Violence / Attacks / Arrests — West Bank & Jerusalem
Death penalty for stone throwing / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 4 July — Col. Yisrael Shomer shot and killed a stone thrower in the West Bank. If an investigation is ever opened in the incident, it will, of course, quickly be closed — Col. Yisrael Shomer says he didn’t know who he had shot on Friday morning in A-Ram, and I doubt it interests him. Still, I want to tell him who it was, but first how it came about. The Binyamin Brigade commander’s jeep was attacked with stones, which smashed its windshield while he was on a road near the West Bank town. Shomer got out of the jeep and, along with his brave soldiers, opened fire with live ammunition at the stone throwers. The body of the person killed was hit by three bullets – in the head, shoulder and back. The colonel contended that his life was in danger. The army claimed he followed procedures relating to detaining a suspect (even though all the bullets struck the upper body.) … The commander was simply conveying to his soldiers a message that they have long known: the fate of Palestinian stone throwers is death.That is the prevailing spirit of the Binyamin Brigade commander, of the Israel Defense Forces and of the people of Israel. Col. Shomer killed Mohammad Kosba. Thirteen years ago, I wrote [about] his father: “Sami Kosba is now a broken man. As he relates the details of his tragedy … the expression on his unshaven face is one of great sorrow … He lost two sons in the space of 40 days … a bereaved father times two.” The two brothers each survived about a week, before dying at the same hospital in Ramallah. First Yasser, 10, was killed, shot in the head at close range in a stone-throwing incident in the West Bank, near the Qalandiyah refugee camp where his family was living in poverty. Yasser was shot while running for his life from soldiers. He tripped and fell, and they shot him in the head, according to witnesses, while he was already lying on the ground … Just as the 40-day period of mourning for Yasser was ending, IDF soldiers killed his brother Samer. He had been throwing stones at an Israeli tank near the Muqata headquarters of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. The compound was besieged by Israeli forces at the time, and the protest there was in solidarity with those inside. Samer was 15 at the time of his death. He was shot in the head at close range, just as his brother was 40 days before. “Samer? Again a bullet? Again in the head?” asked the disbelieving father from the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he was at the time of the second incident….
Right-wing Jews attack Palestinian vehicles in Jerusalem, injure woman
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — A Palestinian woman was injured Saturday evening when right-wing Jews threw stones at Palestinian vehicles in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the incident took place near “the Tomb of Simeon the Just,” a Jewish site of worship in occupied East Jerusalem near Sheikh Jarrah. She confirmed that a Palestinian woman sustained injuries. Palestinian youths afterward gathered and clashed with the group of right-wingers. Police officers arrested a young Palestinian man and two Israelis and held them for questioning.
Journalists targeted with teargas by Israeli soldiers
IMEMC/Agencies 5 July — Israeli soldiers last Thursday targeted journalists working for Jordan’s Ro’ya TV with teargas while they were covering a peaceful Palestinian demonstration near Jaba‘, a village north of Jerusalem. According to WAFA correspondents, the demonstration was held to mark the first anniversary of the death of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was burnt to death in a wood near West Jerusalem. Ro’ya TV posted a video online showing Palestinian Territories bureau chief Nebal Farsakh and cameraman Mohamed Shousha being targeted although they were wearing bulletproof vests marked ‘Press.’ They were taken to a hospital with facial burns … The incident was not the first time Israeli forces targeted journalists in recent months. On May 17, Israeli police used force to prevent a crew with Russian TV station RT from filming during Jerusalem Day, which commemorates Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City during the 1967 War. Although they had accreditation, RT reporter Dalia Nammari and cameraman Muhammad Aishuwere were manhandled and their camera was broken. They have filed a complaint. Nidal Ashtiyeh, a Palestinian photojournalist working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, was covering a Palestinian demonstration near Nablus on May 15 marking the 67th anniversary of the Nakba when he was badly injured in an eye by a rubber-coated bullet fired by an Israeli soldier. He has not yet recovered his sight in the eye and needs to receive special treatment.
Israeli army: Settlers fired on near Qalqiliya, no injuries reported
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — The Israeli army received reports on Sunday that the car of an Israeli settler was shot at near the illegal settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank district of Qalqiliya, with no injuries reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces were searching the area for possible suspects. However, she said that the reports remained unconfirmed and were “being looked into.”
