Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque for Jewish New Year
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli authorities will close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Palestinian worshipers during the Jewish new year, a Palestinian official said Monday. Israel informed the PA ministry of endowment that the mosque will be closed to Muslims on Thursday and Friday so settlers can celebrate new year at a synagogue on the same site, ministry official Tayseer Abu Sneina said. Abu Sneina, head of the ministry’s Hebron directorate, said the decision was “a violation of the sacredness of the Ibrahimi Mosque by the Israeli occupation and its settlers.”
Officials denounce decision to shut Hebron mosque to Muslims
JERUSALEM, September 3, 2013 (WAFA) – Muslim officials Tuesday denounced an Israeli decision to shut down the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, south of the West Bank, to Muslim worshippers for two days and open it only for Jews.
The Israeli authorities decided to prevent Muslims from entering the mosque on Thursday and Friday on the occasion of Jewish holidays. The mosque has been divided between Muslims and Jews and often Israel shuts it down to either members of the faith when the other has a religious event. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, said this decision means Muslims will not be able to perform their religious rituals in the mosque for two consecutive days, including a Friday, the Muslim holy day.
He expressed concern that this Israeli policy of dividing Muslim holy places between Muslims and Jews may also be enforced on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is currently under full Muslim control. Muslims are worried that Israel is allowing more Jews, mainly fanatics, to enter al-Aqsa compound under the pretext of open visitation in order to create a permanent presence for Jews inside the Muslim holy place as a prelude to dividing it or possibly taking it over.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israeli forces demolish Jericho home, assault residents
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli forces raided the Jericho village of Fasayil on Monday and demolished residential and agricultural structures, witnesses said. Israeli soldiers destroyed a house and cattle farm belonging to Deifallah Rashayda and Jihad Rashayda, leaving 12 family members homeless. During the demolition, soldiers assaulted five women with the butts of their rifles, locals said. All five women were taken to hospital for treatment after being assessed by Red Crescent medics at the scene … The house was built ten years ago and Rashayda said he had precautionary orders from several Israeli courts to suspend the demolition. The cattle [IMEMC: chicken] farm steel structure was built four years ago and he was not given notice prior to the demolition.
Israeli forces hand home demolition order to Palestinian family
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Sept – Israeli forces on Sunday handed a home demolition order to a Palestinian family in Idhna, southern West Bank, the mayor said. Israel authorities said Hani Khalil Awawda’s home was built without Israeli permission and ordered its demolition, Mayor Hashim Tmeizi told Ma‘an. Awawda and his family of six live in the 170-square-meter home in the Jurat Salim neighborhood. “The occupation forces are displacing Palestinian residents especially in this area which has been populated for decades, and receives all municipal services including water and electricity networks as well as asphalted roads,” the mayor said. He added that several Palestinian families in the same neighborhood received similar warrants.
Israel issues stop-work orders to four Hebron homes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli authorities issued stop-work orders to several homes in the Hebron village of al-Thahriyah on Monday, locals said. Israeli civil administration officials issued four stop-work orders to homes in the area and took pictures of the properties before leaving, witnesses said. The orders set a court hearing for Sept. 30.
The excuses Israel comes up with to destroy Palestinian villages
Haaretz 2 Sept by Amira Hass — The absence of a Palestinian human right to have two domiciles will be one of the arguments to be presented to Supreme Court justices by state attorneys on Monday, in an attempt to uphold the destruction of eight villages south of Hebron — “Our Bibi has three houses, three houses does our Bibi have,” sang social protest demonstrators two years ago, paraphrasing a well-known children’s song in reference to his villa in Caesarea and two apartments in Jerusalem. No one is arguing that the Netanyahu family’s house in Caesarea obviates their right to live in Jerusalem or, conversely, that the Jerusalem apartments negate their Caesarea-ness. No lawyer would present a baseless claim stating that there is a conflict between Netanyahu’s rights of residence and the number of locations at which he owns real estate. However, according to state attorneys, a photo of a house or an address in the town of Yatta negates the right to continue living in a cave or a small tent in the small village of Al Markaz, in the southern part of the West Bank.
