Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
PM appeases right with territories construction
Globes 31 July — Ma’ariv: Netanyahu let Housing Minister Uri Ariel build in Judea and Samaria in exchange for releasing Palestinian prisoners — Although the government’s decision to release 104 security prisoners ahead of the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians was resentfully accepted by Habayit Hayehudi, behind the party’s decision to stay in the coalition, despite bitter objections by its members, is an agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel. Hebrew daily Ma’ariv reports that, under the agreement, Israel will unfreeze building plans for thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria in exchange for keeping Habayit Hayehudi in the coalition. According to Ma’ariv. top sources in Habayit Hayehudi said that Netanyahu and Ariel had a secret dialogue through sealed envelopes. In this dialogue, they agreed to unfreeze building plans for projects, mainly in settlement blocs and in Jerusalem, in exchange for the decision to release the Palestinian terrorists getting through the coalition and the government.
West Bank water shortage forcing Palestinians to lease land from settlers
Haaretz 2 Aug by Amira Hass — Shortage of water and agricultural land in area leads local farmers into embarrassing predicament. — Settlers in the Jordan Valley are leasing some of their land to local Palestinians and to Israeli citizens, but both sides prefer to keep the matter a secret. Official Israeli sources say they know nothing about the matter, and in any case it is not common and there are only a few marginal cases involved. The Palestinians are forced to lease the land from the settlers because of a shortage of land and water, which Israeli policy in the Jordan Valley has brought on, and because of limitations placed on the marketing of their produce … such leasing is embarrassing for the Palestinians since the farmed land is land Israel confiscated through various means from Palestinian communities and residents, then allocated it to settlers in the Jordan Valley.
IOA seeks to evict 1,300 Palestinians from Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 1 Aug — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) are working to evict 1,300 Palestinians from their villages in al-Khalil in the southern West Bank, under the pretext of conducting military training. “The state wants to evict 1,300 Palestinians from their homes in an army firing zone in the West Bank in part because training there saves the Israel Defense Forces time and money”, Haaretz newspaper stated, adding that settlers in the Israeli random settlements in the area will not be evicted. The Israeli General Prosecutor introduced papers to the Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday issuing the displacement of some 1300 Palestinians living in “the shooting area 918” in south Mount Hebron will save sources and time.
Haaretz editorial: The army’s precious time
2 Aug — The IDF’s time is invaluable, but it is intolerable to believe that this is the reason 1,300 people will be evicted from their homes and cut off from their livelihoods … In the eyes of the state, the IDF’s time is more precious than the fate of hundreds of residents who have lived in the area for generations. But it turns out that it is not valuable enough to consider evicting the residents of the settlements in the same area, some of which are patently illegal. No one is even considering evicting the residents of the Lucifer Farm, Susya, the Maon Farm or Mitzpeh Yair, which all border Firing Zone 918. The travel time of the soldiers is not important enough to evict those who settled in this region long after the Palestinians, while violating the law and stealing their neighbors land.
IOA to raze 50-year-old Jerusalem stores
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 Aug — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) decided to raze 20 shops owned by Palestinian Jerusalemites at the entrance to Shu‘fat refugee camp. The Israeli higher court endorsed the decision at the request of the Israeli army at the pretext of security requirements to expand the military passage in the separation wall. One of the Dajani family members, who own the shops, told the PIC that the warehouses were built in 1963 that is 50 years ago over an 11 dunums area … He said that the decision followed a six-year court struggle during which the family suffered huge financial losses. He said that the Israeli army seized seven dunums during the construction of the separation wall to open passages, build rooms, cabins and others.
Israel refuses to freeze Jerusalem home eviction
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The absentee properties office in Israel refused Thursday to freeze the evacuation order of a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem, locals said. Karim Siam, a member of Siam family who got the evacuation order, said that his lawyer informed him that the absentee properties office refused to freeze the evacuation order. The office asked the family to pay 40,000 shekels in rent value to freeze the order. Siam explained that the office told his lawyer to appeal the decision from Aug. 1, 2013 within 45 days. He said that if he did not pay the money, the order would be carried out and the house evacuated. Jerusalem Gov. Adnan al-Hussini has pledged to put up half the money, Siam said. In July, after a six year legal battle to prove ownership of the property, an Israeli court decision ruled that the house is absentee property and ordered the Siam family to leave the premises by the end of July.
Israeli plan to build new Jewish neighborhood near Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 July — The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said that the Israeli government intends to build a settlement outpost and a synagogue to the northeast of the Aqsa Mosque. The Aqsa foundation stated on Tuesday that the Israeli plan includes the building of a Jewish neighborhood of 21 housing units and a synagogue within the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, specifically near Al-Sahera Gate in Burj Al-Laqlaq area. It warned that Uri Ariel, the Israeli housing minister, is seeking to speed up this plan, which will contribute to the Judaization of Jerusalem, especially the vicinity of the Aqsa Mosque.
Jordan Valley villagers asked to recognize Israeli or face displacement
TUBAS (PIC) 1 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) threatened to demolish Palestinian homes in Jordan Valley, particularly in Yarza area and on the outskirts of Tubas, unless the Bedouin residents recognize in writing that Israel owns their lands. Some of the residents were handed written warnings and others were verbally notified about the Israeli army’s intention to evacuate their villages by force and knock down their homes.
