Israeli navy opens fire at fishermen off Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 28 Oct – The Israeli navy on Tuesday targeted Palestinian fishing boats with gunfire offshore the coast of Gaza, according to witnesses. A fisherman told WAFA correspondent in Gaza an Israeli naval boat opened gunfire at Palestinian fishermen despite sailing within the six-nautical-mile zone allowed for Palestinian fishing off Gaza, yet there were no reports of casualties.
Man dies of wounds sustained in Gaza war
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — A young Palestinian man on Tuesday died in Turkey of wounds he sustained in Israel’s recent offensive on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources and family members told Ma‘an that 20-year-old Ibrahim Adli Asila from Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip had succumbed to his wounds. Asila was critically injured after Israeli forces targeted his house with an airstrike, killing a number of his family members.
Remains of slain Palestinian located under rubble of destroyed mosque
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Oct by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medics and workers located, on Monday afternoon, the remains of a young man who was killed when the Israeli army bombarded a mosque in Gaza on August 9, during the Israeli offensive on the coastal region. Medical sources said Zohdi Abdul-Hamid Abu ar-Roos, 22, died under the rubble of the Al-Qassam Mosque during dawn prayers when the Israeli army fired a missile into the building killing three Palestinians and wounding dozens. Abu ar-Roos is a married father of one daughter. Hundreds of Palestinians participated in the funeral procession, and ceremony, held on Monday evening. The slain Palestinian was laid to rest at the Nusseirat Graveyard, in Central Gaza. Following the bombardment of the mosque, the Palestinians located the remains of three Palestinians killed under the rubble, while ongoing and extensive Israeli bombardment of the besieged and densely populated coastal region forced them to stop. Although [al-Roos] was presumed dead, his whereabouts remained unknown until his remains were located during the removal of debris as part of a debris removal and reconstruction project.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian on beach in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on the beach in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, medical sources said. Gaza’s health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that a 27-year-old man was seriously injured after being shot in the thigh in Beit Lahiya. The man, identified only by his initials “S.Gh.” was taken to Kamal Udwan hospital. An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the incident, saying that two Palestinians had “approached the security fence” in the northern Gaza Strip.
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Egyptian authorities are set to create a buffer zone along the shared border with Gaza following an attack that killed 30 soldiers on Saturday. Egyptian military sources told Ma‘an that all houses and farmland 500 meters deep along the 13-kilometer (eight-mile) border will be evacuated, with the exception of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid. A 20-meter wide and deep water channel will also be constructed along the Gaza border, the sources added. The decision was taken by the Egyptian Defense Council and all work will likely be completed by the end of 2014. Following a survey with residents along the border, house owners will receive compensation in return for leaving their homes, with some 200 families having already accepted the financial package to leave. Around 680 more families live along the border. The decision comes after a suicide car bombing which killed 30 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, the deadliest attack on the military since the coup. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the bomber had “external support.” [IMEMC: According to the Palestinian News Network, construction of the zone will result in the displacing of thousands of Bedouins in the Sinai desert.]
Egypt also immediately closed the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip following the attack, the principal connection between Gaza’s 1.7 million people and the outside world.
Rafah crossing locked down for 5th day
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Oct — Egyptian authorities continue to block Rafah crossing for the fifth day in a row now, following a recent attack by armed militants in the Sinai desert. A deadly assault occured in the region, this past Friday, in which some 33 Egyptian soldiers were killed, causing the border to be closed and delaying further truce negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian delegations until mid-November. A number of Gazans injured in this summer’s devastating Israeli assault on the region, along with students and other Palestinian residents in Egypt, implored Egyptian authorities to open the crossing for them, that they might reunite with their families, PNN reports. Palestinians stuck at Rafah crossing said that they strongly denounced the killing of the Egyptian soldiers, paying condolences to the passed families. Despite suspicion against Gazans, Friday’s attacks reportedly bore the marks of other attacks claimed by Egypt’s most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The hindered travellers reiterated that the goal of this act was to ruin the relationships between Egypt and Palestine, leaving Israel satisfied.
Gaza blamed for Sinai attacks
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Oct — Gaza’s Interior Ministry in Gaza issued a statement, on Saturday, which refuted all accusations that Gaza is behind the recent attacks on Sinai, by affirming that the southern border with Egypt is under tight supervision and strict security measures … Al Ray reports that spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Iyad al-Buzom, confirmed that the Egypt’s national security is a top priority for Palestinians, stating: “We will not allow the security of our borders to be harmed.” He said that the Gaza Strip had nothing to do with events currently unfolding in Egypt, and that the underground tunnels which lie on the border had already become something of the past. Mr. Al-Buzom called on Egypt to exclude the Strip from any post-attack measures which might worsen the suffering of its population, amidst the all-out blockade initiated by Israel and backed by Egypt since 2007. The Ministry described Friday’s attack against the Egyptian troops as a “despicable crime”, offering condolences to the Egyptian people and their government.
Civil servants of former Hamas govt receive salary payments
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Civil servants of the former Hamas-run government in Gaza received a payment of $1,200 on Wednesday after the Palestinian Authority transferred millions of dollars to the Strip to pay long-overdue salaries. As of 8:00 a.m., former civil servants were able to go to post offices across Gaza and receive payment. The PA Ministry of Communication and Technology said in a statement that post offices would only pay salaries to civil servants with valid identity cards and passports. Some 24,000 employees will be receiving payment and will be able to collect their money any time within a three-day window. This is the first salary payment that Gaza civil servants have received in nine months. Money was transferred to Gaza secretly Tuesday through the Erez crossing in a vehicle heavily guarded by Gaza security officers. Although the establishment of a unity government in June ended seven years of political division between Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, key issues such as the payment of workers employed by the previous Hamas-led government in Gaza were not settled.
