Official: 20 killed by Israeli strikes since truce collapsed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Renewed Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed 20 Palestinians since a temporary ceasefire collapsed on Tuesday, a health ministry spokesman said Wednesday. Ashraf al-Qidra said that Zaki Suleiman al-Rai, 54, died from wounds sustained early Wednesday. The bodies of Mustafa Rabah al-Dalou, 14 and Wafaa Hussein al-Dalou were also recovered from the wreckage of the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City. Earlier, a two-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in Israeli shelling on the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, al-Qidra said. She was identified as Nour Muhammad Abu Hasirah. Before that, al-Qidra said an Israeli airstrike killed an unidentified man near the al-Maqusi residential buildings in western Gaza City. The man’s body was taken to Shifa hospital. Al-Qidra added that civil defense rescue teams had recovered the bodies of a woman and a child from the rubble of the al-Dalou family home in Sheikh Radwan, which was hit by five Israeli missiles. The wife and daughter of al-Qassam Brigades commander Muhammad Deif were killed in the attack, Hamas says, along with four-year-old Ahmad al-Dalou.
A 24-hour truce due to last until midnight collapsed late Tuesday afternoon when Israel said rockets fired from the Strip hit Beersheba. Hamas denied firing the rockets. An Israeli army statement said that 117 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza since the truce collapsed. One of them hit a home in Ashkelon without causing injuries, it said.
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained in Zaytoun strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — A Palestinian man succumbed to wounds sustained in an Israeli strike on the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City on Wednesday, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. The man was identified as Sami Hasan Ayyad.
Israeli airstrikes continue Wednesday morning; Hamas accuses Israel of sabotaging peace talks
IMEMC 20 Aug by Celine Hagbard — Sources in Gaza report that Israeli airstrikes that began at midnight, Tuesday morning, with the ending of the temporary ceasefire, continued throughout the night until Wednesday morning. The Wednesday morning airstrikes reportedly killed 7 in central Gaza City, mainly from the Allouh family. This is in addition to three civilians, including a small child, who were killed earlier the same night. Some reports have claimed that one of the more than thirty airstrikes fired by Israeli forces in the early hour of Wednesday morning was meant to target Mohammed al-Deif, the current head of the armed wing of Hamas, and ended up killing his wife and child.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said that the Israeli airstrikes were an attempt by the Israelis to “sabotage the negotiations in Cairo”. He also denied that Hamas fired any rockets toward Israel on Tuesday. Azzam al-Ahmad, a Palestinian negotiator representing the Fateh party also blamed Hamas, saying, “There was an Israeli decision to make the Cairo talks fail.” Israeli officials had claimed that several rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, causing no injuries or damage, on Tuesday, before the end of the ceasefire. But, Palestinians denied this claim, saying that it was Israel who broke the truce with a series of airstrikes that killed three people and wounded nearly 20.
Independent journalist Mohammed Omer reported airstrikes in Jabalia just after dawn, on Wednesday, as well as numerous airstrikes on Rafah and Khan Younis. In Rafah, the Madi and Abdeen family homes were targeted, wounding at least ten.
Hamas: Israeli airstrike killed wife, child of Qassam chief
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Aug 10:12 — Israeli airstrikes killed the wife and child of Hamas’ military chief in Gaza overnight, exiled leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said early Wednesday. “The Israeli occupation took missiles fired from Gaza as a pretext to target a senior Hamas personality,” Abu Marzouq wrote on Facebook, referring to Muhammad Deif, the commander of the al-Qassam Brigades. “The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter,” in a strike Tuesday night, he said. An Israeli strike late Tuesday targeted the al-Dalou home in Sheikh Radwan, killing a woman and a young girl, medics said. Ma‘an reporters in Gaza said the attack killed two children, one of whom was Deif’s son, and Deif’s wife.
Meanwhile, seven Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a home in Deir al-Balah, medics said. The victims were identified as Raafat al-Louh, his brothers Muhammad and Ahmad, his pregnant wife Nabila, his sons Farah, Maysara, and Mustafa. Medics were unable to save Nabila’s fetus, though she had been nine months pregnant. Eight others were injured in the attack and evacuated to al-Aqsa Martyrs’ hospital in in Deir al-Balah. A 24-hour truce due to last until midnight collapsed late Tuesday afternoon, with each side blaming the other. The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that it fired 34 rockets into Israel throughout Tuesday [after the Israeli airstrikes following the three rockets fired by whomever], hitting Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba. An Israeli military statement put the number fired at “about 50″ but reported no casualties. “A rocket hit an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” it said and confirmed that two rockets landed near Beersheva, which is home to around 200,000 Israelis. Air raid sirens were also heard in Jerusalem, with Hamas claiming a rocket attack on the city. Police said it appeared that a rocket fell on empty ground in the occupied West Bank, outside Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a new round of air strikes on Gaza and recalled his negotiators from Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks in Cairo.
No confirmation of Deif’s death
Ynet 20 Aug by Elior Levy — Hamas neither confirms nor denies al-Qassam Brigades chief killed in Tuesday night strike, calls on Gazans to attend funeral of his wife, baby son … Following the late night attack in Gaza, Palestinian sources reported three casualties: Mohammed Deif’s 28-year-old wife and his eight-month-old son, as well as 18-year-old Ahmed Rabah al-Daulo.
Israel’s surprise assassination attempt on Deif may backfire and strengthen Hamas
Haaretz 20 Aug by Amir Oren — Killing Hamas commanders and military experts has never changed the basic equation when it comes to Israel’s battles with the coastal enclave — It doesn’t matter whether Hamas fired the rockets that hit the Negev Tuesday evening, or knew who fired them, or was as surprised by the fire as Israel was. Whatever the case, Israel will have a hard time declaring that Operation Protective Edge in Gaza is over. Even if understandings with the Palestinians are reached in Cairo, the concern about rocket fire will remain. This is a constant and important issue, regardless of the course of events on Tuesday afternoon; but if Hamas’ version of the sequence of event is true, it seems that Israel was hoping – it is still unclear whether it was successful – in seizing a rare opportunity to strike Mohammed Deif, Hamas’ military chief … if the IDF’s operational plan was to recreate the sudden assassination of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, which was the opening blow in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, it only needed two conditions: the breaking of the cease-fire by the Palestinians, which would give Israel a pretext to attack but would take away the blame for renewing rocket fire, and the involvement of other groups, aside from Hamas, in the fire. If Deif was surprised on Tuesday by the assassination attempt against him from the air, it is a sign that he was surprised by the renewed rocket fire at Israel, because while the fire was carried out under his orders, he would have gone back into hiding.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Press release: Demolishing homes of suspects in abduction and killing of the three yeshiva students harms innocents. House demolition policy fundamentally unacceptable and unproven to be effective
B’Tselem 18 Aug — On the night between Sunday and Monday, 18 August 2014, the military demolished the homes of two of the suspects in the abduction and killing of the three yeshiva students, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, near Gush Etzion two months ago. The home of a third suspect was sealed. On 16 July 2014, military forces arrived at the Hebron family homes of the two suspects in the abduction and killing, Marwan al-Qawasmeh and Amer Abu ‘Easheh, and gave notice of the plan to demolish the homes. An additional demolition order was issued against the family home of Husam al-Qawasmeh, who is suspected of aiding the two. Therefore, human rights organization HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual filed three objections against the plan to demolish the homes. The objections were rejected and HaMoked then proceeded to file High Court of Justice (HCJ) petitions with respect to each of the homes. The HCJ denied all three petitions on 11 August 2014. The ruling by the justices of the HCJ is not surprising: for decades, the HCJ has denied the vast majority of the petitions filed against punitive house demolitions and consistently refused to recognize the unlawfulness of this practice. The demolition has left 23 innocent people, including 13 minors, without a roof over their heads. There were five apartments in the building where Abu ‘Easheh’s family lived. Apart from Abu ‘Easheh himself, the building was home to a total of 15 people, including eight minors. Seven other people lived in Husam al-Qawasmeh’s home, including five minors. In the building where Marwan al-Qawasmeh lived, the first floor, where he and his pregnant wife lived, was sealed. Since the 1967 occupation, the military has demolished hundreds of homes as a punitive measure against relatives of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis, or were suspected of involvement in such attacks. This policy has left thousands of people without homes, though they themselves had not been accused of any offense. In 2005, the military abandoned this policy after the security establishment came to the conclusion that its disadvantages outweighed its benefits. Home demolitions were recently renewed following the abduction and killing of the yeshiva students, justified by a purportedly radical change in circumstances. B’Tselem believes this argument is unreasonable and is meant solely to provide a legal seal of approval for the Israeli government’s desire to employ draconian measures, including collective punishment, as a way of appeasing the negative public mood over the abduction and killing. Though extreme, such measures almost always receive the go-ahead from the HCJ.
