Two women die in West Bank:
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 June — An elderly Palestinian woman died early Thursday after suffering a heart attack during a raid by Israeli soldiers in al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron. Fatima Ismail Issa Rushdi, 78, was evacuated to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron after she suffered a heart attack. “Fatima arrived at the emergency department suffering from a sudden heart and lung failure. Doctors tried to resuscitate her twice but there was no response and she was pronounced dead,” Dr. Ashraf Zghayyar told Ma‘an. The Israeli raid on the camp started after midnight on Wednesday following a power cut. Soldiers ransacked several homes and handed summons orders to several young men, demanding that they go to an Israeli military center for interrogation. Youths in the camp clashed with Israeli forces during the raids, with soldiers firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, injuring 9 youths … Red Crescent volunteers told Ma‘an that they evacuated over 20 families from their homes after Israeli soldiers fired excessive amounts of tear gas.
Israeli forces detained 13-year-old Sufyan Jaafar Abu Arqub and 14-year-old Jaafar Taha in Dura, while soldiers detained Amir al-Qasrawi in Hebron and confiscated his computer and a security camera installed outside his home.
Sick Palestinian elderly [woman] delayed at Israeli checkpoint, dies before reaching hospital
NABLUS (WAFA) 25 June – A sick Palestinian elderly [woman] who was on her way to hospital for sharp chest pains died Wednesday after being delayed by Israeli forces at a checkpoint erected by the Israeli troops at the eastern entrance of Beit Dajan, a village to the east of Nablus. Amneh Haj-Muhammad, 62, suffered from acute chest pain, and, as a result, she was rushed in a taxi by her husband and children to the National Hospital in Nablus. However, the taxi was stopped by the soldiers at the entrance of the village for more than half an hour, leading to her death before she could reach the public hospital in Nablus, said Radwan Haj-Muhammad, a member of Amneh’s family.
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teen in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 June — A Palestinian teenager was shot by Israeli forces in the Hajar al-Deek area near the border in the northern central Gaza Strip on Thursday evening. Spokesman for the Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that an unnamed 17-year-old was shot in the foot while he was collecting gravel near the border. He was taken to Shifa hospital with moderate injuries, al-Qidra added … Many people in the besieged coastal enclave collect small stones in order to make gravel for concrete, because the import of concrete is forbidden by the Israeli economic blockade … Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians. The “security buffer zone” extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones. According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.
6 Palestinians wounded as Israeli tanks fire into Gaza after explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 June — Six Palestinians were injured on Friday morning after Israeli tanks fired into the southern Gaza Strip from the border, medical officials said. Spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that five Palestinians including a pregnant woman and an 11-year-old boy were injured by the artillery fire, and were taken to the Algerian Hospital in Abasan al-Kabeera southeast of Khan Younis. Al-Qidra added that the sixth victim, a 27-year-old, was taken to the Gaza European Hospital with broken fingers suffered as a result of the attack. Eyewitnesses said that the tank fire damaged the Hoda and Taqwa mosques in the area as well as a number of nearby homes. The Israeli military confirmed the attack in a statement, saying that the tank fire came in response to an explosion targeting Israeli forces “operating adjacent to the security fence” in the area. “The force responded with tank fire towards lookout posts used to guide the attack against the forces,” the military said. It added that no Israeli forces had been wounded in the initial explosion.
2 Palestinians killed after missiles hit car in Gaza’s al-Shati camp
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 June – Two Palestinians were killed and two others wounded on Friday afternoon after Israel’s air force bombed a car traveling near al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. A Ma‘an reporter said that an Israeli plane targeted a black Kia vehicle with two missiles, killing Muhammad al-Fasih and Usama al-Hassumi. Ashraf al-Qidra, the Gaza spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the bodies of the two men, who were residents of the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, were taken to Shifa medical center. The killing is the first targeted assassination by Israel since the formation of the Palestinian national unity government at the beginning of June. The two were apparently affiliated with the Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. The Popular Resistance Committees is a Gaza-based militant group that opposes negotiations with Israel and frequently fires rockets from Gaza. It has no connection to the local popular resistance committees against the separation wall that exist throughout the West Bank. Israel’s army said it targeted the “terror operatives” due to their involvement in launching rockets at Israel over the past week.
Israeli warplanes target Gaza after rocket, mortar attacks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israel’s army launched airstrikes on southern and central Gaza early Saturday after projectiles fired from the coastal enclave landed in the Negev desert, Palestinians and security officials said. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage. In an emailed statement, the Israeli military said that its aircraft targeted two “terror activity sites and a weapon manufacturing facility in the central Gaza Strip and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip.” The statement added: “Direct hits were confirmed.” Earlier, militants in Gaza fired eight projectiles into southern Israel including two mortar shells, the army said. Three rockets landed in the Eshkol regional council and another hit Hof Ashkelon regional council, it said. The country’s anti-rocket Iron Dome system intercepted two rockets, an army spokeswoman told Ma‘an …
The strike came amid increased tensions in the region as an Israeli military campaign across the West Bank entered its second week. The campaign, the largest deployment since the early 2000s, has left eight Palestinians dead, more than 130 wounded, and more than 560 detained. It has included near-nightly airstrikes on Gaza as Israeli forces pound the besieged enclave in response to rocket attacks by militants angry about the West Bank offensive.
