Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Record number of settlements included in national priority list
Ynet 4 Aug by Itamar Fleishman – The government on Sunday approved the new national priority list. A record number of 90 settlements were included in a list of more than 600 towns and communities eligible for state benefits, among them several new settlements once considered illegal. Beitar Illit, a large haredi settlement, was not on the list. During the meeting, an argument broke out between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Livni asserted that “dangerous” communities should not be put on the list and Bennett replied, “It’s lucky that the founders of Hanita (a kibbutz in the western Galilee) were not of the same opinion. Driving in Judea and Samaria is indeed dangerous but many things are dangerous. We should keep encouraging construction in Judea and Samaria.” The list passed the government vote without opposition, but four ministers abstained: Hatnua ‘s Livni and Amir Peretz and Yesh Atid ‘s Yael German and Yaakov Peri … Towns on the national priority list are eligible for various grants and receive aid in development schemes. However, funding for infrastructure and housing beyond the West Bank requires a special decree by the prime minister, to avoid any diplomatic embarrassment … Local authorities engage in heavy campaigning to get on the list which is determined by year of establishment, proximity to the periphery, and security hazard.
IOA to demolish house and water wells west of a-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 3 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Saturday handed out notices to demolish Palestinian house and agricultural installations in the village of Koum near al-Khalil, south of the occupied West Bank. Local sources told Quds Press’s correspondent that elements of the Israeli civil administration stormed the village at the early morning hours and ordered a citizen to demolish his house under the pretext of “illegal construction.” They added that the civil administration team also notified another villager from the town of Koum to demolish water wells used to irrigate his agricultural lands under the pretext of the wells’ proximity to the Apartheid Wall.
Who is ‘Judaizing King David’s tomb?
Haaretz 3 Aug by Nir Hasson — The Israel Antiquities Authority’s peculiar decision not to reconstruct smashed Ottoman tiles in King David’s Tomb means the vandals who attacked the site last year managed to erase virtually every remnant of its Muslim past — A serious act of vandalism, a string of coincidences, and a decision by the Israel Antiquities Authority have combined to change the character of King David’s Tomb on Mt. Zion from a Muslim site into a synagogue. On Tuesday this week, two painters were busy applying the last coats of paint on the building’s doorposts, thereby completing six years of extensive renovations. For the first time since the 16th century, every last trace of the building’s Muslim past has been erased; the site, holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, has for all intents and purposes become a synagogue … The tomb on Mt. Zion, holy to three monotheistic religions, is a microcosm of Jerusalem. It has been the source of innumerable quarrels for nearly 1,000 years. Jews and Muslims believe this is the burial place of biblical King David. Christians believe that the hall on the second floor of the structure was the location of Jesus’ Last Supper. In the Jewish tradition, the identification of the site as the tomb of King David is in dispute and Judaism, in fact, was the last of the religions to ascribe holiness to the site.
Fresh air, desert landscape, half price for local Jews
Haaretz 1 Aug by Zafrir Rinat — A nature reserve gives a discount to residents of Jewish settlements, but not to the Palestinian neighbors — With its desert landscape and cool springs, the Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt) reserve, northeast of Jerusalem, attracts many hikers. Admission to one of the main sites in the reserve, Ein Prat, costs money – but the price is not the same for all. Residents of the Mateh Binyamin settlements pay half the regular price. Palestinian residents of the same area pay the full price, as do visitors from other areas, Jewish or Arab. Among those charged the full price are residents of the Palestinian village ‘Anata, right near the reserve. The fact that some of the village’s land is located inside the reserve and that the villagers were living here long before the Mateh Binyamin residents doesn’t earn them any break on the entrance fee…
Nature conservation groups also do not view the Palestinians as having equal standing or interest in regard to Nahal Prat. Six months ago, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel published a policy paper for management of the reserve. It advocates inviting the public to contribute ideas about how to manage the area, but the list of relevant nearby communities does not include a single Palestinian locale.
