Amnesty International 4 July — Amnesty International has accused the Israeli authorities of bullying and judicial harassment of Nariman Tamimi, a Palestinian rights activist who was placed under partial house arrest today to prevent her taking part in peaceful protests while she awaits trial next week. “This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers. These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. Tamimi was arrested along with another activist Rana Hamadi on Friday 28 June, when villagers of Nabi Saleh walked towards a nearby spring in protest against the loss of their land. In 2009 Israeli settlers occupied the Al-Qaws spring near Nabi Saleh village where Tamimi lives. The illegal settlement now enjoys the protection of the military.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
EU contributes €2.4M for preservation of Palestinian heritage in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, July 3, 2013 (WAFA) – The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed on Tuesday a €2.4 million agreement with Al-Quds University aimed at the preservation of Palestinian cultural heritage in Jerusalem’s Old City, an EU press release said. The agreement was signed in the presence of Michael Köhler, director for Neighborhood at the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, and UNDP’s Special Representative Frode Mauring. The ceremony also included the signing of a cooperation agreement between UNDP and Al Quds University Center to conduct historical research and organize workshops in relation to the targeted historical sites. “The program will contribute to the development and protection of Palestinian cultural heritage in the old city of Jerusalem, in addition to the improvement of socioeconomic conditions of its citizens through quality housing and tourism services,” said the press release. The program activities will include the rehabilitation and revitalization of Hammam al-Ayn and Hammam al-Shifa, al-Madrasa al-Kilaniyya and related housing units, and the development of a business management plan and training on the maintenance and management of rehabilitated site.
50 elements of the Israeli intelligence storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 July — 50 elements of the Israeli intelligence stormed on Wednesday morning the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate, under the protection of the occupation police. Media Coordinator of the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage Mahmoud Abu Atta told Safa news agency that three groups of intelligence elements stormed in the early morning hours the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and toured and desecrated the musallas (prayer rooms). Meanwhile, 25 settlers stormed the mosque and toured its courtyards, Abu Atta added.
Israeli police raid Jerusalem office of Al-Aqsa group
JERUSALEM, July 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Around 30 members of the Israeli police raided Tuesday the East Jerusalem office of an Islamic organization that works on reviving and protecting al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, destroying furniture and seizing all its computers, memory cards and files, a statement by the group said on Wednesday. It condemned the act, which it said will not stop the organization from continuing its work in al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, located in Jerusalem’s Old City. The group has regularly accused the Israeli government of working through Jewish fanatics to take over control of the Muslim site to turn it into a Jewish place.
Settlers remove an archaeological wall in the Ibrahimi Mosque
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 3 July — Jewish settlers, on Wednesday under the protection of the Israeli army, removed a wall inside the corridors of the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil city in the southern occupied West Bank and stole its stones. Taysir Abu Sneineh, the Director General of the Ministry of Endowments in al-Khali, told Quds Press that the cleaners of the Ibrahimi Mosque found yesterday that the settlers, with the support of the Israeli occupation army, removed an ancient wall inside the mosque and took its stones to an unknown destination Abu Sneineh considered that this act represents a blatant assault on the Ibrahimi Mosque and aims to change the mosque’s features and Judaize it, under the protection and support of the Israeli government.
Twilight Zone — A day in Jinba, the tiny Palestinian village about to become a huge IDF training zone
Haaretz 5 July by Alex Levac & Gideon Levy — Everything seems to be forbidden here; only the water tower of Avigail, the vineyards of Sussia, the cowsheds of the Maon Farm and the home of Mitzpe Yair are apparently permitted — Two upside-down concrete blocks on the side of the rocky road that descends to the beautiful wadi constitute the landmark. This is where the Israel Defense Forces’ Firing Zone 918 begins, but all it says on the blocks at this particular place is: “Sick of the occupation.” At the end of the slope, in the heart of the valley, lies the tiny and beautiful village of Jinba. It looks like something out of the Bible: a collection of several tents, huts, sheep pens and caves that are cut off from the electrical grid and water system, cut off from the 21st century, cut off from any semblance of justice or equality. It is a place whose residents have been suffering for decades under the yoke of the occupation. All around is a green sea of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ settlements. The High Court of Justice of the occupying state will decide on July 15th whether these people who are stubbornly attached to the land − the approximately 250 inhabitants of Jinba − will be allowed to remain in their village … Everything is heartbreaking here: the ancient stone fences, the donkeys braying in the desert heat, the sheep and goats huddling in the pen to find a spot of shade, the tiny school built with donations from an Islamic organization in the United States, the dark caves where villagers live, and the white tent of the clinic set up about two weeks ago, thanks to contributions from an Italian charity and the Italian Foreign Ministry.
Settlers and Palestinians alike spew sewage in fragile West Bank
Forward 4 July by Nathan Jeffay — It is a different type of Green Line. On a West Bank hill just six miles south of Jerusalem, a row of olive trees looks far greener than anything else in the landscape. This is not thanks to a clever form of growing technology, but because for hours or days each month the trees have been awash in raw sewage. The fastest growing of all the settlements, Beitar Illit, has expanded quicker than its sewage infrastructure, meaning that the pumping system that carries away its wastewater tends to become overwhelmed every few weeks. At that point, the system releases sewage onto the hillside for several hours — the natural outcome of the settlement’s natural growth. The land below the super-green olive trees, part of the Palestinian village of Nahhalin, has been abandoned for much of the past half-decade since the sewage spills became frequent. “Here, it was always planted with vegetables and also used for recreation,” local taxi driver Ahmas Chakarneh recalled. “People brought umbrellas and sat here.” This hill and valley aren’t one-offs in the West Bank. As Israel and the Palestinians profess their deep love and historic connection to this land, and as they compete for control, both are using it as disposal ground for their liquid waste — despite the important aquifers that lie below the ground. A new report has found that some 13% of sewage from settlements flows, untreated, into the environment.
