So as not to embarrass Obama, Netanyahu won’t start any new settlements for 3 days of visit

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Israel to delay settlement starts for Obama trip
AFP 2 Mar — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned settler housing tenders being issued for the West Bank and east Jerusalem when US President Barack Obama visits this month, a daily newspaper said Friday. Netanyahu had told officials the suspension did not amount to a freeze in settlement construction, and that it would only be in place up until the end of Obama’s trip to avoid embarrassing leaders, Maariv newspaper reported. In March 2010, Israel sparked the ire of the US administration by announcing, during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, that 1,600 new homes would be built in the east Jerusalem quarter of Ramat Shlomo.

Occupation prevents restoration of water wells in northern Jordan Valley
NORTHERN JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 3 Mar — Israeli occupation forces prevented residents of two hamlets in northern Jordan Valley from repairing and restoring five wells that form their main source of water. Local sources said that the residents of Khirbat al Hadidiya have started few days ago repairing two wells, but the occupation authorities stopped them and prevented them from working on the wells with no reason. Residents of Khirbet Samra have also been banned from restoring three old water wells, under flimsy pretexts.

The unequal right to water in unrecognized Bedouin villages
972mag 1 Mar by Sawsan Zaher — On February 20, the Israeli Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by  residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm El-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev), demanding minimum access to drinking water. which holds 500 residents. The appeal was filed by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of the village’s 500 residents. The residents of the village Umm El-Hiran arrived in 1956 when they were forced to move there by the Israeli military commander. Today, 58 years later, they get their drinking water from a water tank provided by the Israeli Water Authority, which decided to locate the tank eight kilometers away from the village.

Settlers build new illegal outpost near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Israeli settlers erected a new outpost on Sunday on a hilltop east of Nablus, a Palestinian Authority said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said residents of the Elon Moreh settlement installed 10 mobile homes in Ras Hazim fields, a few hundred meters from Deir al-Hatab village. Settlers used bulldozers to dig a road to Ras Hazim, Daghlas told Ma‘an. He said farmers would no longer be able to access 100 acres of private Palestinian land.

Settlers perform religious rituals in evacuated Jenin settlement
JENIN (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — A group of settlers performed religious rituals in an evacuated settlement near Jenin on Saturday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that a heavy Israeli army presence accompanied the group to visit Homesh settlement, which was evacuated in 2005 as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. Settlers regularly return to the site and try to re-establish the settlement, locals say, with some attacking Palestinian vehicles and homes.

Police note rise in ‘price tag’ acts in 2012
Ynet 3 Mar –  The Jerusalem District Police said that the capital has seen a disconcerting increase in “price tag” incidents in 2012. According to data released on Sunday, 56 “price tag” incidents took place across Jerusalem in 2012 – double the amount in 2011, in which 28 incidents occurred. All of the vandalism incidents – which included graffiti, slashing tires and torching cars – were aimed at Arab-owned property.   According to District Police Commander Yossi Pariente arrests were made in only 12 of the cases. The police said that in 85% of the cases, vandals sprayed vituperations such as “Death to Arabs” and “price tag” on walls and cars, but refrained from any acts of physical violence.,7340,L-4351760,00.html

Israeli security forces stand by while settlers harass Palestinian shepherds, witnesses say
Haaretz 3 Mar by Amira Hass — A Border Police officer was caught on camera [photo] this weekend near a West Bank village shaking hands with a masked Israeli settler, and then reportedly stood by while that man and his friends proceeded to harass a group of Palestinian cattle herders. The incident occurred after the officer and his comrades from the Border Police and the Israel Defense Forces barred the same Palestinian shepherds from herding their cattle on land belonging to their village Umm al-Amad, near Beit Amra. The group of Israelis — which included two masked men –  arrived on foot from the settlement of Otniel shortly after the Palestinians were denied entry to the fields. Rather than blocking the Israelis’ access to the land, as they had the Palestinians, one of the officers shook the hand of one of the masked men and then let the whole group cross the fields undisturbed.

Israel accused of segregation after ‘Arab only’ buses launch on West Bank
Business Insider 3 Mar by Adam Taylor — Israel’s Transportation Ministry has set up a number of bus lines for Palestinian passengers traveling between the West Bank and central Israel, YNet News reports. While the ministry claims that the buses are for all passengers, it appears that only Palestinian villages have been told of their existence, sparking serious claims of segregation. According to Ha’aretz, any Palestinian who holds an entrance permit to the State of Israel is legally allowed to use public transportation. However, the newspaper has previously reported on a number of incidents in which Arab passengers have been forced off of buses. YNet News also spoke to several bus drivers, who claimed that under the new rules, due to start Monday, Palestinian passengers will be asked to leave the buses on mixed lines used by Jewish settlers. Officially, the ministry claims the buses were only a result of crowding and tensions between Arab passengers and Jewish passengers. However, one source told YNet that security threats were also a consideration. According to Ha’aretz, pressure from Jewish settlers was a factor in the Transportation Ministry’s plan. Ha’aretz also reports that the new lines are in part being created in a bid to stop so-called “pirate” driving services that have sprung up to help Arab workers get into central Israel. These services often charged high prices and will presumably be put out of business by the new, cheaper lines. The news has sparked considerable coverage in Arab media, with Al Arabiya asking if the area needed another “Rosa Parks moment” and comparing the situation to racial segregation in the U.S.

