Israeli court orders demolition of part of a mosque in Jerusalem

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement

Israeli court orders demolition of part of mosque in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 May — An Israeli court has rejected an appeal to stop the demolition of part of a mosque in Ras al-Amoud in East Jerusalem, the mosque’s imam says. The court in Jerusalem ruled that a section of Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque was built without a license and must be demolished, Sheikh Sabri Abu Diab told Ma‘an. The imam said the section under threat is used by female worshipers. The 70-square-meter section was built in 2009 to increase the mosque’s capacity, particularly on Fridays, the Muslim day of worship, as thousands of people who are denied access to Al-Aqsa Mosque pray in Ras al-Amoud instead, Abu Diab said. Engineers and lawyers tried to get a license for the additional section but Israeli authorities refused, he added.

Court halts work on fence near West Bank village’s historic terraces
Times of Israel 2 May by Yifa Yaakov –  The High Court on Thursday ordered the Defense Ministry to temporarily stop work on the security fence near the village of Battir over concerns the barrier could damage the area’s unique terraced landscape and residents’ ability to farm the way they have for centuries. Residents of Battir and neighboring villages, together with environmental groups, petitioned the court last year regarding the route of the fence, claiming it would harm agriculture in the area and limit the use of the traditional farming practices for which Battir, located in the Judean hills south of Jerusalem, is renowned … In May, Battir’s 6,000 residents were awarded a UNESCO prize for safeguarding the acres of terraces and retaining walls that stripe the hills and for maintaining the centuries-old network of irrigation canals that direct springwater over the stepped hills. The canal network has been in place for 2,000 years, with residents continually keeping up the system, said Giovanni Fontana-Antonelli, a local UNESCO official, at the time … The Defense Ministry responded to the court by saying that the route of the fence would be reconsidered as per the court’s instructions, stressing that it was necessary to complete the construction of the fence for the sake of Israel’s security. The ministry added that the fence around Battir was essential to preventing hostile elements from infiltrating Jerusalem and safeguarding the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway. An alternative construction plan is to be presented to the court by July 2.

Israel changes route of wall near Tulkarm
TULKARM (WAFA) 1 May — The Israeli authorities began work to change the route of a section in the segregation barrier it has built at the entrance of Jbara village, south of Tulkarm, in 2002 and moved it closer to the 1948 armistice line between Israel and the West Bank, head of Jbara village council, Awni Odeh, said Wednesday. He said efforts by the council and area villages since 2004 to change the route of the wall has succeeded in removing the barrier that isolated the villages from their agricultural land for many years. He said that even though the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled on this last year, the military government did not start to change the route until now. He said the former barrier has isolated the village from the outside world and no one was able to enter it or leave it without a permit. Residents were also unable to reach their farm land, which caused hundreds of trees to die.

Israeli drills burn corn field, locals say
JENIN (Ma’an) 2 May — Approximately 35 dunums [almost 9 acres] of planted corn fields were destroyed during an Israeli army drill on Wednesday in the Jalboun village east of Jenin, the owner said. Khalil Abu Erreh told Ma‘an that troops were training on his land and used gas bombs, setting fire to the crops. Local fire services tried to contain the blaze but could not salvage the land, he said, adding that the crops were his sole livelihood.

Settlers torch olive trees near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 May — Israeli settlers on Thursday cut down and torched over 50 olive trees in the central West Bank village of Deir Jarir north of Ramallah. Residents of Ofra settlement stormed fields belonging to Muhammad Jihad Shujaiyya and Muhammad Mahmoud Hamdan and cut down trees before setting fire to them, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli forces arrived and the landowners argued with the soldiers, accusing them of protecting settlers as they attacked Palestinian land.
In April, settlers from Ofra set fire to 10 cars in Deir Jarir.
In an earlier incident, settlers assaulted a 60-year-old judge in the area, leaving him unconscious. Palestinians responded by setting fire to Israeli caravans in a nearby outpost.

Settlers start over 50 fires in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 May — Settlers started over 50 fires across the West Bank on Tuesday following the fatal stabbing of a settler in Nablus, official news agency Wafa reported. A report by the civil defense said firefighters had to deal with 57 fires caused by settlers. Hundreds of olive and almond trees were damaged and large areas of cultivated crops were destroyed, the report said. Settlers attacked Palestinians and their property in the Nablus and Tulkarem areas on Tuesday, following the fatal stabbing of a settler earlier in the day.

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian village
RAMALLAH (PIC) 2 May — Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian village to the west of Ramallah on Wednesday and damaged Palestinian property and tried to break into houses. Eyewitnesses said that dozens of armed Jewish settlers in separate groups attacked the village of Beitello [or Beitillu] and wrote racist slogans on walls of buildings and tried to break into a number of houses. They said that citizens confronted the settlers, who came from Halamish settlement, and prevented them from breaking into their homes, adding that a number of citizens were wounded in the scuffles. They said that Israeli occupation forces came to the rescue of settlers and took them out of the village

Dozens of settlers protest dismantling of outpost
Times of Israel 3 May by Yoel Goldman and Stuart Winer — Dozens of settlers demonstrated Friday against the dismantling of a West Bank outpost near Tapuah Junction by Israeli security forces overnight Thursday. IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene arrested one protester. The outpost was built in memory of Evyatar Borowsky, 31, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian nearby on Tuesday. A tent office set up by the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, was removed, along with an additional structure at the site.

Israel blocks Palestinians from Easter celebrations
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israeli authorities on Friday prevented dozens of Christians from crossing to the West Bank through Gaza’s Beit Hanoun crossing, a Palestinian liaison official said. The Israeli side allowed only 25 Christians out of 100 to enter to the West Bank to celebrate Easter. They banned dozens who gathered outside the crossing, saying only 25 per day would be allowed to cross. The liaison official said departures would resume Sunday after the regular Saturday closure. About 230 Palestinian Christians have already departed the Gaza Strip since Israel granted 500 permits for worshipers hoping to enter the West Bank to mark Orthodox Easter celebrations. The permits are valid from April 30 until May 12.

