Report: ‘Tel Aviv University received finances from settler group’
IMEMC 14 June — [Thursday June 13 2013] The Arabs48 News Website has reported that the Tel Aviv University is cooperating with right wing settler groups involved in excavations in Silwan Arab town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem. It said that the Elad settler group, involved in funding and financing settlement activities, is indirectly paying the salary of a Tel Aviv University researcher in charge of the excavations. Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the decision of the Archeology Center at the Tel Aviv University to initiate excavations in Silwan caused a stir due to allegations of cooperation with extremist right wing settler groups. The Tel Aviv University claimed that the excavations are carried out in cooperation with the Israeli Antiques Authority, and “has nothing to do with the Elad group.” Haaretz obtained documents indicating that the Elad group started the digging, has been directly involved in the issue since the beginning, and that the Tel Aviv University was not only fully aware of the issue, but knew that Elad was paying the salary of Tel Aviv University Archeologist, Yuval Gadot, who heads the excavations.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
WZO Settlement Department gets more money than it is budgeted
Haaretz 17 June by Chaim Levinson — The World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Department’s annual spending is several times higher than its original budget, Haaretz has learned. In recent years the government has transferred additional funds to the Settlement Department ranging from several dozen million shekels to hundreds of millions. The department is funded and directed by the government, despite being formally part of the World Zionist Organization. It owns almost all the land allotted to building settlements in the territories. The department manages the lands and transfers them, usually to Amana, the settlement branch of the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria … While the annual budget approved by the Knesset usually ranges between NIS 50 million and NIS 90 million, the actual sums transferred to the department consistently reach several hundred million shekels. All the extra funding is approved by the Knesset’s Finance Committee, but since the government transfers the money in several installments during the fiscal year, supervision of the funds is weakened.
Palestine drops bid to register new UNESCO heritage site
BATTIR, West Bank (Ma‘an) 16 June — Palestine is backing down from plans to ask UNESCO to place an ancient West Bank village on its World Heritage in Danger list, a year after the UN scientific and cultural agency voted to include Bethlehem’s Nativity Church. Residents of Battir, southwest of Jerusalem, which is home to an ancient Roman irrigation network in continuous use for centuries, expected the Palestinian delegation to nominate the farming village for inclusion on UNESCO’s rosters during its annual convention, which opens Sunday in Cambodia.
Experts in Battir and Bethlehem who helped draft the application told Ma‘an that the Palestinian delegation in Paris received a completed file in January. It should have submitted it by a February deadline but did not, the officials said. This is because in early 2013, Palestinian and Israeli officials worked out an informal agreement to freeze the nomination, a PLO official with knowledge of the decision said. In return, the Israeli government indicated it would permit the UN agency to send an investigative team to Jerusalem, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the sensitive negotiations with Israel. “All the paperwork was ready for the Battir application … It was stopped in exchange for the delegation to Jerusalem,” the official explained.
Israel ended up reneging on the deal weeks after the deadline to submit Battir had passed.
Not in my name, rages SA diplomat
Mail&Guardian (South Africa) 14 June by Fatima Asmal — A furious Ismail Coovadia has repudiated a bid to ‘honour’ him with trees planted on contested land. The former South African ambassador to Israel says he’ll be returning a certificate informing him that 18 trees had been planted in his honour in an Israeli forest by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs. Ismail Coovadia, whose term came to an end in December last year, told the Mail & Guardian that when he returned to South Africa he opened the certificate, expecting it to acknowledge his period of ambassadorial service but was disturbed to learn that the trees had been planted in his name and without his permission in a forest planted by the JNF. According to an article published by Human Rights Watch, “Erasing Links to the Land in the Negev,” the “Ambassadors Forest” was inaugurated in December 2005 and lies on the demolished Bedouin village of al-Araqib. It is one of several forests planted by the JNF in Israel.
Zahalka: ‘Government, police responsible for escalating settler violence’
IMEMC 14 June — [Wednesday June 13] Arab Member of Israeli Knesset (MK) Jamal Zahalka of the National Democratic Assembly sent an urgent letter to Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, Yitzhak Aharonovich, demanding him to act on stopping the escalating ‘Price Tag’ attacks carried out [by] extremist Israeli youths. His letter came after a number of extremist settlers wrote racist graffiti on some graves at the Christian Greek Orthodox graveyard in Jaffa [on Wednesday at night] … Zahalka said that the Israeli government and the police are responsible for the escalating attacks, due to the lack of adequate and effective measures against those groups of extremists. The Arab48 news website reported that more Price Tag graffiti was found on the walls of a number of Arab homes in Al-Jabaliyya neighborhood in Jaffa, while several tires of Arab cars have been slashed in the neighborhood.
Israel toughens law against anti-Palestinian vandals
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 16 June – Israel approved new measures on Sunday against Jewish ultranationalists who vandalise Palestinian property in a drive to mire security forces in sectarian violence in the occupied West Bank. Saying they sought to avenge attacks on Jewish settlers, the vandals have torched and spray-painted Palestinian mosques and cars and chopped olive trees in so-called “Price Tag” raids. Churches and Arab property inside Israel have also been hit. With their potential for upending the West Bank’s relative quiet should Palestinians strike back, and for discouraging any future Israeli evacuation of unapproved settlements, the incidents worry Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist government. But arrests and prosecutions have been rare. Netanyahu’s security cabinet said in a statement it had empowered the Defence Ministry to designate “Price Tag” vandals as members of “illicit organisations”, which would in turn “significantly expand the investigative and prosecutorial tools available to the security forces and law-enforcement”. The statement did not elaborate. An official told Reuters the decision would could effectively bring Israel’s handling of Price Tag suspects into line with its crackdowns on Palestinian militants, entailing longer detentions and jail sentences as well as more intrusive surveillance and interrogations.
