Land, property, resource theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Settlers steal olives from 110+ trees in Abu Huwar
Deir Sharaf (ISM) 7 Oct — by Team Nablus — On the 5th of October, local farmers discovered that the olives from more than one hundred trees had been stolen, and that another ten trees had been damaged or destroyed … A local factory worker reported that he had seen two buses loaded with settlers pull up and unload next to the farm, in the night between the 3rd and 4th of October. About 150 metres into the field the olives had been swiftly picked from the trees, leaving small amounts on the tops, and the damaged trees bore markings from sharp-edged cutting tools. Yasser Fuqaha reported that the amount stolen from him represented about three quarters of his expected total yield, a devastating blow to his income. This attack precipitated the start of the olive harvesting season, and puts pressure on the local farmers to start harvesting the olives before they have reached optimal ripeness.
Like thieves in the night: Stealing Palestinian land
972blog Oct by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — The Israeli government wants to prolong its long-term thievery, based on a particularly dirty trick. A few words on the uneven ground upon which the settlement of Beit El rests — …please look at the following pictures. The first is a seizure order signed by Brig. Gen. Binyamin Eliezer on July 18, 1979; the second is a map of the seized land, taken from the lands of the village Dura Al Qara; the third is a document issued by Major Amnon Shasha a day later. Please pay attention to paragraphs 6a and 8 in Shasha’s document: in the first, Shasha stipulates that the “seizure order is not to be published to the locals,” and in the second, that “no publicity is to be given to the order.” … Shasha was basically ordering the confiscation of private, registered land, ostensibly for security reasons and in actual fact for the purpose of building a settlement (his document also demands that the head of the local yeshiva – a religious school – will be cautioned that “any further attempts at unpermitted deviations,” such a lovely term, will be “punished with all severity”), all the while hiding the fact from the residents. By doing so, Shasha deprived them of their right to protect themselves from the order by appealing to the High Court of Justice.
West Bank nature reserve might be trimmed to expand settlement
Haaretz 9 Oct by Chaim Levinson — The Civil Administration in the West Bank is considering reducing the size of a nature reserve in the South Hebron Hills to enable the expansion of the settlement of Negohot and the legalization of a nearby outpost. Negohot was established in 1998, and for years it had no authorized master plan that would enable legal construction. Nevertheless, houses were built there, and the settlement is currently home to some 30 families. Later an outpost was built on a nearby hill, and even though it has been served with an order that would enable its immediate evacuation, a few more families are living there. Another outpost was built across the road, in the Nahal Negohot nature reserve, consisting of one house and a few grapevines. The Civil Administration razed the house in 2009, but it has since been rebuilt and the administration has taken no further action. Over the past year, due to political pressure from the right, work has begun to legalize Negohot and its outposts.
Who will save the sheikh’s palace?
Haaretz 8 Oct by Shirly Seidler — Negev Bedouin try to preserve historical structures that hosted Israeli leaders and even Eleanor Roosevelt — …There are many other Bedouin legacy sites just waiting for preservation, much like the well. The minorities department at the Council for Restoration and Preservation of Historic Sites in Israel works on preserving non-Jewish historical structures, also important parts of Israel’s history. The department’s work can be seen in many Druze villages, but much less so in the Negev, where many historical structures sit abandoned by the side of the road. One such structure is a house at the entrance to Rahat, which used to belong to Sheikh Salman Al-Huzail the Second … The extravagant stone house was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and was the first stone building built by the Bedouin of the Negev …The rest of the Bedouin population lived in tents, and so the building was called “the palace.” … Mizariv from the council for restoration says that one of the problems inherent in preserving Bedouin structures is that they are located on private land, where awareness of the need for preservation is relatively low … Extensive preservation of these sites could serve to remind everyone of the not-so-distant past, when all could drink from the same well.
