In pictures: Jubilant scenes as Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners
The Telegraph 30 Oct — A group of 21 prisoners from the West Bank left Ofer prison, near Jerusalem, shortly after 1:00 am (2300 GMT) and the other five crossed moments later into the Gaza strip, correspondents at both sites said. The West Bankers left Ofer in two minibuses with blacked-out windows and drove the short distance to the Beitunia crossing into the West Bank where they were greeted with cheers and fireworks.Picture: AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas
Photos: Israel releases Palestinian prisoners
Mercury News 19 Oct — Israel released 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the second of four planned releases of 104 inmates who are to be freed in line with commitments to US-brokered peace talks. [photos of both released prisoners and Israeli protests]
Jubilant crowds welcome Palestinian prisoners
Al Jazeera 30 Oct — Israel has freed 26 Palestinian prisoners, the second of four batches released as part of a deal that set in motion the current Israeli-Palestinian talks. Jubilant celebrations kicked off on Wednesday morning in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the prisoners are seen as heroes who fought for independence, and were received by their families and Palestinian leaders. “We greet and welcome our brothers, and we confirm that they will return to their homes and nowhere else,” Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said in a speech to a roaring crowd in the West Bank city of Ramallah … Wednesday’s release was part of an agreement brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry that brought Israel and the Palestinians back to the table for talks that had been paralyzed since 2008 … In the West Bank and Gaza, hundreds of relatives and well-wishers welcomed those freed home. Many have spent more than 20 years in prison. Throngs of people rushed toward the prisoners as they were freed, hoisting them on their shoulders, waving Palestinian flags and dancing to music
Group: Israel must release all Palestinian prisoners
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct by Charlie Hoyle — Israel must release all Palestinian prisoners as a precondition for peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, Addameer prisoner rights group said Tuesday, as 26 detainees prepared to leave Israeli prison custody …
Randa Wahbe, an advocacy officer for Addameer prisoner rights group, told Ma‘an that there has been no change in Israeli policy toward Palestinian detainment and imprisonment, despite the latest release … Over 1,100 Palestinians have been detained since US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a return to peace talks in July, including the arrest of students and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Wahbe said. “If you look at other returns to negotiations which included prisoner releases, such as Northern Ireland or South Africa, the unconditional release of all prisoners happened before the start of negotiations and since 1993 Israel has time and again promised to release prisoners and constantly reneged on their promises.” After a 2011 swap deal which saw over 1,000 Palestinians freed in return for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel arrested over 477 people between October and December, and Wahbe says that in 2013 there are on average around 400 arrests per month. Under military order 1651, an Israeli military committee can cancel a prisoner’s amnesty based on secret charges and evidence that even the detainee’s lawyer is not permitted to see.
Controversy as Palestinian prisoners freed
RAMALLAH (Al Jazeera) 29 Oct by Samuel Nelson Gilbert — Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for more than two decades will be released to their families on Tuesday in a “gesture of good faith” by Israel’s government. But critics say the move should have been made decades ago under the Oslo Accords, and that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is milking the release for its own political gain … Yet the discharge is one of the few positive developments as Palestinians have become increasingly disillusioned with negotiations that have done nothing to halt Israeli settlement expansion, curb violence, or guarantee the release of the more than 5,000 prisoners who remain in Israeli jails. Since Kerry announced the return to negotiations on July 19, there have been at least 1,100 Palestinians detained by the Israeli army.
Photos: Detainee families, supporters keep Gaza vigil on eve of prisoner release
GAZA (ISM) 29 Oct by Gaza Team — Families and supporters of Palestinian detainees held by Israel celebrated tonight’s promised release of 26 prisoners during a weekly sit-in Monday morning. The regular event, which began in 1995, brings comrades, friends and relatives of Palestinian prisoners together in the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza City office. “I and my family can’t believe Hazem is going to be released,” Taiseer Qassem Shubeir said after the event. Shubeir is the brother of of Hazem Qassem Taher Shubeir, one of five prisoners from the Gaza Strip scheduled for release. “We had lost hope,” Shubeir said. “Now all the Israelis’ excuses have been broken. We are unbelievably happy, and the whole family is waiting nervously.
Family counting minutes ahead of son’s release
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Oct – Relatives of the longest-serving Bethlehem-area prisoner are waiting on tenterhooks counting down the hours and minutes ahead of his expected release Tuesday night. Issa Abed Rabbo from Duheisha refugee camp has served 30 years in Israeli jails. His name appeared on a list of Palestinian prisoners numbering 104 jailed before the Oslo Accords of 1994. On Sunday, an Israeli ministerial committee approved their release late Tuesday. “I thank God for reuniting me and him although I haven’t seen him yet,” Abed Rabbo’s mother Ammuna told Ma‘an TV. “However, God willing, tomorrow he will be with me in my lap. I will be happy with his return and so will his sisters and brothers hoping we will continue to live in happiness,” she said.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Soldiers demolish an apartment in Jerusalem
[with photo] IMEMC — [Tuesday Morning October 29, 2013], several Israeli military jeep, and police vehicles, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded Beit Hanina, in occupied Jerusalem, and demolished an apartment building. Local sources have reported that the building belongs to a resident in Al-Ashqariyya area, in Beit Hanina. The owner, Amin Shweiky, said that dozens of soldiers invaded the area, declared it a closed military zone, and demolished the building without any warning. He added that that the families were not even granted time to remove their furniture and belongings from the building.
Israel issues stop-work orders to Hebron mosque, home
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Israeli authorities on Monday issued stop-work orders for a mosque and house in a village south of Yatta, a local official said. Al-Dirat village council official, Muhammad al-Adra, told Ma‘an that Israeli military forces and civil administration officials issued the orders before taking photos of the mosque and residential property. The house belongs to Nasser Muhammad Ibrahim al-Adara and is under construction. Locals have been fixing the roof of the mosque since last week. Israel has destroyed more than 500 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year
Audio: Shrinking space for Palestinian farmers
Al Jazeera 27 Oct — The life of Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank is becoming increasingly difficult. Palestinian farmers are being driven off land that Israel has labelled a nature reserve. Israel’s decision to declare this area a nature reserve and frequent harassment by Israeli settlers have created severe limits on the land farmers can cultivate. Palestinians here say Israel only declared the area a nature reserve to stop them using the land. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from the occupied West Bank.
