of the Israeli occupation army stormed the Aqsa mosque in their uniform on Thursday. The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said in a statement that the officers, of various ranks, toured the holy site under heavy protection. It said that many of them went inside old mosques in the holy site while others roamed its various plazas as hundreds of worshipers anxiously stood by. AFEH said that around 30 Jewish settlers broke into the Aqsa mosque at the same time and tried to offer religious rituals.

Israelis detain Sharia students as extremist politician violates sanctity of Al-Aqsa
MEMO 6 Feb — Israeli occupation forces detained Palestinian students from the Shari‘a schools inside the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday. Seven female students were arrested in the wake if the visit to the third holiest site in Islam by extreme right-wing politician Moshe Figlin, a clear violation of the sanctity of the compound. The Likud Beiteinu bloc extremist was protected by a large security force during his visit, no doubt intended to provoke a reaction from Muslims. The Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada erupted after a similarly provocative visit to Al-Aqsa by Ariel Sharon in 2000. Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Religious Endowments denounced the visit and detention of the students as another “Israeli crime”. The students were taken to Al-Qashleh Security Centre; six were released later but one was kept in detention to appear in court on Wednesday, a statement from the Foundation revealed.

Israel plans to evict Palestinians, building new Jerusalem-area garbage dump on their villages
EI 6 Feb by Adri Nieuwhof — The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem is planning to build a huge garbage dump on Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem, says rights group Adalah. The plan is part of the wider effort to link illegal Jews-only West Bank settlements with Jerusalem. Around 32,000 Palestinians live in the villages of Anata and al-Issawiyya which are located close to the so-called E1 area that, when completed, will cut the villages off from the rest of the West Bank. As well as a new 530-dunum dumping ground, the waste plan includes the construction of new solid waste management buildings and roads (1 dunum is 1,000 square meters). The plan will also bring changes to the water, sanitation, electrical, and telephone infrastructure. The site will be used to dump five to eight million cubic meters of solid construction waste over the course of 20 years.

Israeli court refuses to release a female prisoner
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Feb — The Israeli District Court refused on Wednesday to release the female captive Intisar Sayad on bail under the pretext of security reasons, Wadi Hilweh Information Center revealed. The Jerusalemite prisoner was arrested on 22 November 2012, from Salah al-Din Street, claiming that she stabbed an Israeli soldier … The prisoner Sayad is a mother of 4 children aged between 12 and 18 years.
Meanwhile, crews of Israeli police and the so-called Protection of Nature Authority continued for the fifth day in a row its campaign in the town of Silwan, carrying out arrests and imposing fines against many citizens …Israeli sources said “the campaign in Silwan may continue for few weeks”, just as happened in the town of Issawiya. The campaign, which was carried out by the Israeli police in the town of Issawiya about a month ago, ended last week, led to the arrest of about 150 children and youths, handing demolition notifications, and imposing fines.

IOA razes Palestinian home in Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 7 Feb — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) razed a Palestinian home in Khas village to the east of Bethlehem city on Thursday despite the fact that its owner had obtained a ruling against demolition. Owner of the house Ahmed Al-Sabatin told Quds Press that IOA bulldozers destroyed his unfinished home, noting that it was built in area B that is supposedly under control of the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli forces destroy refugee camp cistern
[photo] ISM 7 Feb by Team Khalil — Israeli occupation forces demolished a rainwater cistern on the outskirts of Fawwar refugee camp this morning. The 130 square metre structure was destroyed after soldiers arrived at 9 am and began bulldozing the cistern which was constructed 5 years ago. The cistern’s owner said that the demolition order was given to him the previous day and he did not take legal action to prevent the action. They also gave a demolition order for 2 more cisterns in the vicinity and the residents of the camp fear their imminent destruction. 10 soldiers, an army jeep and a bulldozer arrived and the area was secured while they destroyed the cistern as locals watched
Fawwar lies 10 km southwest of Hebron. The camp was established in 1949 and its original inhabitants came from 18 villages in the Gaza, Hebron and Beersheeva areas. The area surrounding the camp lies in Area C which makes up 60% of the West Bank and is under full control of Israeli occupation forces. Demolitions in Area C are commonplace. Residents are often water vulnerable and according to the UN, 46 rainwater cisterns and pools were demolished in 2011.

