Israel begins criminal investigations into killings during ‘Operation Protective Edge’

FeaturesIsrael/Palestine
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IDF opens criminal investigations into Gaza operation killings
JTA 7 Dec — The Israel Defense Forces has opened criminal investigations into eight deadly incidents that occurred during its 50-day Gaza operation. The investigations, announced Saturday night by the IDF Magistrate Advocate General, involve the deaths of 30 Gazan Palestinians, including 27, believed to be mostly civilians, killed in a July 20 air strike on the home of the Abu Jama family in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Some 13 cases are currently under investigation. About 85 incidents are under “various stages of review,” according to the IDF. The IDF also announced Saturday that seven other cases were closed in which the investigation “did not find that the forces’ actions in these reported incidents appeared to substantiate reasonable grounds for suspicion of criminal behavior, and therefore there is no basis for an investigation.” The Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism was established during the summer’s Gaza conflict to investigate individual incidents and decide if a criminal investigation is warranted. The mechanism is also a lessons–learned process and operational recommendations will be issued to “assist in preventing exceptional incidents in the future,” Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni, the commander of the MAG Corp. and the army’s chief legal officer, who appointed the fact finding commission, said in a statement. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza operation, according to figures furnished by Gaza institutions. Some 67 Israeli soldiers were killed, as well as six civilians in Israel.
http://forward.com/articles/210474/idf-opens-criminal-investigations-into-gaza-operat/

Military police to investigate killing of 50 Palestinians during Gaza op
Ynet 7 Dec by Yoav Zitun,& Elior Levy — Summer’s conflict spawns military investigation of six fatal incidents, including killing of 4 children on beach [see video], IDF shelling of UN school in Gaza — The Military Police will investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of 50 Palestinians during Operation Protective Edge, the IDF said on Saturday night following a decision by the Military Advocate General (MAG) to expand criminal investigations against IDF soldiers over a number of incidents that occurred in the Gaza Strip during the summer’s military operation …  Another investigation will be launched into an incident in which two ambulance drivers were killed, on July 25, in Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis. The Military Police will also investigate the attack on the Abu Jama family home on July 20, in which 27 Palestinian civilians were killed. Another investigation will be conducted into the killing of a Palestinian woman in the area of the Dahaniyeh Palestinian airport on July 18. An initial investigation found that the woman was shot by IDF troops, despite the fact that she had received a permit to get to the airport. Another serious investigation relates to the death of Muhammad Qdeih, who was shot while he was carrying a white flag in the area of Khuza‘a, a Palestinian town in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 29. So far, the military prosecutor’s office has examined an initial inspection complaints and reports regarding over 100 incidents. Allegations regarding the 100 incidents were initially submitted to an investigative department in the IDF General Staff. Of these, 50 incidents were investigated and handed to the MAG for a decision. The MAG decided to open a criminal investigation into 5 out of the 50 incidents. Regarding nine incidents, the MAG decided to end its examinations without opening a criminal investigation, after a review of the findings and materials that had been collected did not indicate suspicion of criminal offenses by IDF troops who were involved in the incidents….
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4600321,00.html

Violence

Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained in light rail attack
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — A Palestinian man on Sunday succumbed to wounds he sustained in a car attack on a light rail station in East Jerusalem, his wife told Ma‘an. Abd al-Karim Nafith Hamid, 60, was injured when a Palestinian [Ibrahim al-Akkari, 47] slammed his car into the Sheikh Jarrah tram station, killing a Druze officer in the Israeli border police and injuring at least 13 other people, Hamid’s wife Umm Ibrahim told Ma‘an. She said her husband suffered multiple fractures of the spine and feet, and subsequently had a heart attack. Hamid did not receive the necessary medical treatment right away, Umm Ibrahim said. “After the Israeli forces identified the injured people, they handcuffed my injured husband because he is an Arab and didn’t offer him the appropriate treatment. Neither did they evacuate him to the hospital immediately.” She said that according to eyewitnesses, Hamid arrived at Shaare Zedek Medical Center handcuffed. “He has been in an intensive care room and he was given all the necessary surgeries, but he was declared dead today,” Umm Ibrahim said. Hamid left behind 12 children and two widows. His body was taken to the al-Maqasid hospital in Jerusalem and then to his home village of ‘Anata east of Jerusalem. He will be buried at Bab al-Sahira cemetery in the Old City of Jerusalem.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745373

More Palestinian protesters shot with .22 live ammunition
NABI SALEH, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Ramallah Team) 6 Dec — Yesterday, Israeli soldiers invaded Nabi Saleh during the Palestinian village’s weekly Friday demonstration and shot one young Palestinian in the leg with .22 caliber live ammunition. The soldiers also fired tear gas canisters at demonstrators, along with more rounds of the .22 live caliber bullets. “At one point, after the boy had been shot, a soldier fired three tear gas canisters straight at internationals and Palestinians who were just standing there, trying to see what was going on up the road,” recalled one ISM activist present at the scene. “He [the soldier] was quite close to us, and could easily see that no one was throwing any stones. The canisters landed no more than a few meters away.” The young Palestinian who was shot is between seventeen and eighteen years old; he was rushed away from the scene and taken to a hospital for treatment. Nabi Saleh has been suffering from a spate of violence recently at the hands of Israeli forces, who shot three Palestinians including 38-year-old Nariman Tamimi at a demonstration two weeks ago and 14-year-old Ahmed Barghouti last Friday. The Kufr Qaddum weekly demonstrations have been met with similar violence.
http://palsolidarity.org/2014/12/more-palestinian-protesters-shot-with-22-live-ammunition/

Soldiers ignore settlers attacking Palestinian homes in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Dec — Israeli settlers, on Saturday, attacked Palestinian homes in the Hebron neighborhood of al-Ja‘bari with stones, while Israeli soldiers stood by and watched indifferently, and without taking any actions to stop them, WAFA reports. Hurling stones at the homes, the extremists cursed the owners and shouted anti-Arab racist slogans, including “Death to the Arabs”, spreading panic and fear among Palestinian locals. Locals called upon human rights organizations to intervene and provide them with protection.
http://www.imemc.org/article/69933

Molotov hurled at settler home in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Unidentified assailants hurled a Molotov cocktail at a Jewish settler home in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Israeli police said Sunday. Police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the assailants threw the Molotov at a settler building known as the Ovadia House in the Palestinian neighborhood. The fire bomb caused serious damages to a car “seemingly belonging to an Israeli security guard who works in the building,” the statement said. “No human casualties were reported,” al-Samri added.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745332

Unidentified gunmen kill Palestinian worker in Israel
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — A Palestinian worker from the Nablus district was killed in Israel Saturday when unidentified gunmen opened fire at him, a local official said. Kathem Ramadan Sami Odeh, 25, was killed when three unidentified gunmen attacked a workers’ apartment in the town of Qalansuwa in the triangle region, the head of the Odeh’s hometown village council told Ma‘an.
Abd al-Azim al-Wadiya, the head of the village council of Qusra in the Nablus district, said two bullets hit Odeh in the stomach and one hit him in the neck. Other workers in the apartment at the time managed to escape, after being “assaulted” by the gunmen, al-Wadiya said, without providing further details. The motives behind the shooting remain unclear. Odeh’s body is being held in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, where an autopsy will take place, al-Wadiya said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745117

Al-Aqsa

Israeli rightists, intelligence officers tour Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — A group of Israeli rightists toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday under police escort, a mosque official said. Director of Al-Aqsa, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, told Ma‘an that groups of Israeli right-wingers “stormed the compound and toured its’ squares under the so-called foreign tourism program.” A group of Israeli intelligence officers also toured the compounds, he added. The Ministry of Endowment complained to Israeli police, expressing their objection to the visits, al-Kiswani said. Meanwhile, Israeli police detained a woman, Umm Radwan Omar, at one of the gates leading to the holy site. Omar usually gives religious lectures inside the compound. Israeli police collected the identity cards of all Palestinian men and women who entered the compound on Monday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745555

Arrests / Detainees / Court actions

IOF kidnaps Palestinian astrophysicist at Karama crossing
RAMALLAH (PIC)  Dec — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday evening kidnapped Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi at al-Karama crossing as he was leaving the West Bank for Jordan. The Palestinian information center was told that the IOF detained Barghouthi as he was intending to travel to the UAE to participate in a scientific conference. Barghouthi, born in Beit Rima town north of Ramallah, works as a professor of physics at the university of Jerusalem and worked for NASA for some years. For its part, Ahrar center for prisoner studies and human rights condemned the detention of professor Barghouthi and accused Israel of targeting Palestine’s finest scientists and brains. The center affirmed that there are many Palestinian professors and academics in Israeli jails, appealing to international human rights groups to intervene to have them released.
http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=69017

