The 5th child to die of the cold – one died on 9 Jan, two on 10 Jan, and one on 13 Jan. The oldest was 1 1/2 years old.
Father finds five-month-old son frozen to death in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip 20 Jan — A grieving father has recounted to NBC News how his five-month-old son froze to death after the family’s Gaza home was bombed by Israel. Sami Abu Khesi is among the Palestinians who have yet to rebuild in the wake of last summer’s conflict which left more than 2,100 people dead. His son, Wadie, was born in Gaza’s Nasser Hospital as fighting raged between Hamas militants and Israeli forces on August 15. After the cease-fire, Wadie was brought home. But amid the worst winter weather in years, Wadie was found dead on January 15. “His mother was nudging but there was no life,” Khesi said in what remains of his home in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood, some walls nothing more than scrap metal and nylon sheets. “So I looked at the boy and he was frozen. She woke me up and I found that he was frozen.” The Gaza Ministry of Health has not issued an official cause of death, but the family believes it was hypothermia. Relatives say he had previously been in good health. The ministry has confirmed four children have died as a result of hypothermia this winter … “We have never seen a winter like this,” said Khesi, whose two other daughters, Jannat and Suna, remain bundled up in heavy clothes even when inside. “It has been cold in the past, but at least we could put them in homes to protect them. Now, there is nothing to put them in. All we have is nylon.”
Israeli navy continues attacks on Gaza fishermen, missiles fired
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Jan — Israeli gunboats, on Tuesday, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats offshore al-Sudaniyya area, northwest of the city of Gaza, in a continued breach of a truce agreement reached on August 29, 2014, according to one of the fishermen. A fisherman notified WAFA correspondence that gunboats opened fire at the fishermen, despite the fact that they were sailing within the six-nautical-mile zone allowed for fishing, and forcing them to leave the sea for fear of being killed or injured. Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats fired on Monday night four missiles targeting fishermen in the same area, causing damage to the boats. Light injuries were reported. Witnesses who live in al-Sudaniyya neighborhood told Ma‘an News Agency that they heard four blasts off the coast, adding that the blasts were Israeli shells fired at Gaza fishermen. The Israeli navy targets fishermen and their boats almost on a daily basis, in a clear breach of the Egyptian brokered truce agreement reached on August 29, 2014
Man hospitalized due to phosphorus leak in old army base in Jerusalem
Haaretz 20 Jan by Nir Hasson — Leakage from old unexploded Israel Defense Force ordnance containing white phosphorus injured one man and caused an environmental hazard at a disused army base in northern Jerusalem on Monday. Firefighters ordered people living near the Schneller camp and residents of nearby areas to remain inside with the windows closed. On Monday afternoon a number of construction workers at a site near the camp felt unwell as a result of the leak. One of them, a 45-year-old man, was admitted to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in fair condition. A Jerusalem fire fighting team that specializes in handling hazardous materials determined that white phosphorus, which is considered highly dangerous if it comes in contact with the skin and relatively dangerous if inhaled, was the cause. Initially the firefighters instructed residents within 100 meters to remain indoors, but that was expanded to 200 meters based on the prevailing winds … In early 2009, the IDF came in for major criticism for using white phosphorus in the course of its military operation in the Gaza Strip at the time, Operation Cast Lead, causing serious chemical burns to civilians who came in contact with it.
Report details IDF ‘double tap’ bombings that hit first responders in Gaza
+972mag 21 Jan by Haggai Matar — A new report by Physicians for Human Rights authored by a team of international medical experts documents shocking testimonies of victims and presents new evidence from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza — The thing that shocked me most in a new report on Gaza by international experts was the IDF’s “double tap” attacks. Other findings in the report have already been written about, some of them during the war, “Operation Protective Edge,” here on +972. We reported about the shooting at civilians in the Khuza‘a neighborhood, the use of human shields, destroying hospitals, how Gazans felt they had no safe place to run to, the dozens of families that were simply eliminated, and more. But the “double taps” — that is entirely new. The team of medical experts that authored the report visited Gaza three times as a delegation of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). They collected testimonies from dozens of wounded and from medical teams, documented the army’s terrifying actions during the war. At least 15 people testified about and described incidents in which the army bombed a target, and then — after a short pause or immediately after — bombed it again. The result was especially deadly: family members, neighbors, passersby and/or medical and emergency teams that arrived to help the wounded and extract bodies from the rubble, were bombed themselves, were killed or wounded.
Escape route toward social inclusion for war-disabled Gaza youth
GAZA CITY (IPS) 17 Jan by Khaled Alashqar — The Israeli attacks that the Gaza Strip has suffered in recent years have left in their wake a large number of young people who have come up against a further barrier to their creative energies – physical disability caused by military aggression. Institutions here are increasingly facing the challenge of developing rehabilitation programmes to help support these physically disabled Gazan youth cope with living under the existing harsh political, economic and social conditions. One of these programmes – known as “Irada” (“will” in Arabic) – is providing young people who have been disabled by war with vocational training with the ultimate objective of helping them earn their own livelihoods. Launched by the Islamic University of Gaza, the Irada programme aims to support, train and reintegrate physically challenged young people in social and economic terms and boost community trust in the abilities of this so far marginalised group. More than 400 persons with all types of disabilities have already received rehabilitation and training … Adding further success to the promising and successful Irada programme, three female information technology (IT) students from the Islamic University of Gaza have designed the first application to enable visually impaired people to write in Braille language on smart phones in Arabic.
Unpaid Gaza civil servants go on strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Gaza civil servants employed by the former Hamas-run government went on a general strike Tuesday as part of successive steps protesting unpaid salaries for the past eight months. Speaker of the union of Hamas government civil servants, Muhammad Siyam, told Ma‘an that the decision to strike was made by a committee created to defend the rights of civil servants. Thousands of employees went on strike except for some healthcare workers in emergency wards, intensive care units and blood banks.