Israel’s High Court sends South Hebron Hills evictions to mediation
972mag 2 Sept by Michael Omer-Man — The High Court of Justice declines to make a ruling on the evictions of over 1,000 Palestinian villagers from what Israel calls ‘Firing Zone 918.’ Villagers’ attorneys say referral to mediation process is a sign the court wasn’t satisfied with the state’s arguments. International writers sign petition against evictions — Israel’s High Court of Justice referred to mediation a petition against the eviction of dozens of West Bank Palestinian families to make room for a military training area in the West Bank on Monday, pending the State’s acquiescence to the suggestion. The courtroom was packed with representatives of the Palestinian villagers, foreign diplomats, Israeli and international activists and journalists. Some 1,000 Palestinians in eight villages live in what the Israeli army has declared Firing Zone 918 in the South Hebron Hills. For 14 years, the state has years sought to evict the traditionally cave-dwelling Palestinians from their homes and grazing lands inside the designated area. A number of Jewish settlements within Firing Zone 918, however, have not been served with eviction orders.
Israel pledges to raze settler structures built on Palestinian land with forged deeds
Haaretz 3 Sept by Chaim Levinson — The state has promised that a synagogue and married men’s yeshiva built without permits on privately owned Palestinian land in the Givat Ze’ev settlement will be demolished by next March, after it turned out the purchase deeds to the land were forged. The buildings to be torn down are part of a stone enclosure on the slopes of Givat Ze’ev, on the lands of the village of Jib. In 1998, settlers began the construction of Ayelet Hashahar synagogue, and in 2008, the construction of a yeshiva for newly religious married men belonging to an organization called “Banayich Zion.” The entire enclosure is on the land owned by Raba‘a Allatif, a resident of Jib … Sfard, Allatif’s attorney, leveled criticism at the legal system and expressed hope that the family will return to its land soon. “How embarrassing that a synagogue was built on stolen land and on the basis of forged documents,” he said. “How typical that it took 15 years, three attorneys and two petitions to the High Court of Justice to get the police to investigate a complaint by Palestinians that their land had been stolen by Israelis, and conclude that it really had been stolen as they have been claiming all those years. How sad that experience shows that the state’s duty to clear the land of squatters is not necessarily fulfilled.
Journal: The day of the stolen donkey
Kafr Qalil, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 2 Sept by Nablus Team — A few days ago, I and some other volunteers were invited to join a family harvesting almonds on their land in the village of Kafr Qalil. We went and spent a tranquil two hours enjoying the beautiful scenery, drinking tea, eating bread and za‘tar and clambering in the almond trees, shaking the nuts to the ground. But our time on the land was shadowed by threats – the family are unfortunate enough to have had the settlement of Bracha illegally built overlooking their land, looming on the hill overhead. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the settlers of Bracha are infamous for their extremism and violence – even named by the UN as some of the most violent colonists in the West Bank. As well as this, the road next to their trees is a settler-only road, out of bounds for Palestinians; requiring them to bring two donkeys with them to carry their supplies and to carry the almonds back over the difficult route back to the village. This in turn means that there are regular Israeli military patrols along this road and around the area. So that explains the presence of soldiers next to the farmers as soon as we arrived on the land – at first harassing the family, asking what they were doing there, why they had come, how long they would stay; all of this on private Palestinian land, where they should have no right to dictate Palestinian actions.
Palestinian children: the invisible workers of Israeli settlements
Ramallah (Defence for Children International – Palestine) 31 Aug — …One of the most restricted places on earth, the Jordan Valley is home to vast swaths of rich agricultural land used by Israeli settlements. Since 1967, Israel has implemented systematic measures to ensure absolute control over the region, depriving Palestinians of their right to their own resources. While Israeli settlers make up 13 percent of the population, they effectively control 86 percent of the land. The annual value of agricultural production in the Jordan Valley settlements is estimated at about $132.6 million, according to a report by the Palestinian human rights organization, Al Haq. Omar and Fouzi are from the West Bank village of Duma, 13 miles southeast of Nablus. During the months they work, they stay in storage units near the Hamra settlement sleeping on tiny cots for months at a time. “We work up to 10 hours or more and we don’t get many breaks to drink water and rest throughout the day,” says Fouzi. “The units we sleep in are very cramped and humid; sometimes it feels like we’re choking, but we’re used to it.” At the end of each week, they send the money they earn home to their mother. Child laborers earn an average of 40 to 60 NIS ($12 to $18) per day. This is not even enough to buy a bag of flour to feed her family, Omar and Fouzi’s mother, Muntaha, says.
