The kidnappings and murders of the four teens
Three suspects in murder of Arab teen confess to crime
Ynet 7 July by Attila Somfalvi, Omri Efraim, Itay Blumental — Three of the six suspects confessed to the murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shu‘afat and reenacted it in the area his body was dumped in the forest outside Jerusalem on Monday.
The mother of one of the six suspects, whose son may or may not be one of the three to confess, told Ynet: “We’re shattered and this thing is very difficult for us. My son has nothing to do with this and he will go free. This is crazy because he’s only 16.”
Six suspects in the murder of the 16-year-old from Shuafat were arrested on Sunday morning. The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of five of the six suspected in the kidnapping and murder of Abu Khdeir for eight days, despite the fact police sought a 15-days extension. The remand of the sixth suspect was extended for five days. The six are suspected of being members of a terror organizations, membership in an forbidden organization, abduction for the sake of murder, the murder of a minor, conspiring to commit a crime, possession of weapons and ammunition and committing a crime motivated by racism. One of them confessed and framed [?implicated] the others. More details on the six’s investigation were revealed on Sunday night. According to the claims, three of the six, 16-22 years old from Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Beitar Illit and a settlement in the Binyamin region, tried to kidnap a 9-year-old boy the day before Abu Khdeir’s kidnapping.
Israel does not treat Jewish and Arab terror equally
Haaretz 7 July by Amos Harel — Information not under gag-order reveals suspects arrested for murder of Palestinian teen are not ‘hilltop youth,’ but elements closer to the fringe of Haredi society — What looks like the speedy solving of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shoafat is an impressive achievement for two organizations that have been severely criticized in the media over the past few weeks, the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police. The arrest of six suspects affiliated with the extreme Israeli right could help rebuff the claims heard in the Palestinian Authority and among Israeli Arabs that the state is indifferent to Abu Khdeir’s murder … Most of the details about the suspects are still subject to a gag order. What is known — that six young men from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh were arrested, some of them minors — suggests that did not come from the usual populations of interest to the Shin Bet’s Jewish division – the “hilltop youth” and their associates at the fringe of the settler camp. The suspects seem to be closer to the fringes of ultra-Orthodox society, the types who can be spotted here and there at demonstrations of the extreme right … It would be no surprise if it turns out that the suspects were part of the rabble that was hunting down Arabs that night in downtown Jerusalem. This is a crowd lured into action by those same disciples of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose calls to action are always hinted and implied, never issued outright, so as to avoid prosecution. These are the same people who will probably show up in court to identify with the suspects and complain of persecution by the authorities.
Third suspect arrested in murder of three Israeli teens
Ynet 6 July by Yoav Zitun — An additional suspect was arrested for alleged involvement in the murder of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach, according to Palestinian sources, who said Hussam Dufash was arrested Saturday night in Hebron by the IDF. Unlike the other two kidnappers, Dufash was not away from his home in the days after the kidnapping.
At the same time the third suspect was arrested, Israel announced relief from the harsh restrictions faced by residents of Hebron since the abduction.The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced that as of Sunday morning Palestinian workers from Hebron were authorized to enter Israel. Additionally, Palestinians from the region would be allowed to enter Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan.
Families of slain Israeli and Palestinian teens turn to each other for comfort
Jewish Daily Forward 6 July by Sigal Samuel — The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook on Sunday to write about an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.” He said that during his visit to the Fraenkel family home, he had a chance to speak to Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, and express pain at the “barbaric” murder of his son. Barkat then suggested that Abu Khdeir speak to Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel who recently told the press that “the life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab.” The two men took Barkat’s advice and comforted one another by telephone. In a separate visit organized by Rabbi Rafi Ostroff, chair of the religious council of Gush Etzion, Palestinians from the Hebron area showed up at the door of the Fraenkel family, looking to comfort the bereaved. Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.” He later said that the visit went very well from his perspective. “They received us very, very nicely. The mother [Rachel Fraenkel] was incredible.” “I see before me a Jewish family who has lost a son opening the door to me,” he added. “That’s not obvious. It touched my heart and my nation.” The Palestinian visitors also mentioned an initiative spearheaded by Jews and Muslims to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day known as 17 Tammuz, into a joint fast day for people of both religions who wish to express their desire to end violence in the region.
Bereaved Israeli family consoles father of murdered Palestinian
Haaretz 7 July by Nir Hasson — Two bereaved families, one Israeli and one Palestinian, established contact Sunday, during a condolence visit by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the Nof Ayalon home of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. During the visit, Barkat called Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian whose body was found in the Jerusalem Forest last week. Barkat offered his condolences, and at the end of the call asked Hussein Abu Khdeir and Yishai Fraenkel, Naftali Fraenkel’s uncle, if they wish to speak. Fraenkel expressed his condolences, and added that he was horrified to learn that Khdeir’s murderers were Jews. The two agreed that the families of the three Jewish victims would soon pay a condolence visit to Abu Khdeir’s family over the death of their son.
Police link Palestinian teen’s murder with attempted kidnap day earlier
Haaretz 7 July — Police investigating the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir believe there may be a connection between his abduction and the attempted kidnapping of a schoolboy in the same East Jerusalem neighborhood a day earlier … East Jerusalem resident Dina Zalum told an investigator for human rights group Btselem that a man tried to abduct her 9-year-old son, Musa, in their Shoafat neighborhood a day before Abu Khdeir’s death and that the police did not follow up on her complaint. “I heard the sound of a car braking as it entered Shoafat,” she said. “I heard a boy’s voice call out, ‘Mommy, Mommy.’ It was the voice of Musa shouting for help and calling out to me.” Zalum recalled that she looked back and saw a short, thin man with eyeglasses, and described him as having pale skin and long hair. “He grabbed Musa by the throat as if he were trying to prevent him from screaming,” she said. “I attacked him and started to beat him with the cellphone that was in my hand, and I cried, ‘They’re trying to kidnap my son.’ Another man got out of the car and beat me together with the first man.” Meanwhile, said Zalum, Musa managed to get away from the kidnappers, who shouted at each other in Hebrew. “They pushed me to the ground,” she said. “My head hit the pavement and I lost consciousness.” Passersby who heard the mother’s shouts intervened and the kidnappers fled. After the attempted kidnapping, a police patrol car was called to the scene. The family asserts that they gave details of the incident to the police officer and remarked that Jews were involved. According to the police, the policeman asked them to come to the police station and file a formal complaint. Since the family did not do so, the police did not follow through.