Firebombs believed to be cause of Jerusalem-area blazes
Ynet 4 July by Roi Yanovsky — Over 100 hectares [ca. 247 acres] of natural woodlands went up in flames in the Ma’ale HaHamisha kibbutz near Jerusalem within less than a week, in three separate fires. It is suspected that the fires were caused by Molotov cocktails thrown from the adjacent Palestinian village of Qattana. The most recent fire erupted on Saturday afternoon. According to fire and rescue services, it was caused by a firebomb thrown at the border fence between the Palestinian village and the kibbutz. Jerusalem Police opened an investigation following this finding, but no arrests have been made.
PA defends arrest raids after outcry from Palestinian factions
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 July — The Palestinian Authority on Saturday defended its arrest of dozens of Hamas members across the occupied West Bank, claiming they had been carried out for “security reasons.” Adnan Dmeiri, spokesman for the PA security services, accused Hamas of plotting to create instability in the West Bank and told Ma‘an the arrests would continue “as long as there is a threat to the security of our homeland.” His comments came a day after a senior Hamas official accused the PA of arresting more than 100 Hamas affiliates. Izzat al-Rishaq said in a statement that the detentions were a “stab in the back” for Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan, referring to them as a “favor” for Israel … Representatives of Palestinian factions including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a joint press conference in Gaza City on Saturday to express their condemnation of the arrests. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas affiliates detained across the West Bank included former prisoners, scholars and students. He alleged that their arrest was “an attempt [to] break the stalemate of negotiations and pay court to (the Israeli) occupation.”
Hebron prisoner in state of unconsciousness, say Prisoners Club
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 July – A Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, Yasser Tarwa from Hebron, has been in a state of unconsciousness since he was shot and arrested by Israeli forces on June 21, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC). An attorney with the PPC who was allowed to visit Tarwa at Jerusalem’s Hadasa hospital, where Tarwa is kept under tight Israeli custody, said the latter has still been in a condition of unconsciousness since the date of his arrest. He said the Israeli authorities declined to give him any information regarding Tarwa’s health status. Tarwa was shot and critically injured by Israeli border guards near Jerusalem’s Nablus main road on June 21 after he reportedly attacked a Border Police officer with a knife. At least seven bullets were shot at him, causing him critical injuries throughout his body. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a 2014 statement following a similar incident, called upon the international community to immediately intervene to put an end to this policy [of field execution], which violates international law, international humanitarian laws and the Geneva Conventions. The statement condemned the “Israeli pretences” under which soldiers are authorized to open fire at Palestinians reportedly accused of launching attacks on Israeli targets. Media reports stated that Israeli forces “has killed 19 Palestinians in the first 81 days of 2014 — an average of one Palestinian every 4.26 days.”
Twilight Zone: A Palestinian hunger strike that showed the power of weakness
Haaretz 3 July by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — This week Khader Adnan, who has been detained without trial for the ninth time, stopped his hunger strike after 55 days, when Israel promised to release him. On the painful saga of a local hero — He wanted the first spoonful of food to be served to him by his mother and the second by his wife. A teaspoon of yogurt, then one of soup, after a 55-day hunger strike. It was late at night at Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tzrifin, an army base near Ramle. In the street below, a small group of supporters, Jews and Palestinians, were calling out cries of encouragement. In the room were prison guards. Events unfolded rapidly after members of his family were allowed to visit him in the hospital, for the first time since he had launched his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention – that is, arrest without trial. Within a few hours of their visit, an agreement was reached on his release. The 37-year-old Palestinian has served nine terms of administrative detention, a total of six years in prison; only once was he formally tried and convicted. Time and again, he’s arrested by the Shin Bet security service and by the Israel Defense Forces on suspicion of being active in the Islamic Jihad movement, but the authorities do not provide evidence in a court.
Admin. detainees boycott Israeli courts
Addameer 5 July — Addameer’s lawyers report that on 1 July that more than 60 administrative detainees held in Ofer, Naqab and Megiddo prisons boycotted the Israeli occupation’s military courts in protest of the administrative detention policy and the false trials they are subjected to. There are currently 401 administrative detainees held in the occupation’s prisons, including six Palestinian Legislative Council members. They are held based on secret information neither they nor their lawyers can review. Addameer expresses its full support and solidarity with the administrative detainees and their demands and refusal of the arbitrary administrative detention policy. Addameer believes that the systematic use of administrative detention by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) is a form of torture and a violation of the Geneva Convention IV Article (147), and is considered a crime against humanity according to Article (7) and a war crime according to Article (8) of Rome Statue … The occupation forces holds false trials for the administrative detainees that lack the basic standards of fair trial. The trials’ procedures violate Article (66) of Geneva Convention IV which states that trials should be formed legally and should be held in the occupied territory, the trials also violate Article (71) which states that the private courts of the occupying power should not issue any sentence unless it was preceded by a legal trial … The Israeli army has issued more than 50,000 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since 1967, including 24,000 orders that were issued after the second Intifada. During the first Intifada in 1989, the number of administrative detainees reached more than 1,700 detainees.