Gaza ministry distributes cement to rebuild homes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — The Ministry of Public Works and Housing on Tuesday began distributing cement to Gazans whose houses were destroyed during Israel’s devastating military offensive. The ministry published a list on their website of the first group of people who are eligible to receive cement to reconstruct their homes. Each person listed will receive a voucher which shows how much cement they are entitled to based on the damage to their residence. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has begun to rebuild its offices after they suffered extensive damage in Israel’s assault. Workers in the ministry are based in temporary offices while the rebuilding takes place. On Monday, dozens of refugees whose homes were destroyed by Israel protested against delays to rebuilding their homes. The sit-in protest was held by residents of Jabalia camp and blamed UNRWA for the housing “crisis.” Atta Dirgham, an official in the initiative, called upon UNRWA to find houses for the displaced, especially since winter is approaching.
The July-August Israeli operation in Gaza killed at least 2,100 Palestinians, and the UN said it made over 100,000 people homeless in the long term. The cost for full reconstruction of homes and infrastructure destroyed during the war is estimated at $7.8 billion by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction.
PM signs $10 million agreement to repair Gaza homes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah signed an agreement with the UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] and the Islamic Development Bank on Tuesday to repair homes in Gaza destroyed by Israel. The deal is worth $10 million and the UNDP will supervise the reconstruction process.
Japan pledges $5.8M in UNRWA aid to Palestinian refugees
TOKYO (WAFA) 27 Oct – The government of Japan pledged $5.8 million as food aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Friday announced Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato. In a meeting between Katsunobu and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, during his first visit to Japan, the Katsunobu announced a new Japanese contribution of $5.8 million to help UNRWA distribute essential food to 300,000 Palestine refugees in particularly dire need of assistance. Krähenbühl expressed his appreciation to the steadfast Japanese financial and diplomatic support for UNRWA and briefed his Japanese partners on the current situation in the battered Gaza Strip and the required support to its residents.
Book Review: Telling Gaza’s story with brutal honesty
Electronic Intifada 28 Oct by Sarah Irving — Gaza has always been an important economic, political and cultural region. But most histories of Palestine tend to concentrate on Jerusalem, Nablus and the Galilee, with a smattering of Jaffa and Bethlehem. For English-language readers, a small number of titles are slowly filling in the gaps — notably Thomas Philipp’s Acre: The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian City, 1730-1831 (Columbia University Press, 2001) and now, Jean-Pierre Filiu’s ambitious Gaza: A History (Hurst Publishing). Translated from the French edition of 2012, Filiu’s book runs more than 400 pages. Filiu starts with some of the earliest known peoples of Gaza — the Canaanites, the Egyptians under the Pharaonic dynasties and the Philistines. Key strategic point Gaza was a key strategic point, the last source of water before the Sinai, from the perspective of armies and merchants heading from the Levant to Egypt. As such, it was a prize in tussles between empires from the Assyrians and Egyptians down to the sixteenth-century Ottomans.
How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison
Mondoweiss 28 Oct by Jonathan Cook — It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting. According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help. Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza. Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans? The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials. We have been here before. Twelve years ago, Israeli bulldozers rolled into Jenin camp in the West Bank in the midst of the second intifada. Israel had just lost its largest number of soldiers in a single battle as the army struggled through a warren of narrow alleys. In scenes that shocked the world, Israel turned hundreds of homes to rubble. With residents living in tents, Israel insisted on the terms of Jenin camp’s rehabilitation. The alleys that assisted the Palestinian resistance in its ambushes had to go. In their place, streets were built wide enough for Israeli tanks to patrol. In short, both the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and their right in international law to resist their oppressor were sacrificed to satisfy Israel’s desire to make the enforcement of its occupation more efficient. It is hard not to view the agreement reached in Cairo this month for Gaza’s reconstruction in similar terms.
Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Haaretz editorial: Welcome aboard Israel’s apartheid bus
27 Oct — Defense Minister Ya’alon is kowtowing to the settlers at the expense of the image of the State of Israel internationally and its remaining shreds of morality — …The minister’s decision comes despite the fact that the Israel Defense Forces see no security risk in Palestinians traveling on Israeli buses, because the only ones to do so are those with entry and work permits who undergo careful security checks when they enter Israel. Thus, Ya’alon’s decision is purely a result of his having given in to the longtime pressure exerted on him by settlers demanding that Palestinians not be allowed to board “their” buses. The minister’s decision reeks of apartheid, typical of the Israeli occupation regime in the territories. One of the most blatant symbols of the regime of racial separation in South Africa was the separate bus lines for whites and blacks. Now, Ya’alon has implemented the same policy in the occupied territories. In so doing, he justifies the claims of those who brand Israel internationally as an apartheid state. Ya’alon’s decision also means a heavier burden on the Palestinians in the West Bank. Few among them are allowed to work in Israel, and those who are allowed to work in Israel face an exhausting, humiliating and painful experience on their way to and from work. Now, Ya’alon is making it even harder on them. The defense minister made it his goal a long time ago to satisfy the settlers; to dance to their tune and make almost all their wishes and demands come true. He does this out of cynical personal and political considerations – to reinforce his status as a leader of the extreme right. The saga of his murky relations with the American administration following his disparaging remarks about Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials shows how much Ya’alon longs for the settlers’ embrace.