IOF knocks down four antique homes in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 20 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday morning demolished four old houses, aged more than 100 years, in Khirbet al-Tawil, south of Nablus. Ghassan Dughlas, the official in charge of the settlement file north of the West Bank, said large Israeli armed forces stormed al-Tawil, in ‘Akraba [or ‘Aqraba], escorted by three military bulldozers before razing four ancient buildings, owned by brothers Muhammad and Anwar Sedki Salah, to the ground. Dughlas warned of an Israeli decision to forcibly deport Palestinians from Khirbet al-Tawil, a decision that has been indirectly put into effect through the renewed attacks and home demolitions launched by the Israeli occupation soldiers under the pretext of illegal construction permits. The invading troops cordoned off the area at 6 a.m., denying Palestinian citizens access out of and into a row of homes inhabited by at least 17 family members, eye-witnesses told a PIC correspondent.The demolition was carried out with neither prior notice nor legal court-rules. “We, Israelis, will wipe out Khirbet al-Tawil once and for all and without prior notifications,” an Israeli soldier shouted upon being asked to show legal documents allowing the demolition. Khirbet al-Tawil, home for at least 80 Palestinian citizens has been permanent target of Israeli deportation threats. 17 demolition notifications targeting al-Tawil homes, water wells, and power network have been issued over the past few years.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/
Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Aug — Israeli forces demolished a residential building in the al-Tur neighborhood of Jerusalem on Monday on the pretext that it was built without a permit. Members of the Ghazzawi family, who own the building, told Ma‘that Israeli soldiers escorted bulldozers to the area and began tearing down the building. Family members were not given any time to remove their belongings. Tawfiq Ghazzawi said the two-story building was built in 1997 and contained two apartments, one for him and his mother and another for his brother, Ayid. The family have already paid fines of over 200,000 shekels ($57,126) and have been refused a construction permit several times by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality. 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 [ICAHD].
Israel demolishes Bedouin steel structures near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli forces demolished steel structures belonging to the Palestinian Bedouin community east of Ramallah on Wednesday, locals said. Israeli forces destroyed four steel structures, usually used for housing, near the village of al-Taybeh and another three structures in Mikhmas village. The structures belonged to Yousef Mousa Ahmad Kaabneh and Moussa Yousef Kaabneh. In Mikhmas, Israeli forces raided the community and evacuated residents before demolishing the structures. Israeli soldiers prevented journalists from reaching the area during the demolition. The Bedouin community resettled to areas of what are now the southern and eastern occupied West Bank after being expelled from the Negev during the creation of the Israeli state.
Army demolishes cave housing a family near Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — The Israeli army, Tuesday, demolished a man-made cave and shed being used to shelter a Palestinian family in al-Walja, a small village established to the northwest of Bethlehem. Ammar Abu Attin, an activist with the anti-settlement committee in the village, said that an Israeli team, accompanied by a bulldozer, stormed the area and proceeded to demolish a cave and the shed owned by a 50-year-old local resident. The structure has been used to shelter the man and his family for 15 years, now, according to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency. The family has so far refused to leave the land, which Israel is attempting to take over for the benefit of settlement expansion. The owner of the property, Abd al-Fatah Abd Rabo, says he has been subjected to the ugliest of Israeli policies, throughout the years, as they aim to force off his land, adding that he remained steadfast in his land and continued to live in the cave, up until forces demolished it today on Tuesday.
[Army uproots olive trees in Beit Sahour]
IMEMC 19 Aug (at bottom) — On Monday, Israeli soldiers uprooted olive trees belonging to residents of Beit Sahour town, east of Bethlehem. Local sources said several military vehicles and a bulldozer invaded Jaba Ed-Deek area, and bulldozed trees close to the Greek Orthodox Housing Projects, east of Bethlehem, and uprooted trees belonging to members of Sammour family. The family never received any notice or warrants from the army. The lands are adjacent to a fence installed by Israel to separate Palestinian lands from the Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands.
Israeli army backtracks on expropriating West Bank road
Haaretz 18 Aug by Chaim Levinson — The head of the IDF Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, canceled the expropriation order for the land on the road to the unauthorized West Bank settlement of Amona. The army said there had been a mistake in issuing the order. The order would have taken the land from its Palestinian owners based on security considerations, in favor of the settlers who built an unauthorized road on the land. Two weeks ago Haaretz reported that Alon had issued the order in May. It seized 6.4 dunams (1.6 acres) of land of the village of Ein Yabrud, in order to legalize the access road going up to the Amona outpost, which was built without permits on Palestinian-owned land. The order was secretly issued by Alon in May, but the Palestinians learned of it only in July. The saga of the road has been going on for years, and the High Court of Justice has been hearing the matter since 2008, after attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zacharia of Yesh Din petitioned the court to evacuate the outpost on the behalf of the Palestinian land owners … At the end of last week the state informed the High Court that it had reversed its position and canceled the expropriation order. The government said the order was not intended to legalize the access road to Amona, but to protect the settlement of Ofra. The state told the court a mistake had been made as it had thought there was a security element connected to the road, but after reexamination of the question, it was decided to cancel the order – and the purpose of the order was never to expropriate the land for the Amona outpost.