PA health minister to ship 20 truckloads of medicine to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health will ship 20 truckloads of medicine and medical equipment to Gaza this week, a minister said. Jawad Awwad, minister of health, said all preparations to ship the cargo have been finalized to ease the “suffering of our people.” Spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra said the shipment comes as health conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate as a result of shortages. Several hospitals have had to cancel all non-emergency surgeries due to a lack of medical equipment.
Fuel shipped to Gaza to avert energy crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — Gaza’s sole power plant kept running Wednesday after diesel fuel was allowed to enter the Strip via Israel, a day after the power authority warned it would shut down, a Gaza official said. Raed Fattouh, who is in charge of the coordination of goods entering Gaza, told Ma‘n that more than 400 truckloads of goods were shipped in on Wednesday, including diesel fuel to run the power plant. Gasoline and humanitarian aid was also shipped into the coastal enclave, Fattouh said. He added that two truckloads of cement were shipped in to be used for UN-funded projects. An agreement was reached Tuesday to import 250,000 liters of synthetic diesel for the Gaza power generation station, the deputy head of the energy authority in Gaza said. Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told Ma‘an that the fuel aims to continue the supply of electricity for eight hours daily. He added that this amount is enough for one day, explaining that there are other suggestions to reduce the taxes on diesel.
Gazans feel pinch of Brother’s Keeper
Deutsche Welle 25 June by Kate Shuttleworth — In the wake of a major clampdown on Palestinians following an alleged Hamas kidnapping of three Israelis, the usually bustling streets of Gaza City are quiet in what is normally the busiest week leading up to Ramadan. Fareq Nassar, 37, sells produce in Zwaya market, one of the main markets in Gaza City. He empties his pocket showing just 140 shekels (30 euros), the sum total of money he has left this week. “At this time of year people are usually elbowing each other to just get into and through the market. Last year I was making around 2,000 shekels in a week,” he says. An eerie quiet Gazans have been tentative about leaving their homes and walking around the streets. Their reasoning is twofold — they are nervous about Israeli airstrikes that have killed 18 Palestinians in Gaza so far and the worsening economic situation since the interim unity government was sworn in.
Sweden to investigate Israel’s attack on Gaza-bound ships
Gaza’s Ark 27 June — Israel has attacked several Gaza-bound ships over the last few years. Swedish prosecutor Henrik Attorps has launched an investigation into suspected criminal offenses ranging from aggravated assault, aggravated unlawful threats, theft, and other crimes under international law. “We have grounds to believe that such crimes were committed,” the office of the public prosecutor said in a statement. More details here. This shows that efforts to challenge the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza are of vital importance. They are crucial in bringing the world’s attention to Israeli atrocities – even though that is not happening fast enough. The Swedish investigation follows action by a Turkish court which issued arrest warrants for Israeli senior officers over their role in ordering the 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara while bound for Gaza. The matter has also been referred to the International Criminal Court. This news comes as we are rebuilding Gaza’s Ark and repairing the damage caused by the cowardly attack on it that occurred when we were almost ready to sail. This news also encourages us to persevere despite the difficulties and the challenges.We continue to count on your support to finish the building of Gaza’s Ark and sail it out of Gaza as a new challenge to the unjustified blockade. Please help us continue this important work: http://www.gazaark.org/donate/
Seven years on, the EU can’t give up its Gaza million-dollar sleeping beauty
Haaretz 26 June by Matthew Kalman — The EU’s Gaza Strip farce abides: EUBAM mission is on standby, but its funds are flowing — Each year, the EU pumps nearly a million euros into EUBAM Rafah, its eight remaining staff – four locals and four foreign officials – and two offices. It was established in 2005 to monitor the operations of the Rafah border crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, under a U.S.-brokered agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. At its height, it employed 81 staff from 16 different countries. But the mission ceased to operate in June 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza in a bloody coup against the Palestinian Authority. EUBAM still employs three Palestinian staff in Gaza, but EU monitors haven’t been anywhere near the border crossing in seven years. Instead, the mission “has remained on standby, awaiting a political solution and ready to re-engage at very short notice,” according EU spokespeople. In other words, they are doing nothing except spending nearly a million euros of EU taxpayers’ cash each year on a project that ceased to perform any useful function seven years ago.
Violence / Attacks / Raids / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests — West Bank
Palestinian shot Friday succumbs to wounds
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 June — Mustafa Husni Aslan, 22, was pronounced dead from wounds he sustained during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Qalandiya refugee camp on Friday [20 June], medical sources said. Aslan was shot in the head and then moved to Ramallah Public Hospital before being moved to Hadassah hospital in Ein Karem upon his family’s request. Aslan was previously declared “clinically dead” Friday, before he was pronounced dead Wednesday. He was initially pronounced dead on Friday, the day he was shot, which caused shock and confusion among people in Qalandiya refugee camp. It later became clear, however, that he had not passed away at that time. The funeral of Aslan will take place Thursday.
Israeli forces shoot and injure Palestinian near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 June — [Wednesday] A Palestinian teenager was shot and injured by Israeli forces during clashes in Kharsa south of Hebron. Younis al-Rjoub, 18, was shot in the abdomen and taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, medical sources said.