Video shows faces of suspected killers of Palestinian teen
Electronic Intifada 5 July by Ali Abunimah — The Electronic Intifada has obtained video images showing the faces of two of the suspected kidnappers and murderers of Muhammad Abu Khudair, the Palestinian teenager who was abducted on Wednesday morning, burned alive and dumped in a Jerusalem forest. The footage comes from a security camera on the building owned by Hussein Abu Khudair, Muhammad’s father. Muhammad was kidnapped from right outside the building in an apparent racially motivated reprisal for the killings of three Israeli teens whose bodies were found in the occupied West Bank last Monday. The video above was taken on a mobile phone pointed at a computer belonging to Hussein Abu Khudair that was playing the original video from the security camera. Israeli police were present at the time the mobile phone footage was shot and their voices can be heard in the background, but they were apparently unaware that the mobile phone video was being made. A short time later, around 6am on 2 July, just over two hours after Muhammad disappeared, Israeli police confiscated the laptop containing the original file. The video shows two young men walking in from the top left of the frame, one wearing a white t-shirt and one wearing a black t-shirt. The one with the white t-shirt is gesturing with his left hand. They then stop, at the bottom right of the frame, as if they are talking to someone who is not visible in the video, presumably Muhammad. The man in the white t-shirt continues to gesture vigorously. This still image shows their faces. Though not clear, this would likely be sufficient for authorities to identify them and the original footage taken by the police would almost certainly be much clearer. While this still image has appeared on several website, the video above is published for the first time, here at The Electronic Intifada. Second CCTV video shows kidnapping The Electronic Intifada separately obtained security camera footage taken from across the road, which Muhammad’s family says shows his kidnapping. The Guardian previously published a short clip of this second video, as Bushra Abu Khdeir, an aunt of Muhammad, comments on it. These frames taken from the video, running in a short loop can be visually matched to the first clip above showing the alleged murderers from close up.
Netanyahu to Abu Khdeir family: We’ll bring Mohammed’s killers to justice
Ynet 7 July by Shahar Chai — “I wish to send my condolences to the family of the teen and promise them that we will find those behind this horrific crime and bring them to justice. There is no place for such murders in our society,” the prime minister said … Visiting the families of the three Israeli teens, Netanyahu said he does not “differentiate between terror and terror.” He promised to act firmly in the face incitement, and added that “I condemn calls of ‘death to Arabs’ just like I condemn calls of ‘death to Jews… This is a sensitive time and I urge everyone to act responsibly.” Netanyahu referenced a Facebook post by a Palestinian teen who seemed to express support of the murder of the three Israeli teens, writing “3:0 for Palestinian and we’re not even in the World Cup.” “I was horrified from the cruelty of it,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow radicals, no matter from which side, to set our region ablaze and shed blood. We can’t accept it and we reject ‘price-tags’ like we reject to throwing stones and firebombs,” the prime minister said, attempted to draw a parallel between Arab and Jewish violence of recent days. Speaking with the families of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, Netanyahu reiterated his past claim that the boys were kidnapped by Hamas and urged the PA to work to bring those behind it to justice. “I promised the families we will continue to support them even after the days of mourning ends. We know who is behind the kidnap and murder (of the three boys) and we will get to them,” the prime minister vowed. He also urged the Palestinian Authority to help find the boys’ killer, saying their murders embarked on their murderous mission from part of the West Bank under the PA’s control.
Dad of slain Palestinian teen: Demolish murder suspects’ homes
EAST JERUSALEM (NBC News) The father of a Palestinian teen who was burned to death by suspected Jewish extremists said justice would only be done if Israel demolished the homes those responsible for the killing. “Justice is when they destroy their houses just like they destroyed the houses of the suspects in Hebron,” Hussein Abu Khdeir said on Monday, referring to the demolition of the homes of two Palestinians Israel says were behind the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens – including an American citizen – in June. Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted last week and his charred body later found in a forest in what Palestinians allege was a revenge killing for the Jewish teens’ deaths. On Sunday, police said they had made arrests in connection with the death of the Palestinian teen. Abu Khdeir told NBC News that authorities had told him that they had six suspects in custody – a father, two sons and three friends.
LIVE UPDATES: Seven Hamas men die in Gaza; Grad rocket strike Be’er Sheva
[Check each day’s frequent updates to have some hope of keeping up] Haaretz 7 July – 2:33 P.M. IDF officials say nine rockets and mortar shells landed in Eshkol Regional Council in the past hour. (Gili Cohen) 2:13 P.M. Security cabinet is convening in Jerusalem to discuss response to Gaza rocket fire. (Barak Ravid) 1:13 P.M. Two mortar shells explode in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council, near Gaza fence (Shirly Seidler) 12:43 P.M. Two rockets explode in open areas in the Sdot Negev Regional Council in southern Israel. Another rocket explodes in open area in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council (Shirly Seidler) 11:43 A.M. Knesset Speaker writes MKs and asks them to refrain from statements which could spark violence and legitimize the actions of one side or the other. (Jonathan Lis) 11:20 A.M. Hamas’ military arm announces six of its members were killed in an overnight airstrike of a Rafah tunnel, and another member was killed by a strike in an outpost on western Rafah. (Haaretz) 11:06 A.M. Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman dismantles joint Knesset faction with Netanyahu’s Likud over disagreements over Israel’s response to Gaza rockets. (Jonathan Lis) 11:00 A.M. Three out of six suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir have confessed and reenacted the crime. The reenactment followed the route of the car in which the teen was kidnapped, leading to Jerusalem Forest, where he was burned alive, according to the Palestinian autopsy report. (Nir Hasson)
Violence / Raids / Arrests (West Bank – Jerusalem)
Palestinian-American teen describes savage beating by Israeli police
Electronic Intifada 6 July by Ali Abunimah — “And they hit me, and they kept hitting me and then I fell asleep and then I woke up in the hospital.” That’s how Palestinian-American 15-year-old Tariq Abukhdeir described the savage videotaped beating he endured at the hands of Israeli police in eastern occupied Jerusalem last Thursday. Seen in the video above posted by Addameer, Abukhdeir spoke shortly after an Israeli court released him to house arrest. He is flanked by his mother and Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament Ahmed Tibi. Tariq is a cousin of Muhammad Abu Khudair, the Palestinian teenager kidnapped and lynched by suspected Jewish extremists last week. Israeli police have alleged that Tariq, who lives in Tampa, Florida, and who is in Palestine on a family vacation, was engaged in violence prior to him been beaten unconscious while restrained and helpless. Although nothing Tariq could have done would justify the horrifying attack by Israeli police, the teen denied this. “I was standing and watching a group of people… and they came from the side of me, and they grabbed me from the side of me,” he said of his assailants. Tariq was not charged. Tariq, who suffered severe injuries, nodded affirmatively when asked if he’d been “treated well” while in prison. Sky News Middle East reporter Tom Rayner offered a skeptical assessment of Israeli claims against Tariq, saying that no mention had been made of the boy’s alleged involvement in violence during the court hearing. Tariq was released on $900 bail to house arrest, but is not allowed to return to Shuafat. He will stay with relatives in Beit Hanina, local media report.
