Violence / Suppression of protests / Raids
18-year-old Palestinian and ISM volunteer both shot in the chest with .22 live ammunition
KUFR QADDUM, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 28 Nov — During the weekly Kufr Qaddum protest today, an 18-year-old Palestinian demonstrator and an ISM volunteer, were both shot in the chest with .22 live ammunition. The Italian activist, known as Patrick, was wearing a yellow high visibility jacket when he was shot. 11 Palestinian demonstrators were wounded at the Kufr Qaddum protest. 18-year-old Sami Jumma was shot twice with live ammunition, once in the hand and once in the chest. He required surgery and is now in a stable condition. The remaining 10 injured protesters were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and four required hospital treatment. One of whom was a 10-year-old child, although all four have now been discharged. “We were standing with a group of Palestinian demonstrators when Patrick was shot. The military had fired three rounds of tear gas, and then a shot rang out an Patrick stumbled back. There was between five and ten minutes from the last tear gas canister fired and the bullet that shot Patrick. He was just standing there, peacefully protesting, wearing a hi-viz jacket, he wasn’t doing anything and they just decided to shoot him,” stated an ISM activist present at Kufr Qaddum. Patrick is currently stable; the bullet entered through his chest and it is now lodged in his chest cavity, he remains in hospital under observation. In 2003, Israeli forces closed the road connecting Kufr Qaddum with the city of Nablus, and since then at least three people have died due to the increased travel time to the closest hospital. A journey that used to take 10 minutes now takes over 30. In 2011, Kufr Qaddum began their weekly demonstrations. Ally Cohen, ISM media coordinator said, “The bullet entered Patrick’s chest near a main blood vessel, but thankfully did not puncture it. If God forbid it had, the lengthened journey to the hospital because of the closed road could have cost Patrick his life.”
Israeli forces injure youth with live fire during Ramallah-area raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — One Palestinian was injured by live fire and others by rubber-coated steel bullets after Israeli soldiers opened fire on protesters in the village of Deir ‘Ammar west of Ramallah late Thursday. Israeli soldiers raided the village and declared it a closed military zone, and during the raid, soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at groups of villagers who came out to protest. Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers as they raided the village while Israeli soldiers opened live fire, injuring an unidentified youth. The youth injured by live bullets was taken to a hospital for treatment. Several others were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets. The reason for the raid were not known, and Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an she was unfamiliar with the incident.
Palestinian injured as Israeli forces disperse march near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — One Palestinian was injured and dozens of other Palestinian and international activists suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers violently dispersed a weekly protest march in the village of Bil‘in near Ramallah on Friday. The march began at the center of the village in protest against the Israeli occupation and the separation wall, and in solidarity with Jerusalem and its holy sites. Israeli forces, however, prevented protesters from marching toward their lands that have been confiscated to build the separation wall. Soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas canisters, and stun grenades toward protesters, hitting one. Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Rahmeh was injured after a tear-gas canister fired by the soldiers hit his leg.
Israeli police assault and abduct young woman and disabled mother in East Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Nov — A disabled Jerusalemite woman, Nadya al-Maghribi, aged 55, along with her 22-year-old daughter, Amani, were assaulted by Israeli police, Tuesday, upon which the daughter was taken into custody and, subsequently, the mother, while she was attending the daughter’s Wednesday court hearing. WAFA correspondence reports that, earlier on Tuesday, around 10 Israeli policemen intercepted Amani and her diabetic mother as they were leaving their house in occupied East Jerusalem’s al-Tur neighborhood (Mount of Olives). The mother said that one of the officers stuck his foot out and tripped her, causing her to fall to the ground and, when her daughter rushed to help her up, she was severely beaten by police. The mother reportedly suffers from a partial paralysis in one of her legs, and depends on crutches to help her walk. Police forces attacked Amani on her head, with the butts of their rifles, while pulling her hair and kicking her in the abdomen with their boots, numerous times, before finally dragging her to their jeep and tearing her clothes. An attorney with Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said that 55-year-old Nadia Mughrabi was arrested while she was attending the trial for her daughter, who was herself arrested for allegedly attempting to attack one of the policemen.
Israeli woman, Palestinian man injured in car attacks in 48-occupied lands
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 Nov — An Israeli policewoman and an Palestinian citizen suffered injuries in separate vehicular attacks on Thursday in different areas of the 1948 occupied lands. The policewoman was run over by a Palestinian car in Bat Yam city in central Israel, Israel’s police said. It added in a statement that the driver of the car was arrested after a car chase in Rishon LeZion area outside Tel Aviv. The police have not disclosed the identity of the attacker or the motivation behind the incident.
Shortly before this incident, a Palestinian young man was rammed by an Israeli truck in the Arab city of Kafr Qasem in the central region of the 1948 occupied lands. The man sustained moderate injuries, but the driver ran away immediately after the accident, an Israeli police source told Yedioth Ahronoth. He added that the police are investigating whether the incident was deliberate or a just an accident. Earlier this week, an Israeli driver had run over and killed a Palestinian man near an Israeli checkpoint in northern West Bank.
Twilight Zone: Injury, then insult, at the hands of the Israel army
Haaretz 28 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — IDF soldiers fired four rounds at Ahmed Hassouna, leaving the young man from Beitunia paralyzed. Then it turned out they were looking for someone else — The last of the guests left at 2 A.M., and Ahmed Hassouna was going downstairs to close the gates to the house. Before that, he had driven some of the guests home to the nearby Al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah. Members of the family had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Ahmed’s nephew. His sister, Nagham, was now following him down the stairs carrying a bag of garbage. She was asking Ahmed to open the wicket in the back of the house, so she could throw the refuse into the garbage bin on the street, before he locked up for the night. Nagham is going down the stairs, Ahmed is waiting out on the street, next to the garbage bin. It’s 2 A.M. on Wednesday, November 12, in the town of Beitunia, on the outskirts of Ramallah. The burst of gunfire was sudden and short. Hassouna says now that he didn’t notice the Israel Defense Forces soldiers hiding behind the bin on the street. He adds that he heard no warning, either. Apparently, four rounds were fired at him – from a distance of three to four meters. Three bullets struck Hassouna, two in his legs. The third slammed into his hip, penetrated his spine and wreaked havoc. Since that night, he’s been hospitalized, with both legs paralyzed. He may never walk again. Hassouna, 20, had been working in the family’s auto-parts business. His father has a standing entry permit to Israel, as a merchant; the family does not involve itself in politics or the Palestinian struggle. They are 1948 refugees from Lod, who moved to the relatively affluent town of Beitunia a few years ago, after decades in the Al-Amari camp. Their comparatively tranquil life was shattered on that night, two weeks ago … To date, no one from the IDF has contacted the family – not to explain, not to investigate, much less to apologize. A relative, Maha Hassouna, the secretary of the Hadash party faction in the Knesset and a resident of Lod, says she is appalled that no one is taking responsibility for the mistaken shooting.
Video: 20-year-old Palestinian activist violently detained and arrested at Hebron checkpoint
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 28 Nov — Israeli forces violently detained and arrested twenty-year-old Palestinian activist Imad Altrash at approximately two o’clock yesterday in al-Khalil (Hebron). Soldiers accused him of insulting and yelling at them at Shuhada checkpoint. No soldiers claimed that Imad threatened them or behaved violently. On the way to the checkpoint, ISM activists ran through cold and rain as sheets of water poured down the street. Imad stood exposed, standing just behind a cement barricade on the side of the road leading up the checkpoint. One of the first things he said was, “I’ve been standing here for two hours.” Shuhada checkpoint has been closed for the past seven days as part of a policy of collective punishment directed at the Palestinians in surrounding neighbourhoods after the checkpoint was burnt during clashes last Friday. The checkpoint connects Bab a-Zawiya, a neighbourhood in H1 (supposedly under full Palestinian authority) to Tel Rumeida, an H2 residential area under full Israeli military and civil control. Israeli soldiers have been for the past several days denying passage through the checkpoint to Palestinians including children, elderly people and teachers from nearby schools who should have special permission to pass. Video footage from Human Rights Defenders Palestine shows soldiers violently dragging Imad up the stairs of the checkpoint and holding him in a headlock as they push him around.