Restriction of movement / Banning / Exile
Young Palestinian man ordered out of West Bank
IMEMC 4 Sept — In an illegal move, a senior commander of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank issued an order forcing a Palestinian man out of the West Bank for six months. The young man, from Be’er As-Sabe‘ (Beersheba) is a student of the Hebron University. The Maan News Agency has reported that Samer Mohammad Al-Jo‘ba, 21, was first ordered to head to the Etzion military base, and after arriving there, an Israeli officer handed him a written order forcing him out of the West Bank. The order states that Al-Jo‘ba only has 12 hours to leave the West Bank, or else he will be arrested, and imprisoned for five years. Al-Jo‘ba told Maan that he will be heading to Be’er As-Sabe‘, since he holds Israeli citizenship, and that he rejects this illegitimate order, and will counter it using legal means. Al-Jo‘ba is a fourth year student at the Hebron University studying Islamic Fiqh and Sharia.
Israel tells Palestinians not to be in al-Aqsa on Wednesday
JERUSALEM, September 3, 2013 (WAFA) – The Israeli police informed at least 10 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem not to be present in al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday, Nasser Qous, head of the Jerusalem branch of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, said Tuesday. He said the police summoned the 10 Palestinians and warned them against being inside the Mosque or even in the Old City of Jerusalem as hundreds of Jewish settlers and fanatics plan to tour the Muslim compound on the occasion of Jewish holidays. Palestinian leaders have called on Muslims to be present in the Mosque on Wednesday to prevent any Israeli provocation against the Muslim holy place, which fanatic Israelis are calling for turning it into a Jewish worship site. Police has earlier arrested Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, for the same reason
Israel to release Salah, impose Jerusalem ban
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — An Israeli judge ordered the release of the head of the Islamic Movement in Jerusalem on Tuesday, but banned him from entering Jerusalem for 180 days. Israeli police official Luba Samari said that [Sheikh Raed] Salah was ordered to pay a refundable security deposit of 50,000 shekels. If the deposit is not paid, Salah will be called to court again on Wednesday, she added. A Ma‘an reporter said Salah refused to be released and banned from Jerusalem. A consultant for the Islamic Movement, Ali Abu Sheikha, told Ma‘an that Salah refused to be released on Israeli conditions because the charges that were given to him were “false, fabricated and absent of truth”. He added that Salah will have another hearing on Wednesday.
Salah was arrested for incitement against the state of Israel in a sermon in Kafr Qarie village last week when he blamed Israel for a burning the al-Aqsa mosque, the police official said.
Israel issues order to close road near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli authorities on Tuesday issued notification to close an agricultural road south of Bethlehem, locals said. Ahmad Sukkar, director of Wadi Fukin village council, said the road was created a year ago to help local farmers reach their land. The village is subject to multiple Israeli orders which restrict Palestinians and confiscate land for nearby settlements in the Gush Etzion bloc, Sukkar said. The village is completely surrounded by illegal settlements, he added. The closure of the road will mean farmers can no longer access their agricultural land.
Road blocks and patrols: Police readies for holiday
Ynet 4 Sept — Though the IDF is [unusually] not expected to enact a closure on the West Bank, Police will increase its deployment across Israel on Wednesday, Rosh Hashanah eve,and will boost security checks in both land and sea border crossings. On the eve itself police will up its presence near synagogues and other prayer sites.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Clashes break out in Abu Dis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Clashes broke out on Tuesday between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Abu Dis after protests against Israel’s arrest of a cancer sufferer [who needs constant medical care]. Fatah Jerusalem committee leader Anwar Bader said that Israeli forces raided the village and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters and houses. Several suffered tear gas inhalation. Bader added that protesters closed Abu Dis’ streets with burnt tires and threw stones at Israeli forces. Israeli forces arrested Huthaifa Bader, 22, earlier on Tuesday.
French group helps Palestinians overcome settlers’ trauma
NABLUS, September 2, 2013 (WAFA) — Médecins du Monde (MdM) started a new project in May 2013 providing psycho-social support to Palestinian communities most affected by Israeli settlers’ attacks on Palestinian villages and military activities in Nablus governorate, a Press release issued by MdM said Monday. “MdM objective is to mitigate the impact of violence, especially on the mental health of Palestinians,” it said. “It also aims to limit future attacks by denouncing settlers’ and military violence and requiring higher accountability of the perpetrators.” In Nablus governorate, the number of Palestinian casualties due to settlers’ attacks was four times higher in the first quarter of 2013 than it was for the same period in 2012, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Interventions by the Israeli forces, constant verbal and physical abuses, inhuman and degrading treatment also contribute to create a general climate of fear and intimidation, said the release. MdM conducted the pilot phase of the project in nine villages of Nablus and Salfit governorates and uncovered the highly negative impact that such violence has on the mental health status of Palestinians. “We met people suffering from depression, anxiety, symptomatic stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders,” said the release.