Palestinian-American teen walks, others ‘rot in jail’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 July by Graham Liddell — The mother of a 15-year-old Palestinian who was released on bail Sunday after being beaten by Israeli police said that if her son were not a US citizen, he would likely still be held in Israeli jail. If Tarek were not American, “he would just be pushed to the side like a dog,” Suha Abu Khdeir told reporters following Tarek’s hearing at Jerusalem District court.”He would have been left to rot in jail,” she said. Instead, Tarek was sentenced to nine days house arrest outside the Shu‘fat neighborhood. He and his family plan to return to the US on July 16.
Suha Abu Khdeir said that the US consulate in Jerusalem had been very helpful throughout the case. “The US consulate has been by our side since the first moment we got news he (was) in jail — they’ve been by our side day and night.” Three employees of the US consulate were present at the hearing.
An employee of the prisoners’ rights group Addameer who attended the hearing told Ma‘an Tarek’s American citizenship was one of two main reasons his case got more attention than most. “The other is that it was caught on camera,” said Gavan Kelly, coordinator of the advocacy unit at Addameer. “This happens all the time. It’s just not always caught on camera.” Ivan Karakashian of Defense for Children International concurred. “And what we’re afraid about is the fact that Israeli security forces have begun confiscating all kinds of security cameras, all kinds of things that could prove their brutality,” Karakashian said.
13-year-old injured in clashes with Israeli forces near Qalqiliyah
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 5 July — A Palestinian boy was injured in clashes with Israeli troops near Qalqiliya early Saturday, medics told Ma‘an. Palestinian Red Crescent medics said 13-year-old Ahmad Mashhur Mardawi was hit by 15 rubber-coated bullets in his leg during overnight clashes with Israeli troops in Jaljoulia south of Qalqiliya. Ahmad was taken to Darwish Nazzal Hospital in Qalqiliya.
Watch: Israeli forces fire on TV crew in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 July – Israeli forces fired stun grenades at a Palestinian TV crew covering clashes between Israeli troops and young Palestinian men in al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem on Saturday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Palestine Today satellite channel reporter Ahmad al-Budeiri and his cameraman were hurt after Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades directly at them.
Three protesters were hit by rubber-coated bullets during the clashes. One was taken to hospital and had seven stitches in his foot which was cut by a rubber-coated bullet. In the same neighborhood, Israeli forces fired stun grenades at a group of young men walking in the main street and forced them to go inside a coffee shop. Separately, Israeli troops detained four young Palestinian men during fierce clashes in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in the Old City of Jerusalem. Also, witnesses said an Israeli settler fired gunshots into the air near the Christian Quarter in the Old City.
Doctor: 147 injuries since Thursday in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — The Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital received dozens of injuries during the last 72 hours following clashes that erupted in Jerusalem Thursday night. Some 147 injuries were treated in the hospitals including some that were reported as serious which were caused by live fire. Others were between moderate and light, caused by rubber-coated steel bullets. The general manager of the hospital said that many injuries needed surgery, and one of the most critical injuries was a fracture in the skull caused by a rubber-coated bullet. Dr Rafiq al-Husseini added that several injuries were caused by batons which caused fractures in the hands, legs and other body parts. Some arrived to the hospital suffering from burns caused by stun grenade shrapnel, and some were choked by tear-gas canisters in addition to injuries in the eyes. Al-Husseini highlighted that soldiers use a different type of rubber-coated steel bullet than what they previously used. It could cause more damage, injures and pain in the body but with less “breakthrough.”
20 Palestinians shot and injured, many suffocate in clashes near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 7 July – At least 20 Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and several others suffocated by tear gas, while a woman and her two sons were beaten up, during confrontations with Israeli army in al-‘Arroub refugee camp, to the north of Hebron, according to a local activist. Mohammad al-Badawi, a volunteer with the Palestinian Red Cross (PRC), said Israeli forces stormed the camp and showered residents and their homes with tear gas canisters as well as fired rubber-coated steel bullets towards them, provoking clashes with local residents, shooting and injuring 20 youths with rubber-coated bullets. Several others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, while a 52-year-old woman, along with her two sons, sustained bruises throughout their body after they were beaten up by soldiers following an Israeli raid on her house where soldiers broke down the front door and attacked them. They were transferred to hospital for medical treatment. Al-Badawi said soldiers deliberately and provocatively smashed the windows of many homes in the camp, fired tear gas and smoke bombs as well as sprayed waste water on residents’ homes.
Settlers attack Palestinian villages in Nablus, Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 July — Settlers attacked Palestinian villagers in Ramallah and Nablus late Sunday and early Monday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that settlers began hurling stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near the illegal Halamish settlement, located opposite the village of Deir Nidam. Dozens of settlers then raided the village, but were confronted by Palestinian villagers, who threw stones and empty bottles. Israeli forces were present at the scene and opened fire at the villagers, locals said.
On Sunday, settlers from Halamish attempted to raid the nearby Nabi Saleh village but were blocked by locals.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes broke out late Sunday between Palestinians and settlers in the Nablus village of Einabus. Dozens of settlers from Yizhar raided the village and attempted to attack houses, but were chased away by villagers. Israeli military vehicles arrived at the scene and fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian residents, lightly injuring several people.
Escalating settler violence in West Bank
IMEMC 6 July by Chris Carlson — The increasing attacks against Palestinians by Israeli settlers continued in the West Bank, Saturday, when heavily armed Israeli settlers severely beat a Palestinian man in the Hebron of al-Sha‘abeh, causing him moderate injuries … Medical and security sources told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that a number of settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement, east of Hebron, attacked a defenseless 30-year-old Palestinian man, severely wounding him throughout his body. He was transferred to hospital, and is said to be in moderate condition.
…on Friday, to the east of Bethlehem, a Palestinian teenager, ‘Ala ‘Abayyat, 17, was run over by an Israeli settler near Kisan village, according to the head of the Kisan Local Council, Hussein Ghazal. The teen was on his way to the grocery store at the time of the incident. The settler fled the scene and ‘Abayyat was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Settlers rampage at Jenin town entrance
JENIN (WAFA) 5 July – Dozens of Israeli settlers rampaged Saturday at the entrance of Ya‘bad located to the southwest of Jenin, said security sources and witnesses. Settlers from Mabo Dothan and Harmish, two illegal settlements constructed on land belonging to Ya‘bad, burned tires at the entrance of Ya‘bad and Kfiret junction and in nearby agricultural land, wrecking havoc there.