Woman, child hurt as Israeli police attack worshipers in al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 June — Two Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli officers beat worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as they protested the presence of a tour group of Israeli settlers. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli officers attacked protesters with clubs and rifle butts after they began protesting against the group of around 30 settlers, who were escorted by a large contingent of heavily armed Israeli police as they entered through the Moroccan Gate. 12-year-old Muslih Nasser Shehadah and an unidentified Palestinian woman were injured during the police assault, and were taken to a medical clinic inside the Al-Aqsa compound for treatment. Ziad Srour, a doctor who works in the compound’s Arab Medical Center-affiliated clinic, told Ma’an that the boy was beaten on his back and was taken to a hospital for tests and X-rays to check if his kidney has been hurt. The woman, meanwhile, was injured in the jaw and was also taken to the hospital for X-rays.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian at Hebron checkpoint
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 June — Israeli soldiers shot and injured a Palestinian man early Thursday before taking him into custody in the town of al-Samu‘, south of Hebron, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers shot 44-year-old Ismail Ahmad al-Hawamda in the foot at a checkpoint in the town. He received treatment at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Israeli forces claim that soldiers stopped al-Hawamda at a checkpoint and opened fire after he tried to run away.
10 hurt as Israeli settlers, soldiers attack Hebron family
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli settlers accompanied by soldiers early Friday raided a Palestinian home in Hebron and assaulted ten members of a family, who were mostly children, before soldiers detained ten other individuals from the house. Settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron attacked houses belonging to the al-Jaabari family in al-Ras neighborhood of central Hebron while they were escorted by a large number of soldiers. The family told Ma‘an that “soldiers tried to kill the innocent children with a dagger, and when the family fought back they detained some of them.” The injured were taken to Hebron Public Hospital in ambulances and private cars. Most of the those wounded in the assault were children … Their injuries were reported as light and moderate. Israeli forces also detained 10 individuals from the family during the assault … An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a “clash” had ocurred between the settlers and Palestinians in which “mutual rock-hurling took place.” She added that when Israeli soldiers arrived to “disperse the riot, Palestinians started throwing rocks and tried to seize their weapons.” She said that two soldiers were injured by Palestinians, while eight Palestinians were detained by the soldiers in the course of the riot. No Israeli settlers were detained, however.
3 injured as Israeli forces raid Balata camp
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 June — Three Palestinians were injured early Friday during clashes with Israeli soldiers near Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Israeli forces raided the camp just east of Nablus, leading to clashes as local youths protested the incursion. Israeli soldiers shot live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youths, injuring three. Palestinian medical sources said that Ahmad Hashash, 23, was hit in his left foot, Muhammad Khader Abdo, 20, was hit in his right hand, and Muhammad Dweikat, 20, was hit with a rubber-coated bullet in his left eye. The three were then taken for treatment to Rafidia Public hospital in Nablus, where their injuries were described as “moderate.”
Israeli forces also raided the Nablus-area villages of Salem, ‘Aqraba and Qabalan overnight, invading several houses. No detentions, however, were reported during those raids.
The home of Hamas official Ahmad al-Hajj ‘Ali, in al-‘Ein refugee camp, also known as ‘Ein Beit al Ma or Refugee Camp No. 1, in western Nablus, was also raided overnight, for the third time since the beginning of an Israeli arrest campaign three weeks ago.
Photo Essay: Israeli night raids terrorize families of ‘Azza Refugee Camp
Mondoweiss 25 June by Sheren Khalel & Matthew Vickery — It feels as though the whole of the refugee camp has taken an inward breath. Every member of the camp is silent — only murmured voices of Hebrew can be heard through the dark, narrow alleyways. Every light has been turned off, but the quiet is tense instead of peaceful. The only movement is the periodic head peeking through curtains straining to stealthy check out of a window to see which way the soldiers are coming. This is ‘Azza refugee camp in Bethlehem at 3am. Two blocks down the street, the scene at ‘Aida refugee camp is much the same. Refugee camps across the occupied West Bank have experienced these raids and arrests in the middle of the night regularly over the past two weeks as part of the Israeli army’s crackdown on the Palestinian population in the wake of the disappearance of three Israeli settlers. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/terrorize-families-refugee.html
Israeli forces ‘assault’ 17-year-old Palestinian
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli forces detained a 17-year-old Palestinian after assaulting and injuring him in his head, face and hands, a Palestinian Prisoner’s Society lawyer said. PPS lawyer Anan Khader, who visited the detainee, Taher Ziad Taher Aqraa, at Huwwara detention center, said that Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters at Aqraa while he was watering his family’s plants in Qalqiliya, assaulted him with the butts of their rifles and boots, and hit him in the head, face and body. The lawyer added that Aqraa was moved near a settlement for treatment and would later be taken for interrogation. The director of the PPS highlighted that these assaults against Palestinians and especially minors are “barbarian” and that Israel does not respect laws or the rights of children.
Israeli forces suppress marches in Ramallah, Bethlehem
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli forces attacked a weekly Nabi Salih weekly march against the occupation and settlements on Friday. The march set off from al-Shuhadaa square in the center of the village. Dozens of Palestinians, foreigners and activists participated in the march. Protesters repeated slogans against the occupation, settlements and “international silence,” and they called for national unity. Clashes erupted after the Israeli forces suppressed the march using tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets. Youths threw rocks at soldiers. Dozens choked on tear gas and some were injured with rubber-coated bullets, and randomly fired tear-gas canisters set fire to nearby lands. Israeli forces had shut the entrances of the village early Friday with dozens of soldiers inside declaring it a military zone.
During a weekly march in Bil‘in in Ramallah, meanwhile, dozens of Palestinians and foreigners were injured and choked on tear gas when Israeli forces suppressed the march …
Another weekly march was attacked by Israeli forces in al-Ma‘asara village in Bethlehem.