Settlers bulldoze lands in al-Khalil
WEST BANK (PIC) — …Jewish settlers bulldozed, on Friday morning, Palestinian lands in Yatta town al-Khalil southern West Bank. Rateb al Jabour, the coordinator of the “Popular Committee Against the settlement” in the town of Yatta, confirmed that settlers from Susiya settlement built on Palestinian lands have bulldozed this morning land owned by Halees family in Yatta. Around 200 settlers stormed Carmel town [the Palestinian village al-Karmil south of Hebron?] chanting Talmudic hymns under the protection of 50 Israeli soldiers who restricted Palestinian citizens’ movement, Jabour added.
Palestinian passports rejected by citizens
The Media Line 5 July — New Palestinian state status yet to translate into fewer limitations on Palestinian movement — Becoming a citizen of a country ordinarily comes with a passport. Last year, the United Nations recognized “Palestine” as a non-member state, but many of its citizens say it doesn’t make traveling easier. The Palestinian passport, which was issued in 1995 and was based on the Oslo Accords reached between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, is essentially a travel document and does not stipulate that its owner is a citizen of Palestine. The document’s cover reads “the Palestinian Authority,” not “Palestine.” The PA passport is available to any individual who can present a birth certificate showing he/she was born in Palestine; he/she must also hold a current Palestinian identity card. All Palestinians residing in the areas under PA rule are entitled to a Palestinian Authority passport. However, those Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967, can only hold a laissez-passer, the travel document issued to them by Israel. If they wish to travel to Arab countries that don’t recognize Israel, they usually apply for a temporary Jordanian passport. Some Palestinians simply use a Jordanian passport for all of their travel.
Israel to open Hebron road after 12-year closure
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 July — Israel on Wednesday said it would reopen the Sadit al-Harayiq road in the southern West Bank district of Hebron after a 12-year closure, a Palestinian Authority liaison official said. Imad al-Natsheh said Israel would reopen the road on the first day of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting, which is due to begin on 9 July. The road, which is located near the Beit Hagai settlement, links Hebron City and the villages of al-Samu‘, al-Dhahiriya, and Dura. The PA official said they had repeatedly asked Israel to open the road and al-Shuhada Street in Hebron’s Old City — a segregated street that Palestinians are not allowed access to, in favor of Israeli settlers in the area. Al-Natsheh said the PA liaison office had also urged Israeli authorities to allow commercial stores in the Old City to reopen, which have all been forced to close in the wake of the Old City’s segregation.
There remain several Palestinian areas in the Hebron district still under closure, including the entrances to the Qalqas and Qadi al-Gharous villages, al-Natsheh said, calling for their reopening.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Civil Administration allowed a Palestinian to continue building his home in the Rass neighborhood near the Kiryat Arba settlement in the Hebron district, he said. Bassam al-Jabari’s construction was stopped by Israeli authorities due to its proximity to the religious Zionist settlement, which was Israel’s first illegal settlement in the West Bank following the 1967 war.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Fatah: Israel targeting affiliates after 2 detained in Nablus
Nablus (Ma‘an) 4 July — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from two villages in the northern West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday, during a military operation that Fatah says was aimed at its affiliates. Several homes were raided in the Talfit and Awarta villages in the presence of a large military force, a Fatah spokesman in Talfit told Ma‘an. Fatah members Abdullah Hajj Mohammad, 28, and Murad Khalid al-Qadi, 22, were detained in the operation in Talfit and Awarta respectively. The spokesman said the army was searching for weapons and said Israeli forces had “threatened to burn down the village” if the arms were not handed over…
The Israeli army has recently increased military operations in the northern West Bank, detaining several Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigade members in breach of an agreement signed with the PA in 2007, exempting fighters from arrest in return for renouncing violence and the giving up of arms. Fatah officials say the raids have been carried out purportedly to search for weapons that were not handed over in the deal but deny that any arms have been kept.
Settlers lead the Israeli army into a night attack in Jinba, beating children aged 4 to 16
Jinba, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 5 July by Khalil Team — On Wednesday night, the Israeli army carried out a lengthy and violent invasion of the village of Jinba, in Masafer Yatta, south of the West Bank. The army was reported to have been led by two Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Mizpe Yair. The army raided and ransacked twenty houses in Jinba, beating several young men in the process. People were woken up by stun grenades, which in one case the occupation forces threw directly into a house. Another stun grenade was thrown directly at a person, who was sleeping outdoors. The Israeli army proceeded to break doors and raid Palestinian homes. During these raids, five people were beaten by soldiers, including a 4-year-old named Ibrahim Jabarin. Ibrahim was hit by the soldiers in the face as he walked in front of them when they entered his home. The others were Thaar Khaled Jabarin, 16, Ahseen Nabil Jabarin, 12, Odi Jabarin, 21 and Sophian Raba’e, 15. Odi Jabarin was woken up by the soldiers beating him with their guns. He suffered several blows across his body, and severe injuries on his left leg … The raid was carried out over settler claim for a sheep The two settlers accompanying the soldiers in Jinba yesterday claimed that the Palestinians had stolen one of their sheep. In fact they tried, with the cover of the army, to steal away one of the rams belonging to a Palestinian farmer; however they were stopped by the villagers. The ram in question purportedly worth 1600 dollars and is used for breeding purposes. This would have been a significant loss of property for the farmer, given that people in Jinba depend on animal husbandry for survival.