127 Palestinians were prevented from traveling during April
RAMALLAH (PIC) 2 May — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) prevented during April 2013 nearly 127 Palestinians from traveling through al-Karama border crossing [Allenby Bridge over the Jordan], the only exit for Palestinians in the West Bank to the outside world. Quds Press quoted Palestinian official sources as saying that the IOA has prevented during the past month 127 Palestinians to pass through al-Karama crossing under security pretexts. Meanwhile, about 94 thousand arrivals and departures were allowed to pass through the crossing, the sources added.

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Arrests

Settler car hits 60-year-old near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 3 May — An Israeli settler on Friday ran over a man near Nabi Ilyas village in Qalqiliya, witnesses said. Faroq Abu Haniyeh, 60, was moderately injured after he was hit by a car while returning from his farm on a donkey-drawn cart east of Qalqiliya. Israeli forces closed the Nabi Ilyas village after reports of shooting at a settler car Friday afternoon. [Few things scarier than trying to cross what is essentially a highway with a slow donkey – of course there are no crossings for Palestinians.]

Clashes across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 May — Dozens of protesters sustained [injuries] on Friday in clashes with Israeli forces all over the occupied West Bank. In a weekly protest in the Nabi Saleh village, Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades at protestors and farmers who tried to reach their confiscated lands.  Meanwhile, dozens of people including Ramallah governor Laila Ghannam suffered tear-gas inhalation in Deir Jarir near Ramallah. Ghannam called for the international community to pressure Israel into stopping recurrent settler attacks in the West Bank. At the al-Ma‘asara village south of Bethlehem, a protester managed to place a Palestinian flag on an Israeli army vehicle. Israeli forces then fired tear gas at the protesters. In Bil‘in, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters who burned tires protesting settlement building and the separation wall. Dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation. Also, a journalist was injured by a tear-gas canister in clashes in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya.

Tear gas sparks fire in West Bank village
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israeli forces on Friday fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades in Kafr Qaddum, sparking a fire that torched over 40 olive trees, the PA civil defense said. Firefighters extinguished the fires, which had spread over two acres of land in the northern West Bank village.

3 injured as Israeli forces fire at funeral in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 May — Israeli forces fired tear gas and plastic-coated bullets at a funeral procession in Beit Ummar on Thursday afternoon, injuring three Palestinians, a local committee said. Beit Ummar committee spokesman Yousif Abu Maria said 17-year-old Ghassan Ikhlayyil was hit in the head by a plastic-coated bullet, Muhammad Khalil Abu Dayyeh, 24, was shot in the chest and Alaa Issam Ikhlayyil, 17, was shot in his hand. An Israeli soldier was hit in the face by a stone, Abu Maria told Ma‘an.

Israeli forces raid Beit Sahour home ‘looking for weapons’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — Israeli forces raided a home in Beit Sahour, Bethlehem on Thursday at dawn, detaining one person, relatives said. Hanan Banoura said forces broke into their home and detained her brother Ziyad. Banoura’s daughter Lilyan told Ma‘an that they “put their weapons in my face, asking me where we were hiding the arms. They pushed me on the floor and screamed at us with bad words, then they detained my father.” An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the detention was made in search for arms, but said it was made [by] the Israeli Police.

Jewish settlers still on the rampage in southern Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 2 May — Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles south of Nablus on Thursday morning, local sources said. Ghassan Daghlas, monitoring settlement activity north of the West Bank, said that the settlers threw rocks at dozens of Palestinian cars passing near the Yitzhar settlement. He said that the settlers were positioned at a crossroad and had inflicted severe material damage to passing cars.

Settlers and Israeli forces suppress second joint Friday protest in Silwad and Deir Jarir villages
ISM 28 Apr — Today, at around 12pm, several hundred people from Silwad and Deir Jarir villages gathered on a hilltop facing the new outpost to hold their second weekly protest. As they were waiting for more people to join them, around ten settlers invaded the nearby Palestinian valley and clashes ensued. Israeli forces, already present at the scene, began shooting tear gas canisters at Palestinians. After the midday prayers were performed on the hilltop those who were gathered started marching towards the new outpost. Israeli soldiers assembled in a line facing the protesters immediately started shooting extensive amounts of tear gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets at the people. The march was then dispersed, with several people suffering from tear gas suffocation and requiring assistance from Palestinian Red Crescent personnel. One international activist was also shot with a plastic coated steel bullet. As clashes continued to erupt between Israeli forces and protesters, settlers appeared again at the scene. Palestinian protesters went forward to push the settlers back from their land and were soon met with more tear gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces.

Night raids and arrests in Hares, Kifl Hares, and Deir Istiya
Salfit, Occupied Palestine (IWPS) 1 May — Yesterday night, at 21:40, an announcement was made over the mosque loudspeaker in Deir Istiya that settlers were planning an attack. Villagers were warned to stay awake and on watch for possible violence. At 22:45 IWPS began a night watch in Deir Istiya and learned that the Israeli District Coordination Officer had contacted Salfit municipality who in turn communicated to Hares, Kifl Hares and Deir Istiya’s councils that settlers were surrounding villages and to be on the lookout for possible attacks targeting the mosques from the illegal settlements of Yakir, Ariel and Revava. The men of Deir Istiya, Hares and Kifl Hares stayed up all night on the streets keeping watch over the village. At 1:00, approximately 30 Israeli soldiers were seen along with two army vehicles on the main road outside of Hares. At 2:00 the soldiers entered the village. The 30 soldiers entered a house premises on foot and asked a 15 year-old for his 21 year-old brother by name. The brother of the young man stated the person they were looking for is a university student and not in the house. The military entered the home and forced the 10 members of the household to sit in one of the downstairs rooms as the soldiers searched the house four times. When the soldiers did not find the 21 year-old student they were looking for, they grabbed the 15 year-old brother who had answered their questions at the door. One soldier began to bind the boy’s hands and blindfold him but another stopped him, stating they would continue when they were out of sight of the family.