Protected by Israeli forces, settlers drove their cars along the entrance of the two villages in a provocative manner, hoisting Israeli flags and chanting anti-Arab racist slogans. In a measure intended to provide protection for settlers and facilitate their rampage, Israeli forces set up a roadblock at Ya‘bad entrance, preventing villagers from travelling into and out of the village.
Israeli settlers storm Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 July – Israeli settlers on Saturday evening stormed the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and attacked Palestinian residents. Locals told Ma‘an that some 50 settlers stormed the neighborhood and attacked Hani al-Sabbagh and his brother Ahmad, beating them after squirting pepper spray at their faces. The attackers then hurled stones at Palestinian homes before residents clashed with them in the streets. Israeli forces arrived to protect the attacking settlers. The soldiers, according to witnesses, have beaten Palestinians with clubs and rifle butts injuring a young man Yousif Abu Shush and a girl child.
Settlers attack car of Christian cleric near Ramallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 July – Extremist Jewish settlers assaulted a Christian cleric while he was traveling back to from Bethlehem to his church in the village of Abud in northwest Ramallah on Sunday. Locals told Ma‘an that bishop Abud Atallah Issawi and another priest were traveling in a private car on the main road near the village of Deir Abu Mashal when a group of settlers attacked them with stones and steel bars. The pastor managed to speed away, and he eventually took a bypass route to his church. The car sustained major damage, but the priests were not hurt, locals said. [IMEMC adds: At midnight on Sunday, settlers threw stones at Palestinian cars east of Bethlehem, near the town of Za‘tara, hitting the car of Adel Abu Haniyeh and damaging its structure, according to WAFA.]
Settlers chase Palestinian child near Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 6 July by Saed Bannoura — A number of extremist Israeli settlers chased, on Saturday at noon, a Palestinian child while in his family’s land in Ertas [or Artas] village, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Mohammad Brejeyya, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in the Bethlehem District, stated that a number of settlers chased Qassem ‘Ayesh, 12 years of age, in Khallet an-Nahla area, while on his family’s land. Seeking protection, the child ran to his uncle, who was working in the family’s land, and the settlers left the scene…
In related news, a number of settlers attacked, on Sunday at dawn, the car of Tulkarem Governor, Abdullah Kamil, as he was returning to the district. The attack took place near the Jeet Junction.
Settlers invade Wad al-Bathan area
IMEMC 6 July by Saed Bannoura — A number of extremist Israeli settlers invaded Wad al-Bathan village, near the central West Bank district of Tubas, and attempted to attack residents and archaeological areas, but were chased away by local Palestinians. Local sources said the settlers invaded the village through the al-Hamra Israeli roadblock, east of the village, and that the soldiers did not attempt to stop them. Local residents chased the invading settlers, and threw stones at them, forcing them to run away. The settlers then headed towards the soldiers, stationed at the al-Hamra roadblock. The residents [have] formed special committees to guard the village and its lands, and to monitor the movement of fanatic settlers in an attempt to foil their attacks, and the ongoing attempts to invade the village, and its agricultural lands.
Palestinians protest the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and destroy apartheid tramway
SHU‘AFAT, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 6 July — On the 04th July 2014, at least 2,000 Palestinian mourners gathered in Shu’afat for the funeral of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped last week. Mourners gathered by the mosque and marched carrying the body to the burial ground. Initially the funeral organisers formed a human chain to separate mourners and the police to prevent violence. Later on, Israeli police clashed with Palestinians for around 12 hours. It has been reported that at least 30 Palestinians were hurt by rubber-coated bullets while dozens more were treated for the effects of tear gas. 13 Israeli police officers were also injured. A field of wheat was also partly destroyed by fire, probably caused by tear gas canisters.Throughout the demonstration, undercover police agents, who were also acting violently towards the police, abducted and violently assaulted at least 11 Palestinians …
Later in the evening, local Palestinian residents took steps to remove the illegal light rail system which runs through their neighbourhood. Two French companies, Veolia and Alstom, are subject to an international boycott and divestment campaign due to their involvement in the project. The tram primarily services illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and thereby facilitates Israel’s illegal policies of colonization and ethnic cleansing. Local Palestinian’s pulled up bricks and cement that hold the tracks in place and damaged the tracks using an angle grinder. Many local residents gathered round to express their support for this act of civil disobedience. One Palestinian resident in his 60s said that the tram “is for the illegal settlements. Israel takes our land and kills our people…we want them [the Palestinian protesters] to rip it up and take it away completely…we want rid of it”.
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory [26 Jun-2 July]
PCHR-Gaza 3 July — the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that, during the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinians, and wounded 31 others; 19 of them were in the West Bank while 12 others were in the Gaza Strip. The wounded persons included 5 children and 4 women, including the Palestine TV reporter, in occupied Jerusalem … In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes conducted 24 air strikes, and the Israeli ground forces conducted 5 shooting incidents along the border fence. Moreover, Israeli naval forces carried out 2 shooting and chasing incidents. [ Full Report ]
35 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the beginning of 2014
IMEMC 6 July by Saed Bannoura — The Ahrar Center for Detainee’s Studies and Human Rights stated in its report on Israeli violations in the first half of 2014 [up through 30 June], that Israeli soldiers have killed 35 Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. January 2014: 1. Mohammad Adnan Abu Khater, 18, killed by Israeli bullets in Gaza. 2. Mohammad al-‘Ejla, 32, assassinated by an Israeli missile in Gaza. 3. Ahmad Za’anin, 21, assassinated by an Israeli missile in Gaza. 4. Mohammad Za’anin, 23, assassinated by an Israeli missile in Gaza. 5. Bilal Oweida, 20, killed by Israeli fire in Gaza. 6. Mohammad Mubarak, 20, killed by Israeli fire in Ramallah. [listing of all 35 follows]
Palestinian recovering after being ‘stabbed by Israelis’ in late June
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 July — A Palestinian man told Ma‘an Sunday that he was stabbed 12 times by Israelis in central Israel over a week ago. Ali Ibrahim Abu Zahra, 22 from Yatta in the southern West Bank, told Ma‘an he was working in Israel when he was tricked into getting into a car with three Israelis who later stabbed him repeatedly. “One evening after a long working day, I was standing by the road to breathe some fresh air,” Abu Zahra told Ma‘an. “Suddenly a car stopped and three settlers (Israelis) stepped out and offered to pay me 700 shekels for two-hour job,” Abu Zahra said. “I agreed and stepped into their car unaware of what they were plotting.” He said one of the three Israelis sprayed something on his face from a bottle he took out of his pocket, and that he lost consciousness. “I woke up after a while to find myself lying on the ground in a forest bleeding from different cuts all over my body,” he said. Abu Zahra was found in al-Ramadin Forest, his brother told Ma‘an. He was later taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where doctors conducted blood transfusions. The man works in Israel without a permit to help support a 14-member family.
