Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Threats to non-Jewish sites / Restriction of movement
Israel produces a film replacing Al-Aqsa Mosque with temple
IMEMC 30 Jan — In a film that was produced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and was banned from being officially published, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, is seen standing and speaking in various areas of Jerusalem, including in front of the Dome of the Rock, where in the film, it disappears and is replaced by Jewish temple. The film, “The Facts about Jerusalem”, is meant from Israeli point of view to encourage tourism and portray harmony, but at the same time is meant to show the sole Jewish history of the holy city, while Ayalon also claims that the film “is about freedom of religion of the three faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” … Despite the fact that the film was banned from being officially published, Ayalon uploaded it onto his own YouTube Channel.
The Palestinians denounced the film dubbing it as part of the ongoing Israeli attempts to void the Arab and Islamic history, culture and archeology. Despite his claims of diversity and sharing the city of “the united not divided” Jerusalem, Israel prevents millions of Arab Muslims and Christians, from entering the city to pray at their holy sites or to tour the city.
Ministry ‘chronicles’ Dome of the Rock history
[with amended video, which now includes fairy dust, time travel] Ynet 30 Jan — The Foreign Ministry created an elaborate video titled The Truth about Jerusalem, in which Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon presents Israel’s capital as a diverse and pluralistic city. The result, however, seemed potentially problematic to the ministry – as it featured a segment in which an animated Dome of the Rock was essentially disintegrating – and the video was reedited … In the backdrop of such descriptions of diversity and tolerance, as well as images of cultural events, scientific discoveries and overjoyed residents, the animation features a collapsing Dome of the Rock, from the ruins of which rises the Jewish Holy Temple. When the video was presented to the Foreign Ministry, many were apprehensive, as they feared that the segment may be misinterpreted causing offense to the Muslim population.
Researcher: Israeli preparations for construction of alleged Temple completed
NAZARETH, RAMALLAH (PIC) 30 Jan — Researcher Amr Jamal said that the movie, published by Israeli Foreign Ministry and which shows the demolition of the Dome of the Rock and the establishment of the alleged Temple on its ruins, reflects the practical steps applied on the ground to achieve this purpose. The Palestinian researcher specialized in Jerusalem affairs told Quds Press that the occupation authorities had completed the preparation of all architectural plans for the construction of the alleged Temple. Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage warned that the settlers and Jewish groups who storm Al-Aqsa Mosque have recently started focusing during their raids on the Islamic Museum chapel and the Eastern wall, especially in the area of Bab al-Rahma. Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in the Palestinian territories, had earlier warned of the occupation scheme to transform the Islamic Museum chapel into a synagogue.
A fitting award for the right man at the right time
MEMO 31 Jan by Dr. Daud Abdullah — This year’s King Faisal International Award for Service to Islam has been presented to Sheikh Raed Salah. The award is hugely significant. At a time when the Israeli desecration of Islamic sanctuaries in Palestine has reached unprecedented levels, it has a special meaning both for the recipient and the cause that he serves. In making its announcement the awarding body noted, “Sheikh Salah won the award for being one of the most prominent personalities in the formation of the Islamic Movement in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948; the President of the al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Sanctuaries; and the first to have discovered the clandestine tunnel digging taking place under the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
IOA exiles Aqsa guard for three weeks
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Jan — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) imposed a fine on one of the Aqsa mosque guards and ordered him to stay away from the holy site for 21 days. The Wadi Hilwe information center said in a statement on Thursday that the IOA released Tarek Abu Subaih after paying 2500 shekels fine. The statement recalled that the Israeli police had arrested Abu Subaih in the Aqsa mosque’s plazas and took him to a police station where he was accused of disturbing peace.
IOA arrests 11 citizens in Silwan including children
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Jan — The Israeli occupation authorities rounded up 11 Jerusalemites in Silwan suburb on Wednesday including a number of children. A spokesperson for the Israeli police said that policemen and border guards arrested 11 citizens including 4 minors. She said that the citizens were charged with throwing stones at policemen in Silwan recently, adding that they would be interrogated.
Israeli forces serve eviction notices to entire district in Jerusalem
MEMO 30 Jan — The residents of an entire Palestinian district in Jerusalem have been served demolition orders by the Israeli occupation authorities. According to local sources, the Palestinians living in Al-Fohaidat were given eviction notices on Wednesday morning. “The Israelis handed eviction notices to the owners of 13 apartments and ten large sheds as it is their intention to demolish them,” said Majdi Al-Fohaidat, a local resident. “They claim that they have been built without appropriate licences.” The whole neighbourhood, which covers more than 12 acres of land, belongs to the Al-Fohaidat clan. According to Mr. Al-Fohaidat, the real reason for the evictions and demolitions is the proximity of an Israeli military base and the apartheid wall. He says that the Israelis have been trying to uproot his clan from their land for years as part of the Israeli government’s Judaisation policy for Jerusalem.