Israeli forces detain 7 in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 2 May — Israeli forces on Thursday detained seven Palestinians in the northern West Bank district of Salfit, locals said. The detentions were made in the Kifl Haris and Haris villages, where forces detained Rabee Yousef Assad, 22, Ahmad Marwan Bouzeyeh, 20, Fadi Itmaid Souf, 19, Marwan Kamal Klaieb 18 and Ayoub Ahmad Klaieb 22. Two 16-year-olds were also detained in the operation, locals said, adding that they had been taken to “unknown locations.”

Brother of stabbing suspect ‘arrested in Israeli raid’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 May — Israeli forces detained the brother of a man accused of killing a settler near Nablus on Thursday, the prisoners center in Ramallah reported. Soldiers raided Muhammad al-Zaghal’s house in Shweikeh village in Tulkarem, beating him before he was arrested, according to the group. Officials at the prisoners center told Ma‘an that the troops took him to al-Khdeira Hospital.

Palestinian family says son who stabbed settler ‘did his duty’
Reuters 2 May –  Ali Zaghal read the mysterious text message early on Tuesday morning with dread: “Forgive me, brother.” Minutes later, his 21-year-old brother Salam stabbed an Israeli settler waiting at a traffic circle in the occupied West Bank, killing him before being shot and arrested by soldiers. While the family of the dead settler mourned their loss, the Zaghal family, living in poverty in the north of the Palestinian territory, defended Salam’s action as justified. “It was destiny, and we take pride in him as a family. What he did is a duty for all Palestinians living with the aggression of the army and settlers,” his elderly father Assad said, sitting with glum relatives in a circle of plastic chairs … While Salam’s deed may bring esteem to his family among some Palestinians, it may not erase an old taint in this run-down village — his brother Abdulfattah’s conviction by Palestinian authorities of spying for Israel.Israeli security forces say they are investigating whether Salam’s attack was meant to clear the family name, something the family denies. Palestinian society reviles suspected spies and families seldom live down the shame of being linked to one.,7340,L-4375426,00.html

Witnesses: Israel forces detain 3 Palestinians in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israeli forces on Friday detained three Palestinians in Jenin in the northern West Bank, locals said. Forces detained 30-year-old Anas Qaqour from Jenin and Yasser Abu Mala from Misliya, a village south of the city, locals said.
Witnesses said Israeli forces chased a young man near the al-Jalameh crossing east of Jenin and detained him.
Israel’s border police and army said there were no arrests in Jenin on Friday.

PHOTOS: Israel army attacks graphic novel launch in Budrus
Activestills 3 May — The Israeli military interrupts the launch event for a new graphic novel created by the makers of the documentary film ‘Budrus.’ Text by: Jessica Devaney, Photos by: Oren Ziv –  Just Vision launched an Arabic graphic novel at the Budrus Girls School on Thursday. Created by Irene Nasser and based on the award-winning documentary, Budrus (directed by Julia Bacha), the graphic novel looks at the unarmed movement in the village through the eyes of 15-year-old Iltezam Morrar. Starting this summer, Just Vision’s outreach team will use the graphic novel to engage Palestinian youth in discussions surrounding the significance of women’s role in the nonviolent popular struggle and to examine other contested issues like how best to build unity across political lines. Budrus the graphic novel is available online here.

WATCH: IDF detains Palestinian children and foreign citizen in Hebron
972mag 2 May by Mairav Zonszein — On Sunday, three Palestinian boys were detained by the IDF in Hebron, along with a Swedish activist who seems to have tried to calmly prevent their arrests. (Footage of the arrest is below, and highly disturbing to watch). According to the International Solidarity Movement, who put out a report on Sunday and has since been updating, the children were released a few hours later, but the Swede is still being held and attempts are being made to deport him. According to sources from Youth Against Settlements and B’Tselem with whom I spoke, the children were detained because settlers from the extremist Beit Hadassah settlement inside Hebron complained to the IDF that they had thrown stones. One of the children is only 10, the others 11 and 12 (the age of criminal responsibility is 12).

‘Price tag’: Car torched, owner stuck with bill
Ynet 1 May by Maor Buchnik –  A week after unknown vandals set fire to four vehicles in the Arab-Israeli village of ‘Akbara, near Safed, the owner of one of the cars received a NIS 1,500 ($417) invoice from the fire department for services rendered.  The vehicles were set ablaze at 2 am, and graffiti reading “don’t touch our girls — price tag” was found on a wall nearby … When Osama Halil turned to the Fire and Rescue Services he was told the bill for the extinguishing services provided by the service would be split between the owners of all four torched cars, but that he would still have to pay his share (NIS 375, or $104). “As if it is not enough that my car was burned, now they send me a NIS 1,500 bill,” he said. “The bill doesn’t even state my car’s license number or my identification card number. It is not right that I have to pay out of my own pocket. It will take time before I am reimbursed – should the assessor and insurance company approve it (the reimbursement).”,7340,L-4375020,00.html

Alleged beating by PA interrogators costs Palestinian man his speech
Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse 2 May — Reports of beatings and torture by PA security forces are common, but there is no follow up or accountability, reports Linah Alsaafin — Father of eight Mohammed Ghannam lost his ability to speak after less than 48 hours in the custody of the Palestinian Authority Preventative Security Forces. Ghannam, 43, who works as a muezzin (crier responsible for calls to prayer) for the Ministry of Religious Endowment, was previously arrested three times by the Israeli occupation and twice by the Palestinian Authority (PA …  Ghannam’s brother recounted that the Preventative Security Forces called him Saturday morning, April 27, to tell him that Mohammed was under arrest, without giving a reason for it, but also likely for allegedly being linked to Hamas. They came half an hour later to where Mohammed was working and transferred him directly from the Dura PPS offices to the headquarters in Hebron. Mohammed relayed what happened next in his own writing. After his transfer to the security services headquarters in Hebron, five officers surrounded him, with one identifying himself as the chief negotiator. The five men allegedly began beating Mohammed severely on his neck, chest and back, with the chief negotiator allegedly banging Mohammed’s head on the concrete wall at least five times before he lost consciousness.