Israeli settlers continue their attacks against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank
PCHR 26 Nov — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli settlers’ ongoing and escalated attacks on Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The latest of these attacks has been against a house belonging to a Palestinian woman in Kherbet Abu Falah village, northeast of Ramallah, and throwing a tear gas canister and a sound bomb into the house balcony, due to which the balcony contents caught fire. PCHR believes the Israeli forces’ cover-up of settlers’ attacks and even support and protection for them encourage settlers to continue their systematic attacks against the Palestinian civilians. PCHR believes further that such crimes come in the context of the continuing incitement by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people … According to investigations conducted by PCHR, in the early morning on Sunday, 23 November 2014, a group of settlers sneaked into Kherbet Abu Falah village, northeast of Ramallah. They headed towards a house belonging to Huda Abdul Ghani Abdul Rahim Hamayel (54) and tried to raid it. They broke the balcony’s window, spilled an incendiary substance inside and set fire to the balcony’s contents after throwing a tear gas canister and a sound bomb inside. The armchairs, chairs, curtains and other furniture pieces in the balcony caught fire. The settlers wrote on the house walls in Hebrew “Death to Arabs, avenging the blood of religious Jews”. They also drew David Star, pointing to the Jews who were killed by a Palestinian from Jerusalem in occupied Jerusalem inside a synagogue 5 days before this attack. It should be noted that it is the first time that settlers have used tear gas canisters and sound bombs in their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the oPt.
Further settler attacks in Hebron and Qalqilia
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Nov — Israeli settlers, on Thursday, attempted to kidnap a Palestinian minor to the south of Hebron, while others attacked a car shop and its owner in Qalqilia, according to security sources. According to WAFA correspondents, settlers from the settlement “Nahal Negohot“, built illegally on land west of Dura, to the south of Hebron, attempted to kidnap 11-year-old Amir Abu Sharar before local residents intervened and saved the child from abduction. Meanwhile, in the area of Qalqilia, settlers attacked a car shop and severely beat the owner, Ahmad Abu Bakir, before fleeing the scene. Mr. Abu Bakir reportedly sustained bruises throughout his body and was transferred to a hospital for treatment. WAFA notes that settler attacks — which have been ongoing for years, with Israeli forces making no attempts to stop them — have escalated recently in light of the current tension in the region, particularly in Jerusalem.
Israeli forces raid homes in Tuqu‘ east of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov– Israeli forces on Friday raided the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘, forcing their way into several homes and firing large amounts of tear gas in clashes that subsequently broke out. Several Palestinians suffered from severe tear-gas suffocation and fainting during clashes with Israeli forces, and a Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at locals who came out to protest. Israeli soldiers raided several houses in the village and reportedly damaged possessions. Two of the properties raided belonged to Moussa al-Umour and Daoud al-Umour. Israeli forces broke the front doors and windows of the homes as they raided them, locals said. Clashes erupted on Thursday as well between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers at the western entrance of Tuqu‘.
PCHR report on Israel human rights violations in the oPt (Nov 13-19, 2014)
PCHR-Gaza 27 Nov — Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza: Shootings: During the reporting period, a Palestinian bus driver from Abu Dees village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, was strangled to death in the West Jerusalem. There are suspicions that extremist settlers committed this crime. Moreover, 21 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. A Palestinian child from the Gaza Strip died of wounds he sustained during the latest Israeli offensive [details follow, e.g.: On 13 November 2014, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded when Israeli forces moved into the new ‘Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. On the same day, an 11-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right eye, due to which he lost vision and sustained fractures to the nose and skull. The boy was wounded during an Israeli incursion into al-Eisawiya village, north of East Jerusalem. On 15 November 2014, a 21-year-old civilian from Qalandya refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, sustained wounds to the right arm, due to which his right arm was amputated from the shoulder. He was wounded due to the explosion of a suspicious object of the Israeli forces’ military remnants. On 18 November 2014, a 17-year-old civilian sustained 2 bullet wounds to the left shoulder and right side of the chest and a 21-year-old civilian was hit by a gas canister to the left leg when about 40 settlers from “Yitzhar” settlement attacked ‘Ourif [or ‘Urif] secondary school for boys [south of Nablus] under the protection of Israeli forces. On the same day, 6 Palestinian civilians, including a paramedic, were wounded when Israeli forces raided houses belonging to the families of Ghassan and Ouday Abu Jamal in al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem [etc.] … Incursions: During the reporting period,Israeli forces conducted at least 54 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 78 Palestinians, including 12 children. 46 of these civilians, including 5 children and 2 women, were arrested in East Jerusalem….
Israeli soldier confesses to abusing Palestinian man for fun
NAZARETH (PIC) 25 Nov — The Israeli leftist group Breaking the Silence on Monday unveiled a new confession made by an Israeli soldier showing some of the repressive practices the Palestinians are exposed to at West Bank checkpoints. The soldier, who worked for an army engineering unit during the first intifada in the West Bank, said that during the intifada, he, like many other soldiers, enjoyed harassing and humiliating peaceful Palestinian civilians and families. He explained how he had enjoyed maltreating a Palestinian father at a checkpoint when he insulted him in front of his family and forced him to leave his car on a rainy day and remove the tires with no reason. He added he and his fellow soldiers loved to see him getting wet in the rain and laughed at the man, but that incident made him feel sorry for many years until he eventually decided to make his confession. [See the organization’s website, like this page of videos]
Followup on recent Jerusalem attacks and alleged attacks
Israel revokes residency of Jerusalem attacker’s widow
Al-Akhbar/AFP/Ma‘an 27 Nov — Israel on Wednesday revoked the residency rights of the widow of a Palestinian who carried out a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, drawing condemnation from human rights groups. “I have ordered the cancellation of Nadia Abu Jamal’s permit to stay in Israel. Anyone who is involved in terror must take into account that there are likely to be implications for their family members too,” Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement. Cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, were shot dead by Israeli police after storming a synagogue with meat cleavers and a gun and killing four Zionist rabbis and an Israeli policeman on November 18. The statement said Nadia had been granted residency in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian land annexed by Israel in a move never recognized by the international community, under a “family reunification” clause allowing residents of the Israeli-occupied territories to stay with spouses who hold either Israeli citizenship or permanent residency. The move came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that the Israeli government is to seek powers to strip 1948 Palestinians or Palestinian residents of Jerusalem of their residency and welfare rights if they or their relatives participate in or incited violence, even stone-throwing. “It cannot be that those who attack Israeli citizens and call for the elimination of the State of Israel will enjoy rights such as National Insurance – and their family members as well, who support them,” Netanyahu told ministers during a cabinet meeting.”This law is important in order to exact a price from those who engage in attacks and incitement, including the throwing of stones and firebombs,” his office quoted him as saying.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem slammed the decision to revoke Abu Jamal’s residency permit. “We object to this measure. It’s abuse of a minister’s authority and a form of collective punishment,” spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli told AFP. “She isn’t accused of any harm, and the revoking of her residency status will actually mean she will be banished from her home and thrown out of the city she lives in,” she said.”Residency and social benefits … aren’t gifts or favors the authorities bestow and can then take away. They’re essential aspects of people’s existence,” Michaeli said.