Ahrar denounces kidnapping of former detainee
IMEMC 3 Sept — The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights stated that Israeli soldiers kidnapped Sami Hussein, 44, from the central West Bank city of Ramallah, as he was heading to the Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. Fuad Al-Khoffash, head of the Ahrar Center, stated that the army kidnaps Hussein every single year, and places him under arbitrary Administrative Detention without charges or trial. Hussein, a married father of three, spent more than 23 years in Israeli prisons as he was frequently kidnapped and imprisoned.
Israeli forces raid village after gunfire targets settler car
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli forces raided a Nablus village late Sunday and closed a main checkpoint after a settler car came under gunfire, locals said. Israeli soldiers raided the village of Beta and closed Huwwara checkpoint after reports of gunfire targeting a settler car in the area. Israeli forces fired flare bombs and live bullets, witnesses said. Locals said a settler was wounded in the shooting.
Israeli forces detain 15 in West Bank arrest raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli forces detained 15 people overnight Sunday in the West Bank, locals and Israel’s army said. Israeli soldiers arrested Amir Adli al-Fakhouri in Hebron and detained Hani al-Klabini, 19, Mohammad al-Tbouq, 21, and Mahmud Assalya, 21, in Nablus. Israeli forces also raided the al-Jabal al-Shamali area and detained Muneir Samih al-Najjar, 19, after raiding his home. Clashes broke out in Nablus following the arrests, with one Palestinian wounded by shrapnel.
In the Bethlehem village of Tuqu‘, Israeli forces detained Mohammad Jamal al-Amour, 22, Mohammad Theib al-Amour, 19, Ahmad Samir al-Amour, 16, Khalil Imad al-Amour, 19, Mahmud Kamel Sabah, 20, and Mohammad Khalid Sabah, 19. They also summoned Mohammad Ali Sabah, 19, to be interrogated by Israeli intelligence officials.
An Israeli army spokesman said 15 people were detained overnight, four in Nablus, three in Ramallah, six in Tuqu‘ village near Bethlehem, one in Hebron and one in Jenin.
Israeli forces detain 7 in West Bank arrest raids
JENIN (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli forces detained seven people overnight Monday in the West Bank, locals and Israel’s army said. Kanan Bajawi told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided his family home in Jenin and detained his brother Odai, 20. They assaulted another brother, who required hospital treatment for head wounds, and caused severe material damage to the property. Salim Yasser Meri, 21, and Yahya Kamel Fakhouri were detained in an eastern neighborhood of Jenin, locals said. Israeli troops also confiscated a computer from the home of Mahmoud Salatneh [in Jaba‘]
Israeli forces detained Mustafa Walad Ali, 20, from the Jenin village of Sanour, while Israeli intelligence officials issued 15 summons orders to Palestinians. Four military vehicles accompanied the intelligence officials and clashes broke out with locals, who threw stones at Israeli forces.
In Hebron, Israeli forces detained a member of the Palestinian Authority police during a raid on his home, locals said. Mohammad Ali Salim Izriqat, 23, was taken to an unknown location…
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that seven people were detained overnight, two in Jenin, two in Hebron, two in Jericho and one in Ramallah.
Soldiers kidnap seven Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 3 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, late on Monday at night and on Tuesday at dawn, various districts in the occupied West bank, and kidnapped seven Palestinians, including a child in Hebron, and a young woman in occupied East Jerusalem …Mohammad Ayyad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, near Hebron, stated that dozens of soldiers broke into a construction site and kidnapped one worker identified as Eyad Omar Sabarna, 23. Awad added that the soldiers also kidnapped a child near the Karmie Tzur illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands that belong to the residents of the nearby Halhoul town, near Hebron. The child has been identified as Ahmad Thaher Abu Ayyash, 15. The army cuffed the child, and took him to an unknown destination.
Furthermore, soldiers kidnapped a young Palestinian woman in Al-Ezariyya town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and took her to the Police Station in Maale Adumim settlement. Eyewitnesses have reported that several soldiers and police officers stopped the woman as she was driving her car near the junction between Maale Adumim and Al-Ezariyya.