Lack of respect for religions other than Judaism

Israeli police desecrates Qur’an, attacks women inside Al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM, March 3, 2013 (WAFA) – An Israeli police officer assaulted Sunday a number of Palestinian women inside Al-Aqsa Holy Mosque of Jerusalem, after desecrating a Holy Qur’an book by kicking it to the ground, in attempt to end their circle-reading session, one of the victimized women told WAFA. She said that they gather every Sunday in the yards of the mosque to take a Quran reading class outdoors, and that they were near Al-Magharbeh gate — the closest to Jewish settlers and the most used by Israeli authorities to lead in settlers and touring groups — when an Israeli police officer came and asked them to move away from the area. She added that they had moved away farther from the gate, but after they’ve started reading out loud the officer attacked the group after kicking a Holy Qur’an book to ground.

Israel bans sheikh from Al-Aqsa Mosque for seventh time
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Israeli authorities on Sunday extended a ban forbidding Sheikh Najeh Bkerat from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the seventh time, the sheikh said. Bkerat, the manager of the mosque, said Israel banned him from Al-Aqsa Mosque for six months. His previous six-month ban expired on Sunday. “The Israeli authorities allow extremist settlers to enter Al-Aqsa mosque while they prevent us and everyone who spent their lives and childhoods in it from entering,” Bkerat told Ma‘an.

Israel prevents Ibrahimi Mosque from calling to prayer 44 times in month
HEBRON, March 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities prevented Ibrahimi Mosque (al-Haram al-Ibrahimi) of Hebron from calling Muslims for prayers 44 times in February, Hebron’s director of endowments Zeid Al-Jabari told WAFA on Sunday. He said the authorities argued that the preventions were for the convenience of Jewish settlers on the other side of the mosque, which was occupied by Israelis in 1967 and turned into a Jewish section.

Violence / Raids / Attacks on protests / Illegal arrests

OCHA oPt weekly report 19-25 February 2013
Key issues: At least 440 Palestinians were injured in the West Bank in violent clashes with Israeli forces during protests held in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention. The clashes escalated following the death of a Palestinian detainee while in custody. Sixteen Palestinians sustained injuries from live ammunition and the remaining from other means. In the gravest incident, a 16 year old boy from ‘Ayda refugee camp was seriously injured in the head by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces.
Two children died and another was injured in incidents related to electricity, tunnels and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in the Gaza Strip.
[report contains details of many incidents in both Palestinian areas, with infographics showing weekly averages for 2012 and 2013]

PCHR weekly report: 59 civilians wounded, 60 abducted by Israeli forces this week [21-27 February]
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the week of 21- 27 February 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip by Israeli troops. 9 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in different shooting incidents in the West Bank, 8 of whom were wounded in Qasra village, southeast of Nablus, during a joint attack launched by the Israeli forces and settlers.  Full report here

2 Palestinians critically wounded by live fire
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Two people were critically wounded by live fire on Friday as hundreds of protesters rallied across the West Bank to protest the death of a Palestinian prisoner last week. Mahmoud Audah, 20, was shot in the head with live fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint, locals told Ma‘an. He was transferred to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem where he is said to be in a critical condition.
Palestinian journalist Jihad al-Qadi was shot in the abdomen by Israeli forces while covering clashes outside Ofer detention center, Ma‘an’s correspondent said. Al-Qadi was operated on by doctors and had to have part of his liver removed …
Dozens of Palestinian protesters were hit by rubber-coated bullets while others suffered from tear gas during clashes across the West Bank between Israeli troops and protesters. In Hebron, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marking the anniversary of the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi mosque. A Palestinian Authority police officer was hit in the head with a tear gas canister, locals said, and another police officer was hit by a rubber bullet …
Israeli forces clashed with protesters in Bethlehem, Nabi Salih, Salfit, Abu Dis, Nablus and Hebron as people took to the streets in protest against the death of Arafat Jadarat, who died last Saturday in Israel’s Megiddo prison.

Five, including medic and journalist, injured in Bil‘in
IMEMC 1 Mar — Five Palestinians, including a medic and a journalist, have been injured after Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements, in Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The Friends of Freedom and Justice (FFJ) in Bil‘in reported that resident Mo‘tasem Ali Mansour, 17, was hit in the head by a gas bomb fired by the army, resident Tareq Mohammad Al-Khateeb, 28, was hit by a gas bomb in the leg, Asem Basman Yassin, 19, was hit by a gas bomb in the face, cameraman Ali Abu Rahma, 22, was hit by a gas bomb in the abdomen, medic Nimir Malsa, 18, was hit by a gas bomb in the leg. Dozens of protesters, including Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, who also participated in the nonviolent activity, have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation.
This week’s protest marked that eighth year since the villagers, accompanied by Israeli and international peace actvisits, started the weekly nonviolent protests and activities against the illegal Wall and settlements.  The protesters also marched in support of all Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel, especially those on hunger strike demanding an end to their illegal detention. Ramallah Governor, Dr. Laila Ghannam, Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, and several political leaders and officials participated in the protest.
Also on Friday, six residents were injured in the nearby al Nabi Saleh, among them two children. Many others were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at all three locations, local sources reported. An anti-wall protests were also organized at Al Ma‘sara village near Bethlehem and in Hebron old city, southern West Bank. Israeli soldiers attacked Al Ma‘sara villagers and their supporters using rifle butts and batons and forced them back into the village.