Occupation arrests Palestinian lecturer Fadi Asida
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 July — Israeli forces arrested on the Karama bridge lecturer at Al-Najah University Dr. Fadi Asida, aged 33, from the town of Tel in Nablus, as he returned from Malaysia after obtaining a PhD in Arabic language. Fouad Khuffash, director of Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights, said that Dr. Fadi, who left the country in July 2009 has recently obtained the doctorate degree in Arabic language from the University of Malaysia, and that as he decided to return to serve his country he was arrested by the occupation and moved to Petah Tikva interrogation center. Khuffash stated that Israel has been imposing an intellectual siege on the Palestinians through the ongoing arrests of academics and lecturers. The occupation holds in its jails six Palestinian academics.
Israel detains 11 in overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 July — Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians overnight Tuesday, Israel’s army and locals said. Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron and arrested Muatazz Nafiz Kawamleh, 22, his brother Fayiz, 16, Musab Abdul-Basit Abu Rayya, 21, and Zakariyya Nabil al-Qeeq, 16. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that three people were arrested in al-Arrub, seven in Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah, and one person in al-Mughayyir.
Soldiers kidnap 19 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 4 July — Soldiers kidnapped Hasan Breijiyya, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall In Bethlehem. as they attacked a nonviolent protest against a visit of the Israeli Transportation Minister to the southern entrance of the town as part of plans for a settler road.
Local sources in the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, have reported that the army invaded the camp, broke into and searched several homes, causing damage, and kidnapped three residents …
Soldiers also invaded Bodrus village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped eight Palestinians …
Furthermore, several Israeli military jeeps invaded the village of Ya‘bod, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped Majdi Ghazi Harzallah, 23, Ezzeddeen Farouq Harzallah, 20, and Mohammad Tawfiq Abu Baker.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded the Al-Khader town, near Bethlehem, and kidnapped one resident identified as Yousef Aref Salah, 24. Soldiers also invaded the home of Kamel Harzallah and violently searched it. Clashes have been reported between local youths and Israeli soldiers after the army violently searched the homes of the kidnapped Palestinians. Soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades; several residents have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation.
In Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, the army kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Wael Ahmad At-Tabouq, 20, after violently breaking into a home and searching it causing property damage. The soldiers claimed to be looking for weapons; no weapons were found.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded Tal village, west of Nablus, and kidnapped one resident identified as Sameh Zeidan.
In related news, soldiers invaded Al-Yamoun town, west of Jenin and broke into the home of former political prisoner, Imad Najeeb Sammoudy, searched the property and interrogated him. [The Israeli army said 24 Palestinians were detained, according to Ma‘an]
Israeli forces detain 7 in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians in raids across the West Bank before dawn Friday, the army said. Forces detained Palestinians in Aba, Burqa, Jalazoun, Beit Awwa, Bethlehem and al-Shawawra, a military spokesman told Ma‘an. He said they were taken for security questioning. In al-Shawawra, soldiers detained Mohammad al-Matlub after ransacking his home, his brother Naem Matlub told Ma‘an.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (27 June-3 July)
PCHR 4 July – 1 Palestinian civilian was killed and 5 others were wounded during incursions in the West Bank. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the West Bank. 3 protestors were wounded during peaceful protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces conducted 65 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 2 limited ones into the Gaza Strip. 64 Palestinian civilians were arrested in the West Bank, including a Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and 6 children….
Hamas lies low on Egypt crisis
Al-Monitor 3 July by Hazem Balousha — …Hamas’s leadership and members, as well as the Palestinian public, have been keeping a close eye on the accelerating events in Egypt, as they have a great impact on the Palestinian cause. Nevertheless, the leaders of the Islamic movement and its affiliated media outlets have remained calm, waiting for the possible outcome of the Egyptian crisis. According to an informed source that spoke to Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity, Hamas has issued a clear statement to all its leadership and members not to talk about the details of what is happening in Egypt, limiting their statements to “express their sympathy and hope that Egypt might emerge peacefully from this current crisis, as the movement does not want to interfere in Arab domestic affairs, and so the Egyptian opposition does not use the movement’s stances and statements to their advantage.”
Warning of humanitarian catastrophe as Egypt tightens siege of Gaza
Electronic Intifada 5 July by Ali Abunimah — An Egyptian general has said that President Muhammad Morsi, who was overthrown by the army on Wednesday, may be charged by the military with “collaborating” with the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, urgent action is needed to avoid a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, a human rights group warned today, as the political crisis in neighboring Egypt deepens. Closing Rafah, blaming Palestinians for Egypt’s problems: Earlier today, Egyptian authorities shut down the Rafah crossing, the only route to the outside world for the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza. The closure came after reported attacks on several Egyptian army checkpoints and posts in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Egyptian authorities and media have routinely blamed such attacks on Palestinians or on Hamas, without any evidence, and Egypt has habitually imposed collective punishments by closing Rafah.
Gaza health sector hard hit by Egypt’s security clampdown
Gaza (Press TV) 4 July by Hala Alsafadi — Gaza is in the midst of a fuel shortage, with blackouts lasting up to 10 hours … As a result of the tight Egyptian restrictions along the borders with Gaza, different sectors are expecting a severe crisis, especially the health sector … According to the Ministry of Health, more than 70 ambulances will run out of fuel if the crisis continues. Hear: while hospitals are relying on generators during the electricity cuts, the amounts of fuel available are expected to be exhausted within the next few days putting lives of many patients at risk. The Ministry of Health in Gaza calls on the international organizations including the Red Cross to interfere, so that the health sector can continue to serve the 1.7 million Gazans.