Israeli forces detain 15 in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained several Palestinians and handed others orders to visit a police station in Jerusalem, officials said. Forces raided the Bab Hutta neighborhood in Jerusalem and arrested Hussam Sader, Amin Dweik, Mohammad Tamimi, Mohammad Shahin, and Deya Hassan Yousef. They were taken to al-Qashla interrogation center in the Old City where they were questioned on charges of incitement and throwing rocks and fireworks at Israeli forces, a Ma‘an reporter said. They were released on Tuesday afternoon on a bail of 5,000 shekels on the condition that they do not enter the al-Aqsa compound for 15 days, and remain under house arrest for five … Israeli forces also detained Jerusalem Prisoners’ Committee member Alaa Haddad who said they raided his house twice at dawn before returning for his arrest at noon. He added he was taken to al-Qashla center and was told not to enter al-Aqsa compound on Wednesday or he will be banned for 15 days. Omar al-Shalabi, the secretary of the Fatah committee in Jerusalem, his brother Mohammad, and Nihad Zugheir were handed subpoenas to visit Israeli police. Hijazi Abu Sbeih was arrested from his shop in the Old City, and Ahmad Salhab and Mahmoud Balzamet were arrested from their homes…
This arrest campaign comes after the Islamic movement in Israel urged Muslims to join a gathering on Wednesday to show support for the al-Aqsa mosque in response to Jewish extremists calls to forcibly enter the compound to celebrate the Jewish new year.
PA forces clash with gunmen in Tubas refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Palestinian Authority security forces launched an arrest campaign in a Tubas refugee camp on Monday after PA forces clashed with gunmen overnight, locals said. Unknown gunmen opened fire at PA forces late Sunday as they raided al-Far‘a refugee camp to make an arrest, witnesses said. PA security personnel exchanged fire but were forced to withdraw from the camp after Molotov cocktails were thrown at them. Security forces later returned and arrested five people in the camp. Two people were wounded during the clashes, named by locals as Ibrahim Abu Qamar and Muhammad Suboh. Camp residents blocked a main road to Nablus with trash bins and rocks following the clashes, with PA security forces eventually maintaining control of the situation.
A man was shot dead last Tuesday during clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and gunmen in Askar refugee camp in Nablus. Amjad Odeh, 37, was reportedly killed in the crossfire during a gun battle in the camp following a PA arrest raid.
Gaza under blockade
Egypt attacks Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
PNN 3 Sept — An Egyptian navy vessel has attacked seven Palestinian fishermen who were simply working off the Rafah coast. Five fishermen were arrested, two were shot in the hands. Aditionally, the Egyptian perpetrators confiscated the Palestinian boats. Ibrahim Abdullah al-Najjar, 19, and Ismail Wael al-Bardawil, 21, shot and then taken to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment. Shooting fishermen in the hands is a tactic initially used by the Israeli Navy, because it prevents them from ever being able to return to work. After the Egyptian army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, Palestinians were warned that any person to cross in Egypt’s territorial waters will be arrested. Many fishermen are deep troubled Egypt’s move. It resembles the attacks on them by the Israeli navy, they said. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ihab Ghussein, said that he has asked for a formal explanation from Egypt about the attack on the unarmed fishermen. Palestinian fishers in Gaza are being blockaded by both Israel and Egypt.
Egypt army demolishes homes, tunnels along Gaza border
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Egyptian forces have demolished six tunnels and 20 homes near the Gaza border since Sunday, an Egyptian security official said Monday. Egyptian forces used explosives to destroy four smuggling tunnels in the Sarsuriyya neighborhood on Sunday and two tunnels in Hilwat on Monday, the security official told Ma‘an. Twenty homes near the border have been destroyed, he added. The official said Egyptian forces had destroyed over 350 smuggling tunnels since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in early July.
Egyptian forces have tightened control of Rafah, a town that straddles the Egypt-Gaza border, as well as the waters by the border to prevent smuggling by sea. Egypt’s navy has deployed lightly armed warships off the coast of the border and banned fishing near Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid. A senior Egyptian military official said Sunday that Egypt plans to impose a 500-meter buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip.
Israel to close Kerem Shalom crossing for Jewish holiday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli authorities will close the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, a Palestinian crossings official said Tuesday. PA liaison official Raed Fattouh said the crossing will be closed from Wednesday to Sunday.
