Violence / Attacks / Clashes / Arrests — West Bank, Jerusalem
Father of Jenin teen says ‘son killed in cold blood’
JENIN (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of Muhammad Murad Yahiya, 18, on Tuesday after he was shot dead by Israeli forces late Monday in al-‘Araqa village in western Jenin. “Israel assassinated my son in cold blood,” Yahiya’s father, Murad, told Ma‘an. “After a family wedding Muhammad and several of his friends went walking in our lands near the separation wall when Israeli soldiers opened fire and hit him.” Muhammad’s uncle, Zayid, said that Israeli forces at the scene tied his feet together as he lay bleeding on the ground and kept him there for several hours. Secretary-general of Fatah in al-‘Araqa, Muhammad Waked, condemned the killing, while head of the village council Raed Yahiya said Israel “continuously targets the village by building the separation wall and shooting at locals to prevent them from approaching the wall.” The governor of Jenin, security forces, and representatives from Palestinian political parties joined villagers for the funeral. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that the teen had been shot with a live bullet by Israeli forces in his lower stomach. He underwent surgery after his injury was reported as critical, but was pronounced dead Tuesday morning. An Israeli army spokeswoman alleged Yahiya was with a group of Palestinians “attempting to breach the security fence,” and that Israeli forces ordered them to halt.
Palestinian shepherds beaten and arrested as Israeli occupation forces stun-grenade their sheep
IWPS 23 Apr — As he speaks, the cut under Islam’s eye is clearly visible. From his quiet and kind demeanor it is impossible to tell, other than this injury on his left cheekbone, that less than 48 hours prior, he and his cousin were beaten, handcuffed, blindfolded and left in the hot sun outside a police station in the illegal Elon Moreh settlement bloc near their village of Salem, for twelve hours. The cousins were tending to their flock in the small piece of field, near the shared illegal settler/occupied Palestinian road they are relegated too per their occupiers, around 7am when Islam got too close to the road. The road is off limits to Palestinians who are not in vehicles, thus as they work to limit the area their sheep are covering, if they get too close to the road, occupation forces in jeeps drive up within moments of spotting them from the Israeli watchtower just several dozen meters away. On this morning, when the jeeps pulled up, Islam was thrown to the ground and beaten by soldiers as his cousin yelled for them to stop. “Because I yelled that he was my cousin and to leave him alone, they arrested me too,” Adnan Eshtayah, 34 tells IWPS volunteers. They threw multiple stun grenades, crowd control weaponry commonly used by IOF — which creates deafening blasts and smoke — at Islam’s flock of sheep, injuring several of them. The pair were handcuffed and blindfolded before being driven into Elon Moreh where they were left on the ground in the sun outside the police station with no food or water for 12 hours….
Israeli truck runs over six-year-old Palestinian
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — A six-year-old Palestinian was injured after he was run over by an Israeli truck in Yatta in southern Hebron on Tuesday. Medical sources described Zakariya Mahmoud al-Umour‘s injuries as moderate to serious. The Israeli liaison said that the child had been taken in an Israeli ambulance to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba in Israel. Israeli police have opened an investigation into the accident. The Israeli Civil Administration requested that the child’s family go to their offices to obtain visit permits. Although the nature of the accident remains unclear, there have been incidents in the past of Israelis — particularly settlers — intentionally hitting Palestinians with their cars in the occupied West Bank. There have also been hit-and-run attacks against Israelis, including an alleged attack that left four Israeli police officers injured in East Jerusalem on Saturday.
Soldiers break into homes, shops in ‘Aida refugee camp
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday evening, the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, broke into homes, and destroyed doors of a number of stores, before searching them. Local sources said the soldiers damaged the doors of a number of shops, and a car repair garage, and violently searched them causing excessive property damage. The sources added that the soldiers destroyed and removed the doors by tying them with iron chains attached to their armored vehicles. In addition, soldiers invaded three homes, belonging to Mohammad Ahmad al-Ghoushi, Mousa Monir Ja’ara and Jamil Jawarish, before searching and ransacking them.
Armed clashes in Balata camp after officer’s weapon stolen
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Two young Palestinians seized the weapon of a [PA] security forces member after a fight broke out between them at al-Shuhada roundabout in Nablus on Tuesday, residents said. They told Ma‘an that a fight broke out between two young men and a security officer, all from Balata refugee camp near Nablus, related to the recent security campaign in the camp, and they managed to snatch his weapon and flee toward the camp. Palestinian security forces surrounded the camp and there was an exchange of fire with some armed people inside. No injuries were immediately reported. Residents in Balata camp continue to demand the release of two people from the camp who have been detained in Jericho prison for over 80 days.
Israeli army officers punished for attacking photographers
Haaretz 28 Apr by Gili Cohen — Two Israel Defense Force officers who were captured on video assaulting press photographers at a demonstration last Friday in the Palestinian West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah area have been sentenced in disciplinary proceedings, in which footage from one of the news photographers was used. One of the officers was sent to military prison for 14 days while the other was confined to base for 30 days. Footage of the incident was provided by photographer Miki Kratsman of the ActiveStills photography collaborative and published on the online “+972 Magazine” website on Friday. The video shows soldiers attacking the photographers and yelling at them to leave. One of the soldiers is seen forcefully pushing a photographer to the ground and then throwing stones. Two photographers, one from ActiveStills and the other from the French news agency AFP, were injured in the incident. After a brigade-level investigation, it became clear that the soldiers involved were officers – a deputy company commander in the Kfir Brigade who was the officer in charge in the field and a platoon commander in the brigade.