Rights group seeks PA torture investigation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights is calling for the attorney general in the occupied West Bank to investigate the detention and alleged torture of a Palestinian in PA custody. The group said Tuesday that Mohammed Abdul Karim Dar Mohammed, 44, from a village near Hebron, lost the ability to speak after being tortured during interrogation in a Preventive Security Service prison.

PA security forces arrest 5 Hamas members in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 May — Palestinian Authority security forces arrested five Hamas members in the West Bank on Wednesday, the Islamist group said in a statement. The Hamas affiliates were detained in Hebron, Ramallah and Qalqiliya, the statement said.

Ahrar: 259 detainees and 4 martyrs during April
NABLUS (PIC) 1 May — Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said in its monthly report that 259 Palestinians were arrested and 4 others were killed in the West Bank and the Gaza strip during April 2013. According to the report, 94 Palestinians were detained in al-Khalil, 42 others were arrested in occupied Jerusalem, 25 detention cases in Jenin, 24 cases in Bethlehem, 22 other cases in Nablus, 20 detention cases in Ramallah, while 18 others were arrested in Qalqilya, and 6 others in Tulkarem including the injured prisoner Diaa Nassar who was shot by IOF before his arrest, in addition to 4 detention cases in Tubas …
The West Bank has witnessed the martyrdom of the sick prisoner Myasra Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, who suffered throat cancer after his health deterioration in light of the Israeli rejection to provide him with the necessary treatment. Abu Hamdiyeh is considered the martyr number 207 in the Captive movement. The report also documented the martyrdom of two Palestinians in Tulkarem by Israeli fire at Annab checkpoint during protests following Abu Hamdiyeh’s martyrdom. The Gaza strip has also witnessed the martyrdom of the citizen Haythem al-Meshal due to Israeli shelling on Tuesday.

PCHR Weekly Report: 1 Palestinian killed, 8 wounded by Israeli forces this week [25 Apr -1 May]
…Israeli forces extra-judicially executed a member of a Salafi-Jihadist group in the Gaza Strip … In addition, Israeli forces have continued to open fire in the border areas in the Gaza Strip. 1 child was wounded in the northern Gaza Strip … During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 63 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted at least 32 Palestinians, including 7 children and 2 lecturers at al-Najah National University in Nablus … Israeli forces have continued activities aimed at creating a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. On Monday, 29 April 2013, Israeli forces bulldozed two housing apartments in al-Tour village, in occupied East Jerusalem. According to data acquired by PCHR, at approximately 06:30, Israeli forces, including special forces units, accompanied by two bulldozers, officers of the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem, and officers of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, moved into Khelat al-‘Ayn neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces cordoned off the neighbourhood, surrounded the houses of a Palestinian man and his sister, and banned other civilians and journalists from accessing the area. Israeli forces forced the families to evacuate their homes and then demolished the buildings. One of the demolished buildings was an apartment building of 160 square metres, occupied by 13 individuals, including an elderly woman who is suffering from cancer, and belonging to a Palestinian who also suffers from cancer. The second apartment building was 80 square metres, and occupied by 11 individuals, including 5 children. Full Report


Prisoners’ relatives reject PA decision to stop paying Israeli fines
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — Relatives of prisoners on Thursday criticized a Palestinian Authority decision to stop paying fines imposed by Israeli courts. The PA Ministry of Prisoner Affairs recently announced it would stop paying fines issued by Israeli courts on June 1, to stop Israel benefiting from Palestinian public money. “This decision is disastrous,” said the wife of prisoner Ahmad al-Mughrabi, from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. The PA should pay prisoners’ fines, she told Ma‘an. “They sacrificed for their homeland, and in return they should be given even a small reward. A day outside jail is better than 10 inside.” The mother of Firas Mousa, a detainee from al-Khader near Bethlehem, said the decision means families will be forced to pay fines …
But Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, urged families not to pay fines “to the occupation that fights them with their own money.” He said it would be better for detainees to “serve more years in jail than pay money to the occupation.” The ministry was paying 13 million shekels ($3.65 million) a year to Israel, spending up to 4,000 shekels on each fine, he added. The prisoners ministry decided to stop paying fines because they strengthen the Israeli treasury and do not help Palestinians’ interests, Fares said. “Until when will we have to pay the price of the gunshot which kills us?”

Female detainee says denied medicine in Israeli jail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 May — A 27-year-old woman from Bethlehem says she is being mistreated and denied medicine in Israeli custody, her lawyer said Friday. Israeli forces detained Hiba Bahjat on April 2 from her home in Doha, south of Bethlehem, and confiscated her cell phone, computer and wedding album. Shirin Iraqi, a lawyer from the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, visited Bahjat in Hasharon prison. Bahjat told the lawyer she was blindfolded, handcuffed and deprived of sleep during interrogations in Ashkelon prison, a ministry statement said. She needs medication for a stomach problem and is in extreme pain because Israeli authorities took her medicine from her. She says Israeli interrogators questioned her over a visit she made to relatives in Gaza, and that they used a lie detector during the investigation. Bahjat has two daughters, aged 5 and 7.

Israel to release 2 hunger strikers early
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 May — An Israeli military court has reduced the administrative detention of two hunger-striking prisoners from Jenin, the lawyer for the Palestinian Authority Detainees Ministry said Thursday. Attorney Jawad Boulos said the military court ordered the early release of Jaafar Izz al-Din and Tariq Kadan by two weeks and are due to leave Israeli custody on 8 May. Izz al-Din and Kaadan have been on hunger strike for 90 days in protest over being held under administrative detention. They ended their strike once the decision for early release was announced following a protracted appeal, Boulos said.

Al-Taj given permit to be treated in Jerusalem hospital
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israel has given Muhammad al-Taj a permit to be treated in a Jerusalem hospital, after releasing him from prison on health grounds. Israel pardoned al-Taj, who had carried out two long-term hunger strikes, in April after a serious deterioration in his health. He suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and heart hypertrophy. Israel had previously banned al-Taj from Jerusalem and it is the first time the former prisoner has been allowed a permit to enter the city, the Palestine Center for Prisoner Studies said. Several specialist Palestinian hospitals are in East Jerusalem but Palestinians need permission from Israel to access them.