Video: Israeli shoves Palestinian woman into lake ‘just because’
Electronic Intifada 5 July by Ali Abunimah — This video is not particularly graphic, but it is shocking for the underlying hatred this act of violence reveals. It was posted on the Israeli “StatusHunter” Facebook page on 4 July with a comment from Facebook user Daniel Libman: ‘For whoever still needs proof of how sick our country is, here’s this video. The place: Sakhne [hot springs in the north of present-day Israel]. What happened: a Jewish woman pushes an Arab woman into the water, just because. The video was uploaded by May Nachman. When asked in a comment if the woman she shoved was elderly, she responded, “No just some effing Arab, 30 years old tops.” To someone who commented that it was inappropriate she responded: “Have a laugh, don’t be square.” After a few more LOL-type comments she added: “If I get kidnapped because of this clip, come and save me.” ‘
This example of every day contempt and racism towards Palestinians in Israel, including citizens, comes amid a growing atmosphere of incitement and anti-Arab protests.
Israeli assaults Arab bus driver in Negev
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 5 July — An Arab bus driver was assaulted with rocks in the Negev by a 27-year-old Israeli on Saturday afternoon, a Ma‘an reporter said. The Israeli man was driving his car in the city when he saw an Arab bus driver standing by his bus waiting for passengers. He stopped his car and started throwing rocks at him. The bus driver approached him telling him to stop when the Israeli started pointing at him and shouting “Arab! Arab!.” Then the bus driver went inside his bus and called the police who told him to stay inside and shut its doors. An Israeli police vehicle arrived and pursued the suspect, who was identified by the bus driver’s description. The suspect was caught and taken to a police station for investigations.
110 Palestinians, half of them minors, arrested from Israeli Arab towns; one shot and arrested in Hebron
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 July – Around 110 Palestinians, half of them minors, were arrested Monday overnight during large protests that swept Israeli Arab towns in Israel, while a Palestinian was shot and arrested in Hebron. Massive protests were organized in various Arab towns in Israel in a public outcry over the killing and burning of Mohammad Abu Khdeir by Israeli extremist settlers in Jerusalem. Protesters closed down many roads, including Tamra-Akka (Akko) Road, and clashed with Israeli police who fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at them and arrested 11. In Nazareth, police arrested 40 Palestinians after clashes broke out in the city’s main road. In ‘Arraba-Buttof, thousands of protesters hoisted Palestinian flags and chanted slogans decrying Israeli government’s policies. They closed main roads and burnt tires. Public protests were also organized in the Arab towns in Al-Naqab [the Negev)]
Meanwhile in Hebron, Israeli troops stationed in Ash-Shuhada Street in central Hebron assaulted a 22-year-old Palestinian and shot him in his leg before arresting him
Police kidnap 32 Palestinians in historic Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 6 July — The Israeli police kidnapped 32 Palestinians during mass protests in different parts of the country, following the abduction and murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, in Jerusalem. The Arabs48 News Website has reported that that 13 children are among the kidnapped, adding that ten Palestinians were taken prisoner in Nazareth, 10 in the Southern Triangle area, with the rest of the kidnapped coming from Wadi ‘Ara and other Arab villages in the northern part of the country. The police said all kidnapped Palestinians will be sent to court, and that it intends to conduct further arrests. Arabs48 stated that eleven Palestinians were kidnapped, on Sunday at dawn, in Nazareth, Um al-Fahem, Ein Mahel area, near Nazareth, and Baqa al-Gharbeyya. Two were taken prisoner in Nazareth and four in Ein Mahel, allegedly for throwing stones at the police during ensuing clashes. Three were taken prisoner in Um al-Fahem, and two near Baqa al-Gharbiyya Junction. Um al-Fahem clashes lasted until late night hours, Saturday, and the police fired dozens of concussion grenades, gas bombs, and used water cannons against the protesters. Clashes also took place in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, as around 200 Palestinians protested the murder of Abu Khdeir, and ongoing violations, while police officers and soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades. In related news, a number of Israeli extremists invaded Beit Safafa town, south of occupied Jerusalem, and threw stones at local residents, leading to clashes. Meanwhile, the District Court in Haifa decided to keep eight Palestinians under interrogation “for protesting in Wadi ‘Ara”, in the Haifa District.
Aharon Eksel, Israeli Police District Commander in Tel Aviv, said around 10.000 Israeli police officers have been deployed in various Arab cities and towns, in historic Palestine, “to counter the ongoing protests”. He told the Israeli Radio that the police “is trying to prevent further clashes” through various channels including “holding talks with influential Arab leaders”. A team of volunteer lawyers is representing the detained Palestinians, who are facing charges that include “participating in illegal protests”, “disrupting the peace” and a few are accused of attacking police officers.
Nine Palestinians killed in Gaza
IMEMC 7 July by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missiles and shells in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, and Monday at dawn. Seven of the slain Palestinians are members of the al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas movement. The Brigades stated the six fighters were killed when the Israeli army fired missiles into a siege-busting tunnel in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Their bodies were found on Monday, at dawn.
The fighters have been identified as Ibrahim al-Bal’aawy, 24, Abdul-Rahman az-Zamely, 22, Mustafa Abu Morr, 22, his twin brother Khaled, Yousef Sharaf Ghannam, 22, and Jom’a Abu Shallouf, 24.
A Qassam fighter identified as Ibrahim ‘Abdeen has died of wounds suffered during an earlier shelling in Rafah. Sami Abu Zohri, spokesperson of the Hamas movement, stated the assassination of the fighters is a serious escalation, adding that “the enemy will pay a heavy price”.
Dr. Ashraf al-Qodra, spokesperson of the Ministry Of Health in Gaza, stated that five Palestinians, including a child and two young girls, have been nursed [wounded?] when an Israeli missile detonated near their homes in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza.
Another airstrike targeted al-Qarara town, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Missiles have also been fired into agricultural lands in Sheikh Radwan in Gaza, causing damage but no injuries.
‘4 Palestinians killed’ in Israeli airstrike on Gaza’s Bureij camp
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 July — Four Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the central Gaza Strip late Sunday, a Ma‘an reporter said. At least two of them were members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement. They were killed as Israeli warplanes struck al-Bureij refugee camp. Those two were identified as Mazen al-Hadba and Marwan Salim.