Meanwhile in a statement on Sunday, Erdan confirmed he had cancelled the permanent residence of Mahmoud Nadi, who served a 10 year prison sentence for driving a man responsible for a 2001 bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub. The decision, which was communicated to Nadi in a letter sent by Erdan, involves cancellation of Nadi’s entry in the population registry and the revocation of his blue Israeli ID card, and means he will no longer be eligible to receive any social benefits, such as national insurance or health insurance. The so-called “blue ID” is an Israeli identification card issued by the interior ministry that entitles holders to national insurance and freedom of movement throughout the country.
IOA to bury bodies of deceased youths in secret cemetery
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 26 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) notified the families of the murdered Palestinian youths, Ghassan and Udai [Abu Jamal], of intent to bury their bodies in the so-called Israeli cemeteries of numbers. A letter sent to the families’ lawyer by Shaul Gordon, the general attorney of the Israeli occupation police, threatened to never return the bodies of the deceased youths and to withhold their bodies in an Israeli graveyard. The letter further mentioned the IOA’s intents to knock down the homes of Udai and Ghassan’s families. Such “exceptional” measures have allegedly been issued as a means to deter further anti-Israeli occupation attacks. Earlier, the Israeli prosecutor general’s office on Monday transferred jurisdiction over appeals to return the bodies of Ghassan and Udai to the police’s legal adviser.
Israeli court freezes demolitions of Jerusalem attack suspect homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — The Israeli Supreme Court decided to freeze demolition orders against the homes of two East Jerusalem Palestinians suspected of killing five men in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue until a verdict on the families’ appeals are decided. The freeze comes as a surprise amid weeks of violence in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities have insisted on carrying out numerous punitive home demolitions against the families of Palestinians thought to have carried out attacks on Israelis. A lawyer from the Palestinian Addameer Prisoner’s Support and Human Rights Organization, Muhammad Mahmoud, said that the Israeli Supreme Court issued a temporary order to freeze the order calling for the demolition of the homes of the families of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal homes until the court decides on the appeal presented by the family and the HAMOKED Center for the Defense of the Individual. A session by the Supreme Court will be held in the coming few days, he added. The Israeli authorities delivered the demolition orders to the family of the two suspects last Thursday, amid a wave of similar demolitions.
‘Home demolitions have not stopped attacks’
SILWAN, Jerusalem (Al Jazeera) 19 Nov by Dalia Hatuqa — Palestinians say their long-simmering frustrations over Israel’s oppressive measures are finally boiling over — Enas al-Shaludi was sitting on an old, worn-out couch, huddled under a thick blanket in front of an electric heater, despite the unusually warm late November day. With one hand, she clutched a picture of her son, AbdelRahman, who on October 22, drove his car into a Jerusalem light rail stop crowded with pedestrians. Two people were killed: a three-month-old baby girl and a woman hailing from Ecuador. Shaludi was shot and succumbed to injuries later. Enas sat with a solemn look on her face. As well as grieving over a son, last night she also lost her home. Overnight Wednesday, Israeli forces demolished her family’s apartment in a four-storey building in Silwan, a majority-Palestinian neighbourhood, which has slowly been targeted by Israeli settlement … Family members said Israeli forces came to the building – housing approximately 50 people in eight apartments – at about 1am. They forced everyone to head to a tent a few metres away. Some of the children left the building with no shoes or socks, and AbdelRahman’s grandmother was not allowed to go to the bathroom, so she was forced to urinate herself, said Amer al-Shaludi, AbdelRahman’s uncle. “They kept us outside until they were done blowing up the house at about 4am,” Amer said … The demolition left seven members of Shaludi’s immediate family – his parents, two brothers and three daughters – homeless. For now, they will be staying with the extended family in the building until they figure out what to do next, Enas said …
For decades, Israel has demolished homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks. But in 2005, the practice, which authorities said was necessary for “deterrence”, was halted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week pledged to speed up the demolitions of homes of those involved in attacks. This came a day after two Palestinian men – also from Jerusalem – killed five Israelis in a synagogue in the western part of the city. Human rights groups had long maintained that home demolitions were an act of collective punishment. “It doesn’t deter; on the contrary, it inflames and increases the hatred even more,” said Jeff Halper, the founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.”What it does is it helps the Israeli people feel that they’ve been avenged.” In 2004, Moshe Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff, formed a review committee to look into the practice of punitive home demolitions. The committee found that it did more harm to Israeli interests, than it did to deter future attacks…. Israeli authorities had long maintained that fear of house demolitions led to families turning in their relatives to stop them from carrying out attacks.
Israel sent Palestinian Authority letter to ‘stop incitement’ over bus driver’s death
Mondoweiss 27 Nov by Allison Deger — When news broke of a Palestinian bus driver’s body found hanging by a metal cord in the rear of an Israeli bus in a West Jerusalem parking lot, two separate narratives developed. The death came in the midst of a bitter pattern of attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians across the city and the official reason given in the autopsy by Israel was that Yousef Hassan al-Ramouni, 32, had committed suicide. However, the Palestinian media, government, family of the deceased, and witnesses to the body, most importantly a pathologist that sat in on the medical exam, all said otherwise, contradicting, the police’s pronouncement that there was “no suspicion of criminal activity.” According to Israeli medical professionals at Abu Kabir hospital in Jerusalem where the exam took place, Palestinian pathologist Dr. Saber al-Aloul agreed with their analysis that the death was self-inflicted. But Dr. al-Aloul sent his own report with different findings that suggest homicide to the Palestinian Authority. He then spoke of foul play to the Palestinian outlet Ma’an News Agency … But with the Palestinian narrative of homicide gaining steam, as well on social media, more action was taken. Mondoweiss has obtained a copy of a letter authored by the Israeli General Coordinator of the Palestinian territories to the Palestinian Authority, asking them “to stop such incitement and bring the genuine facts regarding the circumstances of death of the deceased, to the attention of the Palestinian public.” In Israel, incitement is a crime punishable with a prison sentence. The letter also links al-Ramouni’s death, and the Palestinian media coverage that labeled it a murder to last week’s attack on a synagogue where five Israelis, four rabbis and one Druze police officer, were killed by cousins and East Jerusalem residents Ghassan and Oday and Abu Jamal.
Shin Bet: Construction worker’s death was terror
Ynet 26 Nov by Raanan Ben-Zur — The police have informed the family of Netanel Roi Arami, a 26-year-old Israeli construction worker who fell to his death in September, that their son was probably killed, it was cleared for publication Wednesday morning. Arami owned a construction company contracted to do exterior work on a hi-rise building in central Israel. During the fatal day in mid September, Arami was rappelling along the side of the Petah Tikvah building in order to seal vent openings when both his cables snapped and he fell 11 stories to his death. The police first said his death was an accident, while his family maintained otherwise, now it has been cleared for publication that the family has been right all along. The Petah Tivka court further cleared for publication that the Shin Bet had arrested three suspects for their role in his murder, now openly being investigated as a terror attack, but were eventually released. “This was not a work related accident, Netanel was a professional,” his family said at the time, and now it seems the police could agree. Over 50 workers were at the site of the time, the majority of which are Israel-Arabs and Palestinians, as well as a few Chinese nationals, but none have been arrested. The workers, for their part, claim his death was an accident. At the end of September it was cleared for publication that the police were also investigating the nationalistic angle of the case, but fell short of admitting that the murder was such an attack. Hours afterwards, his parents held a press conference and said: “My son was murdered because he was Jewish, there’s no other reason,” said Miriam, his mother.