Israeli plan to establish an educational complex in the village of ‘Anata
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Jan — The so-called regional council of Kfar Adumim settlement approved the construction of an educational complex on 218 dunums of the land of ‘Anata town northeast of Jerusalem, Haaretz revealed on Thursday. The Hebrew newspaper stated [in an article by Amira Hass] that the Israeli Civil Administration approved the maps for the establishment of the complex, “about a kilometer outside the settlement’s built-up area,” pointing out that a school for Bedouins will be demolished for the implementation of the scheme.
Summary of nine days of demolitions and displacement in Al Maleh, Jordan Valley
29 January 2013 | OCHA Displacement Working Group, edited by International Solidarity Movement, Al Maleh, Occupied Palestine — …Here is a brief history of the nine days in Al Maleh: Pre-2013: Since 2009, four demolitions took place in the Al Maleh area, all in Hamamat Al Maleh – Al Meita, on the grounds that the structures were located in a Firing Zone. During these demolitions – three in 2011 and one in 2012 – seven residential structures, 10 animal structures, and one beehive were demolished, resulting in the displacement of 36 people and affecting 35 others. 17 January 2013: Israeli occupation forces demolished 47 (sic) residential and animal structures: 20 residential tents (18 inhabited/2 uninhabited), 20 animal structures, five kitchens and one toilet in Hamamat Al Maleh – Al Meita and Hamamat Al Maleh. Two water tanks and a solar panel were also damaged. As a result, 10 families comprising 60 people, including 36 children, were displaced and two additional households including three children were affected….
Israeli forces take over home near Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Israeli forces took over a Palestinian home in the al-‘Arqa village near Jenin in the northern West Bank on Thursday, locals said on the second day of Israeli operations in the area. Soldiers took over Abdul Kareem Salameh’s home, which is still under construction. The house located in the northern side of the village southwest Jenin. Israeli forces declared the site a closed military zone.
Meanwhile clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces, who fired stun grenades, in Ya‘bad village near a primary school a day after Israeli forces confiscated property there. Military jeeps arrived in Ya‘bad village early Wednesday and took control of a property, installing surveillance cameras and placing an Israeli flag on the house.
Students suffer as Israel denies Palestinian freedom of movement education in the occupied territories
Mondoweiss 31 Jan by James Elliott — How long does it typically take university students to get to their morning lectures where you live? It might just be a matter of whether they decide to walk, cycle or take the bus. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Palestinian students in the West Bank who continue to face incredible difficulties in accessing education because of the movement restrictions of the Israeli occupation. There are 542 obstacles to movement in the West Bank, including checkpoints and roadblocks. According to the Office for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘60 Palestinian communities, with a combined population of about 190,000, are still compelled to use detours that are two to five times longer than the direct route to the closest city.’ The impact on Palestinian students has been significant: over half the students at an-Najah University in Nablus must cross checkpoints in order to study, and 91% of students have missed classes as a result of the checkpoints. Even more disturbingly, the majority of students surveyed at an-Najah reported that they were subjected to some form of abuse whilst stopped at checkpoints.
UN human rights inquiry says Israel must remove settlements
GENEVA (Reuters) 31 Jan — UN human rights investigators called on Israel on Thursday to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes. A three-member UN panel said private companies should stop working in the settlements if their work adversely affected the human rights of Palestinians, and urged member states to ensure companies respected human rights. “Israel must cease settlement activities and provide adequate, prompt and effective remedy to the victims of violations of human rights,” Christine Chanet, a French judge who led the UN inquiry, told a news conference. The settlements contravened the Fourth Geneva Convention forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory and could amount to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the United Nations report said.
Palestinians feel vindicated by UN right report on Israel
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 31 Jan — Palestinians welcomed a U.N. Human Rights Council report on Thursday highly critical of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying it vindicated their struggle against Israel. The U.N. investigation, which was boycotted by the Jewish state, urged Israel to halt settlement construction unconditionally and begin removing all 500,000 Israeli settlers from occupied territory immediately. “This is incredible. We are extremely heartened by this principled and candid assessment of Israeli violations,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
UK consul visits Hebron, condemns settlements
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Jan — UK consul-general to Jerusalem Sir Vincent Fean met Wednesday with Hebron’s governor Kamil Hmeid Tuesday and expressed concerns about Israeli settlement expansion. Fean said the Palestinian Authority had the right to control its territory and expressed concern over Israeli settlements and land confiscation “which could foil the two-state solution.”