Palestinian farmers lose land for failed economic zones
Al Jazeera 17 Aug by Vivien Sansour & Alaa Tartir — Israel’s continued brutal crackdown on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and occupied and besieged Gaza Strip leaves little doubt that “peace talks” are dead for the foreseeable future. Yet, the Palestinian economy remains captive to the Israeli market, a captivity institutionalised by the Paris Economic Protocol, which was signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel in 1994. A case in point is the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) renewed push to establish “industrial zones” on Palestinian land in the West Bank with the support of international sponsors. The PA has been promoting these zones as national projects. But they are making Palestinians even more subservient to Israel, because they rely on the occupier’s goodwill for access, movement, and the transfer of tax revenues. Furthermore, reports warn that these zones will bring benefits for Israeli companies, particularly those based in illegal Jewish settlements, while threatening to put Palestinian companies out of business all together. One sector in particular – the agricultural sector – has become especially vulnerable to these developments. The PA is purchasing hundreds of acres of land belonging to small-scale farmers at compulsory low prices in order to build these zones. In April 2014, the PA served papers to those farmers refusing to sell, forcing them to accept compensation for their lands. Consequently, lands like those located in Marj Ben Amer, historically the breadbasket of Palestine, are being lost to industrial zones, while farmers’ livelihoods, way of life, and ancient and diverse heritage are coming to an abrupt end for what the PA claims as the “public good.” Removing farmers from their land and putting them to work in specified areas will inevitably initiate the transfer of populations and the forced urbanisation of rural communities in the longer term.
Raids / Illegal Arrests (West Bank, Jerusalem)
Nine Palestinians kidnapped from West Bank and Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Aug — Israeli forces kidnapped nine Palestinians from various West Bank areas, on Monday, according to reports by security sources. In the Jenin district, Israeli forces raided the refugee camp [and Sielet ath-Thaher nearby village], where they abducted four Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their homes. They broke into several other homes in the camp, as well, serving two notices to appear for interrogation, WAFA has reported. Troops set up roadblocks at the entrance of Jaba‘ and ‘Anza, to the south, stopping Palestinian vehicles and inspecting IDs.Also raided were Wadi Burqin and Ya‘bad, just west of the city, where they took one 24-year-old Palestinian and interrogated a previously freed prisoner, after a similar invasion of their families’ homes. In Hebron, forces stationed near the Ibrahimi Mosque, to the south of the city, kidnapped two Palestinians 14 and 21 years of age.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, WAFA further reports that Israeli police raided the African Community neighborhood, adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque. One 16-year old Palestinian [Omar Hasan al-Feerawi] was arrested after a raid on the family home, upon which he was taken to a detention/interrogation facility in the city. [Also from IMEMC: One resident, identified as Mohammad Nathmi Qawwar, 29, has also been kidnapped from his family home, after the army ransacked it, in the Wadi Ma’ali area in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.]
Former hunger strike Halahleh among 14 Palestinians arrested by occupation army
Samidoun 19 August — 14 Palestinians, including former prisoner Thaer Halahleh, were arrested by Israeli occupation forces in raids throughout the West Bank late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, August 18 and 19. Halahleh, a former long-term hunger striker who also contracted hepatitis during prison dental surgery, had been released in May. He has spent over 9 years in occupation prisons, frequently in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Halahleh, 35, was one of four Palestinians arrested from al-Khalil area (Firas Oweiwi, Ahmad Oweiwi, Mohammed Jamal, Thaer Halahleh), 4 from Nablus (Ruslan Adali, Ahmad Adili, Musa al-Hindi, Ahmad Doghlass), 4 from Deir Estia near Salfit (Firas Fares, Fouad Diab, Yasser Awad, Ala’a Shaaban) and one from Burqin (Hani Ghanem) and another from Husan (Mohammd Adel Hamamrah).
One of the 62 Palestinian former prisoners released in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange, Othman Musleh of Salfit, was released on Sunday, August 17. The occupation declined to renew its arrest of Musleh, unlike the other 61, who have been rounded up systematically since June.
Dozens abducted by Israeli forces in West Bank and Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — Reports of dozens of Palestinians being attacked, by both Israeli settlers and soldiers, are still surfacing in increasing amounts, as the assault on Gaza resumes with no breakthrough in peace negotiations. Over 2 dozen people have been kidnapped across the region since Monday, with housing demolitions ongoing in multiple occurrence.
According to reports by media and security sources, the Israeli military and police arrested at least 16 Palestinians from various areas in the West Bank and Jerusalem, on Tuesday alone. In occupied Nablus, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) said Israeli army stormed the village of Usarin, during predawn hours, abducting two teenagers, ages 17 and 19, after raiding their houses and wrecking their furniture. The army also stormed the nearby village of Tell, where they kidnapped a Palestinian youngster, in addition to another whom they took at a checkpoint near the town of Burqa. In Hebron, Israeli forces stormed the city and took two brothers following a similar raid on their homes. The army also stormed the nearby town of Dahiriya, where they kidnapped a 19-year-old Palestinian after raiding his house. Later, on Tuesday, WAFA further reports that soldiers set military checkpoints at several highways across Hebron Governorate, arresting at least one Palestinian near Halhoul…
In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police in Jerusalem took with them one minor, as he was trying to fend off a provocative Jewish settlers’ attack on al-Aqsa Mosque. The assault was led by Jewish-Israeli rabbi Yehuda Glick.
3 arrested near Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — Israeli forces beat and arrested three Palestinians on Tuesday evening at Jaba‘a checkpoint east of Jerusalem. Clashes then broke out as Palestinians tried to free them and Israeli soldiers fired tear gas. Israeli forces then blocked the road causing a large traffic jam as hundreds of cars remained blocked. A witness said he had been stuck in his car for three hours.
PA knew nothing about Hamas West Bank network, official says
Haaretz 19 Aug by Jack Khoury — President Mahmoud Abbas fears reports could have political repercussions and endanger Palestinian unity government — The Palestinian Authority’s security services knew nothing about the Hamas terror network in the West Bank which Israeli media reported Monday, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday. According to the official, the security services were surprised by the reports, according to which the Shin Bet security service interrogated dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank over the past three months. Israel suspects the operatives intended to set up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup of the Palestinian Authority. “If we had known about such steps, there is no doubt the PA’s security services would have made the arrests, taken immediate steps and would not have waited for Israel,” the official said. According to the official, security services are currently collecting information and trying to assess the reliability of Israel’s claims. “We can’t take reports in Israel as an undisputed fact,” he said … On the Palestinian street, the news – and especially its timing – has been met with suspicion, with some seeing the reports as nothing more than an Israeli attempt to foil Palestinian reconciliation and unity.
Prisoners / Court actions
Female detainee denied family visits since her arrest in 2012
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Aug by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) has reported that a Palestinian woman, kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel since 2012, has never been allowed any family visits, especially since Israel labels her entire family as a “security threat”. The PPS said Mona Qa‘dan, held at the HaSharon Israeli Prison has not even been able to talk with her family members who only saw her for a few minutes during court proceedings. “Her suffering is ongoing, her detention was extended sixteen consecutive times since her arrest on November 23, 2012”, the PPS added. “She is still imprisoned without formal court deliberations, and the family cannot visit with her, or talk to her for even for a minute.” Qa‘dan also suffers various health issues, including in her gallbladder, stomach and high blood pressure. Her arrest and imprisonment is her third, as she was previously arrested and imprisoned, but this is the longest time she ever spent in detention. Her mother and father died; she has four sisters and three brothers, one of them is also imprisoned … The last time Mona was free, she was part of the Shalit prisoner swap deal which secured the release of Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of more than a thousand Palestinian political prisoners.