Together, apart and afraid: living in Jerusalem
AFP 24 Nov — The two young Jerusalem shop assistants wear similar clothes and makeup. Only their names tell them apart as Israeli and Palestinian. But they know that talking about events outside might test their friendship. Avital and Iman spend their days chatting at a budget clothes shop in west Jerusalem. They look almost identical, dressed from the store’s “winter collection” and wearing their dark, straightened hair the same way. But months of violence in the Holy City, including a spate of deadly Palestinian attacks against Israelis, have ramped up tensions. It is a subject Avital and Iman avoid discussing. Last week, two Palestinians armed with a gun and meat cleavers killed five people at a synagogue — the culmination of months of tension, and after a series of apparent “lone-wolf” attacks, including hit-and-runs in which Palestinian drivers killed four people. “We’ve been working together for a few months, and we’ve been getting along,” said Iman, 21, from the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Safafa. “But we avoid talking about what’s been happening because we both know that conversation could end badly.” Twenty-two-year-old Avital, who lives in the Jewish neighbourhood of Talpiot, agrees that it is best to avoid certain topics. – Burned alive – “We don’t talk about the incidents. There’s what happens in the shop and what happens outside. The two are separate.” The violence in Jerusalem began in earnest in July, when Jewish extremists burned alive a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in apparent revenge for the killing of three Jewish teenagers in the occupied West Bank … On the surface, a fragile coexistence exists in public parks, shopping centres and workplaces, with Palestinians crossing from east to west Jerusalem to work in often menial jobs. But other than out of professional or economic necessity, Israelis and Palestinians do not tend to mix, increasingly avoiding each other for fear of random or revenge attacks. – The proof is cuddles – “I’m scared of being assaulted,” said Iman, who did not want to give her family name. Raada, a Palestinian working at a Talpiot nursery, said Jewish parents now regard her with increasing suspicion. “I learned that some parents demanded the Shin Bet (Israel’s domestic security service) vet me,” she said, also refusing to give her family name. “I’ve looked after Jewish children for years. These people’s kids come in each morning and cuddle me. Is that not enough proof for them?”
Detentions / Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli takes record for world’s youngest prisoner, 11 months old
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Nov — 11-month-old Balqis Ghawadra became the youngest prisoner in the world, after visiting her father in Eshel Israeli prison, occupied Beer Sheva. Nihal Ghannam Ghawadra from Bir Al-Basha village, near Jenin, waited passionately [patiently?] for the permission to visit her husband, Mu’ammar, only to be separated from her two little children, and to see her entire family become prisoners, Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights reports. According to the PNN, Nihal headed to the prison on Wednesday, with her daughter Balqis, 11 months, and son Baraa’, age 2. As soon as she arrived, the three were separated. Nihal was imprisoned, along with her two children, under the pretext of sneaking a mobile phone to her husband. The entire family has now been imprisoned, as a result. Mu’ammar’s mother told Ahrar that her daughter in law called to inform her that Israeli authorities had imprisoned her and her children, and began calling on people to help release them from the prison.
Israel releases 2 infants detained with mother on jail visit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Israel on Thursday afternoon released two infants who were detained by authorities after accompanying their mother on a visit to see their father in an Israeli jail. Executive director of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society Abdullah al-Zghari said that the two children — nine-month-old Balqis Ghawadra and two-year-old Baraa Ghawadra — had been delivered to the organization from the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem after Israeli authorities dropped them off there. Al-Zghari added that the children had been detained, along with their mother, who is still in Israeli custody, in a social affairs office in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba since Wednesday. Al-Zghari identified the mother of the children as Nihal Ghawadra from Bir al-Basha near Jenin. Her husband is Muammar Ghawadra, a prisoner who was released during the Shalit swap deal with Hamas in 2011 after he spent eight years in Israeli custody, but was rearrested by Israeli authorities in June 2014 in violation of the agreement.
Israel detains 17-year-old girl claiming she planned to stab soldier
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — The Israeli army detained a 17-year-old Palestinian from Hebron after claiming that she was planning to stab an Israeli soldier, Israeli media reported. Hebrew-language news site Walla said that the girl refused to undergo a search at the military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque near Hebron’s Old City, leading soldiers to threaten her with their guns in order to force her to undergo a search. The Israeli army said that they found a knife on the girl in the inspection that followed. Palestinian sources told a Ma’an reporter in Hebron that the 17-year-old was identified as Hala Musallam Abu Sall and that she was from the al-‘Arrub refugee camp in northern Hebron. Abu Sall was taken for interrogation by Israeli intelligence services.
Soldiers kidnap twelve Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, various Palestinian communities in different parts of the occupied West Bank, broke into homes and ransacked them, and kidnapped twelve Palestinians. Local sources in Bethlehem have reported that several armored military vehicles invaded Wadi Fokkin village, west of Bethlehem, and kidnapped three Palestinians … Soldiers also invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped three Palestinians after breaking into their homes and ransacking them. The three have been identified as Rajeh Abu ‘Ajamiyya, 42, ‘Ala Mustafa al-Ballass, 23, and Wisam Fayez Abdullah, 21. Abdullah was kidnapped after the soldiers invaded his family home, searching for his brother who was there at the time of the invasion, and the soldiers kidnapped him instead … In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped four Palestinians, including a young woman who was assaulted by the soldiers. Three of the kidnapped Palestinians have been identified as Anas Dabash and Mahdi ‘Attoun from Sur Baher, and Amani Maghrebi from the at-Tour town. In related news, soldiers invaded the central West Bank city of Ramallah, in addition to al-Bireh and Betunia towns, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Fayez Abu Warda and Hussein Abu Kweik.
Soldiers kidnap 15 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Nov by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday at dawn, fifteen Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem, and took them to a number of interrogation and detention centers. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) stated that dozens of soldiers invaded different neighborhoods in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and Beit Ummar nearby town, and kidnapped eight Palestinians … In addition, soldiers invaded a bakery in the ‘Asseeda area in Hebron, and detained the workers for several hours. The soldiers also fired gas bombs at a number of homes in the area. In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers invaded the al-‘Eesawiyya town, and the Shu‘fat refugee camp, in the center of the city, and kidnapped four Palestinians. Also in Jerusalem, soldiers invaded and ransacked a number of homes in the Old City, and nearby neighborhoods, and interrogated several Palestinians. Soldiers also handed ‘Adel Issa Hijazi, 42, from Bethlehem, a warrant for interrogation in the Etzion military base. Hijazi was trying to cross the Za’tara Israeli military roadblock, south of the northern west Bank city of Nablus. In addition, soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into and searched several homes, and kidnapped three Palestinians.
Israeli court postpones female detainee’s trial for the 20th time
JENIN (PIC) 27 Nov — The Salem military court has postponed Wednesday the trial of the female detainee Muna Qudan, 43, for the twentieth consecutive time. Family sources told the PIC reporter that the Israeli court postponed Qudan’s hearing till December 22, aiming to extend her detention as much as they can without charge or trial. The female detainee was arrested more than once in Israeli jails most recently was in November 2012 after serving three years behind Israeli bars. Her brother and fiancé are also held in Israeli jails.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities renewed for the fifth time in a row the administrative detention of the leader in Hamas Movement Adnan Hosari for six additional months. The detainee’s lawyer informed his family that the court extended Hosari’s administrative detention for five months a week before his release, the PIC reporter confirmed. Hosari served more than five years in Israeli jails, and 18 months in PA prisons for being affiliated with Hamas.
