Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Occupation approves construction of 165 settlement units in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 July — The Israeli Planning and Building Committee issued on Thursday permits to build 16 settlement buildings, comprising 165 housing units, in the settlement of Neve Yaakov built on Palestinian lands in occupied Jerusalem. Settlement expert researcher Ahmed Sab Laban explained in a press statement that the new settlement units will expand Neve Yaakov settlement toward the nearby settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev. These units will be constructed in a strategic area on the lands separating the two settlements, and aim to separate the northern borders of Jerusalem from the West Bank. Sab Laban added that these units represent part of a larger plan to expand Neve Yaakov settlement,
State gets two more weeks to defend expulsion of Palestinians from West Bank firing zone
Haaretz 18 July by Amira Hass — The High Court of Justice has extended until July 29 the deadline for the State Prosecutor’s Office to respond to two petitions against the planned expulsion of Palestinians from an Israeli military firing zone in the South Hebron Hills. The petitioners seek to prevent the eviction of 1,300 Palestinians from eight villages in an area that had been declared Firing Zone 918. This was the second extension in five months, and it was granted despite the court’s censure of the state for its foot-dragging on the issue. Whether directly or not, the State Prosecutor’s Office must address in its response a legal opinion, submitted with the petitions filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and attorney Shlomo Lecker, in which Israeli experts in international law Eyal Benvenisti, David Kretzmer and Yuval Shany cited the Geneva Convention’s prohibition against the forcible transfer of a protected population (in occupied territory) and argued that the Palestinians could seek redress in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Israeli deputy FM Zeev Elkin and large settler group visit Al-Aqsa compound
IMEMC 17 July — Ma‘annetnews reported earlier today that around midday Israeli FM Zeev Elkin accompanied by a group of settlers and Israeli soldiers, entered the Islamic holy compound of al-Aqsa through the Moroccan gate. The visit offended many worshipers and pilgrims gathered at the site for the annual occasion of Ramadan. The visit, viewed as provocatory, caused many worshipers and Palestinian guards to confront the group, causing them to leave the site and return serenity to the holy site. About thirty minutes later, Likud official Yehuda Glick and another group of fifty settlers appeared. The new group faced the same reaction, forcing them to leave the compound.
Israeli Religious Services Minister calls for collective prayers in Al-Aqsa
NAZARETH (PIC) 18 July — Israel’s deputy minister for religious services Eli Ben Dahan confirmed that he plans to allow Jewish congregational prayers in al-Aqsa mosque as a response to the Israeli police’s refusal to allow the entering of extremist settlers and Israeli political figures to the mosque. Ben Dahan strongly condemned during an interview with Israeli TV channel 10 the police prevention of the settlers’ from entry into al-Aqsa mosque, stressing on the Jewish worshipers’ right to have access to the “Temple Mount” in light of Israel’s tolerance, freedom and equal principles as he claimed.
Thousands flock to the Aqsa Mosque on the second Friday of Ramadan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 July — Thousands from occupied Jerusalem and West Bank and 1948-occupied territories have flocked to al-Aqsa mosque to perform the second Friday prayer in the holy month of Ramadan. Despite the Israeli restrictions, approximately 300 thousand worshipers have performed the Friday prayer at the mosque, al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said. The Jerusalemite Gates of al-Sahera, Damascus, and Asbat were noticeably busiest, in addition to Salah al-Din Street.
Report: Israeli diggings reached a depth of four meters under the Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 18 July — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) admitted that its excavations beneath the Aqsa Mosque and in its vicinity have extended four meters deep, according to a circular released on Wednesday by the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage. The Aqsa foundation said that Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper published on its website on Tuesday on the anniversary of the so-called temple destruction a report including details about the diggings taking place beneath the foundations of the Aqsa Mosque, especially near the western wall and Al-Maghariba Gate. Eli Shukron, a senior official from the Israeli antiquities authority, stated in this report that the diggings have reached depths of three to four meters under the Aqsa Mosque’s foundations, particularly beneath the Mosque’s western wall and its Islamic museum. The report also included a video recording showing holes and a cave in the excavated areas, while Shukron claimed them to be the remains of an old Jewish neighborhood.
Muslim official barred from entering holy place
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 18 July – The Israeli police barred the director of Amarat al-Aqsa Institute, Hikmat Naamneh, from entering al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslim holy place in Jerusalem, without specifying a time limit, a statement by the institute said Thursday.