Palestine readying to propose Battir for UNESCO protection
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Palestinian experts are putting the final touches on Palestine’s 2013 submission to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which will propose the ancient Bethlehem village of Battir as a heritage site. The proposal, which outlines historical, natural, and cultural features of the hillside village, will be submitted by mid-February, the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs official working on UNESCO, Omar Awadallah, told Ma‘an. The committee will vote on whether Battir takes World Heritage status at the June general conference, he said. A Palestinian official delegation will attend the conference.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
7 killed, 300 kidnapped in January
IMEMC 1 Feb — A report prepared and published by the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights revealed that Israeli soldiers shot and killed seven Palestinians, and kidnapped more than 300, last month — January 2013. The foundation said that four Palestinians — two children, a young woman and a young man — were shot and killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank, and three more Palestinians, including one child, were killed in Gaza. The army also kidnapped more than 300 Palestinians, including more than 60 children and five women, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This number does not include the activists who were detained after the army attacked and removed the Bab Al-Shams village … Most of the arrests were carried out in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank
IOF quelling of funeral burns down Palestinian home
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 30 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired teargas and metal bullets at a funeral at the main entrance of Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil, on Tuesday starting a fire in a Palestine home. Yousef Abu Mariya, a member of the popular committee against the wall in the village, told the PIC that IOF soldiers quelled hundreds of Palestinian citizens who were taking part in the funeral procession. He said that the soldiers’ intensive use of teargas canisters burnt down the house of Ahmed Allami, which is only 500 meters away from the IOF military watchtower at the entrance to the village.
Large Israeli force raids Jenin village, locals say
JENIN (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — A large Israeli force raided a Jenin village overnight Tuesday in what locals say was the largest operation in the area for decades. Over 400 Israeli soldiers raided al-Mughayyir village overnight and conducted a house-to-house search of over fifty homes, interrogating residents, locals told Ma‘an. “At 2 a.m., Israeli soldiers knocked on my door. I went out in a hurry to see who is knocking on my door at this time and was shocked when I saw Israeli soldiers pointing their guns at me, and asking me and my family to get out of the home. My wife, my four kids, and I stood outside in the rainy weather,” Amjad Muhassin said. Soldiers made the family wait outside for over 30 minutes before gathering them in the living room and interrogating each family member, including children, he added…
A 10-year-old girl, Nirmin, told Ma‘an that six Israeli soldiers raided her home, ordering her mother and father to leave the home. “My brothers and sisters were crying. I slept under the blanket (I hide myself under the blanket). I was so scared that the Israeli soldiers would shoot my father and my mother,” she said. No arrests were reported by villagers.
IOF kidnap 10 Palestinians in W. Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 30 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped last night and at dawn Wednesday 10 Palestinians, mostly during raids on homes in different West Bank areas, according to Israeli and Palestinian media sources. The sources stated that the detention campaigns took place in villages and towns of Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and Al-Khalil.
Among the detainees was a Palestinian mother from ‘Arraba village in Jenin and she was detained during her visit to her son in jail.
For her part, Palestinian activist Wafa Abu Galmi reported that a large number of Israeli soldiers stormed at dawn Al-Ein refugee camp in Nablus and kidnapped two young men during violent raids on homes.
Several homes were also raided in Sarra village in Nablus without any reported arrests.
In Al-Khalil, the IOF reportedly stormed different neighborhoods in Dura town at dawn without any reports yet about raids on homes there.
In an earlier incident on Tuesday, the IOF stormed homes in Al-Khalil city and Beit Ummar town to the north and took two Palestinians in chains to an unknown place.
IOF invade some villages in Jenin city at dawn
JENIN (PIC) 31 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Thursday launched a campaign of raids in villages west of Jenin city and established military checkpoints.
Local sources reported that a force of Israeli soldiers aboard military vehicles stormed Al-‘Arqah village and broke into a house under construction belonging to Abdul-Karim Salama. They added that the troops invaded the house for hours and turned it into a military post from which they monitored the neighborhoods of the village and launched raids on other homes.
The IOF also raided at dawn homes and greenhouses in Kafr Dan village and many troops were deployed on Jenin-Haifa street.
Eyewitnesses also reported that the IOF invaded Burqin village and positioned themselves in different alleys without any reported arrests.
In an earlier incident, local sources said that the IOF kidnapped late yesterday a young man named Osama Bazour from Raba village east of Jenin as he was trying to cross a military checkpoint in Barta‘a area.
In another context, an Arab-speaking Israeli radio station said on Thursday that the Jewish settlers in the West Bank demanded the Israeli army to re-deploy military checkpoints that had been removed about two years ago as part of a deal with the Palestinian authority.
EU, UN concerned by Israeli live fire against Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — The European Union and the United Nations expressed concern on Wednesday about Israel’s use of lethal forces against Palestinians following a rise in fatal shootings. The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said in a statement that they were “deeply concerned by the number of Palestinians killed recently.” …
At least five Palestinians have been fatally shot by Israeli forces in January. Israel’s army denied responsibility for the death of a sixth man shot dead along the Gaza border. A report published Monday by Israeli rights group B’Tselem said that Israel’s army “extensively and systematically violated” rules barring deadly retaliation for non-lethal assault.