Israeli navy opens fire on Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 July — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen in several locations off the coast of the Gaza Strip with no injuries reported, witnesses said. Fishermen said their fishing boats came under fire off the coast of al-Waha northwest of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Separately, Israeli forces fired at Gaza fishermen off the coast of Sudaniyya northwest of Gaza City, as well as off the coast near Sheikh Ijlein in the central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces fired warning shots into the air after the boats had “deviated from the designated fishing zone,” but was unable to elaborate on how far from shore the vessels were at the time of the incident.
Technical fault in electricity grid from Egypt leaves Rafah in dark
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 July — Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip was left in darkness Saturday evening after the main Egyptian grid that supplies the city with electricity malfunctioned. The Gaza Electricity Disribution Corporation (GEDCo) said in a statement that the power cut affected electricity distribution across the entire Gaza Strip, as the company had to provide Rafah with electricity from other grids. The company said that its officials as well as those from the Palestinian power authority were contacting the Egyptian electricity company to fix the problem. Gaza currently receives electricity from the Egyptian electricity grid, the Israeli electric company and from a power station inside Gaza. However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population’s needs. While they provide 230 MW of electricity, Pal-Think, a Gaza-based think tank, has estimated that the Gazan people require 350 to 450 MW.
WATCH: Flotilla activists release footage of IDF intercepting ‘Marianne’
JPost 5 July — Freedom Flotilla activists released footage Sunday of Israeli authorities intercepting the Marianne av Göteborg, the ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists which attempted to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip last week. In the video, an IDF soldier can be heard calling on the flotilla activists to move to the front of the boat and reduce their speed in order to allow the soldiers to board without risk of injury. A flotilla activist can be heard responding to the request by shouting, “No. I ask you soldier to move from our boat. Don’t threaten us. Go away. You move to the front of the boat. You are not allowed to come on our boat.” The activist repeats the refrain several times, emphasizing that the boat is in international waters. The IDF intercepted the Marianne some 85 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza. “You are endangering civilians and soldiers,” the IDF naval officer repeats several times over the megaphone, as the activist says that the boat will not slow down. The soldiers then board the ship, calling on the activists to put their hands in the air. The IDF appears to carry out the confiscation of the ship without having to use force. Naval vessels towed the Swedish boat into Ashdod’s port following the interception. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who called the operation a “success,” said the Navy had to tow the vessel because the passengers on board sabotaged the engine after IDF soldiers boarded. No soldiers or activists were injured in the interception of the ship. [Swedish activist Charlie Andreasson was injured after a navy soldier used a taser on him, according to those on the boat]
Hamas reopens Gaza offices of Jawwal telecom operator
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 July — The Palestinian phone company Jawwal on Sunday reopened its offices and showrooms across the Gaza Strip less than a week after they were closed by Hamas over accusations of tax dodging. Official sources told Ma‘an that Ismail Jabir, the attorney-general for the coastal enclave’s de facto leader Hamas, had given orders that Jawwal reopen. They said that the decision came after an agreement was reached between Hamas and Jawwal, although no further details were given. Hamas security forces shut down Jawwal’s offices and showrooms last Tuesday on orders from Jabir for allegedly dodging taxes.
Egypt destroys 1.5 km smuggling tunnel near Rafah
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 4 July — Egyptian forces on Saturday discovered and destroyed a 1.5 kilometer smuggling tunnel beneath the Gazan border, the Egyptian army said. Egyptian security sources told Ma‘an that the tunnel was found by Egyptian border guards in the Dayniya area south of Rafah. They said that eight sacks of explosive TNT material and a half-ton of C-4 — another explosive material — had been found inside the tunnel. Both the tunnel and the explosive material were destroyed by the army.
Gaza family’s pet lions arrive in Jordan after being stranded at Israel border crossing
GAZA CITY (AP) 5 July — [includes video of a heartbroken 17-year-old Ibrahim Al-Jamal kissing them goodbye as they are loaded up to leave Rafah] — Two young lions that had been kept as pets in a Gaza refugee camp traveled Sunday to Jordan where their final destination will be a wildlife sanctuary. A Gaza family had bought the lions as cubs from a local zoo that was damaged in last year’s war between Israel and Gaza’s rulers from the Islamic militant Hamas group. The family kept Mona and Max in their small home in the crowded Rafah refugee camp. The lions and their handlers arrived in Jordan on Sunday evening after leaving Gaza earlier in the day, said Dr. Amir Khalil of the British charity Four Paws.