The Justice Ministry was separately seeking parliamentary ratification defining Price Tag attacks as “terrorism”, alongside Palestinian and other politically motivated attacks on Israelis, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Netanyahu: Price tag attacks cannot be compared to Hamas terror
Haaretz 17 June by Barak Ravid — …The security cabinet decided at the meeting that perpetrators of “price tag” attacks against Palestinians or their property can be declared a forbidden organization by the defense minister, similar to the charities linked to terror groups. According to the minister, who asked to remain anonymous as the meeting was classified, Netanyahu said that even if declaring price tag activists as part of a terror organization was correct from a domestic standpoint, it would be a diplomatic mistake to do so. Netanyahu explained that such a declaration would damage Israel’s international standing, increase its delegitimization and encourage various groups across the world to compare price tag attacks to rocket fire or Hamas suicide attacks … Prime Minister Netanyahu apparently did not want price tag perpetrators labeled terrorists for fear it would cause a rift with the Habayit Hayehudi party as well as Likud MKs.
Judge slams West Bank police for hitches in bringing Jewish suspects to court
Haaretz 16 June by Gili Cohen — Israel Police officers take three and a half hours to bring to court two minors arrested on suspicion of torching Palestinian property; judge calls hold up ‘far from unusual.’ — The Israel Police district responsible for law enforcement in the West Bank has come under fire when a Jerusalem judge said “hitches” are common in bringing Jewish suspects before the court. Judge Yaron Mientkavich’s criticism of the Shai District during a hearing for a vandalism case involving two minors who allegedly torched Palestinian property was an unusual move for the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court … The minors were due to be brought before a judge mid-day Wednesday, but when the hearing eventually began at 3:15 P.M. it became apparent that the prisoners had not yet arrived at the courthouse. Only after several frantic telephone calls was the pair brought from the Shai District headquarters
Jewish settlers storm Aqsa mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 16 June — Jewish settlers including journalists from various media outlets broke into the holy Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning and strolled inside its plazas. Eyewitnesses said that around 70 settlers provocatively roamed various plazas inside the holy site amidst tight security measures. They said that the settlers were taking shots of various areas even the places where children memorize the holy Qur’an.
PA official: Settlers burn 300 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 June — A group of settlers set fire to over 300 olive trees on Saturday in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities, told Ma’an that settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad set fire to olive trees in the Nablus village of Imatin. The blaze destroyed over 300 trees and the settlers threw stones at Palestinian villagers who were attempting to put out the fire, Daghlas said. Israeli forces arrived at the scene and prevented firefighters from accessing the fire due to the clashes, the PA official added.
Nablus governor Jibrin al-Bakri said Sunday that settlers have destroyed over 2,500 Palestinian olive trees in the Nablus area since the beginning of June. Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy, according to a report by the PA Ministry of National Economy and the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem.
Jewish settlers uproot Palestinian olive trees
NABLUS (PIC) 16 June — Jewish settlers chopped down olive trees and tore down a small warehouse in Qasra village to the south of Nablus on Saturday night. Abduladheem Wadi, the chairman of the village’s municipal council, told Quds Press on Sunday that the group of settlers came from the nearby settlement outpost Aish Kodesh. He added that they attacked one of the fields and uprooted olive trees and seedlings in addition to destroying the warehouse. Wadi pointed out that the attack was the fouthr of its kind by settlers from Aish Kodesh against that same farm owned by Ali Hassan. He charged those settlers with attempting to terrorize the farmer into abandoning his field in a bid to facilitate annexing it to their outpost.
Settlers attempt to set quarry on fire
NABLUS, June 17, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Monday attempted to set a Palestinian-owned quarry on fire in an area south of the city of Nablus, according to a local source. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement and settler activities in the northern part of the West Bank, told WAFA that settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar poured flammable material in the quarry in an attempt to burn it. He said residents were able to put out and control the fire
The missing headlines: 100-year-old general: We razed Arab villages, so what?
Israelnationalnews.com 16 June — In an interview on IDF Radio, Pundak confirmed that forces under his command razed Arab villages in 1948. “My conscience is at ease with that, because if we hadn’t done so, then there would be no state by now. There would be a million more Arabs,” he said. Brig. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Pundak is celebrating his hundredth birthday. Pundak was the commander of the 53rd Battalion of the Givati Brigade in the War of Independence and went on to supervise the establishment of the Armored Corps. He was also Ambassador in Tanzania and a founder of Arad.
IOF quell march commemorating three villages ethnically cleansed by Israel
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 June — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked on Saturday afternoon a Palestinian march advocating the return of the Palestinians to the ethnically cleansed villages of Latrun-Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba in the West Bank. The Palestinian information center (PIC) reporter said that hundreds of families rallied near Beit Lakia west of Ramallah and marched towards their villages, which were destroyed in 1967 and annexed to the Israeli occupied lands. As they reached the segregation wall that separates them from their villages, the IOF fired a hail of tear gas grenades leading to the burning of one bus and two cars parked in a nearby area as well as agricultural crops. Some of the families who were displaced from their villages still live near the segregation wall and are exposed to constant harassment by the IOF to force them to leave the area.
Hamdallah becomes first Palestinian PM to visit Al-Aqsa
AFP 16 June — New Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, in a first for a serving Palestinian premier, the official WAFA news agency reported. Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, is built on the site of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. “Jerusalem is a symbol of the Palestinian question,” Hamdallah told the agency. “Our visit today shows how important Jerusalem is to the Palestinian government.” WAFA said Hamdallah also met the mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, and visited Al-Maqased hospital in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem.