It said Naamneh has entered one of the gates to al-Aqsa Mosque to attend the evening prayer when police called him and informed him that he was barred from being inside the compound. No reason was given for this decision. Muslims normally attend prayers in large numbers in al-Aqsa during the holy fast month of Ramadan. The police told Naamneh that he will be immediately arrested if seen inside the Mosque area. Naamneh was barred in April 2012 for one month from entering al-Aqsa Mosque.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
An IDF PR disaster in Hebron in detainment of 5-year-old
Haaretz 19 July by Gideon Levy — The soldiers who apprehended Wadi’a last week after he allegedly threw rocks at a settler’s car were chastised not for detaining the boy, but for being caught doing so by a rights group’s cameras — Wadi’a Maswadeh did not know that he managed to stir a few hearts in Israel and the world with his tears, nor did his father, Karam. We didn’t know that Wadi’a was actually a recidivist detainee: He was 5 years and 9 months old when he was detained last week by Israeli soldiers — in front of the cameras of the B’Tselem human rights organization — and it was not his first arrest, but rather his third. This week the little boy seems to be traumatized: He won’t smile, hardly speaks, shrinks at any attempt to pat his head, grips the electric pole in the street with his tiny hands, is startled at every soldier that passes by, wets his bed at night, wakes up screaming, and refuses to sleep in his home, located across from the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Israeli forces shoot, injure man at Nabi Saleh protest
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Two people were injured on Tuesday during a protest in the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh, Israel’s army and locals said. Mahmoud Tamimi, 22, was shot in the leg with live fire during the protest, his relatives said on social media. The bullet severed a main artery in Tamimi’s thigh and he remains in a serious condition, his family added. Palestinian journalist Bilal Tamimi was assaulted by Israeli soldiers while covering the protest, witnesses said. Israeli forces also smashed his camera.
An Israeli army spokesman said that approximately 100 Palestinians took part in a “violent and illegal riot” and hurled rocks and rolled burning tires towards soldiers at the scene, who responded with riot dispersal means. “One soldier was injured during the riot, and soldiers sensing imminent danger to their lives fired towards a main instigator, registering a direct hit,” he added.
Photo essay: Israeli activist injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet at Nabi Saleh demonstration
Nabi Saleh (ISM) 19 July by Ramallah Team — Today, around fifty Palestinians together with Israeli and international activists marched from the centre of Nabi Saleh down the main road towards the stolen spring … An Israeli woman activist was shot in her upper thigh with a rubber coated steel bullet from close range and had to be taken to hospital in Tel Aviv. She underwent a very minor surgery to get the bullet removed and will remain in hospital until Sunday … According to a resident of Nabi Saleh, yesterday night at around 3am, an Israeli bulldozer was working in the spring. Settlers from Halamish also went to the spring to talk to the soldiers. Palestinian youths went to the hilltop in front of this area to see what was happening and verbal confrontations between settlers and them erupted. Israeli forces, defending the settlers as usual, shot several tear gas canisters at Palestinians.
Previously this week, on Tuesday, clashes between residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces erupted in the same spot where Rushdi Tamimi was shot last November. Israeli forces shot rubber coated steel bullets and injured Mohammed Tamimi (10) in the leg. Mahmoud Tamimi (22) was then shot with live ammunition also in the leg. Read the full report here.
[IMEMC: Sarit Michaeli was filming the protest for the Israeli organization B’Tselem when an Israeli soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet at her leg from short distance.]
5 Palestinian journalists injured at Qalandia protests
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — Five Palestinian journalists were injured on Wednesday as Israeli forces dispersed a protest at Qalandiya checkpoint. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades while dispersing a protest by the Israeli military checkpoint, injuring Nida Younis, Naela Araj, Mufeed Abu Hasna, Omar Abdul-Raziq, and chairman of the Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate Abdel Nasser Najjar. The head of the syndicate, Muhammad Lahham, said that Israeli forces fired tear gas at peaceful demonstrators. The protests were part of a worldwide campaign calling for freedom of movement for Palestinian journalists, Lahham said.
Video: Israel attacks Kufr Qaddum 2 hours before non-violent demo – July 19, 2013
10 arrests in WB including 8 children
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 18 July — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Wednesday, eight Palestinian children in Abu Dis village near Ramallah under the pretext of throwing stones at Israeli vehicles and soldiers. Witnesses said that an Israeli troop attacked Abu Dis town in occupied Jerusalem and arrested Mohammed Al-Mohtaseb, Mahmoud Bassa, Mohammed Al-Senawi, Khalil Al-Reshq, Anas Bader, Amer Ayyad and Amin Rabi’. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters during the storming of the village, causing several suffocation cases among the children where they were transferred to hospital for treatment, local sources confirmed. IOF soldiers also summoned the Palestinian citizen Musa Jaber and his son Ragheb for investigation in the Israeli Intelligence headquarters.