Gaza laborers protest in front of cabinet headquarters
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Dozens of laborers in Gaza on Tuesday protested in front of the unity government’s cabinet headquarters in Gaza City, decrying what they said was government neglect of the labor industry. Sami al-Amsi, head of the General Union of Workers, said the sit-in protest intended to raise the voice of Palestinian workers, adding that the unity government had canceled labor and development programs. The health insurance of 80,000 laborers has also been canceled, he added.
Gaza jihadist supporters rally against France, praise Islamic State
GAZA (Reuters) 19 Jan by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Hamas security forces allowed a rare rally on Monday by rival jihadist Salafi activists in the Gaza Strip in support of Islamic State and the deadly attacks by three Islamist gunmen in France. “Today, we are telling France and world countries that while Islam orders us to respect all religions, it also orders us to punish and kill those who assault and offend Islam’s Prophet Mohammad,” said one of the protesters, Abu Abdallah al-Makdissi. The demonstration was held five days after French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in its first issue since two gunmen burst into its Paris office on Jan. 7 and shot dead 12 people, again published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, sparking violent clashes in some Muslim countries. Many of the activists in Gaza, an enclave dominated by the Hamas Islamist group, wore uniforms similar to those of Islamic State fighters and identified themselves as supporters of various jihadist Salafi factions. Gaza’s Salafis are proponents of global holy war endorsed by Islamic State and al Qaeda. Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, says it does not operate abroad, and it has shown little tolerance for Salafi movements in the Gaza Strip, occasionally fighting gun battles with their members. Dozens of Hamas police were deployed at the rally and outside the gates of the French cultural center, where the demonstrators gathered after burning French flags.
Radical Islamists try to storm French centre in Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 19 Jan — Some 200 radical Islamists tried to storm the French cultural centre in Gaza City on Monday, shouting slogans threatening the lives of staff over Charlie Hebdo cartoons, an AFP photographer said. “Damnation upon France!” the protesters chanted, waving the black flags adopted by jihadists. The demonstration was in response to a cartoon published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo of the Prophet Mohammed, a week after a January 7 attack at its Paris headquarters killed 12 people. Some of the protesters also carried pictures of the Islamist brothers Cherif and said Kouachi who carried out the attack which was claimed by Al-Qaeda. “Leave Gaza, you French, or we will slaughter you by cutting your throats,” chanted the protesters. Hamas-affiilated Palestinian police arrested dozens of people who tried to break into the French cultural centre, which has been closed since it was damaged in a fire last October. Protest graffiti was sprayed outside the centre before dawn Saturday, following Wednesday’s cover cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo. “You will go to hell, French journalists,” read one of the slogans.
Assailants blow up car of security officer of former Hamas-run govt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan – Unidentified assailants blew up a private car belonging to a security officer of the former Hamas-run government in Gaza City early on Tuesday morning. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the assault took place in al-Jalaa Street in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza City. The owner has been identified as H.K. from Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. They added that gunshots were heard after the car was blown up. A spokesman of the former Gaza Ministry of Interior Iyad al-Buzm said security services started to investigate the attack on a private car belonging to an officer in the former military police. Initial investigations, he added, suggest that an improvised explosive device was set under the vehicle which was parked in front of the officer’s house.
Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests
Thousands lay Rahat man to rest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Thousands on Monday participated in the funeral procession of a Palestinian Bedouin man from the Negev who died Sunday in clashes with Israeli forces during the funeral of another man who was killed by Israeli police, a Ma‘an reporter said. Sami Ibrahim Zayadna, 45, died after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police at mourners in the Bedouin city of Rahat. The procession, led by local Bedouin leaders, began at Zayadna’s house and marched to the family’s cemetery. Several other Palestinian leaders, Knesset members, local government leaders, and political party representatives participated in the funeral. Over 40 other people were injured during the clashes that followed the Sunday funeral of Sami al-Jaar, 22, who was shot dead by Israeli police last week while standing on the patio of his home during clashes between police and local youths in the neighborhood. Those injured by Israeli forces’ dispersal of funeral-goers and protesters included Rahat mayor Talal al-Qureinawi and Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement. Three people injured Sunday remain in Soroka hospital, including one who was seriously injured in the eye and is now in a moderate condition. The injuries of the two others are described as light. Meanwhile, the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel announced a full strike on Monday after an emergency meeting in Rahat. Rahat mayor al-Qarnawi said during the meeting that “there is absolutely no trust in the (Israeli) police.” … Many Bedouins were forcibly settled by the State of Israel in the area after 1948, particularly after attempts to drive them permanently across the border into neighboring countries failed.
PHOTOS: Bedouin protest deadly police shootings in Israel
Activestills.org 21 Jan — Police shoot and kill a Bedouin man during an arrest raid, later killing another man at his funeral. A general strike is called and protests take place across Israel. Text by Yael Marom and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Israeli Arabs declare nationwide strike after Bedouin deaths
AFP 20 Jan — Leaders of Israel’s 1.7 million Arabs declared a general strike throughout the country on Tuesday in protest at the recent deaths of two Bedouin men in confrontations with police. Former member of parliament Taleb al-Sana, chairman of an umbrella organisation of Arab Israeli groups, said that schools and businesses would close from the Galilee in the north to the Negev desert in the south. “The general strike today is to send a strong message that the entire Arab community… strongly protests the murders of two citizens of the state of Israel whose only crime is being Arab,” Sana, who is himself Bedouin, told Israeli army radio. Sami al-Jaar died of a gunshot wound last week during a police drug raid on the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat. Police have opened an enquiry to determine if the shot was fired by officers or townspeople. During Jaar’s funeral on Sunday, Sami al-Zayadna, 47, died of a heart attack during clashes in which police fired tear gas. Following Zayadna’s burial on Monday, angry protesters — some of them masked — hurled stones at the Rahat police station, police said. Police statements said that five suspected stone-throwers were detained and that more arrests were expected. Rahat residents have been on strike since Sunday.