2 Palestinians to be detained without trial for 6 months
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Israeli authorities on Friday transferred two East Jerusalem Palestinian detainees to administrative detention without charge or trial, where they will reportedly be kept for the next six months. Amjad Abu Asab, who is head of an East Jerusalem committee of prisoners’ families, told Ma‘an that Israel transferred Amjad al-Natsheh, 20, from ‘Anata and Sadeq Ghaith from Silwan for six months of administrative detention. Al-Natsheh was detained four days ago as a result of a Facebook post in which he said he wished to die as a “martyr.” Abu Asab said that Israeli interrogators accused him of planning a terror attack as a result of his post. Al-Natsheh, however, reportedly denied the charge, saying that the post represented “just a wish.” Abu Asab said that Ghaith, meanwhile, was detained last Tuesday with his brother Adnan Ghaith, who is the secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem. Administrative detention refers to the tactic of keeping a prisoner without charge or trial for extended periods of time, often due to “security” concerns. Israel routinely uses this tactic on detained Palestinians, even though international law stipulates it only be used in exceptional circumstances. According to Israeli human rights groups B’tselem, in Aug. 2014, 473 Palestinians were being kept in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, down from a high of nearly 1,000 in 2002.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Restriction of movement
Lieberman unveils racist peace plan: Pay Palestinians to leave Israel
Mondoweiss 28 Nov by Philip Weiss — The latest shocker, reported in Haaretz. Maybe the New York Times will cover this before long, and lament its beloved Israeli democracy for even permitting such discussion. By a leading government minister who seeks to be Prime Minister. Barak Ravid reports: ‘Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday published an updated platform for his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, which includes a “peace plan” that calls on the government to encourage the transfer of Israeli Arabs to a Palestinian state by offering them “economic incentives.”’
Israel denies residency to Arab Israelis’ Palestinian spouses
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 28 Nov by Hana Salah — Israeli restrictions on movement between the West Bank and Gaza are not only an obstacle for Palestinians living there, but also for the Arab Israeli spouses of men or women holding Palestinian nationality. After the outbreak of the second intifada, the Israeli government passed a temporary measure in 2003 to deny residency or citizenship to Palestinians living in the occupied territories. It has been continually extended, most recently in March 2014. Arab Israeli citizens were, however, allowed to enter Gaza to reunite with their spouses or families. The Israeli spouse must renew his or her residence in Israel every six months … According to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, “Israel does not consider family reunification a right for the Palestinians, but rather a gesture of compassion.” Israeli authorities have not released the precise number of Israeli citizens living in Gaza, but based on data provided in 2013 by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to B’Tselem, of which Al-Monitor obtained a copy, about 425 Israelis live in Gaza, including 157 under the age of 16. Shai Grunberg, spokeswoman for the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, told Al-Monitor, “Israeli citizens married to Gazans have the right to enter Gaza without delay. But since the implementation of the disengagement plan in 2005, they have faced two main problems: bureaucratic procedures for obtaining visitor permits and difficulty getting children of Israelis born in Gaza being recognized [as Israelis].” Israeli authorities require Gaza-born children of Israeli Arabs to undergo expensive genetic tests and go through complicated bureaucratic procedures. As a result, many of them approach human rights organizations to lobby for them. Gisha has helped children of Israeli citizens receive passports, which are guaranteed by law. According to Yehia al-Muhareb, lawyer at Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Palestinian human rights organizations in Gaza also dedicate part of their work to getting reunification cases heard in Israeli courts….
50 rabbis call for storming the Aqsa platform
Middle East Monitor 28 Nov — A group of 50 rabbis affiliated with an extremely right-wing Zionist movement have signed a petition calling for the storming of Al-Aqsa the day after tomorrow. A number of right-wing groups published statements on their websites yesterday evening claiming that this petition comes in the wake of what they described as “terrorist events in Jerusalem and pointing the finger of blame on those who ascend to the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa]”. The petition signed by the rabbis said: “One of the important ways in which we can demand our right to the Temple Mount is to ascend the Temple Mount. We believe that our presence in the Temple Mount is guided by pure and traditional Jewish teachings and laws and we are proud to uphold these values as we ascend to the mountain of purity.” The most prominent rabbis to sign the petition are Dov Lior, Nahum Rabinovitch and Ram Hacohen. Some of these religious figures have issued religious rulings ordering the killing of Arabs. The petition considered the [attempted] murder of right-wing Jewish activist Yehuda Glick “a catalyst that will continue to promote Jewish ascension to the Temple Mount”.
Three elderly Palestinians live in Ajami Park to protest against their eviction
[with photos] Middle East Monitor 28 Nov — Three older members of the Abu Al-Ayoun family have been living in a tent for the past seven months in the Ajami Central Park in Jaffa in protest of their forced eviction from their home on Ha’ Dolfin Street in the Ajami neighbourhood 10 years ago. The youngest of the group, a 75-year-old woman told Arabs48 that the Israeli government created false papers in order to expel her from her home in Ajami. The family then moved from one rented house to another since their forced eviction but have had to deal with provocations from various homeowners and have been forced to move into smaller spaces due to the city’s housing crisis. The family has since relocated to a tent in the Ajami Central Park and have filed a lawsuit against the housing corporation that wronged them a decade ago. The elderly woman has taken to camping in the cold weather and she insists that she will not leave her tent unless she is returned to the house that was seized from her. She refused donations and called upon Jaffa city officials to see to it that her trial takes place so she may live out her life in dignity.
Israeli authorities renew travel ban against Sheikh Raed Salah
UMM AL-FAHM (PIC) 27 Nov — Israel’s interior ministry on Wednesday renewed a travel ban against Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Occupied Palestine. Israel’s interior minister Gild Erdan issued an order for maintaining the travel ban against Sheikh Salah under the security pretext. The ban is set to be in effect until January 9. Salah is an outspoken opponent of Israel’s illegal settlement policies and Judaization plots. Some observers have said that the travel ban renewal against the man aims to tighten the noose around him against the background of his defense of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Salah, meanwhile, was unfazed by the ban, saying in comment that the Israeli occupation authorities would never succeed in laying a siege around his voice, even if they managed to lay a siege around his body. “My voice is the voice of every free man in the Arab world,” Salah said. “This voice cannot be silenced or broken because it is the voice of right against the evil perpetrated by the Israeli occupation,” he added. Describing the Israeli move as “racist”, Salah added that Israel was mistaken in believing that it could break the will of the Palestinians.
Israeli forces ban 5 from Aqsa for 3 months
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov – Israeli forces on Tuesday handed five Palestinian residents of Jerusalem military orders banning them from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for three months. Two women were among the five Palestinians. Sources identified the five as Dalal al-Hashlamoun, Latifa Abd al-Latif, 17-year-old Abd al-Athim Abu Sbeih, 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Sneina and 19-year-old Karam Bassam Ramlawi.
Palestinian injured as Israeli forces open fire in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — A Palestinian was injured late Friday after Israeli forces opened fire near the border with the Gaza Strip east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, medical sources told Ma‘an. Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Asraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that a Palestinian youth in his twenties was hit in his right foot with live fire after Israeli soldiers shot at Palestinians east of Jabaliya. Al-Qidra added that the youth was subsequently brought to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, where his injuries were reported as moderate.