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian woman ‘planning attack’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli troops on Sunday detained a young Palestinian woman who was suspected of attempting to attack soldiers at an Israeli military checkpoint east of Bethlehem, Hebrew-language media reported. According to a report on the Israeli news site 0404, the Israeli army received information about a young Palestinian woman planning to attack troops at the Mazmoriya checkpoint near the village of al-Numan. The checkpoint is on a bypass road which links Israeli settlements east of Bethlehem with the illegal settlement of Har Homa. A man who was driving the car the young woman was in was also detained for interrogation, the report said. The report said a domestic-use gas canister was found in the car.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745293

15, including minors, kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank and Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Dec — According to reports by local and security sources, at least 15 Palestinians, including five minors, were taken captive by Israeli army and police during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, Sunday. In Hebron city, Israeli forces abducted five local residents identified as Mousa Amro, 44, Amjad Amro, 22, and Hussein Amro, 23, Mosab Zughaier, 22, and Ameen al-Qawasmi, 25. Forces also stormed the nearby al-Fawwar refugee camp and the town of Dahiriya, where they took Ibrahim Battat and Hammam al-Titi, age 19. Muataz and Mohammad Abu Juheisha, two brothers, were also arrested after army stormed the town of Idna, to the west of Hebron, WAFA correspondence reports. Soldiers also reportedly assaulted the brother of Ibrahim Battat, Khaled, during the former’s arrest, causing bruises throughout his body. He was transferred to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Meanwhile, soldiers invaded the town of Taku‘, to the east of Bethlehem, kidnapping three Palestinian minors after raiding and searching their houses. The three were identified as Mohammad Amour, 16, Mahmoud Abu Mfarreh, 17, and Ahmad Yousef Sabah, 17. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Israeli police stormed Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood in the late night hours, and abducted 14-year-old Ali Abdu and 15-year-old Munther Abdu after a similar raid on their houses. Mohammad Shwekat, 19, was also taken into Israeli police custody earlier last night.
http://www.imemc.org/article/69936

Israeli forces detain 4 Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec – Israeli troops detained four Palestinian teenagers from the al-‘Isawiya and Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhoods of East Jerusalem during predawn raids Sunday.  Addameer human rights group lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud identified the detainees as 15-year-old Munthir Uweisat and 14-year-old Ali Uweisat from Jabal al-Mukabbir as well as 16-year-old Hisham Dweik and 16-year-old Muhammad Mustafa from al-‘Isawiya.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745303

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians from Nablus refugee camps
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from refugee camps in the northern West Bank overnight, Palestinian security officials said. The men, identified as Asad Khalid Abu Hasan and Yazan Ishtayya, were detained in the Balata and ‘Askar refugee camps.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745540

Gag order lifted: Police arrest suspects in Jewish-Arab school arson
Haaretz 7 Dec by Nir Hasson — The Petah Tikva District Court lifted a gag order Sunday afternoon on the arrest of suspects in the arson of a Jewish-Arab bilingual school in Jerusalem. The suspects were arrested about a week ago. A gag order on the number of suspects and details of the investigation remains in place. The court acceded to a request by the police and Shin Bet security service  that the suspects be prevented from meeting with their legal representatives. The police and Shin Bet requested that the suspects be remanded for eight days but their remand was extended only until Thursday. On November 29, two first-grade classrooms and a playground were set alight at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School and hateful phrases were sprayed on a building, reading “Kahane was right” and “There’s no coexisting with cancer.” The fires were extinguished by first responders. One of the classrooms was completely burned. The arsonists also piled up Hebrew and Arabic schoolbooks, poured flammable liquid on them and set them alight. Itamar Ben Gvir, the suspects’ attorney, said after the arrests were announced that the rights of his clients were being denied and that the order preventing them from meeting their attorneys was something “that should concern every democratic country.” “Where is the Association for Civil Rights in Israel?” Ben Gvir asked. On Monday, the Jerusalem District Court is due to discuss a petition for the suspects to be allowed to meet with their lawyers. The petition was submitted by attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represents the suspects together with Ben Gvir. Itamar Ben Gvir is a well-known right-wing activist and former member of Meir Kahane’s banned Kach movement. He and Baruch Marzel are regarded as the current leaders of Kach, which remains illegal in Israel. He was Knesset aide to another former Kach member, Michael Ben-Ari, when the latter represented the Jewish National Front in the Knesset.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.630456

Seven Israeli-Arab teens charged for throwing pipe bombs during rally
Haaretz 8 Dec by Noa Shpigel & Gili Cohen — Violent demonstration in Fureidis was one of many protests held by Arabs in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Hamdan, who was shot to death by an Israel Police officer — Seven boys aged 15 to 17 were charged Sunday in Haifa Juvenile Court with throwing pipe bombs during a demonstration in Fureidis last month following the killing by police of Khayr al-Din Hamdan in Kafr Kana. The seven, residents of the Arab town of Fureidis, near Zichron Yaakov, were questioned by police and by the Shin Bet security service. They were charged with injuring with aggravated intent, conspiracy to commit a crime, producing weapons, possessing and transporting weapons and committing hasty and negligent actions. The demonstration in Fureidis was one of many protests held by Arabs in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Hamdan, who was shot by an Israel Police officer after running toward the police car and striking the window. According to one of the indictments, during the Fureidis demonstration a pipe bomb was thrown at policemen who were standing near Route 4, the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway. The bomb fell only a few meters from the policemen, but didn’t explode. Three of the youths were charged in this incident.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.630499

Official: 2014 worst year for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — The head of the Palestinian Authority Department of Prisoner Affairs said Saturday that 2014 has been “the most difficult year” for prisoners. Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that prisoners have in 2014 been victims of “Israeli revenge policies.” He said Israel’s move to re-arrest prisoners who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011 was a dangerous political action. Qaraqe also decried Israel’s policy of detaining minors, saying some 1,500 minors were detained in 2014, mostly in Jerusalem. He said there were 550 new Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention without charge or trial this year, and that Israel had renewed administrative detention orders for 63 percent of administrative prisoners. “Next year is the year of the legal, humanitarian battle for defending prisoners’ rights and dignities,” Qaraqe said, without elaborating. Qaraqe delivered his remarks in Ramallah during a visit to freed prisoner Muhannad Jaradat, who has spent five years in Israeli jails, the statement said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745121

Israel to establish first juvenile courts in Palestinian territories
Ynet 5 Dec by Tova Tzimuki — In wake of international criticism about the treatment of offenders who are Palestinian minors, Israel decided to take a revolutionary step and establish a military juvenile court in the territories. Similar to the Israeli law, the detention of minors in the pre-trial period will be significantly shortened, parents will be notified of the arrest and those aged 16 will no longer be tried as adults —  A., a 14-year-old from the East Jerusalem village of Nabi Saleh, is accused of participating in demonstrations and throwing stones. He was arrested and confessed during his interrogation. During his trial, it emerged that despite being a minor he was arrested in the middle of the night, questioned without the presence of his parents and held for many hours without sleep despite complaining of fatigue. He was also not allowed to meet with his counsel before questioning, even though he had arrived at the interrogation facility. Furthermore, the boy was not questioned by someone qualified to interrogate minors, and one of the investigators even told him he was not allowed to remain silent. On the contrary, investigators told him that he had to talk. A. is not alone. Every year, hundreds of Arab minors are arrested in the territories for security and criminal offenses. For example, 360 juveniles were arrested in 2013 for such offenses. But as A is Israeli, his treatment was an entirely different matter, since Israelis living in the territories are under Israeli law, which has limits on the arrest and prosecution of minors. The gap between the treatment of Israeli minors and minors living in the territories has to date led to endless international complaints, and numerous reports by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4599755,00.html