Shooting of Bedouin youth last week may have been illegal, official says
Haaretz 21 Jan by Shirly Seidler — Lives of the police were in real danger, says senior policeman, amid continuation of clashes, six days after shooting death of Sami al-Ja’ar. A senior Justice Ministry official said on Tuesday there was “a tangible suspicion” that the police illegally opened fire when they killed Sami al-Ja‘ar, a Bedouin youth, during a drug arrest in the Negev town of Rahat last week. The senior official in the ministry department that investigates the police told Haaretz the case was very complex and had received high priority. Clashes resumed on Tuesday evening when about 200 young men gathered in Rahat’s main square, burned tires and threw them at the police. They also threw stones at officers, who during the clashes arrested four minors, one of whom was lightly injured by a stone. It was the third day of violence. The police said that for two days now they had not used crowd-dispersal methods, on the orders of the commander of the police’s southern district, Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevi. In the morning a tense quiet had prevailed in Rahat, which entered the sixth day of a general strike after the shooting death of Sami al-Ja’ar last Wednesday during the drug arrest. At a protest at al-Ja‘ar’s funeral on Sunday, 45-year-old Sami Ziadna died of an apparent heart attack after inhaling tear gas during clashes with the police. On Tuesday afternoon protesters marched from the home of the al-Ja‘ar family to the home of the Ziadna family. Around 2,000 people took part, led by Arab public figures. The marchers carried torches and Palestinian flags and called for revenge of the two deaths. Halevi said last night his people had intelligence that youths “were approaching the police station and would try today what they have been trying for the past few days: to injure police.” … Regarding al-Ja‘ar’s funeral Monday in which Ziadna was killed and more than 20 people were injured, one seriously, Halevi said a police patrol car “shouldn’t have entered that road. Still, there are cases when things don’t happen the way we want them to.”….
Israeli forces assault, detain Palestinian teen in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli forces on Monday assaulted and detained a Palestinian teenager in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Monday, a local information center said. The director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that Israeli forces attacked 16-year-old Muhammad Jamal Ghaith in front of his home. The forces used the butts of their rifles to hit Ghaith in the head, and then proceeded to search him, the statement said. They also pepper sprayed Ghaith, his mother, and his uncle. Ghaith was taken to the Israeli police station at Salah al-Din street and later to the Hadassa hospital for treatment. He was given stitches for the deep gash in his head where he was attacked, the statement added. [IMEMC notes that soldiers invaded the al-‘Eesawiyya town during morning hours Tuesday and kidnapped a young Palestinian, identified as Ahmad Zomorrod, after beating and kicking him, causing various cuts and bruises to his head, face and several other parts of his body.]
Israeli forces detain teen, assault elderly man in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager after raiding and searching his home in the Beit Rima town in northern Ramallah early Tuesday. The teenager was identified as Suhaib Naser al-Rimawi, 15. Israeli soldiers also assaulted and injured an elderly man identified as Taher Yaqub al-Rimawi, 80, after raiding his home in the town. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the arrest. She said al-Rimawi belonged to Hamas.
10-year-old injured, teen arrested during East Jerusalem clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A young Palestinian boy was injured and a teenager was arrested on Tuesday during clashes with Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that the clashes started near the al-Maqasid hospital in al-Tur. Palestinian youths threw stones and Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades at residents, homes, and schools, the sources said. They said a 10-year-old boy, whose name was not specified, was hit in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet during clashes. Additionally, Israeli forces arrested 18-year-old Udayy Hisham Abu al-Hawa after assaulting him while he was walking in the neighborhood. Several people suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation during the clashes.
Military steps up use of live 0.22 bullets against Palestinian stone throwers
B’Tselem 18 Jan PRESS RELEASE — West Bank military commander recently confirmed shift to use of live fire instead of crowd control weapons — Recent months have seen a dramatic rise in Israeli security forces’ use of live 0.22 inch caliber bullets (Ruger rifle bullets, also known by the nickname Two-Two) in clashes with Palestinians in the West Bank. The firing of this ammunition is an almost weekly occurrence in the West Bank in sites of protests and clashes. Most of those injured have been young Palestinians, including minors. Yet, in the last two months, one Palestinian woman, at least three photographers, and a foreign national who was taking part in a demonstration were also hit by these bullets. B’Tselem does not have the full data on the number of people wounded by this type of ammunition. Two-Twos are live ammunition whose impact is less severe than that of “ordinary” bullets (5.56 mm caliber), yet even so they can be lethal and inflict serious injuries. Two-Twos are fired with a 10/22 Ruger rifle, which is often equipped with an integral suppressor, or from a specially converted M4 rifle (“a shortened M16”). Use of this weapon has elicited controversy even within the Israeli military: in 2001, the head of the security department in the Operations Directorate wrote that the Ruger cannot be considered a non-lethal weapon and may be used only in circumstances that justify live fire. In view of the large number of people hit and even killed by 0.22 bullets early in the second intifada, use of this ammunition was suspended from 2001 to 2008. In the time since use of this ammunition was renewed, B’Tselem has documented the deaths of at least two people from these bullets; however, the real number may be higher, as it is difficult to establish whether a person was killed by these bullets or “ordinary” live ammunition, which is very similar in caliber. In recent weeks, B’Tselem has documented the use of 0.22 bullets in clashes in various locations in the northern West Bank….