‘Keeping the population in a state of constant uncertainty’
Palestine Chronicle 15 June by Tamar Fleishman, Machsomwatch — “Ten minutes of standing in the line leading to the soldiers’ post and three more minutes of standing in the inspection zone, were enough to grasp how they implement the declared objective of ‘keeping the population in a state of constant uncertainty’ ” — The words of a high ranking Israeli officer. People were taken inside the inspection zone in groups of three. Just before me in line was an elder man who placed the few metal objects he carried in his pockets on a plastic tray that was taken away by the conveyer belt inside the metal detector. He presented his ID and passage permit to the soldiers through the bullet proof window. The soldiers, using the computer on their desk, thoroughly examined his identity; they asked over and over again that he presents the ID and ordered him to push the permit through the slot in the wall. The permit passed over to the other side, and as the soldiers took it into their hands it was confiscated. The man froze with a terrified look on his face. “Why?” I asked. “Because,” replied the soldier. “That’s not an answer,” I insisted. “It’s classified,” replied the soldier. I insisted. He explained that these orders came from above. The Palestinian man, whose gaze wandered off from the soldiers over to us, the two Israeli women he had never met and most probably would never meet again, sensed a tone of solidarity as though he expected that his salvation would come from us. And like a person who had his entire world collapse, asked: “What will I do now?”- “Hurry to the DCL, they still haven’t closed,” replied the soldiers. Lost and confused he rushed to make his way through the crowd that massed on the turnstiles outside. His belongings that were earlier placed on the plastic tray: a phone, a key set and some coins, were forgotten.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Arrests
Man assaults 2 Palestinian women in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — Two Palestinian women are pressing charges against an Israeli man after being assaulted in Jerusalem on Friday. Layali al-Sayyad, 23, and Anwar Abu Rmooz, 21, told Ma‘an that they were attacked by an Israeli man in his twenties while buying a ticket for the Jerusalem Light Rail near the central bus station in West Jerusalem. The man reportedly asked the women in both Arabic and Hebrew whether he could help them, before swearing at them and punching al-Sayyad in the face, causing her to pass out. The man then attacked Abu Rmooz and assaulted a member of the light rail security staff before Israeli police arrived at the scene and arrested him, al-Sayyad said. Both women, who are from the al-Tur neighborhood, suffered a broken nose and bruising to their eyes and face.
‘3 settlers assault Palestinian woman in Jerusalem’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 June — A 75-year-old Palestinian woman has filed a complaint with Israeli police after being assaulted by three Israelis as she waited for a bus in West Jerusalem on Sunday, her son told Ma‘an. Fathiyeh Ajaj was waiting for a bus in Deir Yassin, now known as Givat Shaul, after a hospital appointment when she was pushed to the floor by three Israelis, who the son described as settlers. They tried to remove her hijab, the Muslim headscarf and tore her clothes, the son said. “My mother fainted and the bus driver saw her, rushing to rescue her,” he told Ma‘an. Ajaj filed the complaint at the Jabal Mukabir police station, he added, describing his mother’s attackers as settlers.
Elderly man kidnapped near Hebron
IMEMC 17 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped an elderly Palestinian man, after a group of extremist Israeli settlers attacked shepherds in a Palestinian village, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources have reported that a number of settlers of Karmiel settlement, assaulted several Palestinian shepherds from Um Al-Kheir village, before the army invaded it. The sources added that an elderly man, identified a Suleiman Eid Al-Hathaleen, 75, was kidnapped by the invading soldiers. Furthermore, a number of settlers attacked dozens of local shepherds, and prevented them from entering grazing lands that belong to the village.
Palestinian injured in Nablus
IMEMC 15 June — A Palestinian man was injured on Friday [June 14] in Jama‘in town, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after being attacked by several Israeli soldiers during clashes that took place between local residents and extremist Israeli settlers. Eyewitnesses have reported that dozens of settlers gathered at a Palestinian land near the village, before several villagers tried to remove them. Dozens of soldiers arrived at the scene and tried to push the residents away, while some soldiers attacked resident Ghassan Baker, and struck him with their rifle-butts. He suffered various cuts and bruises, and was moved to a local hospital suffering moderate injuries.
Despite IDF denials, evidence shows dogs still being used to attack Palestinian suspects
Haaretz 14 June by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Mohammed Amla, 29, was savagely attacked by an IDF dog as he tried to sneak across the border to his place of work in Tel Aviv — “They call me a Tel Avivian,” he tells us with a nice smile, which gives way to groans of pain. The back and neck of Mohammed Amla — a young man of 29 with two daughters — are scarred along their entire length from the grip of an Israel Defense Forces dog. Soldiers set the dog on him recently as he was trying to sneak across the border, as usual, to his place of work and hideout apartment in Tel Aviv. For the past 12 years, Amla has been working in the center of the country as a handyman, and he has been arrested several times for his efforts. In recent years, he managed to obtain a work permit, but after his deaf daughter required a costly ear operation, he couldn’t afford to pay the money to ensure that his contractor would extend the permit … “After the soldiers detached the dog from me, they bound my hands behind me with handcuffs, very hard. One soldier put his leg on my back while I was still lying on the ground and another soldier kicked me in the ribs. My face was on the ground and they were kicking me. They put a rag on our eyes and took us to their jeep. They took us to their base in Tarqumiya…” The wounds have yet to heal. Amla is walking around bent over; one shoulder is sloping. At night he can’t find a comfortable position … He says he won’t try to get to his place of work again in the near future. He is still unable to do physical work, and above all he is very frightened.
The underlying burden of Israeli soldiers and their dogs
PRAGUE (Haaretz) 16 June by Gideon Levy — What do dogs remind you of? And what do German shepherds remind you of? And what about armed soldiers who sic German shepherds on people trying to sneak through a border in order to earn a living? These lines are being written in a hotel room in the capital of the Czech Republic, a country that knows a thing or two about occupation, oppression and struggles for liberation. In this city’s Museum of Communism, which is next door to a casino, one can view a photograph of East German soldiers siccing German shepherds on people trying to sneak into West Germany. The Nazi soldiers were replaced by Communist soldiers; the dogs remained … One cannot ignore the historical connotations; one cannot remain oblivious to the unavoidable associations. Bullets are more deadly but less cruel than setting dogs on human beings. The very thought of Israeli soldiers doing this should have aroused more than a flicker of shock and shame. But it did not, not even when the connotation shrieks to the heavens.