Israeli authorities demolish five Palestinian homes in the Negev
NAZARETH (PIC) 7 Feb — Israeli municipality bulldozers razed five Palestinian homes in two villages in the Negev on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hebrew media reported that three homes were demolished in the Bedouin village Al-Sayyed on Wednesday while two others were knocked down on Tuesday in Wadi Al-Naim village.

IOA serves 120 demolition notices in Al-Khalil in two weeks
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 6 Feb — …Amin Al-Bayed, a researcher at Insan center for human rights, said that the IOA served notices for the demolition of 120 buildings, water wells, and agricultural rooms and tents in various areas in Al-Khalil [Hebron] district. He said that the notices were particularly focusing on the southern areas of Al-Khalil to the east of Yatta town and Beit Ola.
The researcher told Quds Press that the IOA and its civil administration in most cases throw the demolition notices near to the targeted installation so that the owners would not notice it until it was too late to go to court and challenge the decision. Bayed said that many farmers found the notices by coincidence and on many occasions they go to court and find that their period for contesting the decision had expired.

Official: Settlers assault shepherd in Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — A group of settlers assaulted a shepherd near Nablus in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity, told Ma’an that 42-year-old Khalid Mahmoud Barry was physically attacked after trying to stop settlers stealing his sheep in Immatin village. The settlers were from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, he added. Barry sustained cuts and bruises in the incident and was taken to hospital for treatment.

New entry permits grant Israeli nationality to Palestinian, but without the rights
972mag 7 Feb by Lisa Goldman — On February 4, 2013, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank received this entry permit when he crossed the Allenby Bridge from Jordan. The big blue letters at the top inform the holder that the State of Israel’s Border Patrol has granted him entry, making it look as though the territory he was entering — Palestine — was actually Israel. Under the blue letters at the top, next to the words “Entry Permit,”” the Hebrew words say, “Owner of Palestinian ID card.” But at the lower right, where it says in Hebrew “le’um,” or nationality, the border control typed ISR, for Israeli.
He is not, by the way, an Israeli citizen.
Perhaps the border guard made an error when s/he typed ISR. It’s possible. But if so, it is a very telling mistake. As more and more people talk about Israel and the West Bank becoming a de facto single state, with liberty for some and unequal rights for all, the State of Israel suddenly, without any announcement, changed its procedure for Palestinians crossing Allenby Bridge … Now Allenby Bridge has become an entry point into what the State of Israel seems to regard as its territory — and its residents, like the man who received this document, are labeled “Israeli,” although they do not have any of the rights of an Israeli citizen. He cannot even visit his family in East Jerusalem; the army will not grant him a permit.
The procedure apparently changed overnight, with no prior announcement.

Netanyahu’s office: ‘No change on settlement policy’
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Feb — The office of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Thursday that the new Israeli government, headed by Netanyahu, does not intend to change its policies regarding the construction and expansion of Jewish settlements. The office added that, at the current stage, Netanyahu will not even consider a freeze of settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The statement was released after the head of the Israeli National Security Council, Yaakov Ameridor, known for his right-wing positions that heavily support settlement activities, said that Israel’s settlement activities “are causing political harm to Israel, and are causing it to lose its friends around the world.” …
Israel is also refusing to hold talks on core issues such as borders, natural resources, and the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees.

Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions

Soldiers remove solidarity tent in Jerusalem
IMEMC 8 Feb — A large Israeli military force invaded, on Thursday evening, the Al-Esawiyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and used force to remove a solidarity tent installed in solidarity with hunger striking detainee, Samer Al-Eesawy [Issawi], and other striking detainees, and removed posters of El-Eesawy … This is the 19th consecutive attack against the solidarity tent

Clinic: 4 prisoners’ wives pregnant from smuggled sperm
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Four women are pregnant after smuggling their husbands’ sperm out of Israeli jails, a clinic in Nablus announced Thursday. At a news conference at the Razan Medical Center, Dr Salem Abu Khaizaran said the four successful pregnancies were a huge achievement, and that many insemination attempts had failed. “We don’t intervene and ask how they smuggled sperm from prison and get it to Nablus. There are many failed attempts because the sperm die and so prisoners have to keep trying until it works,” Abu Khaizaran said. “We believe that this is a human right especially as these prisoners are spending long sentences in prisons and a woman’s biological clock is short so maybe when her husband comes out she won’t be able to have a child.”

Hunger-striker, freed by Israel, returns to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — A Palestinian prisoner who spent 100 days on hunger strike last year was released to the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Akram Rekhawi crossed through the Erez crossing into Gaza to a public reception of political officials after nine years in Israeli jail. In a short address, Rekhawi stressed the need to support other Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli jails, noting the difficult conditions in Ramle prison hospital. The 39-year-old, from Rafah, was then transferred to Dar al-Shifa hospital by ambulance for a medical check-up. A father of eight, Rekhawi suffers from diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis and has been held in Ramle prison clinic throughout his detention since 2004.

Trial delayed for the Al-Manatir Three
ISM 6 Feb — Three Palestinians are still being held in detention following last Saturday´s Al-Manatir protest camp in Burin. The three of them are suspected of participating in a march without permission as well as throwing stones. The two adults, Wahid Qadoos and Ashraf Abu Rahma, are also facing potentially an extra charge of assaulting soldiers. Dhia Audhh, the other defendant is a minor from Tammun aged just 17 years old.
Yesterday (5/2/12) the Israeli authorities were pursuing a prosecution against all three suspects. Today as they arrived in court the military prosecution chose an unusual change of tack. They presented secret files to the military judge explaining why The need five days in order to complete the investigation. According to the military Judge this will include looking into violence from the Israeli settlers that  attacked the Palestinians residents of Hai Al-Manatir. This seems to be as a direct result of attention of the media  and human rights groups in the trail.

IOA renews the journalist Abu Arafah’s administrative detention
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 7 Feb — Ahrar center for Prisoners studies and human rights has appealed to Reporters Without Borders, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, to immediately intervene to stop the suffering of captive journalist Amer Abu Arafah, 29, from al-Khalil. Abu Arafah’s administrative detention has been renewed by the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) for the fourth time in a row. The journalist Amer Abu Arafah, is a correspondent for the Shehab News Agency, he was arrested on 21 August 2011.

Israel releases prisoner after 20 years
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Israel on Thursday released a 41-year-old Palestinian after detaining him for 20 years. Khalid Abu Rayaleh, from Sheikh Radwan in the northern Gaza Strip, was detained in 1992 and sentenced to 21 years for membership of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Abu Rayaleh was released six months before completing his sentence.

Man faces year in jail after Abbas Facebook joke
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — A Palestinian court has sentenced a man from the Nablus area to a year in prison for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook, officials said Thursday. The Nablus magistrates court sentenced Anas Saad Awwad, 26, of Awarta village, in absentia to a year in prison after convicting him on charges of criticizing the government, an official said. Khalil Assaf, the director of the public freedoms committee within an unimplemented unity deal, called the sentence itself an insult to the president, not the supposed crime of criticizing him. Assaf called on the court to reverse the ruling.