Israeli forces open fire on Gaza near Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli forces deployed on the border in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday morning opened fire at Palestinian homes and properties in the area, witnesses said. Israeli forces deployed near the Kissufim military base opened fire east of al-Qarrara, located north of Khan Younis, twice early Friday, once after midnight and again later in the morning, the witnesses told Ma‘an. They said the attacks were fired toward Palestinian homes in the area, but that no injuries were reported. The incident came only hours after Israeli forces fired a tank shell into the Gaza Strip on Thursday after claiming that shots had been fired at an Israeli military vehicle near the border. Although the shell caused no reported injuries, it marked the most serious escalation on the Gaza border since the end of a massive Israeli assault over the summer that left nearly 2,200 Palestinians dead and over 11,000 injured, the vast majority of them civilians … Fadil Muhammad Halawah, 32, was shot dead on Sunday while hunting birds east of Jabaliya. He was the first Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since the signing of a ceasefire agreement in late August.
UNRWA declares a state of emergency in Gaza amid severe flooding
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — The UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA on Thursday evening declared a state of emergency in Gaza City amid massive rains that have shut down normal life in parts of the besieged coastal enclave’s largest city. A major storm over the past week has filled the streets of Gaza City with water and sewage, causing further misery for the more than 100,000 Palestinians left homeless — including nearly 30,000 still staying in emergency shelters — from Israel’s massive offensive over summer that also left nearly 2,200 dead. UNRWA said in a statement that 63 schools across Gaza City and 43 schools across the Northern Gaza Strip governorate had been closed Thursday due to the flooding. Hundreds of residents in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City had also been evacuated due to the rise of a “storm water lagoon” that had flooded many homes in the area. “The flooding is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by blockade and the unprecedented destruction from the latest Israeli offensive,” the UN agency said in a post on its Facebook. The agency, which is already massively stretched due to the summer’s conflict, said that it was “providing emergency fuel to supply back-up generators for pumping stations, portable pumps, municipalities, water, sanitation and health facilities.” … The floods are exacerbated by a chronic lack of fuel that limits how much water can be pumped out of flood-stricken areas. The fuel shortages are a result of the eight-year-old Israeli siege, which also limits the import of other kinds of machinery related to pumping and sewage management that could help Gazans combat the floods … Thursday marks the fourth straight day of unusually heavy rain across the region, causing temperatures to dip across Palestine. The West Bank has also experienced flooding as a result of the storm, causing difficult driving conditions in many of the region’s hillier villages and cities … Al-Areda said that the flooding had hit cities in the northern parts of the West Bank more severely than any other. The worst hit has been Qalqiliya as it is surrounded on all sides by the Israeli separation wall, making water-pumping a complex and difficult task.
Top UN official aloof as Gaza is ‘submerged in despair’
Electronic Intifada 28 Nov by Ali Abunimah — A senior UN official has declined to respond to mounting warnings that the failure of his so-called Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism could lead to a breakdown of the August ceasefire that ended Israel’s 51-day massacre in the territory. Anger is growing over the fact that there has been virtually no rebuilding, a situation made worse by devastating floods that have prompted UN agencies to declare a “state of emergency.” “We do not have any comments,” Nicole Ganz, spokesperson for Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) said in an email to The Electronic Intifada on Thursday. The curt reply came in response to a statement from Gaza’s private sector bodies rejecting the UN-sponsored reconstruction plan. In October, The Electronic Intifada revealed details of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, pushed by Serry and signed by Israel and the PA. It calls for onerous restrictions on building supplies and monitoring for Palestinians trying to rebuild their homes. It also gives Israel intrusive access to private information about Palestinian families, collected by the UN, which Israel can then use to veto who gets aid.
Hamas: UN amends Gaza reconstruction plan after talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — A senior Hamas official claimed Thursday that the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has amended a reconstruction plan for Gaza after a request by Hamas officials. Senior official Mousa Abu Marzouq said Wednesday evening that a Gaza reconstruction deal brokered by the UN in September was not discussed with the movement. The official, speaking on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV Channel, said “Hamas neither agreed to the plan verbally, nor on paper.” “We requested amendments and some items of the plan were amended. All that the international envoy requested was to secure the movement of UN teams in Gaza,” he added, without providing any details about the nature of the amendments. The official said that Qatar is the only country that has kept its promises to the Gaza Strip.
Egypt crackdown adds to Gaza blockade woes
AFP 28 Nov — Already struggling under the weight of an Israeli blockade, Gazans are now feeling the effects of an Egyptian exclusion zone along their shared border that has sent prices soaring. After the cost of his cigarettes nearly tripled, 18-year-old Jihad Ahmed now buys just a few at a time instead of a pack and smokes them sparingly. Imad Shalbiya, who sold them to him, said Egypt’s crackdown on cross-border smuggling tunnels was behind the price hike … So far, Egypt has destroyed 1,600 tunnels. In late October it also closed the Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s only gateway to the world not controlled by Israel. “Prices are very high since Egypt completely closed the tunnels,” said Abu Mohammed, who owns a small supermarket west of Gaza City, noting hikes in the price of “milk, legumes and even cheese.” … Products entering from Israel are far more expensive than those originating in Egypt, and largely beyond the means of the average Palestinian in the crowded coastal territory, where youth unemployment is running at 63 percent. Oxfam says more than 40 percent of the overall population is jobless and that 80 percent live on humanitarian aid … During last summer’s war with Israel, UN figures show that around 20,000 housing units, or nearly six percent of the housing stock, were severely damaged or destroyed … since fighting ended on August 26, only 1,300 tonnes of building materials have crossed into the Strip, Palestinian officials say. “That’s not enough to put up a single building,” according to Gaza builders’ merchant Suheil Tuman. When distributed through the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), a 50 kilogramme sack of cement sells for 5.50 euros. But the price is 42 euros on the black market. “When the tunnels were open, a tonne of cement sold for 380 shekels (80 euros) on the black market,” Tuman said. “Today it is 3,800 shekels.”
Egypt considering re-opening of Rafah crossing next week
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Egyptian security sources said on Thursday that authorities might re-open the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt next week in order to allow Palestinians still stuck in Egypt to cross. The announcement came at the end of a two-day period in which the crossing was open for the first time in over a month, allowing some of the thousands of Palestinians stuck on the Egyptian side to cross to Gaza. Many complained, however, that the crossing only operated at limited capacity and for limited hours on both Wednesday and Thursday, and many were unable to cross. Only 251 Palestinians were able to cross from the Egyptian side of the crossing to Gaza on Wednesday, while only just over one thousand Palestinians had been able to cross before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. The numbers were a mere fraction of the 6,000 Palestinians waiting on the Egyptian side and the 30,000 waiting on the Gaza side. Egyptian authorities closed Rafah in late October in the wake of a bomb attack in North Sinai last month that left dozens of Egyptian policemen dead.
OCHA: Gaza patients granted Israeli approval to cross Erez for treatment drop in October
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Nov – The patient applications that were granted approval for Gazans by Israeli occupation authorities to cross Erez crossing for medical treatment dropped by 5.78%, reported the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “In October, the total number of permit applications to cross Erez (which included casualty patients as well as normal referral patients) was 1,327, accounting for 79.5% of the pre-conflict monthly average of 1,670 applications,” reported OCHA in the monthly report about the referral of patients from the Gaza Strip. OCHA also reported in this regard that out of the total number of patient permit applications submitted in October to cross Erez, only 1038 (78.22%) were approved, a drop from the average approval rate for the first half of 2014 of 84%. This indicates that 76 applicants (5.73%) were denied access, the highest number denied in one month since August 2010 when 87 patients were denied. 213 (16.05%) did not receive an answer in time for their hospital appointments and therefore suffered delay in health care.