Report: More than 18 attacks on journalists over the past month
GAZA (PIC) 3 Mar — The Israeli occupation forces carried out several attacks on a number of Palestinian journalists during February, including arrests, repression and beatings, shootings and firing tear gas, in addition to preventing their coverage. The occupation assaulted 18 Palestinian journalists, including the press cartoonist Mohammed Saba’na, where they extended his arrest twice, in addition to preventing journalists from performing their job despite the risks they are daily facing, the Government Information Office said in a report issued Sunday.

Soldiers beat two Palestinians severely in Hebron
HEBRON, March 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers attacked Sunday two Palestinians, beating them severely, near Jalba village, south of Hebron, said local sources. Spokesman of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlements Ratib Jabour said that the two Palestinians were severely beaten while crossing a check point on the way leading to the village. He added Israeli soldiers caused severe damages to Jabaren’s camera that belongs to B’TSELEM association.
Meanwhile, 12 Palestinians from across the West Bank were summoned to interrogations Sunday; four in Hebron and eight others in Jenin. In Yatta town, south of Hebron, Israeli soldiers raided a house that belongs to Fayez Awad. No arrests were reported

Settlers attack three children near Jerusalem
IMEMC 4 Mar — Sunday March 3, 2013; a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers assaulted thee Palestinian schoolchildren in Jaba’ village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The three are brothers; this is the second attack against them since Thursday. Mahmoud Abu Ghaya, a resident of the Al-Jahaleen Bedouin village, stated that the setters attacked three schoolchildren while walking to school inflicting various injuries. The army arrived at the scene and prevented Yahia Habayeb, a local reporter working for the Ajyal Radio, from documenting the attack, and confiscated his camera.

Israeli forces fire tear gas at DFLP rally in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Israeli forces fired tear gas at a Nablus rally on Saturday celebrating the 44th anniversary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The rally, attended by hundreds of people, started at al-Quds street and walked toward Huwwara checkpoint. Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters carrying Palestinian flags and shouting slogans in support of hunger strikers. A number of people suffered tear gas inhalation and teenagers Omar Daraghmeh, 14, and Bilal Safoutta, 16, were arrested by Israeli forces, witnesses said.

Israel arrests five across West Bank, East Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, March 2, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Saturday arrested five Palestinians from across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to local and Palestinian security sources. One Palestinian from Bethlehem and another two, including a 13-year-old boy, from Hebron were arrested. They were detained at Ofer Military camp near Ramallah. Israeli police arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem after raiding their home in Silwan. Wadi Hilweh Information Center said police inspected their homes before arresting them. They were taken to  the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem for interrogation.

Israeli forces detain 2 at Nablus checkpoint, witnesses say
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Israeli forces arrested two people at Huwwara checkpoint in Nablus on Sunday, locals said. Two unidentified men were detained after being stopped at the checkpoint, with Israeli forces closing the area for several minutes. An Israeli army spokeswoman said four people were arrested overnight, two in el-Arrub camp, one in Nablus and one in Ramallah.

IOF soldiers arrest seriously ill minor
JENIN (PIC) 3 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a 16-year-old boy in Yabad village, south of Jenin, despite suffering serious illness. Local sources said that Majed Abu Bakir was arrested by those forces at a late night hour Saturday on returning from his work in 1948 occupied land. They said that the soldiers did not care less about his relatives’ warning that the boy was suffering from kidney failure.

Palestinian mother demands IDF decision on son’s death in West Bank protest 4 years ago
Haaretz 4 Mar by Ofra Edelman — The mother of Bassem Abu Rahma, a 30-year-old Palestinian man killed after being hit by a tear gas canister while demonstrating against the separation fence in Bil‘in in 2009, filed an appeal on Sunday with Israel’s High Court of Justice requesting a decision on whether to indict the soldiers involved in her son’s death … Soubhiya Abu Rahma filed her appeal together with the Bil‘in council and the human rights organizations B’Tselem and Yesh Din. In her appeal, she noted that almost four years had gone by since her son’s death and more than two and a half years had passed since the military police had opened an investigation into the incident.

Prisoners / Hunger strikers

Second Palestinian detainee dies in custody in West Bank
Al Arabiya/Agencies 2 Mar — Authorities in the West Bank have launched an investigation after the death of a 40-year-old man who was taken into Palestinian custody.  The family of Ayman Abu-Sufian said he was diabetic and suffered from high blood pressure before he passed away on Friday. Abu-Sufian was detained on Wednesday and charged with assault. Human rights groups criticized the government for mistreating its detainees in Palestinian prisons. An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saturday that the Palestinian attorney general has launched an investigation.

Prisoner dies in Palestinian Authority custody
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — A prisoner being held in a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho died on Friday, a senior Palestinian official said. Ayman Mohammad Sharif Samara, 40, died while being detained on charges of assault, Palestinian Authority attorney general Muhammad Abdul-Ghani al-Uweiwi told Ma‘an. Initial reports indicate that Samara, who is from Jenin, suffered from diabetes, hypertension and other medical conditions … The PA attorney general denied that the prisoner was tortured or beaten during interrogations and said that an autopsy would be performed and the results made public once completed.

PA probes prisoner’s death in West Bank jail
JPost 2 Mar by Khaled Abu Toameh — Prisoner dies in PA prison 1 week after Palestinian dies in Israeli jail; PA security forces prevent journalists from covering case — PA Prosecutor-General Abdel Ghani al- Uwaiwi ordered an immediate investigation into the death of the detainee. He also instructed the PA security forces to perform an autopsy on Samarah’s body to determine the cause of death. Palestinians in Jericho claimed that Samarah died after being beaten by another detainee … The Jericho Prison is one of the PA’s biggest prisons in the West Bank. Palestinians said over the weekend that some detainees had complained of torture while being held in the prison. On Saturday, the mother of Karim Shaheen, who is being held in Jericho Prison, said that her son has been hospitalized after suffering from paralysis in in his left arm as a result of torture. The family of another detainee, Baha Zahdeh, also accused the PA security forces of torturing their son, who is being held in the same prison on suspicion of membership in Hamas.