Egypt unrest slows down Gaza construction
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 July — Unrest in Egypt has slowed down construction in the Gaza Strip, which relies on building materials smuggled in through cross-border tunnels, a union official said Thursday. Israel only allows construction material into Gaza through its border for internationally funded and approved projects, and this is the only building material available in Gaza since the tunnel trade slowed down, said Nabil Abu Meiliq, head of the union of Palestinian contractors. Abu Meiliq says no construction material is coming into Gaza from Egypt. Construction is down to 20 percent since tunnel traffic halted, ending a brief building boom in Gaza, Abu Meiliq told Ma‘an. Several projects funded by the Qatari government are on hold, including the Sheikh Hamad city, due to shortages of materials including cement, Abu Meiliq added.
Nilesat stops broadcasting Quds TV channel
BEIRUT (PIC) 5 July — Nilesat operators have shut down Quds TV Channel [a Hamas channel], broadcasting from Lebanon. Quds TV Channel confirmed in breaking news that it was subjected to disruption on the Nilesat, calling to follow it on Arabsat frequency 12207V. Quds TV started covering since yesterday the huge marches in support of the Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in Raba’a al Adawiya Square. Following the Egyptian Army’s statement, the Egyptian authorities have shut down several Islamist-run TV stations including one operated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Israeli military infiltrate Gaza borders
GAZA, July 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday infiltrated Gaza borders and went nearly 300 meters into the eastern part of al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza Strip, according to witnesses. They told WAFA that three Israeli tanks and two army bulldozers raided and razed tens of dunums of agricultural land while shooting in all directions.
Occupation claims one of its gunboats came under fire in Gaza waters
GAZA (PIC) 4 July — An Israeli occupation gunboat came under fire off the Gaza coast on Thursday morning according to occupation sources. The Hebrew radio stated that the Israeli gunboat was attacked off the coast of Gaza. No injuries or damage was reported. The Israeli occupation sources pointed out that the Israeli authorities opened an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
Committee acquits Hamas officers of Jihad death
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 July — An inquiry committee tasked to investigate the death of a member of Islamic Jihad during a shootout with Hamas police on Tuesday acquitted the officers of any wrongdoing. Hamas’ interior ministry commissioned the inquiry last week following the death of Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad’s militant wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, who died after being shot by Hamas police officers. The inquiry concluded that there was shooting from both police officers and Jundeyeih, and that police were firing warning shots and did not intend to kill or injure him. It is likely that Jundeyeih was killed by a stray bullet, the report said.
Hamas minister denies West Bank terror activity
Times of Israel 3 July by Elhanan Miller — Hamas’s minister of interior denied on Wednesday that his organization was planning to abduct Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, and claimed reports to that effect were merely an Israeli attempt to deter the Islamist group from executing collaborators in Gaza. Israel has accused minister Fathi Hammad of involvement in establishing Hamas cells in the West Bank, filing a complaint in late June with the Egyptian government which oversees the implementation of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas following November’s Operation Pillar of Defense. The Israeli daily Maariv reported last week that during a Shin Bet interrogation of Hamas activists in the West Bank, Hammad’s name emerged as the official who instructed them to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Israel urged to lift crippling restrictions imposed on Gaza
RTT News 3 July — A senior United Nations humanitarian official on Wednesday urged the Israeli Government to lift restrictions imposed on the free movement of people and goods in the Palestine territory of Gaza Strip. James W. Rawley, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, made the appeal as he met with Palestinian farmers and fishermen whose livelihoods have been ruined by such measures.
Gaza suicides rise as living conditions deteriorate
Al-Monitor 3 July by Rasha Abou Jalal — Since the beginning of 2013, the Gaza Strip has been witnessing a sudden rise in the rate of suicides by various means and methods including hanging, immolation and jumping from high heights — mostly as a result of the difficult living conditions … Mustafa Ibrahim, a member of the Independent Commission of Human Rights, believes that economic and social reasons drive people to end their lives, especially in light of the difficulty in finding work and the high rates of unemployment and poverty among the Palestinian community in the Gaza Strip .. He added, “As a human rights body, we usually do not document all suicide cases, since the concerned families are hesitant to talk to us.” He noted that the shame attached to Palestinian families having lost members as a result of suicide makes talking about this issue a taboo.
24 thousand newborns in Gaza during the first half of the year
GAZA (PIC) 4 July — Official sources in the Gaza Strip reported that the number of newborns for the first half of the current year amounted to more than 24,000, while the total number of deaths reached 2,051 … Over the past six months of this year, 132 new babies are born in the Strip each day, the statistics noted.
Detainees / Court actions
Deported West Bank prisoner arrives in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 July – A Palestinian prisoner from the Bethlehem area arrived Thursday in Gaza City via the Erez crossing, after agreeing to a deportation deal with Israel. Iyad Abu Fanoun, 30, from Battir village near Bethlehem, was freed in a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, but Israel detained him again afterwards. He could have faced 20 years of his original sentence in an Israeli jail, lawyers say. The Israeli military prosecution announced on June 20 plans to deport Abu Fanoun to the Gaza Strip, responding to his wishes. Lawyer Ahlam Hadad told Ma‘an that the Israeli prosecution at Ofer told her they had agreed to Iyad’s request to be deported to Gaza for 10 years.