Gaza blockade / War crimes

Four Israeli citizens living in Gaza challenge ban on visiting family
Haaretz 7 Feb by Amira Hass — Four Israeli citizens are being denied the right to visit Israel, see their families and update their documents at the Interior Ministry – just because they happen to live in the Gaza Strip, according to their lawyer … The first petitioner, who filed suit in the Be’er Sheva District Court, is a Mrs. Wahidi. She was born in Rehovot in 1965, converted to Islam with her mother in the 1980s, married a resident of Gaza and has lived with him there for years … The other three petitioners, who filed suit in the Jerusalem District Court, are three sisters born in Nahariya between 1979 and 1984 to an Israeli mother and a Palestinian father. Their mother died when they were young, after which they moved with their father to Gaza. But they have two sisters who live in Israel.

Rights group: Israel arrests brothers at Gaza crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli forces detained two brothers at a border crossing in north Gaza on Tuesday, a rights group said. The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said in a statement that Rami Riyad al-Tayeb, 32, and his brother Mohammad, 23, were detained at the Beit Hanoun, or Erez, crossing while en-route to visit their mother in the West Bank. Both men had Israeli-approved permits for the visit, the al-Mezan center said, but were arrested and transferred to an Israeli detention center. The Gaza-based rights group will hire a lawyer to defend the two brothers, with no further details about why they were being held.

Army kidnaps three Palestinians at border fence in Gaza
IMEMC 7 Feb — Israeli military sources reported Wednesday that the army kidnapped three unarmed Palestinians after crossing the border fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel. The sources stated that initial investigation revealed that the three “do not attempt into enter Israel with the intent to commit an attack”, and that they infiltrated into the country seeking work. The three Palestinians were handed to the Israeli Internal Security Agency for further interrogation.

IDF probing deaths of 70 Palestinian civilians
Ynet 6 Feb — Military Advocate General stresses army under no legal obligation to conduct inquiry, says probe doesn’t suggest any violation of the law during Pillar of Defense, only commitment to international law — The IDF is examining 70 cases in which non-combatant Palestinian civilians were killed during Operation Pillar of Defense, Military Advocate General Danny Efroni revealed on Wednesday.

Turkel: Israel must adopt int’l war crimes inquiry norms
Ynet 6 Feb — State commission probing deadly 2010 Marmara raid issues second report, says Israel must pursue legislation to cover legal loopholes concerning potential war crimes investigations


11 Palestinians killed in Syria including 4 women
DAMASCUS (PIC) 7 Feb — The workgroup for Palestinians in Syria said that 11 Palestinians were killed in Damascus on Wednesday including four women. The workgroup said in a statement on Thursday that the Syrian regular army continued to besiege and shell Palestinian refugee camps especially Yarmouk in Damascus and killed 11 refugees in the process … The report said that the Sabbena refugee camp was also under tight siege and the remaining inhabitants there were suffering from acute shortage in food supplies.

As Syrians pour in, Lebanon grapples with ghosts of a bloody past
TYRE, Lebanon (Reuters) 7 Feb by Alexander Dziadosz — A new video making the rounds in Lebanon opens with ominous string music reminiscent of a horror film and the title “Before it’s too late.” Red stains spread across a white map of the tiny coastal country, marking areas where Palestinian refugees settled after they fled or were driven from their homes with the creation of Israel in 1948. Once settled in Lebanon, the video says, the refugees threatened its sovereignty, attacked its national army and helped cause a 15-year civil war that killed more than 100,000 people. Now Syrians are coming in similar numbers. “Will history repeat itself?” asks the video, which has garnered thousands of hits on YouTube and been shared on Lebanese blogs and websites. Some Lebanese said it was racist, but many agreed with it, reflecting concern the fallout from Syria’s 22-month revolt against President Bashar Assad may threaten the fragile peace between its diverse ethnic and religious groups since 1990. Those Lebanese see the arrival of tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Muslim Syrian refugees as a replay of the flood of Palestinians which altered Lebanon’s communal balance and challenged its Christian-dominated power structure decades ago.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

International Day of Action for the boycott of Israeli agricultural products in Gaza
Gaza Strip (ISM) 6 Feb — Today´s press conference in support of Palestinian farmers and fishermen held in the port of Gaza City launched several days of activities leading up to the International Day of Action for the Boycott of Israeli Agricultural Products on Saturday 9th February. Speakers were from the Boycott National Committee, the student boycott movement in Gaza, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, PNGO and International Action for Palestine.
On Saturday 9th of February, thousands of people all over the world will participate in actions calling for the boycott of Israeli agricultural products. In the Gaza Strip, farmers and solidarity activists will plant olive trees in the east of the district of Zeytoun, near the so-called ‘buffer zone’, a unilaterally imposed no-go zone near the border fence. A few years ago, this area was covered with hundreds of olive trees that have since been bulldozed by the Israeli Army.