AG orders Ya’alon: Explain why Palestinians banned from Israeli-run buses in West Bank
Haaretz 27 Oct by Revital Hovel & Chaim Levinson — As reported in Haaretz, defense minister gave in to settler pressure and and decided to prohibit Palestinian workers from re-entering West Bank on buses used by Israelis — Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday demanded that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon explain his decision to ban Palestinian workers from Israeli-run bus lines in the West Bank, following publication of a report in Haaretz. An official in Ya’alon’s bureau said on Sunday that the decision to prohibit Palestinian workers from using settlers’ bus lines had been made for security reasons only, and that its purpose is to protect citizens inside the Green Line. According to the decision, from December on, Palestinian workers who enter Israel for work in Greater Tel Aviv and in the Sharon region will have to return to the West Bank via the Eyal checkpoint, and they will not be allowed to return on buses traveling to Ariel on the Trans-Samaria Highway. The employee of the defense minister’s bureau said, “The decision will not prevent Palestinians from going to work and continuing to make a living. No one is stopping the Palestinians from continuing to work inside Israeli territory and reaching their destinations. The opposite is true. This is purely a security-related matter, and its purpose is to supervise the entries and exits into Israeli territory, thereby reducing the chances of terror attacks inside Israeli territory.”
Fearing bus ban, Arabs are on the edge of their seats
Haaretz 27 Oct by Roy (Chicky) Arad — We work for Jews so why are they scared of us riding with them, ask Palestinian laborers on a West Bank-bound line, returning from jobs in Israel — I wait with the Palestinian laborers at the junction under the Geha Bridge. Most are handymen in paint-spattered clothes. The Arab driver opens the door. When there’s room, Jews sit next to Jews and Arabs are with Arabs. I sit next to Samir, who’s from Azun near Qalqilyah. He hasn’t heard the latest news about Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wanting to prohibit Arabs from riding on Israeli buses. But he knows the situation of Palestinians on the bus line from the Tel Aviv area to the West Bank is problematic. “They say we take up space on the bus, but we don’t ride for free. I have no problem, let them give us our own buses. It all shows what democracy is worth to you guys – democracy for the Jews,” he says. A father of six, Samir works mainly as a plasterer and painter. This year many Palestinians have been killed in work accidents on the altar of the Israeli real-estate market, and he is afraid. “I won’t get up on the scaffolding. I won’t go higher than the third floor,” Samir says. “Once a woman told me that we’re taking up space on the bus. I thought to myself: It’s not enough you’re occupying our land and taking our lives – you want our place on the bus. People see Arabs and think we fell from the sky. Believe me, together we could have made peace and the Middle East would be better than America, but for that you need to use your brain.” Samir adds that if he doesn’t take the subsidized settlers’ bus, which costs 11 shekels (about $3), he will have to take a Bedouin van, which costs three times as much. “So, tell me: I work for Jews and they make me coffee and I meet their children and they’re not afraid,” says Samir. “So why are they afraid of me on the bus?” … “Because of them there’s no room,” an older Jewish woman explains to me. “If one of them in a million stows something down below [in the luggage compartment], it can be dangerous. You can’t trust them. And it’s hard with their smell and their noise,” she says.
Palestinian children born abroad to enter West Bank without permit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israel has agreed to allow Palestinian children born abroad to enter the West Bank without special permission from Israel as long as they are under 14, an interior ministry official said Monday. The ministry’s undersecretary Hasan Ilwi told Ma’an that after negotiations, Israel agreed to allow children under 14 born abroad to enter the West Bank without special permission and to obtain a birth certificate from the Palestinian Authority. He said that prior to the agreement, Palestinian children above 5 years who were born abroad were not allowed to enter the West Bank without a special permit from the Israeli authorities.
Ilwi pointed out that 5-10,000 Palestinian children born abroad are entered in the PA’s population register every year. “Since 1995, we have registered about 100,000 children born abroad,” Ilwi said. Ilwi also said that Palestinian holders of Jordanian passports would be able to renew their passports at the Embassy of Jordan in Ramallah. “Jordan has agreed initially and the new procedure will take effect by the beginning of next year,” Ilwi said, adding that the move was meant to help Palestinian holders of Israeli passports and save them time and effort. Ilwi added that Jordan also agreed recently to make more facilitations for Palestinian passengers travelling from the West Bank to Jordan.
VIP status of Palestinian security spokesman revoked after Netanyahu-ISIS comparison
Haaretz 28 Oct by Barak Ravid & Jack Khoury — Israel on Monday revoked the VIP status of the spokesman for the Palestinian security forces after he compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The coordinator of government activities in the territories, Yoav Mordechai, informed his Palestinian counterparts Monday that General Adnan Damiri’s VIP pass had been cancelled, according to a senior Israeli official. Damiri had been warned a few months ago to moderate his statements against Israel, which bordered on incitement, the official said. Monday’s step against Damiri is extraordinary because Israel has refrained from invoking sanctions against senior Palestinian security officials in recent years. According to the Israeli official, Damiri’s most recent statements were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Revocation of his VIP status will make it more difficult for him to move through the West Bank, as well as in Israel.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Palestinian home demolished in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Oct by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli Jerusalem City Council demolished, Tuesday, a Palestinian home in Salah ed-Deen Street, in occupied East Jerusalem rendering eight family members homeless. Sahar Sharif and her family were forcibly removed from their home, and were detained by the police, near their building, until the destruction of their home was completed. The family was prevented from talking to anybody, while Israeli soldiers and officers surrounded the entire area. The family lived in the 40 square/meter home since 1996, and received several demolition orders since then, but managed to delay the destruction through a lawyer, while Israel repeatedly imposed high fines reaching to more than 300.000 NIS in the last 17 years, the Maan News Agency said. Sahar said that, two years ago, the family had to demolish a section of the building as ordered by the Jerusalem City Council, leaving them with one room to live in, until the police demolished the entire structure Tuesday.