IOF rounds up dozens of Jerusalemites
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed two towns to the south east of occupied Jerusalem at dawn Thursday and rounded up dozens of Jerusalemites. Palestinian sources said that IOF soldiers in 20 army vehicles burst into Abu Dis and Alezariye and broke into a number of houses and searched them. They said that the soldiers attacked both towns in groups and rounded up 50 citizens and ten youngsters and minors. The sources said that the soldiers fired teargas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades at young men in Abu Dis. In a related development, IOF soldiers nabbed two Palestinians in Bethlehem at dawn Thursday.
Israeli army detains 5 in West Bank raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli soldiers detained five Palestinians in raids across the West Bank early Thursday, an army spokesman said. Forces detained two Palestinians in Azzun, one in Rujeib, one in Bethlehem and one in Nablus, a military spokesman told Ma‘an. Locals said 18-year-old Jihad Hasoneh was detained in Nablus while working in his father’s shop.
Israeli forces also raided Tal and Beit Wazan villages near Nablus and inspected homes, residents told Ma‘an.
8 arrests in occupied West Bank
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 July — Israeli forces arrested Thursday evening, three Palestinians during clashes that erupted near Bab al-Sahera gate in occupied Jerusalem. No injuries were reported.
In Nablus, two Palestinians were arrested after raiding a building in Asirah Street, where confrontations erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces on more than 20 military vehicles who stormed the city overnight. During the clashes, the occupation forces fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs leading to many suffocation cases among the Palestinian citizens.
In Jenin, violent clashes have erupted between Palestinian youths and IOF soldiers after storming Jenin refugee camp and arresting two youths. The occupation forces stormed the camp at 2 am and arrested Anas Abu Tabikh, 22, and Aws Tayssir Fayed, 20, after raiding and searching their houses. Israeli forces fired heavily tear gas canisters and sound bombs during the clashes resulting in dozens of suffocation cases. Salim Imad Awad, 18, was shot in his shoulder by a rubber-coated steel bullet, where he was transferred to the government hospital.
In the same context, IOF detained Mohammed Nabil al-Saadi, 23, at Zatara checkpoint, while in his way back from Ramallah to his hometown in Jenin. He was taken to unknown destination.
Tisha B’Av march in East Jerusalem marked by violence and property damage
IMEMC 17 July — In Bab-al-Asbat area, in occupied East Jerusalem, the annual Tisha B’Av march led to violence. The Jewish occasion, which marks “the grieving of the temple destruction”, invoked violence when a group of settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, threw stones at Palestinian residents and destroyed three cars.
MADA: Occupation committed 78 violations against media freedoms in half a year
RAMALLAH (PIC) 17 July — The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expressed deep concern about the media freedoms status in Occupied Palestine, in light of the escalated violations against the Palestinian journalists. The center announced its semiannual report on media freedoms status in Occupied Palestine, during a press conference on Tuesday morning at MADA’s headquarters in Ramallah … MADA’s General Director Moussa Rimawi opened the conference saying that the violations against journalists “are life-threatening, where the Palestinian journalists are concerned for their life and safety, especially those who cover peaceful demonstrations and the popular resistance activities against the occupation, settlement, and the apartheid wall.” … Rimawi added that violations during the first half of 2013 have increased compared to the same period in 2012, as MADA monitored 113 violations; 78 committed by Israel, and 35 by Palestinian bodies.
Video: Journalists’ protest violently suppressed by Israeli forces at Qalandiya checkpoint
Qalandiya (ISM) 18 July by Ramallah Team — Yesterday, around 150 Palestinian journalists protested at Qalandiya checkpoint demanding freedom of movement for journalists. Israeli forces violently suppressed the demonstration by throwing sound bombs and shooting rubber coated steel bullets at journalists, resulting in five people injured. At 12am, journalists arrived on buses from across the West Bank, gathering at Qalandiya checkpoint to protest against the restriction of movement and the lack of recognition of their international press cards by Israel.