Restriction of movement
Elderly woman dies after ambulance is detained by Israeli soldiers
MEMO 2 Aug — An elderly Palestinian woman has died after the ambulance taking her to hospital was detained by Israeli soldiers in Hebron. Seventy-one year old Amena Abed Rabbo’s health deteriorated rapidly due to the stress of the detention, it is believed. The coordinator of the Commission for Youth against Settlement, Issa Amr, told local media sources that the pensioner was being taken to a hospital in Tel Rumeida in the city when the soldiers stopped the ambulance. He called her death “martyrdom” at the hands of the occupation forces.
Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
PCHR Weekly Report: 9 civilians wounded, 26 abducted in 51 Israeli invasions this week
2 Aug — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 25 – 31 July 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued to fire at Palestinian civilians in border areas in the Gaza Strip, wounding 2 Palestinian civilians. 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the West Bank during Israeli incursions, and 2 Palestinian civilians, including a B’Tselem volunteer, were wounded by Israeli forces during non-violent demonstrations. Full Report
Israel defends detention of 5-year-old Palestinian boy
Forward < Haaretz 31 July by Gili Cohen — Army Insists West Bank Child Posed ‘Threat’ — The Israel Defense Forces’ detention of a five-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron earlier this month was a legitimate step in order to “thwart the threat posed by the activities of a minor,” the IDF’s legal adviser in the West Bank has ruled. Earlier in July, IDF soldiers were videotaped detaining five-year-old Wa’adi Maswada and his father in Hebron, after the boy allegedly threw a stone at an Israeli car. The IDF opened an investigation into the incident following a demand by the Israeli human rights watchdog B’Tselem.
Updated: ‘Day of rage’ against Prawer Plan met with violent repression and over ten arrests
ISM 2 Aug by Ramallah Team — Update 2nd August: The Palestinian activist arrested at the protest near Hizma checkpoint has been released after paying 3000NIS. All arrestees at the demonstration in Wadi ‘Ara have also been released but will have to be under house arrest for three days — On August 1st, ‘day of rage’, thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the ethnic cleansing of a conservative estimate of 40,000 Bedouins from the Naqab; the so called Prawer Plan. The demonstration organized in the Naqab itself took place in the South Rahat Junction “Lehavim”. The start of the protest, which was scheduled for 4pm, was delayed, after police blocked several roads leading to the demonstration and alternative routes had to be found. In the end over 1500 people from all over historic Palestine and international activists managed to assemble and voice their anger against the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of over 35 villages in the Naqab region. Strong slogans asking for a stop to the ethnic cleansing, a change to the Prawer Plan and freedom for the Naqab and Palestine were chanted. The protest was heavily policed, with over 200 police officers, several of them on horseback. Even though the protest was conducted peacefully, two minors, Hisham A’mor and Khaled Nasasra, were arrested and released this morning. In Wadi ‘Ara, Haifa District, the demonstration took place at the A’ra-A’ra’ra intersection with around 1500 participants. Israeli forces beat protesters and used teargas against them. Eleven people were arrested and will probably have the court hearing today in Haifa.
Video: Israeli police attacking journalists near Hezma checkpoint North Jerusalem
By Maaz Meshaal معاذ مشعل — Israeli Police Attacking The Journalists Near Hezma Check Point North Jerusalem and trying to prevent them from the shooting what’s going on. This demonstration was organized by Palestinian activists against “Braver” [Prawer] plan in Negev Desert that will force the Palestinians who lived there since decades to leave their own lands.
Army attacks nonviolent protesters in Jerusalem
IMEMC 2 Aug — [Thursday evening August 1, 2013] Israeli soldiers and police officers attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters nonviolently marching in occupied East Jerusalem against the Prawer Negev displacement plan. The protesters carried Palestinian flags, signs denouncing the plan and Israel’s policies against the Arabs and Palestinians in the country, and chanted against the Prawer plan. Local sources have reported that the army and police used excessive force against the nonviolent protesters and struck them with batons before throwing concussion grenades at them. Several protesters suffered cuts and bruises to various part of their bodies, and received the needed medical treatment. The soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians in Nablus Street and Bab Al-‘Amoud in East Jerusalem, and violently attacked them.
Hundreds rally in Negev against Israel plan to displace Bedouins
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 1 Aug – Hundreds of Palestinian residents of Israel rallied Thursday afternoon against Israel’s Prawer Plan which could displace thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev from their land. The protestors gathered near al-Araqib village where Israeli forces have demolished tents and tin-roofed houses more than 50 times. A Ma‘an reporter in the Negev said Israeli police deployed heavily in the area trying to prevent demonstrators from reaching the main road. Protestors chanted slogans against “the racist plan” as they waved Palestinian flags.
The reporter added that hundreds of displaced Bedouins started to return to their villages early Thursday morning. Former Arab member of Knesset Talab al-Sani said Israeli police behaved in a provocative way and prevented demonstrators from accessing the village. Solidarity activists, locals and internationals, have helped residents of al-Arakib rebuild their tents and movable houses every time Israeli forces demolished the village.