10 [more] Palestinians held in administrative detention; legislator sentenced to 20 months
Samidoun 19 Aug — 10 Palestinians were sentenced to administrative detention, a form of imprisonment without charge or trial for up to 6 month renewable periods, on Monday, August 18. There are now over 466, after 288 people have been held under administrative detention since mid-June 2014. The 10 new administrative detainees, who are held solely on secret evidence are: 1. Diaa Hroub, 6 months; 2. Hashem Humaydin, 6 months; 3. Mohammed Hassanieh, 6 months; 4. Mohammed Harizat, 6 months; 5. Yasser Abu Dahouk, 4 months; 6. Musab al-Nasser, 6 months; 7. Adham Ajlouni, 6 months; 8. Harbi Ajlouni, 6 months; 9. Saadi Al-Atrash, 6 months; 10. Sajid al-Laqta, 4 months.
In addition, Palestinian Legislative Council member Ahmad Attoun was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment; he was charged and sentenced after over two years in administrative detention, where he had been held without charge or trial since February 2012. Attoun, a legislator from Jerusalem, was stripped of his Jerusalem ID after being elected to the PLC. He has spent 15 years in occupation prisons over the years of multiple detentions.
Occupation forces violently storm Palestinian prisoners’ rooms 16 times in August
Samidoun 19 Aug — Occupation forces’ special units and prison guards have stormed prisons holding Palestinian political prisoners 16 times since the beginning of August 2014, reported Riad al-Ashqar of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies. Raids took place 5 times in Negev (Ketziot) prison, 4 times in Gilboa, Ofer 3 times, Ramon twice, and once each in Ashkelon, Eshel and Megiddo; these raids involve ransacking prisoners’ room under the guise of inspections. These operations are sudden invasions involving dozens of heavily armed guards, frequently using tear gas, and accompanied by sniffer dogs. In various prisons, prisoners’ personal property has been destroyed; electrical appliances have been removed, and some rooms have become isolation cells. Raiding units shout profanity at and insult prisoners, have torn up tile floors, drilled large holes in walls, torn apart mattresses and blankets and confiscated prisoners’ property. Ashqar said that prisoners had lost thousands of shekels of belongings during this campaign of raids.
In addition, Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Fouad of Jenin was beaten by a raiding unit, injuring his right ear and permanently damaging his hearing in that ear.
In addition, Fouad Khuffash of the Ahrar Centre for Human Rights reported that the occupation prison system is attempting to repeal all of the achievements of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement since the 1970s and 1980s; all TV channels except three (two in Hebrew and Al-Arabiya) have been removed; family visits are denied; recreation denied. Khuffash noted that these suppressive actions are enacted selectively against prisoners from specific factions in particular Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in an attempt to break up the fabric of unity of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. Prisoners in Megiddo prison have been forbidden from receiving clothing from family members; they often have only the clothing they had when they were arrested, and this edict is causing significant hardship.
3 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Aug 22:10 — Three Palestinians were killed and at least 40 injured in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Gaza medical officials said. A 3-year-old girl and an unidentified woman were killed in an airstrike which targeted the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Ambulance crews and medics were searching for bodies among the rubble of the three-story home, which was reportedly hit by five missiles. Twelve Palestinians were killed in 2012 when Israel targeted the same home during a military offensive on Gaza. The victims of that attack spanned four generations, from a 1-year-old to an 83-year-old. At least 40 other Palestinians were injured in Israeli airstrikes across the besieged enclave…
Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza after three rockets landed near Beersheba earlier in the day. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the movement had fired rockets over the border Tuesday, accusing Israel of trying to sabotage truce talks in Cairo. “We don’t have any information about firing rockets from Gaza. The Israeli raids are intended to sabotage the negotiations in Cairo,” he told AFP.
Israeli airstrikes injure 18 in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an/AFP) 19 Aug 20:21 — Israeli airstrikes injured 18 Palestinians, including two children, in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a health ministry official said, as ceasefire talks collapsed.
Ashraf al-Qidra said two children were moderately wounded in an airstrike on the al-Matar area east of Rafah. Another three Palestinians were injured in the northern Gaza Strip. Three Palestinians were injured in central Gaza while 10 more were injured in airstrikes north of Gaza City. Israeli warplanes targeted over 30 sites in Gaza Tuesday evening, including agricultural lands in Beit Lahiya, al-Zaytoun, al-Maghazi, Deir al-Balah, Al-Qarara, Khuza‘a, eastern Rafah and eastern Shuja‘iyya.
Nine days of relative quiet came to an abrupt halt when three rockets struck southern Israel just hours before the truce was to expire at midnight local time. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rockets. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the movement had fired rockets over the border Tuesday, accusing Israel of trying to sabotage the truce talks. “We don’t have any information about firing rockets from Gaza. The Israeli raids are intended to sabotage the negotiations in Cairo,” he told AFP.
The Palestinians say agreement over a long-term arrangement in Gaza has been delayed by Israeli foot-dragging over key issues.
“The negotiations failed on Monday evening because the Israelis refused to include a port or an airport in the agreement,” a Palestinian source close to the talks said, on condition of anonymity. “The Egyptians then added a clause allowing for the postponement of talks on this issue in order to avoid Israel raising the issue of (ridding Gaza of) rockets and missiles,” he said. Israel has repeatedly demanded that Gaza be demilitarized although the subject is not overly mentioned in the Egyptian proposal as seen by AFP.
Witnesses: Thousands flee for cover as Israel raids Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 19 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in neighborhoods of eastern Gaza City on Tuesday, carrying bags of clothes, pillows and mattresses after renewed Israeli airstrikes, witnesses said. An AFP reporter saw hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Sheja‘iya, one of the areas worst affected by more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Thousands more were leaving the areas of Zeitun and Shaaf, alarmed by a series of explosions, and heading towards shelters in UN schools, the witnesses said.
US blames Hamas for Gaza truce collapse
WASHINGTON (AFP) 19 Aug – The United States blamed rocket fire from Gaza for a breakdown in indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities on a durable ceasefire Tuesday, and said Hamas bore responsibility. “Hamas has security responsibility for Gaza … Rocket fire came from Gaza,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, blaming the Palestinian Islamist group for renewed fighting.
Israeli official denies plan to lift Gaza blockade
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — An Israeli official Tuesday denied a report regarding “understandings” between Israel and the US, in regard to a supposed gradual lifting of the blockade on Gaza. Israeli news website Ynet cited an unnamed government official who apparently said that Israel told Washington it had agreed to incrementally remove the Egyptian-backed blockade of Gaza, first by opening the crossings and, later, additionally permitting the opening of the sea port.