Israeli military demolishes a Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills
]with photos] UM AL KHEIR, Occupied Palestine (Operation Dove) 28 Oct — Yesterday, Israeli forces demolished a total of seven structures in the Bedouin village of Um al Kheir. The structures demolished are, three houses made of concrete, a caravan donated by the United Nations (United Nations Human Rights Response Fund with the support of Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom) to be used as a home, a tinplated house, a tinplated kitchen, and a traditional oven. The structures belonged to five families, with a total of thirty people affected. An Israeli activist and an international volunteer were brought and detained in Kiryat Arba Israeli police station … Um Al Kheir is a Bedouin village in Area C, under Israeli civil and military administration. It’s located very close to the illegal settlement of Karmel, established during the beginning of the ’80s and expanded in the recent years, especially in 2013. The village routinely experiences harassment from Zionist settlers and the Israeli army.
4 Palestinian houses demolished near Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Oct — Israeli forces, on Monday, demolished four Palestinian homes belonging to the al-Hazaleen family in the Hebron village of Yatta, in the occupied West Bank. Ibrahim Hazaleen, who monitors settlement activity in the area said, according to Al Ray, that a large group of Israeli soldiers and a bulldozer stormed the village, demolishing four houses in the Yatta village which belonged to Eid Hazaleen and his sons and relatives. Mr. Hazaleen noted that the demolition process comes one day after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal by residents, and confirmed that around 30 people are now homeless as a result.
[Soldiers demolish a cave]
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Oct — …Soldiers also demolished a cave used by a family in Jerusalem after the army demolished their home — . In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers demolished the entrance of a cave used by a Palestinian family that Israeli demolished its home, in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The soldiers also kidnapped Khaled and Fahmi az-Zeer, who lived with their families in the caves, and violently assaulted them causing various injuries.
Settlers prepare to expand illegitimate settlement near Salfit
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Oct — A large number of Israeli settlers of the Bruchin illegal settlement outpost built on Palestinian lands east of Broqeen town, west of the central West Bank city of Salfit, started bulldozing lands in an attempt to expand their illegitimate settlement. The Palestine News Network (PNN) said the settlers brought bulldozers and started leveling the lands, and digging, while several Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area preventing the Palestinians from reaching it. Palestinian Researcher Khaled Ma‘ali said the Israeli government lately announcement its intention to expand Brochin settlement by constructing new units, part of the recently declared 550 new units to be built on agricultural lands belonging to residents of Broqeen, and Sarta village. Bruchin settlement was built in 1999; it started just as a small illegitimate outpost, and has kept expanding since then. The expansion comes following a decision by the head of the Central Command of the Israeli military of the West Bank, Nitzan Alon, to upgrade the outpost into a settlement under the umbrella of the “Regional Council of Settlements.”
‘UAE is selling Palestinian homes to Israel’
Middle East Monitor 28 Oct — The United Arab Emirates has played a big role in selling the houses of Arabs in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, to Israeli settlement construction companies, a senior member of the Islamic Movement has revealed. In an interview with Al-Quds news channel, the vice chairman of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Kamal Khatib said: “Perhaps the coming days will reveal more. One should mention however, that a large sum of money was transferred from the UAE to a Palestinian bank and that bags of money were handed over to approximately 34 families who owned apartments in Silwan.” Khatib asked: “It was originally planned that this money would pass through the Palestinian monetary fund. So, my question is… why did it not?” He called upon the competent authorities within the Palestinian Authority to open an investigation to follow up on this matter as soon as possible. Settlers in Jerusalem have gained control of an apartment building and a house with its surrounding land in the Al-Hawa district in Silwan. These properties are located just south of Al-Aqsa Mosque and they are now under the protection of the Israeli army. Haaretz newspaper revealed several days ago that a fake company belonging to Elad, an Israeli gang, has been registered abroad under the name Kandel Finances and has been buying Palestinian houses indirectly.
Jerusalem mayor’s Al-Aqsa visit sparks anger
Jerusalem (AFP) 28 Oct by Stephen Weizman — Jerusalem’s Israeli mayor visited the Al-Aqsa mosque compound Tuesday, angering Islamic authorities, but police said the day passed in “relative calm” after weeks of tension at the flashpoint shrine … Mayor Nir Barkat toured the Al-Aqsa compound with a police escort, after weeks of intermittent clashes triggered by reports Israel is considering allowing Jews to pray at the sprawling site in the Old City. Barkat “visited the Temple Mount together with the chief of police responsible for the area to assess the current situation and gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges at the site,” a statement said, using the Jewish term for the compound. The Islamic Waqf, the body which oversees the site, decried the visit. It was “merely for publicity and its political nature is characteristic of” Barkat, Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Waqf, told AFP … In a statement, the Al-Aqsa Foundation condemned what it described as the “storming” of the compound by Barkat. “This does not give any legitimacy to considering Al-Aqsa part of the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem (Israeli) municipality, and does not erase the eternal Islamic character of the mosque,” said the foundation, an offshoot of a radical branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement religious advocacy group. Tensions often erupt at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is both the third-holiest location in Islam and the most sacred place in Judaism. A provocative visit by then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the compound in 2000 sparked the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, a five-year uprising that left hundreds dead.