PA: Jaradat died in room for informers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat, who died last week days after he was detained by Israeli forces, died in an interrogation room in Megiddo prison known for holding informers, says the Palestinian ministry of prisoners affairs. In a report made public Saturday, the ministry detailed that Jaradat was detained on Feb. 18 and went through a tough interrogation process at a Shin Bet facility in Jalameh detention center. “He was tortured savagely and was put under psychological pressure on suspicion that he threw stones at Israeli troops,” the report said. “Then he was moved to an interrogation facility in Megiddo (the “stool pigeons” room) for further investigation because he wouldn’t admit to the charges at Jalameh. Two days after he was moved, he was murdered.” The ministry’s report described the “stool pigeons’ room” as the most dangerous arm Israeli intelligence services turn to when interrogating Palestinian detainees. “Prisoners are beaten, tortured, blackmailed and threatened in that room in the absence of any watchdog.”

PA: Independent doctor to investigate detainee’s death
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Israel will grant a request from the Palestinian Authority to bring an independent doctor to investigate the death of a detainee who died in Israeli custody, an official said Friday.  Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma’an that the foreign doctor would investigate the death of Arafat Jaradat, who died last week in an Israeli prison. “This is the first time Israel agrees that a non-Israeli doctor will participate in an issue related to Palestinians in Israeli jails,” al-Sheikh told Ma‘an.  But the official said the doctor had not yet been identified and he did not name a date of arrival.

We are fighting for all Palestinians / Samer Issawi
Guardian 3 Mar — In jail, my fellow hunger strikers and I are doing battle against the Israeli occupation that humiliates our people — My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people’s long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed.

Why prisoners’ sacrifice strikes such a chord in Palestinian life / Adie Mormech
Mondoweiss 3 Mar — “Our prisoners are dying.” said Gaza student Khaled Shehab from the Islamic University. “e won’t wait till the death of another prisoner to move in solidarity with all the detainees.” Khaled was joining the thousands attending the growing number of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip right now. It is not lost on young people in Palestine acting in support of Palestinian prisoners that many who have spent years in Israeli jails were at the same age when they were originally imprisoned. While there has recently been a spotlight on the 219 Palestinian children currently detained by Israel, it is often forgotten that the majority of detainees arrested are youths or in their early twenties. Some have spent the entire decade of their twenties removed from their parents, their families and communities, a young person’s life defined by Israeli prison walls.

PA lawyer: 3 prisoners in Ofer jail on hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Three Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Ofer jail have started hunger strike action, a PA lawyer said Saturday. Muhammad Amjad al-Najjar, Abdullah al-Asis and Ibrahim al-Shikh Khalil began strike action three days ago, Palestinian Authority lawyer Ibrahim al-Araj said.

Israeli court rejects appeal against extending detention of journalist
RAMALLAH, March 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Ofer Israeli military court Sunday rejected an appeal made in the name of cartoonist and journalist Mohammed Sabaaneh against the decision of extending his detention for eight more days. Sabaaneh, who was arrested on February 16 on borders, was prevented from seeing his Prisoner’s Club lawyer, Jawad Boulos.

IOA extends administrative custody of former minister
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 3 Mar — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) renewed the administrative detention of former minister Issa Al-Jabari for one month. A statement by a committee for the support of prisoners said that Jabari, from Al-Khalil, was arrested in May 2011 and has served 22 months in administrative detention, without trial or charge, in the Negev desert prison.

Israel frees man jailed for 40 months without trial
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Israel on Sunday released a 41-year-old Palestinian after detaining him since October 2009 without charge or trial, a prisoners group said. Mazin al-Natsheh, from Hebron was held in administrative detention since Oct. 7, 2009, the Ahrar center said in a statement. Israel has detained al-Natsheh eight times. He was arrested for the first time aged 19, in 1991.

Israeli court adjourns heading on young woman’s trial for 20th time
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 Mar — The mother of 19-year-old captive Ala’a Al-Juba has said that her daughter was suffering from a very difficult psychological condition after an Israeli court adjourned hearing on her trial for the 20th time. Um Ashraf said that her daughter was arrested near the Ibrahimi mosque in Al-Khalil on 7/12/2011 at the pretext she was carrying a knife and planned to attack an Israeli soldier. She said that the Israeli prosecution did not present an indictment to court against her daughter but only presented the soldiers’ claim against her.

IOA blocks family visit to MP Tal
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 3 Mar — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) blocked a family visit to detained MP Mohammed Al-Tal in Ofer prison to the west of Ramallah on Sunday. Family members said that that the IOA blocked their visit, which is organized by the Red Cross, without giving any reason.

Parliamentary delegation meets Dweik, visits Sharawna and Jaradat’s families
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 Mar — A British parliamentary delegation has visited on Saturday the city of al-Khalil and met with PLC Chairman Dr. Aziz Dweik, a number of Islamist deputies and the mother of hunger striker Sharawna, in addition to visiting the family of martyr Arafat Jaradat. The delegation, which was led by Sir Gerald Kaufman, a British Parliament member and an ex minister, Sandra White and Jim Hume, members of the Scottish Parliament and Pat Sheehan, a member of the Irish Assembly and an ex hunger striker at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, was received by Dr. Aziz Dweik and a number of Islamist MPs.