Army invades Khan Younis
IMEMC 3 Sept — Local sources have reported that a number of armored Israeli military vehicles carried out, on Tuesday [September 3] a limited invasion into Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The sources said that the military vehicles came from the Kissufim Israeli military camp, across the border with Gaza. The vehicles advanced hundreds of meters into the area firing dozens of rounds of live ammunition; no clashes or injuries have been reported.
On Monday, a number of military vehicles invaded an area east of Gaza City, and Palestinian fighters managed to detonate an explosive charge in one of the armored military bulldozers.
Israeli military detonates bombs along Gaza border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli military forces detonated two bombs along the border with the Gaza Strip on Monday, Israel’s army said. “IDF soldiers exploded two concealed explosive devices in the northern Gaza Strip,” an Israeli army spokesman told Ma’an. “This is the second incident of its kind in two days. There were no injuries caused.” Israeli army spokesperson Lt Col Peter Lerner said that Israel “holds the right to maintain operational accessibility in the area” to prevent “terrorist attacks.”
Detainees / Court actions
IDF officer who struck Danish activist reaches plea deal
[with video of incident] Ynet 3 Sept by Yoav Zitun — Lt.-Col Shalom Eisner, the IDF officer who was suspended from duty after he was filmed striking a foreign peace activist from Denmark with his M-16 rifle during a Jordan Valley protest in April 2012, has reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors, Ynet learned on Tuesday. Under the agreement, Eisner will receive two months of community service without pay. He will not be discharged from the IDF, but he will not be promoted to a new position and will retire from the army early.
Abusisi wins round against Israeli prison service
TikunOlam 31 Aug by Richard Silverstein — Dirar Abusisi was kidnapped over two years ago by the Mossad in Ukraine. His is one of many similar cases in which both Israeli officials and Israeli “enemies” have been kidnapped abroad and rendered back to Israel where they are imprisoned for “security offenses.” Abusisi’s case is especially egregious because he was kidnapped on foreign soil with the connivance of Ukrainian security forces at the highest level. Jordanian secret police were also involved. He was charged with hysterically exaggerated security offenses, including being Hamas’ “chief rocket engineer.” He has not been tried for this offense. In prison, he’s been in solitary confinement the entire time, not allowed visits or phone calls with his family and entirely segregated from other Palestinian prisoners. Abusisi’s real “crime” has been his refusal to cop a plea with the security services as 98% of such detainees do in order to defer far longer prison sentences should they go to trial. That’s why such punitive measures have been taken against him. These measures, by the way, are contrary to international law and agreements struck with the Palestinians during prior prisoner exchanges. Claims that Abusisi was a senior Hamas official have been explicitly denied by senior operatives like Ghazi Hamid. Clinching evidence can be found in the fact that there have been two major prisoner exchanges since Abusisi’s arrest and he was not included in either. [But has Abusisi actually been released from solitary? This isn’t clear]
Racism against Palestinians or ‘Israeli Arabs’
An education in inequality for East Jerusalem’s children
972blog 2 Sept by Betty Herschman — The number of classrooms, the availability of counselors and the numbers of dropout prevention programs constitute a grievous violation of the right to education for tens of thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren in Jerusalem — In cities around the world, most parents agonize about their kids’ first day of school. They worry about whether their kids will connect with their teachers. They worry about bullying. Mostly they anguish over the quality of education their child will receive and whether it will prepare them for a productive life beyond their school years. In East Jerusalem, mothers and fathers worry about whether or not their child will have a place in the classroom — indeed, whether or not the classroom will physically exist. As the new school year begins, a gaping dearth of 2,200 classrooms endures in East Jerusalem and despite a Supreme Court ruling that the Jerusalem Municipality and Education Ministry rectify the shortage by 2016, only 150 classrooms have been built over the past five years.
Group: Education system failing in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — A report published Monday by an Israeli rights group reveals “deep gaps” in the education system for Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem. The report published by Ir Amim and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel found that there is a severe shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem, a higher dropout rate and “tremendous disparities” in the allocation of professional positions between the two educational systems. “The enormous shortage in classrooms, budgets, personnel and educational programming constitutes a serious violation of the right to education of tens of thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren in Jerusalem,” director of ACRI’s East Jerusalem Project Ronit Sela said. Israel’s ministry of education budgeted around 12,000 shekels ($3,335) per student for Palestinian high schools, whereas an average of 25,500 shekels ($7,087) was budgeted for Jewish national-religious state schools and 24,500 shekels ($6,809) for secular Jewish schools. A high dropout rate in East Jerusalem means that 36 percent of Palestinian children do not complete a full 12 years of education.