Interview with two Palestinian medics: ‘They don’t care if we are medics, they target everything’
Nabi Saleh (ISM) 16 June by Ramallah Team — M. and A. are two independent paramedics who regularly attend different protests against Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Israeli forces usually respond to Palestinian popular resistance with extreme violence, including the shooting of tear gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Considering that injuries are very common and that the nearest hospital is usually far from the village where the protests are taking place, the presence of medical personnel in these demonstrations is essential and highly appreciated by protesters. Last Friday, we had the opportunity to talk to M. and A. during the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh, which they regularly attend … ISM: Nabi Saleh demonstration, for example, receives a lot of press coverage. What lesser known demonstrations do you cover and how are these different? M: Sometimes there are protests at Ofer during the night and no one knows anything about this. This is one of the unknown protests. Also at Qalandiya, there is no press, there are often no medics, only a few people there. I go sometimes to these clashes. A. is always there. A: Yes, I’m always there, at Ofer, Qalandiya. But no one knows about it. All the media is in Ni‘lin, Bil‘in, Nabi Saleh – the villages outside Ramallah. Those other places, nobody know about them, especially the media. However, I think the places where there is no media can be good for shabab (Palestinian youths) as they can do whatever they want for the resistance. M: But it is also good for the soldiers, they can also do whatever they want and no one will film them…
Israeli army: No West Bank tunnels uncovered
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — The Israeli army dismissed a newspaper report Friday claiming its soldiers uncovered two tunnels underneath the separation wall used by Palestinians to infiltrate Israel. Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported that two tunnels were found under the wall near al-Tayba village in the northern West Bank. Soldiers found two Palestinians trying to enter Israel, the report said. But Israel’s army called the story “inaccurate and misleading” and said the supposed tunnels actually belonged to water infrastructure, and the incidents described by the newspaper were over a year old.
For Urif the price can never be high enough
Urif, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 15 June by Nablus Team — On Tuesday, 11th June, Israeli forces invaded the village of Urif and arrested nine youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty-seven. This incident is believed by the villagers to be related to the ‘price-tag’ settler attacks that the village suffered on 30th April. At around 1am, forty foot soldiers and four jeeps coming from the nearby Yizhar settlement raided Urif and arrested the nine youths. Without giving any information, the soldiers left in the early hours of the morning, leaving the village at roughly 4am … The incident, as mentioned earlier, is directly linked to the confrontations that erupted between Palestinian youths and settlers and Israeli armed forces after settlers from Yizhar settlement attacked the villages of Urif, Burin and Asira. These ‘price-tag’ attacks on Palestinian villagers were followed by the killing of a settler by a Palestinian at the Za‘tara checkpoint on April 30th … Settlers from Yizhar, including the head rabbi, have distributed Islamophobic literature, describing Palestinians as a “cancer that needs to be cleansed from the land of Israel” and created pamphlets expressing support for Israeli mass murderers, most notably Baruch Goldstein, who carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre. These settlers are also known for being the ideologists of the ‘price-tag’ practice, where any kind of action taken against settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli government is met with harsh, violent and aggressive attacks on Palestinian communities.
Seven Palestinians kidnapped by the army in West Bank
IMEMC 14 June — Israeli soldiers invaded on Friday at dawn [June 14 2013] various districts in the occupied West Bank, searched homes and kidnapped seven Palestinians in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin. Local sources in Beit Ummar, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, broke into and searched a number of homes and kidnapped one resident, identified as Raed Ahmad ‘Aady, 40. Soldiers also invaded the town of Doura, south of Hebron, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Mustafa Amro, in his sixties. Several Israeli military jeeps also invaded Marah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped one resident identified as Ismael Mousa Ash-Sheikh, 23. The soldiers also violently searched his home. Local sources in Awarta village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, have reported that the army kidnapped three Palestinians identified as Mohammad Fawwaz Awwad, Waleed Lu’ay Qawareeq, and Mohammad Waleed Qawareeq. Furthermore, dozens of soldiers invaded Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped one resident identified as Bilal Mustafa Kamil, 24, after breaking into his home and violently searched it. Soldiers also detained a young man, identified as Imad Ed-Deen Kamil, and interrogated him for several hours before releasing him later on.
Settler tour, settler harassment in occupied Khalil
Hebron (ISM) 16 June by Khalil Team — On Saturday, June 15, Israeli settlers and occupation soldiers spread through the old city of Hebron as part of a very provocative weekly tour that disrupts the daily lives of Palestinians living in the area. This week, soldiers also invaded the homes of several Palestinian families and climbed onto the roofs without the families’ consent. As it turns out, the settlers were not just innocent tourists, but bullies as well. As they were walking along Shuhadah Street, they threw a huge quantity of water at the window of a nearby Palestinian home, and it spilled through the window, down the outer wall and all over the steps. The soldiers then accused the Palestinians nearby of throwing the water and questioned the homeowner next door, as if they would throw water into their own houses, and as if soldiers of the illegal occupation had jurisdiction in such a case. The family whose house the water was thrown at has suffered many incidents of settler harassment and military intrusions of late.
Conversely, as the soldiers left one of the houses they’d invaded, the Palestinian owner said “Shabbat shalom” (Hebrew for “Good Sabbath”) to them, demonstrating the Palestinian spirit of resilience, steadfastness and hospitality even in the face of military oppression and occupation.