PHOTOS: ‘Israeli army increasing use of live fire at West Bank protests’
Activestills 19 Jan — Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler and Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler — Two years ago this week, 15-year-old Palestinian Salih al-Amarin was shot in the head by Israeli forces with live ammunition. He died several days later. Al-Amarin, a resident of Azza Refugee Camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, was taking part in clashes with Israeli forces stationed on the separation wall that cuts deep into Bethlehem. “Those soldiers sitting in their towers behind the wall, are they really in danger?” Bethlehem governor Abdi Fatah Hamayel told Sky News at the time. “There is no excuse to shoot the kids with live bullets.” According to the same report, this and other killings at the time “prompted then Israel’s (then) commander of operations in the West Bank, Brig.-Gen. Hagai Mordechai, to call for an immediate review of its rules of engagement”. But in the months and years that followed, use of live ammunition on the streets of Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank only increased — typically 0.22 caliber bullets known as “two-twos” fired from an integrally suppressed (silenced) 10/22 Ruger rifle. Why the Israeli military uses a silenced rifle as a crowd control weapon is puzzling and counter-intuitive. But as eyewitness to several incidents of their use on the streets of Bethlehem, I can testify that there is absolutely no audible gunshot
5 wounded in Palestinian knife attack on Tel Aviv bus
TEL AVIV (AFP) 21 Jan — At least five people were wounded in Tel Aviv Wednesday when a knife-wielding Palestinian attacked passengers on a bus before being shot by a passing prison officer, Israeli police said. It was the first attack in Tel Aviv since mid-November when a young Israeli soldier was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. The attacker struck in the morning rush hour in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, describing the attacker as a “terrorist.” Five people were in moderate to serious condition, while four were lightly wounded, she said, citing emergency services at the scene. It was not immediately clear if all the casualties had been stabbed or if they included some suffering from shock. “The terrorist stabbed the bus driver several times but the driver fought back until he fled on foot and was neutralised by a guard from the prisons’ service,” a police statement said. He was shot in the leg then taken to hospital for further investigation. Witnesses told army radio the driver apparently used pepper spray or tear gas to try to stop the attack. Police identified the attacker as a 23-year-old Palestinian from Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, who was staying in Israeli illegally. Pictures from the scene released by the police showed what looked like a large kitchen knife lying on the ground. Speaking to army radio, the prisons service officer, identified only as Benny, described how the incident played out. [Ynet report has more information, photos, video]
Another account of the same event with more historical context:
Palestinian stabs several Israelis on bus in Tel Aviv: 9 wounded
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Jan by Celine Hagbard — A Palestinian man from the West Bank city of Tulkarem was shot, then taken into custody by Israeli police in Tel Aviv Wednesday after stabbing several people on a bus. Israeli authorities say they are considering this a ‘terror’ attack. The 23-year old man apparently entered Israel illegally, despite the massive Israeli Annexation Wall that virtually surrounds Tulkarem and nearby towns. He has not yet been identified. The attack took place on the #40 bus on Menachem Begin Road in Tel Aviv … In the past four months, 7 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, six of those killed were civilians and one was a soldier, in what Israel has called an ‘uptick’ in violence against Israelis. During the same time period, 32 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, one of whom was known to be an armed resistance fighter. The rest were civilians, including a Minister in the Palestinian Authority and a 13-year old child. Three Palestinians were killed in the past week alone – one was killed while attending the funeral of the other, who had been killed during a house raid in the Negev. The third was killed near Bethlehem. None of them were armed. Also, in the past 10 days, five Palestinians including four [no, five now] babies have died of the cold in Gaza, where tens of thousands remain homeless following Israel’s assault last summer that left over 2100 people dead, including 500 children.
Eight kidnapped by Israeli forces across West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Jan — Israeli forces have so far, on Monday, kidnapped at least eight Palestinians from towns and cities across the West Bank, while summoning others and raiding homes of families. Soldiers carried out a predawn arrest campaign, in which they detained two brothers from the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, according to WAFA correspondents … Meanwhile, just north of Hebron, Israeli forces abducted a student from the town of Surif. … Israeli troops also raided the town of Ithna, west of Hebron, setting a number of flying checkpoints at entrances to the town. The heavy presence of the army caused unrest as soldiers fired smoke canisters, causing many peaceful residents and commuters to suffocate. In another incident, Israeli forces chased after one youth from the city of Hebron identified as Muhammad Kafrawi, age 21, who was admitted to a hospital to receive immediate care, following the incident. Meanwhile, another unknown youngster was summoned to Israeli intelligence for interrogation. In Jerusalem, Israeli police detained, late Sunday and early Monday,at least three youngsters at from Sur Baher, southeast of the occupied old city. They were all led to an interrogation center. WAFA reported witnesses accounts that the youth were identified as Mohammad and Ahmad Amira and Abdullah Abu Kaf. Several other abductions were also reported, however, specific details are unknown at the time of this report.
Israeli forces detain 8 Palestinians from Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians from different areas in Hebron and assaulted two teenagers during a detention raid in the al-Arrub refugee camp early Tuesday, locals reported. They told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained two teenagers and a youth from Hebron. They were identified as Muhammad Youssef al-Rajabi, Baraa Muhammad al-Fakhuri, 16, and Ahmad Abd al-Rahman Abu Shamsiyeh, 24. Israeli forces also raided the al-‘Arrub refugee camp around 1 a.m. and detained Wadee Salameh al-Jundi, 15, and assaulted his brothers, Islam, 13, and Jihad, 17. Israeli forces also detained Shihab Kamal al-Jundi, 21, from al-‘Arrub camp. In Beit Ummar, Israeli forces detained Mahdi Ali Badawi Ikhleil, 21, after raiding and searching his home. Muhammad Awad, spokesman of a local popular committee, said that Israeli forces also raided the home of prisoner Ahmad Khader Abu Hashem for the second time in a week and searched the home using police dogs. Clashes erupted in the area as Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear-gas canisters. Several Palestinians suffered severe tear-gas inhalation during clashes in the town. Israeli forces detained Shihdeh Walid Amro, 27, from his home in Dura. Soldiers also detained Mahmoud Hamdi Halayqa after raiding his home in the al-Shuyukh village.