Israel must protect journalists in next Gaza conflict
Haaretz 5 July by Robert Mahoney, deputy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists — The death toll among journalists during Operation Protective Edge was staggering. Israel has the capabilities to avoid this in the next round of conflict – it just needs the courage to carry through — One year and numerous inquiries later, we still don’t know the whole truth behind the staggering death toll among journalists and media workers during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. That lack of knowledge should be a wake-up call for all those concerned with the safety of journalists, no matter on which side of the Erez crossing they live. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have dismissed the latest United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry report on the Gaza war, which began July 7, 2014, as “defective and biased” but that does not mean Israel can move on with a clear conscience as far as the journalists’ deaths are concerned. More media staff members were killed in Gaza during the 50-day conflict than in the rest of the world combined over that period … The Committee to Protect Journalists confirmed seven media deaths. That’s a conservative figure because it includes only those cases that we determined were directly linked to journalism … After extensive research, we concluded that five of those seven journalists and media workers were hit by Israeli fire while they were clearly working in news-gathering and were therefore entitled to protection as civilians, irrespective of their employer or affiliation. Two more were killed covering a bomb disposal squad that accidentally set off the ordnance it was trying to defuse.
Little hope in Gaza ruins a year after devastating war
GAZA CITY (AFP) 5 July by Sarah Benhaida — In the ruins of what used to be his home, Gaza Strip resident Rabah Abu Shanab reflects on what used to be — and what little hope remains. “We were doing better a year ago,” the 57-year-old said while sitting on a plastic chair in his living room, now just concrete slabs and twisted iron bars.”The whole world was paying attention to Gaza, but today nobody cares.”This week marks one year since Israel’s devastating war with Palestinian militants in Gaza, and despite a tacit ceasefire that has largely held, there has been little reason for residents caught up in the conflict to believe their suffering will soon end … – ‘Another conflict becomes inevitable’ – Residents find themselves trapped in the besieged coastal enclave, which has seen three wars in six years and where 39 percent of the 1.8-million population lives below the poverty line … “I think what is different after this last conflict than even after the previous two was a much higher sense of hopelessness, that there really was not a feeling that the conditions were going to improve,” said Robert Turner, director of operations in Gaza for UN relief agency UNRWA. “We have not addressed any of the underlying causes, so I think conventional wisdom would be that another conflict becomes inevitable at some point.”
Islamic Jihad in Gaza sets up watch tower next to Israeli border
JPost 5 July — The military wing of Islamic Jihad announced Sunday that it completed a watch tower next to the border with Israel. The al-Quds Brigade said the watch tower, in Khuza’a in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, is eight meters tall and was intentionally built directly across from an IDF structure 500 meters away from the border. From the the tower, as seen in the pictures the group provided, IDF structures were visible, as well as an IDF jeep patrolling the border. Abu Ahmad, a senior member of the brigades said that “the struggle in the name of the Arab people has already begun.”
322 Israeli soldiers became disabled after Gaza aggression
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 July — According to Israel’s Ministry of Defense 322 Israeli soldiers were injured to the point of disability during last summer’s 50 day Gaza war. According to reports, 177 soldiers are classified as 22 percent disabled, and eight others 100 percent disabled. Furthermore, 72 soldiers were classified as 9 to 10 percent disabled. During the same time period seven Israeli civilians were killed, as well as 66 Israeli soldiers. In Gaza, over 11,000 Palestinians were wounded and 2,100 Palestinians were killed.
Photos: Gaza op devastation [in Israel] 1 year later
Ynet 4 July by Roee Idan — one year later, Ynet has returned to the sites where destruction and fear brought memories of devastation back into the forefront of the nation’s psyche. However, while war has a lasting effect on the mind, repairs and reconstruction have physically returned Israel to normal. Move the division marker left and right on each of the photos to see the ruins of war vs. the reality of peace. [quite a contrast to the situation in Gaza]
VIDEO: Battle scars: Gazan children living with war’s legacy
BBC News 6 July — The BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet has been speaking to children in Gaza and southern Israel, who are among some of those most affected by the conflict, for a BBC documentary. She reports on a 12-year-old boy who survived a defining moment of that war.