‘Samir is gone’: family mourns baby-faced teen killed by Israeli fire
Ramallah (EI) 31 Jan by Linah Alsaafin – On 15 January, the Israeli army opened fire on a 16-year-old boy in the occupied West Bank village of Budrus just after 10am. Samir Awad was shot four times in his legs, chest and head. The soldiers were hidden from view in trenches near Israel’s wall before shooting him the first time. As Samir tried to run away, he was shot again and again. Ayed Morrar, a leader of the popular resistance against the wall that erupted in the village in 2003, condemned the shooting as an ‘assassination.’ ‘The soldiers had set up two ambushes for Samir, and were hidden well,’ Morrar told The Electronic Intifada. ‘They suddenly reappeared, grabbed him, but Samir managed to get away for a few meters before he was shot by live ammunition in his legs. The soldiers in the other trench then shot him in the back and head. This was an assassination; their intention was to kill, not to capture or arrest him.’ Morrar dismissed claims that Samir was trying to ‘infiltrate’ Israel by somehow going through the wall.
Israel jailed my friend Hassan Karajah to break the grassroots struggle
EI 31 Jan by Eoin O’Ceallaigh — At 2:30am on Wednesday, 24 January, the Israeli military attacked a home in the West Bank village of Saffa. Along with stealing computers, mobile phones and personal documents, Israeli soldiers beat, handcuffed and blindfolded our friend and comrade Hassan Karajah. The youth coordinator of Stop the Wall and a well-liked, well-respected activist and human rights defender, Hassan was taken into the night, without being told why, without the medications he relies on because of a previous injury, and without charge.
Whole family killed in house fire caused by candle
MEMO 31 Jan — A whole family has been killed in a house fire started, the authorities believe, by a candle. The blaze took place at dawn today, Thursday, in Al-Shejaeia neighbourhood to the east of Gaza City. Candles are used frequently by Palestinians because of the disruption to the supply caused by the lack of fuel to keep the main electricity generating plant operating in the besieged Gaza Strip. Hazem Doheer, aged 32, his wife Samar Doheer, 30, and their four children aged between two months to 7 years were found dead in the scorched ruins of the building. Their remains were taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza … Blaming the Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza for creating the circumstances whereby the use of naked flames to provide light in heavily-populated buildings is now commonplace, government spokesman Ihab al-Ghoseen pointed out that the fire was one of a number of similar “disasters” which have occurred since 2006.
Gov’t slams media claims about interfering in Egypt’s events
GAZA (PIC) 30 Jan — The Palestinian government in Gaza expressed it dismay at some Egyptian media outlets for accusing the Palestinians of being involved in the internal events in Egypt. Some Egyptian media outlets claimed that thousands of Hamas resistance fighters infiltrated into the Egyptian territories to stand by Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. “Everything that is said in this regard is fabrications, lies and misleading claims made by suspicious media trying to drive a wedge between Palestine and Egypt,” spokesman for the government Taher Al-Nunu told a news conference on Tuesday.
Palestinians scapegoated in Egypt
30 Jan by Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor in Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper — When things go wrong internally, Arab states can often turn their attentions towards seeking a weak scapegoat. That scapegoat frequently turns out to be the Palestinians living in that country. Accusations and rumours can be easily fabricated to lead to hate campaigns that can easily turn escalate into massacres … In Iraq, Palestinians were massacred by sectarian militias; that tragedy was repeated in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp and northern Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared camp …
Now, the Egyptian media has started broadcasting news about 7,000 Hamas troops who have apparently infiltrated the country via cross-border tunnels. Sometimes they protect the President’s palace, sometimes they free criminals from prisons. According to these claims, the number of infiltrators is on the rise every day and they are tasked with performing terrorist attacks in Egypt in support of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and defending them against liberal and secular ‘enemies’ in the National Salvation Front [NSF] and al-Dustour party headed by Mohammed el-Baradei.The choice of Hamas has been carefully calculated, because the Palestinian movement is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is seen as a military extension of the mother movement, that’s how opposition parties have responded during the latest demonisation of the Palestinian movement. Hamas does not have 7,000 fighters to send to Tahrir Square or the Ittiyihada. And if it had such a number, how did they cut across 400 kilometres of Sinai desert, passing the Suez Canal into Cairo, without attracting the attention of Egyptian security forces? If Hamas managed that, it’d be an insult to Egypt’s renowned and well-trained forces.
The closure is like dying a slow death
PCHR 1 Feb — Ramadan Daoud Hussein Abdel Bari (51) lives in Gaza together with his wife, their 8 children, and his sick mother. He opened a clothing factory in Khan Younis in 1985. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada the increased Israeli-imposed movement restrictions have ruined Ramadan’s business and caused him and his family to live in poverty, denying them the ability to live in dignity … The movement restrictions were the beginning of a downward spiral for Ramadan’s factory, which provided employment to 30 factory workers. “I had to start selling factory machinery to pay salaries to my staff. In 2005, we made our last export, worth 80,000 Israeli shekels. The Israeli client, however, never paid me. After that, I was afraid to continue business, as I couldn’t afford to lose money again.”