Palestinian photographer held incommunicado by Israelis
3 July — Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohamed Al-Azza, a Palestinian photographer held incommunicado and without charge in an unknown place of detention by the Israeli authorities for the past three days. Azza, who works for Palestinian News Network and Ma‘an News, was arrested by members of the Israel Defence Forces at his home in Aida refugee camp, 2 km north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on 30 June. Family members and his lawyer said he was hit several times and sustained injuries at the time of his arrest. Azza was hospitalized after being hit in the face by a rubber-coated bullet fired by an Israeli soldier while covering an IDF incursion into his refugee camp on 8 April. According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, the IDF had been looking for him ever since his release from hospital.
Shooting the messenger: occupation filmmaker al-Azza is arrested, 3 months after being shot in head
Mondoweiss 5 July by Annie Robbins –Three months ago, Mohammad al-Azza, 23, the filmmaker and photo journalist, was shot in the face by Israel forces. Now he has been arrested during a violent raid on his home Sunday night, reportedly because he was filming Israeli actions against Palestinian children. The fearless journalist is head of the film department at Lajee Center in Aida refugee camp. In April, a rubber-coated steel bullet penetrated his cheek below the right eye and fractured his skull. You can see two of his films here, in an earlier post about Al-Azza’s talent.
Arrested at Nabi Saleh, Rana Nazzal speaks out for Palestinian political prisoners
Ramallah, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 4 July by Ramallah Team — On the 28th of June 2013 two Palestinian activists were arrested in the village of Nabi Saleh during the village’s Friday demonstration. Both are currently released on bail and have been charged with entering a close military zone. The prosecutor is asking for house arrest and they are awaiting the judge’s decision. Nariman Tamimi is a prominent activist from the village of Nabi Saleh and Rana Nazzal is a Palestinian Canadian activist. The International Solidarity Movement had a chance to speak to Rana about her experiences during the arrest, the time following imprisonment and the situation for political prisoners in Palestine … ISM: There are sixteen Palestinian women currently imprisoned by Israel, all of whom are held in Hasharon – how was the encounter with these women prisoners? How did you spend your time in jail? R.N: They didn’t keep us in the same prison ward as the sixteen other women, but we saw them in passing moments. On Saturday, we saw them while the longest term prisoner, Lina Jarboni, was giving Hebrew lessons. Lina told us that Sireen Khudiri, the recent 21 year-old who was arrested on charges of ‘internet activism’, also gives the women English lessons. On Sunday night Lina cooked the Palestinian stew mloukhieh and sent a huge platter to our room, along with changes of clothes so we could finally change. The women were generous and strong spirited.
VIDEO: On location West Bank: smuggling sperm
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Global Post) 4 July by Stephanie Freid — At least seven women have conceived children using sperm smuggled from Israeli prisons, sometimes in potato chip bags and candy wrappers. [a woman looks at ultrasound images of her her baby; interviews with other prisoners' wives and with Dr. Salem Abu Khaizaran, director of Razan Medical Center.]
Prisoner’s medical condition deteriorates
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 July — A Palestinian prisoner’s health is seriously deteriorating and Israel has transferred from hospital to a prison clinic, a lawyer said Wednesday. Motasem Radad was moved from Meir Hospital to Ramle prison clinic, Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos said. Radad suffers several symptoms including hypertension and a weak immune system. He has several infections which doctors have been unable to treat and and has recently developed blurred vision and a weak heart. Boulos blamed Radad’s deteriorating condition on the medication he was given, including daily cortisone shots that the lawyer said had weakened his bones and impeded his movement.
‘My hope is that my children will one day be allowed to visit their father’
PCHR 3 July — Ghadir Anwar Al-Aqra‘a, a 34 year old mother of four children, Nidaa’ (12), Nisma (15), Ra’ed (10) and Nara (8), lives with her children in the Al Sheikh Redwan neighbourhood of Gaza City. Her husband, Nahed Al-Aqra‘a (42), was arrested on 20 July 2007 by the Israeli military, is incarcerated in Ramle Prison Hospital in central Israel, and since that date has been denied any prison visits by his wife or children. Since being arrested in 2007 none of Nahed’s family members from Gaza have been allowed to visit him. Ghadir explains the situation, “The only person who has been allowed to visit Nahed since 2007 has been his mother. She is forced to see him through a glass window and can only speak to him via an internal phone. She cannot touch or hug her son.” The last time that Nahed saw his children was in March 2007. Neither Ghadir nor any of her four children have been allowed to see Nahed since his arrest. The issue has been made all the worse by the fact that Nahed has faced extremely serious medical problems, issues which have been severely exacerbated since his imprisonment in 2007. Ghadir’s husband sustained multiple gunshot injuries to his legs during internal Palestinian clashes relating to the Hamas take-over of the Gaza Strip in 2007 … Nahed was arrested mere days after his leg was amputated in Jordan. He has since been denied all appropriate medical care for his injuries as well as being kept in conditions completely inappropriate for adequate recovery….