Israel names two prime suspects in teens’ abduction
Ynet 26 June by Yoav Zitun — Amar Abu-Eisha, 33, and Marwan Kawasmeh, 29, from Hebron, Palestinian terrorists who previously served time in Israeli prisons, are the two main suspects in the abduction of the three Israeli teens – Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, it was cleared for publication on Thursday, two weeks after the teens had been taken. The Shin Bet said in a statement both Hamas men, believed to have played a central role in the kidnapping, had been wanted and at large since the kidnappings, adding that several other Palestinians suspected of involvement in the abductions were being questioned. Hamas officials in Hebron confirmed the two suspects were members, and said IDF troops have targeted the men’s homes since the beginning of the operation. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fears for their safety, said the brothers and wives of the two men had been taken into custody, though the women have since been released. A senior Palestinian intelligence official said the two suspects are believed to be hiding and that Palestinian security forces were also searching for them. He said the fact that the two men have been missing since the kidnapping is “clear evidence they have links with the abduction.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the suspects were only part of the group behind the kidnappings and reiterated his call on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abrogate a unity pact with Hamas, a group that holds power in the Gaza Strip and calls for Israel’s destruction.
Family of Hamas suspect denies allegations
IMEMC 27 June by Chris Carlson — Omar Abu Eisha, the father of one of the suspects accused by Israel of taking part in the alleged abduction of three Israeli settlers, has denied that his son was involved. This week, Israel claimed Marwan al-Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Eisha, 33, to be the two main suspects behind the incident, with reports from Shin Bet saying that the two had been jailed previously for taking part in “terrorist activity on behalf of Hamas.” Speaking to Ma‘an, Omar denied the allegations and said that his family is worried that Amer has been detained and, furthermore, is being tortured by Israeli security forces. “I have not yet grasped that Amer and Marwan could kidnap three settlers from the most dangerous security square in Etzion. These are Israeli fabrications, whose goal could be is to strike Hamas in the West Bank and strike the national reconciliation,” he said, adding that he was with his son at a social event on the night in question but that, later on that evening, he could not find Amer and that he has been missing ever since. The family of Marwan al-Qawasmeh has foregone comment on the subject.
Israeli forces detain 17 in overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 June — Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians overnight Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s army and locals said. Israeli forces detained Thair Shihada Abu Sabha and Ali Murr in Yatta after raiding several homes. Ashraf al-Shawahin was injured by shrapnel after Israeli forces used explosives to open the door of his home. He received treatment at the Red Crescent hospital in Hebron. Six Palestinians were assaulted during the raids, a local official said, including a physically handicapped 13-year-old boy. A local official said ex-prisoner Ibrahim Ayish Mahmoud Sabarneh, 27, Muhammad Hussein Muhammad al-Tit, 18, and high school student Hassan Adam Salem Khalil, 17, were detained in Beit Ummar. Nineteen Palestinians have been detained in Beit Ummar since June 14, including 14 minors, the official added. In Hebron, Israeli soldiers detained Saad Omar abu Aisha and two brothers, Abdallah and Omar Imad Nairoukh.
Locals reported that Israeli forces damaged a mosque in the village of Haska near Halhul. Witnesses said that soldiers removed carpets and tiles from the mosque.
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian prisoner enters 119th day on hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 June — Palestinian prisoner Ayman Tbeish is suffering serious health complications as he enters the 119th day of a hunger strike to protest his detention without trial. The Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Tbeish began hunger strike action on Feb. 28 and is suffering from heart, kidney and stomach problems. He is also suffering from numbness in his limbs and visual impairment. Tbeish went on a 105 day hunger strike in 2013 that ended in an agreement which Israel later broke by issuing new administrative detention orders against him.
23 Palestinian members of parliament in Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 June — Twenty-three Palestinian lawmakers are currently being held in Israeli jails, a majority of whom have been detained in the last two weeks during the Israeli arrest campaign across the West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Wednesday. Eleven of the 23 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained prior to the campaign, the first of whom was Marwan Barghouthi in 2002. The two most recently detained lawmakers were taken on Tuesday night during a raid in Bethlehem. [list follows]
Israel sentences 5 Palestinian teens to 2 years in jail
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 June — An Israeli court sentenced five Palestinian teenagers to up to two years in prison on Wednesday, family members said. Families of the teens told Ma‘an an Israeli judge convicted the teens of “throwing a Molotov cocktail in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood (of East Jerusalem), and throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles, injuring an Israeli child.” … A 2013 report by Defense for Children International — Palestine said that “any Palestinian 12 years and older who throws an object, including a stone, at traffic or at a moving vehicle with the intent of causing harm to the vehicle or its passengers could face up to a 20 year sentence under Israeli Military Order 1651.” … The report noted that “Israeli settlers are rarely prosecuted for stone-throwing and impunity persists throughout the West Bank for acts of settler violence.”