Doctors discover two bullets in body of Palestinian prisoner
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 May — The Palestinian prisoner’s society in Al-Khalil said in a statement on Thursday that doctors discovered two bullets in the pelvis of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Awad. It said in a statement that Awad could be paralyzed if not properly treated, adding that he was hit with the bullets during his arrest in November 2012. The society said that Awad did not realize then that the bullets were inside him but continued to complain of acute pain and after medical tests doctors found the two bullets.

Lawyers banned from seeing suspect in settler stabbing
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 1 May — Israeli forces have banned lawyers from visiting a man suspected of fatally stabbing a settler in Nablus, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said Wednesday. Salam al-Zaghal, from Tulkarem, on Tuesday fatally stabbed a settler while he waited at a hitch-hiking spot in the occupied West Bank. Al-Zaghal was subsequently shot by Israeli border guards and transferred to hospital. Israeli authorities informed the PPS that al-Zaghal is under anesthetic and is banned from receiving visits.
The PPS said they will continue efforts to visit the suspect.

Gaza siege

Gaza fisherman seriously injured off coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 May — A Gaza fisherman was seriously wounded on Wednesday after an accident off Gaza’s coast.Adel Baker, 51, suffered serious head injuries after falling from a fishing boat near Rafah, Ma’an’s reporter said. He reportedly hit his head on the boat’s anchor after Israel’s navy fired warning shots at several fishing boats, causing him to panic and fall. He was transferred to the European hospital for treatment and is said to be in a serious condition.

Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats
GAZA (PIC) 1 May — Israeli navy gunboats opened machinegun fire at Palestinian boats off the coasts of Gaza Strip at dawn Wednesday. Sources in the marine police told the PIC reporter that the Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at the fishing boats working off the Sudaniya beach, north west of Gaza city. They said that the fishermen were forced to retreat to a distance of only one nautical mile from the beach. The sources that no casualties or material damage in the ships were reported,

IOF incursion in southern Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 1 May — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in armored vehicles escorted eight military bulldozers that advanced into eastern Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, at dawn Wednesday. Local sources told the PIC reporter that IOF troops advanced 150 meters and reached the outskirts of Khuza‘a town and bulldozed and combed the area. They said that the bulldozing reached villages east of Khan Younis city amidst heavy shooting at citizens’ houses and lands.
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation authorities decided to partially open the Karm Abu Salem terminal, the sole commercial crossing for Gaza, on Wednesday after five days of closure. Raed Fattuh, the head of the committee for the entry of goods into Gaza, said in a press statement that the partial opening of the crossing would allow entry of around 190 trucks loaded with foodstuffs, fodder, and international aid. He said that limited quantities of cooking gas would be also allowed today.

IOF troops raid northern Gaza
BEIT HANUN (PIC) 2 May — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced 300 meters into the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. The PIC reporter in the area said that IOF soldiers advanced into eastern Beit Hanun and bulldozed land amidst indiscriminate shooting by helicopter gunships. Meanwhile, an Israeli Apache copter opened heavy fire at a deserted land lot to the east of the Agriculture Faculty, north of Beit Hanun.

Israel police: Gaza projectile lands in southern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — Militants in Gaza fired a projectile into southern Israel on Thursday, Israeli police said. It was not immediately clear if the projectile was a mortar or a rocket, but it caused no damage or injuries, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an.

Israeli navy fires 3 shells at Gaza coast
GAZA (PIC) 3 May — Israeli navy fired a number of shells at Gaza coast near Alwaha area west of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip targeting Palestinian houses and agricultural lands on Thursday night. The Israeli navy fired 3 artillery shells, and opened machinegun fire heavily toward fishermen off Gaza coast, the PIC reporter confirmed.

Hamas arrests Salafists in Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 2 May — Hamas has arrested several Salafists, the Interior Ministry in Gaza said on Thursday, two days after Israel carried out an air strike on a militant in the enclave. “The internal security apparatus has arrested fanatics calling themselves Salafists, for security and criminal reasons. There were no arrests made for ideological or political reasons,” a ministry statement said. “Four of those arrested were taken in on suspicion of stealing rockets belonging to Hamas, and two others for causing an unspecified explosion that resulted in “human and material damage,” it added, without giving a total number. The Mujahedeen Shura Council Salafist group, one of whose members was killed in the air strike on Gaza City on Tuesday, said the jihadists were being detained for ideological reasons.

Salafists call for release of affiliates in Gaza jails
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 May — A Salafist group in Gaza called for the release Thursday of all the movement’s detainees in Hamas prisons, a party statement read. The Mujahideen Shura Council called on the Hamas government in Gaza to stop its detention campaign against its group members and combatants. The statement said Hamas had been colluding with Egyptian authorities to carry out the campaign and said Egypt’s intelligence service had interrogated several members “more than once.” Several rocket launches into Israel have been claimed by Salafist militants. The movement said in early April that Hamas arrested two members in response to rocket fire. At the time the Hamas interior ministry, denied any arrests had been made for “resistance against the occupation,” AFP reported. But a source close to the movement told the AFP that Hamas had launched a “campaign to pursue Salafists after the targeting of Israel with rockets.”

Palestinian groups ponder response to Israeli strike in Gaza
Al-Monitor 2 May — While coordinating a response to the April 30 Israeli air strike, Palestinian groups in Gaza urge respect for the cease-fire agreement signed in November 2012, writes Mohammed Suliman — Israeli warplanes launched a morning air strike west of Gaza City on April 30, killing 25-year-old Haitham al-Mishal. Another Palestinian was injured in the attack, which took place a few days after Israeli planes hit two other sites in the south Gaza Strip. The killing of Mishal was the first targeted assassination carried out by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip since an Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect on Nov. 22, 2012, bringing an end to Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, which resulted in the deaths of more than 160 Palestinians and 6 Israelis. According to the terms of the truce, Israel agreed to “stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals” while all Palestinian groups agreed to “stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.” Israeli officials, according to the Ma‘an News Agency, said that Mishal, who worked as a security guard at al-Shifa Hospital, had been involved in rocket attacks on Eilat, in southern Israel, a few days earlier.