Israelis strip-search Arab journalist at US party
JERUSALEM (AP) 4 July — The U.S.-funded Alhurra network said Thursday that one of its cameramen was interrogated and strip-searched by Israeli security men while covering a July 4 party at the U.S. ambassador’s residence near Tel Aviv. The Arab satellite channel had coordinated with the Israeli prime minister’s office to cover the event on behalf of the international media. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other VIPs were in attendance. But when cameraman Samer Jallad arrived, he said he was detained for questioning, ordered to remove his shoes and sit in the sun for more than half an hour, and then taken to a room where he was forced to remove his pants for a body inspection. He said he was held for more than 90 minutes before he was permitted to enter. It was the latest in a string of incidents in which Israeli security have used heavy-handed tactics against Arab journalists, a practice Israel has defended as necessary for security. Jallad, who said he has covered Netanyahu on many occasions, is a Palestinian from east Jerusalem who holds full Israeli residency rights and has a government-issued press card. The Foreign Press Association, which represents international media in Israel, called on the U.S. Embassy to condemn the incident. “We find it especially shameful that a staffer of a U.S.-funded network would be the victim of racial profiling at an official U.S. event celebrating American Independence Day,” the FPA said. “Such treatment goes against the core values of freedom and equality that the U.S. seeks to uphold.” The embassy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment.
Palestinians sue US groups over support for settler attacks
SAN FRANCISCO (Electronic Intifada) 3 July by Charlotte Silver — A recently filed complaint in a New York district court has the potential to compensate and provide judicial recourse to a handful of Palestinians terrorized by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. The civil suit is filed under a law that until now has been used almost entirely to prosecute Muslim and Palestinian Americans. On 17 May, the New York-based commercial law firm Melito and Adolfsen filed a complaint against five US organizations alleging that they had violated the material support statute, which prohibits individuals from “knowingly providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” The organizations are alleged to have supported terrorist activities by funding settlers who have firebombed, thrown stones and shot at Palestinians, burned Palestinian land and trees, and vandalized Palestinian houses of prayer in the West Bank.
Audio (with transcript]: This Week in Palestine Week 27 2013
IMEMC 5 July — The Palestinian new prime minister focused this week on the deteriorating economy, and the Israeli army attacks leave one Palestinians killed and five others injured this week. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned. The Nonviolence Report Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. This week protests were organized in the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil‘in, Ni‘lin in central West Bank, in addition Al Ma‘ssara in southern West Bank. IMEMC’s Salam Qumsyia reports:
Rachel Corrie remembered by family of bulldozed home
Al-Monitor 4 July by Asmaa al-Ghoul — On March 16, 2013, the tenth anniversary of American peace activist Rachel Corrie’s death was marked by no grand commemoration ceremonies. The Nasrallah family, however, as they do every year, went to where their demolished house once stood to place flowers at the scene of her murder. Even though the neighborhood has changed and the tunnel area at the Egypt and Gaza borders has been completely transformed, the Nasrallahs cannot forget. Al-Monitor met with the Nasrallahs in their small and humble rented house. They shared their memories from that year, as clearly as if it all happened yesterday and not a decade ago.
Political, economic, other news
Abbas: Egypt events will not affect reconciliation
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 4 July – President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the situation in Egypt would have little impact on efforts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. Egyptian leaders have mediated between the two sides for years in an effort to reunite the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, which have remained under rival governments since 2007. Speaking at a news conference in Beirut, Abbas added that despite the Palestinians’ opinions about ouster of Egyptian President Mohamad Mursi, the official position will be to remain neutral.
Perhaps not, but this well might:
Hamas: PA’s apparatuses kidnapped 77 citizens in June
PIC 4 July — The Information Office of Hamas said in a report, which monitors violations of the PA security services in the West Bank, that PA’s apparatuses assassinated Haj Saadi al-Sakhl from the city of Nablus, hours after he was kidnapped. It added that 77 supporters and leaders of Hamas; including 44 liberated prisoners and 18 university students, have been kidnapped during the last month by PA’s apparatuses. Meanwhile, the security services have summoned 78 Hamas affiliates, and extended the detention of 15 others despite decisions to release them, the report monitored. It also pointed out that the occupation forces arrested 4 leaders and supporters of the movement who had been released from PA’s jails.
Abbas to pay 3-day visit to Beirut
BEIRUT (Ma’an) updated 4 July — President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Wednesday for a three-day visit to discuss the issue of Palestinian refugees … Abbas was invited to Lebanon by President Michel Suleiman and will meet with speaker of Lebanon’s parliament Nabih Berri and other officials from prominent Lebanese political parties. Abbas is expected to discuss recent sectarian violence in Lebanon related to the ongoing conflict in Syria and the position of Palestinian refugees in the country. The president has urged Palestinian factions not to intervene in internal Lebanese affairs.
Abbas in rare visit to Lebanon camp
BEIRUT (AFP) 5 July — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas paid a rare visit on Friday to a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, placing a wreath at the cemetery in the Shatila camp in the capital Beirut. A small crowd gathered ahead of his brief visit to welcome him at the Martyrs Cemetery on the outskirts of the camp, one of 12 housing Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. “I’m here to welcome him because he’s our president,” said Fatma Abdul Hadi, an elderly lady in a white headscarf with a black and white Palestinian scarf wrapped around her neck. “What we want and hope for from him is to help us get back to Palestine, that’s all I want.”
Action group: 1,389 Palestinian refugees have been killed in Syria so far
DAMASCUS (PIC) 4 July — The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said that 1,389 Palestinian refugees have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of the revolution. In a press release on Thursday, the action group stated that two Palestinians were killed on Wednesday in Al-Yarmouk refugee camp. The group added that several projectiles fell in different areas of Al-Husseiniyeh refugee camp, noting that an elderly woman was wounded by sniper fire in the old project area. It also said that the Palestinians in Dara‘a refugee camp suffer from the intensive presence of snipers on rooftops inside the camps.