Settler harassment continues in Asira’s reservoir project
Asira al Qibliya, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 4 Aug by Nablus Team — This week, settlers from Yitzhar attacked the ‘Asira village water project and its workers, once again. Israeli occupation forces who went to the scene did not to stop the settlers and instead occupied the roof of a Palestinian house located nearby. On July 31st settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar attacked workers at the water reservoir project above the village of Asira. The Israeli army came to intervene and then in order to “check” invaded the house closest to the water project belonging to a family with small children. The army then stationed themselves on the roof of the water project for the remainder of the day. The water reservoir project is aimed at providing residents from Asira with running water. Attacks on the project have been happening every day that there are workers present in the last months. Settlers trespass on to Asira village land and attack the workers often making “demonstrations” against the water project which will not affect the settlement in any way. Asira al Qibliya, an ancient village with the current population of 3,500, and the other villages which surround the illegal settlement of Yitzhar face daily violence from its settlers.
Restriction of movement
‘I will keep trying to see my daughter until the day I die’
PCHR/Narratives 1 Aug — Fatma’s wrinkled face reveals the sorrow of a mother who has not seen her daughter for eleven years. Fatma Khalil Mubarak (78) lives in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Her daughter, Lamees Ahmad Mubarak (44), has been living in Hebron in the West Bank since she got married in 1988. The last time Fatma saw her daughter was in 2002. Since then, Lamees has been trying to visit her family in Gaza, but she has been denied access every time she applied for a visitor permit to travel via Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing. Beit Hanoun crossing is the only access point for people from Gaza to travel to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and/or Israel. Fatma explains: “My daughter Lamees went to Hebron with her husband when she got married in the ’80s. She used to visit me frequently, and I used to visit her as my health condition was much better and crossing to the West Bank was much easier. However, since the Second Intifada, we haven’t seen much of her. The last time she came was in 2002, but she has never been able to come back again since.” Several attempts have been made by both Lamees and her family to reunite since 2002; however, Lamees’ applications for a visitor permit to the Gaza Strip have always been met with refusal. “This year, we have applied twice so far, but in vain. The permit was refused again. We have not given up yet. I will keep applying for a permit to see my daughter until the day I die.”
PHOTOS | In search of Laylat ul-Qadr in Palestine
5 Aug 2013 Dozens of stunning photos by WAFA & QudsNet — Laylatul Qadr is the crowning glory of the holy month of Ramadaan. It is associated with the sending down of the Qur’an Majeed, the last Book of Allah to His last Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), for the guidance of mankind. The Qur’an Majeed describes this Night. “We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit (Jibraeel [Gabriel]) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of Morn!” (Surah 97) The Night of Power is the night of spiritual bliss.
Thousands flock to Aqsa mosque to mark Lailatul Qadr
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 4 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians flocked to the Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday, despite the Israeli occupation’s tight security measures, to mark Lailatul Qadr (Night of Decree). Worshipers from 1948 occupied Palestine, Jerusalem, and the West Bank crowded the plazas of the holy site in preparation for the great night that witnessed the revelation of the holy Quran and which is largely believed to be the night of the 27th of Ramadan. The crowds of worshipers affirm insistence on retaining the Aqsa mosque in total and rejecting attempts to divide it between Muslims and Jews. Israeli occupation authorities doubled security measures in the vicinity of the Aqsa mosque and in the holy city of Jerusalem in preparation for the expected huge masses that yearly flock to the holy site on that occasion.