Several Palestinians injured near Hebron
IMEMC 1 Aug — Palestinian medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported Thursday [August 1, 2013] that several Palestinians have been injured, and one has been kidnapped, after Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked a funeral procession in Beit Ummar town, north of the city. Media spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that a number of settlers attacked a funeral procession in the town, as they were leaving a local graveyard, and also attacked a local reporter identified as Nayef al-Hashlamon. Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and attacked the Palestinians instead of removing the settlers. Awad also stated that he was also attacked by a settler woman who tried to slap him in the face as he tried to take pictures of the attack, and that the soldiers pushed him around causing his camera to drop, and kidnapped one youth identified as Ahmad Younis Al-Allami, 23, after violently beating him. There have been numerous incidents of similar attacks against locals participating in burial ceremonies and funeral processions in Hebron leading to dozens of injuries and several arrests.
IOF launches military exercises in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 1 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched military exercises in Ya‘bad valley to the south of Jenin on Wednesday night. Eyewitnesses said that paratroopers were dropped over the valley and near a Jewish settlement as part of the maneuvers. They said that the soldiers fired flare bombs and live ammunition in the process. The maneuvers coincided with a roadblock along the Ya‘bad-Jenin road that searched all passing vehicles.
Ni‘lin continues resisting on the five-year anniversary of the killings of Ahmed Mousa and Youssef Amirah
Ni‘lin, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 2 Aug by Ramallah Team — Israeli army represses demonstration in Ni‘lin as it marks the five year anniversary of the murder of ten-year-old Ahmed Mousa and seventeen-year-old Youssef Amirah. Demonstrators remain defiant after five years of stolen land, illegal settlements and brutal killings of five members of the village and countless injuries.
Photo Essay: Ongoing resistance in Bil‘in
Bil‘in, Occupied Palestine (Friends of Freedom and Justice) 2 Aug — Dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists participated at today’s demonstration against the apartheid wall and land annexation organised by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in. The demonstration was dedicated to the Palestinian Bedouins in Al Nakab and to the international day of Jerusalem.
Settlers attack farmer, kill sheep in ‘Aqraba
‘Aqraba, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 2 Aug by Nablus Team — At 530pm on July 30th three settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar violently attacked a farmer from the village of Aqraba, south east of Nablus. Four farmers from the village had spent the day grazing their more than 500 sheep on land belonging to the village, near to the settler-only road dividing Aqraba. Ahmed Yousef Banijaber, one of the four farmers, was walking along a narrow dirt road with his sheep when he came face to face with three settlers in an outdoor utility vehicle. The settlers grabbed him and tried to pull him towards the vehicle at which point Ahmed pushed them away. One settler then brandished a gun and began to shoot at Ahmed as he took cover behind an olive tree. The other three farmers nearby hearing the attack then ran to Ahmed’s aid. The settlers then attempted to drive away quickly from the scene and in doing so deliberately ran over some of Ahmed’s sheep, killing two and seriously injuring another.
Settlers attack workers, cars in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 31 July– A group of settlers attacked Palestinian workers in a Nablus village on Wednesday, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that 15 settlers from the illegal Yizhar settlement attacked laborers in the village of Asira al-Qibliya. The group of twenty workers were building a water tank near the village when they were attacked. Settlers also tried to destroy the water tank, saying it was too close to their settlement, Daghlas said. On Tuesday, settlers from Yizhar attacked over 15 Palestinian cars at a junction by the illegal settlement, throwing glass bottles and rocks at vehicles.
SWAT for settlers
TEL AVIV, Israel (Foreign Policy) 31 July by Debra Kamin — TEL AVIV, Israel — Naomi and David Kaplan live with their five children in Bat Ayin, a pinpoint-sized, fenced-off settlement [part of the Gush Etzon bloc] in the West Bank of Israel. Their village has around 150 families, most of whom are religious Jews … The couple, American immigrants from Texas, are among a growing number of Israeli settlers who are arming themselves — a response, they say, to a swell of Palestinian violence that the Israeli government either cannot or will not protect them from. David carries a Steyr pistol; Naomi carries a Glock 19 … The Israeli government — faced with mounting international pressure and assisted by close cooperation with Palestinian Authority security forces — has been quietly scaling back its presence in the areas it conquered from Jordan in 1967. Dozens of Israeli military checkpoints have been shuttered, and troop levels in the area have been cut to their lowest number in 10 years. At the same time, settlement construction is at a seven-year high. There are now more Jews than ever in the West Bank, and as the soldiers’ numbers dwindle, these Israelis are increasingly on edge.
Video showing Israeli soldier violently attacking Palestinian workers
MEMO 31 July — Israeli TV channel 10 broadcasted on Tuesday a video showing an Israeli soldier violently attacking Palestinian workers without any reason. The video shows the Israeli soldier out of duty driving his car. He stopped in a place where there were a number of Palestinian workers near an Israeli settlement. He opened his car’s boot and took an M16 rifle from it and violently attacked the workers one by one. The TV said that the length of the raw video is 10 minutes, but did not reveal how it got it, describing the attack as “unrestricted violence.” According to the TV, a number of the workers filed a complaint against the soldiers, who was later on convicted and sentenced for “only two months.”
IOF soldiers detain five citizens in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 31 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested five Palestinians, including three teenagers, in Al-Khalil at dawn Wednesday. Palestinian security sources said that IOF soldiers arrested three Palestinian teenagers in ‘Arub refugee camp and took them to Etzion detention center after searching their homes. They said that other soldiers stormed Yatta town and searched a number of homes before arresting Ibrahim Makhamra.
