Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Official: Israel to demolish homes of over 15,000 East Jerusalemites
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Municipality officers escorted by Israeli soldiers issued demolition warrants for thousands of Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada on Friday, a local Palestinian official said. Jamil Sanduqa, who chairs a local committee to develop the Ras Khamis neighborhood, said that over 15,000 Palestinians live in the buildings slated for demolition. The warrants were posted on 200 residential blocks each consisting of 40-70 apartments and the owners were given 30 days to submit objections to the demolition orders, Sanduqa said. He added that municipality officers took photos of several buildings located near the entrance to the neighborhoods before they issued the orders. Among the buildings was a mosque and a newly built school. “The orders came very shortly after incumbent mayor Nir Barakat has been elected for a new term,” Sanduqa said. “The municipal council of Jerusalem is a racist council founded to demolish Palestinian residential buildings and to displace us from Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.” He warned that if any building in the nearby Shufat refugee camp “is demolished, we will establish a new refugee camp in Al-Aqsa Mosque erecting tents in its yards.”
Occupation notifies demolition of over 200 residential buildings in Shu‘afat camp
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 Nov — Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by municipal teams, stormed the neighborhoods of Ras Khamis and Ras Shehadeh in Shu‘afat refugee camp north of Jerusalem and distributed demolition notices to over 200 residential buildings in the area … [Sanduqa] added that the targeted buildings include more than two thousand apartments, which means the demolition of a whole town. Sanduqa pointed out that these buildings were constructed a few years ago outside the apartheid wall, and that their owners did not succeed in getting building permits. In fact the occupation authorities have not given any construction licenses in that area for more than 7 years … The residents of this area left Jerusalem because of the demolition of their homes and their inability to get housing there, but the occupation continued to chase them and is still trying to expel them from the whole area. [another view of the situation discussed in the previous article]
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israel ‘planning another 3,360 settler homes’
JERUSALEM (AFP) 31 Oct — Israel is planning to move ahead with another 3,360 new settler homes in the West Bank, Haaretz newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting an MP from the ruling right-wing Likud party. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu’s government will begin advancing a series of construction plans in east Jerusalem and the West Bank to the tune of some 5,000 new housing units, in an effort to ‘offset’ the release of Palestinian prisoners earlier this week,” the paper said. The figure includes the construction of 1,500 new homes in East Jerusalem which was announced early on Wednesday immediately after Israel freed 26 long-serving prisoners in line with its commitments to US-backed peace talks. But the report also detailed plans for another 3,360 homes which are to be pushed through various stages of the planning process. Some are to be built in large settlement blocs Israel hopes to retain in any final peace deal, while others are slated for construction in isolated settlements deep in the occupied West Bank.
PA may file court complaint over settlements
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Thursday that the PA is considering going to international courts to file complaints against new Israeli settlements. Calling on the United States, the Arab and Islamic worlds and the rest of the international community to condemn Israel’s new settlement plans, al-Malki said that the continuous construction of illegal settlements makes a two-state solution impossible. He said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to use Wednesday’s release of 26 Palestinian veteran prisoners to justify the new settlement plans was “illogical.” The settlements are simply a political aspect of the occupation Israel has imposed on Palestine since 1967, he added.
US opposes building in East Jerusalem
WASHINGTON (Ynet) 30 Oct by Yitzhak Benhorin — US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki responded Wednesday to Israel‘s announcement of building 1,500 units in east Jerusalem saying “We do not consider continued settlement activity or east Jerusalem construction to be steps that create a positive environment for the negotiations.” At no time in the course of pursuing negotiations toward a two-state solution have we condoned settlement activity or east Jerusalem construction,” she added. Psaki stressed the importance of the peace talks and the need to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. She added that releasing prisoners is a difficult but necessary step to guarantee an agreement.
EU’s Ashton ‘deplores’ Israeli settlement plans
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned Israel’s decision to build 1,500 settler homes in East Jerusalem, a statement said “…Any actions that could hamper or undermine the on-going negotiations must be avoided. Bold and decisive leadership is needed for these negotiations to succeed. The EU will continue to support this process.”
Israeli court issues demolition order for Silwan home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Israel’s Jerusalem municipal court on Thursday issued a demolition order for a residential property in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The owner, Hamoudeh Siyam, said the demolition order did not specify an exact date but the building has been threatened since 1996. The two-story building is home to 12 people. Siyam says he has tried to obtain a building permit and has paid over $85,000 in fines to the Jerusalem municipality.