Israel issues demolition orders to 6 families
JENIN (Ma‘an) 7 Oct — Israeli forces on Monday issued demolition orders to six Palestinian families living in Bardala village in the northern Jordan Valley, a local official said. Aref Daraghmeh, the mayor of al-Maleh and the Bedouin dwellings, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village in northern Tubas and handed demolition orders and stop-work orders to six families. The orders gave the families until Nov. 11 to evacuate their homes, Daraghmeh said. Israeli forces demolished several homes in the area two years ago, but village officials and Tubas municipality rebuilt the homes.
Israel demands Yatta villagers remove solar panels
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Oct — Israeli forces on Sunday demanded Palestinians remove 10 solar panels from their rooftops in the Yatta region south of Hebron, a local group said. The coordinator of the Popular Committees against the Settlements and the Wall south of Hebron and east of Yatta, Ratib al-Jbour, said that Israeli forces had visited the village and demanded that villagers remove the solar panels. The solar panels provide electric power for 10 families in the Asfi area east of Yatta in the southern West Bank. Ratib al-Jbour denounced the move and called upon international humanitarian organizations and human rights organizations to prevent them from implementing the decision. The South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, lies almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israel civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords. Only one village in Masafer Yatta has ever been able to connect to the Palestinian electricity grid, after a decade of wrangling with the Israeli military.
Settlers burn cars, attack mosque near Jerusalem
[Monday October 7, 2013] A group of extremist Israeli settlers burnt two Palestinian cars and attacked a mosque in Beit Iksa village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, and wrote racist anti-Islamic graffiti … Resident Mohammad Gheith told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) stated that the settlers came from Ramot illegal settlement. He added that the settlers wrote graffiti insulting Islam and the Muslim Prophet, Mohammad, in addition to writing other racist Price Tag graffiti on the front exterior wall of the local mosque. The settlers tried to smash the mosque’s main door, but a number of residents were inside, noticed them, and chased them away.
In related news, a number of extremist settlers cut [down] several olive trees in Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah.
Israeli forces, settlers raid al-Tuwani village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Oct — Israeli forces raided the Hebron village of al-Tuwani late Sunday and ransacked people’s homes, locals said. Israel forces raided the main mosque in the village and residents’ sheep stables, firing stun grenades. No detentions were recorded. According to locals, Israeli settlers had earlier raided the village and also ransacked Palestinian houses and barns.
Restriction of movement
OCHA: West Bank permit holders isolated in Jerusalem due to separation wall
MEMO 7 Oct — The UN published a report last month noting that at least 16 Palestinian communities, with a combined population of around 2500 people, are currently located on the “Jerusalem side” of the separation wall, despite the fact that most of their residents hold West Bank permits. As a result, Israeli authorities have imposed many restrictions on their movement, leaving them isolated from both East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlights the particular case of the Bir Nabala / Tel Al-Adasa Bedouin community, which consists of nine families all belonging to the Al-Kaaba’na tribe that was displaced from occupied southern Palestine to Hebron in 1948.
A journey into the dark heart of Israel’s permit regime
972blog 7 Oct by Idan Landau — Trapped between the separation barrier and the Green Line, Palestinians living in the ‘Seam Zone’ are forced to reckon with a Kafkaesque permit regime that appears designed to do one thing and one thing only: make them give up and leave — Israeli NGO Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual published “The Permit Regime” earlier this year, a report amazing in its discoveries and the level it details the parallel universe Israel has created in the “Seam Zone,” the area between the separation barrier and the Green Line. The bulk of the information in the report was collected from UN reports (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA) and the State of Israel’s responses to 76 Supreme Court petitions filed by Hamoked over the years. As expected, the report gained zero media coverage. The following 25 stations, on the journey to the land of permits, were drawn from the report … The words “permanent resident” and “permanent farmer” are deceiving: all permits in the Seam Zone are temporary. Most of them are granted for three months and the longest permit is granted for two years. As a Palestinian, your status in the Seam Zone is always temporary, even if you were born and have worked there your entire life. Additionally, Civil Administration inspectors are likely to follow you around and may add you to the “Suspected of losing connection to the Seam Zone” list – the code name for a transfer list used to revoke his residency.