When will Dad come back? / Refaat Alareer
EI 2 July — The last time my little niece Raneem saw her dad was when the Israeli shells were falling on the heads and houses of more than 10,000 Palestinians in Shuja‘iya, east of Gaza City, last summer. My brother Mohammed took the time to help guide many families to shortcuts in a desperate attempt to escape the flying shrapnel and debris. Mohammed kept close to his wife, his baby son Hamza and his daughter Raneem. “I will be back. Soon,” he assured his weeping kids and worried wife. “I will be back. I promise.” Bringing his family and many others to a relatively safer place, he thought he should go back to help others evacuate. My brother Mohammed never came back. … I do not have the words to do justice to the unyieldingly valiant, lion-hearted fighters of Palestine. They remained steadfast in the face of the most heinous occupation the world has known. However, there is one thing the whole world should know: in face-to-face combat, far fewer Palestinian fighters were killed than Israeli soldiers. The heavily armed elite Israeli troops, supported with tanks, planes and high-tech equipment, were squealing when faced with Shujaiya’s modestly trained and minimally armed resistance fighters who defended their homes and families with skill and determination. Israel’s response was to arbitrarily, yet methodically, destroy houses and shell densely crowded areas. Palestinian fighters rose to the challenge of battle imposed upon them. And they fought honorably and well. They fearlessly stood for their people. – Betrayed by the world? – The cost of putting up a defense in Gaza is that all Palestinians in Gaza are being punished. Israel has tightened the siege on Gaza. Egypt has tightened its siege on Gaza. The Palestinian Authority has tightened its siege on Gaza. The stupidity those parties are displaying is unprecedented. Collective punishment against Palestinians has never worked. And the rules of logic say, it is foolish to do the very same things and expect different results … The likes of my niece Raneem and little nephew Mohammed are purposefully being punished by Israel and the international community — first by destroying their houses and lives, and then by providing Israel with the impunity and excuses it wants, and finally by delaying the process of justice. They want these little kids to live in ruins and destruction. Ironically, Palestinian children are expected to grow up and like Israel or see a future where peace can be achieved when the murderers of their parents and destroyers of their houses go unpunished and unaccountable. Unless Israeli war criminals are brought to justice and the occupation ends, my fear is that these children will grow up feeling that they were betrayed by the world. We owe it to them to change that vision.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Disrespect for religions other than Judaism
Report: Settlers using ‘security zones’ to expand in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Land confiscated from Palestinians for the purpose of security buffer zones around illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank is actually being utilized as “land reserves or for agriculture,” according to an investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The buffer zones were originally created during the Second Intifada reportedly as a way to curb attacks against illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. According to Israeli human rights group B’tselem, settlements control 42 percent of the land area in West Bank. While thousands of dunams (hundreds of acres) of land have been confiscated for these so-called buffer zones, the investigation found that only three of the areas in which land has been confiscated are being used for their intended purposes. For example, the investigation found in 2005 that a buffer zone was created by Israeli authorities outside the settlement f Karmei Tzurland in order to provide extra security in the north of the settlement, however a basketball court was erected inside the zone. According to the report, buffer zones in the Jewish-only settlements of Ateret, Pnei Hever, Nahliel and Kiryat Arba are currently being cultivated for agricultural purposes by settlement farmers. In the settlement of Mevo Dotan a road was built in the buffer zone to connect the settlement to a nearby outpost. Dror Etkes, a researcher on settlement policies in the territories, told Haaretz that the practice of re-purposing buffer zones to the advantage of settlements has become a “a de facto means of expanding the area under the control of the settlers.” “This is another manifestation of the attitude of the state [of Israel] that treats Palestinian property as if it was ownerless,” Etkes said.
VIDEO: Land destruction in Jerusalem
Alternative News 5 July — The Jerusalem municipality is exploiting “empty land cultivation orders” in order to take over land belonging to the East Jerusalem village of ‘Issawiya. The ’empty land cultivation orders’, posted over more than 700 dunams of ‘Issawiya land last week, mean the Jerusalem municipality intends to landscape the area, create pathways and install facilities. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes that there is no other known case in which municipal cultivation has been applied to such a large area of land outside of the city limits; these orders normally apply to small areas with the city. Last week Issawiya residents invited journalists, activists, diplomats and Knesset members to come see the area and learn about the situation.
A new light train railway to connect settlements with J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 4 July — The Hebrew weekly newspaper Kol Ha’ir said on Saturday that the so-called Israeli Local Committee for Planning and Construction in Occupied Jerusalem approved last week the “Green Railway” blueprint of the light train which will connect the settlements with Jerusalem. The newspaper clarified that the 19.6 Km-long railway will connect Gilo settlement with Al-Masharef Mountain (Mount Scopus) and it will be carrying about 145,000 passengers every day. It is expected that the new railway will cross the “Red Railway” of the light train which is 13.8 km long and starts from Mount Herzl and ends in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement, according to the newspaper.