Violence in Ni‘lin village: Repression, tear gas and arrests
NI‘LIN, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Ramallah Team) 19 Jan — The soldiers surrounding Ni‘lin did not wait; they began firing tear gas as soon as the villagers walked down into their olive groves. Those who had braved the cold, rainy weather to attend Ni‘lin’s weekly Friday demonstration were forced to retreat, running choking from the clouds of tear gas launched at them from the hillsides. From the road overlooking Ni‘lin’s fields, the tear gas looked like a layer of fog blanketing the olive groves. “They were either straight at us or at the ambulance,” said one ISM activist as the group moved away from a tear gas canister which had landed directly behind them, on the street bordering the olive groves behind and to the side of the protest. The soldiers fired indiscriminately, launching dozens of tear gas rounds at unarmed protesters and activists attempting to film the incident…
This one week, unlike many other weeks at Ni‘lin, no one was shot, no one needed to go to the hospital, and no one was arrested. Over the last few weeks, however, the village has endured a campaign of violence and arrests by Israeli forces, who engage in night raids to terrorise the Palestinian families of Ni‘lin. Saeed Amireh, Ni‘lin activist and long-time spokesperson for the plight of his village, spoke with ISM volunteers about the recent situation. Ten people were arrested in Ni‘lin in the last two weeks alone, he reported, in night raids occurring nearly every other day. Twenty-five have been arrested since November 4th. Saeed explained that under interrogation by Israeli forces in Muskubiya (the Russian Compound) prison in Jerusalem, a prisoner from Ni‘lin had signed a paper implicating thirty-six people in the village. Those names now comprise a list of people wanted by the Israeli authorities – people who, if they have not already been arrested, must live in constant fear of being taken from their homes and subjected to the harsh procedures of Israel’s apartheid justice system. Saeed spoke of the conditions suffered by Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces and taken to Israeli prisons: months of solitary confinement inside tiny cells, torture, harsh treatment from other prisoners and entrapment by Israeli spies within the prisons. All are strategies employed by interrogators attempting to trap people into admitting to things they never did. In attempts to finally be released, prisoners will often sign lists of names of other villagers, who the Israeli military will then arrest and subject to the same treatment. Over forty people from the village are currently imprisoned. One ISM volunteer asked what people did to be put on a list of those wanted by Israeli authorities. “They go and join in the protests” Saeed replied. In the night arrest raids, Israeli forces not only surround and invade houses, leaving messes of Palestinians’ personal possessions and furniture behind; they have also begun to shoot inside the village….
Israeli forces detain Palestinian journalist in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah overnight Sunday, witnesses said. Mujahid Bani Miflih was taken to Ofer detention center after Israeli soldiers raided his home in Beitunia. Miflih works as a news editor and staff writer for Ramallah-based online websites Zaman Press and Huna al-Quds.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian professor in Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli forces in Nablus on Monday detained a Palestinian professor who lectures at an-Najah University, a statement said. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said that Dr. Walid Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Zeina was arrested by Israeli forces at his home around dawn.
Israeli forces launch major detention campaign in Nablus camps
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Jan – Israeli forces launched a major detention campaign in the northern West Bank refugee camps of Balata and ‘Askar in Nablus district overnight, Palestinian security sources said. More than 15 young men were seized after forces ransacked many houses. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that more than 20 Israeli military jeeps stormed Balata and ‘Askar refugee camps near Nablus at midnight and broke into dozens of houses. Locals said most of the houses belonged to Fatah supporters.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel issues administrative detention orders for 22 Palestinians
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders against 22 Palestinians, a rights group said Tuesday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said that 17 of the prisoners had been issued administrative detention orders in the past, some of them two or three times. Only five of the 22 prisoners are being issued such orders for the first time. Administrative detention is a policy by which Israeli authorities hold Palestinians in custody without charge or trial, sometimes indefinitely. The prisoners were identified as:….
Israeli court releases Palestinian from prison custody
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan– The Israeli Prison Service on Sunday released a Palestinian prisoner from Jerusalem after he was found innocent of the charges against him. Residents of the al-Mukabbir village welcomed Jamal Ahmad Ibrahim Abu Jamal, 40, late Sunday while repeating slogans in support of Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli magistrate court decided to release Abu Jamal and acquit him of all charges including throwing rocks and taking part in clashes with Israeli soldiers in Jabal al-Mukabbir. Abu Jamal was detained in Nov. 6 after Israeli soldiers raided his home and assaulted him and his family. He is a former prisoner who was released in an exchange deal.
IOA brings Palestinian child to court handcuffed
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 Jan — Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) brought a 14-year-old Palestinian girl to Ofer military court to stand trial with both her hands and feet shackled. Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said, in a statement on Monday, that Ofer military court deferred the trial of the child Malak al-Khatib from Ramallah because of the absence of the prosecution. The father of Malak said she was brought to court handcuffed and foot-shackled. He noted that the health condition of his daughter is worsening due to the extreme cold in Hasharon prison. The IOA charged Malak with throwing stones and having a knife, the father added, expressing surprise at the charge. Malak’s father expressed the concerns and worries of the family about their girl for being detained in Israeli jail, and asked human rights organizations and Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee to intervene immediately to end the unjustified detention of Malak. He also said the family had previously appealed to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to work on releasing her. The IOA is still holding the Palestinian child captive for twenty successive days during which she attended four court hearings.