IOF soldiers round up three Palestinians
RAMALLAH (PIC) 1 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) accompanied by Israeli intelligence agents stormed El-Bireh city and occupied Jerusalem at dawn Thursday and nabbed three young men. Local sources said that IOF soldiers broke in to the home of martyr Hassanein Rummane in El-Bireh and took away his son Hamdy.
Two other young men, Omar Abu Ziyad and Ali Firoun, were nabbed in Alezariya town to the east of occupied Jerusalem.
Palestinian man arrested at Karame crossing
JENIN (PIC) 1 Aug — A 35-year-old Palestinian man was arrested while trying to travel to Jordan via the Karame crossing on Wednesday evening, locals at his Jenin village said on Thursday. They said that Mohammed Amarne from Zibde village near Jenin city was detained for a few hours at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces manning the Karame crossing. He was then told that he was wanted for the Israeli intelligence, the sources said, adding that the soldiers took him to an unknown detention center.
Israeli intelligence exploits crossings and roadblocks as a “trap” to detain and blackmail Palestinian citizens, human rights reports said.
PA security forces kidnap three citizens, summon three others in W. Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 1 Aug — The Palestinian authority security forces kidnapped three citizens and summoned three others for interrogation at the pretext of their affiliation with the Hamas Movement. In Bethlehem, the PA intelligence agency kidnapped a young man named Mohamed Adawi from his home in Beit Jala. He is a former political detainee. In Jenin, the PA preventive security agency kidnapped an ex-detainee named Adnan Khaled, from Burqin town, immediately after he finished night prayers at a mosque. Adnan had been arrested several times by the PA security agencies because of his political affiliation and he is also banned from having public jobs. The PA preventive security agency also arrested As‘aad Ziyad, from Allar town in Tulkarem. He had been detained by the PA and Israeli security forces several times before.Three other citizens were also summoned for interrogation by the PA security apparatuses in different West Bank areas. All of them were former prisoners either in PA or Israeli jails.
Blockaded Gaza (see also Analysis/Opinion section)
Awad, 19, wounded by Israeli fire while gathering firewood
Gaza (ISM) 31 July by Rosa Schiano — On Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2013, a 19 year old, Rafat Awad Abdel Aty was injured while working in an area called ‘Jamarik’ near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Awad, who was admitted to the Kamal Odwan hospital, told us that he was collecting firewood to be sold at about 500 meters from the separation barrier with Israel. “At about 14:00 I suddenly heard a shot,” said Awad. A bullet went through Awad’s right leg, and several fragments of bullet injured his lower limb and his chest. The bullet that entered and exited from the leg, then exploded from the impact on the ground, causing more injuries from the shrapnel that flew back up. “Some people tried to reach me but the soldiers shouted at them to go back,” said Awad, who was finally transported by ambulance to Beit Hanoun hospital and later transferred to the Kamal Odwan hospital.
Commentary: Gaza depressed about Egypt
Al-Ahram 2 Aug — Palestinians in Gaza are largely despondent over recent developments in Egypt, particularly as catchall accusations on alleged terrorism fly, Rana Baker writes —
Potatoes from Gaza denied entry into Jordan
MEMO 2 Aug — Two truckloads of potatoes from the Gaza Strip have been denied entry into Jordan on the grounds that the territory “does not produce potatoes”. Exporter Samir Zaqout said that the potatoes went smoothly from the Gaza Strip through Israel to the West Bank and the King Hussein Bridge. It was there that the Jordanian authorities refused to let them enter on the grounds that the Gaza Strip is not registered in its records as an exporter of potatoes. “We were surprised by the Jordanian decision, especially because Israeli approval took such a long time and very specific conditions were met and safety checks were made,” said Zaqout … His company will lose about 60-65,000 shekels (around $18,000) as a result of Jordan’s refusal to import the potatoes. “We were optimistic when the Israelis allowed us to export some of our potato crop, and we hoped that this would help us make up for the losses we had in the past years, but it has turned into a nightmare.”
Gaza’s Ark: A bid to break Israel’s blockade . . . from within
GAZA CITY (AFP) 1 Aug — Palestinian labourers and foreign activists are working tirelessly to transform a large fishing boat into “Gaza’s Ark” with the aim of exporting local produce in the latest bid to break Israel’s blockade on the coastal strip. The Ark, which is being fitted out to carry goods and more than 100 passengers, is near completion and is expected to set sail for Europe in the latest high-profile attempt to challenge Israel’s maritime lockdown on the tiny Hamas-run territory. If they are successful, this will be the first time goods from Gaza have been exported by sea since the signing of the 1994 Oslo Peace Accords.
Journalists rally against Gaza crackdown
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Palestinian journalists joined a sit-in strike near Ramallah on Thursday protesting a decision by the Hamas-run government in Gaza to close media offices of Ma’an Network, Al Arabiya and others. The protesters, among them Palestinian politicians and dignitaries, urged the Hamas government to reopen all the media offices it closed, and to end a ban on the entry of three major Palestinian newspapers. The protest was organized and called by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the main press union in Palestine.