IOF blast commercial store during wide campaign in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Sunday detonated a commercial store in Wadi Abu Katila area in Al-Khalil city, detained its owner and occupied the roofs of some houses belonging to Annajjar family. Eyewitnesses told the Palestinian information center that a large number of Israeli soldiers raided Wadi Abu Katila area and blew up a commercial store near Omar Bin Abdul Aziz Mosque. The IOF also stormed the house of the store owner, Rami Haimoni, and destroyed all its furniture before they kidnapped him and took him to an unknown place.
In Al-‘Arroub refugee camp, a young man named Khaled Al-Jendi suffered wounds when Israeli soldiers physically assaulted him during a raid on the camp.
They also severely beat a workmen named Mohamed Ruzaikat, from Taffoh town in Al-Khalil, after they prevented him from going to his workplace in the 1948 occupied lands.
In separate incidents, the IOF stormed on the same day different neighborhoods in the towns of Dura and Idna, intercepted cars for search and raided some homes.
They also kidnapped a Palestinian citizen named Abdul-Moez Jarewi during a campaign in Al-Fahes area, southeast of Al-Khalil.
In Bethlehem, the IOF invaded Beit Jala town and Abu Najim village and handed two young men summonses for interrogation from the Israeli intelligence.
Forensics confirm man died of heart attack outside PA security HQ
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 June — A preliminary forensics report confirmed Sunday that the cause of death of a Palestinian man who died in front of the Palestinian Authority intelligence services headquarters in Nablus a day earlier was a heart attack, the city’s governor told Ma‘an. Sadi al-Sakhel, 62, suffered a heart attack in front of PA intelligence headquarters in Nablus after going there to look for his son Musab, who had been detained by PA forces. Governor Jibril al-Bakri said al-Sakhel suffered from cirrhosis and died Saturday of two consecutive heart attacks, according to the forensics report. Al-Bakri said the report revealed no signs of torture or ill treatment. An investigation committee is still collecting information to confirm the cause of death, he added.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession in Nablus after midday prayer. Musab al-Sakhel was arrested while working at a supermarket. PA security officials said he is affiliated with Hamas. He was released following his father’s death.
Hamas mourns death of Haj Sakhel, demands retribution
NABLUS (PIC) 16 June — The Hamas Movement mourned the death of Haj Saadi Al-Sakhel, who died yesterday in Juneid jail, and called for bringing the killers to justice. In a press release, Hamas said that what happened to Haj Sakhel was a crime and its perpetrators must be held legally accountable. It added that this crime reflected the size of violations which the Palestinian citizens are exposed to by the Palestinian authority security apparatuses in the West Bank. Hamas hailed Haj Saadi Al-Sakhel as a father of a Palestinian family known for its heroism and sacrifices and said his family has endured a lot of suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation and the PA security apparatuses. Haj Sakhel died on Saturday afternoon in the PA intelligence headquarters in Nablus city a few hours after his arrest from his workplace along with his son. In the detention center, PA security officers reportedly attacked the elderly man which resulted in his death.
MP Halayka: The PA flouts the reconciliation agreements
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 15 June — Palestinian lawmaker Samira Al-Halayka said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) ignores the reconciliation agreements and the recommendations of the national freedoms committee through the persistent arrests and summonses its security forces carry out every day against its political rivals. Halayka stated on Saturday that what happens on the ground is quite contrary to what has been agreed upon during the latest meetings between Hamas and Fatah factions.
Detainees / Hunger strikers
Four administrative prisoners suspend their hunger strike after Israel pledges
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 15 June — Four Palestinian prisoners suspended their hunger strike after reaching an agreement with Israeli jailers to end their administrative detention, according to their families. The prisoners are Anas Jawdalla, Muayad Sharab, Basel Dweikat and Samir Bahis. Their hunger strike lasted for three days before they decided to suspend it. The families told Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies that the Israeli prison authority pledged not to extend their administrative detention if they ended their hunger strike. For his part, director of the center Fouad Al-Khafsh said the four prisoners have fears that the prison authority may not fulfil its promises, especially since it had already deceived them with regard to the terms they had to spend in jail.
Gaza residents to visit relatives in Nafha Prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Gaza residents left the coastal enclave on Monday to visit relatives held in the Nafha Prison, the International Committee for the Red Cross announced. Ninety-five relatives, including 20 children, left via the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, said Nasser al-Najjar, an ICRC media official. Israel recently reactivated the Gaza family visit program, after suspending it since 2007.
Palestinian prisoner deprived of family visits for 12 years
JENIN (PIC) 16 June — The family of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Fuqaha appealed to the Red Cross to pressure the Israeli prison service into allowing them to visit him. Ghufran Fuqaha, his sister, told the Palestinian prisoner’s society on Sunday that she was the only one of their family to live in Palestine and the rest live outside. She added that she and her family members were not allowed to visit him since his detention in 2001. She pointed out that her brother was transferred from one prison to another over the past 12 years and no visits were allowed all that period. Around one third of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are deprived of family visits due to various security pretexts imposed by the Israeli intelligence.
Israel bars children over eight from visiting fathers in prison
GAZA CITY (EI) 10 June by Joe Catron — On 20 May, Obeida Shamali visited his father, Ahmad Abd Alraheem Shamali, in Israel’s Nafha prison. It was the first time they had seen each other since Israeli forces captured Ahmad in August 2008. “I was very happy,” the seven-year-old said. He was sitting under a picture of his father in his family’s house in Gaza City’s al-Shajaiyeh neighborhood. “Before it, I imagined how his face would look when I met him, because I hadn’t seen him for such a long time.” … A recent report on the policy by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem described the current visitation regime. “Visits are permitted very infrequently, only once a week on Mondays, and then only at one prison facility at a time: Nafha, Ramon and Eshel (Dekel),” according to the group. “As a result, each eligible inmate receives a visit once every three or four months. In contrast, inmates from Israel or from the West Bank who are held on criminal or security grounds may receive visits once every two weeks” (“Israel prohibits Gazan children from visiting imprisoned fathers,” 23 May 2013) … But the visit might have been Obeida’s last. Israel’s new policy still bars Gaza Strip children aged eight or older from visiting their detained parents. And Obeida’s eighth birthday — on 10 July — will almost certainly come before his family’s next visit. “These policies show that the main aim of the Israeli prison system is to destroy the well-being of prisoners,” Rifat Kassis, the director of Defence for Children International — Palestine Section, said.