Ancient Palestinian village given ‘at risk’ recognition
Electronic Intifada 1 Nov by Sarah Irving — The struggle to save the historic landscapes of one Palestinian village located west of Bethlehem gained international recognition last month. Battir, in the occupied West Bank, had its ancient irrigation systems and agricultural terraces included in the World Monument Fund’s 2014 “Watch List.” The village is under threat of destruction from the building of Israel’s apartheid wall. The World Monument Fund is an international organization which focuses on preserving cultural heritage sites around the world, especially those deemed to be at risk. According to the WMF’s statement, “The 4,000-year-old irrigated terraces of Battir, located 7 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem, reflect an ancient route that ran from the coastal plains to the Judean Hills. The rural, agricultural setting is of great ecological and cultural significance and includes olive trees, Roman grave sites, a prehistoric hilltop setting, a diversity of field types, and an ancient irrigation system formed by the continual layering of stones to form terraces.”
When maintaining law and order means assaulting sheep
972blog 31 Oct by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — As part of the campaign of quiet terrorism against Palestinians, IDF soldiers assault sheep with stun grenades — One day in September, Walid Said Muhammad ‘Id, a resident of Burin – a village unfortunately surrounded by settlements and outposts, whose inhabitants as a result are frequently attacked by settlers – went with his son to herd their flock of sheep. Their pasture is close to one of the nearby outposts, Har Bracha B. About an hour after the two reached the pasture, they observed three soldiers coming down toward them from the outpost. Yes, the outpost – illegal as it maybe – is protected by the State of Israel. This is just a regular part of life that we generally ignore; but it should be mentioned from time to time. Imagine a band of outlaws takes over other people’s land and instead of removing the outlaws the authorities hurry to protect them, even though they openly state that the outlaws’ presence there is illegal. The soldiers ordered ‘Id to remove his sheep from the pasture, and he in turn informed them that he was renting this plot, and that it is located in Area B and not Area C, and he refused to evacuate. The soldiers repeated their demand and ‘Id repeated his refusal. The soldiers then spoke at length on their cellular phones. Finally, they turned back to the outpost. And then the other soldiers arrived. The two groups of soldiers passed each other, and the soldiers in the second group, without uttering a word, pulled out stun grenades. These are a small explosive device which creates a flash and a loud noise, intended to cause panic and disperse demonstrations. The soldiers threw about ten stun grenades into the flock, and the sheep, terrified, dispersed in all directions … The goal of the soldiers, of course, was to terrorize ‘Id; to enable the quiet terrorism of the settlers, whose point is to take another acre, steal another goat, by scaring the Palestinians away and making them despair of their lands. But, unlike the scenario to which they’ve grown accustomed, the soldiers were facing a man who stood up forcibly for his rights. So, instead of dealing with him, they attacked his animals, those innocent of any crime, the helpless of the helpless.
Habayit Hayehudi pushing law to allow Jews to pray on Temple Mount
Ynet 1 Nov by Akiva Novick — … Habayit Hayehudi faction is cooperating with the Religious Services Ministry to propose legislation which would allow Jews to openly pray on the Temple Mount, for the first time since the site was liberated in 1967.According to the special ordinance which was prepared by the legal department of the ministry, there would be set hours for daily Jewish prayer on the mount.
Settler violence season
Daily Beast 1 Nov by Yousef Munayyer — For Palestinians, the olive tree has a special significance. Perhaps more than anything else, it symbolizes their connection with the land, rooted in centuries of Palestine’s fertile soil and tended to by generation upon generation of Palestinian farmers. The autumn, which brings with it the olive harvest, is a highly anticipated and celebrated season for Palestinian agriculture. Anyone who has ever sat at a Palestinian table for a meal knows the centrality of the crop; olives and their golden oil are omnipresent in the Palestinian kitchen. During these months, Palestinians descend on their olive groves for the annual tradition of the harvest and the collection of ripe olives. Sadly, however, this season, so-well known for the olive harvest, is now becoming known for something else: Israeli settler violence. For several years we have been keeping a database of Israeli settler violence attacks and incidents and have collected daily data from 2004 to the present day noting thousands of incidents. We keep track of the date, time, type of attack, location and so on. Last year, we published a comprehensive report on Israeli settler violence, analyzing where it was most prevalent, what trends we found and what causes it. One undeniable trend is that Palestinians and their property are increasingly at risk of settler attacks during olive harvest season.