Thousands of Palestinians rally in Gaza to mark Quds Day
PressTV 2 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets in the besieged Gaza Strip to mark the International Quds Day and demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. Quds Day is held annually on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan during which demonstrators call for al-Quds (Jerusalem) to be returned to the Palestinians. Muslims in more than 80 countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and Indonesia, have also marked the pro-Palestinian occasion. In Iran, millions of people took to the streets across the country on Quds Day to express their anger at Israeli policies towards Palestinians and call for the liberation of Palestine.
In Gaza, Iran finds an ally more agreeable than Hamas
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (NYTimes) 31 July by Fares Akram — The oil, sugar, pasta and other staples looked innocuous enough as dozens of young Palestinian volunteers, sweating in the heat at a warehouse here, packed them into cartons destined for Gaza’s poor during the holy month of Ramadan. But in Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamic militant group Hamas, almost everything has a political flavor. The food boxes bore the logo of Islamic Jihad and the Iranian flag alongside the Palestinian one. Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed extremist militant group, often challenges the larger Hamas. Organizers at the packaging center said that the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, a Beirut-based Iranian charity, was financing the $2 million food aid project. Islamic Jihad has been granted the honors of distributing the 40,000 parcels, giving it a boost at a delicate time when Hamas is struggling to cope with a shifting regional landscape.
Gaza youth clubs seek better life for members
Al-Monitor 31 July by Asmaa al-Ghoul — “Faragh” (meaning ‘leisure time’) is a group of young Palestinian people, who gather regularly on a plot of land in front of al-Nasser al-Arabi Club in the al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza. They discuss religion, politics, music and philosophy. Quite often, they are the only ones sitting in this area on a few modest chairs — a scene that signifies their modest lives. They like to call themselves the hard-working class … According to Ahmed Shehada, 25, their group seeks to have an intellectual influence on society. That is why they started a Facebook page to discuss the latest events, and most recently the crisis in Egypt. Shehada added that what distinguishes their generation from previous ones is that they have access to a tremendous amount of knowledge from sources that were not available before, which would allow their generation to rule the Arab region in less than a decade.
Prisoner has son in second sperm-smuggling birth
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 31 July — Abdul Kareem al-Rimawi became a father for the first time on Wednesday, despite currently serving a 25-year jail sentence in an Israeli prison. His wife Lida, 34, gave birth to a healthy baby boy weighing 2.8 kg at the Razan Medical Center in Nablus. Majd was conceived at the Razan clinic by IVF using sperm smuggled from her jailed husband, in the second such birth of its kind. Al-Rimawi has spent 12 years in jail, and will be imprisoned until 2026.
There are currently 16 women who have become pregnant by smuggling their husband’s sperm from Israeli jails, medical sources told Ma‘an.
Anti-Palestinian group to ‘monitor’ boycott activists on campus
Electronic Intifada 1 Aug by Ali Abunimah — SPME website urges anti-Palestinian activists to ‘Report BDS Activity at Your School’ — A group that works against Palestinian rights plans to increase its surveillance on American campuses in an effort to remove the “element of surprise” that it says has contributed to the growing success of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a decade-old group supported by leading anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic funders and figures, announced in a 29 July email to supporters that it had launched a new initiative called “BDS Monitor.” Alex Joffe, who “has been affiliated with the Middle East Forum,” the outfit of Daniel Pipes, will head the initiative, the email states.
Delta Air Lines drops Israeli settlement snack from onboard meals
Electronic Intifada 2 Aug by Adri Nieuwhof — Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s largest carriers, will stop serving snacks manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on its flights from Tel Aviv. Who Profits, a research project of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, learned that Delta Air Lines will stop serving the Ahva Vanilla Halva bar, three weeks after a customer filed a complaint with the company’s legal department…
The Ahva Vanilla Halva bar is produced by Ahdut Factory for Tehina Halva and Sweets. The company has a factory and its main offices in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the occupied West Bank, writes Who Profits in a 31 July email. Ahdut further profits from Israel’s settlement enterprise by running another production site in the industrial zone of Ariel West, also in the occupied West Bank.
Political and other news
In photos: Ramadan in Jerusalem
Electronic Intifada 1 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — The month of Ramadan is well underway and Instagram user @zalameh (@BDS4Justice on Twitter), a resident of Jerusalem, is documenting how Palestinians are observing and celebrating. Below are a selection of his beautiful photographs (find many more on his Instagram account) and his own description of Jerusalem during Ramadan:
Source: The arrest of intelligence officer in Gaza led to Fatah-PA documents
GAZA (PIC) 31 July — The released documents which revealed the engagement of a Fatah-affiliated security cell in the incitement campaign in Egypt against Hamas and Gaza were extracted from a notebook computer owned by a Palestinian authority intelligence officer who were arrested lately, according to a senior security source in Gaza. The security source told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the Palestinian security forces in Gaza detained a few days ago a PA intelligence officer named Mohamed Abu Diya after his return to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing and confiscated his laptop. He affirmed that the technical unit of the interior ministry was able to retrieve the documents from the laptop, adding that the documents consist of a large number of correspondence letters exposing the role of the cell that kept inciting against Hamas and Gaza during the last period.
Fatah dismisses papers that describe plot against Hamas
IMEMC 31 July by by Ida Vanhainen — The two documents allegedly written by Fatah that describe a plot against the Hamas party were dismissed today as fabrications by members of Fatah’s revolutionary council. On Tuesday, Hamas members attended a conference concerning the documents that they allege were sent by Fatah to the media and security attachés at the Palestinian embassy in Cairo. According to Al-Jazeera the documents called for “[the] fabrication of news that would embarrass Hamas,” as well as efforts to link Hamas to the recent violence in Egypt. Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel said that the documents “urge hatred, not only against Gaza or Hamas, but against the Palestinian people”.