Moments in Palestine
Mondoweiss 8 Oct by Lena Ibrahim — The Interrogation I felt trapped in my own body. I had been waiting for 3 dreadful hours, I had taken 2 hot and suffocating bus rides from Jordan, and had been given 2 rounds of repetitive questioning by Israeli security. I waited and waited, I watched the others in the waiting room, seeing my own feelings of discomfort and paranoia in their weakening eyes. Some of them had told me they had been waiting in that room for more than 6 hours. The Israeli security kept calling me in and asking me the same questions, “Where are you from, what are you doing here, where were you born, where was your father born?” After the 3rd round of their “interrogation”, I felt myself becoming more and more sick. “I’m never coming back, I never want to do this again.” And as I heard my own thought echo in my mind, I felt even more disgusted, but now only with myself. I realized exactly what was happening. This is what they wanted. They wanted me to feel so sick I’d never want to come back and go through this again. And in that moment I knew I had won. I had beat them because I knew I would do this a million times, I would do this an infinite amount of times just to be home. And so I waited, I waited for Palestine.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian man near the northern West Bank village of Azzun Itma on Monday, Israel’s army said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that Israeli forces saw several Palestinians attempting to cross a fence in the northern West Bank, and, “once they identified the infiltrators, they operated in order to prevent them from crossing the fence by firing in their direction.” Israeli news site Ynet said that the man was moderately wounded in the shooting.
Six-year-old loses eye from bullets Israel promised to phase out
RAMALLAH (Electronic Intifada) 7 Oct by Dylan Collins & Patrick O. Strickland — Six-year-old Mousab Sarahnin lost an eye after Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets just after he stepped off a bus at the Fawwar refugee camp, near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on 27 September. “Mousab was walking beside his mother, clutching her dress … the soldier shot him directly in the head,” Sheikh Jibreen Sarahnin, the boy’s uncle, told The Electronic Intifada. Soldiers frequently target the camp, home to approximately 7,000 persons, and residents said that the military has been closing its main entrances on a daily basis in recent weeks. While rubber-coated steel bullets inflict serious injuries that sometimes prove fatal, the Israeli military claims that they are part of an arsenal of “non-lethal” riot dispersal tools. This arsenal includes tear gas, sound bombs, water cannons and skunk water cannons, among others. Although the Israeli military’s central command announced in May that it would fully replace rubber-coated steel bullets with “sponge-tipped bullets” by the end of the year, five months later they are still in frequent use (“IDF to use sponge-tipped bullets in West Bank,” The Jerusalem Post, 17 May 2013).
Soldiers kidnap four Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 7 Oct — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Monday at dawn and on Sunday night after midnight, four Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem. Settlers invade village in Hebron. Local sources in Bethlehem have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the Deheisha refugee camp, south of the city, broke into the home of Mohammad Al-Khamour before violently searching it and ransacking its property, and kidnapped his son Ibrahim, 18. Dozens of soldiers also invaded Ya‘bod town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped one Palestinian. Local sources in the town said that the soldiers violently broke into the home of Abdul-Karim Atatra, and kidnapped his son, Nour Ed-Deen, 21.
The sources added that the soldiers forced the family out of their home for several hours, and ransacked the property. On Sunday night after midnight, soldiers ambushed a number of Palestinians close to the Annexation Wall, in Abu Dis town in occupied East Jerusalem, and kidnapped two Palestinians. The two have been identified as Abdul-Aziz Mohammad Bader, 20, and Mo’sab Ahmad Bader, 21. On Sunday evening, dozens of Israeli soldiers and extremist settlers invaded the Tiwani village, east of Yatta, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and attacked several residents. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers broke into and searched a number of homes, and assaulted the families.
In related news, dozens of soldiers invaded that the Al-Mintar area, south of Bardala village, south of the central West Bank city of Tubas, and ordered six families to stop the construction of their homes, and demolish built sections before November 11.