Israel reveals use of Tamuz ‘smart’ missile
MEMO 1 May — Israel has revealed that it will use the advanced Tamuz “smart” missile in any future offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip. The previously-top secret weapon was used for the first time against a target on the border with Syria two weeks ago. A spokesman for the Israeli military noted that the missile is extremely accurate and is launched using a specially-designed platform. Reaching a speed of 220 metres per second, the missile carries a camera to help determine the location of the target as well as a high-explosive warhead. Following its use against Syria, the spokesman stressed that the Tamuz missile will be used in an anti-tank capacity should the Syrian regime decide to deploy armour on the Golan Heights.

‘Internal party dispute’ behind attacks on Fatah leaders in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 May — The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said Friday that disputes within the Fatah movement sparked a string of attacks on Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday, masked men damaged the car of Fatah leader Khaled Musa, two days after assailants planted a bomb under the car of Fatah official Monther al-Bardawil. Earlier in April, assailants set fire to the car of Fatah’s secretary-general in Gaza, Mahmud Hussein … Ministry spokesman Ibrahim Salah said the attacks were a result of fighting within the Fatah party. In a statement, he urged Fatah to resolve its internal disputes before the situation deteriorates. The Hamas official said police had arrested some suspects and that they are being questioned.

Aid convoy arrives in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 May — The al-Wafa 6 aid convoy arrived Wednesday evening in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, a statement read. More than 30 people came with the convoy carrying humanitarian aid in solidarity with Gaza and will stay for several days.

Gaza government stops chicken imports from Egypt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 May — The Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza on Friday stopped the import of chickens from Egypt as local shortages have eased. The ministry began importing chickens from Egypt in April for the first time in 10 years due to critical shortages in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt arrests iron smugglers on Gaza border
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 3 May — Egyptian authorities on Thursday stopped smugglers transferring 77 tons of iron to the Gaza Strip, security officials said. Egyptian police arrested two truck drivers heading to smuggling tunnels in Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border, security officials told Ma‘an

Egyptian security foils attempt to smuggle cars into Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 2 May — Egyptian security forces on Thursday foiled an attempt to smuggle 40 BMW cars into the Gaza Strip, security officials said. The cars, all 2013 BMW models, were sent by an Egyptian businessman known to security services as a major smuggler.

All faiths rest in peace at English cemetery in Gaza
Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse 2 May by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Hindu soldiers from Germany, Australia, France, Turkey, Britain and India are gathered in peace in the shade of  jacaranda and poinciana trees, stretching out over 40 square kilometers [15.4 square miles] of green grass. They are surrounded by a serenity that is hard to retain in a crowded city like Gaza, except in the Gaza War Cemetery, which is located along the Salah al-Din Highway, east of Gaza City. These soldiers came to fight alongside the Allied forces against the Ottoman Empire during World War I in 1914-1918 … The cemetery keeper, Ibrahim Jarada, is a 76-year-old man who has been guarding the cemetery since the age of 18. “It is a part of me. It is my spiritual place. It is more than just a place where I find solitude, as I have had many opportunities to travel and leave this place. However, seeing a seedling grow is much more valuable to me than visiting any country in the word,” he told Al-Monitor.

Refugees outside Palestine

Video: Palestinian refugees from Syria speak out
Mondoweiss 2 May by Mosireen — Possibly what we need to do most in the case of the Syrian revolution is listen to people who participated in it and those who are facing the abhorrent violence against it. Listen to these Palestinians, now yet again refugees in another land. First the Zionist armies exiled them from their villages in Palestine in 1948, now the armies of Bashar exiled them from Syria, which had became a temporary home. This video is 8:31 of a deeply troubling, deeply painful take on the everyday reality of Palestinians made refugees yet again.

1267 Palestinian martyrs since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution
DIMASCUS (PIC) 2 May — The Working Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria confirmed that nearly 1267 Palestinian refugees were martyred in Syria while tens of thousands were displaced since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution. The Working Group called on UNRWA to intervene to stop the continued conflict in Syria that led to a real humanitarian disaster, noting that the Palestinian refugees are subjected to heinous crimes where 235 thousands refugees were displaced in Syria.

3 Palestinians killed in Syria violence, group says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 May — Three more Palestinians have [been] killed in Syria, the Damascus-based working group for Palestine said Friday. Ihsan Ramzi Qadoura, 53, from Yarmouk refugee camp was shot dead on Thursday, the group said. Amar Ali Shihabi was killed in the field and Adel Abu al-Hassan from al-Aiden refugee camp died [in] Homs, according to the group.

Political and other news

Google lists Palestinian territories ‘Palestine’
JERUSALEM (AP) 3 May — Google is de facto recognizing a state of Palestine — at least on its local home page in the Palestinian territories. Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said Friday “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products.” He said Google consults with a number of sources and authorities when naming countries and is following the lead of several international organizations. The move comes after a U.N. decision last year upgrading the Palestinians’ status to “non-member observer state.” Israel says Palestinian statehood should be reached through negotiations, not unilateral moves.

Danes, Finns upgrade Palestinian diplomatic status
AP 4 May — Foreign ministers of Denmark, Finland decided to upgrade status of Palestinian missions present in their countries so ‘Palestine gets the same status’ as other embassies,7340,L-4375781,00.html

Mashaal rejects land swap with Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal on Thursday rejected an Arab League endorsement of land swaps between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Speaking with the Al Jazeera, Mashaal said any such concession would harm the Palestinian cause…
Mashaal also said Hamas was prepared to implement a unity deal with rival faction Fatah, whose movement currently dominates the Palestinian Authority. The unity deal, he said, should be based on partnership and the holding of elections. He denied any involvement in Egyptian security issues and said Egypt recognised Hamas as a legitimate entity. His comments follow reports that President Mahmoud Abbas will head to Cairo in May to advance the unity deal. Egypt is expected to push for a Palestinian unity government after the meeting as well as a date for elections. Meanwhile, Fatah leader Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma‘an that there were no plans for meetings between Fatah and Hamas.