Violence / Suppression of protests / Attacks / Raids / Illegal arrests
UPDATED: Four arrested at Nabi Saleh’s weekly protest
Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 3 Aug by Ramallah Team — Update 3th August: The fourth Israeli activist was released this morning at 5am — On Friday August 2, Israeli Border Police aggressively attacked protesters marching in Nabi Saleh’s weekly demonstration, shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs at very short distances while arresting protesters and covering them in skunk water. The attack was initiated without any previous action from the demonstrators and resulted in the arrest of four Israeli activists … Though illegal by Israeli law, the rubber and plastic coated steel bullets were shot from distances down to 10meters, barely missing the heads of fleeing international activists. Despite the peaceful vibe of the protest, Israeli Border Police officers arrested four Israeli demonstrators and took them to the settlement nearby. One activist was humiliatingly handcuffed and blindfolded as he was taken away, in spite of him offering no resistance to the arrest. Three of the four activists were later released. The village of Nabi Saleh has demonstrated against the theft of their natural spring by the nearby Halamish settlement and the occupation in general since December 2009. Israeli forces violently suppress the weekly Friday protests by shooting tear gas canisters, skunk water, sound bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets and even live ammunition at protesters. Two people have been killed, Mustafa and Rushdi Tamimi, and many others severely injured.
Hebron youth group protests Prawer Plan
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — A youth group in Hebron on Saturday organized a protest vigil to demonstrate against Israel’s Prawer Plan, which could displace thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev from their land. Youth Against Settlements organized the protest as part of wider actions to protest the displacement plan of some 40,000 Bedouins in the Negev.
Welcome to Hebron, where the rule of law is nonexistent
972blog 4 Aug by Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) — It took the police nearly three hours to reach a Palestinian’s home in Hebron after it had been fired on. When the police arrived, they asked the victim to do their job for them — Issa Amro, a resident of Hebron, is a noted activist who is often targeted for harassment by both the army and the settlers. He recently made it to the headlines in Israel (Heb) after IDF soldiers stormed his house during an Iftar dinner, choosing it as their training site. Yesh Din has already covered this phenomenon, which allows the IDF to show the Palestinians who’s boss. In Amro’s case, one suspects this harassment was anything but accidental, and was intended to intimidate an activist who gives the occupation forces a major headache. Amro has other troubles. He is out of favor with the settlers, as he is one of the organizers of protests against the closing of Shuhada Street. Remember Baruch Goldstein’s massacre in Hebron? Following the massacre, the IDF decided that for security reasons, a main road in Palestinian Hebron must be closed. Some sort of occupation logic, I assume. A massacre took place? Make sure to punish the group which has just been massacred. That’ll be sure to deter the population which supports the murderer. Be that as it may, several days ago, as Amro was sitting down for the Iftar dinner, there was a sudden loud noise. The guests were quick to take cover – Hebronites are well-drilled. A quick survey found a bullet casing nearby, which indicates a shooting. Amro went to the military checkpoint near his house, and spoke to the soldier there, asking him to call his captain. The soldier refused.
Soldiers assault a twelve-year-old Palestinian while settlers invade family rooftop in Hebron
[with video] Hebron (ISM) 3 Aug by Khalil Team — Saturday August 3rd was not a peaceful Saturday for the Palestinians in Hebron. At approximately 16.30 two settlers invaded the roof of the Abu Shamsiya family in Tel Rumeida, whilst three soldiers attacked a twelve year old boy in the street nearby. When the settlers on the roof were approached by internationals and told that they were on private property and therefore had to leave, they refused and said they came there every week. The fact that they had entered a private home without consent of the family did not concern them, on the contrary they expressed that they felt it was their right. When asked to leave the settlers behaved aggressively by yelling and continuously refusing to do so. After having argued with internationals one of the settlers threatened to lie to the soldiers and say that they had been hit by the internationals. He argued that even though it was not true, the soldiers would believe him over the international activists. As seen in the video below, in the meantime three Israeli soldiers assaulted three young boys just down the street. The soldiers started by harshly pushing one boy, afterwards they grabbed a second boy, Islam by the hair and kicked him. Thereafter a third boy ran to his house chased by the soldiers. When internationals asked why the military was chasing the boy, they lied and said the boys had been throwing stones. The boy said that he had simply ran because he was scared after having seen his twelve-year-old friend, Islam being brutally attacked by soldiers for no apparent reason. These are not unusual events.