Further details were not immediately available. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the air force “managed to prevent a rocket attack” from the central Gaza Strip. “A hit was confirmed,” the spokeswoman said. She said that 25 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel on Sunday. [IMEMC adds: Also on Sunday evening, the Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, stated that a group of its fighters survived an assassination attempt in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The Brigades added that the fighters managed to fire two missiles into an adjacent Israeli area.]
Gaza groups claim responsibility for rocket fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 July — The militant wings of four Palestinian political groups claimed responsibility for rocket fire at southern Israel overnight Sunday. The National Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that its fighters fired four “107 missiles” at the Negev on Monday. Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, said that fighters from the al-Asifa army have fired 35 rockets at southern Israel since Sunday. An independent military wing, the al-Mujahadin Brigades, claimed to have fired three rockets, while the PRC’s military wing, the al-Nasser Saladin Brigades, said it fired two rockets late Sunday.
The Israeli army said it had “targeted nine terror sites and concealed rocket launchers across the Gaza Strip,” noting in a statement its attacks came after militants had fired over 25 mortars and rockets at Israel on Sunday.
Gaza-based PRC militants reject ceasefire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 July — The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said Saturday that they reject any ceasefire that does not include breaking the siege on Gaza and “bringing back life to the West Bank and Jerusalem.” The al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades said that “the Palestinian resistance will not accept a ceasefire that is imposed by Israel, with Israel’s conditions.”
Ministry of Agriculture: Fishing limit ‘a war on livelihoods’
IMEMC 6 July by Chris Carlson — The Ministry of Agriculture has further cited Israel’s attacks on Palestinian livelihood in Gaza, with regard to the fishing space off the coast, which has been limited from six to three miles. [Haaretz says one mile] Local news has reported that Israel informed the Palestinian liaison department of its decision, by which the fishing zone would be as was before the ceasefire agreement following the aggression of the ‘Pillar of Defense’ operation, in November of 2012. In a press statement today, the ministry called the decision “a war against thousands of the Palestinian fishermen and their livelihoods”, according to Al Ray. Over 3,500 Gazans work in the fishing industry amidst daily Israeli violations across the sea. The weekly report by Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), on 28 June 2014, states that Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Younis shore, southern Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire for two hours towards Palestinian fishing boats sailing four nautical miles offshore.
Ministry of Agriculture: Israeli attacks = $2.5m in damages
IMEMC 6 July by Chris Carlson — The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture has estimated the total cost of damages due to recent Israeli airstrikes on ex-settlements (now cultivated land) in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, to be in the realm of $2.5 million. The Ministry stated on Friday, according to Al Ray, that Israeli bombings have destroyed 70 dunams (70 thousand square meters) of greenhouse facilities, 15 dunams of citrus crops, 10 dunams of grapes, 20 dunams of vegetables and 30 storehouses containing farm equipment. Irrigation and electricity systems, agricultural equipment and ready-to-market crops were also destroyed, in addition to damages inflicted on the land itself.
Gaza banks closed after gunmen open fire at branch, ATMs
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 July — Gaza banks were closed on Monday after unidentified gunmen opened fire at a Bank of Palestine branch in Gaza City and at nearby ATMs belonging to the bank, a statement said. The Bank of Palestine said that gunmen opened fire at the Omar al-Mukhtar branch of the bank in addition to ATMs that belong to the al-Nasser branch, causing extensive damage. The bank called on political parties to protect financial institutions in Gaza, “especially under the difficult conditions the Strip is experiencing lately.” A Ma’an reporter said Palestinian Authority employees had lined up in front of the ATMs to cash their paychecks when they found that banks had closed. They employees called on officials to intervene and re-open banks. The attacks came amid a financial crisis in Gaza after the Hamas movement ceded power to the newly-formed national consensus government. Employees of the previous government see it as Ramallah’s responsibility to pay their salaries, but the new unity government says no such agreement was ever made with Hamas.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israeli forces hand out demolition and stop construction work notices for houses near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 5 July — Israeli forces Saturday handed residents of the town of Idhna, west of Hebron, a notice to demolish a house, in addition to two other notices to stop the construction work on houses in the area, according to municipal sources. Sources told WAFA that forces handed a local resident a notice to demolish his home as well as handing out two notices to stop the construction work on houses which are inhabited by more than 20 people, most of whom are children
Israeli settlers set up new outposts near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — Israeli settlers from settlements in the Tuqu‘ village in southern eastern Bethlehem took over lands belonging to the al-Shaer and al-Umour families on Saturday. Taysir Abu Mifreh, head of Tuqu‘ town council, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers protected by soldiers took over al-Shaer and al-Umour lands, over 100 dunams, near a settlement in eastern Tuqu‘. Abu Mifreh highlighted that settlers set up four caravans in the Thahr al-Kharrubah area next to the illegal Roman outpost in order to expand it and turn it into a settlement.
Settlers pave bypass road on Palestinian-owned land
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 5 July — Israeli settlers Saturday paved a bypass road on land belonging to Palestinians in the town of Taqou‘ [or Tuqu‘], east of Bethlehem, according to a local official. Head of Taqou‘ village council Taysir Abu Mifreh told WAFA that a group of settlers, under Israeli army protection, paved a bypass road east of the town in order to connect a nature reserve in the area with two nearby illegal settlements. Meanwhile, settlers proceeded to plant Palestinian-owned land located near the settlement outpost of Roman as a prelude to taking it over. To be noted, settlers, Friday, placed mobile homes on land belonging to local residents adjacent to the settlement outpost of Roman for the benefit of expanding it.
Israeli army sets fire to 15 Palestinian cars, provokes clashes near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 6 July – Israeli soldiers Sunday set fire to a parking garage in the village of Barta‘a, southwest of Jenin, burning around 15 Palestinian-owned cars and provoking clashes with local residents, which led to several cases of suffocation among residents, according to local sources. Head of Barta’a village council, Tawfiq Kabaha, told WAFA that around ten army vehicles raided the village and deliberately set fire to a parking garage, throwing burning tires inside it, which set fire to around 15 vehicles.
The incident spurred clashes with local residents; around ten army vehicles fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward residents and inside their homes, causing dozens of suffocation cases among them. Kabaha said civil defense was able to put the fire out.