Gaza

Israeli navy escalates attacks against Gaza fishermen
PCHR-Gaza/IMEMC/Agencies 7 Dec — Israeli gunboats stationed in the Gaza Sea have again chased down and opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the officially allotted fishing zone. According to the PNN, forces arrested 12 fishermen, confiscated 5 boats, and damaged fishing equipment. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the continued attacks expressed great concern over the repeated targeting of fishermen and their livelihoods. An investigation revealed that, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 06 December 2014, Israeli gunboats stationed off northwest of al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia town, in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2-3 miles and, then, surrounded 5 fishing boats boarded by 12 Palestinian fishermen. All the fishermen were abducted and taken to an unknown destination, their boats and fishing nets confiscated, equipment damaged. The fishermen were identified as: * Safwat ‘Abdel Malek Hasan al-Sultan (30) and Sa’ed Ziyad Mahmoud Zayed (32); both from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were on a boat belonging to Fahmi Mahmoud Mohammed Zayed. Israeli forces confiscated their boat and fishing nets. * Mahmoud Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (29) and his brother Ahmed (30), from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated….
http://www.imemc.org/article/69934

Two fishermen kidnapped in northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Dec by Saed Bannoura — Israeli navy ships attacked, on Saturday evening, Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in the Sudaniyya area, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped two fishermen. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition at the boats before kidnapping two fishermen identified as Ahmad Zayed and Mahmoud Zayed. Nizar Ayyash, chairman of Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate in Gaza, stated that the army attacked two fishing boats just as the fishermen were about to start fishing in the area allotted to them. The attack is the latest of ongoing violations and assaults carried out by the Israeli navy against the fishermen in the coastal region. The attacks include shootings, arrests, and confiscation of boats; dozens of casualties and arrests have been reported. On Wednesday, December 3, a Palestinian fisherman was injured by fire from an Israeli naval boat, while sailing offshore of Gaza City.
http://www.imemc.org/article/69927

Israel flouts truce deal, opens fire at Gaza borderlands
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 8 Dec — The Israeli military watchtowers set along the Gaza border fence on Sunday night opened fire at Palestinians’ farmlands east of Khan Younis city, to the south of the Gaza Strip, in a renewed violation of the ceasefire accord signed in Cairo. Local sources said the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) deployed near the Kissufim military base targeted Palestinians’ agricultural tracts along the outskirts of Khan Younis with randomly shot barrages of gunfire, causing mild damage to crops. No injuries have been reported yet, the same sources reported.
http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=69026

Palestinian youth volunteer to clean Gaza hospitals
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — A group of Palestinian youths on Saturday volunteered to clean hospitals in Gaza while unpaid cleaning staff continued to strike, a volunteer told Ma‘an. Abd al-Jalil Shaath told Ma‘an that he along with a group of 20 young Palestinians began their volunteer work at the European hospital in Khan Younis. The volunteers aim to provide a clean environment for patients in these hospitals, Shaath said, encouraging others to volunteer as well. The Gaza Ministry of Health had said it would start training courses for volunteers to stay safe while cleaning. On the fourth day of the cleaning workers strike, piles of garbage filled various sections of Shifa hospital, al-Nasser Children’s Hospital, Abu Yousef al-Najjar, al-Harrazin, and the European hospital.
Hospital cleaning workers in the Gaza Strip started protests in October after not being paid for several months. They staged partial strikes several times, but since Tuesday they have been on full strike. The monthly wage of a cleaning worker in Gaza is not more than 700 shekels [about US$176]. Workers have not received wages for seven months.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745137

600 deprived of medical operations in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — A spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health said Sunday that 600 people in the Gaza Strip cannot have medical operations due to the strike by hospital cleaning workers. The Ministry of Health launched a campaign on Sunday for all administrative employees to clean the hospitals and provide a clean and suitable medical environment, Ashraf al-Qidra said. The Ministry of Health closed al-Hazarin maternity hospital in eastern Gaza due to the crisis.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745486

Israeli forces arrest 2 Palestinians ‘crossing Gaza barrier’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli forces on Saturday detained two young Palestinians from Gaza who crossed the separation barrier into Israel, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an Israeli troops fired warning gunshots at the Palestinians after they crossed into Israel east of al-Bureij refugee camp. The two were then detained and taken to an unknown location for interrogation, the sources said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745315

Israelis in south demand Gaza border fence to match Egypt’s
Haaretz 8 Dec by Shirly Seidler — The heads of the local councils in areas bordering the Gaza Strip recently asked Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for a new security fence to be built on the border as an initial response to increasingly frequentattempts by Gaza residents to cross the border into Israel … The plan would call for a fence about 60 kilometers (37 miles) long that would run from Kibbutz Zikim south of Ashkelon until Kerem Shalom near the Egyptian border. It would be similar in design to the fence that has been built along the Egyptian border to prevent infiltration into Israel. “Gaza border areas need a strong and stable fence that cannot be crossed with wire-cutters, as happens now,” Sha’ar Hanegev regional council head Alon Schuster said. “We are witness on a daily basis to incidents of Gazans crossing the border into Israeli territory and easily managing to get through the fence.” … Since the end of last summer’s hostilities, Gazans have attempted to infiltrate into Israel on a daily basis. In most cases they are unarmed and are coming in search of work. Some, however, attempt to cross in an effort to gather intelligence, testing the IDF’s readiness at various locations. Last month in the Eshkol region alone about 15 such attempts were recorded and in most instances security coordinators caught the infiltrators near populated areas.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.630470

1,760 tons of cement shipped to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec – The Israeli liaison department at Erez crossing said that the largest quantity of cement for Gaza reconstruction was shipped Sunday via the Kerem Shalom crossing. A spokeswoman of liaison department said in a statement that 44 trucks loaded with 1,760 tons of cement entered the Gaza Strip on Sunday. This, she explained, was the largest quantity shipped in one day in years. The statement added that since late October, 147 trucks carrying 5,878 tons of cement have entered the coastal enclave.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745443

Gaza engineer develops new techniques to replace cement

GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 4 Dec by Mohammed Othman — …Gazans who had their homes destroyed in the war have been complaining about the slow reconstruction process and the lack of entry of building materials. The pressing needs of Gazans has inspired innovators to develop solutions through available tools. Three successive Israeli wars in the last six years have devastated the Gaza Strip, most recently the war in July that destroyed or damaged more than 84,000 houses. Engineer Imad al-Khalidi may have found a temporary solution to help alleviate the lack of construction materials, prevented by Israel from entering the Gaza Strip. In 2008, he started to conduct experiments on natural materials to be used in construction instead of cement, and succeeded in creating a new technique. Khalidi, a soil expert in organic architecture, said that the search for alternatives was based on materials found in Gaza. “We wanted to use local materials as an alternative, to save ourselves and provide the displaced with shelters, as nearly 5,000 housing units were destroyed in the 2008-2009 war. We examined various types of soil in Gaza, and found a suitable type rich in natural welding materials, such as potassium carbonate, magnesium, metal oxides, limestone and sand,” he explained. He pointed out that the natural materials he found act like cement in its different stages, but they are more solid and can last hundreds of years. Khalidi explained the process: “We compose a homogeneous mixture by conducting a soil treatment through pressure, to which we add welding natural materials such as potassium carbonate, ground limestone powder and a small quantity of gypsum, to form an initial coherent product in the brick production. Yet, the strong cohesion begins after it is used and continues to solidify for hundreds of years, and to harden dozens of times more than its initial form. This means that the brick increasingly hardens with time, and has its own characteristics.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/12/palestine-gaza-reconstruction–siege-new-technology.html

Q&A: ‘I saw beheaded children in Gaza’
Al Jazeera 7 Dec — Doctor Mads Gilbert, banned by Israel from returning to Gaza, spoke to Al Jazeera about the plight of residents there — When called to return to Gaza to help out in al-Shifa hospital, doctor Mads Gilbert was denied access with valid papers. Gilbert told Al Jazeera that he was turned away at the Erez border crossing after Israeli authorities deemed him a “security risk”. After asking for an explanation, Gilbert was threatened with arrest … AJ: What do you think the reason is for them not letting you in? MG: I think the truth is the security risk because when I, as a white medical doctor with blue eyes and white hair, tell the real story of the realities in the sharp end of the Israeli attacks, the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans, the numbers change from being numbers to being people, and the children appear as yours and my children. So when I write my articles and when I do my research, and when I publish in The Lancet and when I write my books, this is actually a danger to the Israeli narrative and, in a way, the global reputation of Israel, which is partially falling apart now … AJ: For outsiders and observers, what do they not know? What narrative are the people not getting? Gilbert: They are not getting the narrative of people, at one point several million people. They don’t really realise that these are people that have been incarcerated for seven years – that the average age is 17.6 years, that a child ghetto of 1.2 million children and young people are being denied the right to escape the bombs, to fly, because they cannot get out. They’re denied the right to travel, the right to eat enough for supper and breakfast, that they are chronically malnourished from the siege. They don’t know the horror of the injuries, that the people of Gaza are exposed to and the children and the civilians are seeing. Because this is concealed, this is concealed in a mist of deviation from the hasbara, from the Israeli propaganda machine that is saying ‘oh they are only terrorists, they are hiding behind the civilians, and they’re shooting at Israel’. What people don’t get is that it is Israel that is attacking Gaza and Gaza and the Palestinian people are exercising their right to resist … AJ: What have you experienced there? MG: I have children myself, I have grandchildren, and you don’t want to see this in the world today. Now everybody is talking about Boko Haram and ISIL beheading people. I saw beheaded children in Gaza, I have pictures.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/12/qa-i-saw-beheaded-children-gaza-201412710710149667.html