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon protest against UNRWA
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Palestinians in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon protested against the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday for the second day in a row. Political factions, commitees and organizations in the camp are on an open strike against “oppressive” procedures implemented by UNRWA, local leaders said. Palestinians in the camp say UNRWA implemented a new policy on Sept. 1 which ended emergency healthcare for refugees, affecting people with chronic illnesses who will no longer be eligible for free treatment. Atef Khalil, a local DFLP leader, said there is no choice for UNRWA but to overturn the new procedures. There are 86 cancer patients, 29 dialysis patients, and 600 people who have other heart and nervous system diseases who need to receive medicine on a regular basis.
Group: Palestinian refugee killed in Syria clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — A Palestinian refugee was killed on Monday in Syria’s Daraa refugee camp, a local group said. The Workforce for Palestinians in Syria said in a statement that Shadi Ayman Ayish died after being critically wounded in heavy shelling, without providing further details.
The group said that Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus witnessed clashes between Syrian regime forces and rebels. All main entrances to the camp have been closed for over 50 days and there has been no electricity for four months. All hospitals and medical centers in Yarmouk have ceased to operate due to a lack of equipment, military attacks and robberies, the group added.
Political, other news
Hamdallah to start international trip seeking financial support
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will begin an international tour this week to secure financial support for the Palestinian Authority. Hamdallah will seek $500 million to cover the PA’s budget deficit and to continue paying civil servants on time, his office said in a statement. During the trip, Hamdallah will meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels.
Palestinian, Israeli negotiators meet for talks
JERUSALEM (Ma‘’an) 3 Sept — Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams met in Jerusalem on Tuesday for a fifth round of peace talks, a Palestinian official said. The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni have discussed all final status issues in previous meetings but have yet to reach an agreement. President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that any agreements will be put to a public referendum for approval. He said both teams have so far been outlining their respective positions. Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said Monday that peace negotiations have made no progress so far.
Sr. Palestinian: We demand security sovereignty in the West Bank
Ynet 4 Sept by Noam Dvir and Roi Kais — The newspaper al-Hayat reported that the round of negotiations that took place Tuesday in Jerusalem with the Palestinians focused on security. A Palestinian official said, “Agreeing with Israeli ideas on the issue of security will give Israel control over all the routes and major centers in the West Bank. We refused all Israeli proposals and demanded sovereignty throughout the West Bank, agreeing that there would be a third force, such as NATO, on the border.
Abbas reveals deal PA made to restart peace talks
Ynet 2 Sept by Roi Kais — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed Monday the circumstances of the deal that was made with Israel in order to renew the peace talks between the two sides. Speaking to Fatah members in Ramallah, Abbas said that even before negotiations started, the US demanded that the Palestinians avoid lobbying in international intitutions. Abbas said that initially, the Palestinian Authority refused this demand. Eventually, he said, the Americans formally committed to negotiations based on a two-state solution in accordance with the 1967 borders—which finally made him agree to the renewal of talks. In addition to this commitment, Abbas confirmed for the first time that the PA agreed not turn to the international community only if 104 security prisoners will be released, to which Israel agreed.
UNCTAD says conditions in Palestine deteriorated
GENEVA, September 3, 2013 (WAFA) – “With the persistence of Israeli restrictions on mobility in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, loss of land and productive resources and bleak political prospects, gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated, and poverty and unemployment increased in 2012,” A UN report said Tuesday. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report on the Palestinian economy to be presented to the 60th Trade and Development Board meeting in Geneva on September 16 that these conditions are expected to deteriorate further. “The Palestinian fiscal crisis deepened, owing to less aid and Israel’s withholding of Palestinian revenue, posing risks to the whole economy,” said the report in its executive summary.
Report: Palestinians drive truck through Ben Gurion security barrier
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Two Palestinians drove a stolen truck through a security barrier at Ben Gurion airport overnight, Israeli media reported. The truck entered the airport at 3.30 a.m. and drove past two barriers before stopping near terminal 3, Ynet said. A security guard fired four shots at the truck’s wheels. The drivers, believed to be Palestinians from Jenin and Qalqiliya, fled the scene but were later arrested. The incident caused flight delays and heavy traffic around the airport. Israeli police said they suspect the men took a wrong turn and became alarmed after shots were fire at them. They are currently being questioned by police.