Israel carries out arrest raids across East Jerusalem, West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians in arrest raids across the West Bank and East Jerusalem early Monday. Three Palestinians were detained from occupied East Jerusalem when Israeli forces raided their homes in the Old City and Jabal al-Mukabbir village. Sources told Ma‘an that Mumen Hashimeh was detained from the Old City, while Ahmad Wissam Eweisat, 21, and Muhammad Ali Atta Eweisat, 18, were detained from Jabal al-Mukabbir. The Eweisat family said that Israeli forces assaulted members of Ahmad’s family during the raid, leaving bruises on his brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad and his sister Dana. The family added that soldiers broke furniture inside the house …
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians across the West Bank on Monday morning, sources told Ma‘an. Two Palestinian youths were detained from Jenin, and a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian was arrested in Nablus. A youth was also detained from ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Six Palestinians were also arrested in Hebron following the politically charged funeral of Mahmoud Abu Jheisha, who was shot dead outside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier. One Palestinian was detained from Abu Jheisha’s hometown of Idhna in western Hebron, while five Palestinians were detained from Hebron for taking part in protests near the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Israeli forces detain 5 women from Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli forces detained five women from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday, witnesses said. The detainees were taken to the Chain Gate police station and afterwards transferred to al-Qishla police station in Jerusalem’s Old City for interrogation. The women were identified as Suha Eid, Salwa Ghazzawi, Ikram Ghazzawi, Suad Ubeidiyya and Iman Abu Isneineh. An Israeli police spokesman confirmed that two women had been arrested at the compound for “causing disturbances.” On Sunday, an Israeli court banned three women from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for 45 days. The three women were identified as Alaa Taha, Sumayya Taha and Tasnim Ayyashi.
Three teens indicted for attacks on Palestinians
Haaretz 28 Apr by Chaim Levinson — Indictments were filed Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court against a 19-year-old and two minors from the settlement of Bat Ayin in the West Bank for a number of alleged attacks on Palestinians. The indictment against Or Shahar, 19, and the two minors, ages 16 and 17, charges them with racially motivated aggravated assault, assault on a public servant, racially motivated willful damage to property and other charges … The indictment against the three states that the first assault occurred in October 2013, when an Israeli Arab came to Bat Ayin to deliver merchandise that had been ordered from him. After covering their faces, Shahar and the two minors sprayed tear gas at the man, and at a soldier who tried to help the man, and beat the man with wooden planks. In another incident a week later, according to the indictment, the three threw stones at a Palestinian truck. In another case, in May 2014, the accused cut down 35 olive trees belonging to Palestinians and spray-painted the words “Arabs are thieves” in the orchard. The damage to the orchard was estimated at 30,000 shekels (about $7,700)
One person shot at protest against Israel’s cancer-causing chemical plants in Tulkarem
TULKAREM, Occupied Palestine 29 Apr by ISM Huwwara Team — Around fifty Palestinians and international activists gathered today in Tulkarem, east of Nablus, to protest the presence of 11 Israeli chemical plants located in the city. The protest took place outside the Gishuri chemical plant on what is locally referred to as the “death road” due to the health problems caused by the Israeli plants. The protesters were carrying signs demanding a clean environment and an end to the Israeli occupation, while Israeli soldiers deployed to guard the plant quickly responded with stun grenades and tear gas. On one occasion Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters aimed directly at peaceful demonstrators and the press. As the protest continued, a 22-year old Palestinian man was shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet, hitting him in the abdomen. He was later taken to the local hospital and appeared to have suffered superficial damages only, although he was in great pain. The protest quickly subsided after this event. The protest against Israel’s chemical plants have been continuous since Gushiri Industries, a manufacturer of pesticides and fertilizers, first arrived in Tulkarem in the mid-1980s. The plant used to be located in the Israeli city of Netanya, only 12 kilometers away. However, a 1982 Israeli court order said the company was violating pollution regulations, making the company relocate to the West Bank’s Area C, which is under full Israeli control. The court order came after a complaint filed by Israeli citizens. Since the arrival of Gushiri Industries, ten other chemical plants have located nearby, the last one in 2007 … – Chronic diseases and land pollution – The most serious consequence of the presence of these chemical plants is the health effect on Palestinians….
Thousands protest Arab housing crisis in Tel Aviv rally
Haaretz 28 Apr by Jack Khoury — Organizers say that holding the rally in Tel Aviv signals that the Arab population is not giving up on its citizenship — Several thousand people, mostly Arab citizens, gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin square on Tuesday afternoon to protest housing shortages and the policy of house demolitions in Arab communities across the country, from ‘the triangle’ in central Israel to the Negev, the Galilee and in mixed cities. The protest was held under the slogan “Fighting for our homes.” MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint Arab List, said that this is one of the most crucial issues confronting the Arab public in Israel. “A family which loses its home, built on its own private land, is shattered,” Odeh said. He accused the government of not responding to initiatives taken by heads of Arab local councils, who have been trying to resolve the issue of master plans for many years … The committee maintains that the dire housing situation in the Arab sector is due to housing shortages, the confiscation of land and the non-approval of master plans or plans to expand areas of jurisdiction … Participants carried Palestinian flags and placards protesting demolitions and calling for expanding the jurisdiction of Arab towns. Other placards called for the recognition of unrecognized villages in the Negev and in Dahamesh, near Ramle, whose inhabitants are contesting demolition orders.