Gaza hospital performs Strip’s first transplant
Al Monitor 30 Jan by Rami Almeghari — Nadia Ma’touq, 36, and her husband Ziad Ma’touq, 43, are both recovering at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza after a seven-hour surgery for a kidney transplant. It is the first such transplant ever conducted in Gaza, and one that saved the life of Ziad, father of six children … The surgery, as well as a transplant for another patient, took place last week with the help of international staff from the UK. Three surgeons and one scientist from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital performed the surgery with the assistance of local staff. Abdelqader Hammad, a member of the international team and originally a Palestinian from Jaffa, had been living in the UK for the past 25 years when he decided to come to Gaza to see if he could apply his medical expertise to assist locals.
Hamas plans more ‘enemy language’ Hebrew in Gaza schools
GAZA (Reuters) 31 Jan - Islamist Hamas authorities plan to expand Hebrew-language classes in the Gaza Strip’s high schools to help Palestinians know their enemy in times of conflict with Israel. Far from a sign that peace will soon break out, Hamas’s promotion of Hebrew learning in the Israeli-blockaded Mediterranean enclave aims to make linguistic skill a useful new front in the struggle against the Jewish state … Twenty years ago, many of Gaza‘s 1.5 million Palestinians could speak and understand Hebrew from having worked in the Jewish state or spending time in prison there for alleged involvement in militant attacks … Today, only about 50,000 Gazans – often former laborers and prisoners in Israel – retain a grasp of Hebrew.
More than 1,000 leave Gaza for Mecca pilgrimage
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) 31 Jan — Over one thousand Palestinian pilgrims have crossed into Egypt to made a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in recent days, an Egyptian official said on Thursday. The group of 1,195 pilgrims will fly from Sinai’s el-Arish city to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage, Egyptian director at Rafah crossing Maj. Gen. Sami al-Mitwali said.
He also noted that 63 trucks of Qatari-donated construction material entered Gaza from Egypt on Wednesday
Prisoners / Hunger strikers
Akram Rikhawi renews hunger strike after Israel reneges on agreement to release him
EI 30 Jan by Maureen Clare Murphy — The Palestinian human rights and prisoner advocacy group Addameer is calling today for Egyptian intervention after Israel reneged on an agreement to release Akram Rikhawi from prison and as the health of three other hunger strikers deteriorates. Addameer stated: Addameer finds that the continued hunger strikes illustrate the essential need for Egyptian intervention, especially in their capacity as the sponsors of the 18 October 2012 prisoner exchange and 14 May 2012 agreement that ended the mass hunger strikes. They must work in their capacity to enforce these agreements and put pressure on the Occupying power to respect its obligations andquickly release all the ex-prisoners that were arbitrarily re-arrested, restrict its use of administrative detention and immediately release the ill prisoners that have been languishing for years in the Ramleh prison clinic and are dying slow deaths ... Rikhawi refused food for more than 100 days and ended his protest in July of last year after Israel agreed to release him on 25 January 2013, six months prior to his original release date. Rikhawi renewed his hunger strike on 24 January in protest of Israel’s refusal to release him on 25 January as agreed to last year, according to Addameer.
Prisoners still on hunger strike, some lives at risk, says Addameer
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 Jan -–Six Palestinian prisoners are still hunger striking for long periods with the lives of some of them at serious risk, said a report by the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association ‘Addameer’ on Thursday. Addameer said according to its lawyer who visited Ramleh prison clinic that Samer Issawi who has been hunger striking since August 1 is continuing his strike despite of the severe deterioration in his health … The International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) doctor warned that Issawi’s health is at risk and he might suffer a sudden cardiac arrest or kidney failure.
In its report, Addameer stated that its lawyer was not able to meet striking prisoner Ayman Sharawna as he was transferred to an unknown destination….
Wife of hunger striker on her 36th day of hunger strike
JENIN (PIC) 30 Jan — The wife of detained hunger striker Jafar Ezzudin has declared her insistence on maintaining her hunger strike, now in its 36th day, in solidarity with her husband who has been on hunger strike for 64 days … “I will never retract my step regardless of the dangers,” she said, adding, “We will not remain hostage to occupation’s oppressive policies that turned our lives into a big prison … there should be an end to this oppression.”
Prisoner Youssef Shaban stops hunger strike due to health deterioration
NABLUS, GAZA (PIC) 30 Jan — Prisoner Yusuf Yasin Shaban, who had been on hunger strike for two months, has decided to halt his hunger strike because of his deteriorating health status. International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights said in a press release on Wednesday that the prisoner Youssef Shaban, from the city of Jenin, stopped the hunger strike, after refusing food and medicines for 60 continuous days, due to a serious deterioration in his health condition, noting that he suffers from kidney stones.
Palestinian political activist submits letter to US consul general on Palestinian prisoners
IMEMC 30 Jan — Palestinian Human Rights and Political activist Samer Jaber submitted a letter to the US Consul General in Jerusalem Michael Ratney during his visit to Bethlehem on Tuesday. In his letter, which IMEMC received a copy of, Jaber, representing a Solidarity Committee with Palestinian Prisoners in Israel, he demanded the United States of America to live up to its commitments to human rights principles as a “broker of the peace process.” He specifically mentioned four Palestinian political prisoners who are at risk of dying, namely Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qa’adan and Yousef Sha‘ban Yassi and Samer Issawi.