Israel to retain 85% of settlement blocs, Kerry reportedly says
WASHINGTON (Ynet) 1 Aug by Orly Azoulay – Secretary of State John Kerry estimated in conversations with Congressmen that Israel will retain 85% of the settlement blocs in a future peace deal, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. According to the report, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators who recently met in Washington to discuss timetables for negotiations, also discussed the fate of West Bank settlements and the possibility of land swaps
Palestinian flag in Knesset: ‘Abbas wants peace’
Ynet 31 July by Elior Levy — Palestinian officials met with ministers, MKs who support resolution of Israeli – Palestinian conflict. Event attended by ministers German, Peretz; Palestinian flag placed alongside Israeli flag. ‘Let’s hope that in future these flags flying side-by-side will be natural, normal’
Young Palestinian violinists to play at London Proms
[with video] Electronic Intifada 31 July by Sarah Irving — The Palestine Strings, a group of young musicians formed in 2009 and based at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) in Jerusalem, will be playing alongside top violinist Nigel Kennedy at the Proms in August. The ESNCM is Palestine’s national training and performance center for classical music and, as well as its recently-opened headquarters in Jerusalem, has facilities in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem. It provides a home for the Palestine National Orchestra, as well as several youth orchestras and specialist musical groups.
Palestine-themed book award shortlist announced
Electronic Intifada 2 Aug by Sarah Irving — Middle East Monitor announced yesterday the shortlist for its annual MEMO Palestine Books Awards. According to the London-based organization, the awards, which are in their second year, are intended to “honor and promote the best books written in English on the subject of Palestine.” The idea is to promote existing books on Palestine as well as to encourage new writers to write about this sensitive but important topic drawing attention to a cause that is at the heart of the conflict raging in the Middle East.” As such, the award is an extension of Middle East Monitor’s remit of not only scrutinizing media coverage of the Middle East, but providing and promoting informed comment on the region — including Palestine — and challenging misreporting. Announced in alphabetical order, the shortlist comprises:
Word of the day: Bnei dodim: Not kissing cousins
Haaretz 2 Aug by Dov Victor – “Bnei dodim” means “cousins,” but not of the kissing kind when used by Jewish Israelis to refer to Arabs. Using “bnei dodim” as a slang term goes back to the early waves of Jewish immigration, if not earlier. Possibly coined as something of a euphemism, it has long been used in the pejorative sense and almost strictly in the third person, or as a way around calling Arabs, well, Arabs. It is based on the premise that both nations share lines of ancestry going back to Abraham – Arabs through his son Ishmael and Jews through Isaac. Sometimes used in reference to Arabs throughout the Middle East, the term in this context tends to more usually to refer to the local Arab population, in part or in its entirety. When addressing mixed audiences, leaders and politicians like to point out the shared blood ties between the two peoples. But referring to one another as “cousins” invariably lacks political correctness. [It is to be noted that Palestinians frequently refer to Jewish Israelis as “the cousins,” also. Who did this first?]
Barcelona heading to Israel, West Bank
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) 2 Aug — Barcelona will take a break from its regular preseason soccer schedule to visit Israel and the West Bank this weekend on a two-day “Peace Tour.” The Spanish champions are to arrive in Israel on Saturday afternoon, hours after playing an exhibition game the night before at home against the Brazilian club Santos. Lionel Messi and newly signed Neymar are expected to be among the players who will lead two soccer clinics with local children. When the trip was first announced in February, Barcelona chairman Sandro Rosell said he hoped to center events around a match between Barcelona and a mixed Israeli-Palestinian team. But the proposed game was canceled after objections by Palestinian Football Association chairman Jibril Rajoub. Instead, the team will hold workshops with Israeli and Palestinian children as well as meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.
Knesset passes governance bill to MKs’ silent protest
Ynet 31 July by Attila Somfalvi — Left, Arab, haredi MKs stand in silent protest against bill, which seeks to raise election threshold to 4%. MK Gal-On weeps at podium, MK Tibi turns back on plenum in protest
Gal-On: Governance bill aims to silence ideological parties
Ynet 1 Aug by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — Meretz chairwoman continues to criticize governance bill passed by Knesset, says it creates ‘terrible sense of tyranny, has nothing to do with governance whatsoever’. MK Tibi says bill attempts to throw Arabs, haredim out of Knesset
World Bank announces $5M grant for social services
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 1 Aug — World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved on Wednesday additional financing of $5 million to an ongoing project to support Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in delivering social services, said press release on Thursday. Sima Kanaan, Lead Social Development Specialist said that “The project will provide social services to poor and marginalized communities, with a particular focus on women and youth and will strengthen good governance for NGOs.” … With the additional financing, the World Bank Group support of the institutional development of the Palestinian NGO sector totals $38 million, the release said.