IDF opens criminal investigations into Gaza operation killings
JTA 7 Dec — The Israel Defense Forces has opened criminal investigations into eight deadly incidents that occurred during its 50-day Gaza operation. The investigations, announced Saturday night by the IDF Magistrate Advocate General, involve the deaths of 30 Gazan Palestinians, including 27, believed to be mostly civilians, killed in a July 20 air strike on the home of the Abu Jama family in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Some 13 cases are currently under investigation. About 85 incidents are under “various stages of review,” according to the IDF. The IDF also announced Saturday that seven other cases were closed in which the investigation “did not find that the forces’ actions in these reported incidents appeared to substantiate reasonable grounds for suspicion of criminal behavior, and therefore there is no basis for an investigation.” The Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism was established during the summer’s Gaza conflict to investigate individual incidents and decide if a criminal investigation is warranted. The mechanism is also a lessons–learned process and operational recommendations will be issued to “assist in preventing exceptional incidents in the future,” Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni, the commander of the MAG Corp. and the army’s chief legal officer, who appointed the fact finding commission, said in a statement. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza operation, according to figures furnished by Gaza institutions. Some 67 Israeli soldiers were killed, as well as six civilians in Israel.
http://forward.com/articles/210474/idf-opens-criminal-investigations-into-gaza-operat/

Military police to investigate killing of 50 Palestinians during Gaza op
Ynet 7 Dec by Yoav Zitun,& Elior Levy — Summer’s conflict spawns military investigation of six fatal incidents, including killing of 4 children on beach [see video], IDF shelling of UN school in GazaThe Military Police will investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of 50 Palestinians during Operation Protective Edge, the IDF said on Saturday night following a decision by the Military Advocate General (MAG) to expand criminal investigations against IDF soldiers over a number of incidents that occurred in the Gaza Strip during the summer’s military operation …  Another investigation will be launched into an incident in which two ambulance drivers were killed, on July 25, in Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis. The Military Police will also investigate the attack on the Abu Jama family home on July 20, in which 27 Palestinian civilians were killed. Another investigation will be conducted into the killing of a Palestinian woman in the area of the Dahaniyeh Palestinian airport on July 18. An initial investigation found that the woman was shot by IDF troops, despite the fact that she had received a permit to get to the airport. Another serious investigation relates to the death of Muhammad Qdeih, who was shot while he was carrying a white flag in the area of Khuza‘a, a Palestinian town in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 29. So far, the military prosecutor’s office has examined an initial inspection complaints and reports regarding over 100 incidents. Allegations regarding the 100 incidents were initially submitted to an investigative department in the IDF General Staff. Of these, 50 incidents were investigated and handed to the MAG for a decision. The MAG decided to open a criminal investigation into 5 out of the 50 incidents. Regarding nine incidents, the MAG decided to end its examinations without opening a criminal investigation, after a review of the findings and materials that had been collected did not indicate suspicion of criminal offenses by IDF troops who were involved in the incidents….
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4600321,00.html

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Occupation

PHOTOS: In West Bank village, Palestinian farmers go against the grain
Activestills 6 Dec Text and Photos: Ahmad al-Bazz — For the first time in 14 years the farmers of Salem decided to reach their agricultural lands without permission from Israeli authorities. It wasn’t long, however, before Israeli settlers and soldiers came to disturb their work — Every December, just after they have finished tilling their soil, Palestinian farmers in the West Bank head back to sow their land. Some of them plant wheat while others sow barley or other kinds of seeds. However, not all Palestinians can do so freely. Farmers who own lands located near Israeli settlements, military camps or settler bypass roads are barred from accessing their land throughout most of the year. In these areas, Israeli authorities allow farmers to reach their lands only two times a year: once in April, during which they till the soil around olive trees, and again in October for the olive harvest. Because this process is limited to such a short time, it is usually not long enough to finish the work. Due to the restrictions, many farmers have not been able to fully cultivate their land for years. On Saturday the farmers of Salem, a village located few kilometers east of the West Bank city of Nablus, decided to access their land without permission from the Israeli authorities for the first time in 14 years. The land is located behind an Israeli bypass road used by the settlers of Elon Moreh. Together with Palestinian and international activists, the farmers headed to their lands. After quickly crossing the bypass road, they performed Friday prayers on their land, after which they managed to till the soil, plant several olive trees and sow the land with barley. It wasn’t long before Israeli settlers took notice of the “unusual” activities, and soon enough, Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene. The soldiers ordered the people to clear the area or be removed by force, and attempted to confiscate a passport belonging to one of the international activists. The activists decided to leave the area in order to avoid clashes that might destroy the farmers’ gains. During the tilling, two Israeli settlers tried to provoke the Palestinians by driving their motorcycles around where they were working.
http://972mag.com/photos-in-west-bank-village-palestinian-farmers-go-against-the-grain/99639/

Palestinians ruled by secret regulations even the army can’t explain
972 Blog 8 Dec by Maayan Niezna — Whether they want to attend family gatherings, open a business or visit sick relatives, Palestinians under occupation must adhere to military regulations, the vast majority of which are hidden from public scrutiny –– ‘There are no secret laws in Israel. […] Legislation that is passed secretly and kept away from the eye of the public is one of the characteristics of a totalitarian government, and is not in line with the rule of law” (Judge Cohen, Civil Appeal 421/61, State of Israel v. Haz [4], pg. 2204-2205) — No one knows why, but Israel has a regulation that prevents Palestinians from entering the city of Eilat. Even those who hold entry permits into Israel cannot enter. Even the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the unit charged with coordinating activities in the occupied territories (which oversees the implementation of the procedure), does not know the reason for its existence. It once had a document explaining the origin of the procedure, but it got lost. For at least the past two years, COGAT has been searching for the reason behind the strange restriction. And until they find it, Palestinians will be prevented from entering Eilat. Just like that. Eilat is just one example. The Freedom of Information Law obligates all public-benefit corporations to publish their regulations. COGAT has knowingly been breaking the law for years. Over the years, Israeli NGO Gisha has filed various petitions to request specific regulations. Eventually the organization got tired of chasing after COGAT (the unit never publishes procedures of its own volition), and requested that the court force it to publish all of its regulations. In the beginning of the month Gisha received some good news: COGAT finally began publishing regulations previously unavailable on its website. For example, COGAT published a regulation titled “Issuing permits to residents of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons (weddings and funerals)” in October, which organizes the bureaucratic steps that the residents of Gaza must undertake if they wish to attend a funeral or wedding of a family member. The rights of Palestinians as well as the state’s obligations toward them are not anchored in law but rather in a series of regulations. These regulations are the closest thing to a legal codex, which touch upon the Palestinians’ most basic rights: they establish where people can live, whether they can make a living, where they can pray and whether or not they can travel abroad. These are the same regulations that establish whether a Palestinian father can take part in the his daughter’s wedding, whether a student can sign up for a master’s degree, whether a grandmother can visit her grandchildren and when the sick can receive medical care. Finally, during a discussion that took place on November 19, Gisha discovered that the state itself does not know how many of these regulations actually exist….
http://972mag.com/palestinians-ruled-by-secret-regulations-even-the-army-cant-explain/99704/