PCHR Weekly Report: 2 children and 2 adults wounded in attacks by Israeli troops this week [11-17 July]
…In the West Bank, 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded when Israeli forces moved into al-Nabi Saleh village, northeast of Ramallah, on 16 July 2013. During the last week, Israeli forces conducted 17 incursions [far fewer than usual – why? Kerry’s visit?] into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 9 Palestinian civilians were abducted … In the Gaza Strip, on 14 July 2013, an 18-year-old civilian was wounded when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, northeast of Beit Hanoun, opened fire at a group of workers collecting metal pieces in the landfill, northeast of Beit Hanoun, about 400 metres away from the border fence. As part of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, on 17 July 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia, opened fire and pumped water at the Palestinian fishing boats. As a result, a fishing boat sustained damage by 4 bullets. In the Gaza Strip, on 16 July 2013, Israeli forces moved nearly 200 meters into the east Shuhada’ cemetery, east of Jabalia village, in the northern Gaza Strip. They opened fire and levelled lands. No casualties were reported. Also this week, the Israeli border guard at Beit Hanoun Crossing detained the brother of a deceased man who was accompanying his brother’s corpse back to the Gaza Strip for burial. Full report
No lawyers, no Arabic speakers || IDF court judge condemns Israel Police interrogations of Palestinian minors
Haaretz 17 July by Chaim Levinson — Threats, coached responses and incomplete recording of interviews – just some of the ways investigators violate the rights of young suspects in the West Bank, court says — The Judea Military Court has slammed the way Israeli law enforcement authorities treat Palestinian minors suspected of criminal offenses. The remarks were part of Judge Maj. Shahar Greenberg’s written verdict on Monday convicting a Palestinian minor for throwing rocks. The defendant is identified only by the initial Z. In the course of the trial it was disclosed that a police investigator had verbally threatened minors and coached them to incriminate their peers.
IOA extends detention of captive who was seriously injured during interrogation
JENIN (PIC) 19 July — Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Thursday extended the detention of prisoner Mohammed Ahmed Zakarna, aged 37, from town of Qabatiya south of Jenin, who suffers from skull fracture sustained during interrogation about a month ago. Local sources said that the Salem Military Court extended the detention of Zakarna for the tenth time respectively, until the trial, although he suffers from difficult health conditions due to fractures in the ribs and skull sustained during the interrogation.
Israeli special units kidnapped Zakarna on April 8 while he was returning from work.
Sit-in in Ramallah in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 July — Families of Palestinian prisoners organized, with participation of several national and Islamic factions and liberated prisoners, a sit-in on Thursday in the center of Ramallah city in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners in the Israeli jails. The protesters demanded the Palestinian and Jordanian official authorities and all the humanitarian and human rights bodies to intervene immediately to save the lives of hunger striking prisoners before it is too late, and called for continuing the activities in support of detainees in the occupation jails.
Israel to release 4 protesters arrested at Negev demo
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 17 July — An Israeli court on Wednesday ordered the release of four protesters who were arrested Monday at a demonstration against a government plan to resettle Bedouin. Israeli police arrested 15 protesters at the demonstration in Beersheba, as protests were held around Israel to denounce the Prawer Plan. A court in Beersheba ordered the release of Mufeed Abu Sweilim, Roaya al-Hzayyil, Kareem Shahadeh and Ibrahim al-Sane on Wednesday. Hundreds of tribesmen and women joined the march in Beersheba. Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, said police used force at the protest. “We called for a peaceful protest in which more than 1,000 people took part but the police used force. They tried to beat a girl with clubs but when I tried to protect her they beat me up as well,” Zahalka told AFP. Organizers said the overall number of protesters who took to the streets in Beersheba, the southern Negev desert region, Galilee in the north and Jaffa near Tel Aviv could have been in the thousands.
Haneyya calls on Egypt to find an alternative to the tunnels
GAZA (PIC) 18 July — Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya said they are communicating with Egypt in order to push forward the national reconciliation, and called for finding an alternative to the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt which are being demolished by Egyptian army. Haneyya pointed out that the Gaza Strip has been under the blockade for more than six years, and that the Egyptian side that destroys the tunnels has to find an alternative for the entry of goods and basic needs to the Strip.
Egypt punishes Gaza during Ramadan
Al-Monitor 18 July by Abeer Ayyoub — Thousands of Muslims in the Gaza Strip are practicing their holy month of Ramadan this year with the added strain of economic and social hardship, after Egypt shut the Rafah border crossing and the tunnels vital for the import of goods into Gaza. Adherents usually prepare for Ramadan in advance by storing large amounts of food and drinks, an activity which has become part of the month’s traditions. But Palestinians in Gaza have experienced a lack of food items, fuel and raw materials due to the surprising and abrupt decision by Egypt to shut the tunnels earlier this month following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
Media accusations of meddling in Egyptian affairs worry Gaza
DPA 16 July — Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, find themselves accused by the Egyptian media of interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs. The Al-Resala newspaper, which has close ties to Hamas, wrote on its front page on Monday about an Egyptian media plan to implicate Gaza and tarnish the image of the Palestinians in Egypt. Palestinian journalist Mamoun Abu Amer called for prosecuting what he coined “fascist” and “racist” Egyptian journalists who accuse Gaza of meddling in Egyptian affairs, and suggested the formation of a Palestinian human rights commission in Europe for this purpose. Palestinians displayed their resentment on social networking sites at such accusations by members of the Egyptian media that lack any official status, either from the Egyptian army or other sovereign entities.