Israel detains 7 Palestinians in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, locals said. Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘ and detained Muad Hajahjeh, 18, Amjad Nayef Sabah, 20, Ahmad Odetallah al-Amour, 19, and Abed Adel al-Amour, 16. In a separate incident, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in Beit Ummar village north of Hebron after carrying out raids on their houses in the early morning, a local official said.
IDF detains Psagot attack suspects in el-Bireh
Ynet 8 Oct by Yoav Zitun — Palestinian website says IDF detained suspects, who are brothers, in el-Bireh; army finds knife with Noam Glick’s blood near scene of Saturday’s attack … The “Palestine 24″ website identified the suspects as brothers Majed and Ala Asawi and said they were detained in el-Bireh‘s Sateh Marhaba neighborhood. Israeli investigators are looking into the possibility that one of the suspects was on his way to break into one of the homes in Psagot when he saw the girl and decided to attack her.
The Jenin man with ‘minor injuries’
Palestine Chronicle 5 Oct by Tamar Fleishman — …This story begins on the night of the 20th of August when soldiers from the Kfir unit invaded the refugee camp in Jenin, for what they call an “Operational Activity” which resulted with “one dead and several suffering from minor injuries”- as was reported by the IDF spokesman. The resistance of the residents of Jenin to the frequent invasions to their homes was defined by Yoav (Poli) Mordehai, the IDF spokesman, as “terrorism” … One of the people who according to the IDF spokesman had sustained “minor injuries” arrived by ambulance at Qalandiya checkpoint on his way back home from the hospital in Jerusalem, where he had received treatment on the previous night. The doctors managed to save the life of the young man who sustained an injury to his pelvis by a live bullet, but they couldn’t save his body. He remains paralyzed from his waist down and is now incontinent.
Photos: What the press missed in Bil‘in tear gas flower garden
Activestills 8 Oct Text by Elias Nawawieh — Residents of the village of Bil’in have created an oasis in the arid landscape of the West Bank, and sown flowers in tear gas canisters which were fired at protesters by Israeli forces. Bassem Abu Rahmah, a protest leader, was killed in 2009 when Israeli forces shot him in the chest with a tear gas grenade. The garden is to commemorate him and other victims in the Palestinians’ fight for their land. However, that key context of the garden was missing from the photos in a widely circulated Associated Press photo story. None of the AP photos included the centerpiece of the memorial garden, a translucent photo of Bassem mounted on a frame of spent tear gas shell casings. Moreover, photo captions identified only “A Palestinian woman” watering the garden, failing to mention that it was Sabiha Abu Rahmah, Bassem’s mother.
PA security men storm Jenin refugee camp, fire at youth
JENIN (PIC) 7 Oct — PA security forces stormed Jenin refugee camp at noon Monday and shot at the son of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam Al-Saadi in a bid to arrest him. Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that a joint force of the PA security agencies broke into the camp and tried to arrest Suhaib Bassam Al-Saadi from his family home at the outskirts of the camp. They said that the security men fired at Suhaib after he escaped arrest but did not hit him and he managed to flee. Earlier at dawn today, PA forces stormed the home of Islamic Jihad leader Mahmoud Al-Saadi and his brother Suleiman in the camp and arrested his three sons. A responsible source in Islamic Jihad asked the PA to stop raiding the camp and called for honoring its inhabitants for resisting the Israeli occupation rather than arresting them and storming their homes. The PA raid is the fourth against Saadi family members in the camp over the past two days. Israeli occupation forces also target Sheikh Bassam Al-Saadi and his relatives
Al-Saadi: What is happening in Jenin is an explicit targeting of resistance
JENIN (PIC) 8 Oct — The leader in Jihad movement in Jenin Sheikh Mahmoud al-Saadi said that what is happening in Jenin Refugee Camp is an explicit targeting of resistance, holding the PA fully responsible for the consequences and responsibilities of its actions. Regarding the PA forces’ recent raids against martyrs and prisoners’ houses in Jenin, al-Saadi pointed out to the PA’s scheme to undermine resistance in Jenin camp and to fully liquidate this phenomenon in favor of the occupation. There is big difference between lawlessness and resistance, he said, stressing that those responsible for lawlessness have no relation with resistance.