Twilight Zone: It’s scorched earth season in the Palestinian olive groves
Haaretz 2 Nov by Gideon Levy & Daniel Bar-On — Olive harvest. The sights could have been among the most beautiful and pastoral around, were it not for the Israelis running amok. Photo by Daniel Bar-On — Here is what our eyes saw this past Monday on the lands of Jalud village: a partly scorched valley and hillsides, blackened soil, yellowish and wilting olive trees with singed trunks. And dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of trees already dead from the heat of the flames that lapped at them. The trees burned, and the charred evidence stands in the field. Jalud is a small village of 600 people, who live in the spectacular and well-tended valley of olive trees that the settlements/outposts of Shvut Rachel, Ahiya, Adei Ad, and Esh Kodesh overlook from the surrounding hills. On Wednesday, October 9, some 20 Israelis attacked the village school when it was in session, throwing stones at its windows, vandalized the cars belonging to its teachers, and then set the olive groves alight − both those near the school and the ones in the valley, located a few hundred yards away. The arsonists were masked and split into three teams. One attacked the school, which also contains a preschool, and two others set fire to the groves. By the time the firefighters from nearby Nablus arrived, more than an hour had gone by, and many of the 45-year-old olive trees had been burned. Harvest season is still in full swing … As every autumn, this is also the Israelis’ big season of destruction, theft, uprooting and arson.
Settlers pepper-spray soldiers, IDF leaves Bat Ayin
Ynet 31 Oct by Itamar Fleischman — Settlers are suspected of assaulting two Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian truck driver at the entrance to the settlement of Bat Ayin. The attackers, who were wearing masks, beat the trucker with a bat and sprayed the soldiers with pepper gas as they guarded the entrance to the settlement. The suspects fled the scene. In response to the serious incident, the IDF decided to remove soldiers from the Bat Ayin area until further notice. The incident took place on Thursday afternoon when a Palestinian truck arrived carrying goods ordered by settlement residents. Masked vandals noted the Palestinian driver and attacked him, and pepper sprayed two soldiers who were nearby. Large forces of army and police were called to the scene and began searching for the suspects, but they have yet to be found.
Israeli army avoids confronting settler violence
Al-Monitor 1 Nov by Shlomi Eldar — The Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Central Command has set a precedent by deciding to stop providing security for the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion settlement cluster. The decision came after anonymous masked men attacked soldiers at the settlement’s gates. The incident started when the assailants tried to attack a Palestinian truck driver who got caught there. In order to prevent IDF troops from intervening, the masked men fired pepper spray at the soldiers. Violence by settlers against the IDF soldiers is nothing new. For anyone familiar with the relationship between the army and the settlers, the real questions should be: How long will these sanctions last? A month? Two weeks? A week? Or maybe it will just be for a couple of days … The settlement gained notoriety in 2003 after an underground Jewish terrorist group was discovered there, consisting of local residents for the most part. The Bat Ayin underground members were caught after they planted a bomb outside a girls’ school in East Jerusalem. They were sentenced to 15 years in jail, and the settlement from which they emerged became synonymous with fanatical extremism and violence against Palestinians. Bat Ayin isn’t the only settlement with a hard core of extremist residents who commit violent acts driven by hate … Even physical violence against Palestinians, sometimes committed right in front of soldiers who prefer not to intervene, usually ends without any charges or arrests. The “Wild West” phenomenon in the territories has only intensified because the IDF and the Israeli police prefer to step back instead of enforcing the law, so as not to come into conflict with the settlers. In early October, some 20 settlers, most likely from the settlement Shilo, attacked an elementary school in the Palestinian village of Jalud … Ignoring the violent acts committed by a hardcore group of settlers has had a snowball effect on what was once a localized phenomenon.
Settlers destroy over 600 olive trees in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Settlers destroyed over 600 olive trees in a Nablus village on Wednesday, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from Yizhar cut down hundreds of olive trees belonging to the Hamad, Hussein and Allan families in the village of Einabus. Settlers also used a chemical agent to destroy the trees.
Settlers destroy 300 newly planted olive trees in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Settlers destroyed over 300 olive trees in a Qalqiliya village on Thursday, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from Qarni Shomron uprooted hundreds of newly planted trees near ‘Azzun village. The trees belonged to Salih Radwan and Ahmad Abdullah Radwan. It is the latest in a string of attacks targeting the Palestinian olive harvest.