Demolition order in the village of Tawayel
TAWAYEL, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 29 Oct by Nablus Team — Today, Tuesday 29th October, Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Tawayel (or al-Taweel) in the early hours of the morning to demolish several buildings and a water reserve. The demolition continued into the afternoon, where two international activists were detained before being released shortly after. Early this morning at around 5am, the Israeli army arrived in Tawayel with several military jeeps and three bulldozers. They began by demolishing a sheep enclosure before continuing to destroy the house of one farmer. The former home of this family was completely destroyed, but Israeli forces then demolished a water reserve. This means the soldiers removed the water supplies for several families and their animals in the area … Tawayel is a village close to Aqraba. The landscape is mainly desert, which makes it difficult for the farmers in the area to build a structured water supply. The village is Area B, but many farmers are living outside of the village, where there is more space for their sheep and animals. These farmers and their families have been living in this land for generations, though the army declared it Area C.
New housing units established in Negohot settlement
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Oct — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) built new housing units in Negohot settlement established on Palestinian land south of Al-Khalil. Eyewitnesses told the PIC on Tuesday that construction works were ongoing in the southern and western areas of Negohot. They said that the expansion work included the building of ten new housing units.
Internationals help in olive picking in Israeli-threatened area
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Oct – More than 130 international activists from 16 countries ended Monday 10 days of helping Palestinian farmers with olive picking in West Bank areas threatened by either Israeli takeover or settler violence, according to a press release. The YMCA-YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), in cooperation with the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), invited activists through Christian organizations, churches and solidarity movements from 16 American, European and Asian countries to help in picking olives with Palestinian farmers and landowners in the Bethlehem area. The lands and farms selected are under threat of confiscation by the Israelis, continuously attacked by settlers, located beyond the apartheid wall or have Jewish colonies constructed adjacent to or on part of the land, said the JAI press release. It said Israeli soldiers Sunday prevented the international participants from getting to the fields in Taqou‘ village, east of Bethlehem, although the farmer has official documents of his ownership of the land. The participants argued severely with the soldiers about the reason for this, with various unjust excuses given, said the press release.
But most likely only one of these communities will get relief
Salfit farmer poisoned by Burkan settlement polluted gases
SALFIT (PIC) 28 Oct — An old Palestinian farmer in Salfit was transferred to hospital on Sunday after inhaling poisonous gases coming from the industrial area in nearby Burkan settlement. Local sources said that Othman Jaber suffered from serious inflammation and vomiting, adding that he was taken to hospital where doctors told him his lungs were affected by the gases and were in serious condition. Jaber’s house is near to the settlement, which is to the west of Salfit, making him and his family the most affected along with other neighbors from the poisonous winds
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
West Bank charcoal pollution ires Wadi Ara communities
Haaretz 24 Oct by Zafrir Rinat — Residents of communities south of Wadi Ara are once again experiencing severe air pollution from dozens of Palestinian charcoal factories in the northern part of the West Bank. The pollution includes both noxious odors and particles in the air. Local authority heads in the area are demanding that the state act to shut down the charcoal businesses, after repeated complaints by residents over the past two years … The Environmental Protection Ministry said that a unit of inspectors would soon start working at the checkpoints to the West Bank. Their job would be to prevent the smuggling of waste from Israel to the West Bank and prevent the transfer of wood from pruned trees, which is used to make the charcoal.
Restriction of movement
One small crime at Ben-Gurion airport
Haaretz 30 Oct by Ravit Hecht — And then, they took her. The fact that she was in wheelchair made it easier for them to do so – they merely had to wheel one person from a group to another place, hidden from view. At first, I thought her suitcase had been lost and that she had been taken to the lost-luggage counter at her own request, or that the taxi driver who was supposed to take her to Ramallah had grown impatient and so they whisked her away without even a goodbye to the others lingering around the baggage carousel. I wanted to say goodbye to her and ask how her injured leg was doing, since it had swelled considerably during the days of the conference from which we had just returned. I started to follow her, but the airport worker was pushing her wheelchair at too brisk a pace for me. I couldn’t catch up. She waved to me and laughed. Yes, it was a bit funny, that mini chase. And then I understood that she had been taken for interrogation. Even though the permits for her trip had been signed, even though her return to Ramallah after she landed was all arranged, even though she has no history of security offenses, even though she is a young journalist who works with Israeli newspapers and has many Jewish friends. Why? Because she’s a Palestinian.
Israeli gov’t upholds denying entry to American teacher in Ramallah
Mondoweiss 29 Oct by Philip Weiss — In yesterday’s New York Times, Yousef Munayyer slammed the bills in Congress to grant Israeli citizens visa waivers when they visit the U.S., and Munayyer cited Israeli discrimination against Arab-Americans at its borders– specifically, the arbitrary refusal of Israeli authorities to allow Nour Joudah, above, a dedicated young American teacher, to return to her job at the Friends School in Ramallah. Joudah twice tried to return to Ramallah at the beginning of the year, to resume her classes with ninth graders. She was twice rebuffed. She lost her job, the school had to hire another teacher. Well, there is news in Joudah’s case: the Israeli Ministry of Interior responded last week to a written “hearing” it agreed to provide her following her appeal of the denial of entry. And the Ministry upheld the denial decision, without addressing any of the lengthy legal and factual claims raised by Joudah, her lawyer reports.