Gaza siege

Six Palestinians wounded in Gaza in IOF fire
GAZA (PIC) 1 Mar — Three Palestinian people were wounded Friday morning in the central Gaza Strip, as a result of IOF artillery fire, while three others were wounded in the evening in the northern Gaza Strip when IOF troops opened fire at them. Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza, told PIC that IOF fired a number of artillery shells at farmers east of al-Buraij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, wounding three of them. He said that the wounded were taken to Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah and described their condition as moderate.
Dr. Qudra told PIC that three others were wounded Friday evening to the east of Abu Safeya neighbourhood near Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip when IOF troops opened fire at them … The IOF continues to breach the ceasefire agreed last  November which was brokered by Egypt, wounding at least 80 Palestinians and killing four others.

Shots fired at IDF force near Gaza border; no injuries reported
Ynet 1 Mar –  The IDF Spokesperson’s Office says several violent incidents took place Friday near the Gaza Strip border fence, including shots fired at an IDF force in the northern Strip. There were no reports of injuries, but a military vehicle sustained damage. Molotov cocktails and stones were hurled at the soldiers, and three Palestinians were injured by IDF fire.,7340,L-4351186,00.html

IOF troops open fire toward farmers’ lands in the southern Gaza Strip
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 3 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire on Sunday morning at Palestinian farmers’ lands east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli tank stationed south of Kissufim military site, northeast of Khan Yunis, fired towards farmers’ lands east of the town, no injuries were reported, eyewitnesses said. The sources said that there are unusual movements of occupation military vehicles between Kissufim site and Farrahin gate.

IOA continues to close Karm Abu Salem crossing for the sixth day
GAZA (PIC) 3 Mar — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is still maintaining the closure of Karm Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing, south of the Gaza Strip, for the sixth day running. Nathmi Mihana, the director of crossings and borders, told the PIC that the IOA informed his department of the maintained closure of Karm Abu Salem, allocated for commercial traffic, on Sunday for the sixth day for “security reasons”. He added that the IOA also said that Erez (Beit Hanun) crossing would be open as of today for emergency humanitarian causes and for sick people. The IOA has been closing both crossings, the only two left working with Gaza, since last Tuesday after claiming that a projectile was fired from the Strip into 1948 occupied land.

Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing
AFP 3 Mar — Israel said it will reopen the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into southern Gaza on Monday, six days after closing it after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave hit the Jewish state. “Due to a security assessment it has been decided that Kerem Shalom crossing will be opened tomorrow for transfer of goods,” a statement from the Israeli defence ministry body that coordinates with the Palestinians said on Sunday. “This is the first time the crossing will be open since the last rocket attack on Ashkelon,” a city in southern Israel.

MK Henin appeals to Barak to open Gaza crossings

JPost 3 Mar — Hadash MK calls on defense minister to refrain from implementing acts of collective punishment in response to fire from Gaza.

Hamas imposes restrictions keeping Gazans in Strip
Times of Israel 3 Mar — The Hamas government has begun imposing new restrictions on residents of the Gaza Strip, forcing them to apply for exit permits to enter Israel or the West Bank. The Ministry of Interior issued a statement on February 27 insisting that all Gaza residents wishing to leave the Strip through the Erez Crossing with Israel submit an application to the Interior Ministry in advance The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza-based watchdog, expressed “grave concerns” regarding the new Hamas procedures. “This decision increases the suffering of the already limited groups of people who are permitted to travel via the crossing by the Israeli forces,” read a statement published by the group. Since Israel usually issues entry permits for Gaza residents on the day of travel, Hamas’s new restriction would gravely impede their ability to leave the Strip, PCHR said.

Report: Israel prevents top Islamic Jihad man from entering Gaza
Ynet 1 Mar –  A senior Islamic Jihad source in Gaza says Israel prevented Islamic Jihad Deputy Secretary-General Ziad Nakhleh from entering the Gaza Strip to attend his son’s wedding on Friday. According to the source, Nafez Azam, Egypt appealed to Israel on the matter, but the Jewish state refused and said that it could not guarantee that Nakhleh would not be the target of an assassination.,7340,L-4351204,00.html

Building material skyrockets as Egypt targets Gaza tunnels
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — The construction industry in Gaza has been hit hard by Egypt’s recent crackdown on underground smuggling tunnels, causing the price of raw materials to skyrocket, officials in the coastal territory say. The executive director of the federation of Gaza’s construction industry, Farid Zaqut, told Ma‘an that Egyptian merchants have started raising the prices of construction materials in response to their government’s campaign to close smuggling tunnels … Ongoing efforts by Gaza’s Ministry of Economy could reduce prices back to normal, Zaqut said. If the network of tunnels is fully closed by Egypt the problem will become much more serious, as the tunnels represent the only consistent route to import construction materials. “The goods which arrive via the tunnels cover about 60 percent of the demand, and either way we need the official border crossings to operate normally,” the construction official said.

Feature: Gaza farmers plant, export herbs to Europe
RAFAH, Gaza Strip, March 3 (Xinhua) — In recent months, Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip faced a severe decline in exporting various kinds of vegetables to Europe, due to competition from some African countries. As a result, they started to plant medicinal herbs and spices to increase their profits. “The farmers found out that vegetables are not worth growing due to exporting difficulties and a profit decrease, therefore we thought of new agricultural products,” said Abu Najja, who attended an agricultural exhibition on herbs and spices last year in Berlin. As the use of medicinal herbs and spices, mainly in some European countries, has become more and more popular, farmers in Gaza found it is a golden opportunity to grow up such kinds of herbs and spices and export them to many European countries.