Police use of Tasers to resume
Ynet 3 Sept by Omri Ephraim — Police commissioner decides to gradually return electric shock Tasers to field, after use was frozen following violent arrest of Yitzhar right wing activist. Team appointed to examine use reaches conclusion: Tasers effective, issues arise only in exceptional cases
Football: Israelis, Palestinians kick off FIFA-brokered talks
ZURICH (Daily Star) 3 Sept by Jonathan Fowler — Israeli and Palestinian football chiefs gathered Tuesday for landmark talks called by FIFA, which aim to ease the movement of players in and out of the Palestinian territories and use sport to build trust. The debut meeting of FIFA’s task force on Israeli-Palestinian football relations comes just weeks after a politically-charged dispute over Israeli entry restrictions on players from Arab nations for a youth tournament hosted by the Palestinian Football Association. The Palestinian side protests that Israeli policies smother the development of the game in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel meanwhile points to the abuse of football facilities by Palestinian militants to fire rockets at its cities and warns that sport has been used as a tool to disseminate anti-Israeli propaganda.
840,000 Palestinians to benefit from improved solid waste management services in the West Bank
PNN 3 Sept — A new project will improve access to solid waste management services in the West Bank, The World Bank said in a press release Tuesday. 840,000 Palestinians in Hebron and Bethlehem governorates will have access to better quality and more affordable waste collection. The World Bank, administrator for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), will support the Palestinian Authority with the US$8.3 million grant for the project. “Unsanitary waste collection and disposal is a serious issue in Hebron and Bethlehem, particularly for the poor living close to unregulated dumpsites at the edge of towns and villages. The grant will improve the quality and the efficiency of the solid waste management system and consequently will help protect the environment and health of citizens,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza.
Opinion / Analysis
Near impunity for IDF soldiers who kill Palestinians / Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz
972blog 3 Sept — …We don’t know exactly what took place in Qalandiya Camp early last Monday morning, but this incident ought to be investigated, and investigated thoroughly – as in any case when a person is killed by security forces. When someone claims time and time again that he is in mortal danger, yet somehow keeps dodging it leaving bodies behind, one must wonder whether this isn’t a tactic intended to reduce judicial and media pressure.
There’s a long list of cases showing this is indeed the trend: my favorite example took place in March 2010 near Awarta. The facts are that when the smoke cleared there were two dead Palestinians lying on the ground. The soldiers claimed they were attacked by pitchfork-wielding Palestinians. That was also the first IDF Spokesman version: a terror attack was averted. Following an investigation, the soldiers were forced to admit (Hebrew) that the pitchfork was left on the ground. They claimed, however, that the force commander “felt in danger” after hearing one of the Palestinians “mumbling a prayer,” and hence he opened fire. One of the Palestinians, he claimed, tried to attack him with a bottle; the other, he said, tried to enter Palestinian mythology by coming at him, in a scene reminiscent of McGyver, with a syringe (!). None of the soldiers involved in the Awarta incident was indicted. And as our factsheet shows (see the full document below), this isn’t an isolated case, it’s a method.
Oslo 20 years later: the origins and dangers of ‘security zones’ / Shemuel Meir
972blog 3 Sept — How Israel succeeded in diluting the implementation of the Oslo Accords through a combination of hypothetical worst-case military scenarios and the misleading and incorrect attribution of the term ‘security zones’ to diplomatic texts — …In the future, historians will examine a number of questions. They will have to explain how Israel succeeded in diluting the implementation of the agreements with the Palestinians through a combination of the military scenarios and the misleading and incorrect attribution of the term “security zones” to diplomatic texts. They will also have to explain how the three stages of the withdrawal became a chain of never-ending interim stages and sub-stages. Finally, they will have to answer the question of whether there was an understanding and if so, of what kind, between the military and the decision makers on a diluted version of the implementation of the Agreements. It was this means of implementation that enabled the Israeli governments of 1995-2000 to ensure that Israel never reached the finish line of the third stage and a redeployment to “specified military locations.” To this day, Israel has not implemented the third stage. Examining the origins of “security zones” provides us with insights into current Israeli-Palestinian relations. It can help us to filter out background noises (“security zones”) and spins (“no partner”) from authentic signals of the peace process. A better understanding of the past 20 years of Oslo enables us to see its influence on the current situation.