Exclusive: Hamas fighters show defiance in Gaza tunnel tour
GAZA (Reuters) 19 Aug by Nidal Al-Mughrabi — Hamas fighters, clad in black and armed with assault rifles, navigated the dimly lit tunnel with ease, saying they felt at home in their network of underground passages in the Gaza Strip. A rare tour that Hamas granted to a Reuters reporter, photographer and cameraman appeared to be an attempt to dispute Israel’s claim that it had demolished all of the Islamist group’s border infiltration tunnels in the Gaza war. “We are speaking to you today from inside one of those tunnels, which Israel said it had destroyed. Our men are still operating in those tunnels prepared for all options,” said a masked fighter from Hamas’s Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades. But driven, blindfolded, to the secret location in a Hamas vehicle that made a series of turns, it was impossible for the Reuters crew to tell whether it was close to the frontier or further inside the Gaza Strip in tunnels untouched by Israeli bombing. It was not clear where the tunnel led. By Israel’s own account, its ground forces focused only on destroying tunnels within 2 to 4.5 km of the border, while ignoring more distant connecting passages. During the Gaza offensive, Israel’s military took reporters through tunnels it discovered at the frontier. Chatting in soft voices and laughing at times, Hamas men guided the Reuters crew through corridors less than a meter (3.3 feet) wide that are reached by descending a thin metal ladder through a tiny shaft. “It feels just like home,” their commander said. “Fighters dug these tunnels with their own hands just like they built their houses, so they live here at comfort and assurance like they do at home.” … It was impossible to gauge the tunnel’s length, but it had offshoots leading in different directions. Once inside, the sounds of traffic and Israeli drones that routinely fly over the territory of 1.8 million people could not be heard … In the tunnel, a Hamas fighter said the group would press on with restocking its arsenal or rockets and other weaponry and shoring up its underground network. “In peace we make preparations, and in war we use what we have readied,” he said.
Israel bars Amnesty, Human Rights Watch workers from Gaza
Haaretz 18 Aug by Amira Hass — Israel has been refusing to allow employees of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to enter the Gaza Strip in order to conduct their own independent investigations into the fighting, using various bureaucratic excuses. Both human rights organizations have been trying to obtain permission from the Civil Administration to enter Gaza since July 7. Two different reasons have been cited for the refusals: The first is that the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip is closed and no entry permits are being granted until further notice; the second is neither group is registered with the Social Affairs Ministry as a humanitarian aid organization. In fact, Erez was open throughout most of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8. Among others, journalists, United Nations employees and Palestinians needing medical care or returning from abroad (with special permits), were allowed to pass through. The spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories told Haaretz yesterday that it was suggested to both groups that they submit a special request with the COGAT ombudsman, but that no such request had as yet been received. Human Rights Watch said it had only received the suggestion late last week. Amnesty said it had not heard of the suggestion at all.
Fishing for survival in Gaza City
[great photos] Munchies 18 Aug by Ashley Gallagher — As the sun peeks over the Eastern Sea in Gaza City, fisherman Feres al-Hessi and his nephews change out their nets for a second morning run. Their first was unsuccessful, and all they can hold onto is the hope that they might get lucky a second time. Between fuel for the small boat, and feeding their families and the community, a lot of weight rests on al-Hessi’s shoulders to make a living. In Cairo, Hamas and the Israelis are in postwar talks, and one of the main contentions is simply giving fishermen room to catch more and more variety. Hamas is demanding fishermen be allowed to go out to sea 12 nautical miles. Right now, they can only travel up to approximately one mile out. If the Israeli Navy catches them out past their limit, fishermen say that they will be detained or shot. Before the treacherous month long conflict, some fishermen were able to go out up to five miles, but it decreases every time tensions rise with Israel. At the end of the day, al-Hessi knows that he needs to keep going. Seven days a week, he takes his boat out to look for fish, the main food source in the Gaza strip. But with such a short distance available to them, they are only able to catch sardines. Sometimes bigger fish swim a little closer to shore, but it is rare. Every fisherman out on the water is competing for the same lot.
Only medicine company in Gaza targeted by Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Aug — The only medicine company in the Gaza Strip was targeted during the Israeli offensive, causing the company half a million dollars in losses, executives said Monday. The general manager of Middle East Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Laboratories, or Megapharm, told Ma‘an that the company lost almost $500,000 after airstrikes hit equipment, raw material and electricity generators. Dr. Marwan al-Astal added that the company produces only medicine, and Israel has no “excuse” for targeting it “because they know it is a medicine company.” The company needs at least two months to recover and rebuild what has been destroyed by Israeli attacks.
How many bombs has Israel dropped on Gaza?
Electronic Intifada 19 Aug by Ali Abunimah — A few days before he was killed trying to disarm an unexploded Israeli missile, Hazem Abu Murad, the head of Gaza’s bomb squad, estimated that Israel had dropped between eighteen to twenty thousand tons of explosives on Gaza since 7 July. As I write, Israel has resumed its heavy bombardment after a nine-day truce ended without a long-term ceasefire agreement. If Abu Murad’s estimate is right, then the explosive power Israel has fired on Gaza by land, sea and air so far is roughly equivalent to one of the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan in August 1945. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was rated at 13 kilotons – the equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of high-explosive TNT – while the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was rated at 21 kilotons. Abu Murad, who died along with five other people on 13 August, estimated that about one thousand tons of unexploded munitions remained. There are more than 1,900 people killed in the ongoing Israeli assault – that is more than one out of every thousand of Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents. Israel constantly publishes claims about how many mortar shells or rockets have been fired from Gaza – it claims for instance that 3,360 rockets were fired from Gaza between 8 July and 6 August. It is well known that the rockets have caused minimal damage and casualties, and most fall in so-called “open areas.” But even the number, which is supposed to sound impressive and justify the attack on Gaza, is actually minuscule compared with the volume of ordnance Israel fires into Gaza.
How many tons of cement will it take to rebuild Gaza?
DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza (Foreign Policy) 18 Aug by David Kenner — The second floor of the al-Awda factory is covered in a sticky red liquid, as if a massacre had occurred here. The truth, happily, is much less gruesome: An Israeli tank shell had ripped open plastic cartons containing strawberry juice, which had been intended to be sold during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — before the war intervened. Until a month ago, this factory employed 600 people in the production of roughly 125 different snacks — everything from chocolate wafers to biscuits to ice cream. Now, it is gutted: The room that contained the milk, butter, and sugar is a sickly sweet ruin of charred parcels; a hole had been punched in one of the walls to create a makeshift slide that evacuated biscuits from an encroaching fire; the potato-chip machines imported from Europe have been ripped to pieces. Mohammad al-Talbani, the factory owner, estimates that his production facility had been worth $30 million. It had been the work of his lifetime: He launched his business after finishing secondary school in the late 1960s, making sesame and coconut sweets by hand from his home in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp. Talbani believes that his factory was not merely collateral damage in the ongoing war, but that the Israeli attack was part of a broader campaign of economic warfare on the residents of the Gaza Strip. There had been no Hamas fighters anywhere near the factory when it was shelled, he insisted. “If someone had come here to launch a rocket, I’d shoot them myself,” he said. While Talbani’s claim is impossible to verify, nobody is denying the economic destruction in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority government has estimated that it could cost $6 billion to rebuild the territory.