Southern Israeli council fights government plan to resettle Bedouin villages
Haaretz 6 July by Shirly Seidler — The government seeks to uproot residents of four villages and move them to a new town; the local council wants to bring infrastructure to existing dwellings — The head of the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council has asked the government to bring four unrecognized Bedouin villages located in its jurisdiction under its purview and thus recognize them. The four villages along Route 40 – Avdat, Ramat Tziporim, Kafr Arikha and Meshulash Hava – are home to 180 families, totalling around a thousand people. In contrast to the prevailing government plan for the area, the regional council does not plan to remove the residents from their villages. Unrecognized villages do not have approved master plans and therefore lack basic infrastructure, including connections to the national water and electricity grids. “No Israeli government wants to regularize the settlement of the Negev Bedouin,” Ramat Hanegev Regional Council chairman Shmuel Rifman told Haaretz. “It’s a matter of money and there are always other priorities, things that are more important; sometimes it’s a war and sometimes it’s Judea and Samaria – there’s always something more urgent. So we in the council came up with the idea to make an effort to regularize Bedouin settlement, something that the state hasn’t yet succeeded in doing.” … Salman Sadan, a leader of Kafr Arikha, said the residents welcome the regional council’s plan. “The plan being drawn up by the state is not appropriate for the Bedouin and it will never happen. You can’t trample on our culture; you can’t change in one day things that exist for hundreds of years. They made that mistake with the Bedouin in the 1970s and to this day are paying the price.”
Dome of the Rock tops CNN’s list of ‘magnificent structures on verge of extinction’
JTA 5 July — “A holy city for three different religions, it attracts millions of tourist with over 200 monuments, including the majestic Dome of the Rock. But political tension has hardened relations between Israel and UNESCO, preventing any preservation plans from moving forward,” CNN wrote in its feature. The Old City and its walls have appeared on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations List of World Heritage Sites in Danger since 1982. No. 2 on the CNN list is the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.
Waqf minister: Israel committed 184 violations against holy sites in two months
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 July – At least 184 violations by Israeli authorities against the holy sites in East Jerusalem and Hebron were reported in the recent two months, Sunday reported Yousef Id’ies, Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs. While violations in Jerusalem mainly involved provocative visits by extremist Jewish settlers, those in Hebron included a forcible shutdown of a major gate and unsubstantiated prevention of the call for prayer. Other violations in Jerusalem also included the approval of the creation of a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City neighborhood, in addition to approving the construction of a museum at the site of Ma’man Allah cemetery near al-Aqsa Mosque. Last April, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage warned of Israeli bids advised by the so-called Temple Mount groups to officially turn the historic [1329 C.E.] Tankaziya School, located within al-Aqsa Mosque compound, into a Jewish synagogue. The school was turned into a synagogue for enlisted soldiers and a military site for the Israel Border Police gendarmerie in 1969 [1967? Six-Day War]. Chairman of Al-Aqsa Foundation, Amir al-Khatib, has earlier warned of the serious repercussions of such a sacrilegious move.
Restrictions on movement
Israeli forces close main checkpoint in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 July — Israeli forces closed the Huwwara military checkpoint in both directions and set up flying checkpoints south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, Palestinian security sources said. A major entrance and exit into Nablus, Israeli forces officially informed Palestinian security officials that the Huwwara checkpoint would be closed from from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Saturday for security purposes. Palestinian vehicles coming in and out of Nablus were diverted to the nearby ‘Awarta checkpoint. An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate comment on the closure. Huwwara is one of several Israeli military checkpoints in the Nablus area, where an increasing number of Israeli settlers has been matched by an increasing presence of Israeli forces, who regularly make incursions into Palestinian communities. Saturday’s checkpoint closure was the latest move restricting the movement of local residents.The Nablus governorate, comprising Nablus city, three refugee camps and fifteen villages, is home to over 200,000 Palestinians whose movement has been several restricted for the past six years, with Israeli human rights group B’Tselem describing military restrictions on locals as a “siege.” Entry and exit is possible only via one of four Israeli checkpoints in the surrounding area … While the Israeli army argued that such encirclement enables effective control of those entering and leaving the area, making it easier for security forces to thwart “terrorist attacks,” local residents believe the presence aims to protect expanding settlements.