The goal: to expel as many Palestinians from their land as possible
Haaretz 8 Dec by Amira Hass — Forced relocation plan decrees overcrowding for West Bank Bedouin. Nearby Jewish settlements, meanwhile, sprawl free — Pages upon pages came out of the fax machine at the Civil Administration’s Central Planning Bureau on Wednesday. They contained objections to the establishment of a Bedouin township to be named Talet Nueima (in Hebrew, Ramat Nueima) north of Jericho, which is slated for 12,500 people. This comes on top of objections sent in by registered mail and email. The Civil Administration subcommittee that deals with such objections will have to read more than 200 objections. Opponents of the plan include Bedouin from the Kaabneh and Jahalin tribes, whom the Civil Administration plans to expel from their homes and resettle in the township together with the Rashaida tribe which is already based in the area. Jericho and nearby Palestinian villages object to the plan as well ,… An oft-repeated objection is that the Civil Administration drafted the Talet Nueima plan without consulting the Bedouin or the Palestinian communities in the area, and without taking their needs into consideration … The plan was preceded by the state’s decades-old policy of uprooting the Bedouin in the West Bank (most of them refugees expelled from the Negev after 1948) by reducing the space available to them, demolishing their shacks and blocking their access to water and markets. The Civil Administration even considers the tarps that protect them from the rain illegal construction and confiscates them. To solve the problem of the Bedouin’s subhuman living conditions, which as everybody knows came out of the blue, along comes the compassionate Talet Nueima plan (which is comprised of four detailed master plans and two additional plans for roads) … The objection by Bimkom reveals significant shortcomings in planning (on top of the original sin of forced relocation). It’s possible these shortcomings are innocent mistakes — such as the assumption that the Bedouin’s basic organizational unit is the nuclear, not the extended family, or that the size of the average Bedouin nuclear family is 5.6 people, not the actual 7.1 … But is the planning of a very wide road right through a village, to be used mainly for military purposes (access to the nearby army base or training ground) a mistake? … Are the tiny lots allocated for the construction of public buildings a “mistake” as well? According to Bimkom experts, the plan allocates 3.4 square meters of public buildings per person: roughly one-third of the 10 square meters accepted for ultra-Orthodox Jewish families – and ultra-Orthodox and Bedouin families are about the same size.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.630522

Bedouin refuse to budge for Israeli relocation plan
AFP 6 Dec — Bedouin children play football barefoot in the dirt of their West Bank encampment, but they may not be able to enjoy the dusty piece of land for much longer. Khan al-Ahmar, which lies between Jerusalem and Jericho, is one of more than 20 Palestinian Bedouin communities facing forced eviction. Israel says the aim of the plan, under which 12,000 Bedouin from three tribes would be relocated to a purpose-built town, is to give them access to water, electricity and education. The Bedouin see the move as a land grab and are refusing to move from an area they have lived in for decades since being forced out of their ancestral homes in Israel’s southern Negev desert. “This is neither an economic nor a social issue — this is about Jerusalem,” said Eid Khamis Sweilem, a spokesman for the Jahalin tribe. Critics accuse Israel of seeking to extend its hold on lands east of Jerusalem, an area already peppered with Israeli settlements and largely empty of a Palestinian presence. The Bedouin encampments of Khan al-Ahmar — home to roughly 800 people — lie east of Maaleh Adumim, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank with a population of about 40,000. The expulsion would free up land for the settlement to expand eastwards, tightening Israel’s grip on a corridor extending from annexed east Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Palestinians say Israeli plans to build in the area threaten to sever the northern West Bank from the south, rendering the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state impossible. “The area stretching from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea will be completely Israeli. The two-state solution will be dead and buried,” Sweilem told AFP. “If we don’t stay, there will never be a Palestinian state. So we won’t move,” he said.
http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/158154-bedouin-refuse-to-budge-for-israeli-relocation-plan

Rights groups to Israel’s top court: Home demolitions are collective punishment
972mag 4 Dec by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Within the legal community, Israel’s High Court and the state attorneys are isolated and alone in thinking that home demolitions are an acceptable practice, the petitioners argue. No date is set for a decision in the case — Demolishing the homes of suspected — or convicted — Palestinian terrorists amounts to collective punishment that in some cases could constitute a grave breach of international law, a group of Israeli human rights organizations argued before the High Court of Justice on Wednesday [3 Dec]. The people most affected by home demolitions are the suspect’s family members, who have committed no crime themselves. In many cases, the accused family member — when alive — has not yet been convicted in a civilian or military court when the demolition is carried out, making the demolitions extrajudicial. The court combined the case, which seeks to ban the practice of punitive home demolitions outright, with the appeals of two East Jerusalem Palestinian families whose homes Israel has ordered demolished. Israel has slated their two homes for demolition because two of their family members murdered four rabbis in a terror attack inside a Jewish synagogue last month. They were killed in a shootout with police … The state argues that only the real potential of harm to one’s family can deter someone who willing to set out on a mission they know will result in their own death. But there is no evidence backing up the state’s deterrence theory. In fact, a study commissioned by the Israeli Defense Ministry nearly a decade ago found that home demolitions have no deterrence and in some cases, even lead to additional retaliatory attacks.
http://972mag.com/rights-groups-to-israels-top-court-home-demolitions-are-collective-punishment/99570/

UN denounces Israel’s renewed policy of West Bank home demolitions
[with short video of Joe Biden] I24 News 7 Dec — The United Nations blasted Israel on resuming the practice of demolishing the homes belonging to the families of Palestinian and Israeli Arab terrorists. James W. Rawley, the UN’s deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said this past week that the practice violates international law and must stop. “Punitive demolitions must stop. They contravene international law and risk undermining the already fragile situation,” Rawley said last week. “Human rights violations are not only a symptom of the continued conflict here, they contribute to it.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reinstated the practice of demolishing homes of Palestinians who carry out terrorist attacks during an emergency cabinet meeting in November. The decision came amid rising tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have seen riots and clashes with police on a regular basis as well as a spate of terror attacks. Home demolitions have long been used as a deterrent punishment in the West Bank, but this is the first time they have been adopted as a matter of policy in East Jerusalem. In June, the Israeli army demolished and sealed off the homes of the three men suspected of kidnapping and murdering Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaer on June 12. Calling the house demolitions a form of collective punishment, Rawley said that they “punish people for acts they did not commit,” adding that “they render innocent people homeless. The impact on children, women and the elderly is particularly devastating.” Markiam Wibisono and Leilani Farha, both UN special rapporteurs for the Palestinian territories, said on November 25 that Israel “cannot go beyond what is sanctioned by international law” in order to punish those responsible for terror attacks. “In the case of [Abd al-Rahman] al-Shaludi [one of the attackers who rammed his car into a crowd in October], who was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene of the attack, the demolition of his home in the middle of the night served no other purpose than to punish his innocent parents and five siblings, rendering them homeless,” Farha said.
http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/53655-141207-un-denounces-israel-s-renewed-policy-of-west-bank-house-demolitions

But of course things are rarely as simple as they seem….
Leave or let live? Arabs move into Jewish settlements
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 7 Dec by Dan Williams — Little noticed amid the furor over one of Israel’s most contentious policies, a small but growing number of Arabs are moving into Jewish settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem, drawn by cheaper rent and better services. For decades, Israel has encouraged Jews to settle in East Jerusalem, changing the population balance, provoking Palestinian anger and drawing international condemnation. But in one such settlement, around Mount Scopus where the Hebrew University is based and many Palestinians study, about 16 percent of residents are either Arab citizens of Israel or Palestinians, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.  “Really it’s not a matter of ideology,” said Rawya Mazal, an Israeli Arab realtor who sells or lets properties to Palestinian families in a nearby settlement at French Hill. “It’s about convenience, living close to campus or making an investment.” Cross-community relations aren’t always harmonious. Few if any Arabs live on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, and a surge of violence in recent months has persuaded some to leave those in East Jerusalem. Like so much in the region, the ethnic mix is complex. Official figures from 2013 show 7.4 percent of French Hill residents are Arabs, and Mazal believes the true non-Jewish population is closer to 20 percent. While the high proportion of Arab residents in French Hill and Mount Scopus is probably exceptional, the trend is visible in other East Jerusalem settlements too. In the working-class areas of Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Yaacov to the northeast of Jerusalem’s Old City, 1 to 2 percent of residents are now Israeli Arab or Palestinian, figures show.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/07/us-israel-palestinians-settlements-idUSKBN0JL0D620141207