Detainees / Court actions
Palestinian loses testicle, officer won’t be jailed
Ynet 6 Oct by Ilana Curiel — During 2008 operation to apprehend illegal aliens, police officer kicked Palestinian in groin area; doctors forced to remove crushed testicle. Prosecution considers appealing community service sentence
Court upholds detention of university instructor
RAMALLAH, October 8, 2013 (WAFA) – The Israeli military court at Ofer army camp and prison near Ramallah Tuesday upheld the four month administrative detention order against university instructor Ahmad Qatamesh, 60, according to a statement by the Palestinian Prisoner Club (PPC). PPC attorney Jawad Boulus, who defended Qatamesh, said the detention order is going to be final, which means the military prosecutor cannot ask to renew it. He said Qatamesh, who has spent over two-and-a-half years in prison held under administrative detention without charge or trial, should be released in January. Boulus said the military judge criticized in his 9-page decision the administrative detention against Palestinians and said this kind of detention without charge or trial was used by the British mandate government against Jews.
Minor says he was beaten and ridiculed in Israeli custody
HEBRON, October 7, 2013 (WAFA) – A 13-year-old minor from Hebron told the Prisoner Club that he was beaten when he was arrested and ridiculed while in custody in an Israel settlement, a press release said Monday. Ismail Qamari said in a testimony to the Prisoner Club that four heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrested him when he arrived at his schools, beat him up, threw him into a jeep and took him to an army base. He said he was left for several hours without food or water before he was taken to a police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron where he underwent heavy interrogation by four detectives. Qamari was then forced under threat and verbal abuse to sign papers. Soldiers also took pictures for him with their cell phones when he was going to the bathroom while laughing and ridiculing him, he said in his testimony. The army released Qamari at six in the evening after his family paid $430 fine. He is supposed to appear at a military court on December 10, said the Prisoner Club.
Health condition of wounded prisoner deteriorates
PNN 7 Oct — The health condition of the wounded prisoner Shadi Gawadra from Bir Al-Basha village in Jenin, was seriously deteriorating, according to his lawyer. The lawyer Ashraf Al-Khatib said after visiting Gawadra in the Israeli Shatta prison on Saturday that Gawadra, who was hit with nine bullets during his arrest by Israeli occupation forces, is unable to move by himself.
He said that Gawadra, who is serving a life sentence, could not see his relatives only one meter away from him, which constituted a new and serious worsening in his condition that could lead to blindness if left unattended.
Israel frees Jerusalem prisoner
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Israeli authorities on Monday evening released 24-year-old Palestinian Shaher Zedani from Silwan in East Jerusalem after he completed a year-long sentence in Israeli prisons. Zedani had been accused of throwing stones and of “acts of sabotage,” among other charges against him. Hundreds of Silwan residents warmly welcomed the released prisoner back to his East Jerusalem neighborhood on Monday. Silwan residents also announced that a large celebration will be held Tuesday in celebration of the prisoner’s release.
Gaza under blockade
Economy ministry: Gaza monthly GDP losses exceeded $230M due to Egyptian siege
GAZA (PIC) 8 Oct — The Palestinian ministry of economy in Gaza said the sharp decline in the work of tunnels in the Rafah border crossing after most of them were destroyed by the Egyptian army caused gross domestic product (GDP) losses of more than 230 million dollars per month. This came during a news conference organized on Monday by the Palestinian institute for communication and development in Gaza. Minister of economy Alaa Rafati stated that Egypt’s restrictions at Rafah crossing and its war on Gaza tunnels led to a rise in the poverty and unemployment rates and created severe economic difficulties affecting all sectors in Gaza.