Abu Mazen: I will not utter the words ‘armed resistance’
Al-Monitor 5 July by Jean Aziz — On July 4, the second day of his visit to Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with a panel of journalists, including one from Al-Monitor, at the Beirut hotel he was staying in. He discussed the negotiations with Israel, Palestinian reconciliation, relations with Hamas, Palestinians in Lebanon, and their armed groups in the refugee camps. Abbas took noteworthy positions, on which he was asked whether and how they can be implemented.
IMF: Israeli controls hold back Palestinian economy
WASHINGTON (AFP) 3 July — The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that Israel’s tight restrictions hinder the growth of the Palestinian private sector, holding back the Palestinian economy. In a report following a mission to the West Bank and Gaza, the IMF said it expected growth in the Palestinian economy to slow this year to about 4.25 percent, with little progress expected in cutting unemployment from the current 24 percent. The report said the Palestinians need to build the private sector in an economy dominated by spending by the authorities, mainly the Palestinian Authority, heavily dependent on foreign aid to surmount a chronic deficit. “Persistent Israeli controls and obstacles on internal movement, exports, and imports in the West Bank, as well as the virtual closure of Gaza, thwart the private sector,” the Fund said. “The PA needs the continued support of the international community and cooperation of Israel, guided by the common objective of a more vibrant and robust Palestinian economy,” it said. “Indeed, there is no substitute for a far-reaching relaxation of Israeli restrictions needed to unshackle the private sector and thereby boost growth and employment.”
Unifying diaspora: Palestinian youth reassert their national identity
972blog 3 July by Amjad Alqasis — A new survey demonstrates that Palestinians teens across the world (including in Israel and the occupied territories) have strong ties to their national identity, despite the fact that most of them have never set foot in their homeland.
Poll highlights Palestinians’ mistrust of Kerry, Netanyahu and even Abbas
Haaretz 5 July by Amira Hass — Palestinians appear to be more interested in Egypt’s revolution and Arab Idol than efforts to kick-start peace talks with Israel — They’re opposed, but don’t really care — that, in essence, is the Palestinian stance on resuming negotiations with Israel along the lines proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. But it seems Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cares more about upsetting America than he does about the public’s views. Thus, according to PLO sources, he is leaning toward restarting talks on different terms than he originally demanded. The Egyptian revolution − and before that, “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf − interests the Palestinian public much more than Kerry’s trips. But when asked if they favor restarting talks with Israel, they say no. Both the lack of interest and the opposition stem from the same sources. One is the conviction that Israel’s government is seeking a Palestinian capitulation, so the talks are bound to fail. The other is lack of faith in the Palestinian leadership, which is viewed as weaker and more hapless than ever. The general impression of widespread opposition to negotiations was bolstered by a poll conducted in mid-June by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and published this week.
PCHR slams immunity for Israel army chief on UK visit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 July — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Tuesday condemned a decision by the United Kingdom to grant immunity to Israel’s army chief while visiting the country. Lt. General Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, arrived in the UK of Tuesday, in the first visit of an Israeli army chief since 1998. The UK government granted Gantz’s trip the status of Special Mission, thus granting him immunity from the UK’s criminal justice system, PCHR said. Hickman & Rose Solicitors, who represent the victims of General Gantz’s actions together with PCHR, said the decision “sends the dangerous message that political considerations will be placed ahead of the rule of law.” … Lt. General Gantz is suspected of involvement in the commission of war crimes, particularly with respect to his role in the November 2012 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Pillar of Defense, PCHR says.
A week earlier, the UK government also applied Special Mission status to the visit of Major General Doron Almog, a retired army official suspected of war crimes, granting him immunity from Britain’s criminal justice system. Mr. Almog canceled his scheduled UK visit at the last minute for unknown reasons. In 2005, a British court issued an arrest warrant for Major General Doron Almog in relation to the destruction of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafah refugee camp in 2002 as part of a sustained policy of house demolitions in Gaza, PCHR said.
Palestine joins Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe
ISTANBUL, July 3, 2013 (WAFA) – The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Istanbul between June 29 and July 3 admitted on Tuesday Palestine as a non-member Mediterranean state following a bill submitted by Marie Arena of Belgium. The bill, entitled: “Enlarging the Partnership with Non-Member Mediterranean States to include the Palestinian National Authority,” was approved. Palestine’s ambassador to the European Union Laila Shaheed thanked Arena for submitting the bill.
Arab MKs Zoabi and Ghattas to be questioned
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 4 July — The Israeli government’s legal advisor has given the Israeli police the green light to interrogate Arab MKs Hanin Zoabi and Basil Ghattas under the pretext of incitement against Rev. Jubrail Nadaf who encouraged Christian teens to enlist in the Israeli army … MK Regev expressed her support of Nadaf and noted that he’s been given a police escort. For his part, Bishop Atallah Hanna Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Church renewed his rejection of any attempts to recruit Christian teens into the Israeli army.
[PA] Police destroy 40 cars in Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 July — Palestinian Authority security forces destroyed dozens of unlicensed vehicles and made several arrests on Wednesday in a village near Bethlehem. Police raided Nahalin at 6 a.m. for the start of an operation that police official Luay Izreqat said would continue for several days. Police impounded and destroyed 40 cars with Israeli license plates and arrested several people wanted on various charges, he added. It is illegal for Palestinians in the West Bank to drive Israeli-plated cars unless they have an Israeli ID.