Abbas to meet Qatar emir, Hamas’ Meshaal in Doha Thursday
DOHA (AFP) 19 Aug — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Doha Wednesday and hold talks the next day with the emir of Qatar and Hamas exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, the Palestinian ambassador in Qatar said. Abbas’ visit to Qatar was initially announced for Monday by Palestinian officials who are in Cairo for indirect talks with Israel on a lasting truce in Gaza. Abbas will discuss separately with Meshaal and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani Thursday the latest developments in the negotiations in Cairo and “aid and reconstruction” in Gaza, Palestinian ambassador Monir Ghannam told AFP. From Doha, Ghannam said Tuesday, Abbas will travel on to Cairo as part of contacts the Palestinian leadership is staging “with all the parties concerned” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas leader Mashal sees surge in popularity despite Gaza devastation
The Media Line 19 Aug — ‘For first time in years, we’ve seen support for Hamas increase and bypass Fatah in West Bank,’ analysis says, after 66 percent of West Bankers said they believe Mashal played a ‘positive’ role during Gaza war while only 13% said same about Abbas … Though he followed the fighting in Gaza from the safe distance of 1,200 miles while the Strip suffered carnage and devastation, according to one Palestinian pundit, Mashal is rising from the ashes of Gaza as the figure its residents most desire to lead them. According to Dr. Hani Al-Basoos, a Gaza-based security and political analyst, it’s exactly the distance between Gaza and Doha where Mashal lives that was instrumental in honing his image and solidifying his leadership role. Other leaders – the ones who remained in Gaza, albeit underground during the fighting – were removed from the public’s daily perception, Al-Basoos told The Media Line. “You could not see any one of them because they might be a target for an Israeli air strike.” Mashal has profound edge over the Gaza-shut-in leadership in his ability to move around and be seen constantly on television, often from Qatar.
Fatah: Activists in Gaza under Hamas house arrest
GAZA CITY (AP) 18 Aug by Karin Laub — Gaza’s ruling Hamas placed dozens of activists from the rival Fatah movement under house arrest during the Gaza war and shot several in the legs for not staying indoors, Fatah officials said Monday. One of the shooting victims told The Associated Press that masked gunmen shot him in both legs in the yard outside his Gaza City home in late July, and that it will take him several months to recover from multiple fractures. The Fatah allegations marked the first concrete sign of a Hamas crackdown on potential domestic dissent during the Israel-Hamas fighting that began July 8. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied the group put Fatah activists under house arrest as a policy, suggesting some Hamas activists might have acted on their own. Barhoum did not address the shooting allegations.
In Gaza, emotional wounds of war remain unhealed
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) 18 Aug by Karen Laub — Shahed Quishta was curled up in an armchair one late afternoon during the Gaza war when a shell slammed into her living room. Shrapnel pierced the 8-year-old’s head and neck, and she died minutes after arriving at a hospital. Her funeral was held before nightfall, in line with Muslim tradition. Her family couldn’t host a customary three-day wake, typically attended by hundreds of people, because streets remained dangerous during ongoing fighting between Israel and Gaza militants. Almost a month after her death from what her father says was an Israeli tank shell, her family remains paralyzed by grief. Sister Rojina, 14, can’t sleep in the room they shared, spending nights on a mattress in the hallway. Her mother Nisreen, 38, takes clothes from Shahed’s closet from time to time, crying as she inhales the lingering scent. The Quishtas are among thousands who suffered a loss during the current Israel-Hamas war, the third in Gaza in just over five years. The emotional wounds, though sometimes hidden, can be seen in the grim statistics of the conflict … The U.N. estimates that about 373,000 children in Gaza need direct psychological intervention because they’ve witnessed violence, lost a relative or have been displaced. Such children often display one or more of a range of symptoms, including bed-wetting, nightmares, irritability or clinging to parents. In the last major round of fighting in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, about 18,000 of some 190,000 children attending U.N.-run schools required counseling, Zaqout said. Several hundred still haven’t recovered, he said, adding that repeated exposure to trauma — a given in Gaza — compounds the problem.
Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza’s Shuja‘iya neighborhood
Mondoweiss 18 Aug by Max Blumenthal — The attack on Shuja‘iya began at 11pm on July 19, with a combined Israeli bombardment from F-16s, tanks and mortar launchers. It was a night of hell which more than 100 did not survive and that none have recovered from. Inside the ruins of what used to be homes, returning locals related stories of survival and selflessness, detailing a harrowing night of death and destruction … During the battle, Qassam fighters scored a hit on an Israeli armored personnel carrier, killing five soldiers inside, then momentarily captured the fatally wounded Lt. Shaul Oron. The loss of soldiers and the possible capture of Oron — a situation that raised the specter of a politically devastating prisoner swap — sent Israeli forces into a vengeful frenzy. “The F-16s were no longer up in the sky bombing us, they were flying just above the houses,” Tamer recalled. “It felt like an atomic bomb with four F-16s coming one way and another four from the opposite direction, weaving between the houses. At this point, we realized we were not surviving. We said our last prayers, and that was it. Because we know that when the Israelis lose one of their soldiers they become lunatics. We just knew they had suffered something, we could sense it.” Tamer watched some of his neighbors jump from fourth-floor windows as their homes burst into flames. Others rushed out in their night clothes, nearly nude, prompting him and other men to hand over their shirts and even their trousers to women scurrying half exposed through the darkened streets … For many, it was another Nakba, a hellish reincarnation of the fateful days of 1948 when Zionist militias forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land. This time, however, there was almost nowhere for the refugees to flee … “The real problem is not just losing your home in the bombardment,” Muhammad Al Qattawi, the brother of Hind, told me. “The problem is you have lost your future, you lose your hope, and you can even lose your mind. Two million people here are on the verge of losing their minds.” He handed me a packet of pills that had been prescribed to various family members. Deprived of justice, they had been given antidepressants to numb their despair.
Israel murders 11 disabled Palestinians during Gaza offensive
GAZA (PIC) 20 Aug – At least 11 Palestinian disabled civilians were killed while dozens sustained severe wounds in the Israeli military aggression targeting besieged Gaza since July 7 that took away the lives of some 2020 Palestinian citizens, human rights data revealed. The rehab sector in the Palestinian non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) said in a press statement on Tuesday that hundreds of Gaza casualties have become handicapped due to the violent Israeli strikes targeting civilian homes and institutions. The Israeli attacks have deliberately targeted relief institutions and rehab centers, leading to a massive destruction among 22 institutions including al-Wafa rehab hospital and the headquarters of Mabarat al-Rahma organization, where three disabled citizens were killed, the survey documented. “Israeli attacks on rehab institutions aim at intensifying the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and preventing the bulk of disabled people from the offered services.”
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/
World Health Organization: Urgently needed health supplies arrive in Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 18 Aug — The World Health Organization (WHO) has been providing medicines and medical supplies to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) to fill critical shortages in hospitals in the Gaza Strip providing health services for a total of 1.8 million people, said the WHO in a press release. The most recent shipment, delivered recently, consisted of 24 trucks with medical supplies sent via the Rafah border with Egypt with the support of the Egyptian Red Crescent. These supplies will be distributed to all hospitals in the Gaza Strip, benefiting 100,000 patients for a period of two months. Even before the escalation of violence in Gaza, the MoH was reporting critical shortages in medicines and medical supplies. According to the MoH Central Drug Store, 28% of medicine stocks and 54% of medical disposables were at zero stock in June, improving only by 1% for medicine stocks and 2% for medical disposables in August. Due to these shortages, the MoH has halted all elective surgical procedures in Gaza in order to conserve medicines and supplies for coping with the increased number of emergency surgeries for casualties.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Israeli ship is blocked from unloading in Oakland for four straight days
Electronic Intifada 19 Aug by Charlotte Silver — San Francisco Bay Area activists have not allowed a vessel from Israel’s largest shipping company to unload in the Oakland Port for four consecutive mornings. On Tuesday, 19 August, at 6:45am, activists declared yet another victory against the Zim Line, which has been trying to make its way into Oakland since Saturday, 16 August. Lara Kiswani, the executive director of the local Arab Resource and Organizing Center, told The Electronic Intifada that they are now waiting to hear if the Zim Line will leave the Port of Oakland today with the cargo it brought. “If not,” Kiswani wrote in an email, “we will continue to mobilize until it does.” Organizers had initially planned a one-day action for 16 August, delaying the weekly, Saturday-scheduled offloading of the Zim ship by just one full work day.