Rafah crossing to open for 5 days, officials say
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Oct — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Tuesday until late Sunday, Egyptian officials said. The Rafah crossing was opened on Monday to allow Palestinian pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage. There have been frequent closures of the Rafah terminal in recent weeks due to political unrest in Egypt and violence in the Sinai peninsula.
Egypt allows 300 Palestinians to exit Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Three hundred Palestinians were allowed to travel outside of Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah land crossing after Egyptian authorities briefly re-opened it for humanitarian cases, an official said. Sharif Abdullah, Egyptian director of the Rafah crossing, told Ma‘an that 85 Palestinians returned from Egypt while around 300 Palestinians traveled to the Egyptian side. Egyptian authorities also allowed 60 trucks carrying Qatari construction materials to enter.
Hamas still holding passports of 60 Gaza pilgrims
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Oct – Sixty Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are still unable to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj pilgrimage after security services of the Hamas-run government seized their passports. The 60 pilgrims are immediate family members of Palestinians killed by Israel who were selected to perform Hajj at the expense of the Saudi king, a majority of whom are elderly people. Speaking to Ma‘an via telephone, some of the pilgrims appealed to people of influence and conscience to intervene and convince Hamas to allow them to travel so they can catch up with others and perform Hajj before it’s too late. A wife of one person killed by Israel told Ma‘an that the Hamas-run government seized her passport along with 59 others denying them entry to Egypt without giving explanation. When they went to the office of the Hamas government’s minster of endowments, Ismail Radwan, to complain, he told them that their problem “was not with Gaza but with the Ramallah-based minister of endowment Mahmoud al-Habbash.”
IOF incursion reported in northern Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 7 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning amidst intensive random firing. A field observer said that IOF troops in armored vehicles escorted bulldozers into Burat Abu Samra area to the north west of Beit Lahia town. He said that the soldiers bulldozed the area and opened intermittent firing during the raid. The incursion is the latest in a series of breaches to the calm agreement concluded in November 2012 under Egyptian patronage.
IOF soldiers withdraw from northern Gaza after bulldozing land
BEIT HANUN (PIC) 8 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) withdrew from northern Gaza Strip before dawn Tuesday after a large-scale bulldozing operation near Beit Hanun town. Local sources said that the soldiers advanced one hundred meters late last night and bulldozed vast tracts of land to the east of Beit Hanun. They said that the soldiers opened fire at civilian homes and nearby lands during the operation. Palestinian security sources noted that the IOF switched off all lights in its nearby military position, adding that sounds of explosions and gunshots were heard in its vicinity.
Rocket fired from Gaza lands in south Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel overnight Tuesday, Israel’s army said. The rocket fell close to the “security fence in the Eshkol regional council,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said. No injuries or damage were reported.
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
Presidency says official’s visit to Syria to check on Palestinians
RAMALLAH, October 8, 2013 (WAFA) – Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Tuesday that the visit of Fatah official and member of its central committee, Abbas Zaki, to Syria aimed at following up on the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Syria. President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched Zaki to Syria on Monday to follow up on the situation of the Palestinian refugees in that war-torn country. Zaki met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other officials during his visit. “Our national duty demands that we follow up on the situation of our people wherever they are, particularly in Syria where the Palestinian refugee camps witnessed violent acts and thousands had to leave them while others remained living in dangerous humanitarian and security conditions,” said Abu Rudeineh.
Group: 3 Palestinian refugees killed across Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Three Palestinian refugees were killed in Syria on Monday during clashes between the Free Syrian Army and government forces, a local group said. The Workforce for Palestinians in Syria said in a statement that Luay Majid Suwwan, a member of the Syria-based Palestine Liberation Army, was killed during clashes. Another man, Ahmad Awad, was shot dead by a sniper at a checkpoint manned by Syrian government forces while protesting the army’s siege on Yarmouk camp, the group said. Aisha Lafi was killed by shrapnel from a shell which landed near her home in the Damascus area. The group said that Palestinian refugees in al-Aedin camp near Homs had appealed to both sided of the conflict to respect the neutrality of Palestinian refugees.