Halahle did not receive any medical treatment for his serious disease
NABLUS (PIC) 16 June — Family of detainee Thaer Halahle appealed to all human rights organizations to intervene and save the life of their seriously ill son. The family told Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights on Sunday that Halahle, from Al-Khalil, recently discovered that he was suffering from liver disease but was not given any treatment in Israeli captivity. Fuad Al-Khuffash, the director of the Ahrar center, said that Halahle, 34, was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces in Ramallah only a few months after his release from administrative detention. He said that his disease was the result of dental treatment while in jail where the dentist in Askalan jail used contaminated tools in his treatment.
Palestinian farmer injured by Israeli army fire
Gaza (ISM) 17 June by Rosa Schiano — Friday afternoon, June 14, 2013, Muhareb Abu Omar, a Palestinian farmer aged 48, was wounded by Israeli army fire in the Deir El Balah, in the center of the Gaza Strip. Omar was irrigating his land in the village of Wadi As-Salqa, 600 meters from the barrier that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. Omar reported that Israeli jeeps moved along the border while he was working. Suddenly, after about 10 minutes into the job, at approximately 19:30, a bullet struck him in the right leg. The soldiers probably shot from a jeep Hummer. Omar was alone on his land while other farmers were working in adjacent lands. “I didn’t hear any firing, the soldiers used silent bullets. Suddenly I found myself wounded. I ran for 50 yards, then I crashed and I cried to my cousins that I was wounded,” said Omar. His cousins transported him to Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital. Omar’s family is composed of 14 members: Omar, his wife, 8 sons and 4 daughters. Five of his sons work with him on the family land. The whole family depends on the production on this land. Two of his sons, Nedal and Tareq, reported that Omar was reported to have an intermediate wound in the right tibia. Dr. Saleman Al Attar, Department of Orthopaedics of Aqsa Martyrs hospital, reported that the general conditions of Omar are good. “The wound shot from a firearm always creates complications. The bullet hit the right thigh and there is the presence of fragments,” said Dr. Al Attar…
Video: Farming in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Gaza (ISM, Gal·la) 14 June — Saber Al-Zaneen, coordinator of farmers in Beit Hanoun (north Gaza Strip), explains how difficult it is for farmers to work in that area, the disproportional violence they have to face daily and the danger they are exposed to with no reason. [farmers are harvesting melons]
PCHR: 30 Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen in 3 months
[with map of fishing zones] GAZA (PIC) 15 June – Nearly 30 Israeli violations were carried out by the Israeli naval forces against Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza sea within 3 months, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported. The PCHR report has documented the Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory carried out between March 1st, 2013 and May 31st, 2013. The report documented 29 shooting incidents, which resulted in one injury, two incidents of chasing fishermen leading to two arrests, and the confiscation of one boat and fishing tools … 85 percent of the Israeli attacks were reported in areas that fishermen have been allowed to access, the report said … “Israel’s acts constitute a flagrant violation of the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) since it systematically prevents the fishermen’s community from their most basic rights, particularly that they are mere civilians who do not pose the least threat to Israeli naval forces,” Khalil Shahin, Director of PCHR’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Unit, said. It is worth mentioning that there are more than 70,000 people in Gaza who are dependent on fishing as the main source of income.
Two fishermen arrested by Israeli navy and their boat confiscated
Gaza (ISM) 17 June by Rosa Schiano — …Hassan Ali Murad told us that an Israeli military navy ship began to attack by shooting at the boat at 2:00 in the morning. “With us there were another 6-7 Hasakas, we were fishing in a group. When the soldiers started shooting all the fishermen escaped, but the engine of our boat was dead and we were not able to escape. We tried to turn on the generator but we did not succeed.” The fishermen were about 6 miles from the coast. We shouted to the soldiers, “Go away, we’re less than 6 miles! But the soldiers continued to shoot,” added Hassan … A zodiac boat with a crew of 6 Israeli soldiers approached them. The soldiers ordered the two fishermen to undress, dive into the water and swim to the Israeli navy boat. “The soldiers shot at us while we were swimming,” said Hassan. On board the boat the two fishermen were blindfolded and handcuffed. The soldiers then confiscated the boat of fishermen and all the equipment … For a total of $10,000, that fishermen will still continue to pay because they are already indebted to deal with these expenses. “We were held for about 30 minutes on the Israeli gunship, in the cold, while the soldiers carried on driving the navy boat away. We were lying on the ground and they hit us with their feet behind our heads, then we were hooded. I could not breathe, after half an hour I was dying for the lack of air,” said Hassan. The fishermen were transported to the port of Ashdod in Israel, given a shirt and a pair of trousers and remained handcuffed and blindfolded until 12.00 the next day. Hassan also told us that the soldiers laughed at them and beat them.
4 detained near Gaza border by Israeli forces
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israeli forces detained four Palestinians late Sunday night after they tried to enter Israel. The four were detained near Kissufim, an Israeli community in the Negev located near the border, east of Khan Younis in Gaza, a source told Ma‘an. Three of those detained are from the Abu Muhareb family and the fourth is from the Abu Sawawin family, the source said. All were taken to an unknown location, the source added. A number of Palestinians have recently attempted to breach the border looking for work in Israel, the source said.