14-year-old shot by Israeli forces in Gaza Strip in critical condition
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — A 14-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition and has been transferred to Ramallah for treatment after he was hit by a stray Israeli bullet on Friday at his home in the central Gaza Strip, his family said Tuesday. The family of Fadi Abu Mandil, 14, said that the teen will undergo surgery in his spine as he is currently unable to walk. His uncle told Ma‘an that the child was hit with a stray Israeli bullet while studying at his home when Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers. On Friday medical sources said that the 14-year-old from al-Mughazi refugee camp had been transferred to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah city.
Gaza: Another Palestinian dies in collapsed tunnel
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Apr — A Palestinian worker died on Monday when a tunnel collapsed in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a health official said. Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an News Agency that Muhammad Khalid al-Najjar, 27, was killed in the incident. His body was taken to Abu Youssef al-Najjar hospital. Last week, Ahmad Majed Salim al-Saqqa, 19, from Khan Younis died after he was electrocuted in a tunnel beneath Rafah, while another Palestinian from Khan Younis, Ibrahim Fathi Esleih, 21, died a week before in similar circumstances. The smuggling tunnels are notoriously dangerous, and workers are frequently killed working inside them. The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began. Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants
Israeli forces open fire on farmers in eastern Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Tuesday morning, with no injuries reported. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers deployed along the border of Khuza‘a east of Khan Younis had targeted Palestinian homes and land. Several homes were damaged and farmers were forced to flee their lands, witnesses said. Sources added that Israeli planes are continuing to spray crops along the eastern Khan Younis border with poisonous pesticides that burn crops.
One rocket from Gaza outweighs 6 Israeli incursions and 67 attacks
Mondoweiss 27 Apr by Philip Weiss — Over the weekend, Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign to End the Occupation seized on the news that a rocket had been fired on Israel from Gaza. He tweeted: “There are reports of the first projectile fired from Gaza into Israel in months. No one reports on near daily Israeli violations in Gaza.” Later he tweeted that it was the first projectile reportedly fired from Gaza to Israel since December 2014. “Here‘s what Israel fired at Gaza since then.” The list of all the Israeli attacks is at the bottom of this post, and was compiled by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Munayyer also linked to a new Middle East Monitor report on Israeli attacks that states: ““In the three months January-March, there were six military incursions – when Israeli forces invade the Gaza Strip then withdraw – and 67 shooting attacks on land and at sea.”….
UN report: Israel responsible for Gaza shelter attacks
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 27 Apr by Carole Landry with Jonah Mandel in Jerusalem — A United Nations inquiry blamed the Israeli military Monday for seven attacks on UN schools in Gaza that were used as shelters during the 2014 war. “I deplore the fact that at least 44 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli actions and at least 227 injured at United Nations premises being used as emergency shelters,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a letter to the UN Security Council. “It is a matter of the utmost gravity that those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied.” The UN chief, in presenting a summary of the report, vowed to “spare no effort to ensure that such incidents will never be repeated.” The board of inquiry investigated the attacks on the schools run by the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA from July 8 to August 26 last year, but it also shed light on the discovery of weapons caches at three schools. The schools were vacant at the time but Ban noted that “the fact that they were used by those involved in the fighting to store their weaponry and, in two cases, probably to fire from, is unacceptable.” The UN chief urged Palestinian authorities to investigate … UN spokesman Farhan Haq declined to comment on whether the findings of the report would be taken up by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the Palestinians have joined. “It’s not our business to determine what cases the international court takes up,” he said.
200,000 Palestinian laborers unemployed in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 27 Apr — The Palestinian unity government has not recruited any of the unemployed in Gaza Strip within the temporary employment program since it was formed last June, the head of the Palestinian Labor Union Sami al-Amsi said. Al-Amsi pointed to the increased number of the unemployed laborers estimated at 200,000. Amsi said, in a statement on Monday, “the current stage is the worst ever”, noting that the previous government in Gaza was employing 5000 laborers monthly under the temporary employment program which contributed to alleviating the workers’ harsh living conditions. He pointed out that the unity government has canceled the temporary employment and the professional training programs, which obstructed the role of the Ministry of Labor in Gaza. Referring to the World Labor Day, Amsi said “the First of May coincides with record numbers of unemployment in Gaza amid tightening of the siege, the closure of crossings and banning the entry of raw materials especially the metal equipment. This has led to the hampering of work in 1200 factories and workshops in addition to layoffs of thousands of workers”.