Opinion / Analysis / Reviews
One day, Ramallah will rise up / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 4 July — The events at Tahrir Square will surely be replicated one day in Ramallah’s Manara Square. It is hard now to imagine it happening, but it is even more difficult to imagine that it will not — One day the Palestinian people will rise up against their occupiers. I hope this day comes soon. It’s true that this scenario seems unrealistic right now. The Palestinians are still bleeding from the second intifada, which only brought disaster upon them (and the Israelis). They are divided and torn, with no real leadership and lacking a fighting spirit, and the world has tired of their distress. The Israeli occupation seems as strong and established as ever, the settlements are growing, and the military is in complete control, with all the world’s governments silent and indifferent. On the other hand, it is impossible to imagine that this scenario will not materialize. To our south, the Egyptian people are struggling over the nature of their regime, in a way that can only inspire awe. To the north, the Syrian people are also doing this, albeit in a much crueler fashion. Could it be that only the Palestinian people will forever bow their heads, submissively and obediently, to the Israeli jackboot? Don’t make the minister of history laugh.
Mu‘ataz Sharawneh / Khaled Amayreh
Mu‘ataz Sharawneh, 18, didn’t kill or injure any Israeli. He didn’t threaten to kill or injure any Israeli. And at no point, did he pose any threat or risk to Israelis, soldiers and civilians alike. Yet, the Gestapo-like soldiers shot him in the head and prevented ambulances from transferring him to hospital. According to eyewitnesses and relatives, he was run over by an Israeli armored vehicle, apparently to ascertain his death. A relative said Sharawneh was on his way home from a wedding around 1.00 am when he saw Israel soldiers shoot on Palestinian boys, some of whom were hurling stones on the occupation vehicles. Dura is supposed to be under full Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo accords. However Israel decided unilaterally to reoccupy all areas previously controlled, even symbolically, by the PA. Kamel Hmeid, PA governor of Hebron , said that Sharawneh had only tried to hoist a Palestinian flag when he was shot and run over by an Israeli armored vehicle … The Sharawneh family lives just one block from this writer’s home. His father Idris Sharawneh died 8 years ago which means the young boy spent much of his childhood an orphan. The boy wanted to grow up and get a decent education in order to support his mother and siblings. Now, an indifferent Israeli bullet fired by indifferent hands put an end to his dreams…and life. …
The unjustified murder of Sharawneh is by no means an anomaly and didn’t occur by mistake. It represents the norm not the exception. Israel has always been a murderous state from Day One. This writer, for example, lost all his three paternal uncles in 1953 to Israeli bullets. They were not ‘terrorists’ or anything of this sort as some people who are influenced by Israeli propaganda might think. They were simple shepherds who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
long, intensely interesting article on Jerusalem past and present
New Jerusalem / Yonatan Mendel
New Left Review 81, May-June 2013 — Encyclopædias of psychology cite a type of religious psychosis known as the Jerusalem Syndrome, which can be triggered by a visit to the city. Symptoms can include bellowing liturgical songs, delivering moralistic sermons and an intensified concern with cleanliness and ritual purity. Though similar reactions have been recorded at other holy cities, notably Rome and Mecca, Jerusalem holds the record for this psychopathology. From the point of view of any normal urban logic, however, the city itself appears crazier still. Its boundaries extend far beyond its core population centres, encompassing dozens of villages, barren hilltops, orchards and tracts of desert, as well as new-build suburbs with scant relation to the historical city; in the north, they stretch up, like a long middle finger, nearly to Ramallah, to take in the old Qalandia airport, some 10 kilometres from the Old City walls, and bulge down almost to Bethlehem in the south. Jerusalem’s former Deputy Mayor, Meron Benvenisti, has said of these monstrously extended city limits: “I’ve reached the point that when someone says ‘Jerusalem’ I am very cynical about it. This is a term that has been totally emptied of its content. Today there is no geographic concept called ‘Jerusalem’, and instead I suggest using a new term, ‘Jermudin’, which is the territory stretched from Jericho to Modi’in. Someone decided to rub the hills that have no connection to Jerusalem with holy oil, and today we need to deal with a ‘Jerusalem’ region, which is unmanageable and which is held by force.”
The comatose state: Why Israel needs a Tahrir Square / Yoel Marcus
Haaretz 4 July — As Egypt and Syria attempt to topple their leaders, Israelis are more concerned with the minutiae of life. This must change, before it’s too late … The neighboring states are bubbling like hot lava and the entire world is familiar with Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Istanbul’s Taksim Square – but not Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Does the apparent stability that we seem to be enjoying right now really reflect our true situation? The answer is a flat no. At best, Israel is currently benefiting from its connection with the United States – but that situation will not last forever. If we do not help ourselves, no one else will do the task for us. Not even the American administration. Given our talent for getting on people’s nerves, even the mightiest of our friends will eventually become fed up with us.
Israeli apartheid ‘more sophisticated’ than South Africa’s, says new book
Electronic Intifada 1 July by David Cronin — Why Israel? It is a question that every Palestine solidarity campaigner has probably been asked. Usually, the question is posed as a diversionary tactic. Why excoriate Israel when more people are being killed in Syria than in Gaza? Suraya Dadoo and Firoz Osman’s book Why Israel? cites numerous reasons to justify focusing on crimes committed in the name of Zionism … In an especially perceptive passage, the authors write: “Israel’s version of apartheid is more sophisticated than the South African version. South African apartheid was rudimentary, petty, primitive — literally black and white, clear separation, no rights. Israel’s apartheid is more hidden with the deceptive image of ‘democracy.’ Palestinian citizens of Israel have the right to vote. However, in every other area they are discriminated against by law and policy.”