Gazan suffering treated as sideshow to Egyptian ‘main stage act’
Al Jazeera 19 July by Pam Bailey & Medea Benjamin — It unfortunately has become a truism that when Egypt sneezes, Gaza catches a cold … The current unrest in Egypt is no exception. As the world sits on the edge of its seat, polarised in its debate about whether the ouster of Mohammed Morsi was really a coup and what will happen next, the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are paying the price … On July 5, just two days after forcing Morsi from his post as president, the Egyptian military closed the Rafah crossing into Gaza for six consecutive days. Thousands of Palestinians attempting to enter Gaza to be with their families, or travel out of Gaza for medical care or study, were stranded – often with no money or shelter. Some who were travelling home were detained upon arrival at the Cairo airport and then deported to the countries they had left, at their own expense. Yousef Aljamal, for instance, was deported to Malaysia, even though that country had merely been an interim stop on his way home from a conference in New Zealand … Egypt has not only restricted land access, but sea access as well. On July 8, the Egyptian navy for the first time reportedly opened fire at a Gazan fishing boat, warning it away from Egyptian waters. Until then, it was Israel alone that prevented Palestinians in Gaza from venturing far enough out to get a catch decent enough to make a living … What is the rationale for this crackdown on Gaza? Although no credible evidence has been revealed, Egyptian media are rife with rumours accusing Hamas of sending in operatives to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood government.
Hamas isolated, exposed to Israel post-Morsi
Al-Monitor 16 July by Adnan Abu Amer – Hamas enjoyed a short honeymoon with now-ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. But since the army generals removed him from power and put someone else in his place, Hamas has been in mourning. Morsi’s ouster was a serious political and ideological blow for the organization. The Muslim Brotherhood’s downfall also frees Israel’s hands in isolating Hamas and potentially dealing it a painful military blow, something which Israel did not complete in the recent November 2012 war. In that conflict, Israel feared severely damaging its relations with the Brotherhood leadership in Egypt if it continued its military operation against Gaza.
Gaza construction comes to a halt as siege tightens
Al-Monitor 19 July by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Work stopped and concrete mixing machines grew silent, as workers sat in the shade of the incomplete building that is part of the Mahfoud al-Nahnah school project, west of Gaza City. They had expected during the first week of work stoppage that the transportation of goods through the tunnels dug between the Gaza Strip and Egypt would resume — so that building materials could once again enter the Strip, allowing them to complete construction of the school. But, the second week now neared its end without “cement, aggregate and steel” entering the Strip … The president of the Federation of Contractors for the provinces of Gaza, Nabil Abu Muaileq, told Al-Monitor on July 17 that the cost of the various building projects that contracting companies halted work on approximately two weeks ago — as a result of the closure of tunnels following the events in Egypt — is estimated at close to $200 million. He explained that among those projects are 39 public schools, residential buildings paid for by private investors in addition to organizations, private homes and infrastructure works.
Israel blocks Gaza gas field development
Gaza (PressTV) 18 July by Ashraf Shannon — Thirteen years ago British Gas drilled the Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2 wells, thirty kilometers off the coast of Gaza. The drilling led to the discovery of a massive natural gas field: with 1.4 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. In 2011 Tel-Aviv authorized the U.S-based Noble Energy, a crude oil and gas exploration giant, to begin developing the field. But the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) says the offshore field belongs to the Palestinians.
Because of the Israeli blockade, Palestinians don’t have enough cooking gas in the coastal enclave. They aren’t allowed to develop or tap into their own gas fields either.
Last group of pilgrims returns to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 July — The last group of pilgrims returned to the Gaza Strip from Saudi Arabia on Thursday, a ministry official in Gaza said. Over 1,700 Palestinians had been stranded in Saudi Arabia after performing the Umrah pilgrimage, as Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing and El-Arish airport … The closure of the Rafah crossing from July 5-10 disrupted travel plans for some 10,000 people in Gaza, Israeli rights group Gisha said.
Three Gaza rockets shatter calm in southern Israel
Israel Hayom 19 July — Three Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel on Thursday, ending several weeks of calm in the area. No injuries or property damage were reported. On Thursday night, rocket warning sirens sounded in several communities in the Eshkol region. Radar systems identified two rocket launches in Gaza, and a short time later Eshkol residents reported hearing explosions. The rockets apparently struck open areas. Earlier, on Thursday afternoon, a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza toward Israel exploded in Gazan territory.