New report considers impact of lifting restrictions on Gaza goods
Middle East Monitor 27 Apr — Gaza’s manufacturing sectors would be able to significantly boost their output should Israeli restrictions on sales in the West Bank be lifted, a new report claims. The study by Israeli NGO Gisha is based on in-depth interviews and discussions with senior figures in the Gaza Strip’s primary productive sectors: agriculture, textile, furniture, food processing and information and communications technology (ICT). Gaza’s business and trade leaders estimate that they would be able to sell between 30 per cent and 90 per cent of their output capacity in the West Bank, “should restrictions on movement of goods and people from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank be lifted.” Before Israel imposed a blockade, 85 per cent of goods departing Gaza were sent to their natural markets in Israel and the West Bank. Decisions taken by Israel “intended to institutionalise the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”, caused significant economic damage. “Factories have shut down, equipment in the manufacturing process is no longer operational and staff has been cut back, while business, along with business and personal connections have shrunk.” According to Gisha, the Israeli-imposed ban on accessing Israel and the West Bank “virtually eliminated economic life in Gaza.”
Hamas refutes claim of arrest of two Qassam fighters in Sinai
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, denied claims that two of the group’s members might have been arrested by the Egyptian authorities near the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement issued Monday that rumors propagated by unreliable media sources claiming Egyptian security forces arrested two Palestinian brothers in al-Arish, in the northern Sinai Peninsula, alleging the two belong to Hamas and its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are just groundless and false … “Al-Qassam’s and Hamas’s battlefield is Palestine only; their enemy the Israeli occupation; the destination of their resistance weapons Israelis. All the conspiracies weaved against al-Qassam’s history are just doomed to failure,” he further emphasized. Earlier, Egyptian media sources claimed two brothers affiliated with al-Qassam Brigades were captured by the Egyptian army in Sinai.
Life will never be the same for children wounded during Gaza’s latest conflict
IFRC 28 Apr by Hanne Sorine Sorensen — Photo: Besan lost all her eight family members in an attack during the recent conflict in Gaza. She was saved by a Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteer who managed to rescue her from under the rubble — …At the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s Al Amal Hospital in Gaza’s Khan Younis, doctors are doing what they can to rehabilitate the children who, more than six months after the conflict, are still hospitalised. Four-year-old Ameen El Mahmoun was wounded in an explosion on 1 August 2014. A shrapnel caused a complete cut to his spinal cord. His lower body has become paralysed. After Ameen was wounded, he was treated at the Al Amal Hospital, but due to his severe condition he was later transferred to a hospital in Turkey. Now he is back at Al Amal after going under treatment for four months in Turkey. “He will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life,” says Dr Tareq El Hefny, who is the Head of the Rehabilitation Department at Al Amal Hospital. Dr El Hefny explains that Ameen has been very depressed, but that he has now started talking. “We are teaching him how to use the wheelchair….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Four families made homeless in a day
[with photos] FASAYIL, Jordan Valley, Occupied Palestine 28 Apr by ISM and Jordan Valley Solidarity — Yesterday morning (27th of April 2015) at 5 am in the area of al Makhrouk, al Jiftlik, the Israeli military arrived with bulldozers and demolished four houses belonging to Fathe Abdullah Ahmad, Tareeq, Yakub, Mohammed and Mahmoud Lahafe Dadoub. The houses were located right next to the agricultural settlements of Masu’a and Argaman. The first house to be demolished was owned by the Tareeq family, where Mohammed Abu Amer lived with his family of five. This was the second time in less than a year that their home was destroyed, despite not receiving a demolition order. As farmers of dates and vegetables they lived next to the land they were working on. Three of the family members are children aged 1, 5 and 3 years old … 93.4% of the Jordan Valley is in ‘area C’ (full Israeli control), with 37 illegal Israeli settlements, most of which are agricultural. The expansion of these settlements and the theft of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinian homes are part of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing and colonisation of the most fertile and profitable areas of the West Bank. Whilst Palestinians are violently forced out of their homes and forbidden by law to build the smallest farmhouse, Israelis are encouraged to build both homes and businesses in area C.Most Palestinian houses in the area have pending demolition orders. Meteyb Lahafe Dadoub, the father of the three brothers has 15 children, and in 2012 his son Ayman’s home was demolished three times (see article). The neighbouring houses of Mahmoud, and Mohammed and Yakub, (another son of Meteyb), also have demolition orders, in place since 2006. The family had previously owned a successful agricultural export business, which specialised in exporting olive trees to the United States, Jordan and Gaza. Their business was ruined by Israeli restrictions that prohibited the export of their products.
Journal: House demolition in East Jerusalem
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestine 27 Apr by ISM Khalil Team — This has been hard to write down. The three of us put off again and again the thoughts and fears of that day, to remember them and to finally write them down. We have been avoiding it, because it is easier to simply try and forget. But then at the same time, for us it was just this one night, whereas for the families living in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz this is everyday life … On a Sunday night, the 18th of April, 10 international activists and journalists as well as a few members of the Tutalji family sat outside the family’s home. It was a cold night but we had set up a fire to warm us up. The stars were shining and we were drinking tea and chatting. The children were asleep inside. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? The truth is, the atmosphere was filled with fear and despair. Only a few days earlier, the Tutalji family had received a demolition order for their house, home to Aref Tutalji, his wife and adult daughter, as well as twelve children, aged between 4 and 18 years. They were told the Israeli army would come to demolish their home at four o’clock that night. At very short notice the family now stood to be homeless. After seeing what happened to their neighbours, the Amro-family, the Tutalji family tried to store their life, their most precious belongings, in cardboard boxes to be kept outside the home. The Amro family told us that they wanted to get rid of the rubble of their house, but felt it difficult to do so due to their connection to the house. They felt attached to the rubble. The house of your family is not just four walls and a roof- it is your history. You feel the memories in the walls, and you know every corner and every crack, even if you are blind – as is the case with Nureddin, the father of the Amro family….