Unilever fully withdraws factory from West Bank
UCP 4 Feb — British-Dutch multinational Unilever has informed Dutch NGO United Civilians for Peace (UCP) that the company no longer operates two production lines of daughter company Beigel and Beigel. Beigel and Beigel is a snack food factory, established in Barkan, the industrial zone of the Israeli settlement Ariël in the occupied West Bank. The production lines have been transferred to Unilever’s plant in Safed, behind the Green Line in Israel proper. UCP expresses its content for the fact that Unilever, after years of hesitation, finally came to terms. From 2006 onward UCP has urged the company to withdraw Beigel and Beigel from the occupied territories. UCP stresses that dialogue and pressure from society have prevailed in bringing the British-Dutch giant towards its decision. Unilever will now serve as an example and warning for each and every company involved in the illegal West Bank business.

Political / Economic News

Fatah, Hamas to discuss unity government Sunday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Fatah and Hamas officials will meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the composition of a unity government, Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said Thursday. Leaders of the major Palestinian parties are already in the Egyptian capital ahead of series of meeting designed to hammer out the details of the long-stalled 2011 reconciliation agreement. A joint government to oversee fresh elections and reunite the West Bank and Gaza is a key component of the deal.

Elections commission receives Gaza population data
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip on Thursday transferred basic data from the Palestinian civil registry to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission in preparation for elections. A statement on the ministry’s website said the step was part of necessary procedures for renewing the registry and facilitation the work of the elections commission as well as reconciliation … The roll has not been updated in Gaza since Jan. 2005.

Islamic Jihad may run in PNC elections
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Islamic Jihad may run in Palestinian National Council elections, if its conditions are met, a politburo member said Thursday … The PNC is the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which represents Palestinians in exile as well as those in the West Bank and Gaza. The parliament is presently mainly composed of appointees, and has so far excluded Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which were formed since the PLO’s establishment in 1964.

Teachers stay home despite deal to end strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Palestinian teachers rejected calls from their own union on Wednesday and went on strike across the occupied West Bank, shutting down government schools in major cities. The union of teachers had officially decided not to carry out plans to strike Wednesday after the head of the union, Bassam Naim, said representatives met with education ministry officials. Nevertheless schools in Nablus, Jenin and Bethlehem were closed Wednesday.

Union chief reveals PA plans to lay off 50% of workforce
MEMO 6 Feb — The head of the Government Employees Union, Bassam Zakarneh, has revealed that his organisation has seen the Palestinian Authority’s plans to force 50 per cent of its workforce to take “early retirement”. The move is said to be part of the PA’s austerity measures which include the removal of staff salary increments and transport and cost of living allowances which, it is hoped, will save the Authority almost $250 million per month. According to local media sources in Jerusalem, if the budget and cuts are pushed through by the PA, Zakarneh has warned of “strikes and massive protests”. The government, he insisted, will bear the responsibility for any disruption to public services.

Islamic summit to address settlements, Jerusalem
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli settlement expansion and threats to holy sites in Jerusalem are on the agenda for the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which opened Wednesday in Cairo. President Mahmoud Abbas is joining leaders of Islamic nations for the two-day summit, which will include a special session to draft a resolution on Israeli settlement expansion in occupied Palestine. On Tuesday, foreign ministers of Islamic states agreed to hold a special donor conference to support Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents. Hamas urged the OIC to provide immediate protection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in a statement Wednesday

Abbas calls for end to Gaza blockade
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday urged Islamic leaders to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza, but criticized official visits to the enclave … Supporters of the Palestinian people should differentiate between humanitarian support “which our people in Gaza should receive, and the official political visits to the Gaza Strip which imply that the coastal enclave is a separate entity,” the president said.