Gaza mothers face another Ramadan without their imprisoned sons
GAZA CITY (The Electronic Intifada) 27 June by Rami Almeghari — Najat al-Agha, known as Um Diya, is in her sixties and shows up every week outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City. Every Monday, mothers, fathers, wives and children of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons gather there to demand the freedom of their loved ones. There are currently more than five thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including hundreds in administrative detention — held without charge or trial by Israeli military court orders … Visibly emotional, Um Diya spoke about the agony of her sons’ absence. “I am a mother and I have two other grown children, in addition to the ones who are in detention,” she said. “However, over the last long years, I can’t ever remember feeling happy.” “Every year during Ramadan, when family members gather around for a meal, I stay silent and sad for a few hours before breaking my fast,” she said … Um Rami Anbar, in her late fifties, also comes to the weekly protest to call for the release of her son Rami. She said that he was “kidnapped” by Israeli forces in 2002 at a checkpoint in the center of the Gaza Strip. Accused of “armed action against Israeli forces,” he was sentenced to eighteen years. “Rami left behind a wife and a daughter,” his mother said. “I see the six remaining years of his sentence as a nightmare, as if they are sixty years. I have high blood pressure and diabetes. I cannot be sure I will see my son again.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
WATCH: Living in the shadow of the Prawer Plan
Israeli Sociel TV 26 June — Following a series of high-profile protests that seemingly ended one iteration of the Prawer Plan, nobody — especially those who would be most affected — knows where the plan to displace tens of thousands of Bedouin Israelis stands today. Social TV visits two unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, Al-Araqib and Alsira, to see how people live under the threat of displacement.
Israel demolishes mosque walls in Jerusalem’s Shu‘fat camp
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 June — Israeli forces on Thursday demolished the walls of a mosque under construction in Shu‘fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, a camp spokesman said. Israeli soldiers escorted a bulldozer from Jerusalem’s municipality to the camp and destroyed the foundation of the mosque. Shufat is the only Palestinian refugee camp within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem and is administered by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. In December 2011, Israeli authorities instated at the entrance of the camp a checkpoint which limits the access of Shufat’s 45,000 residents to the rest of Jerusalem. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Israeli forces seize contents of Jenin village shop, two arrested
JENIN (WAFA) 26 June – Israeli forces Thursday raided several Palestinian-owned shops in Bata‘a Ash-Sahrqiya located behind the wall to the south of Jenin, provoking residents and leading to clashes, said security sources. Forces raided Bata‘a Ash-Sahrqiya, where they raided and ransacked several stores and seized the contents of a shoe store. Clashes erupted following the raid on the shops; soldiers fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward residents, causing several locals to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Forces also arrested two Palestinians, including a resident of Silet Al-Harithiyya.
The return of punitive home demolitions
972mag 24 June by Michael Omer-Man —Israel orders the demolition of the family home of a man who has only been charged, and not convicted, of murder. A government official says the policy is being reinstated to ‘level the playing field’ with Palestinians, while human rights groups say the practice only harms innocents. The Israeli government announced that it will return to demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected and convicted of involvement in terrorism and other violence. The first demolition order was issued against the family home of a man accused of murdering an off-duty police officer and wounding his family earlier this year. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem was quick to point out that the policy harms only innocents and not the accused. Thirteen people, including eight children, none of whom have been accused of or charged with any crime, live in the home slated to be demolished. The order must be approved by an Israeli court.
Soldiers demolish home of Hamas leader near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 20 June — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Friday at dawn [June 20 2014] the ‘Aroura village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and demolished the home of Hamas political leader, member of its political Bureau, Saleh al-’Arouri. Local sources said a number of military vehicles and armored bulldozers invaded the village and handed the family a military order against their home. The soldiers invaded the property and ransacked it. Al-‘Arouri currently resides in Turkey. The source said the military helicopters also participated in the invasion, while several Israeli paratroopers were observed landed there.
Dozens of soldiers were deployed in the streets before breaking into and searching dozens of homes. The army also cut the village’s power supply, prior to the invasion.
In photos: Generations of Palestinian exile
The Electronic Intifada 27 June by Anne Paq — There are more than five million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations, making up the largest group of refugees in the world. The Palestinian refugee advocacy group BADIL estimates there are an additional 2.7 million unregistered Palestinian refugees, making up 66 percent of the Palestinian population worldwide. They have been waiting more than sixty years to exercise their right to return since their first mass forced displacement with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948, what Palestinians call the Nakba or catastrophe, during the establishment of the State of Israel … With the conviction that the right of return is not a side issue but is at the core of the so-called conflict, this series depicts a Palestinian refugee child with a grandparent, a first-generation refugee. Through it I hope to emphasize not only the duration of the plight of Palestinian refugees, but also to visualize the extraordinary bond and solidarity that Palestinian refugees share across generations, preserving their dignity and determination during the long wait and fight for justice.
Hundreds protest in Umm al-Fahm against IDF operation
Ynet 27 June by Hassan Shaalan — Hundreds of Umm al-Fahm locals took to the streets Friday to protest the actions of the IDF in Operation Brother’s Keeper over the last two weeks. Security forces were sent to the area including some 400 riot police in order to keep the peace. Protestors threw rocks at the police who responded with stun grenades which dispersed a part crowd that had gathered on highway 65. The crowd reconvened however, in the main street at the center of Umm al-Fahm [a mostly ‘Arab’ city in the Haifa district] where they continued to protest. Five were lightly wounded at during the protest and were taken for medical care at a local clinic. Police officials reported that the protest had not been authorized by the court … MK Mohammad Barakeh took part in the protests as did a member of the High Committee of Israeli Arabs Raja Aghbariya.
Soldier reports own abduction in prank call to authorities
Ynet 26 June by Yoav Zitun and Ra’anan Ben Tzur — Roadblocks set up in central Israel, police helicopter begins search; soldier who claimed to be kidnapped found safely on bus — As thousands of soldiers continued the search for three abducted Israeli teens Tuesday, sources in the command center at the Kiryah military base in Tel Aviv called the police at 6:00pm to report that yet another teenager, an IDF soldier, had possibly just been kidnapped. In the end, the report proved to be nothing more than an ill-timed joke … In another incident almost a week ago, a soldier in southern Israel called the police and reported that she had been kidnapped. Police were able to trace the call to a military base and passed on the information to military police who are now investigating the incident.