(West Bank) Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
Israeli forces use excessive force, killing Palestinian civilian in Qabatya village near Jenin
Qabataya, Occupied Palestine Palestinian Center for Human Rights 31 Oct — According to an investigation conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 01:00 on Thursday, 31 October 2013, Israeli forces moved into Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin. They stationed in the eastern part of the village. They raided a house belonging to the family of Emad Shawkat Kmail, 30, and arrested him. They then moved towards the western part of the village. There, they raided a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians: Rassem Tawfiq Khzaimiya, 60; Mo’men Saba’na, 23; and Ayman Abdul Rahman Abu al-Rub, 28. At approximately 05:00, while Israeli forces were withdrawing from the village taking the detainees, a number of young men gathered at the western entrance of the village. They blocked it with iron barriers and set fire to tires. When Israeli forces passed by the area, the young men threw stones and empty bottles at them. Immediately, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the young men. They then fired live ammunition directly at the young men. As a result, Ahmed Emad Youseg Tazaz’a, 22, was seriously wounded by a bullet to the heart. He was immediately evacuated to al-Razi Hospital in Jenin, but medical efforts to save his life failed. He was pronounced dead at approximately 06:00.
Three Palestinians injured by Israeli forces during weekly protest in Bil‘in
Bil‘in, Palestine FFJ media center 1 Nov — This Friday, October the 1st, Bil’in’s weekly peaceful demonstration has once again been a violent demonstration from the Israeli state, while live ammunition and huge quantities of tear gas have been shot. Ahmaed Bornat (21 years old) was injured today by a .22 bullet in his right leg, Iyad Bornat (40 years old) was injured by a rubber bullet in his left leg, Farhan Bornat (36 years old) was shot by three rubber bullets in his leg, back and hand, in addition to dozens of suffocation. Dozens of Palestinians, Israelis and international peace activists attended the March today, continuing the 8 years tradition and also today as a reminder of the Balfour declarations anniversary … Ahmed Bornat was taken by an ambulance to the Ramallah hospital (Palestinian Medical Complex), the other injured are according to later reports safe now. The massive firing of gas canisters led to the burning of a large area planted with olive trees.
At West Bank funeral, Palestinians express rising support for armed resistance
RAMALLAH (Daily Beast) 30 Oct by Jesse Rosenfeld — As frustration at Israeli military violence and the lack of progress in unarmed protests builds in the occupied West Bank villages bordering Israel, Palestinian residents feel they are being pushed towards armed struggle. Killed by the Israeli army in a cave last Tuesday following a shoot-out on the edge of the village of Bi’lin—where weekly unarmed protests against Israel’s separation wall have raged for 9 years—Islamic Jihad fighter Mohammed Assi, 28, has become an instantly admired symbol of resistance … In a rare display for the Fatah-controlled West Bank these days, mourners carrying Assi’s body from the morgue in Ramallah to Beit Liqya fronted their procession with Islamic Jihad and Hamas flags. It was a harkening back to the image of the second Intifada, and leading Islamic Jihad figure and former Palestinian prisoner released by Israel after more than two months on hunger strike, Khader Adnan, promised the fight would continue. Simultaneously denying that Islamic Jihad ordered the Tel Aviv bombing that injured 29 people and pledging revenge, he indicated that a campaign of armed struggle looms. “The Palestinian fighters are waking up after sleeping for a long time,” he said. However, unlike at the Hebron-area funerals this past year, where masked fighters aligned with Fatah made their presence known, no fighters appeared to display their weapons or fire into the air in tribute.
Israel detains 12 Palestinians, including 3 Hamas leaders
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Israeli forces arrested 12 Palestinians overnight Wednesday, including three leaders from Hamas, locals said. Israeli forces raided Ramallah and Beitunia and detained Sheikh Jamal al-Taweel, the former mayor of al-Bireh, Sheikh Hussein Abu Kwaiek, and Sheikh Faraj Rumana. Three people were detained in the Bethlehem area, four in Jenin, one in Ni‘lin and one east of Jerusalem, locals said.
Seven Palestinians kidnapped in East Jerusalem
IMEMC — [Thursday at dawn, October 31, 2013] Dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers invaded the Al-Eesawiyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and kidnapped seven Palestinian youths. Two more Palestinians were kidnapped in Bethlehem. Local sources have reported that soldiers and police officers invaded Al-Eesawiyya before violently breaking into and searching dozens of homes, causing excessive property damage, and kidnapped seven young Palestinians. The seven have been identified as Ibrahim Abu Sneina, 16, Majd Abu Sneina, Anwar Obeid, 16. Noureddeen Obeid, 17, Ibrahim Derbas, 17, Islam Obeid, 17, and Ammar Obeid, 19. Furthermore, soldiers invaded Wad Shaheen area, in Bethlehem city, and kidnapped one resident identified as Yahia Hani Jadu, 27, after violently breaking into his home and searching it. Dozens of soldiers further invaded the Deheisha refugee camp, south of the city, and kidnapped one resident identified as Mo’tasem Abdul-Qader, 19, after breaking into his home.