Israeli forces demolish Ramallah home
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli forces demolished a house in Nabi Saleh village in western Ramallah early Tuesday, locals told Ma‘an. The Popular Resistance movement and locals said that Israeli forces raided the village early Tuesday and demolished a house belonging to Muhammad Mahmoud al-Tamimi located at the village entrance. Sources added that Israeli forces shot live rounds and tear-gas canisters at neighboring houses during the demolition. The house is one of 13 under Israeli demolition notices in Nabi Saleh. It was built before 1967 and therefore predates the Israeli occupation. Its owner has American nationality and has been displaced since 1967, locals said. In a statement, Israel’s COGAT force in the West Bank described the building as “illegal.” … Many of the homes slated for demolition in Nabi Saleh are located across from the Israeli settlement of Hallamish, and most were built long before the illegal settlement was founded. Locals previously expressed fears that Israel is planning to expand the settlement at the expense of the Palestinian landowners.
Settlers damage Palestinian water pipes in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers damaged water pipes serving Palestinians in Hebron’s Old City on Tuesday, locals said. Mufid al-Sharabati, a resident of Shuhada street, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers deliberately made holes in the plastic water pipes providing water to Palestinian homes. The burst pipes caused water to flow into the street, with Palestinian residents calling on the municipality to quickly fix the damage. Israel started restricting access to Shuhada street after Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque and shot dead 29 Palestinians in 1994. Israel closed the road during the Second Intifada, and a military checkpoint restricts Palestinian access to the area.
Settlers chop down dozens of trees in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Apr — A group of settlers chopped down Monday dozens of grape trees in Halhoul town to the north of al-Khalil. Local activist in settlement file Mohamed Awad affirmed that a group of Jewish settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Karmi Tsur destroyed and cut down 85 Palestinian-owned grape trees planted four years ago. The local farmer Hassan Aqel filed a complaint with Israeli police after he was surprised this morning that settlers had violently stormed his land and uprooted 85 grape trees, Awad added. The settlers also chopped off about 30 olive trees and a number of almond trees planted in a nearby land belonging to another local.
50 olive saplings uprooted in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencis 28 Apr — A number of extremist Israeli settlers living in the Eliezer illegal colony invaded, Monday, a Palestinian orchard in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and uprooted more than 50 olive saplings. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader Ahmad Salah said the extremists invaded “Thagret Hammad” area, adjacent to the illegal settlement, and uprooted the saplings before taking them away. The invaded orchard belongs to a local farmer identified as Mohammad Ibrahim Ghneim. Salah stated that the same orchard was recently subject to a similar attack that led to uprooting at least 50 olive saplings, and added that both soldiers and Israeli extremists have been escalating their attacks against the residents and their lands.
Israeli military drill sparks fire on Palestinian farmland
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — A fire sparked by an Israeli military drill swept across thousands of dunams of Palestinian farmland in the northern Jordan valley on Monday, the Palestinian civil defense said. Some 3,000 to 4,000 dunams of farmland in the Humsa area of eastern Tubas district were affected by the fire after Israeli forces opened fire during a military exercise. The district of Tubas is one of the West Bank’s most important agricultural centers, and the civil defense said the land had been planted with wheat and barley. Tubas Governor Rabih al-Khandaqji condemned Israeli “violations” in the area, aimed at “displacing people from their lands and deliberately inflicting grave losses to their resources.” Civil defense crews arrived from Qalqiliya and Nablus to fight the fire but were prevented from reaching the area as Israel has declared it a closed military zone. The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the Palestinian West Bank. According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, more than 15,000 dunams of land in the Tubas district have been confiscated by Israel for military bases with a further 8,000 dunams seized for illegal Israeli settlements.
Israeli city revives historic mission to keep out Arabs / Jonathan Cook
Dissident Voice 28 Apr — Established decades ago to “Judaise” the Galilee, Upper Nazareth [Nazareth Illit] fights back as Arabs from surrounding communities try to buy homes — For nearly 60 years, the historic city of Nazareth has been living with an unwelcome neighbour. Upper Nazareth was built on Nazareth’s confiscated lands on the orders of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion. It was part of an official campaign to “Judaise” the only Palestinian city to survive relatively unscathed from the 1948 war. But if Upper Nazareth and its Jewish residents were supposed to overwhelm the Galilee city that, according to the Bib`le, was home to Jesus, it has largely failed. A far greater danger, admit Upper Nazareth’s officials, is that their small city now risks being overrun by the region’s Arab population, especially as residents of Nazareth, many of them Christians, flee major land shortages and a near-bankrupt municipality. Upper Nazareth’s mayor, Shimon Gapso, recently conceded that the proportion of Arabs in the city – once inhabited almost exclusively by Jews – has risen dramatically over the past 15 years. One in five residents is now reported to be Arab, members of Israel’s large minority of 1.5 million Palestinian citizens. According to human rights groups, fears of an Arab takeover stand behind a raft of controversial municipal measures, from banning Christmas trees and blocking the building of a school teaching in Arabic to the latest: refusing to stock books in Arabic at local public libraries.