Israeli forces set up checkpoints near Ramallah district villages
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 July — Israeli forces on Saturday evening set up checkpoints at the entrances to several Ramallah district villages where they inspected Palestinian vehicles entering and leaving. Witnesses told Ma‘an that heavy traffic formed at the main entrances to al-Mughayir, Turmusaya and Nabi Salih villages as Israeli soldiers checked the identity cards of all passengers. No arrests were reported. Israeli forces have carried out a range of operations in the villages since three Israeli settlers were injured and one killed in a shooting north of Ramallah on Monday last week. The village of al-Mughayir, which is close to where the shooting took place, has seen large numbers of Israeli soldiers pass through, with multiple detention raids carried out the day after the attack.
DFLP warns of deepening divide between West Bank, Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 July — The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) warned Sunday that a new unity government formed without the support of all Palestinian factions would deepen the divide between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for the Palestinian faction said that the unity government was facing a serious political crisis that only a new government comprising all Palestinian factions would be able to solve. He said that a cabinet reshuffle currently being carried out within the current government was not enough, and urged Hamas to think wisely about its preconditions for a new unity government rather complicating the already difficult situation. The DFLP comments mirrored those made by other Palestinian factions who have condemned recent unilateral moves by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to form a new unity government.
Abbas assigns Erekat as acting secretary general of PLO executive committee
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 4 July — President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday assigned chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as the acting secretary general of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee. The Palestinian president said in an official statement that Erekat will be replacing Yasser Abed Rabbo, who was exempted from [relieved of?] his post during a PLO executive meeting held in Ramallah on Monday. Erekat, 60 years old, is the chief negotiator and head of the negotiations affairs department in the PLO, besides being a member in Abbas Fatah Party’s central committee. Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member, had earlier told Xinhua that exempting Abed Rabbo of his post was due to old disputes and also because of the post’s importance in the coming period.
Court moves to solve E. Jerusalem’s water crisis to prevent humanitarian disaster’
Haaretz 4 July by Nir Hasson — For several weeks last year tens of thousands of residents were cut off from the water supply — The High Court of Justice has ruled Thursday that the National Security Council should handle the water crisis east of Jerusalem’s separation barrier. Hagihon, the Jerusalem-region water company, told the court the faulty water system risked a “real humanitarian crisis” in East Jerusalem. In March, residents of the Sho‘afat refugee camp and adjacent neighborhoods petitioned the court, demanding a solution to the problem. In recent summers, there have been long interruptions to supply or decreases in water pressure, sometimes for weeks. Hagihon, the municipality and the national water authority have blamed one another. As a result, justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Zvi Zylbertal and Neal Hendel have decided that the National Security Council must coordinate among these agencies and find a solution … As attorney Anne Suciu, representing the residents on behalf of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, put it: “This is a typical example of what is happening to public services across the barrier. The authorities realize that they are incapable of delivering such services.” In a statement to the court, Hagihon had said it felt “a sense of great responsibility.” “Unless a real and practical solution is found, a real humanitarian disaster could occur at any moment, due to the unbridgeable gap between the size of the population and the inadequate infrastructure, or due to a fire that could break out without sufficient water for extinguishing it,” Hagihon said.
Director-General of Al-Midan Theater steps down
JPost 5 July by Hayah Goldlist-Eichler — Culture Ministry: Theater is managed by group that works against Israel — Adnan Tarabash, director-general of the Al-Midan Theater, told Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav he was resigning his position on Saturday evening. Tarabash’s family has stated that he resigned due to a traffic accident he had been involved in last week. The theater’s legal adviser, Ghassan Abu Warda, has taken over as acting director-general and, according to the Culture and Sport Ministry, general management of the theater has recently been handed over to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Adalah has denied that it is managing the theater, stating that it acts only as legal counsel to the theater. The Al-Midan Theater has been under investigation by both the Haifa Municipality and the Culture and Sport Ministry, both of which froze funding pending the results of their respective investigations into the conduct and financial resources of the theater. The controversy started when the family of Moshe Tamam, an IDF soldier who was murdered in 1984, heard that the theater had put on a play, A Parallel Time,” inspired by Walid Daka, the Palestinian serving a sentence for his part in the abduction, torture and murder of Tamam. When brought to the attention of Education Minister Naftali Bennett last month that the play was part of the culture basket, a roster of state-subsidized plays available for school groups, he withdrew the play from the basket. Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev responded to the resignation of Tarabash, saying that it “obligates us to conduct a deep and thorough investigation into everything going on behind the scenes at the [Al-Midan] theater. “There are two interesting facts that have been revealed to us over the past month. One: the Al-Midan Theater has been handed over to the management of the Adalah organization … “The second fact: The Theater is no longer hiding its intent to turn to Qatar [for funding], a state that stands behind Hamas and funds the terrorist tunnels and the rockets that are shot into Israel.” … Adalah has denied that the theater has turned to Qatar for funding.