2 children die in Gaza fire
GAZA (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Two Palestinian children died and a number of other family members were injured in a fire that broke out in their apartment in the al-Nusairat neighborhood in western Gaza City on Wednesday. Spokesman for the health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra said that Mohammad Zuhdi Abu Ghalyoun, 15, and his brother Abd al-Rahman, 7, both arrived dead at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Al-Qidra added that their parents and a brother were lightly injured in the fire. Police are investigating the cause of the fire. Due to frequent electricity cuts caused by the Israeli siege, many Palestinian families in Gaza use candles for light and warmth during the winter.
Azerbaijan gives first-ever donation to UNRWA for Gaza relief
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — The government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has given its first-ever donation to the UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, offering $632,000 to help provide emergency relief assistance to Palestinians impacted by Israel’s assault over the summer … UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl was quoted in the statement as saying: “I am delighted that we are receiving this first ever support from Azerbaijan.” “Not only will it be very useful in Gaza, and for that we are deeply grateful, but this new partnership encourages us to explore more cooperation with Azerbaijan in favor of Palestinian refugees,” he added. The moves comes as a surprise because Azerbaijan is a predominantly Muslim nation that maintains strong ties with Israel.
Gaza ministry stops importing Israeli fruit
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — The Gaza Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday announced that it will stop importing Israeli fruit to the besieged enclave after Israeli authorities prevented vegetables from Gaza from entering the West Bank at the Kerem Shalom crossing. “We decided to stop importing fruits from the Israeli side to pressure Israel to resume allowing our vegetables to be exported,” Tahsin Wal-Saqqa, general manager of marketing and crossings in the ministry, told Ma‘an. On Sunday, Israel prevented 12 trucks of vegetables from being sent into the West Bank from Gaza. Two of the trucks were supposed to be sent to Jordan, and the total value was estimated at $150,000. The ban caused Palestinian farmers huge financial losses and will lead to a decrease in prices of vegetables in Gaza, the ministry said at the time. In early November, Israel allowed the export of agricultural products from Gaza to the West Bank for the first time since 2007. Before the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza following the Palestinian division in 2007, Gaza exported fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and products to the West Bank.
Amnesty condemns Egypt’s ‘unlawful evictions’ on Gaza border
AFP 27 Nov — Amnesty International condemned Thursday Egypt’s demolition of hundreds of homes and called for a halt to its “unlawful evictions” of residents to create a buffer zone with the Gaza Strip. Egypt started work on the zone at the end of October with the aim of stemming jihadists reportedly infiltrating Egypt’s Sinai peninsula from across the border … “Egyptian authorities must halt the arbitrary demolition of hundreds of homes and mass forced evictions underway in Rafah, North Sinai in order to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty. They “have proceeded with the evictions completely ignoring key safeguards required under international law including consultation with residents, adequate prior notice, sufficient compensation for losses and granting alternative housing to those who cannot provide for themselves, rendering the evictions unlawful.” More than 800 homes are being demolished and 1,100 families displaced to build the 500-metre (yard) wide, 13.5-kilometre (about eight-mile) long buffer zone.
Abu Marzouk: The unity government’s term ends early next month
GAZA (PIC) 27 Nov — Member of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the Palestinian unity government’s term of office would expire on the second of next December and stressed the need for forming a strong national government instead of the current one. “The consensus government’s term of office is six months ending on the second of next December, and most of the political forces and factions demand a transition to a strong national unity government and there are lots of reasons justifying this position,” Abu Marzouk stated on Wednesday. He asserted that the failure of the current government to assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip is attributed to the absence of a political will on the part of the Palestinian Authority leadership to move the national reconciliation forward.
France to recognise Palestine if talks fail
Al Jazeera 28 Nov — France has warned that it would recognise a Palestinian state if a final international effort to overcome the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians failed, and proposed a two-year timeframe to end the conflict through a UN-backed resolution. “If this final effort to reach a negotiated solution fails, then France will have to do what it takes by recognising without delay the Palestinian state. We are ready,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told parliament on Friday. His statement came as French politicians debated a motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as an independent state, amid growing European frustration at the paralysed Middle East peace process. The symbolic motion, being discussed on Friday, is expected to pass comfortably on December 2 when the lower house of parliament votes on the text proposed by the ruling Socialists. The vote comes hot on the heels of a similar resolution approved by British legislators on October 13, Spanish MPs on November 18 and the formal recognition by Sweden on October 30.
Erdoğan slams int’l silence on state terrorism against Gazans
ANKARA (PIC) 29 Nov — Turkish president Recep Erdoğan condemned the international community for not paying attention to the state terrorism which the Palestinians are being exposed to in the Gaza Strip. “State terrorism being applied to Gaza goes unnoticed,” Erdoğan said Friday at a joint press conference with Pope Francis, who is on a three-day visit to Turkey. The Turkish president also criticized the world for ignoring Israel’s serious violations at the Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest places, accusing the international community of being passive towards Israel’s restrictions on the religious freedoms of Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem. Erdoğan said that the international silence and double standard towards military coups, mass killings, human rights abuses and injustice that happen in some Arab and Muslim countries hurt the soul of Muslim societies and those who believe in justice.
PA security forces vow to continue crackdown on outlaws
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Palestinian Authority security forces urged all fugitives hiding in Area C of the Hebron district to turn themselves in as soon possible, vowing that a crackdown which began in October is set to continue. “All 20 fugitives have to turn themselves in to security services as soon as possible, so they can be tried in Palestinian courts,” a statement released by the governor of Hebron and signed by security commanders said. Some 40 Palestinians were arrested in Hebron in October by Palestinian security forces. On Oct. 16, PA security forces shot and killed Bilal al-Rajabi during clashes which broke out as PA forces attempted to arrest several known outlaws who had been hiding south of Hebron in Area C. The PA said it was investigating the death at the time, but no details have been released. Extra security forces were sent to Hebron in early November to take part in the campaign against alleged outlaws.
Barenboim leaving La Scala after 9 years
MILAN (AP) 28 Nov — One of Daniel Barenboim’s focuses after leaving the role of music director for Milanese opera house La Scala next month will be opening an academy for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra of Israeli and Palestinian musicians in Berlin. The Argentine-born Israeli conductor said Friday that besides training the next generation of young musicians from the region, he hopes the academy can form human connections that can one day help stanch the worsening Middle East conflict. “I am convinced, and this is why I make so much effort, that the only thing we can do is to find ways to create contacts between human beings, without politics,” Barenboim told reporters. “Politics doesn’t work, because this is a human conflict. There are two peoples who don’t want to live on the same ground.” Barenboim said he discussed the conflict during a meeting last week with the Argentine-born Pope Francis, focusing “on the very urgent need to find a solution.”
Israel thwarts attack on Jerusalem stadium: Shin Bet
AFP 27 Nov — Israel has thwarted a planned attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Jerusalem’s biggest football stadium, arresting 30 suspected militants commanded from Turkey, security services said Thursday. The Holy City is on edge following a series of deadly “lone-wolf” attacks on Israelis, including deliberate hit-and-run incidents by Palestinian drivers, and the killing of five people in a synagogue. The 30 suspects, members of a West Bank-based network, were detained in September, domestic security service Shin Bet said after lifting a gag order on the operation. Aged 23 to 30, they were recruited from Jordan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria, by Hamas commanders based in Turkey, Shin Bet said. Their orders allegedly included attacking the Teddy Stadium home to the Beitar Jerusalem club, some of whose supporters are known for their racist and anti-Arab sentiments. Jerusalem’s light railway, which links Jewish settlements in annexed Arab east Jerusalem to the city centre, was also on a list of potential targets, Shin Bet said. No details were given on the types of attacks planned, or the fate of the suspects. But the attacks would have claimed “many victims,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. There was no immediate response from Hamas
‘Killing Hamas’ taught as basic right for 2nd-grade students in Tel Aviv
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Nov — Teachers at an Israeli school recently delivered a worksheet to their students which includes, in a list of rights, the right of “Killing Hamas”. [see illustration] This surprised some students’ parents enough to cause them to make a formal complaint against the school, Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports. According to Channel 10 Hebrew News, students of Tel Aviv’s “Blokh” school were shocked to see the bizarre inclusion on a 2nd grade worksheet. Parents were quoted to say that “instead of protecting the students, the school throws them in politics beanball”, noting that such curriculum was not appropriate for 2nd graders. Other rights reportedly included the right to swim, the right to eat ice cream, the right to buy stationery, the right of education, the right to faith in God and the right to eat. The Israeli Ministry of Education responded as saying that this point is an initiative of one of the pupils but stated. however, that the right does not fit in with the laws of “democratic” countries.