Refugees in Syria

Group: Over 1,000 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria’s ongoing internal conflict, a Palestinian group said Sunday. The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said in a statement that around 1,038 Palestinians have been killed in the 22-month Syrian conflict, which has claimed the lives of around 70,000 people and created hundreds of thousands of refugees, including Palestinians.

Israeli racism

Police arrest 17-year-old for attack on Arab woman
Ynet 3 Mar — She stressed she had been attacked first.The Jerusalem police arrested a 17-year-old girl from the West Bank settlement of Binyamin Sunday, on suspicion that she may have been involved in the attack on an Arab woman in Jerusalem last Monday.  The teen denied all the allegation and according to her, any altercation she may have been involved in was the result of self-defense. The suspect’s family is very well known in the religious Zionism milieu, and according to a friend of the family, “She is modest and quiet. We find it hard to believe she would attack anyone….”,7340,L-4351772,00.html

Activism / Solidarity

Palestinians race to disrupt Israeli marathon
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Mar – Israeli police on Friday stopped a Palestinian protest “marathon” organized against an Israeli event that takes place annually in occupied Jerusalem. Palestinian racers started off in the historic Lifta village to counter the Israeli marathon that began from the Knesset building, said Dimitri Diliani, a senior Fatah official. Diliani told Ma‘an that Palestinian youths participating at the marathon handed the Israelis a formal paper written in English explaining what this marathon really means for Jerusalem. “A few Israelis who didn’t know the truth behind this marathon actually left,” he said … Palestinian officials had already called on companies and individuals involved in Friday’s marathon to withdraw their support for the event, which includes areas of occupied East Jerusalem.  Becoming involved in the event risks being “complicit in covering up Israel’s grave human rights abuses in its occupation of the State of Palestine,” three Palestinian sports agencies said in a joint statement.

US Jews highlight gap with pro-Israel lobby
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2013 (WAFA) – American Jewish groups will unveil on Sunday 100 billboard ads in the Washington Metro that say: “AIPAC Does Not Speak for Me,” according to a statement by the groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and Avaaz. The ads, it said, highlight “the gap between AIPAC’s (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), peace-killing policy positions and most Jewish Americans.”

Video: Closing Shuhada Street — at Berkeley
Mondoweiss 2 Mar by Maggie Sager — Students and community activists staged a mock street closure on the UC Berkeley campus last Monday to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre and the closing of Shuhada Street to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Like other actions covered here, the checkpoint is a response to the call for global solidarity by Youth Against Settlements. Taking over a small section of Sproul Plaza, demonstrators erected a checkpoint manned by armed Israeli soldiers. Students wearing keffiyehs attempted to cross the checkpoint, explaining that they lived or attended school on the other side of the street and demanded to be let through.  They were then arrested and made to kneel with their heads covered as they held signs indicating their ‘crime’ of living in their own city. Armed settlers walked passed the soldiers unhindered, holding Israeli flags and signs that read “All of Judea and Samaria is ours,” and pausing every few minutes to throw trash at the Palestinians.

British activists being detained in UK airports under anti-terrorism legislation on return home from Palestine
ISM 28 Feb — Two British peace activists have been detained in recent weeks after arriving home from the West Bank, occupied Palestine. They have been detained and taken in for questioning, over suspected links with the International Solidarity Movement. “We are concerned about the British police using anti-terrorist legislation to target non-violent pro-Palestinian activists. We are a transparent group, trying to uphold the principles of international law; even inside Israel the ISM is not considered illegal…” Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the two activists have been held on, allows the police, under certain specified circumstances, to arrest individuals without a warrant who are reasonably suspected of being terrorists. These laws are draconian measures which give the British police powers to detain suspects for up to 28 days without charge.

Political, economic news

FM: Palestine must sign Rome Stature to access ICC
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Palestine cannot file complaints at the International Criminal Court until it signs the Rome Statute, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Sunday. The ICC was established by the Rome Statute and Palestine must sign the treaty to access the court, Riyad al-Maliki told Ma‘an. The Palestinian leadership is prepared to sign all international conventions and treaties to allow Palestine to access all world bodies, the minister added. Last week, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society said his organization was planning to complain to the ICC over the death of 30-year-old Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody.

Ministry to punish teachers for wildcat strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — The Palestinian Authority education ministry will punish teachers who went on strike without the approval of their union, the ministry undersecretary said Sunday. Muhammad Abu Zeid said around 4,000 teachers who ignored their union’s decision to end the strike would not be paid for the days they were absent. Some teachers were reprimanded by moving them to schools a long way from their homes … Meanwhile, the ministry will apply a special schedule to make up lesson time lost to the strike, with extra lessons on Saturdays until the end of the semester.

Al-Quds University staff to strike Monday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Mar — Staff of Al-Quds University in Abu Dis will strike on Monday in protest over the university’s failure to pay outstanding wages, the union said Sunday. Head of the union Abdullah Najajira said the university still owed staff 30 percent of January salaries and had reneged on an agreement to pay the overdue wages by Sunday.

PA finance minister resigns
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Palestinian Authority Minister of Finance Nabil Qassis resigned on Saturday, informed sources told Ma‘an. Qassis submitted his official resignation to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who accepted his decision. The PA finance minister decided to leave office following a wave of criticism by trade unions after remarks calling for a reduction in public sector bonuses if the financial crisis continued, official sources said.