Video: Israeli occupation forces attack elderly man protecting Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa
Electronic Intifada 26 October
Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests
Rubber bullets hit AP photographer and freelancer in East Jerusalem
AP 28 Oct — Associated Press say border policemen ‘fired directly’ at photographer from a distance of 10-20 meters. Senior managing editor says shooting shows ‘reckless disregard for the safety of journalists who were doing their job in a lawful way.’ — … Neither photographer was seriously hurt in the incident, which came during protests that followed the funeral of a 14-year-old Palestinian boy killed in a clash with IDF soldiers. It was the latest incident in which journalists have been injured by tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets fired by border police, a paramilitary unit often sent in to quell violent demonstrations. The AP said it planned to protest to the IDF, police and government. AP photographer Majdi Mohammed said he was among several photographers who took up positions near the protests in the West Bank town of Silwad. Mohammed said they were not ordered to leave and the area had not been declared closed. As he was taking pictures, an armored jeep pulled up behind him, a border policeman stepped out and fired directly at him from a distance of 10 to 20 meters (10 to 20 yards), Mohammed said. “The impact was so strong that it made me fall to the ground,” he said. “The policeman aimed straight at us … even though we were clearly a group of media people and there were no protesters at all around us.”
Israeli forces raid school in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Israeli forces on Tuesday raided Silwan preparatory school for boys and attempted to detain students accused of throwing rocks, a local committee said. Issam al-Abbasi, the head of the Silwan parents committee, said special forces raided the school yard and building and one Israeli soldier claimed that students threw rocks at him and fled toward the school. Al-Abbasi added that the school’s administration and teachers got involved and stopped any arrests. He explained that an Israeli court had issued an order forbidding forces from raiding schools for any reason, but that wasn’t honored. The school has around 600-700 students between grades 7 and 9.
Israeli forces injure 2 Palestinian teens in Nablus clashes
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Two Palestinian teens were injured during clashes with Israeli forces in the village of Beit Furik east of Nablus early Monday, medical sources said. The director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society told Ma‘an that clashes broke out after several Israeli military vehicles raided the village. The two teenagers, who were injured by rubber-coated bullets, were identified as 16-year-old Alaa Rajeh Hanini and 17-year-old Saddam Salameh Hanini. They were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, the director said.
Six Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Oct by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, at least six Palestinians in different military invasions targeting various communities in the occupied West Bank, and occupied Jerusalem. Several children injured in Bethlehem. Local sources in Jerusalem said several Israeli military vehicles invaded Jabal al-Mokabber neighborhood, southeast of Jerusalem, and kidnapped Fares Ayman Salem, and took him to an interrogation center in the city. One Palestinian has also been kidnapped in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, after the soldiers invaded his home and ransacked it. Local sources said the soldiers kidnapped Saed Abu Baha’, spokesperson of Hamas in Betunia. In addition, soldiers invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Hamza Abul-‘Aziz Abu Srour, 20, and Mahmoud Isamel ‘Oleyyan, 19, after searching and ransacking their homes. Also in Bethlehem, soldiers invaded the Mrah Rabah village, and kidnapped a Palestinian after breaking into and searching his home. The kidnapped, Yousef ash-Sheikh, 54, is a former political prisoner. Medical sources said many schoolchildren suffered the effects of teargas inhalation after the soldiers invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, through its eastern entrance. The invasion led to clashes between the soldiers and local Palestinian youths … Also on Monday evening, a young Palestinian man was injured by Israeli army fire after several military jeeps invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Eyewitnesses said around 10 Israeli military vehicles invaded various neighborhoods in Jenin, including the Industrial Zone, while several soldiers broke into a local shop, and searched it.
Soldiers kidnap 12 Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Oct by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at dawn, twelve Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem, after storming various communities and searching homes. Soldiers also demolished a cave used by a family in Jerusalem after the army demolished their home — Media sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, said dozens of soldiers invaded a number of towns, south of the city, and kidnapped eight young Palestinian men, after ransacking their homes. The sources said the army kidnapped Bilal Ahmad Sharqawi and Ahmad Mazen Turkman, from Ya‘bad town, after stopping them at a nearby roadblock. Also in Ya‘bad, soldiers detained two brothers identified as ‘Aref and Jamil Mohammad Abu Salah, and interrogated them for several hours before releasing them. Soldiers also invaded Qabatia town, and kidnapped three Palestinians after ransacking their home. The three have been identified as Faisal Ibrahim Saba’na, 53, Tareq Yahya Abu ar-Rob, 20, and Aseed Ibrahim Zakarna, 22. In Jaba‘ nearby town, soldiers kidnapped Mahmoud Mustafa Khaliliyya, 35, his brother Mohammad, 45, and Mahmoud Nayef Maharma, 30, after storming their homes and a workshop they worked at, and confiscated motorcycles and spare parts. Several military vehicles also invaded the town of ‘Aqraba, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped Sameh Ghaleb Jaber, 31, after storming his home and searching it … In addition, soldiers and the police surrounded al-‘Abbasiyya and al-Bustan areas [East Jerusalem], and kidnapped one resident identified as Morad Gheith, before taking him to an interrogation center in the city.