Settler violence: Think of it like burning down a Jewish business
972mag 29 Oct by Edo Konrad — When violent hate crimes happen so often they become a non-story — Imagine a series of attacks on shops and businesses in your city. Every night, a gang of hooligans breaks windows, damages goods and sets fire to a different store. Now imagine that this same gang only targets businesses owned by a specific group of people – say, a chain of local stores owned and operated by blacks or Jews. The attacks go on for years and only worsen with time. If the store owner happens to be there, he or she is beaten and left bleeding at the door front. In the United States and Europe, these kind of acts would be deemed a ‘hate crime.’ In Israel, the targeting of, say, Jewish-owned businesses would be decried as an act of ‘terror’ by politicians and the press. If the problem persists, it may even become an internationally-recognized issue. Petitions will be signed. Ambassadors will be called to explain. Communities will mobilize. For a Palestinian farmer, the olive grove is his business. The past several years have seen thousands of trees burned, cut down or damaged in dozens of incidents
Israeli attacks on Palestinian olive groves kept top secret by state
Haaretz 28 Oct by Amira Hass — Olive orchards are being destroyed in the West Bank, but defense and media officials have agreed yet again that everything should be done to respect the public’s right not to know — A document obtained by Haaretz details a series of incidents that have been kept confidential.Defense officials are content that the information has been kept secret for so long and that the leak of a few details on social media hasn’t caused a fuss. The officials clearly appreciate reporters’ responsibility and restraint on the issue – they haven’t exploited the right of freedom of information. The following are the incidents in the secret document – all of them in the West Bank in September and October. Sept. 11: 500 trees burned on land belonging to the village of Deir al-Khatab Sept. 15: 17 olive trees chopped down on land belonging to the village of Kafr Laqif … The common denominator (and this is not a complete list) is that all these incidents took place in areas of the West Bank where the Israel Defense Forces has full security responsibility. They happened near Israeli settlements and their offspring, the outposts, all of which are well guarded by batteries of soldiers, cameras and watchtowers … Another common element: These incidents were perpetrated in the same places as similar previous incidents. And in many of the Palestinian villages, the IDF, which does not rein in the serial perpetrators, denies the Palestinians, the potential victims of such attacks, access to their land except for twice a year, when they are allowed in under military escort
Settlers attack Palestinian in Nablus
IMEMC — Local sources have reported [Monday October 28, 2013] that a number of extremist Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian man in his own land, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, before settlement guards kidnapped him instead of removing the settlers. The sources said that the settlers violently attacked Mohammad Qabha, 45 years of age, striking him repeatedly to different part of his body causing various injuries. Qabha is from Sinjil village, near Ramallah; the settlers came from Maale Labouna illegal settlement south of Nablus. Settlement guards then kidnapped the man and took him into the illegal settlement.
Settlers attack Palestinian vehicle with stones near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct – Dozens of Israeli settlers hurled stones Monday evening at Palestinian vehicles traveling on a main road near the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘ near the Israeli settlement of Teqoa. Witnesses told Ma‘an via telephone that settlers from Etzion, Teqoa and Noqedim settlements rallied near the main entrance to Teqoa in southeast Bethlehem and started to pelt Palestinian vehicles with stones. Israeli police and military forces rushed to the scene to protect the settlers, according to the witnesses. The road is used by Palestinians who travel between the West Bank districts of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, and it connects the Israeli settlement blocs of Gush Etzion, east Bethlehem settlements and Har Homa.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Palestinian teen shot, injured by Israeli troops near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) updated 30 Oct — A young Palestinian man was shot and injured Tuesday evening after fierce clashes broke out between Israeli troops and young men in the village of Tuqu‘ east of Bethlehem. A Ma‘an reporter said that 17-year-old Ahmad Riyad Sabbah was hit by a gunshot to the back. He was evacuated to the Bethlehem Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala. Medics say he is in a stable condition. Israeli military vehicles stormed the village firing gunshots, rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters after a Molotov cocktail was hurled at a settler bus traveling on the main road in the village. Witnesses said the front of the bus caught fire. The driver continued to travel despite the fire until he reached the main entrance to the nearby Teqoa settlement. Israeli forces immediately shut down the main road before they stormed the Palestinian village. Soldiers started a manhunt in olive fields near the road where the bus was attacked.
Israeli forces raid African-Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli forces raided the African neighborhood of the Old City of Jerusalem and assaulted Moayyad Salaymeh, 22, before detaining him on Tuesday, a local official said … When Israeli forces raided the neighborhood, verbal altercations occurred and led to clashes between Israeli forces and locals. Israeli forces reportedly sprayed pepper gas and pushed women and children in the area. The raid lasted around one hour and half, during which time Israeli forces surrounded the neighborhood. During this time, they raided several houses and assaulted numerous residents.
Israeli forces raid Jenin village, clashes break out
JENIN (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli forces raided a Jenin village early Tuesday leading to clashes with locals, witnesses said. Five military vehicles raided the town of Silat al-Harithiya and fired tear gas in the center of the village, causing dozens of students to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces set-up a checkpoint along a road linking areas of the village and searched passing vehicles. Locals threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces. Israeli soldiers also took photos of the home of Ragheb Jaradat, who was killed in 2002 and whose body is being held in Israel. No detentions were reported.
Undercover forces kidnap Palestinian near Ramallah
IMEMC — [Monday October 28, 2013] Uncover soldiers of the Israeli military kidnapped a member of the Islamic Jihad Movement, in Beit Leqia [or Bayt Liqya] town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The man is a friend of a Palestinian who was recently killed by the army. Eyewitnesses said that the undercover soldiers abducted Mohammad Saleh Bader, 24, from a store run by his family in the town. They said the soldiers, driving a civilian car carrying an Israeli license plate, stopped in front of the store for approximately seven minutes, before a number of undercover soldiers jumped out, kidnapped Bader, and drove away. The soldiers also confiscated Bader’s mobile phone and laptop. The soldiers violently attacked him, and repeatedly beat him before forcing him into their car and driving away. He previously spent 4.5 years in Israeli prisons, and is a known member of the Islamic Jihad. He currently studies English at the Birzeit University near Ramallah.