Abbas meets Iranian counterpart in Cairo
CAIRO (WAFA) 6 Feb — President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday met with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the Islamic summit held in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Abbas discussed the topics on the agenda of the summit, the political process, the Palestinian authority’s financial crisis, in addition to the Palestinian reconciliation.

Hamas denies BBC reports that it receives support for [from] Syria’s al-Assad
MEMO 7 Feb — Izzat El Reshq, a member of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) political bureau, denied on Thursday that its head, Khaled Mishal, had said that the “Syrian president is still supporting Hamas.” Several mass media outlets republished a quote attributed to Mishal and broadcast by the BBC show ‘Hard Talk’, in which it was said that Hamas is still receiving support from the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. El Reshq stressed that the statement was “completely false.” He said: “This phrase was not uttered by Mishal at all. After calling BBC officials, they removed the false phrase from the website and added the right one.”

White House: No new Obama peace plan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — US President Barack Obama will not propose any “specific” Middle East peace proposal during his upcoming visit to the region, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. The new administration in Washington and new government in Israel made this spring “an opportune time for a visit like this that is not focused on specific Middle East peace process proposals,” he said … On Wednesday the Israeli news site Ynet quoted US diplomatic sources saying that Washington was determined to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. One source, according to the site, said that Obama’s visit was meant to make clear that the US has no intention of neglecting the peace process and that it intends to renew its involvement in the near future.

Other news

Israeli, PA courts duke it out over damages case
Ynet 6 Feb — Jerusalem, Ramallah courts embroiled in rare judicial duel whose results may set far-reaching legal precedent regarding matters of jurisdiction –  An Israeli court is poised to overturn a damages verdict given by a court of a lower instance, which awarded millions to a plaintiff, after one of the witnesses involved in the case was convicted of perjury by a Palestinian court, Ynetnews learned Wednesday. This unusual overlap between the Israeli and Palestinian legal systems presents several complex questions, most notably how a perjury conviction attained in PA jurisdiction may affect proceedings held in Israel.

Israel indicts four Beitar fans for racism
Haaretz 7 Feb — Prosecutors on Thursday filed indictments against four Beitar Jerusalem fans for racism, including the harassing of the soccer team’s two new Muslim players from Chechnya. All four fans are between 22 and 24 years old. Three of them were indicted for making racist statements during Beitar’s game against Bnei Yehuda last month. A fourth fan, 23, was charged with harassing the two Muslim players during their first practice with the team last week.
Meanwhile, around 20 people from the world Beitar youth movement showed up at Beitar’s practice on Thursday handing out flowers to Kadiev and Sadaev. Last week world Beitar’s leaders sent a letter to the team saying the fans’ behavior was badly damaging its reputation.

Hezbollah says bombing allegations are Israeli smear campaign
BEIRUT (Reuters) 6 Feb — Hezbollah dismissed on Wednesday Bulgaria’s accusation that it carried out a bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists last year, saying Israel was waging a smear campaign against it. Deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem said Israel was directing “allegations and incitements and accusations against Hezbollah” because it had failed to defeat it militarily. Bulgaria said on Tuesday the Lebanese movement was behind the bombing on a bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists in July.

EU to consider listing Hezbollah as terrorist group
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 6 Feb — The European Union will consider adding Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement to its list of terrorist organizations after it was implicated in a bombing in Bulgaria last year, an EU foreign affairs spokeswoman said on Wednesday. However, she said listing the group was just one of several options and said no decision had been taken.