On Tuesday evening, four Palestinians have been injured by Israeli army fire, on Tuesday evening, in Ya‘bad town, south of Jenin; one of the wounded suffered a serious injury.
Israel increases pressure on nonviolent struggle’s flagship village
972 blog 28 Oct by Roy Wagner — Whether as a result of the violence in Jerusalem or just because there’s a new commander in town, the Israeli army is once again increasing its oppressive measures in the West Bank village of Bil‘in — There’s nothing new under the sun in Bil‘in.If you take a look at the Wikipedia page on Bil‘in, you’ll see that the last updates about the village’s struggle against the separation wall refer to 2012. B’Tselem’s page on Bil‘in was last updated almost two years ago. One could easily be led to believe that the struggle is over. But Bil‘in continues to demonstrate.Perhaps updating Wikipedia and B’Tselem’s website isn’t necessary. The situation in Bil‘in remains as it was. Veteran protesters even experience flashbacks to 2008, when the demonstrations took place near the old route of the wall. This is the same route that stole nearly half of the village’s agricultural land, and which the High Court later ordered be dismantled and moved west. This was before the new route was built and introduced in 2011 — the same one that steals only one third of the village’s land. Over the last several weeks, however, Israeli soldiers have been waiting for the protesters on the old route, near the monument for the late Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot and killed at close range by a high-velocity tear gas grenade. As far as I can tell from the videos and testimonies, Abu-Rahme was likely murdered intentionally. (The IDF closed its investigation into the killing without indictment.) From high positions the soldiers fire barrages at the protesters who try to make their way along the “Freedom Road.” Afterward, the soldiers descend toward the built-up areas of the village and fill people’s homes with tear gas. Soldiers recently set on fire a building that stands between the old route and the new one. The army issued a demolition order for a playground that was built there. During the last protest a man who said he was a village resident told me that 20 of his olive trees, which are located on the other side of the wall, were set ablaze. Arresting protesters and assaulting them while in custody, practices that have become rarer in recent years in Bil‘in, are once again becoming common practice.
Hunger-striking prisoner moved to hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — A Palestinian prisoner in Israel who has been on a hunger strike for 37 days was moved from Beersheba prison to Barzilai hospital after his health deteriorated, officials said Monday. The Palestinian Authority’s detainees commission said in a statement that Raed Moussa was placed under administrative detention since November and started a hunger strike in protest. The statement added that Moussa, who is from Jenin, stopped taking supplements and lost the ability to move freely. He has suffered from severe weight loss.
65 Palestinians in Gaza visit relatives jailed in Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Sixty-five Palestinians in Gaza visited relatives jailed in Israel on Monday via the Erez crossing, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. ICRC spokesman Masaada Saif told Ma‘an that 65 people, including 11 children, visited 40 relatives currently detained in Israel’s Rimon prison. Jail visits were banned following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in June but recommenced last week.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Major Israeli construction company pulls out of settlement industry
972mag 27 Oct by Haggai Matar — Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday morning that Africa Israel Investments, an international holding and investment company based in Israel, will no longer build homes in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. This, after years that Africa Israel’s daughter company, Danya Cebus, has consistently built homes in settlements, contrary to international law. There is no mistaking this decision. Lev Leviev, one of the most prominent tycoons in Israel, did not wake up one morning and understand, by chance, that the occupation is a terrible injustice toward millions of subjects who lack basic rights and who have been under our military rule for nearly 50 years. No. It took years. Years in which Leviev discovered that he could not continue building in the settlements while enjoying legitimacy in the international business world. The opposition took the form of protests, pressure on the British government to cut business ties with Leviev, and divestment from his company. Between the profit he could make off the occupation and the profit he could lose in the rest of the world, Leviev chose the world. This is another huge victory for the boycott movement and the activists who choose to fight against the occupation nonviolently.
Israeli army excluded from military training in Italy
GAZA (PIC) 27 Oct — The Israeli army has been removed from the list of armed forces now taking part in multinational military training exercises on the Italian island of Sardinia following a large scale BDS campaign mobilized by international anti-war activists. On 31 July, the Italian defense ministry published a note without mentioning Israel, saying that the planning stages for the drills had not yet been completed and only upon completion would the participating countries be confirmed. The prospect of Israeli F-16s using the island to train for bombing missions, combined with the ill-timed delivery to Israel of two Italian trainer jets just after the attacks on Gaza began, created public outrage in Italy, with multiple calls for an embargo on weapons cooperation with Israel. Fawzi Ismail, president of the Sardinia-Palestine Friendship Association, said, “We can consider this a small victory. It demonstrates that grassroots pressure can affect government decision-making”. “Public opinion had its say and apparently the Italian government and NATO felt it inopportune to have Israel participate after the attacks on Gaza.”
Washington DC activists protest Israeli hummus
US Campaign to End the Occupation 25 Oct — A group of protesters gathered outside the ‘Hummus House’ restaurant in Washington DC earlier this week to denounce the company’s ties to the Israeli army. Customers, including one man wearing an Israeli flag, were showered with chants such as “Sabra Sabra, you’re no good / Leave the Georgetown neighborhood!” and “1,2,3,4 Sabra is supporting war / 5,6,7,8 They make Gaza suffocate.” The hummus company’s half-owners, the Strauss Group in Israel, proudly sponsor the Golani and Givati brigades of the Israeli army, notorious for their behavior and their participation in what human rights organizations have suggested are war crimes. Sabra is also criticized for the Strauss Group’s appropriation of a historically Palestinian / Arab cuisine, now largely marketed as Israeli … Sabra Hummus products have faced protests across the United States in groceries, at universities, and even at a Chicago-area high school.