Israeli forces arrest 2 PLC members and 20 other Palestinians affiliated with Hamas
PCHR 29 Oct — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli forces’ detention of 2 Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from the Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas: Nizar Abdul Aziz Abdul Hamid Ramadan (53); and Mohammed Maher Yusef Bader (55), both from Hebron, in addition to 20 other Palestinians. The arrests include active university students and a number of persons affiliated to Hamas, in different areas in the West Bank. PCHR emphasizes this arrest campaign constitutes a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilians, which is prohibited under article 33 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday morning, 28 October 2013, Israeli forces moved into different areas in the West Bank, including Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarm and Tubas, and arrested 20 Palestinian civilians:
IOF arrests 3 liberated prisoners from West Bank and Jerusalem
OCCUPIED WB (PIC) 29 Oct — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested on Tuesday three liberated prisoners from occupied Jerusalem, Tulkarem, and Salfit, and interrogated another one in his house in Tulkarem. Jerusalemite sources confirmed that IOF detained this morning a liberated prisoner Amin al- Shweiki from his home in Beit Hanina in occupied Jerusalem before demolishing his house, noting that al-Shweiki spent several years in Israeli jails for affiliation with Hamas. Meanwhile, the IOF stormed at dawn today a building in Tulkarem where they arrested the liberated prisoner Bassem Hamshari after violently searching his house and confiscating his personal belongings. The occupation forces also stormed the house of liberated prisoner Islam Badir in the same neighborhood in Tulkarem, where they interrogated him before leaving the area. Furthermore, Israeli soldiers raided at late hours yesterday Bani Hassan village in Salfit and broke into the house of martyr Mahmoud Assi, where they detained his son although he suffers from limited mobility.
Israeli forces arrest 3 in northern West Bank
JENIN (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli forces on Tuesday arrested three people at two checkpoints and took them to an unknown destination. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces arrested Jihad Munir Abu Baker and Ahmad Ghaleb Abu Baker at a flying checkpoint near Arraba south of Jenin. They were on a bus heading to Yabad from Nablus where one of them studies …. At Zaatara checkpoint, Israeli soldiers arrested Walid Hussein al-Fayed, a national security officer from Jenin, locals said.
Israeli police detain 3 Jerusalem residents
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Oct – Israeli police detained two young Palestinian men near the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s council gate, a Palestinian Authority official said Tuesday. Director of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian prisoner’s society Nasser Qaws told Ma‘an that 16-year-old Abdul-Karim Nokad and 22-year-old Shadi Labban were near the African neighborhood in the Old City when Israeli police officers detained them. Meanwhile, Israeli police released Muayyad Salaymah who was detained earlier in the same neighborhood. His father, 55-year-old Muhammad, was held in custody.
Separately, Israeli forces detained 11-year-old Nasim Natsha while he was walking on al-Wad street in Jerusalem.
Gaza under blockade
Photos: Israeli warplane strikes olive grove north of Gaza
GAZA (ISM) 29 Oct by Rosa Schiano — On the morning of Monday, 28 October, the Israeli air forces bombed agricultural land in the north of Gaza City. The airstrike took place at 9:25 am. An F-16 fighter jet bombed an area planted with olive trees on Mukhabarat Street, near Soudanya. The bombing created a huge crater. The land belongs to the Shohaber family, which produces oil from the olive trees. The family also owns a trucking company that transports materials from the Karem Shalom checkpoint into the Gaza Strip. Hazem Shohaber, owner of the land, told me his house was damaged in the bombing. His family has only lived in the new home for three months. “I was sitting behind the wall around the yard when the bombing took place,” Hazem said. “I was shocked. I was not able to do anything. Thank God my children were not on the land. They were in school. They usually play here.” … A few meters away from the bomb site is a primary school for girls. “The girls were in class,” Hazem said. “They fled. The situation was terrible. Teachers could not calm them. The ambulances came. Everyone feared that children had died in the explosion.”
Israeli airstrikes target northern Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Israeli airstrikes targeted the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, Israel’s army said, in the first airstrike on Gaza in over two months. “In response to the numerous rockets and mortars launched at Israel in the past 24 hours, IAF aircraft targeted two concealed rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed,” a statement said … Several rockets were fired from Gaza early Monday, with one rocket intercepted by the Iron Dome system above Ashkelon, Israel’s army said. A mortar shell was fired from Gaza on Sunday, the army added. No group has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. It was the first air strike since August 14 when the air force hit targets in the same area also in response to rocket fire, in a development which took place just hours after Israel released a first batch of Palestinian prisoners.
Egypt to re-open Rafah crossing for 6 days
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 30 Oct – The Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip from Saturday until Thursday, a Palestinian official said. Ambassador to Cairo Barakat al-Farra said in a statement Tuesday that the agreement was reached with the Egyptian authorities to open the crossing. The statement highlighted that the terminal would be shut down on Tuesday because it coincides with an official Egyptian holiday. The ambassador urged all Gaza students studying abroad to contact the embassy as soon as possible via email.
Egypt tunnel closure ‘costs Gaza $230 million monthly’
GAZA CITY (AFP) 28 Oct — Egypt’s closure of tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip has caused monthly losses of $230 million to its economy, a Hamas official said Sunday. The “closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors” of around $230 million monthly, said Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister of Hamas … Oweida said that the coastal Palestinian territory had relied on the tunnels to meet at least 40 percent of its construction supplies and raw material needs. Gaza’s unemployment rate would hit 43 percent if official border crossings remained shut and the tunnels were destroyed, Oweida warned.
Israeli official drum for war on Gaza
IMEMC 30 Oct — A number of Israeli officials of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to wage what they called a “decisive war” on the Gaza Strip, targeting what Hamas and armed Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza. One of the main voices is the voice of Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Intelligence Minister, who said that Palestinian armed groups have stepped-up the firing of shells from Gaza into nearby Israeli areas. He said that “should the shells continue, Israel will have no other option but to end the situation, sooner or later”. Steinitz added that he does not believe it is possible to reach any understanding, or go through political channels with armed groups in Gaza, and stated that Israel will be “pushed into launching a harsh and decisive strike”. His statement came only one day after the army fired a missile close to an elementary school, behind the Maqousy towers, northwest of Gaza City. Israeli Military spokesperson, Avichai Adraee, claimed the shelling targeted two areas in northern Gaza, allegedly used as launching pads for homemade shells.