Plumbly: Palestinian camps in urgent need of more assistance
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 31 Jan — There is an urgent need for more assistance for Palestinian refugees coming from Syria and those residing in Lebanon, U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said Thursday during a visit to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh. “UNRWA has been helping within available resources. The needs of Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria were covered in the appeals discussed in the international donors’ conference in Kuwait yesterday. There is clearly an urgent need for more assistance,” Plumbly said during his visit. He added that addition to some 53,000 registered Palestine refugees that live in the camp in south Lebanon, approximately 4,000 refugees from Syria have also fled to the camp.
Three Palestinian martyrs in Syria
DAMASCUS (PIC 31 Jan — Three Palestinian refugees in Syria have been martyred in the continuing attack by the regime’s army on Palestinian refugee camps … The Working Group stated that the truce agreement is still holding in Husseiniyeh camp, while Khan Dannoun camp has witnessed fire incident for the first time leading to an injury among the residents … The group added that the Yarmouk camp still suffers from a siege imposed by the regular army for 39 days in a row, depriving it from food, heating and medical supplies, where the camp’s residents are subjected to ill-treatment and insults at the barrier located at the camp’s entrance. Furthermore, the Working Group revealed that President Assad issued a presidential decree on January 14, preventing Palestinian refugees in Syria to take advantage of the previous educational grants law.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Hyundai equipment used for new Israeli demolitions in Silwan, while company distances from local dealer
[with video showing the destruction taking place, and brutal Israeli tactics, including the use of attack dogs] EI 31 Jan by Adri Nieuwhof – On Monday, Hyundai machines were used to level Palestinian land and uproot olive trees in the Palestinian town of Silwan near East Jerusalem. Residents were able to get a court order to stop the demolition but not before serious damage was already done. Israeli forces with dogs were present to keep protesters at a distance … Meanwhile, Hyundai Heavy Industries told activists Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea that it had “stopped the deal with [Israeli company] Automotive Equipment Group and already sent an official notification letter early in January.”The activists had sent a letter to Hyundai to inquire about its relationship with the Israeli company concerning an excavator deal. The company replied it provided the excavators “to the private sector, but not for military purposes,” according to activists.
Video: Activist unfurls Palestinian flag on court as Israeli basketball team plays in France
EI 30 Jan — In the latest protest to hit an international sports event involving an Israeli team, an activist unfurled a Palestinian flag on the court as Israeli team Hapoel Holon played BCM Gravelines Dunkerque in the French city of Dunkirk as part of the FIBA Eurochallenge basketball tournament on 29 January … CAPJPO-EuroPalestine, whose members took part in the protest, said they were there to “remind that Israel imprisons, tortures and commits war crimes against Palestinian civilians, notably athletes.”
Palestinians condemn EU for new conditions tying humanitarian aid to joint projects with ‘Jews and Arabs’
EI 31 Jan — Groups representing a broad swath of Palestinian civil society have condemned a new European Union funding program designed to promote a “two-state solution” at the expense of Palestinian rights and conditioning humanitarian aid to Palestinians on joint programs involving “Jews and Arabs.” By using this language, the EU also appears to be adopting lock, stock and barrel Zionist and even anti-Semitic notions that conflict in the region is between “Jews and Arabs” rather than a situation where Palestinians are occupied and deprived of their rights by Israel.
The 9th annual Israeli Apartheid Week 20132
Ninth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week (February – March 2013) We are excited to announce the upcoming 9th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) starting late February in Europe and moving to various countries through the month of March. Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings, multimedia displays and boycott of Israel actions) held in cities and campuses across the globe. Last year’s IAW was incredibly successful with over 215 cities participating worldwide.IAW seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. To accommodate various university schedules and cities from around the world, IAW will take place in slightly different weeks but all in the months of February and March. Here is a list of dates for regions confirmed so far:
BDS Roundup: Boycott campaign overwhelmingly endorsed by grad student association at Canadian university
EI 30 Jan — In this latest roundup of news from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement: Montreal’s Concordia University’s Graduate Students’ Association overwhelmingly votes in favor of BDS resolution; a South African toy store cuts ties to the Jewish National Fund; the Palestinian BDS campaign urges two writers and a musician to reject Israeli apartheid and cancel their scheduled appearances; trance musicians urged to respect boycott call, cancel gigs in Israel; and Sodastream boycott campaigns are heating up.
Political / Economic News
Israel to give $100 million in withheld Palestinian funds
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 30 Jan — Israel will give President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration around $100 million in tax revenues that had been withheld in retaliation for his statehood bid in the United Nations, Israeli officials said on Wednesday. They described the handover as a one-time deal, signalling rightist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not formally scrapped sanctions that have hurt the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and worried world powers.
Union: PA employees to end strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Government employees in the West Bank will end their strike against salary delays on Sunday, their union chief said late Thursday. Bassam Zakarneh said the union leadership had met with Palestinian Authority representatives, and were satisfied with their pledge to meet employees’ demands.