Other news / Opinion / Analysis

PCHR report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt (27 Nov – 3 Dec 2014)
PCHR-Gaza 8 Dec — Shootings: During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 20 civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including 8 children, a girl and an Italian solidarity activist. Seventeen of these civilians, including 7 children, the girl and the Italian activist, were wounded in the West Bank, while 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip; 2 of whom were wounded in the border area while the third one was wounded in the sea … Incursions:  During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 90 Palestinians, including 21 children and 2 women. Thirty-nine of these civilians, including 10 children and a woman were arrested in Jerusalem. [Details may be found in this article and in the Full Report.]
http://www.imemc.org/article/69939

Hundreds of Syria’s Palestinian refugees killed in first half of 2014
DAMASCUS (PIC) 7 Dec — 461 Palestinian refugees were killed during the first half of 2014 in the ongoing civil war in Syria, the action group for the Palestinians of Syria reported on Saturday. 219 of them were killed in al-Yarmouk refugee camp, 49 others in Daraa, 48 in Damascus and its countryside, 24 in Aleppo and its refugee camps, 16 in Khan al-Sheikh camp, and the rest in different areas of Syria, the action group explained. The group also reported the death of a young man called Ayham Abdul-Rahim after his exposure to excruciating torture in a Syrian jail. As a result, the number of Palestinians tortured to death in Syrian prisons rose to 277 victims. The group noted that the refugee camps and neighborhoods are still exposed to ongoing projectile attacks and arrest campaigns.
http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=69015

PFLP celebrates 47th anniversary in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Saturday celebrated its 47th anniversary in a public festival in al-Bireh. More than 1,000 people took part in the festival, marching in the streets of Ramallah and holding up Palestinian and PFLP flags, a Ma‘an reporter said. PFLP leaders, PLO Executive Committee members, and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council attended the event. The leftist Palestinian movement called for Palestinian unity and an end to political division in the Gaza Strip. PFLP leader Khalida Jarrar urged Palestinian officials to bring the Palestinian case to the UN. Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud al-Alul said during a speech at the event that the PFLP had made an effective contribution to the Palestinian cause.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745195

Muslim students stay home as tensions remain high in northern Arab village
Haaretz 7 Dec by Noa Shpigel — A brawl that left 41 injured in Abu Snan last month has reignited calls for separate schools for Muslims and Druze students in the area — Three weeks after a big brawl between Druze and Muslims at a village in northern Israel, more than 100 Muslim high school students have yet to return to their classrooms. According to the Education Ministry, students from middle schools (grades 7-9) who have been absent since the violent scenes in Abu Snan will return to their classrooms tomorrow, after an understanding was reached by the ministry and local authority, the Arab popular committee and Sheikh Taysir Khaldi, the Imam of the local mosque. Despite this understanding, a sense of confusion remains in the village. The reason behind the students’ continued absence from local schools is also controversial. Along with claims that they do not feel safe, others involved in the situation say the reason is that some elements in the village are striving to build a new school that would separate the Muslim students from the Druze and Christians … Forty-one people were injured in the brawl on November 14, most of them by a grenade thrown into a cluster of people who were taking part in the fighting. Except for one, all the injured were Muslims. Five are still hospitalized in Nahariya, one with serious injuries and another with moderate to serious injuries. Another has light to moderate injuries, while two suffered light injuries.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.630312

[WATCH] The Druze in Israel: Appropriating Identity (part 3)
Israel Social TV 5 Dec [Hebrew; English subtitles] — According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The third part of this series looks at Druze identity and its variations: from Palestinian to Israeli.  Watch parts one (‘A history lesson‘) and two (‘Land expropriation‘) of this series.
http://972mag.com/watch-the-druze-in-israel-appropriating-identity-part-3/99607/

Israel attempts to undermine EU vote on Palestine statehood
Middle East Monitor 6 Dec — Israeli foreign ministry has been working to undermine a vote on recognising Palestinian statehood in the European parliament, Anadolu Agency stated on Friday. Israeli Radio was quoted by Anadolu as saying that the Israeli Ambassador to the EU in Brussels David Walzer stated, “I have been contacting the different parliamentarian blocs of the EU ahead of the vote to recognise the Palestine State this month.” The EU parliament postponed the vote, which was due to take place on November 24, to December 18. The EU members were to vote on the recognition of Palestinian statehood. Walzer said that he has been working to encourage the EU to drop the whole bill or to minimise the majority that such a vote might achieve in the EU parliament. Israeli TV Channel One said that the political circles in Israel are worried about the increasing recognition the Palestinian state has been getting by EU parliaments.
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/15690-israel-attempts-to-undermine-eu-vote-on-palestine-statehood

Israel: Barack Obama secret meeting considers sanctions to deter West Bank settlement construction
Int’l Business Times 5 Dec by Jack Moore — Senior officials from Barack Obama’s administration have held a secret meeting to discuss the possibility of implementing sanctions against Israel to prevent the government from building new settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to local media reports. The meeting was held following Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in October in Washington and following the argument over Israeli plans to build further settlements in East Jerusalem. The Obama administration has not decided what sanctions it wishes to place upon Israel, according to The Times of Israel. However, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf refused to confirm or deny the reports of a sanctions plan being implemented … The US is yet to take any action against Israel for its continued construction of settlements, which are considered illegal by international law, but has started to criticise the moves in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the last year.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/israel-barack-obama-secret-meeting-considers-sanctions-deter-west-bank-settlement-construction-1478272

Poll: Marked rise in American support for bi-national state
WASHINGTON (Ynet) 5 Dec by Yitzhak Benhorin — Brooking Institute survey finds majority of Americans support Israel, but not settlements; six in 10 Americans believe Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of top issues for US national security — Despite the strained relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and US President Barack Obama’s administration, a solid majority of Americans continue to support Israel – but not without reservations. A survey conducted by the Brookings Institute ahead of the 11th annual Saban Forum showed a marked rise in American support for a bi-national state with equal rights, if the two-state solution is unattainable.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4600107,00.html

(study) Palestinian Fiscal Revenue Leakage to Israel under the Protocol on Economic Relations
Reliefweb 3 Dec — The Occupied Palestinian Territory loses at least $306 million annually in leakage of customs, purchase and value added tax revenues that are not transferred to the Palestinian treasury by Israel, a new UNCTAD study suggests. The study says that fiscal revenue loss amounts to 3.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 18 per cent of the tax revenue of the Palestinian National Authority. The study, Palestinian Fiscal Revenue Leakage to Israel under the Protocol on Economic Relations, indicates that the leaked Palestinian public revenue would give the Palestinian National Authority greater ability to stimulate the economy and increase annual GDP by four percentage points and create additional 10,000 jobs per year.
http://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/palestinian-fiscal-revenue-leakage-israel-under-protocol

Israel accuses Palestinians of looting antiquities
JERUSALEM (AP) 7 Dec — Six Palestinians were charged in an Israeli court Sunday of digging illegally for antiquities in a remote desert region where archaeologists believe undiscovered Dead Sea Scrolls are buried, Israel’s Antiquities Authority said. The arrests came after a yearlong operation to stop looting in the Judean Desert, thought to be the source of scroll fragments which have recently trickled onto the local antiquities market, said Uzi Rotstein, an Israeli antiquities inspector. Rotstein said he spotted the alleged antiquities looters by chance in late November He was in the desert training as a volunteer in a hiker rescue squad when he took a photograph of a far-off cave on the side of a cliff and noticed two men standing by it. “No one has any business being there on a Saturday morning,” said Rotstein. He said the suspects climbed down a steep 70-meter descent to reach what is known to archaeologists as the previously excavated Cave of the Skulls, destroying archaeological strata in the cave dating back 5,000 years. In the late afternoon, the six suspects, Palestinian men from the West Bank village of Sa‘ir near Hebron, climbed back up the cliff side where they were detained by Antiquities Authority officials, he said. They have remained in police custody since. The suspects were carrying excavation tools, metal detectors, and a 2,000-year-old hair comb, he said. The Antiquities Authority accuses them of digging for Dead Sea Scrolls, texts left in caves during the 1st-century Jewish-Roman war and during the 2nd-century Bar Kochba revolt, when Jewish fighters battling the Roman army sought refuge in the desert.
http://news.yahoo.com/israel-accuses-palestinians-looting-antiquities-133810645.html