Minister: Israel will not talk on basis of 1967 lines
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 May — Israel will keep refusing to negotiate on the basis of a total withdrawal from land it seized during the 1967 Six-Day War, an Israeli minister said Wednesday after the Arab League modified its peace plan. “If Israel agrees to come to the negotiating table while accepting in advance that talks would be held on the basis of the 1967 lines, there wouldn’t be very much to negotiate about,” said Gilad Erdan, a minister in the security cabinet and considered close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We cannot start negotiations after agreeing in advance to give up everything,” he told public radio.

Israel PM says territory not root cause of Mideast conflict
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 May — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that an Israeli withdrawal would not bring peace with the Palestinians because the heart of the conflict was their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Fatah official: Too early to talk about land swaps
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 May — Land swaps should be a result of negotiations with Israel rather than an “advance payment” given by Arab states on behalf of the Palestinians, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee said Thursday. “Our stance (as Palestinians) is very clear. We want a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and 138 states have voted in favor of that,” said Muhammad Ishtayya. If there are changes to the borders, land swaps must be on an equal basis, Ishtayya told Ma’an. “If we give one centimeter, we must take one centimeter in return. Practically, we realize that lands occupied before 1949 are Palestinian lands and that Israel will try to talk about settlement blocs. The way Israel interprets the Arab attitude is very dangerous as the Israelis will try to understand that this attitude allows them to talk about annexing settlement blocs as if they were part of the Arab Peace Initiative.

Zahhar: Land swap ‘an attempt to alter history’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 May — The Arab Peace Initiative seeking a swap of land between Palestine and Israel is “an attempt to alter history”, a senior Hamas leader said Friday. Mahmoud Zahhar said that no one can take the rights of Palestinians to return to their lands. He added that Palestinians have four immutable rights: the right to their land, their beliefs, their holy places and their right to return. Zahhar called on Palestinians to cling to these rights and not give up any small piece of “Palestine’s soil”. An Arab League offer of full diplomatic ties in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from land occupied in 1967 now includes a reference to the principle of mutually-agreed land swaps.The move has been hailed by Washington as “a very big step forward.”

Israel PM: Any peace deal will go to referendum
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 May — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he would put any peace deal reached with the Palestinians to a referendum, in a meeting with the Swiss foreign minister … Netanyahu said in 2010 that he would consider submitting any peace agreement he might reach with the Palestinians to a referendum, during long-awaited peace talks which stalled that month and have not resumed since. Thursday’s statement came a day after Netanyahu rejected the idea that an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories would bring peace, in an apparent snub to a modification of an 11-year-old pan-Arab peace plan.

Livni: Arab move gives hope for peace talks
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 3 May — Israel’s top peace negotiator Tzipi Livni said Thursday that the Arab League’s modification of its plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could bring new talks closer. But a Palestinian envoy said Israel had responded to the new overtures with “colonization and confrontation.”

Palestinian security forces off press watchdog’s enemy list
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 May — A leading media freedom watchdog announced Friday it was removing the Palestinian security forces from its annual list of predators of freedom of information. Reporters Without Borders said the security forces of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and those of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip “have been dropped from this year’s list of predators because the number of their press freedom violations has fallen considerably in the past four years.” But the group warned that “The situation of freedom of information in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is nonetheless still the subject of concern. The Hamas government (recently) banned local journalists from working for Israeli media, and many journalists are prosecuted for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas.” Israel’s military remained on the list of enemies of freedom of information for another year. Reporters Without Borders released the list to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

Some 250 Palestinian tourists conned into illegal trip to Eilat sent back to West Bank
Haaretz 3 May — Some 250 Palestinians arrived in Eilat for a vacation on Thursday without proper permits and were sent back to the West Bank by Israeli police on Friday. They apparently fell victim to a scam by an East Jerusalem travel agency, which claimed it secured the proper documenation for their vacation, and passed them off as employees of a large Israeli firm. On Friday, the Eilat police station received intelligence from police in the Judea and Samaria district that more than 200 illegal aliens had entered the southern Israeli resort city on the Red Sea coast. Eilat police and Israel Border Police arrived in the city’s tourist area and soon discovered that dozens of employees of a Palestinian insurance company and their families were staying at the city’s Astral Nirvana Hotel. Travel agency in East Jerusalem apparently lied to tourists about having proper documentation to enter Israel and passed them off as employees of a large Israeli company; Eilat police held the tourists in their hotels until they were escorted back to the West Bank.

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

A modest proposal for stopping settler violence
972blog 3 May by Yesh Din, written by Yoshi Gurvitz– For years, Israeli police and the Shin Bet have complained that they can’t deal with ‘price tag’ attacks. Here’s a simple proposition — …We are told that the Shin Bet and the police have a hard time gathering human intelligence (HUMINT) among price taggers. That’s probably true. Then again, it’s hard to believe the price taggers are a band of particularly hardened veterans of the KGB-school of dirty tricks who also graduated from the Spetznatz. The Shin Bet says a document written by Noam Federman exposed all its tricks a decade ago. Well, that was a decade ago; come up with new ones. But, given that the Shin Bet finds it hard to get HUMINT on Price Taggers, we at Yesh Din are happy to aid them, and ask them to kindly watch the short video below. It was taken by Yesh Din investigator, Munir Qadus, during Tuesday’s pogrom. (Watch more videos of the events here.) ,,, We suggest the Shin Bet adopt the following operational plan: 1. In the future, the IDF troops should not accompany the rioters, but rather detain them. This is innovative, true, and will force the IDF’s command to update its thinking, but for that same reason will be very surprising to the rioters. The element of surprise, as is well known, is the main ingredient in military success.