Elections commission sets date to update Gaza voter registry
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — The Central Elections Commission will start updating the voter registry in Gaza on Feb. 11, a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official said Wednesday. Palestinian factions met with the electoral body in Gaza City on Wednesday. DFLP official Abdul-Hamid Abu Habbab told Ma‘an that factions agreed the commission would update the electoral roll in 254 centers in Gaza over one week, starting Feb. 11. He said around 350,000 eligible voters were not registered. The roll has not been updated in Gaza since Jan. 2005.
Fatah official says new govt talks to start next month
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — A Fatah official said Thursday that President Abbas will begin consulting over the formation of a new reconciliation government after the Central Elections Commission starts work in Gaza. Zakaria Al-Agha said the selection process for members of the cabinet, a temporary body designed to oversee the process of new elections, would start on Feb. 11.
Hamas official: Reconciliation is ‘all or nothing’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — The Gaza government is committed to national reconciliation, but the unity deal will be frozen unless all its terms are implemented together, the deputy premier said Thursday. “We must implement the reconciliation agreement as one package,” said Ziyad al-Thatha in a statement.
Unity meeting in Cairo postponed, official says
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — A Cairo meeting on Wednesday to discuss reconciliation between Palestinian factions is likely to be postponed, a Fatah official said. Senior official Yahya Rabah told Ma‘an that the reconciliation meeting is unlikely to take place due to unrest in Egypt and a failure by factions to implement decisions agreed in previous discussions. Factions met on Jan. 17 and agreed that the Central Elections Commission, public freedoms committee and social reconciliation committee would resume work by Jan. 30.
PA studying plans to join international agencies
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — The Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Thursday that the government was studying the steps toward joining more international organizations and agreements. Riyad al-Malki said officials were hopeful to initiate applications “as soon as possible” now that Palestine is recognized as a state and can theoretically join dozens of UN and international agencies.
Hamas denies accepting two-state solution
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Hamas on Wednesday said it does not accept the two-state solution, following reports the party had changed its position to accept the state of Israel. The Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported Wednesday that Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal asked Jordan’s King Abdullah to inform US President Barack Obama that Hamas accepted the two-state solution. Hamas said in a statement that the report was baseless and that Mashaal did not address the two-state solution in his meeting with the Jordanian king in Amman on Monday.
Palestinians face growing food crisis
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 30 Jan – Fluctuating prices, poverty and border restrictions mean growing numbers of Palestinians are facing food insecurity this year – one of the key priorities in the humanitarian community’s annual appeal for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) … The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which helped coordinate the CAP, estimates that 1.3 million Palestinians do not have enough food. The latest figures show the number of households without sufficient access to food has risen by 7 percent since 2011, a trend which – if continued – would have left an estimated 41 percent of Palestinians without the necessary resources to get sufficient, safe and nutritious food at the end of 2012. “Palestinian wages have not kept pace with inflation… Many poor Palestinians have exhausted their coping mechanisms (taking on loans, cutting back consumption) and are now much more vulnerable to small price increases than they were,” said a recent World Food Programme bulletin.
PA customs officials seize 13 tons of expired food products
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — Palestinian Authority customs officials seized 13 tons of expired food products from a store in Nablus on Wednesday, the Ministry of Economy said. The food products were nearly all produced in settlements, a statement said, and were all destined for markets in Ramallah.
Palestine improves in annual press freedom index
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — Press freedom improved in the occupied Palestinian territories in 2012, according to an annual assessment released Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders. Palestine rose eight places to 146 of 179 countries on the Paris-based media watchdog’s annual press freedom index, but it still ranked in the bottom quarter of countries. “An improvement in relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas has had a positive impact on freedom of information and the working environment for journalists,” the group said.
Israel meanwhile fell 20 places to 112th due to the actions of its military in the occupied Palestinian territories, Reporters Without Borders said … It added that Israeli journalists enjoy real freedom of expression despite the “structural problem” of military censorship which Israel imposes on domestic and foreign media.
PA security official slams anti-corruption report as ‘self-serving’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — The spokesman of the Palestinian Authority security services Adnan Dmeiri on Thursday accused an international anti-corruption group of bias after it published a report on defense spending across the world. Transparency International issued the Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index this week, ranking Palestine in the third-highest band of risk of corruption, out of seven gradings.
Former airlines chief sentenced on corruption charges
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian Authority court on Wednesday sentenced in absentia the former director of Palestine Airlines to seven years hard labor on corruption charges. The former official, who was identified as A.A., is now based in Cairo.
Official: Vatican to donate 100,000 euros to Bethlehem church
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — The Vatican has pledged 100,000 euros to repair the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, the Palestinian Authority said Wednesday. A delegation from the Vatican met with PA Foreign Ministe Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah to discuss a draft bilateral agreement, the PA said in a statement. The Vatican delegation was headed by undersecretary for relations with states Ettore Balestrero
Hebron shoe industry battling against Chinese products
HEBRON (Ma‘an)28 Jan — The city of Hebron in the southern West Bank has long been famous for the production of high quality leather shoes. However in the last two decades, dozens of factories have closed as they struggle with Israeli restrictions on the city, but also a new threat: Chinese imports.