Palestinian Syria refugees protest UNRWA ‘delay’ in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Palestinian refugees from Syria demonstrated Monday in front of UNRWA headquarters in the Gaza Strip, protesting against the agency’s “delay” in fulfilling its responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees from the conflict … Head of the Committee of Refugees affairs in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Shawish, said that around 1000 Palestinians who fled the conflict in Syria now endure a “difficult situation” in Gaza, where they sought refuge. “UNRWA has not fulfilled the commitments it agreed upon previously with the committee, he added. “They only paid $125 for 2 months (to the refugees) and then it stopped.” Al-Shawish said that dozens of refugees faced the prospect of being “expelled from their homes” because they could no longer pay their rent, a fact that would compound their initial displacement from Syria due to security issues. Protesters also called up on the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip to provide them with land so that UNRWA could build them houses there.
Unlicensed banks provide ‘safety net’ for besieged Gaza
GAZA STRIP (Electronic Intifada) 29 Oct by Hana Salah — Two Islamic banks have played a critical role in helping Gaza cope with the siege imposed by Israel and enforced by the Egyptian government. The Islamic National Bank and Al-Intaj have managed to stay in business despite attacks on them and threats to their operations; Israel bombed the Islamic National Bank in November last year. Meanwhile, the public sector which both banks sustain has been hampered by the closure of tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt. Both banks operate without the approval of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which was established under the 1993 Oslo accords to oversee the financial system in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, they have been given permits to operate by the Hamas-led administration in Gaza. Due to their lack of PMA approval, these banks can only work in the Gaza Strip, without connections with Israeli or international banks. “Safety net” Mohsen Abu Ramadan, an economic analyst, said that the two banks have provided “a monetary safety net for the Hamas government, and replaced the licensed banks, which refused to deal with Hamas.”
‘What’s going on’ — new track from Gaza hip-hop duo Revolution Makers
Electronic Intifada 28 Oct by Ali Abunimah — I was introduced to Revolution Makers when I saw them perform a rare live hip hop performance in Gaza City during PalFest last May. Since the duo, brothers Mohammed and Osama Elsusi, have put out a number of new songs. This is their newest song, “What’s going on,” featuring Ayman Mghames. In the notes on the YouTube page, they include an approximate English translation of the lyrics, but the spirit of the song is captured in the haunting chorus: We wish for a life in which the cheapest thing is not our blood, / For our present days to withstand the challenge of what we’ve lived through / To live to think about our future, to come together, together – oh our brothers /
You can hear all of Revolution Makers’ music on their Soundcloud. I highly recommend it.
Anniversary of massacres by Israelis
We’ll never forget October 1956 massacre, say Palestinians in Israel
KAFR QASSEM (Electronic Intifada) 29 Oct by Patrick O. Strickland — On 29 October 1956, Israeli border police carried out a massacre in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qassem, situated in the central district of present-day Israel. The massacre took place on the eve of the Suez crisis — in which Israel invaded Egypt with the backing of France and Britain. It followed the announcement of a curfew by Israel in the middle of that day. Although most Palestinians who were outside their villages were doing agricultural work in the fields and had no way of knowing about the curfew, Israeli border police were ordered by the military to shoot anyone who returned after 5pm. Many Israeli officers did not comply. Yet in Kafr Qassem, the order was carried out. Forty-eight men, women and children were slain — 23 of the victims were children between eight and 17 years old. One of those killed was a pregnant woman. “You won’t find any mention of the massacre in any Israeli schoolbook sealed by the ministry of education,” Lina Badr, a 19-year-old from Kafr Qassem, said in an interview with The Electronic Intifada. “So Arab schools around the country make sure to dedicate the week before the anniversary each year for educational events, school trips to the [Kafr Qassem massacre] museum, and distributing literature about the full story of what happened during the massacre.
Eilaboun village massacre, 29 Oct 1948
Eilaboun.com A terrifying massacre happened, with memories that hardly exist in our minds a massacre was forgotten by people who tried to describe those horrified days. In the early morning of 30.10.1948 which started as every morning, the sun shining over the world turning that day to a deep red day in the memory of everyone. The people refused to leave in spite of the horrible news about the Israeli army that was about to invade the village in any moment. The army entered the village and found the people inside the church holding white flags. The army took the people out of the church and killed 14 young men and the rest were kicked out towards the north heading to Lebanon, and in order to terrify the people and erg them to leave as quickly as possible they shot another person turning the number of victims to 15 added to tens of injured people who survived miraculously. Eilaboun was like other Palestinian villages that were put under the Jewish authority, those villages suffered from ethnic cleansing. My grandmother told me this story with tearful eyes: “on the black day we all gathered inside the church when we knew about the coming of the Israeli army with his blooded hands. By entering the village and forcing all people to gather in neighborhood yard which was used to celebrate weddings and it turned it into the yard of martyrs.
Detainees / Court actions
Palestinian child could face a life term
IMEMC 29 Oct — A Palestinian child, identified as Mohammad Mahdi Suleiman, 15 years of age, could face a life-term by an Israeli court for ‘throwing stones at the soldiers, and endangering their lives’. The child is from Hares village, near the central West Bank district of Salfit. He will be sent to court in the coming few days. The Israeli Prosecution said it intends to ask for the highest penalty that could reach up to a life in prison, the Wa’ed Society for Detainees has reported. Wa’ed said that the child was kidnapped on March 15 this year, after Israeli soldiers violently broke into his home and searched it. He was then sent to a military court and the Israeli prosecutor’s office demanded that the child be sentenced to a life term for throwing stones at the soldiers, and endangering their lives.
Fasisi transferred to hospital on 30th day of hunger strike
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 Oct — Detainee Akram Yousef Fasisi has been transferred to hospital after 30 days of hunger strike protesting his administrative detention, his family said on Monday. Family members told Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights that Fasisi had started his hunger strike on 29th September and was adamant on continuing in his strike until his release.
Israeli military court sentences Hebron man to life imprisonment
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israel’s Ofer military court on Tuesday sentenced Hussein Ali al-Qawasmeh to life imprisonment, a prisoners group said. Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said that al-Qawasmeh, 39, was detained on May 28, 2011, for planning to carry out an operation in Jerusalem to kidnap Israeli soldiers. After sentencing was announced, he said to the judge: “I do not regret anything. You stole my homeland, killed my brothers, sisters, and you expect that I will dedicate a bouquet of flowers for you?” the group said. Al-Qawasmeh’s two brothers were killed by Israeli forces and another brother, Ziyad, is serving a 14-year prison sentence in an Israeli jail. Another brother, who was not identified, was released in the Shalit prisoner swap deal in 2011 and deported to the Gaza Strip. Al-Qawasmeh, a resident of Hebron in the southern West Bank, has spent a total of 11 years in Israeli jails.