Israeli forces detain Hebron boy in Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces detained on Thursday a Palestinian boy from Hebron, a Ma‘an reporter said. Ghandi Nidal al-Ewiwi, 13, was detained while he was playing with his friends near the house. He was taken to an unknown location.
Medics: Hebron boy killed in car accident
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — An eleven-year-old boy was killed on Saturday after being knocked down by a car west of Hebron, medics said. Muhammad Hani al-Hawarin was run over in Adh-Dhahiriya and pronounced dead at al-Ahli hospital.
Rocks in hand, a boy fights for his West Bank village
NYTimes 4 Aug by Jodi Rudoren — For Palestinian young men and boys, throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and settlers is a rite of passage.
SLIDE SHOW: A rite of passage, an act of defiance
NYTimes 4 Aug – The Palestinian stone throwers of Beit Ommar are a reminder of the tensions that animate relations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Beit Ummar child arrests, Case Study I
Palestine Solidarity Project 4 Aug — Name: Muhsen M. Age: 7 Location: Beit Ummar, occupied West Bank Accusation: Unknown — At around 2:45 am, Israeli soldiers deliver a summons to the family of a seven-year-old boy from Beit Ummar. “We woke up to banging on the front door of our house accompanied by people shouting in Hebrew: ‘open the door, it’s the IDF’,” recalls ‘Alia, the mother of seven-year-old Muhsen. “My husband answered the door and three Israeli soldiers stormed the house. One of the soldiers asked my husband, in mixed Arabic and Hebrew, for our son Muhsen, our youngest child.” Alia’s husband informed the soldiers that Muhsen was seven years old, and showed the soldier his birth certificate. “The officer read the date of birth, which is on 17 September 2002, and laughed, but still handed him the summons ‘inviting’ my son to Etzion interrogation centre the next morning because he is ‘wanted for an interview’,” recalls ‘Alia … Seven-year-old Muhsen slept through the night time raid by the Israeli army, but was told what had happened the next morning by his mother. “My siblings and my mother were shocked to know that the soldiers wanted me to go to Etzion centre because I am very young,” says Muhsen, “I am still in the second grade and after the summer break I’ll be in the third grade. I don’t want my father to take me to the centre because I know, and hear people saying, that it is a prison, and if I go there, they will take me away from my family.”
Israeli forces arrest Bethlehem village official
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Israeli forces arrested the head of a Bethlehem village’s local council overnight Saturday, locals said. Khalil Mubarak, head of Dar Salah‘s village council, was arrested after Israeli forces surrounded his home and forced his family to leave the premises. He was taken to an unknown location. An Israeli army spokesman said five people were arrested overnight, one in Dar Salah, one in Beitunia and three in Hebron.
IOA renews Hosari’s administrative detention
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 Aug — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) renewed the administrative detention of the leader in Hamas movement Adnan al-Hosari for the second time in a row. Megiddo prison administration has renewed on Thursday the administrative detention of Hosari, 50, for six more months after ending his first administrative detention, the detainee’s family told PIC reporter. Hosari, from Tulkarem refugee camp, has served four and a half years in Israeli prisons in addition to 18 months in PA jails for being affiliated to Hamas movement. The prison administration has thus deprived the family from celebrating the Eid in the father’s presence.
Report: Egypt cancels Erdogan visit to Gaza
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Egyptian authorities have canceled a planned visit to Gaza by the Turkish Prime Minister, a popular Egyptian news site said Sunday. Youm7, or the seventh day, quoted Egyptian diplomatic sources as saying that Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the Gaza Strip had been canceled following the military ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and subsequent change in government. The Gaza trip was also canceled because of Erdogan’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Youm7 reported. A senior official in the ruling Hamas movement said in June that Erdogan was due to visit the coastal territory in July, but the Turkish leader’s press secretary had stressed that the date was still undecided. The Turkish leader has previously said his visit to Gaza would be aimed at pushing for an end to Israel’s blockade on the tiny coastal territory which has been in place since 2006.