Abu Marzouk slams Egyptian media for fabricating lies about Hamas
CAIRO (PIC) 2 Mar — Deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk strongly denounced some Egyptian media outlets for their persistence in claiming that his Movement backed president Mohamed Morsi with 500 men from its armed brigades … The Hamas official stressed that such fabricated news do not only target Hamas, but also the Egyptian security apparatuses and the army because such lies accuse them of dereliction of duty and failure to protect Egypt’s security and stability.  “Hamas has never taken its conflict with the occupation outside Palestine, even when some of its members were assassinated abroad. Does it make sense for Hamas to target Egypt’s security?” the official stated.

Hamas, Fatah officials say US opposes Palestinian unity
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Hamas and Fatah officials said Saturday that Palestinians must ignore external intervention and foreign pressure in order to ensure political reconciliation is successful. The comments were made as Palestinian officials met in Cairo for a board meeting of the Yasser Arafat Foundation. Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouq said that the United States and Israel want to keep the Palestinian people divided and their foreign policies have a serious impact on unity between factions. The US administration will “stop aid to the Palestinian Authority if reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is achieved and Hamas joins a Palestinian unity government,” the senior Hamas official said. The US congress will impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian people if unity is achieved, he added, noting that Arab countries must exert pressure to neutralize the influence of the United States so Palestinians can finalize a unity deal.

Israel may lose $500 million in US aid
AP/Ynet 1 Mar — WASHINGTON US President Barack Obama emerged Friday from a unsuccessful, last-minute meeting with congressional leaders declaring there was no progress on blocking what he called “dumb and arbitrary” cuts that will begin carving $85 billion of government spending by day’s end … As far as the American economy is concerned, the cuts will affect the level of services, layoffs and automatic salary cuts. But the cuts may also affect US foreign aid, and Israel could gradually lose $263.5 in the coming year out of the annual military aid which amounts to more than $3 billion.,7340,L-4351218,00.html

Obama visit is off if Netanyahu fails to form government by mid-March
MEMO 2 Mar — US officials preparing for President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel have told their Israeli counterparts that the visit will be canceled if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a new government by mid-March. Obama is due to land in Israel on March 20.

only one source for this story:
Obama plans to extract timetable for Israeli pullout from West Bank
JERUSALEM (WorldTribune) 3 Mar — U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Israeli sources said Obama, scheduled to arrive in Israel on March 20, wants a detailed Israeli withdrawal plan from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the president’s visit. The sources said the Israeli plan would be considered in what could be an imminent U.S. initiative to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2014.

Other news

First head of Palestinian TV dies
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — The first head of Palestine TV, Radwan Abu Ayash, passed away on Friday, Wafa news agency reported. Radwan Abu Ayash was born in Askar refugee camp in Nablus, and his parents were refugees from al-Jammasin village in Yaffa. He had been living in Ramallah since 1968 … Abu Ayash studied English at a training center for UNRWA. He worked as a teacher in Silwad schools at al-Bireh. He received a bachelors degree in English language from Birzeit University, and a masters degree in journalism from the University of Leicester. He had a doctorate degree from Ein Shams University in Egypt … He founded the media office in Jerusalem that Israeli forces closed down, and he was banned from entering Jerusalem; Israeli officials said that he was affiliated to the PLO.

Tissue tests planned for Israelis in Gaza who want to cross border
Haaretz 3 Feb by Amira Hass — Testing procedure involves opening a case file in family court, hiring a lawyer, finding a biological relative and coordinating a meeting at border crossing to submit saliva samples — The Interior Ministry is drafting a protocol that would require Israeli citizens living in the Gaza Strip to undergo tissue-culture testing to verify their identities before being allowed into Israel. The ministry’s actions were cited in a government response to an appeal by an Israeli citizen whose reentry into Israel has been held up for several months by the ministry and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. The appellant requested that she be identified in this article only by her last name, al-Wahidi. She was also asked to submit to tissue testing, as a condition for receiving the Israeli passport or laissez-passer that would permit her to enter Israel at the Erez border crossing … Since the borders of the Gaza Strip were opened in the wake of the Israeli occupation in 1967, a number of Israeli citizens — most of them women — have married Gazan Palestinians. Wahidi is one of them. She was born in Rehovot in 1965

Syria shell lands in Golan Heights, Israeli army says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Mortar shells fired from Syria landed in the occupied Golan Heights on Saturday, Israel’s army said. “Several shells landed in the southern Golan Heights, most likely due to the fighting inside Syria,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said. “No injuries or damages were caused and the incident has been reported to UN forces.” Stray gunfire between the forces of President Bashar Assad and insurgents has strayed across the Golan border several times over the last year.

Analysis / Opinion

What killed Arafat Jaradat? / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 1 Mar — Attorney Sabbagh explains that a suspect coming into the Shin Bet interrogation rooms is like someone who comes to the doctor with a broken pinky and is immediately given a comprehensive examination of his entire body We enter the mourners’ tent and we, the Israelis, are also greeted with respect, with bitter coffee and a date. We search in vain for a quiet corner in the depths of the tent to hear from family members and friends reminiscences about the character of the deceased and details about the foggy circumstances of his death. His father, Shalish Jaradat, in a traditional robe and headdress, is too stunned to speak. His eldest son, Mohammed, tries to stop crying and tell us his brother’s story. After we talk for a time, he says: “Look how tense I am after this conversation, so you can imagine what my brother went through in the interrogations.” Mohammed was with his brother on the night he was arrested. The next time he saw him, a week later, was in the morgue at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, moments before the autopsy.