California activists arrested at US senator’s office as they demand halt to Israel arms
Electronic Intifada 18 Aug by Nora Barrows-Friedman — A group of Palestine solidarity activists in Los Angeles, including human rights defenders and members of the clergy, have been arrested after being forcibly removed from a peaceful sit-in at the local offices of US Senator Dianne Feinstein. Estee Chandler of Jewish Voice for Peace was among four of twelve activists who were arrested just after 2:20pm Monday. The Electronic Intifada spoke with Estee Chandler at about 1pm on Monday as she was continuing to sit in in Feinstein’s office. At 1:45, Chandler said that Los Angeles police were threatening the activists with arrest and she was being told to give up her cell phone. The activists have been demanding a meeting with Feinstein and her colleague, US Senator Barbara Boxer, to protest the two California senators’ support for a bill that would send more weaponry to Israel. Those demands were repeatedly ignored or rejected … The activists have also drafted letters to Feinstein and Boxer calling on the senators to support an international inquiry into “possible human rights violations and war crimes committed during Israel’s military offensive,” amongst other demands.
Racism / Ethnic tension
Beware of anti-Arabism
Haaretz 18 Aug by Moshe Arens — …There is a great deal that Jewish Israelis can and must do to marginalize, and if possible to suppress, the foul anti-Arab voices that have been heard in Israel these past two months. Not just for the sake of Israel’s Arab citizens, but for the sake of Israel itself and Israel’s future. It started with the abduction in Gush Etzion by Hamas terrorists of the three students on their way home from school in June. The whole country prayed they would be found alive, and mourned when it turned out they had been murdered. Was it only Israeli Jews who mourned? Of course not, their worries and sadness were shared by most of Israel’s Arab citizens. But the very question, when directed at Israeli Arabs, do you share our grief, do you condemn the murderers, is an affront, hurtful to our fellow citizens. They do not need to justify themselves or to make excuses for that marginal group of Israeli Arabs who support Hamas and its criminal activities.
Palestinians in Israel beaten, arrested for Gaza support
HAIFA (Electronic Intifada) 19 Aug by Patrick O. Strickland — As a Palestinian political activist living in present-day Israel, Tareq Yassin, 23, has grown accustomed to racist intimidation and threats of violence. Yassin, secretary of the left-wing Hadash political party’s student wing at the University of Haifa, has been targeted for his activism time and again. Yet last month was the first time he was subjected to vigilante violence by right-wing Israelis. He was punched in the head during a protest in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s ongoing military offensive has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians. “I was attacked by a group of Israeli right-wing racists,” Yassin recalled. Since Israel began its latest war on Gaza in early July, Palestinian activists in Israel have told The Electronic Intifada that the political climate has become even more frightening than usual as the country spirals into a violently racist frenzy. “Very disturbing” Lynch mobs have targeted Palestinians and left-wing Israelis in places like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and Palestinian citizens of Israel across the country have been beaten during protests, attacked by vigilantes, threatened on social media outlets and arrested by police. Dozens of Palestinians across Israel have also been fired from their jobs for posting content critical of the war on Gaza on social media outlets such as Facebook. In most cases, employers fired Palestinian employees who posted political content after being threatened with a boycott by local Jewish Israeli communities, according to a lawyer working with the Nazareth-based Kav LaOved workers’ rights group. In other cases, “Israeli Jews have read statuses of colleagues and then demanded their termination,” the lawyer, Gadeer Nicola, told the liberal Zionist grantmaking group the New Israel Fund in an interview published on the organization’s website. “The overall atmosphere for Palestinians in the ‘48 territories [present-day Israel] is very disturbing,” Yassin told The Electronic Intifada….
Two Arab teens arrested over assault on haredi youth in Jaffa
Ynet 18 Aug by Eli Senyor — After a week of undercover investigation, the police arrested two Arab teens on the suspicion they assaulted a haredi youth in Jaffa on August 9. The two will be brought in front of a judge for a remand extension on Monday, as police continues searching for a third suspect. The two are suspected of attacking the youth after he left the synagogue on Saturday night and was on his way home. They allegedly cursed him, pushed him, spat on him, beat him and stole his hat. Police flooded the area with forces for a week in search of the attackers … The two suspects have confessed to the acts attributed to them and said the assault occurred while they were intoxicated.Before the arrest of the two youths, police decided to launch an undercover investigation to prevent violence between Arabs and Jews in Jaffa.
Jewish-Muslim wedding brings out bitter Israel tensions
RISHON LETZION, Israel (AFP) 18 Aug by Daphne Rousseau — Mahmud and Morel never imagined that on the happiest day of their lives, they would walk down the aisle to racist chants by extremists opposed to the marriage of a Muslim and a Jew. Their Sunday night wedding near Tel Aviv was marred by the bitter shouting of several hundred young protesters who joined a rally called for by Lehava, an extremist rightwing Israeli group that fights against intermarriage. Dressed in T-shirts bearing racist slogans and whipped up by weeks of war in Gaza, the demonstrators played cat and mouse with around 100 policemen trying to stop them from insulting and abusing the happy couple and their guests. Supporters of the young couple handed out flowers and waved signs reading: “Love conquers all” and “Jew and Muslims refuse to be enemies.” “Death to Arabs!” yelled back the protesters who waved giant Israeli flags. The ugly confrontation made headlines and was carried live on national television in microcosm of the tensions which have been tearing at the seams of Israeli society, particularly over the past two months.
Press council rejects complaints against Haaretz’s Gideon Levy
Haaretz 18 Aug — The Israel Press Council on Monday rejected complaints made against Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy over columns he wrote at the start of Operation Protective Edge. The complaints were leveled against the columns “Lowest deeds from loftiest heights,” in which he lambasted air force pilots for bombing Gazan homes without protest, and “Israel’s real purpose in Gaza operation? To kill Arabs.” The Press Council’s legal advisers allowed that Levy’s columns had indeed infuriated many people in a time of war, but stated, “A democratic society must protect the right of every individual to express opinions that are liable to incense the majority, and in any event, Levy’s writings did not violate the council’s code of journalist ethics.” After his column on pilots, Levy gave an interview from a sidewalk in Ashkelon to Channel 2, but was compelled to cut it short as passersby accosted him. As a result of threats he began receiving, Levy hired bodyguards, and said he was being verbally harassed on the street and in cafes.
Decision to stop national civic service with B’Tselem has been put on hold
B’Tselem 17 Aug Press Release — In a letter to B’Tselem and ACRI, Deputy Attorney General, Dina Zilber, has informed the organizations that the decision of the director of the National Civic Service Authority to stop allowing national civic volunteers to work with B’Tselem has been put on hold. Zilber said that the director would soon be summoned to the Justice Ministry to explain his decision and the circumstances under which it was made and that B’Tselem and ACRI would subsequently be informed of the final decision on this matter.