Op-Ed: Does anyone care about about Israel’s institutionalized racism? / Danny Adeno Abebe
Ynet 29 Apr — The attack on an Israeli Ethiopian [soldier] by a police officer left everyone shocked because demeaning the IDF uniform was more painful than demeaning a young man — Incidents like the recent brutal assault on an IDF soldier by police officers no longer shock Israel’s Ethiopian community; they’ve become a matter of routine for citizens who feel like the Israel Police’s punch bag. Yes, that’s the reality in the neighborhoods in which the community resides. Police brutality is a daily occurrence. Not a day goes by without me getting a call from a mother whose son has been beaten for no reason, from a youth who is facing criminal charges, from a pedestrian who was stopped by police and slapped around a little. It’s become the way of life – and it’s all down to the color of our skin.
Israel allows flag dance in Jerusalem, Mufti Hussein condemns the decision
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 Apr — Israeli police allowed the arrangement of the annual flag dance march in the Islamic neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem within the celebration of the so-called “Jerusalem Day.” The Israeli police decision was made despite the events that occurred in last year’s march which witnessed racist chants and violence against Palestinians. The Haaretz Hebrew newspaper revealed on Monday that the Israeli police enforces curfew for hours to secure the march in which settlers usually chant slogans such as “death to the Arabs” and “Mohammad died.” The settlers also carry out provocative violent aggressive practices such as hitting the windows and doors of Palestinian houses and shops as well as breaking the locks of commercial shops. Several human rights societies filed with the Israeli police a request to block the flag march and warned of dangerous violent events. The Israeli legal adviser in Jerusalem, however, endorsed the march under the pretext of freedom of expression. For his part, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Sheikh Mohammad Hussein warned of the consequences of this decision, saying “this march is another form of the religious war against Palestinians which is going to increase tension in the entire region.”
Restriction of movement
IOF tightens noose around Jerusalemites’ necks, seals off access roads
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 Apr — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) afternoon Monday sealed off the main entrances to Jerusalem’s al-‘Issawiya and al-Tur neighborhoods with concrete roadblocks. Local sources said the IOF troops stormed the eastern entrance to al-‘Issawiya and started fencing off the village with chunks of cement rocks as part of a preplanned policy of collective punishment executed against Palestinian civilians in Occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli army claimed the roadblocks have been set up in response to the stones and Molotov cocktails hurled at Israeli buses and police cars. The IOF further cordoned off the Salman al-Farisi Street, in Jerusalem’s town of al-Tur, with concrete blocks as part of intents to quell protests cropping up in the area.
Israeli forces close two checkpoints after settler car set on fire
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday afternoon closed Huwarra and Zaatara checkpoints south of Nablus after a settler car caught fire after Molotov cocktails were thrown at it. A Ma‘an reporter said the checkpoints were closed on both sides, and a large number of Israeli forces scoured the area in search of suspects.
Gazans visit jailed relatives in Israeli prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli authorities are to allow dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to visit jailed relatives in the Israeli prison of Ramon on Monday. Spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross Suhair Zaquut told Ma‘an that 87 Gazans, including 27 children, would be allowed to pass through Erez crossing to visit 43 Palestinians in Ramon prison. On Monday, Palestinians in Gaza City took part in a weekly sit-in in front of the ICRC headquarters demanding the release of their jailed relatives. The weekly sit-in, which is largely attended by women carrying pictures of imprisoned relatives, has been going on since 1995 … Addameer has reported that not all Gazan prisoners have been allowed to receive visitors.There were 376 Gazans in Israeli jails as of February 2015, according to Addameer.
Injuries reported among Jihad-affiliated prisoners
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 Apr — Palestinian prisoners affiliated with [Islamic] Jihad Movement stated that a number of their colleagues were transferred to hospital after being injured during an Israeli violent night raid on section 6 in Negev prison. In a letter sent to Muhjet al-Quds Institution, the prisoners affirmed that a state of tension has been prevailing since Sunday evening as the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) imposed a set of punitive measures and tight sanctions on prisoners held in Negev prison. The punitive measures include confiscating the prisoners’ personal belongings, handcuffing all the prisoners held in section 24, depriving the prisoners from purchasing food and other basic necessities from the prison canteen. The IPS cut off electricity in Negev prison as a prelude to its Special Forces’ violent break-in into the wards, the institution reported.
Palestinian prisoners describe physical abuse in Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘’an) 28 Apr — Two Palestinian prisoners in the Etzion detention center have told a Palestinian Authority prisoners’ committee that they were beaten by Israeli forces during interrogation. A lawyer with the PA Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs Committee Hussein al-Sheikh reported that prisoner Yazan Yusri Taha, 22, from Hebron was severely beaten on his head and body when he was detained on April 19. Taha, who was seized by Israeli forces in front of the judicial court in Hebron, told al-Sheikh that he was beaten while being taken to the Kiryat Arba police station in an Israeli military vehicle. Al-Sheikh also relayed that Sharaf al-Fakhouri, 23, from Hebron was beaten on his back and face when he and his brother were detained from the al-Seil area in the Old City of Hebron. Al-Fakhouri reported that they were assaulted and beaten on the head and chest with the soldiers’ rifle butts.