Egyptians have a new post-Morsi enemy, and it’s not who you think / Usman Butt
Policymic 1 Aug — Since the toppling of Egyptian President Morsi on July 3, there has been a significant rise in anti-Syrian and anti-Palestinian xenophobia in Egypt. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concerns about the “arbitrary” arrests and detention of Syrians …They went on to say, “There have also been numerous reports of xenophobic remarks and verbal attacks against Syrians, including disturbing statements made through certain media outlets.” There is a similar pattern in the way the Egyptian authorities are treating Palestinians — many are being deported and refused entry into Egypt. A soon as the military came into power, they passed emergency decrees which forbade Palestinians from entering the country via Cairo Airport. There has been a sustained campaign in the Egyptian media which demonizes Palestinians and Syrians, accusing them of being “Pro-Morsi conspirators,” violent revolutionaries, and terrorists that seek to “destroy” Egypt. One incident on Egyptian TV really encapsulates just how far-reaching this xenophobia is. TV host Shafki Al-Moniri, who presents a show on Al-Yawm TV, apologized to her viewers for not being in the country when Morsi was toppled. She tells her viewers that she was boarding a flight from Barcelona to Cairo, when she saw a man “acting suspiciously.” He seemed “nervous” and he was eventually removed from the Egypt Air flight. She told her viewers that she later learned that he was Palestinian and then she went on to praise the military and security forces for making her “feel safe.” She neglected to mention that he was probably “nervous” because the Egyptian military had forbade Palestinians entry to the country and were pulling them off flights.
It’s not just Palestinians
End the harassment of Syrians in Egypt
Avaaz 2 Aug — Mahmoud is a 9 year old boy whose friends in Egypt have stopped playing with him because he is Syrian. It’s due to a xenophobic campaign, contributed to by the media and the new government, that is being waged against Syrians in Egypt. Syrian children are being arrested and students don’t know if they’ll be allowed into schools this year. On top of that, hundreds are being turned away at the airports.
Stranded Palestinian man returns to Gaza after 31 days in KLIA
PETALING JAYA (The Star) 4 Aug by T. Selva — After “living” at the KLIA transit terminal for 31 days, stranded Palestinian Mohammed Abdulabbad finally flew home after obtaining his visa to Egypt. He left for Cairo on Egypt Air on Friday night to return to his home in Gaza via the Rafah border. “I am not going to leave my home anymore as the whole ordeal has been painful, depressing and frightening. I left Gaza because it was in trouble and thinking that I could start a new life in Malaysia or Indonesia, but I was wrong about both countries,” he said. During his entire stay at the terminal, Mohammed had taken his shower at the airport toilet besides eating one meal a day and sleeping in the transit lounge couch. Mohammed, who had previously worked at a restaurant in Langkawi, said he was glad to return to his family for Hari Raya as he missed his mother.
Livni: ‘Next round of talks, second week of August’
IMEMC 3 Aug — Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, stated that the next round of direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (P.A) will be held in Israel in the second week of this month, and added that the first group of Palestinian detainees will be released by then. Livni told the Israeli TV Channel 10 that Israel and the P.A agreed to hold talks in different locations starting in Tel Aviv.
She added that Israel will release some detainees soon, but did not specify more details or an exact date. She only stated that the case of each detainee to be released would be separately examined before a final decision is made and implemented.