US to provide 3,000 ‘smart bombs’ for Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Nov — The United States Department of Defense has announced that it will supply the Israeli air force with 3,000 smart bombs (precision-guided munitions designed to achieve greater accuracy). The funding for the sale will come from US military aid to Israel, and will be paid until the end of November, 2016. The United States provides Israel with some $8.5 million in military aid each day, while it gives Palestinians $0. See: U.S. Military Aid and the Israel/Palestine Conflict, at If Americans Knew, for details.
Analysis / Opinion
If America had laws like Israel / Avital Burg
The Forward 25 Nov — A new proposed bill, supported by senators on both sides of the aisle, will finally define and determine the United States of America as the land of the Protestant People, the largest religious constituency in the U.S. and the group out of which America’s founding fathers and ruling leadership emerged. The new law aims to anchor Protestant values in the laws of the land, inspired by the spirit of the American Constitution. Furthermore, the bill proceeds to state that the U.S. will continue to uphold a fundamentally democratic character. According to the new law, the United States will be fully committed to the foundations of Freedom, Justice, and Peace, in light of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, the bill suggests, the right to implement a national self-definition will be exclusively reserved for the Protestant People. According to the new bill, Protestant values will serve as inspiration to lawmakers and judges at the different levels of the United States’ legislative and judicial branches. In cases where a court of justice encounters difficulties in ruling over issues that have no readily available answers in the Law, in the Christian Canon, or in logical reasoning, it will then rule according to the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace stemming from the Protestant heritage. In addition, the national emblems of the United States, such as its flag and national anthem, will be drawn directly from the tradition of the Protestant Church, and the official calendar of the U.S. will follow the Protestant liturgical year. Finally, the United States will further act to preserve and entrench the Protestant historical and cultural tradition and to cultivate it in the U.S. and abroad.
Any reader who has gotten this far would probably note that such a law could not be passed or even seriously proposed by the United States legislature. In Israel, however, it could become a fundamental law, on a level equivalent to a constitutional amendment in the United States. The different clauses listed above are not a free interpretation of the bill or wild projections of what this bill could imply; they are the clauses of the original Hebrew bill, translated into the U.S. political context. I have simply replaced the phrase “the Jewish People” and its associated traits with the “Protestant People” and its associated traits, such as “Protestant values” and “the Christian Canon.”
East is east: a series of articles on the processes that led to the outbreak of violence in Jerusalem / Nir Hasson
Haaretz 28 Nov — Article 1: The dialectic of Israelization — the violence broke out even as East and West Jerusalem were drawing closer to one another — When the wounded victims of a terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue arrived at Hadassah University Hospital 10 days ago, one of the doctors who treated them was Dr. Abed Kalila. Only when he left the trauma room did Kalila learn that the perpetrator of the attack came from his own East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber. “My heart broke to think of the wounded,” said Kalila, 41, one of the hospital’s senior surgeons. In an interview with Haaretz, Kalila sought to give a different picture of Jabal Mukaber than the one portrayed in the media. He is one of seven siblings, five of whom are either doctors already or in medical school. The other two are engineers. “On the street where I live, no exaggeration, there are seven doctors,” he said. Yet that same street, he noted, has no sidewalks, like most streets in East Jerusalem. And a demolition order has been served against his father’s house. Moreover, though Kalila is an Israeli citizen, two of his five children are not, due to bureaucratic problems. “What’s the difference between me and you?” he demanded. “I don’t invest? I don’t work? I don’t contribute to society enough? So you begin to ask yourself questions. Where do I belong? I want to work and raise my children, but on the other hand, I’m a Palestinian, and I have an obligation toward my society. Most people want to receive what they deserve and live their lives.” Kalila’s dilemma is shared by almost all East Jerusalem Palestinians. In recent months, other Israelis have seen Jerusalem’s Arab residents primarily through the prism of violence – children throwing stones and men committing lethal terror attacks. But East Jerusalem society is far more complex than this simplistic portrayal. In recent years, this society has been undergoing two seemingly contradictory processes. On one hand there is a growing identification with Islam and Palestinian nationalism. On the other hand, there is growing integration into Israeli society and closer ties with western Jerusalem – a process Haaretz has termed Israelization, though Palestinians consider this term controversial. The trend toward integration is evident, inter alia, in education. Parents increasingly want their children to learn Hebrew, study the Israeli curriculum and take the Israeli matriculation exam instead of the Palestinian one. More East Jerusalem residents are also choosing to study in Israeli universities rather than abroad. In addition, East Jerusalem Arabs are no longer largely manual laborers: They work in academia, sell clothing in fashionable stores or even start their own businesses. The taboo against applying for Israeli citizenship is waning as well, and there are now about 1,000 applicants a year (of whom about half actually receive citizenship). This growing integration is very visible. Increasingly, Arabs can be seen on the light rail, in the malls or walking about downtown Jerusalem. The generally accepted explanation for this process is the forcible separation between East Jerusalem and the West Bank that Israel created when it erected the separation fence, coupled with the long period of time – almost 50 years – that has elapsed since Israel annexed East Jerusalem….
A Jordanian spins comic book tales to counter terrorist ideologies
OSLO (New York Times) 28 Nov by Danny Hakim — SULEIMAN BAKHIT has made a career of studying heroes. Mr. Bakhit, 36, is a Jordanian comic book author and entrepreneur who creates Middle Eastern stories that are an alternative to terrorist ideologies. His field research has included surveys of children in poor neighborhoods in and around the Jordanian capital of Amman and in Syrian refugee camps. All this, he says, has given him an insight into what fuels terrorism, and a specialist’s appreciation for the propaganda strategies of the Islamic State, and how they have improved upon those pioneered by Al Qaeda. Where Osama bin Laden once lectured in didactic videos, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has young jihadists speaking to potential recruits in their native tongues, whether English, French or Arabic, and connecting on an emotional level. They “preach terrorism as a heroic journey,” Mr. Bakhit said in an interview. “The biggest threat in the Middle East is terrorism disguised as heroism.” … “The greatest heroic journey in our culture is the journey of the Prophet Muhammad, who left his village to go meditate in a cave in the middle of the desert,” he said. “He was meditating, and there the archangel came down and gave him the message of Islam. He came out of that cave transformed with a new vision of Islam and united all Arabs around that vision.” “What’s interesting is that Bin Laden emulated that journey to the letter,” he continued. “Bin Laden left his life of wealth and aristocracy in Saudi Arabia, went to the caves in Afghanistan and emerged from these caves a new leader, with a new vision to cleanse the shame of the Muslim nation through violence. Similarly, this is the same message, the heroic message, that they push to all the terrorists in Western Europe who go join ISIS. And this has such a huge appeal for a lot of these youth, unfortunately.”