Palestinian refugees outside Palestine
Turkish coastguards rescue Palestinian refugees stranded at sea
ANKARA (PIC) 29 Oct — Turkish coastguards rescued Palestinian and Syrian refugees off the coast of Turkey at an early hour on Tuesday morning. The refugees were deceived by one of the smugglers who promised to take them from Turkey to Greece but left them in the middle of the route. One of the passengers on board had appealed to the Action Group for Palestinians in Syria for help at dawn Tuesday. He said that the boat with 28 Palestinian and Syrian refugees on board left from southern Izmir towards Greece but the owner of the boat, who took money from them in return for his “services”, left them in the middle of the way and took with him the boat’s engine. He said that the passengers were worried about their fate but the Turkish coastguard arrived at the scene at an early hour and evacuated them.
Palestinians in Lebanon vow to continue protests against UN aid cuts
BEIRUT (Electronic Intifada) 29 Oct by Moe Ali Nayel — The family of an ill two-year-old girl in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon says the child’s life is in danger because of cuts to international aid. The UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, announced a budget shortfall of more than $8 million in July. The result of this funding gap is that it has severely reduced emergency assistance — particularly aid for paying rent — to residents of the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon (“Nahr el-Bared: Do not test our patience,” Al-Akhbar English, 21 July 2013). Refugees from that camp have stepped up their protests against the cuts. On 11 October, they held a “day of rage,” which included demonstrations outside UNRWA offices in Beirut. Directly affected Amira Ishtawi, two years old, is directly affected by the service cuts, according to her family. Amira was diagnosed with an immune system disorder at the age of eight months. Her family says she needs two shots every twenty days at a cost of $1,600. These costs were previously covered by UNRWA. But after its emergency aid program to Nahr al-Bared was suspended in September, the agency stopped covering them
Arab Israeli sues cafe that fired him for ‘not being Jewish’
Haaretz 29 Oct by Revital Hovel — An Arab man from central Israel has sued the Tel Aviv Port branch of Cafe Cafe for NIS 100,000, after he was told on his first day of work as a waiter that the cafe could not continue to employ him because he isn’t Jewish. “In this case the plaintiff was hired and fired within a day, when his employer found out that he was an Arab,” said Mali Wroclawski, a lawyer at the legal assistance division of the Justice Ministry in the Tel Aviv area. “This is unacceptable and insulting behavior that should be publicly and legally condemned … The complainant, identified only as G., recorded the branch manager telling him that the rabbinate had told him he was not allowed to hire non-Jews because the cafe was kosher. The Tel Aviv rabbinate said this was not the case.
Sudanese asylum seeker dies in Israel for lack of affordable health care
Haaretz 29 Oct by Ido Efrati — Man with rare respiratory syndrome fails to raise NIS 6,000 needed to buy an oxygen generator; migrants’ status shouldn’t bar them from getting health care, rights group says — …As an asylum seeker with no legal status in Israel, M. was cut off from the health-care system and was unable to join one of the health maintenance organizations. During his two-month stay at the hospital, social services sought a solution by appealing to nonprofit organizations and other aid agencies. Physicians for Human Rights managed to find medication for him, but no oxygen generator could be found. An attempt to borrow one from the Yad Sarah volunteer agency failed
Palestinian negotiators provide document of stances regarding core issues
IMEMC 29 Oct — Israeli sources reported that Palestinian negotiators submitted to their Israeli counterparts a document representing the Palestinian stances regarding talks on final status core issues. Israeli daily, Haaretz, has reported that a Palestinian official of the Legislative Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, directly involved in the direct talks kicked off three months ago, said the document includes the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, in addition to water resources, borders, and land swap. The source said that the Palestinians are demanding focusing direct Israeli-Palestinian talks on core issues, instead of pushing them until final-status talks, the way on and off negotiations have been held since the early 1990’s.
Netanyahu reiterates Israeli preconditions for ‘peace’
IMEMC — [Sunday October 27, 2013] Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Tel Aviv is seeking peace with the Palestinians, but reiterated Israeli preconditions and demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and drop the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees. During the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that Israel is interested in reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but added that any agreement must primarily serve Israel’s vital interests. He said that Israel wants to ‘protect its eastern borders’, and will always maintain control and presence in vital areas of the occupied territories, such as the Jordan Valley … The Israeli Prime Minister also said that Israel will never accept the division of occupied Jerusalem, and will never recognize the Right of Return of the refugees.
PLO: Israel’s stance in talks harshest in 20 years
RAMALLAH (AFP) 29 Oct — Israel’s negotiating position with the Palestinians in US-sponsored peace talks is the toughest it has taken since before the 1993 Oslo Accords, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday. “The current Israeli negotiating position is the worst in more than 20 years,” said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the PLO, adding there had been “no tangible progress” in talks that resumed in July after a hiatus of nearly three years. “They want security first, and that the borders of the state of Palestine should be set out according to Israeli security needs that never end, and that will undermine the possibility of establishing a sovereign Palestinian state,” Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO executive committee, said in a statement.