Meanwhile, clashes, Saturday night, erupted between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the village of Zboba, west of Jenin; forces fired tear gas canisters toward residents, causing dozens of suffocation cases among them.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon, Syria
Lebanon’s closed doors for Palestinian refugees
BEIRUT (IPS) 6 July by Mutawalli Abou Nasser — Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Syria have been uprooted since the violent government crackdown on the uprising and the ensuing battles that ensnared their communities. For around 50,000 of them, Lebanon was their only safe route out but now it seems this door is being closed on them … Under the new restrictions, Palestinians from Syria cannot enter the country unless they have permission from the Lebanese General Security and meanwhile the Syrian authorities are not giving permission for any Palestinians to leave for Lebanon without prior consent from the Lebanese embassy. What is more, border guards have the discretion to turn Palestinians back without referring back to the main authorities in Beirut. Trapped in a Kafkaesque labyrinth, more and more Palestinians are being forced to smuggle themselves across the border, putting themselves in the increasingly vulnerable position of living in Lebanon without valid papers. Human Rights Watch has warned that the Lebanese government is violating the international principle of “non-refoulement”, which forbids states from returning asylum seekers or refugees to a place where their lives or freedom would be threatened.
Palestinian elite force to deploy this week
SIDON, Lebanon (Daily Star) 5 July by Mohammed Zaatari: The 150-strong elite force tasked with maintaining security inside the troubled Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh will deploy on July 8, Palestinian factions announced Saturday. The 150-strong security force will begin deployment at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and take up four permanent positions inside the camp: the vegetable market, al-Braksat, Safsaf and Bustan al-Yahudi,” Fathi Abu al-Ardat, the representative of both Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, said after a meeting with the various factions. The decision to form the elite force came after several clashes inside the camp between the radical Fatah al-Islam group and supporters of the Fatah Movement.
IMF urges Israel to lift restrictions on Palestinian economy
WASHINGTON (AFP) 4 July — The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said the economy in the West Bank and Gaza is weakening and urged Israel to lift restrictions on the Palestinians. After briefing the international donor community and the Palestinian Authority, IMF mission chief Christoph Duenwald said in a statement that the authority is “doing a commendable job” managing the economy in difficult circumstances. He said the global donor community needed to step up to help fill a “sizable” financing gap this year for the authority. “Against the background of rising political uncertainty, the economy of the West Bank and Gaza is weakening,” he said. “Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, currently at 43 percent, continues to rise from already high levels,” he added. “Continued donor support is vital at this time, as is a comprehensive easing of Israeli restrictions to underpin the Palestinian reform efforts.”
Hamas denies planning return to ruling Gaza
TEHRAN (FNA) 5 July — Hamas categorically denied news reports that it was planning to return to ruling Gaza Strip. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on his Facebook page on Friday night that what has been circulated in social networks on the internet in this regard was completely baseless, PIC reported. Alleged sources in Hamas Movement were quoted in social networks as saying that Hamas was planning a return to ruling Gaza in light of the consensus government’s disregard of the Gaza Strip.
US reaffirms its support for UNRWA
EAST JERUSALEM 6 July — The United States of America has made a generous new contribution of $39,646,589 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The bulk of the new U.S. contribution, $30,466,589, will support UNRWA’s core education, health and social services programmes, benefiting the approximately five million Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Of this General Fund contribution, $3,954,111 will provide targeted assistance to UNRWA education, health, and protection projects. In addition, the U.S. announced $9,180,000 to support reconstruction work in Gaza. This new contribution brings the total fiscal year 2014 U.S. contributions to date to more than $250 million, including $135,466,589 for UNRWA’s 2014 General Fund.
Businessman Masri withdraws from Israel Peace Conference
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 July — Palestinian businessman and economic developer Munib al-Masri said Saturday that he would not take part in an annual peace conference hosted by an Israeli newspaper. The Israel Peace Conference sponsored by Haaretz, an independent Israeli newspaper, offers the platform for leaders to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how to achieve peace. “The Israel Conference on Peace is intended to restore the missing dialogue to public debate in Israel,” Haaretz says. Al-Masri says that “this was planned over two months ago and I wanted to discuss a just peace in accordance with an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, the refugees’ cause according to resolution 194.” “We want Israel to know that we will not accept any less than that”, al-Masri added. However, he highlighted Saturday that after the latest “crimes” that have been committed, especially the kidnapping and killing of “the child Muhammed Abu Khdeir,” he informed the moderators of the conference that he would not take part. [Haaretz; Saeb Erekat also withdrew]
Ethnic cleansing in the Golan Heights / Taysir Mara‘i
PNN 30 June — Before it was occupied in 1967, the Golan Heights consisted of 130,000 Syrians distributed between the city of Qunitra and more than 200 villages and farms. Two months after the occupation, in August 1967, a survey conducted by the Israeli military stated that 6,396 Syrian citizens remained in the Golan Heights, out of whom 206 lived in Qunitra, while the rest were distributed between seven villages in the north. Today, there are approximately 400,000 Syrian citizens who fled the Golan Heights and their descendants. They live in Damascus and other Syrian districts, while 21,000 remained in five villages. For the past 41 years since the occupation, the Israeli narrative consistently omits the fact that what took place in the Golan Heights is forcible displacement, claiming that the region was an unpopulated area, except for a small number of Syrian soldiers who lived there due to their military service and a few Bedouin tribes. This narrative is identical to the story relating to the Palestinian Nakba, merely two decades prior to 1967. According to Nathan Shor, the population of the Golan Heights was ordered by the Syrian military to leave their villages and properties and move into Syria. Other Israeli claims state that this order was broadcasted on the Damascus radio, or that the population migrated voluntarily without any Israeli pressure.Studying and understanding the coercive deportation of the Palestinians in 1948 is essential to approaching the depopulation of the Golan Heights in 1967.
Israeli forces shoot at shepherd near Lebanese border
Al-Akhbar 6 July — Israeli soldiers shot five bullets at Lebanese shepherd Houssan Oukasha, while herding his flock in the heights of Siddaneh mountain, a reporter from the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) said on Sunday. Oukasha, who according to al-Nashra holds Syrian nationality, escaped with his life and took refuge at a UNIFIL Indian contingent in the region after Israeli soldiers attempted to apprehend him. According to al-Nashra, the Lebanese army made repeated calls on Sunday for UNIFIL to put an end to the continuous Israeli violations. This incident is not the first of its kind. On April 17, Israeli occupation forces crossed into Lebanon and abducted five people from the Bastra farms of the southern town of Shebaa.
Report: 75,000 Bedouin in Negev have limited or no running water
Haaretz 6 July by Zafrir Rinat — Tens of thousands of Bedouin living in rural Negev communities that the government does not recognize as legal have no running water. Many others have restricted access to water and pay much more for it than other communities, a recent report finds. The report, published by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, also finds that the state has rejected almost all the Bedouin requests to connect their villages to the national water system. Also, the Health Ministry fails to supervise the quality of the water, the report notes.