Israel arrests Palestinian activists ‘to finish colonization project’ / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
Ramallah (EI) 1 Mar — As protests continue across Palestine in support of thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, local organizations say that the Israeli authorities have increased their pressure on Palestinian human rights defenders. “This is a way to [break] the principle of solidarity between the Palestinian people and the Palestinian prisoners, and the case of the Palestinian prisoners in the conscience of the Palestinian people,” said Mourad Jadallah, a legal researcher with Addameer, a Ramallah-based prisoners support group. In October 2012, Israeli soldiers arrested Jadallah’s colleague, Ayman Nasser, from his home in the West Bank village of Saffa, near Ramallah, in the middle of the night. He was taken to Jerusalem’s infamous Russian Compound prison — Moskobiyyeh in Arabic — and kept in isolation for weeks of interrogation. Addameer reported that he was held in painful, stress-inducing positions during interrogation sessions that sometimes lasted for more than 20 hours, was barred from sleeping, psychologically intimidated and frequently denied access to a lawyer and to proper medical care. The Israeli authorities eventually accused Nasser of organizing and participating in demonstrations as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and recruiting others to join the group

Europe: Settlement products are tainted goods / Daniella Pered
Haaretz 3 Mar — Even if last week’s leaked recommendation by EU consuls to impose a strict settlement produce boycott would have minimal economic impact on Israel, its true power is to show that the EU is simply fed up of Israel’s pro-settlement, anti-negotiations and anti-European behavior Food labeling is a hot topic in Europe right now. Following the horsemeat scandal, with traces of equine flesh found in beef products across the continent, there have never been such strident calls for responsible sourcing of food products clearly tracing their origin. The next big thing may be product labeling of a different kind. That’s what we can take away from last week’s leaked report by EU consuls based in East Jerusalem and Ramallah, which recommended stringent measures be imposed on imports from the occupied West Bank.

Podcast: Protests across Palestine after young father dies in Israeli interrogation center
EI 1 Mar — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: A young Palestinian father dies after Israeli interrogation in a prison equipped by private British-Danish security firm G4S; New documents show the US investigated Gaza flotilla passengers for terror ties but not Israel’s slaying of a US teen by Israeli forces; A new protest tent is challenging evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem; An Israeli highway hits a Palestinian village like a “tsunami”; A Palestinian-American teacher is deported by Israel; we’ll hear an interview with Nour Joudah about her ordeal; News from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement including new campaigns by US university students urging pension fund giant TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation profiteers, and more.

A $1 billion bet on peace: Qatar funds huge Palestinian settlement in West Bank / Martin Fletcher
RAWABI, West Bank (NBC News) 3 Mar — As gambles go, it hardly gets bigger: A $1 billion dollar bet on peace — or at least a measure of calm — in the West Bank. Even the founder of Rawabi, the biggest construction project in the history of the Palestinian people, says nobody in his right mind would invest here. Standing on a wind-swept hilltop overlooking the biblical hills of Judea, a half-hour drive from Ramallah, Bashar Al-Masri points to the Palestinian flags flying atop the giant cranes that are building, with phenomenal speed, the first modern Palestinian town. “As a teenager, raising the Palestinian flag was enough to be shot and killed,” he says, immaculate in a form-hugging, thin-lapeled dark suit and narrow burgundy tie. “This is a small, symbolic way of how long we came along, and how much we will come along in the future,” adds Al-Masri, who as a teenager threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The largest flag is mounted on a pole facing the Jewish settlement of Atteret, a community of about a hundred families located across a small valley. The flag is a deliberate statement. “So that we can show our unfriendly neighbors who were violently against us that we’re here, and we’re here to stay, and we’re not afraid of you, we will remain here,” Al-Masri says.

West Bank tour changes Israelis’ minds toward Palestine
CRI English 3 Mar by CRI Jerusalem correspondent Zhang Jin — Being separated from Palestinian-controlled areas for a long time, many Israelis have harbored a great desire to see what’s happening in the West Bank. Recent tours there for some have given them new, first-hand experiences of the area and those who live there. During a recent tour to Rawabi, Ramallah and Kafr’ Aqab, many Israelis say the realities in the West Bank have changed their minds about Palestine. The tour, organized by the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, or IPCRI, is part of the organization’s “Breaking Down the Walls” tour series to take Israelis to the West Bank. Riman Barakat, IPCRI’s Palestinian co-director, says such tours are important because they challenge the perceptions of people on both sides. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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4 Responses

  1. just
    March 4, 2013, 11:25 am

    Netanyahu — too little, too late. Mr. Obama and the American people know the truth.
    I still wish that Mr. Obama would not go to Israel. It will be played as a reward for Israel and her heinous and illegal actions.

  2. thankgodimatheist
    March 5, 2013, 3:40 am

    “Settlers perform religious rituals in evacuated Jenin settlement”
    Isn’t that nice of them, pious thugs! Reminds me of Al Capone who was a very religious man too. Never missed mass, I read.

  3. thankgodimatheist
    March 5, 2013, 3:46 am

    “Standing on a wind-swept hilltop overlooking the biblical hills of Judea.”
    Martin Fletcher, Correspondent, NBC News..

    Biblical hills of Judea? Right! And you know where you can shove your prose, don’t you? Yup, right there.

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