Jericho celebrates its date product
JERICHO (WAFA) 29 Oct by Tala Rimawi — You roam around and all you feel is a sense of pride and accomplishment in the city of palm trees; Jericho, where the opening of the fifth exhibition of its “yellow gold,” the dates, took place on Monday. Palestinians from all over the West Bank gathered in Jericho where local farmers displayed their date products for everyone to take a peak taste of their joy and pride product. Dates are considered the second most important agricultural product in Palestine after olives. “Planting 20,000 dunums of palm trees will have financial returns equivalent to what we get from planting one million dunums of olive trees,” said Abdul Majeed Sweilem, head of the Association of Palm Farmers. While there were only 30,000 palm trees planted in Palestinian farms in 2006, this figure increased this year to 150,000 trees planted in 12,000 dunums of land, some of them located in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control. The goal is to reach 250,000 trees within the next five years planted in 20,000 dunums, said Sweilem
link to english.wafa.ps
Lack of vaccines leads to dozens of West Bank livestock deaths
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Dozens of animals have died in the West Bank due to a lack of vaccines against a deadly disease affecting livestock, farmers say. Adel Hassan Ibrahim, a shepherd from Bethlehem, told Ma‘an that 48 of his cattle have died from the disease because the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture has no vaccines to protect animals. Ibrahim says he contacted the ministry two months ago and the disease has caused severe financial losses. Imad Mukarker, an official in the PA Ministry of Culture, told Ma‘an that they have asked the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture to provide 20,000 shots of a vaccine for the disease. The disease cannot be transferred to humans but has a fatality rate of 10 percent for sheep. PA Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf told Ma‘an that Israel does not allow the PA to import vaccines. He said the PA must buy them from Israel for double the price
link to www.maannews.net/
Cash crunch cripples Palestinian colleges
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 28 Oct by Khalid Amayreh — Until recently Palestinian colleges were among the best in the Arab world, but amid severe shortages in public and private funding, many are now struggling to make ends meet. As a result institutions such as Birzeit University – whose students recently blocked lecturers from entering classes in protest against tuition hikes – have been forced to freeze programmes and adopt stiff austerity measures in order to stay afloat. Other Palestinian universities such as Nablus’ al-Najah University have boosted student registration in order to raise more funds. But critics say this solution could compromise the quality of education. About 14 universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cater to roughly 150,000 college students
Palestinians struggle economically as tunnels collapse and aid falters
Reuters 27 Oct — The arteries of Gaza’s economy have collapsed as Egypt demolishes the smuggling tunnels along its sandy border. Ancient stone villages in the occupied West Bank have become trapped in rural poverty, while investors and donors shy away from a zone of seemingly endless conflict. The crackdown on the Gaza Strip and stagnation in the West Bank mean the Palestinian economy might shrink this year after average annual growth of about nine percent in 2008-2011. The doldrums have dented a long-held belief amongst Israeli right-wingers that gathering Palestinian prosperity could achieve a de facto “economic peace” and provide a convenient alternative to a comprehensive two-state deal. “Any talk of further developing the Palestinian economy without a lifting of Israel’s restrictions is just that, talk,” said the Palestinian minister for economic affairs, Jawad Naji.“The international community urgently needs to intervene to pressure Israel to allow us access to our natural resources
Campaign to free Marwan Barghouti launched from Mandela’s prison cell
CAPE TOWN (WAFA) 28 Oct – The global campaign to free Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti was symbolically launched on Sunday from the cell where Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader of South Africa, was held during his incarceration on Robben Island. The Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Political Prisoners international campaign was launched by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which opposes apartheid and calls for release of political prisoners, along with the Palestinian Popular Campaign for the Freedom of Marwan Barghouthi. Israel arrested Barghouthi, a member of the Palestinian parliament, in 2002 and sentenced him to five life sentences plus 40 years in 2004 after it convicted him of responsibility for the killing of Israelis and heading the armed Fatah group, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
Israel defends rights record in return to UN spotlight
GENEVA (AFP) 30 Oct — Israel defended its record before the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, marking an end to its 18-month boycott of the body over scrutiny of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. “Our record is before you. It is not a perfect record,” Israeli ambassador Eviator Manor told the council, which is the United Nations’ top human rights forum. Israel’s deputy attorney general Shai Nitzan also addressed the council, which it repeatedly has accused of bias.
Israeli lawyers group Shurat HaDin unmasked as Mossad proxy
Electronic Intifada 24 Oct by Asa Winstanley — The director of a supposedly independent group of Israeli lawyers privately admitted to a US embassy official it acted as a proxy for the Israeli government, a leaked US embassy cable shows. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner confided in 2007 that her Shurat HaDin group in the past “took direction … on which cases to pursue” and still “receives evidence” from the Mossad and from Israel’s National Security Council. This is in direct contradiction to public claims, such as on its website which states it is a “fully independent” organization “unaffiliated with any political party or governmental body.” The group has fought several high-profile “lawfare” cases against Palestine solidarity activists around the world in recent years
Palestinian arrested in Chicago because of her community activism, groups say
Electronic Intifada 26 Oct by Maureen Clare Murphy — The Department of Homeland Security’s arrest of Palestinian community activist Rasmea Yousef Odeh at her home in the Chicago suburbs on Tuesday was an act of political repression, dozens of groups around the US stated this week. Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network, a social services and community organization in Chicago, faces imprisonment and deportation for alleged immigration fraud. Released on bond, she is due in court in Detroit next month. The indictment charges that 66-year-old Odeh failed to disclose a conviction in Israel on her citizenship application. It states that Odeh was convicted by an Israeli military court in 1969 for alleged membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and alleged involvement in two bombings in Jerusalem, one of which killed two civilians. There has been an outpouring of support for Odeh, including a statement from prominent groups that Odeh is being targeted for her community activism.