Syria files complaint against Israel for bombing Syrian territory
IMEMC 8 Feb — Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations filed, on Thursday evening, an official complaint against Israel for bombarding a site in the country, and for violating Syrian airspace … The Israeli attack took place more than a week ago; Israel claims that it targeted what it called “a weapons convoy heading to Lebanon”, but Syria stated that the Israeli Air Force bombarded a military scientific center in a suburban area near the Syrian capital, Damascus. Two persons were killed, and several others were injured.

Analysis / Opinion

More than a land grab / Raja Shehadeh
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Latitude blog) 6 Feb — Last week some inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Burin, near Nablus, set up a small and peaceful protest camp on private land in an attempt to protect the village from encroaching Jewish settlers. On Saturday, the Israeli Army evicted the Palestinians. According to one report, the settlers uprooted nearly 100 olive trees, a 16-year-old Palestinian was wounded, 20 people suffered tear gas inhalation, and a mosque was set on fire.
As I read about these events, which transpired not far from where I live, I was struck by how we Palestinians are no longer able to enjoy the land where we live. In recent years Jewish settlers have taken plenty of unpopulated Palestinian land; now, even our hometowns are unsafe.
And, of course, the scramble for land in the West Bank is not the only way in which settlers have been increasingly impinging on our lives. Four days ago, Palestinian customs officials seized 13 tons of expired food that was smuggled in from settlements and repackaged with a later expiration date. The Palestinian police have no jurisdiction over the settlers and cannot prosecute those responsible for the scam. And it’s doubtful that the Israeli authorities will take action.

Why students in solidarity with Palestine should not join the Olive Tree Initiative / Rahim Kurwa
Jadaliyya 6 Feb — OTI’s “standards and ethics” indicate that the organization is adamant about remaining “apolitical” when approaching the “conflict.” Those of us who understand the realities on the ground know that this “conflict” is defined by the Israeli government’s discrimination, occupation, and displacement of Palestinians. OTI-affiliated groups pledge to remain “non-partisan and apolitical,” are not allowed to “engage in political activism,” and must be committed to providing “balanced and varied points of view.” In fact, these groups commit themselves to providing “perspectives and counter-perspectives on issues relevant to the same event or program when possible.” Privileging Balance Over Truth: Nowhere in this mission statement is there any mention of the word ‘truth’.

Water under the bridge: how the Oslo agreement robbed the Palestinians / Ian Black
Guardian 4 Feb — ‘Cooperation’ with Israel over West Bank water supplies helped consolidate illegal settlements and undermine the two-state solution, a new study shows … Using the records of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC) Sussex University’s Jan Selby demonstrates that Israel made approval of improvements to Palestinian water supplies conditional upon Palestinian Authority (PA) approval of new water facilities for settlements, sometimes explicitly so. Palestinians face serious water shortages and an underdeveloped supply system but have given their approval in almost every case. Settlements are not only illegal under international law but are one of the major impediments to Palestinian statehood. Building settlements means that one side is steadily eating the pizza while negotiations are continuing on how to divide it up.

Unfreezing the Right of Return: First stop, Gaza / Munir Nuseibah
January 2013 Overview – -The Palestinian authorities should immediately start implementing the right of return, beginning with Gaza and without waiting for Israel, argues Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Munir Nuseibah. While mindful of the political and physical pitfalls and problems, he carefully constructs the arguments in favor of the move in this policy brief. He cites the legal obligations, the ways in which the continuing occupation of Gaza need not be an obstacle, and the practical steps for beginning the implementation of the right of return, in however limited a manner

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About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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One Response

  1. Stateless American
    February 8, 2013, 12:11 pm

    A gentle reminder: As John V. Whitbeck and others have noted, since the Nov. 29 U.N. General Assembly vote “the only legally, politically and diplomatically correct ways to refer to the 22 percent portion of historical Palestine occupied in 1967 are now ‘the State of Palestine,’ ‘Palestine’ and ‘occupied Palestine.’ ‘Palestinian Authority,’ ‘occupied territories’ and ‘occupied Palestinian territories’ are no longer acceptable.”

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