Sources: Israel hits Syria arms convoy to Lebanon
BEIRUT (Reuters) 30 Jan — Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border on Wednesday, sources told Reuters, after Israelis warned Hezbollah against using chaos in Syria to acquire anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons. “The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon,” said one Western diplomat, adding that the consignment seemed unlikely to have included chemical weapons.
Lebanon reports heavy presence of Israeli jets in airspace
BEIRUT (Reuters) 30 Jan — Lebanon said on Wednesday Israeli jets had flown over its territory overnight, part of apparently increased air activity which comes as Israel has expressed concern about weapons in neighboring Syria falling out of government control … Lebanon frequently complains that Israeli jets overfly its territory. However the recent activity was much more concentrated than usual.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Book review: Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy by Ben White
MEMO 30 Jan – Review by Amelia Smith — Janan Abdu is a Palestinian social and feminist campaigner and researcher. Her husband Ameer Makhoul is also a human rights activist on behalf of Palestinians living in Israel; imprisoned, it is feared the motive for his detainment is that he challenges the marginalisation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. In an interview with Ben White in his latest book, ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy’, Abdu recounts a story about her husband’s arrest: “After the security forces took Ameer, for almost two weeks there was no meetings with a lawyer – we didn’t know anything about his circumstances. Since the arrest we meet once every two weeks from behind a glass screen and talk with him through the handset. Ameer cannot hug or kiss his children.” Their plight is an example of “how efforts to peacefully contest the structure of Jewish privilege have been thwarted and criminalised.” Sadly, Janan and Abdu’s story is just one of the many case studies White puts forward in his book to illustrate how Palestinian citizens of Israel are discriminated against by the Israeli authorities.
The Gatekeepers: ‘If this film does not lead to change, there is no hope for Israel’ / Lisa Goldman
972mag 31 Jan — NEW YORK — “If this film does not lead to change, there is no hope for Israel,” said Israeli director Dror Moreh. He was referring to his new documentary The Gatekeepers, which has been nominated for an Academy Award. The title of the film refers to the six directors of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, who, in a series of extraordinary interviews with the director, speak about their work in detail for the first time. Perhaps partly in response to Moreh’s personal charisma and partly out of what seems to be deep concern born of real patriotism, these men are strikingly candid and thoughtful. Avraham Shalom, head of the Shin Bet under Menachem Begin, speaks for the first time about the 1984 Kav 300 affair, when terrorists who attacked an inter-city bus were photographed alive upon arrest and were then killed in custody. Carmi Gillon speaks about his personal crisis after failing to prevent the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. They speak openly about the great danger posed by Jewish terror, particularly given that the men who plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock, for example, are part of the Israeli establishment.
New book celebrates Gaza’s vibrant (and spicy) cuisine / Hadeel Assali
EI 30 Jan — The Gaza Kitchen, a new book by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt, challenges the pervasive image of Gaza as destitute, war-torn and bereft of any possibility of a vibrant culture. There is the blockade, the siege and bombardments the Gaza Strip has had to (and continues to) endure. But most Gazans are ready to brag about the beauty of the land and seascape, the local culture pulsating with ingenuity despite the harsh living conditions and — with perhaps the most pride — the cuisine. Outside of Gaza, there is little awareness of its abundant fresh fruits and vegetables — including an array of wild greens used frequently in local dishes– as well as the seafood, the different flavors and the generous use of spices (including Gaza’s infamous hot chili peppers).
Israel using crowd control weapons ‘unlawfully’ / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
31 Jan — The Israeli army is systematically using crowd control weapons and live ammunition unlawfully against Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling a widespread breach of military regulations and an alarming culture of impunity, a leading Israeli human rights group has warned. At least ten Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army’s use of crowd control weapons in so-called “disturbance of the peace” situations in the West Bank since 2005, Israeli group Btselem stated in a new report, titled ‘Israel’s Use of Crowd Control Weapons in the West Bank’. Additionally, Israeli soldiers killed 46 Palestinians with live ammunition in the same time period. “Members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct,” the report found. When used properly, Israel’s crowd-control weapons — which include tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, water cannons, foul-smelling liquid called ‘The Skunk’, and more — are meant to disperse crowds. The way the Israeli army uses these weapons today, however, can make them deadly, Btselem said.
‘Idle No More’ and colonial Canada / Stefan Christoff
Al Jazeera 30 Jan — Canada’s colonial reality is now in the spotlight, as Idle No More protests voice the struggles of indigenous people against sustained political and economic oppression. Thousands are joining historic actions to call for fundamental changes in Canada’s relations to aboriginal people. Central to Idle No More are longstanding indigenous demands for justice around land rights, economic resources and self-determination that rest at the heart of both Canada’s history and future.