Japan funds disability project in Jenin refugee camp
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Oct – The government of Japan funded a project for ‘Developing the Prosthetic and Orthotic Fabrication and Rehabilitation Facilities for the Disabled’ in Jenin Refugee Camp, Tuesday said a press release issued by the representative office of Japan in Ramallah. The Government of Japan decided to extend this grant to purchase new equipment and expand the fabrication unit in al-Jaleel Society in addition to upgrade the rehabilitation unit where some existing equipment could be replaced and more specialized equipment could be newly installed. This would provide people with disabilities with quality prostheses and assistive devices in order to have equal opportunities, where they can increase their inclusion and full participation through community based rehabilitation, stated the release.
UN Security Council to meet on Israeli settlements
UNITED NATIONS (United States) (AFP) 28 Oct — The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss Israeli plans to build more Jewish settlements in Arab east Jerusalem, diplomats said. The urgent talks were requested by Jordan following a letter from Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, who called on the 15-member council to “address this crisis situation in occupied east Jerusalem.” Israel pledged to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem on Monday, angering Palestinians who warned it could trigger an “explosion” of violence. In his letter, the Palestinian representative called on the council to demand that Israel rescind its plan immediately and “commit to the path of peace that it has clearly and recklessly abandoned.” On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back at US and European criticism of the plan for more settlement building, saying the statements were “detached from reality.” The European Union said the plans “call once again into serious question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated solution with the Palestinians,” warning of consequences for EU-Israel ties. Washington said it was “deeply concerned” by the plans, adding that “moving forward with this type of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.” But Netanyahu insisted Israel would not change course. “We will continue to build in Jerusalem, our eternal capital,” he said.
Netanyahu: No peace with Palestine without recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Oct — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that no peace agreement would be achieved unless through mutual negotiations without precondition, keynoting that lasting peace will only be possible via the formula of a demilitarized Palestine and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. At the opening of the winter Knesset session, on Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said that “the borders of a Palestinian state cannot be drawn without assurance that it will not be a terrorist state”, asking “What is the point of drawing a border if we don’t know what country we will get on the other side?” Al Ray reports that, in his speech, Netanyahu made clear that Israel does not differentiate between the Fateh and Hamas parties, since the Palestinian Authority was not able to maintain control over Gaza and was defeated in just few days, by Hamas. He also defended what he claimed to be the right of Israel to claim Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. “Israel has the same right to build in Jerusalem as other nations do in their own capital cities, and there is a wide consensus in Israel to continue building throughout the city, as every government has done since Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war,” he said. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the PM’s speech as a rerun of a compilation of excerpts of past shows: “It was a rereading of his despairing speech to the UN General Assembly, translated into Hebrew.”
US official says Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit PM’
Haaretz 29 Oct by Barak Ravid — As the ongoing crisis in U.S.-relations continues, a report by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg cites a senior U.S. official as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a chickenshit prime minister,” who only cares about his political survival … “The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.” … According to Goldberg, after the midterm Congressional elections on November 4 and ahead of the Palestinian move toward statehood at the United Nations, the Obama administration will no longer shield Israel at international organizations. Goldberg added that even if Washington vetoes the resolution the Palestinians will try to advance, it will craft an alternative resolution about the settlements and bring it to a vote. Israel would remain completely isolated internationally. Another possibility is for the Obama administration to present a detailed position on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including maps with borders of the future Palestinian state, Goldberg said.
Bill proposal to outlaw northern branch of Islamic Movement
Ynet 28 Oct by Yuval Karni — With the opening of the Knesset’s winter session on Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has instructed Yisrael Beiteinu MK Alex Miller to push a bill proposal meant to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The proposal, submitted on Monday, noted that: “Recently, we’ve witnessed the strengthening of radical Islam in our region, spreading a lot of death and destruction while demolishing the rule of law. “The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is openly undermining the sovereignty of the State of Israel, while making a cynical use of the institutions and basic values of a Jewish and democratic country.” The bill proposal went on to say that “as time goes by, we can see that the activity of the northern branch is leading to violence and provocation in the Arab minority in Israel, while maintaining close ties with the terror organization Hamas. This activity is even more destructive, as it is being done from within the state’s institutions.”
‘We won’t be good Arabs,’ says Zoabi
Ynet 27 Oct by Itay Blumenthal — A defiant MK Hanin Zoabi lashed out Monday at the decision to suspend her from the Knesset, saying that while Israel was only interested in passive minority representation, she and her Balad party “won’t be good Arabs.” Zoabi was suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee for six months, the maximum punishment according to Knesset regulations, following complaints of offensive language. The suspension takes effect on Thursday. “When you distance me from the Knesset you are basically saying you do not want Arabs, and only want good Arabs to represent,” she said at a Balad press conference as the Knesset began its winter session. Beforehand, the party’s spokesman had moved an Israeli flag to the corner of the room from a formerly prominent position. “We won’t be good Arabs,” Zoabi continued. “In civilized countries, parliament mem5bers stand behind their vision against racism, crime and oppression, and democracy and equality for all is considered exemplary. The fact that we need to hold a news conference shows the downfall of this democracy. The most basic rules of the game have been crushed by Knesset members and the political elite, even the left is silently watching from the side.”