State prosecutor says Haaretz’s Amira Hass did not incite to violence
Haaretz 21 Jan by Revital Hovel — Statements by Haaretz journalist Amira Hass in an April 2013 opinion piece, “The inner syntax of Palestinian stone-throwing,” do not violate the law against incitement to violence, the office of State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has informed the rightist Legal Forum for the Land of Israel. In a response to the legal forum’s request that an investigation against Hass be launched, Anat Goldstein, from Nitzan’s office, wrote last month: “The state prosecution takes a dim view of the statements and strongly objects to them. Nevertheless, our position is that an investigation should not be launched against Ms. Hass on suspicion of incitement to violence because of this article, which does not call to commit violence, and thus does not break the law against incitement.” In the oped, Hass wrote: “Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israeli forces weld shut the doors of an elderly Palestinian woman’s houses on Shuhada Street
[with photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 19 Jan — This afternoon in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces gathered on Shuhada street, surrounding the doorways to the two houses belonging to Aamal Hashem Dundes, an elderly Palestinian woman, and her family. A soldier, wielding a torch and various other equipment, welded shut the doors. Soldiers and police kept international and Palestinian observers away as the houses were sealed up. Soldiers claimed that Molotov cocktails had been thrown from the roof of one of the houses into the Israeli Zionist settlement. No one, however, could explain why this led soldiers to punish Aamal and her family, who had done nothing wrong, by welding shut their doors. “Isn’t that collective punishment?” asked one member of Christian Peacemaker Teams present at the scene along with ISM. Israeli forces could give no satisfactory answer. Aamal’s family were not living in the houses at the time the soldiers came to seal up the doors – they rent an apartment across the street – but she and her daughter explained to international volunteers that the family had owned the houses for hundreds of years. Aamal sat near where the soldiers were working, sometimes weeping, sometimes speaking with journalists and local activists. As the incident progressed Israeli soldiers and police forced Palestinian and international observers back away from where the soldiers were sealing up the doors, and from where Aamal sat with her daughter arguing ineffectually with the soldiers and police. By contrast, Israeli settlers who had come up Shuhada street from the nearby settlement to observe were allowed to stay near and continue filming even as the rest of the people present were shoved first onto the sidewalk across from the houses, then to either side of the street, where they could no longer clearly see what was happening. Settlers joked and laughed with the soldiers, seeming quite pleased with the situation. Soldiers aggressively shoved journalists, international solidarity activists, and local Palestinian activists who were attempting document the behavior and actions of the Israeli forces. When international activists attempted to ask why they were being kept back from the scene, soldiers typically responded: “because I say so.” By the time Israeli forces had finished welding her doors shut, Aamal, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, was understandably overwhelmed. Not only had she witnessed the houses her family had owned for generations sealed up by gun-toting Israeli soldiers, she had also been pushed by soldiers when she tried to protest. She had to be taken to an ambulance, which drove her away to the hospital … Aamal and her family live on the short portion of Shuhada street where Palestinians are still allowed to walk. Most of the street has been entirely closed off to Palestinians, as part of Israel’s campaign of repression against those living in and around the area which once served as a thriving hub of Palestinian life in al-Khalil. Shuhada street, where once markets and shops flourished, is now a ghost town. Many Palestinians have already left the area; those who remain must bar their doors and windows against violence from local settlers. The sealed off doors are just one more demonstration of the Israeli military’s repression of those Palestinians who dare to continue to live on al-Khalil’s apartheid streets.
Israeli forces demolish house in al-‘Isawiya in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan – Israeli forces stormed the East Jerusalem town of al-‘Isawiya before dawn Tuesday and demolished a Palestinian house allegedly being built without a license from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem. Member of a local monitoring committee in the town told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli troops and police officers stormed the al-Thahra neighborhood in the center of al-‘Isawiya at 4 a.m. and deployed in alleys as three bulldozers started to demolish a house under construction belonging to Osama Ribhi Dari. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus added that the owner started to build the house which measures 200 square meters 10 months ago before the Jerusalem municipality ordered him to stop work. Abu al-Hummus added that Israeli troops who deployed heavily in the town provoked locals on their way to work in the morning. As a result, young men clashed with the soldiers who fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets in all directions injuring a lady with a rubber-coated bullet. The Israeli soldiers also apprehended a young man after beating him violently, added Abu al-Hummus.
Further Israeli demolitions in South Hebron Hills
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Jan — The Israeli army, on Tuesday, demolished two homes, a store and an animal barn in the village of Khallat al-Mai, south of Hebron, according to local sources. Mohammad Mehesen, coordinator of the People’s Anti-Settlement Committee, told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that an Israeli army force, accompanied by military vehicles, broke into the village and proceeded to demolish the two houses and other structures belonging to local residents. The two houses shelter 14 members from the Rab‘i clan, whereas the animal structure is used for livestock husbandry. Owners of the two houses, Hussein and Hassan Rab‘i, both brothers, were not allowed to evacuate the furniture of their homes when the Israeli military arrived. Soldiers also assaulted a number of local residents in the village, hitting them with the butts of their rifles. Khallat al-Mai is located in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under complete Israeli control, where Israeli authorities rarely issue construction permits for Palestinians, forcing many to attempt construction without one.
Israel to demolish 30 structures in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 20 Jan – Israeli forces Tuesday handed [out] notices to demolish 30 Palestinian-owned structures in al-Dir, a locale to the east of the town of Ein al-Bayda in the Jordan Valley, according to a local official. An official in the popular resistance, Khaled Mansour, said that an Israeli special unit, with a large military force, raided the locale and handed the residents demolition notices for 30 structures, including residential sheds, animal barns, and fodder storage units. The notices gave the residents a chance until February 16 to appeal the decision. Residents of the locale depend on farming and grazing livestock for a living; some of the homes there were built before the Israeli occupation in 1967, however, the Israeli occupation attempts to take over the area has not ceased since then. Israel has the Palestinian population there living under extremely hard living conditions; their homes are constantly demolished, in addition to the imposition of restriction on their movement and denying them access to grazing fields to graze their livestock. The official called upon all relevant sides to support the residents of the locale and stand by their side in the face of the Israeli systematic ethnic cleansing and displacement attempts.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli army forces delivered four evacuation notices in Khirbet al-Dair, North of the Jordan Valley in order to demolish a number of homes which were allegedly built without obtaining the necessary legal permits.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces demolished a well owned by Palestinians and used to collect rain water in the town of Halhoul to the north of Hebron.
Israel to demolish a park near Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, Barta‘a village, southwest of Jenin city in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, and handed [over] a demolition order for an amusement park run by the Barta‘a Cooperative Society. Photojournalist Baha’ Qabaha, said a large military force, accompanied by personnel of the Israeli Planning and Construction Committee, invaded the park, and ordered a halt on ongoing constructions in preparation for completely removing the park. Qabaha said is the third warrant issued by the Israeli military against the public area and its amusement park, adding that the village and its public facilities are subject to frequent Israeli violations, including the destruction of homes and property, in addition to repeated invasion and arrests. The village has lost hundreds of dunams of farmlands for Israel’s military and settlement activities, while the army has a permanent roadblock on the road that leads to the villagers’ lands and orchards.