French government warns against business with settlements
IMEMC 26 June with Chris Carlson — France has advised its citizens and companies against doing business with Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to the Electronic Intifada: Firms were warned that they could face legal action tied to “land, water, mineral and other natural resources” as well as “reputational risks.” Such a move could have implications for the Israeli economy far beyond activities limited to Israeli settlements themselves, EI reports. Israeli daily Haaretz stated that the notice was published on the website of the French Foreign Ministry, and as part of a broader document of recommendations for French people traveling to Israel: “Due to the fact that the settlements are illegal in international law, the performance of financial activity in the settlements such as money transfers, investments, acquisition of property, provision of supplies or the performance of any other economic activities that benefit the settlements involves risks,” the statement translates. The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) has welcomed the move; Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg are reportedly expected to follow suit in the coming days.
Spain, Italy warn citizens against doing business with settlements
Haaretz 27 June by Barak Ravid — Nations join France, U.K. and Germany in advising against legal and financial risks — According to the announcements made by Spain and Italy, the European Union and its member states do not recognize Israeli rule in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, which were conquered in 1967, and regard the settlements as illegal in international law. For this reason, the announcements stated, private companies doing business, transferring funds, investing money, signing contracts, buying land or receiving tourist services from companies in the settlements would be taking legal and financial risks. “The current situation could lead to disputes over land, water, quarries or natural resources that were acquired or in which money was invested,” read the statement from the Spanish Foreign Ministry. “Companies must take into account that [financial activity in the settlements] is liable to lead to their involvement in breaking international law and violating human rights.”
UN experts trace Klos C arms ship to Iran
Reuters 28 June — Shipment of arms seized by Israel in March originated from Iran, UN panel says; weapons were being sent to Sudan, not Gaza — A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday … Despite Israel’s public statements that the seized arms were destined for Gaza – an allegation that Gaza’s governing Islamist militant group Hamas dismissed as a fabrication – the experts said the weapons were being sent to Sudan … “According to Israeli officials, the rockets were produced in Syria by the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC),” they said. “No markings were identified on the rockets during the Panel’s inspection that would have allowed confirmation of the Syrian origin of the rockets.””One expert notes that the Syrian origin of the rockets cannot be independently established and neither can the movement of the rockets from Syria to Iran,” the report added.
Palestine to move on with oil plan in West Bank despite Israeli objections
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 25 June — The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) decided that it will carry forward an oil exploration plan in the West Bank despite Israel’s rejections, a senior Palestinian government official said on Wednesday. Mohamed Mustafa, deputy prime minister and the minister of economy, said the Israeli government sent an official letter to the PNA two days ago, expressing its oppositions against any unilateral Palestinian actions concerning oil exploration. He told Xinhua that Palestine’s decision is in line with the Oslo peace accords signed in 1993, which stipulates that the PNA is required to coordinate with Israel only when projects are inaugurated. “We are still in the state of planning…for the project of oil exploration,” he said, adding that “once we are ready, we will follow the needed measures.” The PNA began in March last year to search for oil fields in the West Bank. It has already presented tenders to several international oil companies, while bids are expected to be submitted by the end of June. In case the project succeeds and oil is produced, this would help end the subordination of the Palestinian economy to Israel ” and would help the Palestinians in building an independent and powerful economy,” Mustafa said. Earlier, Palestinian officials accused Israel of seizing a field that contains fuel reserves of around 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 1.82 cubic meters of natural gas to west of Ramallah. They also said that 80 percent of the field is in the West Bank, where Israel confiscates 800 barrels every day. Israel has not officially responded to the allegations.
FM Lieberman meets with Kerry, tells him regional peace deal needed
Ynet 26 June by Attila Somfalvi — After thanking US for supporting kidnapped teens’ search, Lieberman says peace with Palestinians not possible under current conditions.
Palestinian exports to Israel on the rise
Al-Monitor 24 June Palestinian exports to Israel shot up from $450 million in 2007 to $640 million in 2012, according to figures published last week [June 17] by the Bank of Israel Research Department. And while these figures represent a 42% increase, the amounts involved account for but a small percentage of the total [foreign] trade of Israel. Be that as it may, the sales to the Israeli market are of the highest importance to the Palestinian economy, as 81% of its exports are channeled to Israel … According to estimates, quarry building stones and concrete products make up about half of the Palestinian exports to Israel. This can be primarily attributed to the quality of the Palestinian building stone, which is considered first-class by international standards … Another notable sector of Palestinian exports is the food industry, whose products are targeted first and foremost at the Arab community in Israel … The most interesting aspect concerns the Palestinian furniture industry. At the western entrance to Nablus, nearly 100 furniture stores are scattered. According to one of the furniture manufacturers in the city, a living room sofa that he sells in Nablus for 3,000 shekels [about $870] is offered for sale in Israel at double the price, and is sometimes marketed under an Italian label. It turns out that in this case, the fear of Israeli customers apprehensive of traveling to Nablus has its price — 3,000 shekels.
NZ mall ousts Israelis for aggressive selling to woman, 82
Ynet 26 June –Israelis selling Dead Sea beauty products reportedly escorted elderly woman to ATM so she could empty her bank account, handing over total of $5,000 … The incident sparked concern over possibly aggressive and manipulative marketing strategies used by young Israeli sales staff who can be found in many shopping centers in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada, the US and other countries … This is not the first time that such stories have emerged; a report Thursday claimed that a man suffering from short-term memory loss was charged 12 times for a total amount of $13,000 by an Israeli saleswoman who media called “attractive” … The New Zealand news agency also reported that a man suffering from autism had been sold $4,000 worth of products in just 30 minutes at a Dead Sea products stand.
‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Krusty Krab restaurant to open in West Bank
Los Angeles Times 26 June by Jenn Harris — Fans of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoon may dream of joining the happy sponge in an underwater adventure, but a new restaurant opening in the West Bank may soon give people a real taste of Bikini Bottom City. Krusty Krab, an eatery modeled after the restaurant where SpongeBob and his neighbor Squidward Tentacles work on the show, is slated to open in Ramallah, reported the International Business Times. The exterior of the building is a faithful representation of its cartoon model, complete with a lobster trap-shaped structure with nets on the windows and five flags strewn across the roof. Mr. Krabs even makes an appearance outside the building. A Facebook page for the restaurant shows it’s still under construction and currently looking for employees.
Analysis / Opinion / Interview
Palestinians blame PA for Israeli crackdown in West Bank / Ahmad Melhem
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 25 June — The Israeli military response in the West Bank following the kidnapping of three settlers has raised serious fears of a popular revolt in the occupied territories — Since June 13, there hasn’t been one quiet night in the West Bank, which has seen repeated Israeli incursions following the announcement of the disappearance of three Hebron settlers. The Israeli military operation dubbed “cleaning the stables” has so far resulted in the martyrdom of six Palestinians, the arrest of 560 others and the closure of dozens of educational, media and relief institutions … The military campaign is no longer about finding the settlers. It is now an all-out war to eradicate Hamas and blow up the national unity government, which Israel rejected … But amid its military campaign, the occupation authorities have started fearing possible negative implications of the operation on the PA and the possibility of an explosion, after the escalation of public anger toward it …Popular anger caused dozens of youths to attack the headquarters of the Palestinian police in downtown Ramallah. They destroyed seven police vehicles at dawn on June 22. Afterward, violent confrontations broke out and Palestinian security forces fired live bullets on the youths, wounding three. Also, a Palestinian police officer was briefly kidnapped in the Qalandia refugee camp. Political analyst Jihad Harb said that Israel is trying to provoke the Palestinians. “Israel has a plan to destroy the infrastructure of the Palestinian people, using any event as a pretext, to separate the West Bank from Gaza and put an end to the national reconciliation government and rearrest former prisoners. … Israel is provoking the Palestinians with arrests raiding cities and houses, and destroying them, in addition to trying to impose a rift between the people and the [Palestinian] Authority along the lines of what happened in Ramallah, all that to tense up the internal atmosphere,” he told Al-Monitor.
The end of the hunger strike and mounting pressure on the PA / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 26 June — The PA’s lack of support for hunger striking prisoners, together with its security coordination with Israel during ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper,’ are further deteriorating its credibility among Palestinians — Reports on a deal that would end the hunger strike by some 70 Palestinians prisoners broke in the Hebrew media on Tuesday night and has been confirmed in the two days that passed since. According to Ynet News, the prisoners will return to eat, and in return, some punitive measures that Israeli Prison Service placed on them, such as separation from each other and fines, will be cancelled. Assuming that there are no other articles to the agreement – and according to the PA’s minister for prisoners, there aren’t – this is a complete victory for the Israeli government and the tough line it has maintained throughout the strike. It’s not only that the strike ended without any achievements for the hunger strikers, one can’t imagine a similar protest breaking out in the coming months, or even years … The hunger strike included roughly 100 prisoners, and around 70 of them were and still are hospitalized. Some stopped eating for over two months, sustaining themselves only on water and minerals. This was a tremendous human effort, carried out simultaneously by dozens of people, and under the toughest of conditions. The prisoners were handcuffed to — and isolated in — their hospital beds. I think that the strike failed for three main reasons: the line the Israeli government took, which made it clear the government would let prisoners die (or force-feed them, a procedure which also puts the prisoner’s life at risk); the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, which took the media’s attention away from the strike and removed whatever willingness to compromise Israel might have had; and the lack of support for the prisoners from the Palestinian Authority.
Twilight Zone: The Palestinian teen whose death went unnoticed by Israel / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 26 June — Mohammed Dudin, 15, was shot to death by IDF troops using live fire during Operation Brother’s Keeper. No one took responsibility for the killing and no one called his killers terrorists — He was a boy of 15. His mother did not appear this week before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, his sisters did not issue a heartrending public letter, no mass prayers were organized in his honor, nor was a memorial assembly held. No one accused the soldiers who killed him with live fire of perpetrating brutal terrorism, no one took responsibility for his killing. Naturally no one apologized: Israel ignored his death. But Mohammed Dudin, too, was a boy – the word Israelis are using to describe the three abducted Kfar Etzion yeshiva students. Only his family weeps for him now. The expression on his father’s face bespeaks the agony and grief of one whose world has collapsed, a world that even beforehand was squalid and grueling.