Twilight Zone: In the heart of the Galilee, a tale of love, racism and burnt cars / Alex Levac & Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 May — Until last week’s ‘price tag’ incident, villagers in Akbara had not felt the effect of rising racism in neighboring Safed. But vandalism and graffiti saying ‘don’t touch our girls’ was a stinging reminder [of] Israel in 2013 — …On the dome of the new (and only) mosque in town, which residents fought for years to build, locals are now installing security cameras – lest the “price tag” terrorists (i.e., those instigating various acts of retribution), try to get to it, too. One of the former mayors of Safed once told residents: “I will not let ‘Allahu akbar’ be heard in Safed.” … “We are a small village of 500 people. Akbara. In 1982 we were annexed to Safed. My name is Ala Hleihel, I am 35 and my village is very rundown,” Ala wrote in an e-mail to me a few days ago. … “We had good relations with the residents of Safed, but everything started to change for the worse after the harshly racist statements by the city’s chief rabbi” – a reference to comments made last year by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu urging residents not to rent apartments to non-Jews. “That wave began to slip over to us as well.

Netanyahu will ignore Arab League’s land-swap proposal / Akiva Eldar
Al-Monitor Israel Pulse 2 May — The April 30 announcement by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani that the Arab states agree in principle to a land swap between Israel and Palestine, based on the 1967 border lines, failed to stir any particular excitement among Israel’s top political offices. That is a natural reaction, given the views of those leaders — it’s obvious they cannot trade sovereign Israeli territories for other territories that they also regard as their own and call “Judea and Samaria,” despite the fact that the rest of the world defines them as “occupied territories.” This is a non-starter. Even a child understands that in order to trade stamps with a friend, both of them have to at least agree that each is the proprietor of his own collection. As far as Israel is concerned, it owns most of the other side’s stamps, as well.

The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land’
Church of Scotland May 2013 — …The Bible and the land of Israel  – There has been a widespread assumption by many Christians as well as many Jewish people that the Bible supports an essentially Jewish state of Israel. This raises an increasing number of difficulties and current Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians have sharpened this questioning. This assumption of biblical support is based on views of promises about land in the Hebrew Bible. These views are disputed. The guidance in the Bible, notably the interpretation in the NewTestament, provides more help in responding to questions about land and covenant. It also provides insight (discussed later in the report) into how Christians might understand the occupation of Palestinian land by the state of Israel, threats to Middle East peace and security, human rights, and racial intolerance, especially in the forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.The phrase “the land of Israel” has a range of understandings amongst the three world faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city of Jerusalem, which is a holy place for all three religions, is the most contentious religious and political issue. In general terms there have been three main ways of understanding the promises about land in the Bible: 1. A territorial guarantee 2. A land held in trust 3. A land with a universal mission.

Video: Squeeze them out
Economist 4 May — As Jewish settlements expand, the Palestinians are being driven away — IT WAS just another day for the Israeli army on the West Bank. Having parked its jeeps in the hills south of Hebron, a unit of soldiers checked the papers of the Palestinians who lived there, confiscated one or two, and then herded the people and their flocks off a hilltop which a nearby Jewish settlement, called Susiya, has been eyeing with a view to taking it over. “Military zone,” tersely explained an Israeli officer, who had just received a warrant declaring it such. “Off you go.”  Taking time out from their Saturday morning prayers, a few settlers looked on approvingly. “Don’t argue,” replied the officer, when a Palestinian shepherd asked why the soldiers were moving Arabs out of the newly acquired military zone but not Jews. “You have a minute to move or I’ll arrest you,” said the officer.  “Settlers are just off-duty soldiers,” mumbled the shepherd to his sons as they stubbornly continued to tend their sheep. A Palestinian mother picnicking with her two toddlers is hauled away by Israeli soldiers, while villagers plead for her release. The signs of previous bouts of displacement ring the adjacent hills. Mobile homes for young Jewish settlers sprout on the hilltops. Armed with a list of military orders, Israeli soldiers are herding the West Bank’s Palestinians out of the rural 60% of the territory, officially known as Area C, where Israel has full military and civilian control, and into cities.|a

Paralyzed photographer highlights plight of disabled Palestinians
Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse 2 May — Osama Silwadi, who lost the use of his legs because of an errant bullet fired during a demonstration, has struggled to regain his life, Lana Shehadeh reports from Ramallah. Could you imagine living your life without any impairment or disabilities and all of a sudden that changes? Imagine, being an active photographer surviving wars and conflict, gunfire and bombings. Imagine working in a field where the majority of your work requires constant movement and the need for speed, and then one shot, one piece of metal, has the effect of changing your whole life.
Osama Silwadi is a 40-year-old photojournalist who began his career with a local Palestinian newspaper. His career advanced as his photography skills advanced. His photos began to get international recognition. His resume is jam-packed with experience working as a photojournalist with international news agencies such as Agence France Press, Thomson Reuters, Al-Ayyam newspaper and many others. Osama won multiple awards for photos that captured the horrors of the first and second intifada.

Disabled Gaza toddler lives at Israeli hospital
RAMAT GAN, Israel (AP) 3 May by Diaa Hadid — In his short life, Palestinian toddler Mohammed al-Farra has known just one home: the yellow-painted children’s ward in Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital. Born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease, Mohammed’s hands and feet were amputated because of complications from his condition, and the 3½-year-old carts about in a tiny red wheelchair. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government won’t pay for his care, so he lives at the hospital with his grandfather … In the midst of his treatment, his mother abandoned Mohammed because her husband, ashamed of their son, threatened to take a second wife if she didn’t leave the baby and return to their home in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, Farra said. In Gaza, polygamy is permitted but isn’t common. But it’s a powerful threat to women fearful of competing against newer wives … Some 183,600 Gaza residents — or 10.8 percent of the 1.7 million Gazans — suffer some kind of disability that affects their mental health, eyesight, hearing or mobility. Some 40,800 people suffer severe disability, the Palestinian bureau of statistics reported in 2011 … There are greater efforts, by about 10 aid groups in Gaza, to increase opportunities for the disabled. Hearing-impaired Palestinians make boutique products in a Gaza center, “Atfaluna,” Arabic for “Our Children.” This year they opened a restaurant run by the hearing-impaired, further raising their visibility. Gaza’s Hamas rulers have also pushed the issue in recent years. Their matchmakers have helped marry off sight-impaired single men with brides and cover wedding costs. Wheelchair-bound Palestinian fighters wounded in battle are honored in military parades.

About Kate

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

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