Source: Hamas’ Mashaal in Cairo for emergency meeting
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 15 June – Hamas’ chief in exile Khalid Mashaal landed in Cairo after midnight Friday for emergency talks with the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt Muhammad Badie. A senior Egyptian security source told Ma‘an that a Hamas delegation from the Gaza Strip headed by Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo as well. The source explained that the sudden visit by Hamas’ leaders indicates they have something serious to discuss with the Egyptian regime not pertaining to Palestinian reconciliation. The source highlighted that some Hamas officials “who were banned from entering Egypt” accompanied Mashal as he passed through a hall in the airport designated for VIP visitors.
Egyptian forces ‘ready to defend Hamas’
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 17 June — Egyptian security has asked Hamas leaders to change the hotel its delegation is staying in after receiving intelligence that protests will be held outside, sources told Ma‘an. Hamas’ chief in exile Khaled Mashaal and Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh, along with a delegation of 24 party officials, were told that demonstrators would be rallying outside the Intercontinental Hotel to protest the Islamist movement’s “intervention in internal Egyptian affairs,” the sources said. Egyptian security had been asked by protestors to “send Hamas leaders out of Egypt,” responding that they were prepared to defend the delegation, the sources added … The movement has come under sharp criticism in recent weeks after former Egyptian Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy said Hamas took part in prison riots during Egypt’s revolution. On Tuesday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied the accusation saying his movement had never interfered in Egypt’s security but that it maintained constant contact with Egyptian intelligence services.
Minister Burt visits Gaza: ‘Palestinian state without Gaza is inconceivable’
PNN 14 June — UK Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, travelled to the Gaza Strip on Thursday 13th June, to complete his trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a press release. Minister Burt first visited an agricultural area north of Beit Lahia to see for himself the impact of movement and access restrictions on the livelihoods of Gazan farmers living in the buffer zone adjacent to the border with Israel … Minister Burt also met Palestinian businessmen, with whom he discussed the political and economic climate in Gaza, including the impact of the ongoing divide between the West Bank and Gaza and the severe impact of movement and access restrictions on the Gazan economy. Before departing Gaza, Minister Burt hosted an event for young Gazan graduates of the UK Government’s Chevening Scholarship scheme which has enabled students from the Gaza Strip to complete their higher education in British universities.
Gaza man seriously injured in self-immolation attempt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 June — Two brothers on Friday sustained injuries in the Gaza Strip after a self-immolation attempt to protest the destruction of a family-owned factory. Ibrahim al-Tartouri poured gasoline over his body and set himself ablaze, while his brother, Mohamed, was injured trying to help him. “Family members helped put the fire out,” their father told Ma‘an. “Ibrahim was seriously injured, and Mohamed suffered moderate injuries.” He said his son was protesting the government’s decision to demolish a building and build a mosque in its place. The land on which the factory is built belongs to the government, but it has been rented by the family in an open-ended contract for decades, he added. “A bulldozer razed the factory west of Khan Younis,” brother Sameh al-Tartouri said. “We reached an agreement to get half of the land, but they destroyed the whole factory.”
Supreme Court in Gaza obligates the Ministry of Interior to explain reasons for compelling PCHR’s staff to obtain permits before passing through Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing
PCHR 16 June – On Sunday morning, 16 June 2013, Gaza Supreme Court held its 3rd session to consider the complaint submitted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) against the Interior Ministry to disclose the reasons for preventing PCHR’s staff from traveling to the West Bank via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. The Court decided to adjourn consideration of the complaint to Sunday, 23 June 2013, and obliged the defendant – the Ministry of Interior – to present a detailed rejoinder explaining the reasons for compelling the plaintiffs to obtain permits from the Ministry of Interior before passing through Beit Hanoun crossing.
Palestinian refugees outside Palestine
Palestinian elders keep heritage alive with traditional weddings
DIBBYEH, LEBANON (VOA) 12 June — In Palestinian refugee camps across Lebanon, an organization called the Social Support Society tries to provide elderly Palestinians with places to socialize and activities like arts and crafts and field trips. The society also hosts weddings for young Palestinian couples, giving the elderly a chance to celebrate and pass on some of the traditions of their homeland. At a Palestinian wedding in Dibbyeh, Lebanon, many traditional customs are practiced, including the Debke – a dance performed throughout the region. The Palestinian version dates back hundreds of years. The attire, food and music are also traditional. While many young Palestinian couples opt for modern weddings, having a traditional wedding honors their ancestors and keeps the Palestinian heritage alive, says 62-year-old Shafika Shalaan, originally from Aqqa, now the city of Acre in Israel.
Political, other news
Protest in Nablus against high cost of living
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 June – For the first time since the new government was sworn in, Palestinian protestors took to the streets Saturday in Nablus in the northern West Bank urging the government to bring an end the skyrocketing costs of living. The protesters waved banners asking the Palestinian government to reduce the Value Added Tax, to improve prices and to subsidize basic goods.
Hamdallah: Jerusalem a top priority for new PA cabinet
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — Jerusalem and its holy sites are a top priority for the Palestinian Authority cabinet, newly appointed Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday while visiting the city. Hamdallah told Ma‘an that the PA is going to implement a number of projects in Jerusalem to support Palestinians, without providing further details. The newly-appointed prime minister visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, and was accompanied by the governor of Jerusalem, Adnan al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, PA health minister Jawad Awwad and several other officials. Hamdallah said the PA is trying to build support for Jerusalem in Arab and international conventions, and was briefed about Israeli violations around the Al-Aqsa compound … Eight out of 10 Palestinians in East Jerusalem live below the poverty line, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said in May, calling it the “worst rate of all time.”
Israeli, Palestinian finance ministers meet
Ynet 17 June by Attila Somfalvi — In their first meeting, Israeli and Palestinian finance ministers have agreed on a series of economic cooperation projects. Sunday’s meeting between Israel’s Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and the Palestinians’ Shukri Bashara marked the first high-profile meeting between officials since the new Israeli government took office in March … Lapid’s office said that during the meeting the two decided on a timetable to renew economic ties between Israel and the Palestinians – ties that have been frozen for the last six-months. According to both Israeli and Palestinian officials, the initial aim of the talks was to relaunch regular meetings on technical issues such as crossing points; fuel, power and water supplies to the Palestinians; and payment for treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals.