Two Palestinians kidnapped near Hebron, dozens injured
IMEMC — [Friday at dawn, November 1, 2013] Local sources in Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the town and kidnapped two Palestinians. Clashes took place with the invading soldiers while dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation … Awad said that the soldiers broke into the home of Ibrahim Bahar by smashing its main door, and kidnapped his son Shadi, 22, after violently attacking and beating him. He added that the soldiers also invaded the home of Thiab Awad, and kidnapped his son Montaser, 24, a former political prisoner … Several soldiers also broke into a bakery in the town, detained all workers, and searched the property. Soldiers were also deployed near the entrance of the local mosque in the village, stopped the residents heading for dawn prayers, and inspected their ID cars before preventing several young men from entering the mosque.
Seven Palestinians kidnapped in Nablus
IMEMC — [Friday at dawn November 1, 2013] Dozens of Israeli military jeeps invaded Beta village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped seven teenagers after breaking into their homes … The families of the kidnapped teenagers said that the soldiers violently broke into their homes and searched them causing excessive property damage. The village is subject to frequent Israeli military invasions, while the soldiers repeatedly close its main entrance preventing the residents from entering or leaving it. Local sources said that the invasion was carried out shortly after a number of youths hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at a settlement bus and military vehicles, driving near the Beta junction.
In related news, soldiers invaded Sielet Al-Hartithiyya town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped a former political prisoner identified as Ali Ibrahim Hammed, 29.
VIDEO — Mornings in Khalil: child and adult detention
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 30 Oct — This morning, Wednesday 30th October, as children made their way to school. Israeli soldiers burst from an alleyway firing stun grenades and detained two 10-year-old boys. In a separate incident nearby, a Palestinian was detained and taken to a military base for unknown reasons. This morning international activists were monitoring checkpoint 29 where many children pass through on their way to school, when approximately 6 Israeli soldiers ran from an alley, firing stun grenades directly at a group of children. The soldiers immediately grabbed one child (10-year-old) Nor and another (10-year-old) Mohammed, before firing another stun grenade towards the rest of the school children causing them to flee in panic. Israeli soldiers marched the two young children to a nearby police station, refusing to answer why they were being taken when questioned by international activists. When a relative attempted to communicate with the boys, Israeli soldiers forcibly pushed him away and refused to answer his questions. The children were detained inside the police station for approximately 45 minutes before being transferred to the Palestinian District Coordination Office (DCO) at 9:30.
Israeli forces ‘deliberately’ damage Palestinian vehicle near Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — An Israeli military vehicle on Thursday “deliberately” hit a vehicle parked on the side of the road in the town of Ya‘bad near Jenin, a local official told Ma‘an. Muhammad Abu Bakr, who chairs the electricity department of Yaabad municipality, said that three Israeli military vehicles entered the town, fired stun grenades, and damaged a vehicle that belongs to the electricity department. Clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces after the soldiers hurled stun grenades at young men in a café, Abu Bakr said.
Israeli sources ‘seal entrance to West Bank village’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Israeli forces on Thursday morning set up a checkpoint at the entrance of Beit Ummar village north of Hebron and fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians, a local official said. They also fired live bullets into the area without justification, according to Mohammad Ayyad Awad, spokesman of the local popular committee against the wall and settlements. Awad said that the Israeli forces banned Palestinian vehicles, buses, and taxis from leaving the village or entering it. They also prevented taxis from picking up people from the entrance, he said. They also set up a checkpoint next to a nearby military watchtower, he said.
Gaza man killed by Israeli artillery near Khan Younis, another injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — A young man was killed and another wounded late Thursday in an Israeli artillery shelling east of Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, a Ma‘an reporter said. Medics said a 22-year-old man died and another was injured after the two were targeted by Israeli forces in the Absan area east of Khan Younis.
Four Palestinians die in new Israeli assault
GAZA (Reuters) 2 Nov — An Israeli airstrike killed three militants in the Gaza Strip, Hamas said, hours after a separate clash killed a fourth Palestinian gunman. The Israeli military alleged that its aircraft targeted a tunnel inside the southern Gaza Strip used by militants. A Hamas source said three of its men were in the tunnel at the time of the attack and were killed in the blast.