Saudi hires occupation-friendly company for Hajj security
Al-Akhbar 7 Oct by Orouba Othman — This year, the mandatory Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, or hajj, will compound the Palestinians’ woes. Palestinian pilgrims will be greeted by a company that assists in their repression – and even torture – under the Israeli occupation regime. Indeed, hajj this year will be brought to you by none other than G4S. This is not the first time that the Saudi government has hired the private security firm, which has recruited a staggering 700,000 to provide hajj-related services this year, according to exclusive information obtained by Al-Akhbar. Most of the leaked reports indicate that security for the hajj season since 2010 has been entrusted to al-Majal G4S, an affiliate of the parent company G4S.
Greek to ease ‘sanctions’ on settlement products
IMEMC 9 Oct — Visiting Tel Aviv, Greek Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, stated that his country “supports the Israeli position regarding settlement products”, and will help Tel Aviv in easing the decision of the European Union regarding boycotting those products. The EU recently decided to ban products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as settlements are illegal under international law …Israeli Wallah News Agency have reported that the Greek position holds a great significance, especially when taking into consideration that Greece will head the EU starting January of next year. In related news, several former EU Ministers demanded the EU to insist in keeping the sanctions on Israeli settlement products.
World Bank: Israel control of Area C costs Palestine $3.4 billion annually
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Israel’s control over the largest part of the occupied West Bank deprives the Palestinian economy of an estimated $3.4 billion a year, the World Bank reported Tuesday. This lost potential income is equivalent to some 35 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product in 2011, according to a new World Bank report, “Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy.” The report, released Tuesday, is the first comprehensive study of the potential impact of the occupation on economic production in Area C. It blames the Israeli military’s exclusive control over the territory for undermining the Palestinian economy and contributing to wide-ranging unemployment. “Since Area C is where the majority of the West Bank’s natural resources lie, the impact of these restrictions on the Palestinian economy has been considerable,” the report concludes, and “the key to Palestinian prosperity continues to lie in the removal of these restrictions with due regard for Israel’s security.”
Leftists protest in Ramallah, demand end to talks
IMEMC — [Sunday October 6 2013] Hundreds of Palestinians held in a protest in the central West Bank city of Ramallah demanding the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, to stop direct talks with Israeli due to its ongoing violations, and its absent interest in real and comprehensive peace. A number of leftists Palestinian political parties organized the protest. The protesters marched from the Manara Square, in the center of Ramallah, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the political process, and the occupation.
Another round of talks held in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (IMEMC/Agencies) 8 Oct — Monday evening October 7, 2013, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators held an extended round of political talks, under American mediation, yet again, ending without achieving progress. Tzipi Livni and Chief Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho represented the Israeli side, while Chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, and Mohammad Eshtayya represented the Palestinian side. While no progress was made on core issues, the two sides agreed to strengthen the American “mediation role”, as demanded by the Palestinian side. Yet, U.S Special Envoy to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Martin Indyk, did not participate in the meeting.