Abu Zuhri denies Hamas links to Grad missiles in Sinai
GAZA (PIC) 18 July — Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has denied that his movement had anything to do with the Grad missiles found seized by the Egyptian army in Sinai Peninsula. Abu Zuhri said in a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday that Grad missiles are not manufactured by the armed wing of Hamas the Qassam Brigades but are rather purchased by it and other Palestinian factions. He said that those missiles are found in Sinai in big quantities bigger than their numbers in Gaza. Abu Zuhri, who was responding to a statement by the commander of the Egyptian Third Field Army that said the seized missiles were similar to those used by Hamas, called anew for an end to the Egyptian media campaign launched by some Egyptian parties against his movement.
BDS – and hasbara
Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair boycotts Israel film festival
Electronic Intifada 19 July by Ali Abunimah — … In a series of tweets today, Nair made the following statement: “I was just invited to Israel as a guest of honor at the Haifa International Film Festival with “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” I will not be going to Israel at this time. I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone. I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when Apartheid is over. I will go to Israel, soon. I stand with the [Palestinian Campaign] for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement.”
Now it’s official: EU ‘boycotting’ settlements
Ynet 19 July by Attila Somfalvi — The European Union on Friday issued its official guidelines on the funding of Israeli projects beyond the Green Line which will dramatically reduce the ability of Israeli entities operating in the West Bank to receive grants and prizes from EU states. The guidelines will go into effect in the beginning of next year. The EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also issued a statement in which it was stated that, “Today the EU published a document that reiterates the long-held position that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel’s administration in June 1967…”
Israeli banks may lose access to large loans under new EU rule on occupied lands
Electronic Intifada 18 July by Ali Abunimah — Israeli banks, businesses and public bodies will lose access to hundreds of millions of euros in European Investment Bank loans, under new European Union guidelines on Israeli settlements, Palestinian campaigners said today. This could be the most serious impact of the EU’s decision to ban future subsidies to Israel unless agreements explicitly exclude the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967.
UK government committee raises concern over arms exports to Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 18 July by Shamus Slaunwhite — The Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) revealed that the UK approved more than 3000 arms export licences totaling over £12 billion to 27 countries despite their poor human rights records. “Severe concern” was raised specifically about arms exports to Israel that, at £7.8 billion, were worth more than half of the total.
Americans push for divestment from pro-occupation companies
OAKLAND, California (WAFA) 18 July — Americans demonstrated this week in over a dozen cities throughout the United States demanding that the retirement giant TIAA-CREF divest from companies supporting the illegal Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territory, a press statement by the national We Divest campaign, said Wednesday. The protests, organized by We Divest, came while TIAA-CREF held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday.
California students unite against ‘common enemy’ Janet Napolitano
Electronic Intifada 18 July by Nora Barrows-Freedman — The appointment of Janet Napolitano to head the University of California system is being met with fierce opposition by students and faculty across the state. At the same time, student activists organizing for Palestine solidarity are fighting back against repressive measures taken by California state legislators. During the 2012-2013 school year, seven University of California campuses held votes on divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation. Of those seven, three passed and upheld divestment resolutions. Student activists say that whether votes pass or not, the door of discussion on Palestine has been opened wide. “Yet over the past year, the California state legislature has taken an increasingly anti-democratic stance against students organizing for universal rights and justice across the state,” says a recent statement posted by Students for Justice in Palestine West, a coalition of Palestine solidarity groups on campus on the West Coast.
Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook
Electronic Intifada 17 July by Ali Abunimah — The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has become a full-time partner in the Israeli government’s efforts to spread its propaganda online and on college campuses around the world. NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home.” The union is also partnering with Israel’s Jewish Agency to send Israeli students as missionaries to spread propaganda in other countries, for which they will also receive a stipend. This active recruitment of Israeli students is part of Israel’s orchestrated effort to suppress the Palestinian solidarity movement under the guise of combating “delegitimization” of Israel and anti-Semitism.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria
Report: 80% of Palestinians in Syria were displaced from their refugee camps
DAMASCUS (PIC) 19 July — The ongoing conflict in Syria has resulted in the martyrdom of 1400 Palestinian refugees and thousands of injuries in addition to the displacement of 80% of Palestinian refugees living in the country, the Working Group for Palestinians in Syria said. In its annual report July 2012-June 2013, the Working Group confirmed that 9 Palestinian refugee camps out of 12 camps in Syria have become a violent battlefields subjected to daily bombardment and shelling. The report stated that more than two-thirds of Palestinian refugees living in the country, approximately 530,000 Palestinian refugees according to UNRWA, have been displaced. Between 12 and 15 percent of the Palestinian refugee population has fled the country altogether, UNRWA said.