Hours earlier, one Palestinian was killed and five Israeli soldiers wounded when Israeli forces started destroying part of a separate tunnel they had uncovered last month stretching from Gaza into Israel. At a sermon before Friday prayers, senior Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya said the clash showed Hamas fighters were “alert and ready with their fingers on the trigger.” “We are not interested in an unjustified escalation but we have the right to defend our people,” he later told reporters. “We urge Arab nations to support us so that we can get rid of the occupation and regain our land,” Al-Hayya said.
Hamas: Power outage across Gaza as fuel runs out
GAZA CITY (AFP) 1 Nov — A shortage of fuel halted the production of electricity across the Gaza Strip on Friday, said the energy authority of the Islamist movement Hamas. “We have completely stopped the operation of (Gaza’s sole) power plant this morning at 6 a.m. because we don’t have a single liter of fuel,” Fathi el-Sheikh Khalil, the authority’s deputy chairman, told AFP. An AFP correspondent in the Gaza Strip said the electricity supply had been cut off across most of the territory. Khalil blamed the power outage on Egypt’s destruction of tunnels used for bringing fuel to Gaza and accused the Palestinian Authority of charging Hamas too much for its fuel. “Less than 50 percent of the needs of the Gaza Strip are currently covered by electricity from Israel (and) we can no longer get Egyptian fuel due to the destruction of tunnels from Egypt,” he said. “We tried to get fuel from Israel via the Palestinian Authority, but it has imposed prohibitive taxes.” The Gaza plant supplies about a third of the electricity the territory of 1.75 million people needs. “The plant will remain shut until fuel supplies resume from Egypt through the tunnels or the Rafah border crossing, or from Israel if the Palestinian Authority agrees not to impose the heavy taxes,” said Khalil.
UN calls for ‘urgent action’ to address Gaza power crisis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Nov — United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley expressed concern on Friday at the closure of the Gaza Power Plant earlier in the day. Rawley said that the plant’s shutdown will “impact all essential services, including hospitals, clinics, sewage and water pumping stations.” “It will also mean that Gaza’s 1.7 people will experience power outages of up to 16 hours per day,” he added. Rawley noted that even before the shutdown the Gaza Strip was “running on less than half of the electricity that it needs.”
Israel to resume fuel supply to PA, official says
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Nov — The Palestinian Authority will ensure that Israel continues to provide the West Bank with fuel after stopping supplies due to heavy debts, a PA official said Friday. PA Finance Ministry spokesman Rami Mehdawi told Ma‘an that “despite the financial crisis that the PA suffers from, the Ministry of Finance will transfer the money to Israel and fully pay the accumulated debt in order to provide the market with fuel.” Earlier, Nizar al-Jabari, deputy of the Union of Gas Station Owners, said that Israel had cut off fuel supplies to the West Bank on Friday due to a 600 million shekel ($169 million) debt accumulated by the PA. Mehdawi confirmed that Israel will provide fuel to gas stations on Sunday following payment of the debt. There are 276 gas stations in the West Bank that consume an average of 50 million liters of fuel monthly.
Israeli drones haunt Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 29 Oct by Hazem Balousha — Gaza residents have grown accustomed to the sound of drones flying overhead day and night. Israel considers Gaza — a small, besieged patch of land — a “hostile entity” and tries to get as much information about what goes on there as possible, in any way it can. Although the word “drone” suggests a plane used for spying and surveillance, drones have in fact also become tools for killing and targeting armed Palestinian elements. The most prominent drone attacks so far have been the assassinations of Hamas political leader Ahmed Yassin in 2004 and Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari in 2012. Residents of Gaza are able to quickly identify the drones’ abrasive noise whenever they enter Gaza airspace. The drones also interfere with satellite TV signals … Al-Monitor has obtained statistics by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights showing that, from 2008 until October 2013, out of 2,269 Palestinians killed by Israel, 911 were killed by drones, most during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead. In the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, 143 out of 171 Palestinians killed by Israel were by drone attack. … Israeli drones also have a psychological impact on Gaza’s population, much of which suffers from chronic and complex trauma-induced conditions.