Syria accuses Israel of bombing Damascus airport
DAMASCUS (AFP) 8 Dec — Syria accused Israel of bombing its main international airport as the UN announced talks with rebel leaders on a ceasefire in its war-battered second city of Aleppo. The accusation came hours ahead of an appeal by humanitarian organizations Monday for countries to take in around 180,000 refugees as the number of people fleeing the Syrian conflict continues to grow. Israel has launched a series of air strikes inside Syria since the outbreak of the country’s armed uprising in 2011, including raids reportedly targeting Iranian rockets bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah. “This afternoon, the Israeli enemy targeted two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the Damascus International Airport,” the army said in a statement. It said the strikes caused damage but that nobody was hurt. Both civilian and military aircraft operate at the airport, which lies southeast of Damascus near flashpoint areas including Eastern Ghouta, large parts of which are in rebel hands. There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli authorities, but the Syrian army reiterated its claim that Israel is helping rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=745572

Israel has not granted refugee status to any Darfur genocide survivors, study finds
Ynet 7 Dec by Omri Efraim — Report by Center for Refugees and Immigrants reveals Israel gives 0.19% of Eritreans and Sudanese nationals in Israel refugee status compared to other Western countries, where 70-80% are given refugee status — Israel only accepts refugee requests from African asylum seekers in detention, and has not approved refugee status for any survivors of the genocide in Darfur, says a report by the Center for Refugees and Immigrants released Sunday. The report was released a day before the Knesset was scheduled to vote on an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law which would approve the continued operation of the Holot detention facility, but limit remand of asylum seekers to a year and 8 months. The law, passed by the Knesset in two different incarnations, has twice been overturned by the Supreme Court.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4600448,00.html

Israel’s passion for persecuting refugees is rooted in this government’s xenophobia / Don Futterman
Haaretz 4 Dec — The Netanyahu regime’s nationalist attempt to isolate Israel from contact with non-Jews poses a far more dangerous risk to the country’s future than the African refugees do — Due to the election frenzy, the Jewish nation-state bill will likely be shelved, and the bill to outlaw Bibi’s propaganda daily Israel Hayom will probably remain buried in debates, but efforts to persecute African refugees are being fast-tracked through the Knesset, under the stewardship of MK Miri Regev (Likud). The High Court struck down the government’s policy on detaining asylum seekers as unconstitutional for the second time back in September. It was unjustifiable, the court reasoned, to detain for three years refugees and labor seekers who had not been convicted of any crime other than sneaking into Israel. Keeping them for such an offense at the Holot detention center defied Israel’s Basic Law on Freedom and Human Dignity. The government was given 90 days to provide an alternative. This deadline is fast approaching. The government’s new plan ignores the High Court’s intentions once again, shortening the incarceration times and juggling the reasons for being detained, but not altering the underlying approach of confinement and intimidation. Detention will be supplemented by 30 percent levies imposed on employers who hire refugees, and a lien on salaries of refugees (and migrant workers), with an exit refund, intended to be an inducement to leave the country. The passion for persecuting refugees is rooted in the same xenophobic worldview that drives so much of our soon-to-be-defunct government’s agenda. It expresses a nationalist attempt to isolate Israel from contact with non-Jews, as if Israel needs to be immunized against non-Jewish contamination. This same warped orientation contributes to the ongoing attacks on Arab citizens and the torching of a Jewish-Arab elementary school in Jerusalem this week, and to operating Jewish-only buses in the West Bank without considering the racist implications of doing so. It underlies the disastrously timed campaign to advance the Jewish nation-state bill, despite alienating American and European allies still wobbly from the televised images of this summer’s destruction in the Gaza Strip, and partly explains the obtuseness to the rage aroused among Muslims abroad by efforts on the part of some MKs and right-wing activists to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. According to the leading lights of the extreme right-wing parties that currently rule the country – Likud and Habayit Hayehudi – only Jews matter. All non-Jews are to be considered our enemies, since the whole world hates us. And 43,000 penniless Eritreans and Sudanese nationals threaten the Jewish character of a nation with six million Jewish citizens.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.630016

Israel and the Palestinians: A conflict viewed through olives / Jeremy Bowen
BBC 6 Dec — For Israelis and Palestinians everything is politicised, even the olive harvest. The first time I realised how delicious olive oil from the West Bank can be was more than ten years ago when a Palestinian farmer offered me breakfast as I stood watching a broad strip of his land being destroyed. He was unlucky enough to live close to Ariel, one of the biggest Jewish settlements Israel has inserted into the land Palestinians want for a state … That morning it was the turn of the farmer to see the dark earth of his olive groves torn up. He had tried to move as many trees as possible, but his land was still going to be divided by a fence. He was going to have to get permits to tend his trees on the other side of the wire. Most farmers, if they are lucky get a day to plough and a day to harvest, assuming the Israeli army is there to let them through gates in the barrier. He invited me back to his house, and served glasses of sweet tea, traditional taboon flatbread, cheese made from the milk of his sheep, and a great bowl of olive oil from his own trees. I could taste the fruit in the oil, and then a pungent, peppery mouthful. It was impossible to imagine the hills of the West Bank producing anything bland. Olive oil from the West Bank is perhaps the most political food in the world … According to the UN office for humanitarian affairs, attacks by Jewish settlers in the last five years on Palestinians and their property have destroyed around 50,000 fruit trees, mainly olives. Palestinian farmers get a quarter of their incomes from olives, but it’s about more than money. The trees are the most powerful symbol of Palestinian attachment to the land … In the valley below Tapuach is a Palestinian village called Yasuf, where Bassem Rashed and his wife Naja were harvesting their olives. A few days earlier they had heard settlers had used chainsaws to cut down some of their trees, including some that were more than a century old. Mrs Rashed was close to tears and full of anger: “It feels like bringing up a child, and then losing him. Those trees are our base and roots. ‘Everlasting war’ “We felt we were burying a family member. Every week the settlers try to come down to our land. Our men try to stop them and fight them. “Those settlers say we should be the ones to leave? We prefer to die in our land, let them cut the trees, destroy the land, demolish the homes and attack the children, we will still remain in our land. We won’t ever leave, and if they don’t, this will continue to be an everlasting war.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30290052

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)
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About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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25 Responses

  1. amigo
    December 8, 2014, 10:39 am

    “The IDF also announced Saturday that seven other cases were closed in which the investigation “did not find that the forces’ actions in these reported incidents appeared to substantiate reasonable grounds for suspicion of criminal behavior, and therefore there is no basis for an investigation.”

    I am shocked and flabbergasted.

    Israel is always swift, thorough and ceaseless in it,s quest to apply justice to those who commit crimes in times of war.They leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the perpetrators of such crimes.They ransack and demolish the homes of suspects and arrest their family members.Nothing is left to chance.

    And the there are IDF terrorists who seem to just do as they please and justice is left on the shelf until the next Palestinian child throws a stone at his persecutors.

    A beacon unto the Nations eh.

  2. bilal a
    December 8, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Max Blumenthal ‏@MaxBlumenthal

    You would think some deranged anti-Semite wrote his but no, it was a Zionist defending her boundless privilege:

    Every time I read about a Jew somewhere identifying as a white person, I cringe. As an Israeli Jew, who like most other Israeli Jews, is completely foreign to the concept of Jews being “white” I would like to address this article to my Jewish brothers and sisters in America.

    Ashkenazi Jews are not white – Response to Haaretz article | Hila Hershkoviz |
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/ashkenazi-jews-are-not-white-response-to-haaretz-article/

  3. Kay24
    December 8, 2014, 12:20 pm

    These are what we may call “eyewash investigations”, a lame attempt to show the rest of the world, that Israel is SO concerned about these killings, and doing what democratic nations do.
    We can almost predict the outcome – either they will find these “upstanding” troops did nothing wrong, it was a mistake, or it will fizzle out into nothing. The zionists never hold their own responsible for any brutality or murder of Palestinians, even Palestinian children, because those lives do not deserve an “oy vey”.

  4. amigo
    December 8, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Some very good news .

    The ICC today recognised Palestine as a State.I learned of this from AL English.

    More details later but essentially this makes it possible for Palestine to file charges against Israeli War Criminals at the Hague.

    • amigo
      December 8, 2014, 2:15 pm

      Correction above ! Should read “AJ English.

      • just
        December 8, 2014, 3:02 pm

        Good news, what took Bensouda et al so long???

        But, with the ICC’s recent failure/ fiasco wrt Kenyan President’s exoneration…..