‘Our goal is to have our freedom’: Interview with Iyad Burnat on popular resistance in Bil‘in / Douglas Kerr
Mondoweiss 27 June —KERR: How did the non-violent popular resistance to the Occupation first start in Bil‘in? BURNAT: It is now 9 years, in December, 2004, since we started non-violent resistance, when the Israeli bulldozers started to destroy the land, the olive trees of the farmers. All of the people go outside without any organizing to try to stop the bulldozers from destroying their land. Bil‘in is a small village.1900 people live in Bil‘in. The land of Bil‘in is 4000 dunams (almost 1000 acres). The Israeli government confiscated 2,300 dunams from this land. This land is full of olive trees. It is the life of the farmers in the village, and most of the people in the village are farmers. This land is their life. We started our non-violent struggle in Bil‘in when we saw these bulldozers destroying the olive trees, and we continued. During this time, between December and February, 2005, there was a demonstration every day. So we organized ourselves and we formed the Popular Committee in the village to lead these people, the farmers, in these actions and demonstrations …KERR: So the resistance has moved beyond the land of Bil‘in to the Wall in general?BURNAT: Yes. KERR: You have been doing this for a long time; what keeps the movement active for so long? BURNAT: Look, this is important! The important thing in non-violent struggle is to continue.
Hunt for missing Israeli boys stirs up familiar recriminations / Peter Beaumont
DURA, West Bank (The Guardian) 26 June — Two weeks since teenagers vanished, huge search has raised questions over how much operation is aimed at crushing Hamas — Not far from Gush Etzion junction, where three Israeli teenagers – Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah – were kidnapped a fortnight ago is a large white plastic banner displaying the boys’ faces. It is an image that has become ubiquitous in Israel in the past two weeks. Further into the southern West Bank, in the village of Dura, outside Hebron, there hangs a different poster, with another boy’s face. He is not much younger than two of the missing Israelis – 15-year-old Mohammed Dudeen – who was shot through the heart after climbing out of his bedroom window to join a stone-throwing demonstration against a raid in his village by Israeli soldiers looking for the missing teenagers. Dudeen is one of five Palestinians killed during the Israeli army’s massive manhunt, a search that has seen hundreds arrested and the whole city of Hebron put under military closure, with most entrances to the city sealed off, stopping day workers and business people from entering and leaving. Amid strong indications that the military operation in its current form might be winding down, the past two weeks have posed as many questions as they have answered. No one has claimed responsibility, although Israel blames Hamas, which has been threatening to kidnap Israelis to trade for prisoners. Last night Israel identified two alleged Hamas members as the central suspects in the abduction. The Shin Bet security service said Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha are Hamas activists based in Hebron. But with no word on the fate of the missing boys, a familiar cycle of recriminations has begun, with the kidnapping becoming as much about the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as about an effort to find them … While many of those who have been arrested are figures associated with Hamas, politically or otherwise, and have spent time in Israeli prisons, some of the targets have been surprising. The Israeli army has raided universities and media offices, including This Week in Palestine, a dairy and a Coca-Cola plant, swamping Palestinian towns and villages in numbers unprecedented in recent years … What is not clear is what this larger part of the operation – separate from the hunt from the missing teens – is designed to achieve.
Kidnapping highlights Israelis’ surrender to settlers / Akiva Eldar
Al-Monitor 23 June — … It is natural that at this crucial time all attention is focused on the efforts being mounted to find the kidnapped boys, and one’s heart goes out to the anxious families. Nonetheless, one must also wonder how it is that secular Israelis willing to divide Jerusalem and cede Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount for the sake of peace could be dragged along for years by a small nationalistic minority from clash to clash. How is it that men and women who voted in droves for a party that ran on a ticket rejecting religious coercion are bowing their heads in the face of nationalistic, messianic coercion? On the one hand, a significant majority of Israeli citizens will not risk traveling through the occupied territories in their car or on public transportation. On the other, they feel responsible for the fate of the people who raise their children in the very heart of the territories and behave like lords of the land there. To fully understand the mindset of the hard-core settlers — as opposed to the majority of settlers, who moved to the territories in search of an affordable “quality of life” — it is worth reading the impressions of the American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg during a visit to Hebron 10 years ago. In an extensive piece in The New Yorker, Goldberg describes a conversation with Anat Cohen, a resident of the Jewish quarter of Hebron. “I asked her how she could let her son play amid the barbed wire and soldiers and barricades, and with snipers in the hills above. ‘Hebron is ours,’ she said. ‘Why shouldn’t he play?’ ‘Because he could get killed,’ I said. ‘There’s a bullet out there for each one of us,’ she said. ‘But you can always die. At least his death here would sanctify God’s name.’”
Despite reconciliation deal, Hamas controls Gaza / Hazem Balousha
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 23 June — After seven years in power, Hamas has handed over its government in Gaza to the unity government headed by Rami Hamdallah in accordance with the reconciliation agreement signed with its political rival Fatah. However, the movement did not waive its security control of the Gaza Strip. The crisis caused by the security agencies of the former Hamas government, after they closed Gaza’s banks for several days and prevented government workers from making any financial transactions, has showed the strength of the security services and their ability to maintain control on the ground in the coastal strip. The security services continue to control the border crossings such as the semi-closed Rafah border crossing that links the Gaza Strip to Egypt as well as the Erez crossing between Gaza from Israel and the West Bank. This situation forces travelers and visitors to register twice upon their arrival to the Palestinian side, once in the Palestinian Liaison Office of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and again at the security checkpoint of the previous Hamas government. Hamas is also in control of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing … A source in the Hamas leadership explained that the movement would not give up control over the Gaza Strip with such ease and speed, and that its influence will continue despite the formation of a national consensus government and the handing over of official ministries. “Hamas is not ready to expose its political project to risk and to hand over the power that it has built over seven years just because of an agreement on a government whose ability to survive is yet to be revealed,” the source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.