Analysis / Opinion
No to disarming the resistance / Lamis Andoni
Middle East Monitor 19 Aug — The Israeli demand for the disarmament of the resistance in Gaza is an indication of a bigger issue, as stripping the resistance of their arms is stripping the Palestinian people of their right to resist in every form available to them. This includes armed resistance, which is internationally legal in accordance with the UN Charter, no matter how hard America tries to label it as “terrorism” or any other false label. The legitimacy of resistance in all its forms and its role in the struggle of nations to liberate themselves from colonisation is being wiped away and criminalised. This is done by relying on the accusation of terrorism and intimidating the people and putting more psychological pressure on them until Palestinians in particular, and Arabs in general, reach the conclusion that there is no use in resisting and that the crumbs on the negotiating table and the imaginary peace is the only alternative to the threat of Israeli destruction. Therefore, the problem does not only lie in the Israeli demand, but also in the official Arab demands, as there is no opposition on the part of the Arabs, and even worse than this is that there is a frustrated mentality and psychology that emerged due to a lack of awareness regarding the Palestinian cause in the Arab community, a psychology that views resistance as foolish and insane.
A letter to the Israeli government from a retired terrorist
972blog 19 Aug by Ruth Reznik — Ruth Reznik was only 14 when she joined a Zionist militia and took up arms against the British in Palestine. Now, she says, is the time to understand why Gazans are taking up arms against Israel — I was drafted to the Irgun, a pre-state, right-wing Zionist militia, in the summer break after eighth grade, after I voiced my intention to enlist with either the Irgun or with the Lehi. As it happened, the representatives of the Irgun were the first to meet me. I wasn’t even 14 at the time, but the strong desire to join the underground resistance grew ever since the hanging of Eliahu Hakim and Eliahu Beit-Zuri, two Lehi men who were executed by the British in Cairo for the murder of the Baron Moyne (responsible for the 1941 Struma disaster, which claimed the lives of over 900 Jewish refugees in 1941). Hakim and Beit-Zuri were sent to the gallows on March 22, 1945. At the time, my resolve to join the resistance against the British grew as more and more members of the resistance were handed death sentences, and as the gates to the country were closing in the face of Jewish refugees from Europe. I decided it was time to become part of the fight against the British occupier. Even though I was only a teenager, the danger did not deter me … To this day, I understand the need of an occupied people to resist their occupier, and establish underground resistance forces until they gain their sovereignty. The same happened with oppressed peoples in America, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Africa and many other countries. I raise this issue now in order to try and show that the occupation of Gaza will bring many deaths among our soldiers. 30, 300, 3,000, 300,000? And what about the tens of thousands who will come home wounded and shell-shocked? We cannot erase the hatred toward the occupiers. I still remember how Shoshana Damari’s simple song Anemones made the Queen’s soldiers go crazy. Suppose we manage to re-occupy Gaza again, only to evacuate it years later. Will we not create the next generation of terrorists with our own hands?
Photos: Tear gas is not the only thing connecting Ferguson and Palestine
Activestills 18 Aug Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler — The tear gas used by the police in Ferguson, Missouri and the Israeli military in the West Bank is only one of several factors that connects the violence against unarmed youth in both communities — The New York Times’ Robert Mackey recently tweeted a photo of the tear gas cartridges found on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, where police have been using the weapon against demonstrators angry at the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. Both the cartridge and the tactics looked very familiar, and for good reason. A different tweet noted that the same brand of tear gas was used in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. As reported here last December, those shining shell casings, as well as the rubber-ball variety and spent stun grenades made by the same company, had decorated a tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square at Christmastime as activists gathered those used by the Israeli military less than two kilometers away in Aida Refugee Camp and displayed them for holiday tourists. As I wrote at the time: “Most of the crowd control weapons deployed by the Israeli military against Palestinians are part of the Combined Tactical Systems (CTS) product line made by a US company, Combined Systems Inc. (CSI). Pick up a used tear gas cartridge or concussion grenade at any demonstration, and you’re likely to find the initials “CTS” stamped on them somewhere (though the rest of the labeling is typically in Hebrew). But during recent clashes in Aida Camp, Israeli forces have been leaving behind cartridges labeled completely in English. These labels contain complete CTS contact information, including the Pennsylvania mailing address, telephone, and fax numbers. They also bear that proud slogan, ‘Made in U.S.A.’ ” But aside from the gas choking Ferguson’s residents, there’s another connection: Like many U.S. police officials, St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch received “counter-terrorism” training in Israel. It’s a neat exchange: The U.S. provides the weapons, Israel provides advice on how to use them. As The Washington Post reported in 2005: “They are briefing not only big-city cops but county sheriffs and police chiefs from such diverse locations as Gaithersburg and Knoxville, Tenn. In addition, since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with police officials, sheriffs and bomb technicians have been traveling to Israel for week-long lessons on terrorism.” I’m sure they meant “lessons on anti-terrorism.” The profound security lessons from these trips have manifested in U.S. cities like Washington, DC, where “[then-Police Chief Charles] Ramsey ordered his officers to keep their red and blue roof lights flashing all the time to be more visible — something he picked up when he [and other officials] went on a ride-along with the Jerusalem police two years ago.” One of the few positive connections resulting from the police violence in Ferguson has been the creation of new solidarity linkages, as those on the receiving end of U.S.-Israeli “security” cooperation offered their own exchange of tactics….
Scottish independence could be positive for Palestine / Jalal Abukhater
Electrcnic Intifada 18 Aug — On 18 September — one month from today — a referendum will be held to determine if Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom. As a Palestinian living in Scotland, I’ve been arguing in favor of independence. To Palestinians, it is natural to believe that all peoples have the right to self-determination. Of course, I’m not trying to claim that the question of Palestine is central to this referendum. Nor should it be. But I do believe that Scottish independence could have positive effects beyond Scotland’s borders … It is true that Scotland received the go-ahead from Westminster to set up a devolved parliament of its own in 1998. The devolved parliament has repeatedly taken decisions that are fairly distinct — if not radically different — from those of the UK government. Yet because the devolved government has no power over defense or foreign affairs, the statements made by its ministers have no tangible effect on UK policy. So the Scots have to endure foreign policy decisions that do not reflect the outlook of most Scottish voters. There was a clear illustration of this reality during Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza. Official statements issued in Edinburgh were far more critical of Israel than those from David Cameron’s government in London. Humza Yousaf, the Scottish minister for external affairs, called for “a complete suspension” of British arms sales to Israel until an investigation is conducted on whether British military equipment has been used in the current Israeli operation. Cameron, on the other hand, gave Israel all the encouragement it needed … The latest issue of the Scottish newspaper the Sunday Mail reports that parts of the “smart” bombs recently dropped in Gaza are manufactured in Scotland. Raytheon, a US weapons-firm, is one of just two suppliers of the Paveway II bomb that was recently photographed destroying a residential building in Gaza. The laser-guidance systems for those bombs are made at Raytheon’s plant in the Scottish county of Fife. If the Scottish minister’s call for an arms embargo was taken seriously, Raytheon would no longer be permitted to make components destined for Israel in Scotland. To their shame, however, Vince Cable and other figures in the London government appear determined to keep on arming Israel. Arms made in Scotland will continue to facilitate war crimes in Gaza.