Evacuated Amona settlers must compensate Palestinian landowners, says state
Haaretz 20 Jan by Chaim Levinson — Three weeks after the High Court of Justice ruled that the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona must be evacuated and destroyed by the end of 2016, the state is asking the court to demand that its residents pay 300,000 shekels ($75,000) to compensate the Palestinian owners of the land on which some of the homes were built … The settlers have stressed that it was the government which originally established the outpost, and thus no claims can legally be lodged against them. This claim has been repeated by Amona residents, throughout the entire period of legal proceedings against them. In response to that charge, the state wrote the court: “Amona’s representatives and residents tried to force upon the state the existence of the outpost, despite the illegal circumstances of its establishment. The picture is clear: These people have throughout the years been aware that this is land under private ownership, and the settlement of the site and building of structures there is illegal.”
Police release five Palestinian women, order three away from Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Jan by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli Police in occupied Jerusalem released, on Monday evening, five Palestinian women after detaining and interrogating them for several hours, and ordered three of them away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its yards for 15 days. Hamza Qteina, of the “Lawyers For Jerusalem,” said the Police kidnapped the five women while [they were] heading towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and took them to the al-Qashla Police Station for interrogation. The Police alleges the women “violated public safety”, and the “public right to reach holy sites,” despite the fact that the police have been severely restricting, and largely denying, access of Palestinian Muslims into the mosque, while allowing Israeli far-right groups to march into its yards demanding its destruction, and “rebuilding the temple” in its place. Qteina said the five women are Hiba al-Husseini, 28, Safa’ Seyaj, 26, Jumana Abu ‘Arafa, 23 [a pregnant journalist acc. to WAFA], Bara‘a an-Natsha, 17, and Ansam Moghrabi, 17. The Police ordered Hiba al-Husseini, Safa Seyaj and Ansam al-Moghrabi away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its yards and gates for 15 days, while Bara‘a and Ansam were allowed to go to their school, Al-Aqsa Sharia School for Girls in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon.
Dozens of Israelis, including officials, enter Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A group of officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem early Tuesday under the guard of Israeli forces, a ministry employee said. Firas al-Dibs, a public information officer with the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment, told Ma‘an that 40 people from the Israeli foreign ministry entered the compound via the Moroccan gate. He said some 30 right-wing Israelis also entered the compound in groups, one of which provoked Muslim worshipers, who responded by chanting “Allahu akbar,” or “God is the greatest,” in response. Some 15 Israeli intelligence officers also toured the holy site on Tuesday, al-Dibs said. Meanwhile, Israeli officers stationed outside the main gates of the compound seized the identity cards of Palestinian women who entered. One woman was taken into custody when she exited the compound through Hatta gate.
A pleasant news item
Worker finds 10,000 shekels, returns money to owner
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — A worker from Hebron found 10,000 shekels ($2,500) on Sunday in addition to a mobile phone while working on a street in Hebron, local media reported. Local radio station Minbar al-Hurriya said that Muhammad Fouad Abu Eisha reported to the media that he found the money and phone. Saad Abd al-Muti Eid al-Natsheh, the man to whom the money and phone belonged, called in to the local radio station with a description of the lost items. Hebron mayor Daoud al-Zaatari delivered the items to al-Natsheh, who expressed gratitude to the mayor and to the worker, and presented a cash reward to the latter. Al-Zaatary said he was proud that his workers were trustworthy and sincere, and presented a trophy of appreciation to Abu Eisha.
Another worker, Rifaat al-Eweiwi, from Hebron had also found 20,000 shekels on Thursday while working the night shift in Hebron’s city center. He gave it back to their owner, Muhammad Abd al-Karim al-Jaabari, after reporting the lost money to the media.
New Zealand proposes Palestine to be a state alongside Israel, in UN Security Council
Int’l Business Times 17 Jan by Reissa Su — New Zealand has proposed a two-state solution to finally end the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Since taking its place in the UN Security Council, New Zealand is now actively participating for the first time in two decades in an open debate about the conflict. New Zealand’s representative to the council had criticised the UN for failing to show leadership in the debate and abdicating its duties. Jim McLay told the Security Council that it needed to do more to put an end to the 60-year conflict. He said the most realistic solution would be to recognise two states in which Palestine will be recognised as an independent state alongside Israel, TVNZ reported. McLay told fellow members of the council that the current arguments no longer add value and purpose to the matter. He said while New Zealand strong supports the existence of Israel, declaring Palestine as its own state based on a border set in pre-1967 may be the only way to achieve long-lasting peace.
EU official proposes widening Mideast peace talks body
WASHINGTON (AFP) 20 Jan — Diplomats must take a fresh look at the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the hopes of reviving the negotiations after March elections in Israel, the EU’s foreign policy chief said Tuesday. “What I’m afraid of is that on one side the lack of progress is itself something that is deteriorating the situation,” the EU’s Federica Mogherini said. “But on the other side, I’m also worried about the fact that a process that has gone on for so long, if we just restart the process and that’s it, it might not be enough.” Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Mogherini suggested one way forward would be to enlarge the Middle East Quartet steering the negotiations. Set up in Madrid in 2002, the body is composed of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia. Former British prime minister Tony Blair acts as its special envoy in mediating a peace deal between the two sides. “The sense of frustration, the lack of hope, is so strong on both sides, that we need not only to restart the process but … make sure that the process brings some immediate concrete results,” Mogherini said
Erekat: Palestinian-Israeli relations at point of no return
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Relations between Israeli and Palestinian officials have reached a “point of no return,” PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday. The top PLO official made the remarks during a meeting with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry on Monday. Erekat had made similar comments during meetings with both Japan’s representative office and the US consul general Michael Ratney in recent days. The PLO official said joining the International Criminal Court would help change the status quo.
PLO Executive Committee to discuss new UN bid
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — The PLO Executive Committee will meet in Ramallah Wednesday to discuss a new Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. Sources close to the meeting, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Ma‘an that the new UN resolution would call for the end of the Israeli occupation within two years, allowing for a year of negotiations. The negotiations would be sponsored by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the sources said. The new bid will also call for a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and the implementation of UN resolution 194 on the right of return for refugees.