PRC, PFLP military wings claim attacks on south Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) -1 Nov — The armed wings of the Popular Resistance Committee and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Friday claimed responsibility for attacks on southern Israel. The military wing of the PRC, the Nasser Saladin Brigades, said it fired several rockets towards Israeli cities in south Israel on Friday, including two “107” rockets toward Kissufim and a military target. The PFLP’s military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said it fired six 80 mm mortar missiles at Israeli tanks stationed east of Khan Younis. An Israeli army spokeswoman said “no rockets landed in Israeli territory.”
PCHR organizes workshop on ‘Patients struggling against death in Gaza: the case of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients’
19 Oct — …Khalil Shahin, Director of PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, gave a presentation titled ‘Patients Struggling against Death in Gaza,’ in which he outlined that health conditions of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated in an unprecedented manner due to the shortage of the medicines they need for several consecutive months. Shahin wondered about the reasons that impede access to medicines regularly in the Gaza Strip, which leads to the deterioration of patients’ health conditions. He also wondered about the role of both Ministries of Health in the West Bank and Gaza in providing medicines in a timely manner. Shahin called for uniting efforts of both Ministries to prioritize the interest of patients in the Gaza Strip and provide them with the needed medicine and medical treatment.
New Gaza textbooks focus on resistance
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — The Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip has introduced amended textbooks for grades eight, nine and 10, adding lessons about various methods of Palestinian resistance, a Ma‘an reporter said. The first three chapters of the books focus on pre-1948 Palestine, overviewing major Palestinian cities now under Israeli control. They also include a history of the 1929 Buraq Uprising in addition to Izz Addin al-Qassam’s armed resistance movement against Zionism and the British Mandate for Palestine. In the new eighth grade textbook, students are taught about the Israeli occupation and everyday methods of resistance. A later chapter focuses on military resistance – including details about rockets fired into Israel from Gaza – and illustrates that modern weaponry has become capable of “confusing the occupation.” Grade nine’s textbook includes an even more detailed account of Palestinian reactions to Israeli military aggression, covering Gaza’s militant response to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defense, which, using language from the Quran, the textbooks dub the Battle of the Criterion and Operation Stones of Shale. Another chapter is dedicated to the cross-border military operation by three Palestinian groups in 2006 as a result of which Israel agreed to release Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,024 Palestinian prisoners.
Group: Israel confines released prisoners to Palestine for 10 years
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — The human rights organization Tadamon said Wednesday that Israel bans freed prisoners from leaving the occupied Palestinian Territories for 10 years after their release. Moa’ayad Salim Hija, a released prisoner from the Nablus district, is quoted in the statement as saying that released prisoners are not allowed to leave Palestine for 10 years and are confined to their home districts for a year. The statement also quoted Ahmad Sa’ed Abdul Aziz, a freed prisoner from Jenin, as saying that Israeli authorities require prisoners to pledge not to be involved in political or military activity after they are released. Freed prisoners are also required to visit their nearest liaison office every month for a year to sign various documents, the statement said.
Jailed at 17, just-released Palestinian plans a quiet life
RAMALLAH, West Bank (McClatchy) 30 Oct by Mel Frykberg — Round after round of celebratory automatic gunfire punctuated the night early Wednesday as the bus carrying 21 long-serving Palestinian prisoners made its way from Israel’s Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city, to the Muqata, or government headquarters in Ramallah … The excitement was palpable as the exhausted men reunited with their families after being released just after midnight. Haza’a Muhammed Saadi, from Jenin in the northern West Bank, was No 10 on the list of prisoners to be released. Saadi was jailed for life in 1985 as a 17-year-old for his alleged part in killing two Israeli schoolteachers. Othman Bani Hassan, who was No 9 on the prisoner list, was his co-defendant accused in the killings. One of Haza’a’s three sisters, Samira, 51, said words couldn’t describe how happy she was to see her brother, whom she hadn’t seen in two years, when she’d last visited him in prison. “His release came as a bit of a shock. I never imagined we’d be reunited again as a family after he spent nearly 30 years in prison. His original sentence meant he was going to die there,” she told McClatchy. All the members of the family whom McClatchy spoke to denied that Haza’a had killed the two Israelis, saying he’d attempted to but had failed. Haza’a, 45, said he wanted to put the past behind him and that he looked forward to a quiet life and hoped that peace between Israel and Palestine would become a reality.