Activists stop UN staff entering Palestinian camp in Lebanon
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 19 July — Palestinian youth activists prevented UN staff entering the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon on Friday. Camp residents are protesting cuts to assistance by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The youth activists called for an escalation of protests on Friday evening which will start at the center of the camp. On Thursday, protesters shut down the UNRWA offices in the camp and burned tires in the streets. Fadi Bader, a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader in the camp, said UNRWA’s cuts would turn residents into beggars. He said the UN agency was responsible for the consequences of the cuts and said protests would continue until the decision to reduce assistance was reversed.
The Nahr al-Bared camp was destroyed in 2007 in a conflict between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army, displacing 27,000 refugees. UNRWA has provided rental and food assistance and health coverage to the refugees displaced from Nahr al-Bared, but has an $8.2 million budget shortfall for the program. From Sept. 1 the refugees displaced from Nahr al-Bared will receive the same assistance as Palestinians in other camps in Lebanon, UNRWA said in a statement Wednesday. Food aid will be provided to the most vulnerable families, UNRWA said.
Political, other news
Kerry: Agreement on basis to resume Mideast peace talks
AMMAN (AFP) 19 July — US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that an agreement has been reached between the Israelis and Palestinians for the basis to resume Middle East peace talks. “I’m pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Kerry told reporters in Amman, Jordan. “This is a significant and welcome step forward. The agreement is still in the process of being finalised so we are absolutely not going to talk about any of the elements now.” The top US diplomat also said that PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni would meet him in Washington “to begin initial talks within the next week or so”. The announcement came at the end of four days of intense diplomacy by the secretary of state as he consulted Israeli and Palestinian leaders from his base in the Jordanian capital.
Arab League backs Kerry’s Palestinian peace bid
AMMAN (Reuters) 17 July – The Arab League endorsed a U.S. drive to relaunch Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations on Wednesday, saying in a statement carried on the Jordanian news agency that it hoped this could lead to a two-state solution. The statement reported by the Petra news agency came after an Arab League delegation met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the Jordanian capital Amman. It repeated a 2002 League offer of a comprehensive Arab peace with Israel but also contained a newer readiness to adjust the pre-1967 borders by swapping land.
PA demands airport in Ramallah, Dead Sea resort
IMEMC 18 July — Israeli Yedioth Aharonoth has reported that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank presented four main requests to U.S. Secretary of State. John Kerry, to present to Israel for approval before direct peace talks between Ramallah and Tel Aviv can resume. The paper said that President Mahmoud Abbas asked Kerry to inform Israel that the P.A. wants an airport for light planes and helicopters, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and significantly large tourism projects totally run by the Palestinians near the Dead Sea. Granting the Palestinians access Dead Sea means that Israel will be required to reassign control of lands in area C, under full Israeli control, to become area B under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control. The Palestinians are not allowed to build in Area C in the occupied West Bank, and require prior Israeli military and civil approval. The third demand presented to Kerry is allowing the Palestinians to search for natural gas in Palestinian territorial waters, in front of the shores of the Gaza Strip. The fourth demand is increasing the number of work permits in Israel to residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Jerusalem’s prickly problem: Porcupines, gazelles and bats in danger of extinction
Haaretz 15 July by Nir Hasson — New report reveals the wealth of nature in the city but paints a worrisome picture of the future of its urban wildlife … The study enumerates 141 nature sites within the city limits. These include open spaces like Gazelle Valley, Sacker Park and Mitzpeh Neftoah hill, as well as little islands of greenery like the plant nursery in Katamon or a farm in Armon Hanatziv. The entire Old City is named in the report too − its ancient walls hosting a variety of flora and fauna. Other sites include Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus and the area around the churches on the Mount of Olives and the nearby cemetery. These areas, amounting to 37,000 dunams (9,250 acres), are home to no less than 213 species of animals and 738 species of plants. Of the animals, 53 species are endangered, including three species of mammals and 43 species of birds. Among the plants are seven which, if they become extinct in Jerusalem, put the entire species at risk.
Analysis / Opinion / Interviews
Israel, agitated at last, should be thanking Europe / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 18 July — Israel cannot flaunt that it is the only democracy in the region and at the same time compare itself with Syria, calling it worse. If it looks like injustice, acts like injustice and quacks like injustice, it is injustice — Thank you, Europe. Through one administrative decision you have already managed to rattle Israel’s insufferable complacency. With one administrative decision, necessitated by the situation and without a doubt correct, you have already undermined Israel’s arrogance and conceit, which are responsible for the view that the stance of the entire world simply does not matter to this country … after the wave of arrogant pronouncements about how Europe is not going to dictate to us subsides; after the grotesque calls to bar the EU from providing assistance to the Palestinians; and the childish argument that things are worse in Syria — and, the most ludicrous excuse of all, that the European decision is disrupting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to restart peace negotiations; after all this froth dissipates, Israel will be left to its fate facing the mirror that Europe has placed before it. The country finds itself at a critical juncture over whether to continue to maintain the occupation and pay the unbearable price, or whether to end the occupation, albeit outrageously late, and return Israel to the family of nations as a member in good standing.