Hamas says EU appeal to keep it on terror list ‘immoral’
AFP 19 Jan — Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas slammed as “immoral” Monday an EU appeal to keep it on the bloc’s terror blacklist, a month after a European court ordered its removal. “The European Union’s insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organisations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU’s total bias in favour of the Israeli occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. “It provides it (Israel) with the cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people,” he added. Foreign ministers from the 28 EU member states decided at a Monday meeting to appeal the decision taken by the General Court of the European Union on December 17, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. Israel, which slammed the December ruling, said it was not surprised about the EU’s latest move. “It’s not a surprise, we’re happy. We expected them to do this in the first place,” a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity … Hamas, which has dominated the Gaza Strip since 2007, had appealed against its inclusion on the blacklist on several grounds.
ICC and Palestine — a long way to go
JERUSALEM (IRIN) 19 Jan by Joe Dyke & Annie Slemrod — On 16 January, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced it had opened a preliminary examination into possible war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory since 13 June 2014, encapsulating last summer’s conflict between Israel and Gaza. But prosecutions are unlikely or at least a long way off. Since the court began operating in 2002, it has opened 21 cases in eight countries but to date only two people have been convicted: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and Germain Katanga. It has issued 35 indictments, but three of the accused passed away before they could be apprehended while many others remain at large. Search and explore IRIN’s interactive map on ICC examinations, indictments and convictions worldwide at: http://newirin.irinnews.org/extras/2015/1/19/palestine-and-the-icc-a-long-way-to-go A preliminary examination is not an investigation; it is an examination of whether the court has a reasonable basis to proceed with a full investigation. It considers issues of jurisdiction, admissibility, and interests of justice. Including the occupied Palestinian territory, the court now has nine preliminary examinations open and nine so-called “active” investigations. Four previous preliminary examinations have failed to make it to “active”status, while others have been effectively suspended for years.
Hamas denies Meshaal is meeting with Abbas in Qatar
Middle East Monitor 19 Jan — Hamas has denied that any meeting has been planned between the movement’s leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. A spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, Ismail Ridwan, contradicted a claim by senior Fatah leader Yahya Rabah that Abbas would meet with Meshaal in Doha on Monday. Ridwan also responded to Abbas’s claim that Hamas and Israel have a joint understanding about establishing a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. “The claim is a lie that does not warrant a reply,” he insisted. “Abu Mazen [Abbas] is the principal behind the security cooperation with the Israelis,” added the Hamas spokesman. “As such he is a party to the Israeli siege on Gaza and has been signing concession agreements with the occupation authorities. The latest deal, which included many concessions, was the bid at the UN Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state.”
Abbas welcomes Japan PM
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday applauded Japan’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shenzo Abe, Abbas welcomed Shenzo and expressed solidarity with Japan as he condemned the kidnapping of two Japanese citizens by the Islamic State militant group. Abbas also thanked Japan for its role in enhancing peace opportunities in the Middle East. Palestinians will never forget Japan’s support for Palestine, which started when it aided Palestinian refugees and continued after the Oslo Accords, Abbas said … The Japanese PM pledged a $100 million to contribute to Gaza reconstruction. Abe added that he hoped Palestine and Israel would be able to live in peace and that his country would continue to support peace based on a two-state solution.
Israeli economy grew during Gaza war, revised stats show
Haaretz 19 Jan by Moti Bassok — The deleterious impact of Operation Protective Edge on Israel’s economy keeps getting smaller and smaller as time passes. In its third estimate since November, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday that Israel’s economy actually grew at an annualized 0.2% rate seasonally adjusted in the third quarter while the 50-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip was raging.
Israel on high alert for for Hezbollah retaliation
JERUSALEM (AP) 20 Jan — Israel has gone on high alert for possible attacks by Hezbollah, Israeli defense officials said Wednesday, beefing up its air defenses and increasing surveillance along its northern frontier following an airstrike in Syria that killed six members of the Lebanese militant group and an Iranian general. Hezbollah has accused Israel of carrying out Sunday’s airstrike, which occurred on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Israel, which is believed to be behind a number of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, has neither confirmed nor denied involvement. The Israeli officials said that the “Iron Dome” anti-rocket defense system has been deployed near the Syrian and Lebanese borders as a precautionary measure. Israel’s Security Cabinet is scheduled to meet to discuss a potential escalation in violence, they said. Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies and fought a bloody monthlong war in the summer of 2006. Among the dead in the airstrike was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh — a top Hezbollah operative who was assassinated in 2008 in Damascus in a bombing that Hezbollah blamed on Israel. Thousands of mourners attended his funeral Monday in Beirut. In south Lebanon, thousands of Hezbollah supporters on Tuesday swarmed around the yellow-draped coffin of Mohammad Issa, a Hezbollah commander who also died in the airstrike. Issa was the highest-ranking among the group, and was among the senior cadres who headed the group’s operations in Syria … Since Syria’s civil war began in March 2011, Israel has reportedly carried out several airstrikes in Syria that have targeted sophisticated weapons systems, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, believed to be destined for Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview last week, said Hezbollah reserves the right to retaliate for those attacks. He also reiterated that Hezbollah may retaliate at any time for the assassination of the elder Mughniyeh.
Iran commander: Zionists can expect ‘devastating’ response to Syria strike
Haaretz 20 Jan by Barak Ravid & Jack Khoury — The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps on Tuesday warned that the “Zionist” would have to wait for “devastating thunderbolts” in response that would be unleashed in the wake of the air strike on the Syria-Israel border that killed six Hezbollah militants and six of its own military men, including senior General Mohammed Allahdaddi. General Ali Jafaari released a special statement warning that the death of Allahdaddi and Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh were “a new opening point for the collapse of the Zionist regime.”
Israel didn’t target Iranian general in strike: source
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 20 Jan — An Iranian general killed in an Israeli air strike in Syria was not its intended target, and Israel believed it was attacking only low-ranking guerrillas, a senior security source said on Tuesday. The remarks by the Israeli source, who declined to be identified because Israel has not officially confirmed it carried out the strike, appeared aimed at containing any escalation with Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group. Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Allahdadi was killed with a Hezbollah commander and the son of the group’s late military leader, Imad Moughniyeh, in Sunday’s attack on a Hezbollah convoy near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.