Palestinian refugees — Syria, Lebanon
Palestinian woman starved to death at Syria’s Yarmouk camp
DAMASCUS (PIC) 28 Apr — Another Palestinian lady breathed her last at the blockaded Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in war-battered Syria due to malnutrition and lack of medical care. The Action Group of Palestinians in Syria said in a statement the refugee Amna Hussein Omri died of famine and dehydration at the Yarmouk camp, blockaded by Syrian regime forces for 670 uninterrupted days. Amna’s demise brings the death toll of Palestinian refugees killed by medical negligence and starvation to at least 176 at Yarmouk camp alone, where over 12,000 more refugees have been deprived of nourishment, safe access to water, and urgent medical assistance. Meanwhile, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Qays Abdul Karim said Monday’s projected visit to Damascus to seek ways-out of the Yarmouk crisis has been delayed at the request of the Syrian government.
PLO fails to address Yarmouk crisis
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 28 Apr by Ahmad Melhem — The crisis in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus has constituted a challenge for the PLO, which has been thus far unable to find a solution for it. According to Anwar Abdul Hadi, the director of the PLO’s political bureau in Damascus, the crisis in the camp has deteriorated further following the Islamic State (IS) seizing control of 90% of the camp by the beginning of April. The PLO’s weakness has been exemplified by the conflicting and confused positions in regard to the required solution for the camp. Member of the PLO Executive Committee Ahmad Majdalani announced in a news conference April 9 in Damascus that factions in the camp agreed on carrying out a military operation in coordination with the Syrian regime to push IS out of the camp. The PLO issued a statement the same day rejecting any military solution, in contrast with Majdalani’s announcement. Khaled Abdul-Majid, secretary of the Palestinian Revolution Factions Alliance in Syria, denounced the PLO’s conflicting statements and — in a report to Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar on April 17 — accused President Mahmoud Abbas of yielding to pressure on the part of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which reject Palestinian military intervention in the camp.
Palestinian kids instilled with national identity
SIDON, Lebanon (Daily Star) 28 Apr by Mohammed Zatari — Dozens of Palestinian children from refugee camps in Lebanon participated in a “Citizenship and Personal Identity” ceremony, to show what they have learned during a two-week program about identity. Held as part of the “My Identity … My Address” project, organized by the Association for Palestinian Social Relief (Al-Najda) in cooperation with Christian Aid and the Lebanese Social Movement, the event was an opportunity for Palestinian children to gather and share their thoughts, fears and conceptions of their national identity. Amid the ongoing murder, destruction and massacre of Palestinian communities, the young refugees gathered in the Maarouf Saad Cultural Center in Sidon to display drawings and writings about their lost nation.
Other news and analysis
EU calls on PA to bear its responsibilities in Gaza
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Apr — The EU Representative, John Gatt-Rutter, called Monday on the Palestinian Authority (PA) … to bear its responsibilities in Gaza and to accelerate holding the elections. The report on Palestine underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come. It called on the PA to resume full governmental responsibility in Gaza and to organize free and fair presidential and legislative elections across Palestine. Gatt-Rutter presented yesterday the 2014 European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) progress report for Palestine to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Riad Al Malki. Palestinians faced exceptional challenges in 2014 namely the suffering and destruction caused by the summer conflict in Gaza, the breakdown in peace negotiations in early 2014, and increased tensions across the West Bank including in East Jerusalem, the report pointed out. “We have witnessed the formation of the Palestinian National consensus government that we welcomed. However, unfortunately to-date this government is still unable to assume its full responsibilities in Gaza,” said the EU Representative.
Hamas accuses PA of eroding its strength in West Bank
i24NEWS 27 Apr — Hamas spokesman slams Ramallah over measures taken after Islamist bloc saw success in student elections — The Palestinian Authority is taking measures to erode Hamas’ political strength in the West Bank, according to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. Abu Zuhri, speaking from Gaza City, also said the PA participates in the blockade on the Hamas-controlled enclave. Abu Zuhri was commenting on the PA’s crackdown against Hamas supporters in the Bir Zeit University, where the Islamist movement won 26 seats on the student council over 19 won by Fatah, the movement controlling the West Bank. Fatah representatives in the West Bank demanded an “inquiry” into the reasons of Hamas’ surprising victory in Bir Zeit, with Jihad Salim, a Hamas representative in Bir Zeit, held for questioning thereafter. Hamas also claims that the An-Najah University, also in the West Bank, called off planned student council elections, fearing a similar result, which would bring further embarrassment to Fatah. An-Najah University, however, denied the allegations, saying that “tensions” between rival factions in the university are reasons for the postponing of the vote.
Photo Story — South Hebron Hills: Farming under occupation
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS, Occupied Palestine 27 Apr by ISM Team Khalil — Located in the tip of the West Bank, the South Hebron Hills are dotted with farming and shepherd communities. We are currently in the wheat harvest season and the children are spending their last few weeks at school before the holiday break. But just like everywhere else in Palestine, the population is threatened by the Israeli occupation and the illegal settlements that overlook, menace and harm their daily lives. ‘Existence is resistance’
Boycott to intensify after Israeli ban on South African minister’s trip to Palestine
EI 28 Apr by Adri Nieuwhof — Last week Israel denied entry to South African higher education minister Blade Nzimande. The minister had intended to travel to Ramallah to discuss academic cooperation with institutions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. A spokesperson for the ministry told South African media that the justification Israel gave was that Nzimande is “one of the most vocal anti-Israeli government ministers.” A broad alliance of South African civil society organizations responded Monday to the Israeli ban by promising to intensify its program of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. They presented a new plan of action at a press conference Monday, South Africa’s Freedom Day. The organizations said they consider Israel’s decision to deny entry to Nzimande and three officials from his department an affront and an insult to the South African government and its people.