Israel stole 80,000 Palestinian books and manuscripts
Middle East Monitor 27 Oct — Israel has stolen 80,000 Palestinian books and manuscripts and kept them in its national libraries since 1948, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Arabi said. Al-Arabi was speaking at a celebration organised by the Arab League in Cairo entitled Palestine in the Arabic Manuscripts. Palestinian Minister of Culture Ziad Abu Amer attended the celebration with his Egyptian counterpart and many other officials and intellectuals from around Egypt and the Arab world, as well as representatives of the International Council on Archives (ICA). Al-Arabi called for efforts to be made to regain archives stolen by imperialist powers with the aim of hiding the Arabic identity and forging its history, mainly the Palestinian history. He stressed the importance of maintaining the Palestinian identity and its manuscripts. He added that some Arab countries, including Algeria, Libya and Iraq are working to regain their archives, which also contains its histories. The Arab League is working on this in cooperation with the ICA. Abu Amr said: “The occupation’s measures, which have been taking place since the Nakba in 1948 to damage Palestinian culture, information centres, universities and archives of Palestinian institutions, are part of the efforts to hide the Arabic identity of Palestine.”
Judge deals major blow to Rasmea Odeh’s defense
Electronic Intifada 28 Oct by Charlotte Silver — With only a week before Rasmea Odeh’s trial is set to begin in federal court in Detroit, US District Judge Gershwin A. Drain dealt her defense a major blow in several pre-trial rulings published on Monday. Drain decided that Odeh would not be allowed to present any evidence about the weeks of torture she endured at Israeli hands that ultimately forced her to sign a confession. He also ruled against her motion to exclude from the trial the specifics of the accusations Israel made against her and rejected her motion to claim her indictment by the US on immigration fraud charges is the product of selective prosecution. “By precluding from the trial any mention of torture, the court has gutted the heart of Rasmea’s defense and makes a fair trial impossible,” Odeh’s lead attorney Michael Deutsch told The Electronic Intifada.
Israel to buy second batch of US F-35 fighters
Jerusalem (AFP) 28 Oct — Israel and the United States have agreed the sale of a second batch of Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters to the Jewish state, Israeli media reported Tuesday. Haaretz newspaper said the deal, concluded by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Israeli counterpart, Moshe Yaalon, was for “at least 20” of the planes. The Israeli defence ministry did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for confirmation. The Jerusalem Post said Israel signed a $2.75 billion (2.17 billion euro) deal in 2012 to buy a squadron of 19 F-35s from Lockheed Martin and received Pentagon approval to purchase an additional 75. Both papers said delivery of the initial order should start by the end of 2016 and be completed by 2018. The first planes of the second squadron should start arriving in 2019, they said.
The 9 most destructive things Israel is doing right now, to itself / Bradley Burston
Blog ‘A Special Place in Hell’ 28 Oct — Don’t turn on the news. If you value your blood pressure – or the welfare of Israelis and Palestinians – leave it off — …Let’s take, for a start, the enormously destructive things Israel is doing these days – destructive, that is, to Israel itself. Here’s a representative sample: 1. Segregating Buses: Banning Palestinians from certain bus lines used by settlers in the West Bank. 2. Declaring that Israel is committed to settling throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, thus defying the international community’s outlines for possible future Palestinian state. 3. Fanning the flames of violence in East Jerusalem and further poisoning ties with the Obama administration and EU allies by backing settlers taking new homes in the flashpoint Silwan neighborhood. 4. Taking direct aim to antagonize Washington and Europe, for narrow domestic political advantage. 5. Attacking President Reuven Rivlin for his vocal stand against anti-Arab racism on the part of Israelis. 6. Cutting budgets for food on certain army bases, causing soldiers to regularly go hungry, even as the government spends billions on new F-35 jet fighters, and lauds IDF soldiers as heroes….
The secret ingredient of the Israeli right’s indignation: occupation-denial
West of Eden blog 28 Oct by Chemi Shalev — Take occupation out of the equation and everything else falls into place: Obama’s fickleness, Europe’s animosity, Arab sanctimony and the media’s duplicity — You could be excused for scratching your head at some of the curiously timed decisions and strangely bellicose statements coming out of Israel this week. Why was it necessary to announce new building in East Jerusalem straight on the heels of the previous ruckus? Who is the genius that didn’t realize that taking Palestinians off West Bank buses would be a godsend to BDS-supporters? Why does Prime Minister Netanyahu persist in his very public spat with the Obama administration and why doesn’t Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon desist from dissing the Americans, despite their snubs? Israeli leaders, after all, are not stupid. Contrary to what many of Israel’s enemies would like to believe, they are not evil either. And while each of their moves has its own distinct and often complex rationale – including a legitimate battle over Jerusalem – they all share a common underlying theme: they would be completely understandable in a world in which there was no occupation … Once the occupation is cast as a figment of the world’s feverishly prejudiced imagination, everything else falls into place… After you put on your occupation-denying blinkers it suddenly becomes very natural to view do-gooder human rights NGO’s as backstabbing defamers and well-poisoners, as they are often portrayed. In a world with no occupation, double standards are an elemental explanation for the world’s behavior and rampant anti-Semitism requires no further proof. Viewed through this conveniently benign prism, Palestinian resistance and violence appear to be mindlessly directed at absolutely innocent bystanders who wouldn’t harm a fly.