How the FBI blacklisted US’ largest Muslim civil rights group
SAN FRANCISCO (Electronic Intifada) 22 Oct by Charlotte Silver — Based on flimsy evidence, the FBI has sabotaged efforts to be on good terms with Muslim communities in the US by accusing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of being linked to a “terrorist organization.” Founded in 1994, CAIR monitors policies that affect Muslim Americans and provides legal representation in cases of civil rights violations. The largest nationwide organization advocating for Muslims’ rights in the US, CAIR says the blacklisting has undermined its work at a time when it is needed the most. The group first became aware of its change of status on 8 October 2008, when James Finch, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City field office, sent a letter to participants of the state’s Muslim Community Outreach Program. In the letter, he informed them that the upcoming quarterly meeting between members of the Muslim community and local law enforcement would be canceled due to CAIR’s participation … The events that precipitated the blacklisting of CAIR can be traced back to May 2007, when CAIR was listed — along with 246 individuals and organizations — as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the federal government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in the US until it was shut down by a Bush administration executive order in December 2001
Analysis / Opinion
Talking nonsense about apartheid: How come Uri Avnery knows so little about Israel? / Jonathan Cook
Palestine Chronicle 28 Oct — …it is important to challenge the many fallacious claims Avnery makes to bolster the arguments in his latest article, dismissing the growing comparisons being made between Israel and apartheid South Africa. There is much to criticize in his weakly argued piece, based on a recent conversation with an unnamed “expert”. Avnery, like many before him, makes the mistake of thinking that, by pointing out the differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa, he proves that Israel is not an apartheid state. But this is the ultimate straw-man argument. No one claims Israel is identical to South Africa. You don’t need an expert to realize that. When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law … The most outrageous claim Avnery makes in the article, precisely to deflect attention from the problem of a self-defined Jewish state and its relations with a large Palestinian minority, is the following: “On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere…” There is no sense in which Israel’s treatment of its 1.5 million Palestinian citizens is comparable, as Avnery argues, to the situation of national minorities in European states. Palestinian citizens do not simply face unofficial, informal or spontaneous discrimination. It is structural, institutionalized and systematic. Here are a few questions Avnery or those who agree with him need to answer: *Which European states have, like Israel, nationalized 93 per cent of their land so that one ethnic group (in Israel’s case, Jewish citizens) can exclude another ethnic group (Palestinian Arab citizens)? *Which European states operate vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent one ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs) from living in these communities? *Which European states have separate citizenship laws – in Israel’s case, the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging?
The structural roots of Israeli apartheid / Noura Erakat
Al Jazeera 29 Oct – Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have intensified in recent days. The talks, facilitated by US Secretary of State John Kerry, have resulted in 13 meetings between the two delegations to discuss issues of mutual concern. Yet in the midst of the current flurry of activity aimed at saving the two-state solution from the shelves of rich archival libraries, three-time Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is insisting that the conflict is not a political one at all. To the contrary, at a recent talk delivered at Bar Ilan University, Netanyahu explained that the conflict is about Palestinian hatred for Jews as a people. There is, he maintains, a cultural malaise inherent to Palestinians that is not connected to Israeli military and structural violence against a dispossessed and stateless people. His diagnosis leaves little in the way of possible remedies, aside from cultural sensitivity trainings (for Palestinians, mind you) or, more realistically, the indefinite subjugation of an entire people – billed to US taxpayers. The hawkish leader’s analysis is contingent on the belief that Palestinians are not rational actors, but emotional ones impervious to reason. Netanyahu’s analysis is fundamentally racist and flawed because it ascribes to Jewish immigration into Mandatory Palestine an innocuous character it has never possessed. Israel’s establishment as a homeland for a Jewish majority in a land where a Palestinian-Arab majority existed has necessitated the on-going forced removal and subjugation of the non-Jewish Palestinian population – not simply in the Arab-Israeli War or the Six-Day War, but into the present day.
Video: Joseph Massad on Zionism’s strategy of ‘Peace Is War’
Electronic Intifada 28 Oct by Ali Abunimah — In this fascinating lecture, Columbia Professor Joseph Massad unravels the obfuscatory language of ‘peace’ the Zionist movement and Israel have always used to mask their aggressive and colonial intentions towards Palestine. Massad’s lecture, entitled ‘Peace Is War: Negotiations, Israeli Settler Colonialism, and the Palestinians,’ was given at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas on 23 October. His opening words set up his journey through Zionist history to the present day: “Ever since its colonial project was set in motion, Zionism has insisted that it seeks to colonize Palestine ‘peacefully,’ indeed that its colonization of the country will not only not harm the native population, but that it would be of benefit to them.
Israel’s twisted logic in keeping EU legislators out of Gaza / Mairav Zonszein
972mag 29 Oct — Israel says allowing organizations to visit Gaza inherently ‘strengthens Hamas,’ even when no visits with Hamas officials are planned. Couldn’t the same logic be used to argue for a boycott of Israel, considering Israel’s occupation regime?
Analysis || Little joy in West Bank as 26 Palestinian prisoners return home / Amira Hass
Haaretz 30 Oct — Despite efforts by Palestinian media, people on the street have more pressing concerns: The economy, refugees in Syria and settlement construction — The noise in recent days from the Israeli lobby against the release of Palestinian prisoners was the opposite of the limited interest the Palestinian public was showing before the release early Wednesday. But the media in the Palestinian Authority was trying to create an atmosphere of excitement and joy – they’re laying on the nationalist songs, interviews with the parents of prisoners and interviews with the people who have made a living from the ‘prisoners file’ for 20 years. The official spokesmen were asking once again that this be depicted as a big achievement for the PA, especially for President Mahmoud Abbas – another step on the way to ending the occupation. But the masses’ general apathy hasn’t waned. There were a number of reasons. The natural joy over the release of 26 longtime prisoners doesn’t change the fact that the Palestinians are troubled by an abundance of problems that touch every family and individual. And everyone knows that these problems aren’t about to be solved.
A lopsided U.S. visa-waiver
NY Times 29 Oct by Yousef Munayyer — …As a naturalized U.S. citizen who has traveled extensively, particularly across borders where the very notion of citizenship can be a contentious political idea, I have a deep appreciation for my navy blue passport. After a recent trip, as I made my way from the plane through passport control in Newark’s Liberty Airport, I found myself awestruck. ‘Welcome back,’ said the immigration official, after scanning my passport, briefly glancing at a computer screen and letting me pass — a process that took about 30 seconds. ‘That’s it?’ I found myself thinking. I had only been gone three weeks and had already managed to forget what it felt like to have my rights as a citizen respected. I’d just come back from traveling through Israel and the Palestinian territory it occupies. In that part of the world, one approaches immigration kiosks prepared for a lengthy wait, inspections and harassing questions (this is true even with Israeli citizenship, which I also hold) … The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, backed by the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, was introduced by Ms. Boxer and has 53 co-sponsors in the Senate. It legislates, for the first time, the inclusion of Israel in the U.S. visa-waiver program. This means that Israelis can enter the United States without a visa.Israel has long sought this prized designation but has always faced resistance from the State Department because the program requires reciprocity. Israel has been known to routinely deny entry to American citizens, often Arabs or Muslims or others sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, under the usually bogus pretext of ‘security concerns.’