Bnei Akiva head faces ouster over calls for ‘revenge’ against Palestinians
Haaretz 6 July by Judy Maltz — Notables in world’s largest Zionist youth movement lining up against Rabbi Noam Perel, despite his apology for the remarks — Shortly after the bodies of the teenage boys were discovered last week, Perel posted on his Facebook page: “An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge.” He urged the “army of avengers” not to stop at “300 Philistine foreskins,” alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter. Expressing his deep apologies and describing his Facebook post as “misleading and irresponsible,” Perel said in a statement published today: “The call for the Israeli government to look after the lives of our children must not be confused in any way with any suggestion of revenge, words which should not be used by any person, and certainly not educators and leaders. I cannot express to you how badly this error has caused me to feel, and especially its unintended consequences.”
Analysis / Opinion
Israeli police are exacerbating the violence with gag orders / Lisa Goldman
972mag 5 July — Journalist Raviv Drucker takes Israeli police to task for failing to keep the public informed about its investigation into the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shuafat, in East Jerusalem. The following is my translation (with permission) of Raviv Drucker’s Hebrew blog post. It’s really ridiculous that I have to write this. Doesn’t anyone in the police understand the basics of media relations? We have a politically loaded, very sensitive event. The Palestinians have grave suspicions about the investigation and conspiracy theories are spreading rapidly. Obviously, the smart thing would be to provide accurate information. To demonstrate that the police are investigating the case rigorously and care about keeping the public informed. Instead, the police are making a terrible mistake by refusing to release any information. The truth cannot be worse than a news blackout. A senior police officer should provide updates to the media, on camera, every few hours — preferably in Arabic. He should explain the investigative measures the police are taking and show that they are dealing with this matter with the utmost seriousness. There is no need to reveal details that might harm the investigation, but it is essential to answer the media’s questions and to be available after the press conference to put to rest rumors and conspiracy theories. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) made exactly the same mistake when it placed a gag order on the recording of kidnapped Israeli teen Gil-Ad Shaer’s phone call to the police. If everyone knew from the beginning that there were audible sounds of gunshots [after he said he’d been kidnapped], then the public would have been able to moderate their expectations. That doesn’t mean that the search for the boys should have been halted, but perhaps there would have been fewer mass prayer vigils and empty speeches predicated on the belief that the boys were still alive. And perhaps there would have been less pressure from the public for a heavy handed [military] response from our decision makers. Perhaps, too, the wave of ugly incitement would have been a bit smaller.
We are all to blame for Palestinian teen’s murder by ‘Jewish extremists’ / Anshel Pfeffer
Haaretz 6 July — Many Israelis are deluding themselves by declaring Jewish values is a safeguard against murder and terrorism; this murder should come as no surprise — In the three-and-a half days that passed between the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the Shin Bet’s official acknowledgement that the six suspects arrested were likely “Jewish extremists,” the conversations, chance encounters and social media discourse within the Israeli public reflected denial. The conversations evolved from “I can’t believe Jews did it, it must be some kind of honor killing in the family,” to “please tell me it wasn’t Jews that did it” and finally “those murderers were not acting like Jews, we are not like that.” Denial, upon denial, upon denial. How far do we have to go back? To the yet unsolved killings of Nadeem Nuwara and Mohammed Abu Daher in Bitounia, hit directly by live fire during a Nakba Day demonstration two months ago – to give just one recent example of a case in which Palestinian teenagers were targeted? Or to the “price tag” arsonists who firebombed a home in Sinjil last November, nearly burning a family alive? How about Asher Weisgan, who lined up four Palestinian workers in August 2005 and just shot them, in the hope that the murders would set off a cycle of violence that would prevent the disengagement from Gaza? We could go back further to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination over his attempt to achieve peace with the Palestinians, to Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 Muslims at prayer in Hebron, or even back to the early 1980s when the “Jewish underground” carried out its murder spree and planned a bloodbath by planting explosives in five Palestinian buses. These are just a few examples of so many instances over the past three and a half decades. Anyone see a pattern here? … And above all, let’s believe the myth that we can continue to rule over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank without the occupation entering our souls and blinding our judgment … Ending our control over the Palestinians’ lives will allow Israelis to start cleaning out this rot that has been corrupting us for so long.
Comment: Facing the ugly truth / David Brinn
Jerusalem Post 6 July — Details recently revealed in case of murdered Palestinian teen raise questions about who we are and who we are becoming — The disclosure of the suspect in last week’s horrific murder of Shuafat teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir represents the darkest hour for the Jewish state since Baruch Goldstein went on a rampage 20 years ago in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian worshipers and injuring 115 more. It was so easy to think over the last few days that it couldn’t have been Jews who dragged the 16-year-old Khdeir into their car, drove him to the Jerusalem Forest, set him on fire and despicably murdered him as revenge for the equally brutal deaths of teenagers Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah. Let it be an internal Arab feud or an honor killing. Even the worst Jewish extremist couldn’t resort to that level of barbarism, we tried to convince ourselves. After all, we still have our Jewish values.But the facts leading up to Khdeir’s death were impossible to ignore … .It’s time to decide what kind of society we want to be: one where excessive beating of suspects by Border Police is accepted with a roll of the eyes and a “What can you do” shrug, one where Jewish brutes yelling “Death to Arabs” is tolerated and in some circles even encouraged, or one where there is zero tolerance for such behavior. Anti-Arab racism and Jewish terror are now out in the open for everyone to see and can no longer be swept under the rug. With the events over the last week threatening to unravel into a larger, longterm conflict, and with our leaders unable or unwilling to lead, it’s time for the citizens of Israel to wake up and say “Enough.”
Amid calls for revenge, Rachelle Fraenkel is a light in this dark place / Danna Harman
Haaretz 6 July — While mourning the death of her teenage son Naftali Fraenkel this week, his mother still found the time and strength to comfort others — …Rachelle, a mother of seven – who buried her second-born on Tuesday – has become, in the last few weeks, something of a light to many here who are searching for a way out of a very dark place. A model of profound faith, restraint and gentleness, she has remained a steady and calming voice, even as the chorus of those calling for revenge and spouting hatred in the name of God and religion has increased … And then, after the funerals, when 16-year-old Palestinian Israeli Mohammed Abu Khdeir was shoved into a van outside a Jerusalem mosque and soon after found burnt to death in the forest – in what most believe was a revenge attack by extremist Jews – Rachelle and her family spoke up immediately and clearly. “If a young Arab really was murdered for nationalist reasons, this is a horrifying and shocking act,” said the statement they put out from their shivah tent. “There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder. There is no justification, no pardon and no atonement for murder.”