PLO calls for boycott of Israeli elections in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, October 8, 2013 (WAFA) – The Arab Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization called in a statement on Tuesday for a boycott of Israeli municipal elections in occupied Jerusalem. It said no Palestinian from East Jerusalem should participate in these elections either by voting or running for a seat. The PLO said the municipality supports settlements in East Jerusalem and turning it into a Jewish city, “which is a national and political issue and not an issue of providing services.” It said calls to take part in these elections would reinforce the occupation and its “expansionist policy” in the occupied city. It said Jerusalem is an occupied city since 1967 and therefore no Israeli law should be applied to it as per international laws and conventions. “Participating in these elections will be considered normalization with the Israeli occupation authority, which means legitimizing the annexation of Jerusalem,” said the statement. Palestinians have regularly boycotted these elections, which this year are planned for October 22, since the occupation of their city in 1967 and its annexation shortly after. While Palestinians in Jerusalem carry Israeli identity cards similar to the ones held by Israelis and can vote in municipal elections in the city, they nevertheless cannot vote in legislative elections because they are considered “residents” but not “citizens” of Israel
Al-Haq and PCHR call on ICC to investigate Israeli crimes
GAZA (PIC) 7 Oct — Al-Haq and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou B. Bensouda, to take legal action against the Israeli crimes and to investigate the current situation in the Palestinian occupied territories. Al-Haq and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) held a meeting with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou B. Bensouda, to present a legal opinion, prepared in cooperation with Dr. Michael Kearney of the University of Sussex. The opinion provides legal justification for the Prosecutor to move forward on a declaration submitted by the Palestinian leadership in 2009, accepting the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 12 (3) of the Rome Statute.
Majority of Palestinians own their house, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH, October 7, 2013 (WAFA) – An estimated 77 percent of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip own the house they live in, whether that was an apartment or separate house, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Monday. Marking the Arab Housing Day, the PCBS data indicated that 2% of households in Palestine live in a villa, 43.3% live in a house and 53.7% live in an apartment. It said of the Palestinians who own their houses, 73.8% are in the West Bank and 83% in the Gaza Strip. The PCBS said average housing density in Palestine in 2012 was 1.5 persons per room: 1.4 in the West Bank and an average of 1.6 in the Gaza Strip. It said 7.6% of households in Palestine live in housing units with three persons or more per room: 6.5% in the West Bank and 9.6% in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas tells MKs Israel should stop incursions into Palestinian cities
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Oct – A meeting in Ramallah Monday between President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Knesset members was “positive,” a senior Fatah official said … Speaking to Ma’an via telephone, al-Madani highlighted that Abbas told the Knesset delegation that the Palestinians remained supportive of a two-state solution on the basis of internationally recognized legitimacy. Abbas also reiterated that the Palestinian side denounced killings and aggressiveness by any party … Official Israeli radio quoted Abbas as saying that security coordination with Israel “has reached the highest point”. Abbas demanded that Israel stop incursions into Palestinian cities which are under full Palestinian control.
Mishaal in Turkey heading Hamas delegation
ANKARA (PIC) 8 Oct — Political bureau member of Hamas Khaled Mishaal arrived in Ankara on Tuesday heading a senior-level delegation of his movement on an official visit to Turkey. Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq told Quds press that Mishaal would exchange views with Turkish officials on Palestinian developments.
Police: Rabbi’s funeral ‘largest’ in Israel history
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 Oct — More than 700,000 people took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday night to mourn influential Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, making it the biggest funeral in Israel’s history, police said … Yosef, a former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel whose son took over the same role in June, had been in and out of hospital for months. He wielded enormous influence among Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry, and frequently played the role of kingmaker in the country’s fickle coalition politics. Yosef founded Israeli ultra-orthodox party Shas in 1984 on the platform of a return to religion and as a counter to an establishment dominated by Ashkenazi Jews of European ancestry.
But the Baghdad-born rabbi frequently courted controversy with his outspoken remarks, describing Palestinians and other Arabs as “snakes” and “vipers” who were “swarming like ants”.
US to cut some military aid to Egypt, after coup, turmoil
WASHINGTON (CNN) 8 Oct by Jim Sciutto & Elise Labott — The United States is preparing to announce a decision “in the coming days” on assistance to Egypt, the White House said Tuesday, and U.S. officials told CNN military aid will be cut, though not all of it. The announcement comes in the wake of the July coup against President Mohamed Morsy and the turmoil that has followed as recently as this week, one U.S. official said Tuesday. However, some military aid could continue, including funds to uphold Egypt’s obligations under its peace treaty with Israel, and money for counterterrorism and security in Sinai, where extremists have been able to set up base, according to a senior U.S. official. The United States will also maintain nonmilitary funding that helps democracy promotion, the official said.