        “ICC drops murder and rape charges against Kenyan president
        Blow for court’s credibility as key prosecution witness refuses to testify in Uhuru Kenyatta trial and another admits lying”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/05/crimes-humanity-charges-kenya-president-dropped-uhuru-kenyatta

      • amigo
        December 8, 2014, 3:37 pm

        just, I heard today on the radio that the reason the case had to be dropped was that people, (witnesses) went missing or were eliminated . The intended consequences was to scare others off.Unfortunately it worked this time.This is just further proof of the need for the ICC.

  5. a blah chick
    December 8, 2014, 12:50 pm

    From Ynet news: “Mother of suspect in arson at bilingual school: I would have done the same
    Woman expresses disgust that school teaches both Jews and Arabs, calls suspects ‘good kids’ with haredi education.
    Noam (Dabul) Dvir
    Published: 12.08.14, 13:45”

    Now will one of our local hasbarists explain why THIS women’s house will not be demolished? Remember gang the whole idea behind collective punishment is to get people in the community to police themselves and she admits that she supports what they did.

  6. bilal a
    December 8, 2014, 1:34 pm

    Omitted from the Rlling Stone article by Sabrina Rubin:

    Eric Cantor’s Son Belongs to University of Virginia Fraternity in Rape Scandal
    Michael Cantor Not Suspect in Wrongdoing at Phi Kappa Psi

    Michael Cantor’s older brother, Evan, a University of Virginia alumnus, also was a member of Phi Kappa Psi. He graduated before the incident was alleged to have taken place.

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/210379/eric-cantors-son-belongs-to-university-of-virginia/#ixzz3LKgkaDFt

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/210379/eric-cantors-son-belongs-to-university-of-virginia/#ixzz3LKgDryBg

  7. Kay24
    December 8, 2014, 1:53 pm

    No surprise, the war criminal prevents international rights experts from entering Gaza.

    “Why is Israel preventing rights experts from entering Gaza?
    The IDF, its lawyers and its commanders hold a monopoly on information from Israeli theaters of war because of the IDF’s technological superiority.

    Israel prevented experts from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch from entering the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, and it still is preventing them. As a result, no independent professionals (for example, a certain retired British military officer) have been able to check in real time the army’s claims and versions; for example, about weapons caches…”

    Haaretz

  8. just
    December 8, 2014, 2:58 pm

    There’s hardly anything that you’ve compiled that is NOT against international law/violation of “ceasefire”…

    When will the UN send in troops/peacekeepers? When will the world ostracize and sanction Israel? Mads Gilbert speaks the truth, Amira Hass does, Gideon Levy does, Max Blumenthal does, Dan Cohen does, so many do. And Israel LIES. It’s clear as day, and has been for so long.

    *crickets*

    Thanks, Kate.

    A searing story about one family through all three of Israel’s assaults/massacres in Gaza:

    “No Exit in Gaza: Broken Homes and Broken Lives

    Rubble. That’s been the one constant for the Awajah family for as long as I’ve known them.

    Kamal Awajah said as much. “I don’t ask anyone to build me a home for the sake of charity. That’s not the kind of help we want. We need the kind of help that raises our value as human beings. But how? That’s the question.”

    There seem to be no serious efforts on the horizon to address Kamal’s question, which has at its core an insistence on recognizing the equal value of Palestinian humanity. As long as that question remains unanswered and the fundamental rights of Palestinians continue to be denied, the devastating impact of repeated war will continue for every family in Gaza and the terrifying threat of the next war will always loom. The Awajah children have every reason to insist that their future home be constructed with two doors.”

    Read the whole thing @

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/12/08/no-exit-gaza-broken-homes-and-broken-lives

  9. just
    December 8, 2014, 7:47 pm

    Check out this child~ looks like the “settler” sliced through part of his bicep:

    “#Israeli Settlers stabbed #Palestinian boy Moath Ragby, in hand and leg in occupied #Hebron .
    #Palestine ”

    https://twitter.com/AlaTurk48/status/542075492384247809

    and this little one:

    “#IOF arrested the child Obada Ayesh 10 y.o for the second time this week from Silwan
    #Jerusalem ”

    https://twitter.com/AlaTurk48/status/542077464529235968

    (all via Max Blumenthal’s twitter)

  10. just
    December 9, 2014, 11:08 am

    “Israel has indicted a 30-year-old American Christian from Texas for plotting to blow up Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday.

    In a statement, the ministry said a court had indicted Adam Everett Livvix in connection with the plot. It said that Livvix had cooperated with his roommate, a serving soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 1.4 kilograms of explosive material to use to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy places.

    The ministry said the plot was discovered by a police agent in October. It said that Livvix was indicted on Monday and is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

    Livvix’s indictment comes at a time of rising tensions in Jerusalem, mostly over a disputed holy site that is holy both to Muslims and Jews.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.630795

    What about the IOF guy he conspired with???

    • just
      December 9, 2014, 11:17 am

      Update

      “According to Shin Bet and Israel Police reports, the suspect is Adam Everett Livvix, a 30-year-old from Texas. Livvix has previously been wanted in the U.S. on drug charges. He was arrested in Israel on November 19, on suspicion of possession of illegal weapons and planning a terror attack.

      Livvix came to Israel in 2013 and lived in the Palestinian cities of Hebron and Bethlehem. It was while living in Bethlehem that Livvix was approached by a Palestinian about assassinating Obama the with a sniper rifle. Livvix refused. After leaving Palestinian Authority territory, Livvix entered Israel illegally, and remained in the country illegally for roughly a year and a half.

      Livvix became acquainted with Israelis and presented himself as a former U.S. Navy SEAL. During questioning, Livvix admitted to being involved in various fraud schemes, as well as the initial stages of planning terror attacks on sites holy to Islam in Israel.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.630795

      something doesn’t smell right…

  11. just
    December 9, 2014, 12:30 pm

    I’m just watching MSNBC on the release of torture doc.

    Andrea has McLaughlin with her ~ he’s denying any and all responsibility.

    We need to take these folks to court, not on teevee.

    • lysias
      December 9, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Will everybody please now call it what it is/was, torture?

      Sen. Feinstein on p. 4 of the report: “While the Office of Legal
      Counsel found otherwise between 2002 and 2007, it is my personal conclusion
      that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured.” (Emphasis added.)

      • just
        December 9, 2014, 4:55 pm

        I’ve called it as I sees it for a long while.

        Time for the West/US to stop calling out others as “barbarians”.

        Pot, meet kettle. Take off the white hats~ again.

      • seafoid
        December 9, 2014, 5:14 pm

        The US calling the Arabs barbarians is rich considering what the US military has done in the region.
        Dragging Iraq down to a state of permanent civil war was appalling. Nobody comnes out of the story with any honor.

    • lysias
      December 9, 2014, 3:33 pm

      Hey, llok: Dept. of Justice appealed to Israeli practice in justifying the torture:

      November 26, 2001, Draft of Legal Appendix,”Hostile Interrogations: Legal Considerations for CIA Officers.” The draft memo cited the “Israeli example” as a possible basis for arguing that “torture was necessary to preventimminent, significant, physical hann to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.”

      footnote 51 on p. 19 of the Senate torture report.

      • lysias
        December 9, 2014, 3:35 pm

        And notice that that draft DOJ memo actually called it “torture”.

      • just
        December 9, 2014, 3:53 pm

        yep.

        I also have heard from Brian Neely on msnbc that “our allies” lobbied long and hard to have their complicity removed…

        50 countries, 25 in Europe.

        Yet, I think that many are being scapegoated in this morass. I think the stench went straight to the top and out in a spider web of torture, that includes the admin, the congress, fbi, cia, mic, contractors, and the entire alphabet soup.

  12. RoHa
    December 9, 2014, 6:24 pm

    What? Has someone suggested there might be something criminal about shredding boys who play football on the beach? Honestly, whoever came up with this idea has too much time on his/her/its hands. Get a life!

  13. just
    December 10, 2014, 8:35 am

    “WASHINGTON — Two psychologists were paid $81 million by the CIA to advise on and help implement its brutal interrogation program targeting detainees in the war on terror, according to the Senate torture report summary released Tuesday.

    The contract psychologists are identified with pseudonyms — Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar — like most of the individuals named in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA program. Published reports dating back to 2007, however, identify the two men as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, both former members of the military.

    According to the documents released Tuesday, Mitchell and Jessen — aka Swigert and Dunbar — played a key role in this grim chapter of American history.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/cia-torture-contractors_n_6296758.html

    Filthy, dirty, blood money.

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