Analysis / Opinion
Hated in Egypt: How the Palestinian bogeyman surfaced like never before / Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle 30 July — When I left Gaza for the first time on my own, twenty some years ago, I was warned of a notorious officer who headed Egypt’s State Security Intelligence at the Rafah border. He “hates Palestinians,” I was told … the officer also hated any reference to Islam, even the very greeting. When I entered the mukhabrat office, I was startled by his presence. He was a very large, clean-shaven man who wore a tie so tight that his face and neck seemed as though they were about to burst. I was 18 and had never travelled on my own before. His angry look caused me to panic and therefore I forgot everything I was told. “Assalamu Alaikum,” I said, with a shattered voice that was hardly audible. All the stories I had previously heard about the anti-Palestinian sentiment within Egypt’s governmental institutions suddenly became real, and humiliatingly so. The insults he hurled at me on that day were many and very explicit. I pleaded with him to allow me access to Egypt, for my future was on the line. He finally agreed on the condition that I would re-enter his office, and rectify my original sin. This time I was careful to say ‘Marhaba’ and not ‘assalamu alaikum’. Two months later, I was deported back to Gaza with Israeli intelligence waiting to interrogate me at the Gaza side of the border …
But the anti-Palestinian sentiment in Egypt is no laughing matter. Many Egyptian media commentators, known for their affiliation with the state, are having unlimited space to renew their hate-filled campaigns by unabashedly inciting violence against Palestinians. A fascist-like discourse has been brewing for years, but has morphed into ways unprecedented since the coup against President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military on July 3. Among all the pretenses that the military junta could have conjured up, they chose to imprison Morsi for ‘links’ with the Palestinian movement Hamas. The leveling of such an accusation is quite telling. Gone are the days where Arab leaders were condemned for their ties with Israel, or affiliation with this western intelligence or that. The fact that Egyptian media and commentators would repeat the ‘accusation’ without any one raising the question “so what?”, is equally expressive of the state of political degeneration that exists in Egypt today. But this is hardly new and is barely a Hamas-related matter.
Hamas goes on offensive against Egyptian media / Hazem Balousha
Al-Monitor 29 July — The Egyptian crisis is having negative political and economic effects on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. After initially maintaining silence, Hamas last week moved to close the Gaza offices of Ma’an News Agency and Al Arabiya. Hamas accused some Palestinian media outlets of behaving like some Egyptian media outlets and “fabricating” stories about Hamas’ relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its interference in Egyptian affairs, both politically and on the ground … Al-Monitor met with a Hamas official who said on condition of anonymity, “The Egyptian media campaign against Hamas and the Gaza Strip must be confronted. So the movement’s political and media leadership has decided to counter all those who seek to spread news that affect the movement and its prestige in the Gaza Strip.” … These events coincided with Hamas’ launch of a media campaign against Fatah, accusing it of supplying Egyptian and Palestinian media with false documents and information to tarnish Hamas’ image by exploiting the problems witnessed by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The silence on Gaza / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 31 July — The crisis in Gaza doesn’t interest anyone when they can’t blame Israel –Gaza is under closure again. If, until recently, it seemed to the leaders of Hamas both in Gaza and on the outside that after seven years of a suffocating siege, all their troubles were about to disappear, they are now seeing their world turning against them. Just a few months ago, the members of the organization were speaking rather seriously about how they managed to break through the barriers to receive international legitimacy, and how, very soon, they would be conducting a normal foreign policy, just like all the nations of the world. There were even those who tried to persuade Europe and the United State to remove Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations and to treat its government as the official representative of the people living in the Gaza Strip. Then the skies came crashing down on them. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was deposed, and Hamas was pilloried along with him. Egypt’s new regime considers Hamas an enemy.
Israeli army recruitment plan aims to incite Christian-Muslim tensions / Jonathan Cook
Nazareth (Electronic Intifada) 31 July — Leaders of Israel’s Palestinian minority have accused the Israeli authorities of intensifying efforts to push Christian and Muslim communities into conflict, as part of a long-running divide-and-rule strategy towards the country’s Palestinian citizens. The allegations have been prompted by a series of initiatives to pressure Christian school-leavers into the army, breaking the community’s blanket rejection of the Israel army draft for the past 65 years. Leaders from the Palestinian community, Christian and Muslim, who have spoken against this new enlistment effort have been called in for investigation by Israel’s secret police. In an Orwellian inversion, they have been accused of “incitement to violence.” The issue first came to prominence last October when the defense ministry quietly staged a conference close to Nazareth, the effective capital of Palestinians in Israel, to promote military service among Christians. The participation of three local clergymen in the conference sent shock waves through the Muslim and Christian communities.
Why is Israel trying to push Bedouins off their traditional lands? / Peter Larson
Embassy 31 July — Four main strategic reasons seem to underlie Israel’s determination to get the Bedouins out of the Negev, and to bring more Israeli Jews in. 1. The Negev represents a strategic military weakness for Israel. It has a significant border with Gaza, and very long borders with Egypt and Jordan. The Bedouins who live in the Negev are Palestinian Arabs. Israel fears that its Arab population might join with Gazans or even support Jordan or Egypt in the case of a conflict. 2. The Negev also represents a strategic asset to Israel. The reason the borders of Israel stretch down to a narrow point at the south is to physically separate Egypt and Jordan (in other words, they have no common land border) and also to give Israel access to the Red Sea. Israel has an important naval base at Eilat, which can harbour both destroyers and submarines capable of threatening neighbouring states. 3. The Negev is an important military staging area for Israel. Its nuclear facility is located in the Negev at Dimona, as is its biggest air force base. Locating these sensitive bases in an area where Arab Palestinians are the only neighbours must be uncomfortable for the Israeli military. 4. Finally, the Negev has economic potential. Recent exploration has apparently found potential oil and gas reserves which could be very important. Israel does not want Bedouin land claims to complicate its development of any such resources.