Riziq Salah was reading when soldiers stormed his home 20 years ago
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct – “Since the first group of veteran prisoners were released, I have been busy preparing to receive him, buy the clothes he liked and cook the meals he was fond of,” says the wife of Riziq Salah, a veteran Palestinian prisoner from Al-Khader near Bethlehem. Salah has been in Israel’s custody since June 7, 1993 … Speaking to Ma’an hours earlier, his wife Jihad Salah highlighted that his favorite meal was stuffed vine leaves. “However, he asked me to prepare stuffed sheep,” Jihad added as she remembered bygones. Salah was sentenced to life in prison on charges of hurling an explosive device at the headquarters of the Israeli forces in Bethlehem killing one soldier and injuring two others. The main roads in al-Khadr and the historic arch on the road between Bethlehem and Hebron were full of giant images of Salah and posters congratulating him and his family … His wife recalled the night Israeli troops ransacked her home more than 20 years ago: “He was reading a book titled Beirut Earthquake by Muhammad Natour when they stormed the house.” The book, she said, is still on the shelf waiting for him to finish it. Salah’s mother died on Nov. 7, 2009.
PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (24-30 Oct 2013)
31 Oct —Israeli forces continue systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) A Palestinian child was wounded during an Israeli incursion in Taqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem. An Israeli warplane attacked Bader training site in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. 3 Palestinian civilians, including a photographer, were wounded during Bil’‘n and Kofur Qaddoum weekly protests. Dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces conducted 61 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the Gaza Strip.At least 49 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were arrested. The detainees include 2 PLC members and a number of active students affiliated to Hamas. Israeli navy forces have continued targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea. Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. Israeli has continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.Israeli forces demolished 2 residential buildings in Beit Hanina village and 2 rooms in Jabal al-Mukaber neighbourhood, rendering 33 Palestinian civilians homeless….
From prisoner release to home demolitions: a week in photos October 25-31
Activestills 1 Nov — This week: Prisoner releases, house demolitions, weekly demonstrations, olive harvests, prayerful protests, and asylum seekers.
PLO official: Negotiators did not submit resignations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Nov — A senior official in the Palestinian Liberation Organization said Friday that peace negotiators Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh did not submit their resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas. PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef told Ma‘an that reports of the negotiators resigning were not accurate. On Thursday, sources told Ma‘an that PLO negotiators Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh had presented their resignation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The officials reportedly resigned in response to Israel’s recent announcement for thousands of settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki told Ma‘an that an emergency meeting had been called for next Saturday to “discuss the developments.” A United States government official said Friday that Palestinian officials informed the US of their commitment to negotiations with Israel for the agreed upon timetable of nine months.
No enforcement of labor law in the West Bank
972mag 31 Oct — A small group of Palestinian workers this summer received confirmation from the Jerusalem Regional Court that their rights are protected under Israeli labor law. Meanwhile, Israel’s Ministry of Economy is failing to proactively prevent such abuses. Kav LaOved has published a new report describing this situation, including a selective list of Israeli companies in the Occupied Territories which have been sued by their Palestinian employees in recent years. The Even Bar case court victory described above was an important step in the right direction, but only compensates an extremely small fraction of the Palestinians caught in this unjust system.
Soldiers leave Gaza-vicinity communities
Ynet 31 Oct by Matan Tzuri — Despite protests, IDF security details for the 13 Gaza-vicinity communities were officially terminated on Thursday morning, as soldiers left their posts and turned over authority to the local residents … The decision to remove IDF security was made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon last September. The cost of maintaining the security arrangements is estimated at tens of millions of shekels annually, but according to high-ranking military officer, the decision was made based on operational considerations alone.
WATCH: Paratroopers fire advanced Spike missile
Ynet 30 Oct by Yoav Zitun — Combat soldiers from the IDF‘s Paratroopers Brigade received an unusual allocation this week and fired a Spike-MR missile during a training exercise held in preparation of the troops’ scheduled operational activity along the northern border … The Paratroopers Brigade explained that the decision to allow the forces to train with live missiles stemmed from the unique operational needs of paratroopers working along the Lebanese border … The Spike-MR, part of the Spike class of missiles, allows soldiers to control the missile after it has been launched with the help of a remote control. The missile has an accuracy of less than a meter and can accurately target specific marks, including windows, terrorist cells, armored cars or military pillboxes.
US to provide Israel with 6 V-22 Osprey aircraft
Ynet 1 Nov — The United States will provide Israel with six 22 Osprey aircraft as part of its military aid, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced at an Anti-Defamation League conference in New York on Thursday. The tilt-rotor aircraft were used by the US military in Afghanistan. Hagel said the delivery would be “expedited,” meaning “Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other (Israeli defense) capabilities.”