Erekat: ‘PA will not accept transitional solutions’
IMEMC 4 Aug — Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated Saturday [August 3, 2013] that the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) will not accept transitional solutions to the conflict, and is acting on negotiating on all final status issues. The official added that the files of Jerusalem, the Refugees, Settlements and Water are high priorities to the Palestinians. He said that the Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank has informed the United States and Israel that all issues must be discussed, so that a comprehensive agreement can be reached. Erekat denied reports on secret committees negotiating with Tel Aviv, saying that the talks are all in the open under direct U.S. supervision. He further stated that Israel intends to release 26 detainees on August 13, marking the first phase of releasing dozens of detainees, and added that Tel Aviv has cleared those detainees for release.
EU, Netherlands contribute €11M to July salaries
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 3 Aug — The European Union and the Netherland contributed Friday approximately €10.9 million to the payment of July salaries and pensions of nearly 75,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said an EU press release. The contribution made it possible for the Ministry of Finance to pay salaries on the first day of August, few days before the advent of the three-day end of Ramadan holiday, Eid al-Fitr, which is expected to start Thursday.
Members of Congress seek to move US Embassy to Jerusalem
Ynet 3 Aug — Members of Congress have introduced legislation that would transfer the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, sending a message of commitment and resolve to Israel and also presenting the US government with a cost-saving measure at a time of major budget cuts. The bipartisan bill, known as the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act (H.R. 2846), comes as Israelis and Palestinians are resuming peace negotiations after a three-year hiatus, and is intended to offer an unflinching sign of support on Capitol Hill for Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.
Group: 5 Palestinians killed [in] Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Five Palestinians have died in recent clashes in Syria, a Palestinian group said Thursday. Ayman Khartabil was killed after a shell exploded in Jamariya area on Wednesday. Alma al-Dasoqi, 2, was killed during clashes that broke out in the Qadsiya area. Separately, Jasser Mousa was killed during shelling on the al-Mlieha area in Damascus. Anas Mohammad from Yarmouk refugee camp died after he was wounded by shrapnel. Wasim Abed al-Hafith from Yarmouk was wounded by shelling and later died, the Palestinian Working Group said. The group also said a fire broke out in al-Reja Square in the camp after it was exposed to bombing and shelling. The regime army and the Free Syrian Army clashed, and the government closed the camp’s entrance.
Thousands of Palestinians welcome Barcelona to West Bank
Reuters 4 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians celebrated the arrival of Barcelona in the West Bank on Saturday where Argentine forward Lionel Messi and his teammates showed off their skills to adoring fans. Some 25,000 spectators, many clad in Barca shirts, packed every corner of a new stadium in the town of Dura in the southern West Bank as the Barca players held an hour-long clinic with some 40 young Palestinian boys and girls. Hundreds of other fans itching to get in were left stranded outside the packed ground as a large security force secured the perimeter. The streets of Bethlehem, where the team visited the traditional birthplace of Jesus, and the city of Hebron near Dura were adorned with Barcelona flags as people lined the route to catch a glimpse of their heroes and the team bus.
Al-Aqsa TV channel Facebook page removed
GAZA (PIC) 3 Aug — Facebook administration has removed al-Aqsa TV channel page, although its Facebook fan page was available and had grown by 116,000 fans. Al-Aqsa TV channel condemned this arbitrary measure that came without any justification or real explanation, stressing that it will not succeed to undermine its voice. The ban came two days after Hamas’ news conference during which it exposed documents that prove the involvement of Fatah and members of the Palestinian Authority in a malicious campaign to tarnish Hamas’s image.
Israel launches i24 News, shows ‘modern’ face
Al-Akhbar 3 Aug by Doha Shams — On July 17, a new Israeli news channel, dubbed i24 News and inspired by France24, began broadcasting from the city of Jaffa in occupied Palestine, where it is based. The channel was launched with the aim of showing the “true image” of Israel, especially in Europe, where public perceptions of the Jewish state have become drastically unfavorable. Before anyone, in Lebanon or beyond, claims that Israel has launched a neutral news channel, we want to underscore the fact that the purpose of the channel is the opposite of “showing the true face of Israel,” as i24’s management has claimed.