The government of Italy announces a €1.0 million contribution to support East Jerusalem hospitalst
ReliefWeb 27 Apr — The Italian Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Honourable Lapo Pistelli announced today, in a meeting with the representatives of the six East Jerusalem Hospitals (Makassed Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), St. John Eye Hospital, Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children) the intention of its government to respond with a contribution of €1.0 to the cash flow problems of these hospitals … The contribution is part of the Italian commitment in the Health Sector and will help, thus, to cover part of outstanding costs of referrals of patients for treatment to East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Israel, the Bomb, and Western double-think / Hilary Wise
Palestine Chronicle 28 Apr — While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to rant and posture about the existential threat of Iran – maybe, one day – possessing nuclear weapons, Israel is taking delivery of the latest of its state-of-the-art German submarines, capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The cost of the submarines is heavily subsidized by the German tax-payer as part of the country’s ongoing military aid to Israel. According to an exposé in Der Spiegel newspaper, Angela Merkel tried to tie the delivery to various conditions, “including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money.” None of the conditions were met, but the delivery has gone ahead anyway. Israel’s nuclear arsenal has been common knowledge for decades, partly thanks to whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who is still denied his freedom despite having served a sentence of 18 years. The Center for Nonproliferation Studies have reported that Israel probably has up to 300 warheads – about the same as the UK. These include intercontinental-range thermonuclear weapons and artillery-delivered, enhanced-radiation tactical weapons (‘neutron bombs’).
Israel criticized for touting Nepal rescue while Gaza still in ruins
EI 27 Apr by Ali Abunimah — The director of Human Rights Watch has criticized Israel for touting its emergency aid efforts for earthquake-devastated Nepal while it continues to block reconstruction in Gaza. “Easier to address a far away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel’s making in Gaza,” Kenneth Roth tweeted in reference to Israel’s announcement that it was flying 260 Israeli army medical and military personnel to Kathmandu. “End the blockade!” Roth demanded … Israel’s use of international disaster aid to burnish its blood-soaked image is a well-worn routine and amounts to official policy … In 2013, Israel deployed assistance teams to the Philippines after thousands were killed by Typhoon Haiyan. It mounted a sophisticated multimedia propaganda effort, including a dedicated Twitter account and YouTube videos, to boast about its efforts. The Electronic Intifada blogger Benjamin Doherty termed this kind of propaganda “bluewashing.” Doherty, writing before Israel’s latest devastating attack on Gaza, noted that Israel’s much-touted aid efforts were far from exceptional, and in the context of events in its own region, minuscule: “A humanitarian catastrophe in Syria has pushed millions of refugees into neighboring countries, while Israel has made small efforts to provide health care to a few Syrians. The Israeli army’s minuscule efforts to provide relief for a handful of Syrians are over-exposed in the world media, while refugee camps and cities in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are overcrowded with Syrians escaping violence. There is no other country that does so little and makes so much noise about it.”
The downside of Israel’s missions of mercy abroad
Haaretz 28 Apr by Anshel Pfeffer — …For a nation of immigrants, whose young generation fly off to every corner of the world the moment they’re out of the army, Israelis are terribly parochial. The focus of the local media, professional journalists and Facebookers/tweeters was almost exclusively on the Israelis stuck in Kathmandu and on the hillsides … And now that nearly all the Israelis who were there during the quake are accounted for, the media have new local heroes to focus on. Our brave men and women selflessly working there to deliver succor to the Nepalese. Once again, when the saviors are Israeli, they will be getting much more attention than the victims they are aiding … The way Israelis embark on these laudable campaigns simply feeds the illusion that we can somehow be clever, creative and cooperative enough to make the world absolve us of everything else that is wrong with what we do. Footage of officers in IDF uniform extricating survivors from beneath ruined buildings and delivering babies in a sophisticated field hospital won’t replace other disturbing images. The fact that Israel can mobilize itself so effectively and carry out complex operations thousands of miles beyond its borders won’t make the world regard us differently. If anything, it will increase the mystification of how such a nation can’t get around to fixing such fundamental flaws back home if it so badly wants to be a member of the club.
Errant mortars from Syria strike open areas in northern Israel
Haaretz 28 Apr by Gili Cohen & Haaretz — Two mortars shells hit open areas in the Golan Heights on Tuesday morning, in what the IDF said was errant fire from Syria. The mortars landed in open areas near the Ein Zivan kibbutz in the Golan Heights. No injuries were reported, and IDF forces are currently combing the area. The incident follows days of escalated tensions along the Israel-Syria border. An Israeli source on Monday denied a report that the Israeli army struck missile batteries belonging to Hezbollah and the Syrian army near the Syria-Lebanon border. A report by Al Jazeera said late on Sunday that the attack resulted in several casualties. On Sunday, Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a militant cell that was trying to place an explosive device on Israel’s border with Syria, reportedly killing three militants. The Israeli Air Force reportedly attacked Syrian army bases where Hezbollah stored long-range missiles late Friday night.