What’s missing in the Palestinian prisoner discourse / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 1 Aug — Discussion on the release of Palestinian prisoners is lacking even a modicum of compassion and humanity — I long to see Karim and Maher Younis, Walid Daka and all the 14 other Arab-Israeli prisoners who have been incarcerated since before the Oslo Accords get out of jail. Daka, for instance, I know, and I know how outrageously unjust it would be to keep him behind bars. His release, and the release of the others, will not be just a difficult day but also a holiday – for them, their families and, primarily, for justice and equality. There are few acts of injustice on a par with their continued detention; few acts of discrimination bigger than those they’ve faced. After 30 years (the Younis cousins) and 27 years (Daka), the time for compassion and humanity has finally arrived for them as well. The time for their release has arrived (long ago).
The public discourse over releasing Palestinian prisoners has everything, save a modicum of compassion and humanity. Dehumanization reaches its peak here: they’re all murderers, monstrous people with blood on their hands; it doesn’t matter what they did and how long they’ve served. It doesn’t matter what other peoples have done while fighting for freedom or beliefs, including our own people – like the Jewish terror from before 1948 or the settler terrorists since then.
Christian Zionism: The new heresy that undermines Middle East peace / Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer
MEMO 1 Aug — At least one in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism. The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals. Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches. It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.
The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ. The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East. Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years …
Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism. It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel.
‘Peace’ talks are meaningless, says survivor of Gaza massacre
GAZA CITY (Electronic Intifada) 2 Aug by Joe Catron — “All our lives, we’ve heard about negotiations and peace processes,” Jamal al-Dalou said Monday afternoon in his Gaza City apartment, hours before the latest round of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority began in Washington. “We’ve never seen them achieve anything.” “What’s the meaning of negotiations if we are still killed by missiles from Israeli F-16s and Apaches?” he added. “What’s the meaning of negotiations if the Israelis keep stealing our land, our heritage and everything meaningful in our lives? What’s the meaning of negotiations if they besiege our land, sea and sky? The negotiations are lies. There are no such things.”
Around 2:30pm on 18 November 2012, an Israeli airstrike destroyed al-Dalou’s three-story house in the nearby al-Nasser neighborhood, killing ten members of his family and two neighbors. The victims included his 73-year-old sister, wife, two daughters, son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren between the ages of one and seven, as well as a young man and an 83-year-old woman in the house next door.
Once more into the peace process dead end / Jonathan Cook
NAZARETH (Palestine Chronicle) 2 Aug — It may not have reached the level of fevered expectation unleashed by that famous handshake between Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the White House lawn in 1993, but the sense of hope inspired by the long-awaited revival of peace talks is both tangible and deeply misplaced. The talks, which it was agreed this week will begin in earnest in the region in mid-August, are taking place not because either Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, or the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, believe a deal is in reach. The two sides are talking each to avoid being blamed for embarrassing John Kerry, the US secretary of state. The mistaken mood of “change is in the air” was illustrated last week by a much-touted poll showing that 55 per cent of Israelis would vote for an agreement if presented with it, with 25 per cent opposed. Overlooked was the fact that many more Israelis – 70 per cent – believe an agreement cannot be reached, while 60 per cent say the reason is that Netanyahu will never partition the land. Palestinians are no more sanguine. A recent poll revealed a measly 8 per cent had any degree of trust in the US as mediator.
An elusive peace / Mustafa Barghouti
29 July — It may be the most protracted political conflict in modern history. Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who has devoted decades to the struggle for a just peace, argues that a lasting settlement is only possible if Israel is held accountable for its actions — The biggest obstacle to a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians today can be summed up very simply: Israel’s unwillingness to work for peace. It is benefiting materially and financially from its occupation of Palestinian territories, and it’s getting away with it because important parts of the international community are allowing Israel to operate above international law. There is, therefore, no balance of power that could lead to peace. Israel is too strong and the Palestinians are too weak.
Israel advises Sri Lanka on slow-motion genocide / Krisna Saravanamuttu
Electronic Intifada 30 July — Towards the end of 2008, I joined thousands in Toronto to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza. Like people all over the world, we called for an immediate end to the war. At York University, where I was a student, we mobilized the campus to defend Palestinian rights. A few months later, bombs were falling on my own people — in the Vanni region of northern Sri Lanka. And once again, we hit Toronto’s streets in protest. I realized then that even though our homelands are oceans apart, Palestinians and Tamils have much in common. Through the “war on terror,” the Israeli and Sri Lankan armies have waged war on civilian populations … But there are more direct connections. Israel has been a major arms supplier to Sri Lanka’s government, as well as providing it with strategic military advice. With permission from the United States, Israel has sold Sri Lanka consignments of Kfir jets and drones. Israel has also supplied the Dvora patrol boats to Sri Lanka, which have been used extensively against Tamils (“Sri Lanka learns to counter Sea Tigers’ swarm tactics,”Jane’s Navy International, March 2009 [PDF]). And Israel has also provided training to the Special Task Force, a brutal commando unit in the Sri Lanka police.