Watch: Ali Abunimah, Guardian’s Ian Black and Israeli settler debate EU settlement rule
Electronic Intifada 18 July — What will new EU guidelines that ban funding of Israeli institutions operating inside the occupied Palestinian territories really mean? Ali Abunimah appeared on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story on 17 July to discuss the question along with the Guardian’s Ian Black and Yishai Fleisher, an Israeli settler living in an illegal colony in eastern occupied Jerusalem. “The settlements are war crimes, people who aid and abet the settlements are and should be treated as war criminals. In that context, this European move is very small, very little and very late,” Abunimah said.
Why boycott can’t be limited only to Israeli occupation and settlements
Electronic Intifada 17 July by Andrew Kadi — Israeli columnist Gideon Levy has been writing for Haaretz for at least two decades. His writings have brilliantly illuminated the reality of Israeli apartheid, as it affects Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinians living in the Gaza Stip, as well as in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank. Levy describes himself as writing to “(re)humanize the Palestinians,” and focus on how they are treated by Israel. Yet when it comes to the campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel called for by more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, he has on numerous occasions explained why he does not support the movement.
Why a ‘Palestinian Gandhi’ has never emerged – and probably never will
Haaretz 15 July by Amira Hass – The fact that the Palestinians who opt for a non-violent struggle are detained, arrested and injured, that they choke on tear gas and regularly risk their lives, still does not give them the aura and fame accorded to those who had taken up weapons — Several masked men marched through the center of Ramallah early last week and called for the launch of a third intifada. Hidden faces radiate tremendous power: whether they are those of soldiers wearing black ski masks when they burst into bedrooms in the middle of the night, guns drawn; whether they are those of young men with only their eyes visible through their keffiyehs, carrying slingshots; or whether they are the faces of young settlers who, in their snow-white Shabbat clothes, venture out especially on the holy day to conduct holy wars against the goyim – shepherds and farmers. This is also a way to tell the history of this place: three conflicting and interwoven styles of face covering, concealment, separation, anonymity, intimidation and fear. The fearful one learns how to intimidate, and the intimidated one takes refuge in instilling fear.
Planning, construction in West Bank is a free-for-all, state comptroller finds
Haaretz 17 July by Chaim Levinson — The prevailing atmosphere when it comes to planning and construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank is “everyone does as he sees fit,” State Comptroller Joseph Shapira wrote in his report about defense issues published Wednesday. The report contains a special section dedicated to the West Bank, in which the comptroller accuses the Civil Administration of failing to enforce planning laws, due to fear of the anticipated reaction from settlers. Civil Administration “inspectors are likely to encounter stiff opposition from settlers of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] if they enforce the laws,” the report notes. One of the chapters of the state comptroller’s report concerns criminal law enforcement. Unlike in Israel, in the West Bank there is no criminal law enforcement when it comes to violations of planning and construction. Instead there are administrative procedures for demolition, which are rarely implemented. According to the report, the Israel Police and Civil Administration inspectors refuse to take action against offenders in the West Bank who violate planning or construction laws. In private meetings, the Israel Police has argued that such action is not in its jurisdiction, adding that throughout Israel municipalities investigate suspected building violations and, when necessary, file indictments against the offenders.
Third interview with Ilan Pappé: All international activists that come to Palestine should be VIPs – they should Visit, they should Inform, and they should Protest
Haifa (ISM) posted on 18 July –…Activists from the International Solidarity Movement had the opportunity to talk to Professor Pappé about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Israeli politics and society and the role of the international community and solidarity activists in Palestine, resulting in a three part series of interviews which will be released on the ISM website in the coming weeks. This is the final section; the role international community and solidarity activism in Palestine. Find part one on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine here and part two on Israeli society and politics here. International Solidarity Movement: If, as you said in the previous interview (Israeli politics & society), support from the European Union (EU) and the USA is not going to stop, what could the international community do or what should change in order to force Israel to implement and respect international standards? Ilan Pappé: We need a European spring. In the sense that we all know that if the European political leaders would only reflect what the European people want, the policy of European countries would be much tougher on Israel.