‘Sweden considers reducing aid to Palestinians’
JPost 14 June — The Swedish government may cut back on financial assistance to the Palestinians following their failure to move forward with peace negotiations with Israel, Swedish news site The Local reported. The report quoted Development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson as asking: “Is it worth continuing developing the prerequisites for a two-state solution if Israel and the Palestinians themselves do not want to sit down at the negotiating table?” Sweden donates $107 million annually to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, a move that Carlsson says has been made to fortify the Palestinian’s position in any peace talks … Sweden’s left leaning parties slammed the aid cut-back proposal.
Abbas meets Palestinian climber who raised flag on Everest
IMEMC 14 June — Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met on Thursday [June 13 2013] the Palestinian climber who managed to reach the summit of the Everest, and raised the Palestinian flag. Abbas met Raed Zidan, 35, in Amman, Jordan, congratulated him for this achievement and stated that this is a source of pride to all Palestinians. The Palestinian-American reached the summit in May, and stated that his climb is dedicated to the Palestinian people struggling against the Israeli occupation of their land, especially Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel. He climbed the Everest along with 35 internationals and 29 Nepalese guides; they said that they wanted to reach the summit to raise a million dollars for promoting education in Nepal. They call themselves “Arabs With Altitude,” they were also joined by Raha Mubarak, 25, a Saudi woman living in Dubai, who became the first Saudi woman to reach the highest peak in the world. Zeidan lives in Dubai and in Indianapolis in the United States. He climbed the world’s highest summits and raised the Palestinian flags on them. He is married, a father of three children [Lydia, Lilian and Khaled].
Foreigners without a legion: Golan peacekeeping force lacks any real power
Haaretz 15 June by Amir Oren — …the blue helmets in the Golan Heights aren’t really a ‘force’, not only because their name — Disengagement Observer Force — reflects a compromise between the Syrian demand in 1974 for an observer-only force, and the Israeli demand at the time for a force. Nowhere in the world is a uniformed force more helpless than the soldiers stationed with the UN delegations. They barely have the powers of municipal inspectors. They are not a foreign legion in the style of the well-known French Foreign Legion — they are a collection of units that do not constitute a legion. In two weeks’ time, on June 30, UNDOF’s mandate — which is renewed every six months by the UN Security Council – is due to expire. Its extension is conditional upon the agreement of both Israel and Syria and approval of the UNSC; that is to say, a Russian-American compromise.
Golan Heights: Picking cherries within earshot of a war zone
BBC 14 June by Bethany Bell — It is cherry season in the Golan Heights. On the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, trees are heavy with sweet red fruit, glistening among the bright green leaves. A Druze friend had invited us to come and pick some cherries in her family’s orchard near the village of Majdal Shams in the far north of the Golan. A woman stood on a stepladder, handing down bunches of fruit. Spread under the trees was a picnic rug, with a large vacuum flask of coffee. “You must try the ones from this tree,” my friend said. “They’re really good.” “How far are we from Syrian-controlled territory here?” I asked. “Not far,” she said. “It’s just there.” She pointed at a barbed wire fence a few metres away. It was hung with a sign saying, “Danger: mines”.
Analysis / Opinion
What’s between the JNF and pro-Israel graffiti in Hebron? / Shuki Sadeh
Haaretz 13 June — Photo: Artists 4 Israel work in Hebron: ‘May the Temple be built soon in our time,’ it proclaims — The Jewish National Fund’s support of Artists 4 Israel, a United States-based organization of right-wing activists, raises new questions about the JNF’s spending and conduct … What does this have to do with the JNF? Artists 4 Israel explains on its website that because donations to the organization are not tax deductible, donations should be made to the JNF offices in New York, which will transfer the funds to the organization. The JNF and Artists 4 Israel also work together in the United States to promote public diplomacy for Israel.
Sightseeing in the apartheid state: from Ben Gurion to the West Bank / Cynthia Franklin
Portside 13 June — Eyewitness to the still-unfolding history of ethnic cleansing and Occupation. Report from East Jerusalem and the West Bank. this land, together with Gaza, is referred to by the United Nations and other international bodies as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or oPt – Palestinian land under Israeli Occupation. We met with students and faculty members from five different Palestinian universities, toured towns and refugee camps in the West Bank —
In our brief time in the oPt, we did our best to grasp the byzantine structures that, despite their seeming incomprehensibility, systematically make movement impossible or extraordinarily difficult for Palestinians. We learned about Palestinian identity papers that trump US passports and make travel even within the oPt extremely limited, and about color-coded license plates that prohibit Palestinians movement through checkpoints. Mile after mile, we traversed roads running in tandem with the massive, often barb-wired, Wall that separates Palestinians from their lands, homes and family members. We also witnessed, on the Wall itself, resistance to it in the form of beautiful murals (a tractor denting but not breaking a big red heart); spray-painted words of protest (“With Love and Kisses – Nothing lasts forever,” “Stop funding this wall!”); posters of true stories (one of a man getting to work by moving through a drain pipe); all variously-expressed iterations of the reality that for Palestinians, “to exist is to resist.”
Meanwhile, our group traveled freely … At a checkpoint leaving Nablus, we witnessed a small girl lying on the ground, attended to by a group of Palestinians, some of whom rushed our bus, with its Israeli plates, and pounded on its sides, as we were stopped. As we pulled quickly out of the checkpoint, we saw a settler in a black top hat and long black coat get into his car and speed off – an all-too-real apparition, and one that returns to me when I read, as I did a few days later, accounts of settlers running down Palestinian children on the roads .