Arab residents of central Israeli town get electricity from Palestinian Authority
Haaretz 6 July by Roy (Chicky) Arad — Even though residents of the Abu Sneineh neighborhood pay Kfar Sava taxes, the connection between them and the municipality is no more than nominal — Many residents of Kfar Sava don’t even know there’s an Arab neighborhood in their city called Abu Sneineh. The neighborhood, comprising several structures where an extended clan of some 100 people live, is located near the Tomb of Benjamin at Neveh Yamin. As we stand on the roof of the home of Ibrahim Abu Sneineh, we can see Route 6 nearby, beyond it the separation barrier and after that Qalqilyah, about 150 meters to the east. The closest point in Kfar Sava is the Menuha Nehona cemetery, about a kilometer away. Residents of Abu Sneineh, most of whom work in sanitation and construction, vote for the Kfar Sava municipality and are meant to pay it arnona (local taxes), but the connection between the municipality and the neighborhood is fairly nominal. Parents drive their children every morning to school in the Arab town of Jaljuliya, five kilometers south. The residents get their electricity from Qalqilyah, in the West Bank. When Ibrahim says this, I don’t believe him and demand proof, and he shows me the receipt from the Palestinian Authority. Residents say the only service they get from Kfar Sava is a weekly visit by a contractor’s garbage truck that empties the dumpster, and even that isn’t done properly, Ibrahim claims.
Surviving the ups and downs: Israel’s first Arab-Jewish school turns 30
+972 Blog 4 July by Samah Salaime — For three decades the school at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam has taught our children how to grow and become adults with a cohesive national and human identity, without fear of the other. Today, however, the future looks as uncertain as ever — …In a country where Israelis and Palestinians live together, work and meet in the supermarket, to be educated together was once considered bordering on the forbidden. Even today relations remain unstable. When everybody on the outside is talking about peace, we are considered “popular” and “cute,” and the Ministry of Education sends smiley people to take photos of us under our peace arch. When peace goes out of fashion, the very same model of education that emphasizes peace, equality, social justice and democracy is kicked aside in favor of Jewish heritage and Zionism. Sometimes we are up and sometimes down, but the journey has continued for 30 years based on the belief that there is no other way — and thanks to the donations and volunteer efforts of the sane world abroad … The task now is to survive the military operations, wars and manifestations of hatred and racism. It has become a difficult task in the shadow of governments who do all they can to dispossess, colonize and separate—to govern and embitter the lives of millions of Palestinians and to control them in the name of the Jewish state and its security. We no longer even speak of the peace process, which is miserable and wretched.
Episcopal Church overwhelmingly rebuffs divestment resolution
WASHINGTON (JPost) 4 July — The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops overwhelmingly rejected a motion to divest from company doing business with Israel in the West Bank. The body, meeting at the church’s General Convention, this year taking place in Salt Lake City, on Thursday rejected in a voice vote the proposal to divest from businesses that have operations in the West Bank and to boycott West Bank settlement products. The rejection comes two days after the United Church of Christ overwhelmingly approved a similar resolution and a year after the Presbyterian Church-USA voted to divest from three companies doing business with Israel’s military … Separately, the Mennonite Church USA, meeting in Kansas City, Mo., delayed until 2017 consideration of a divestment resolution.
Bnei Menashe visit Menashe’s tomb
Ynet 5 July by Gabi Newman — Some 2,700 years after their forefathers were exiled from Land of Israel, members of lost biblical tribe sing and dance near their forefather Joseph’s grave and his son Menashe’s tombstone in Nablus — Only a year ago, the descendants of Joseph sang these songs in India on the way to the Land of Israel. Now, they have fulfilled their dream of generations to make aliyah. The Shavei Israel organization initiated this opportunity to visit their forefather’s tomb. Members of the Bnei Menashe laid themselves out on Joseph’s Tomb and on his son Menashe’s tombstone next to it.
When his victims are Arabs, Israeli cop needn’t worry
Haaretz 5 July by Oudeh Basharat — Who’s easier to appoint Israel Police chief-designate, someone suspected of sex crimes or corruption, or someone involved in killing Israeli Arabs? The answer is obvious — Finally, the ultimate policeman was found, one with no suspicion of sexual harassment or corruption hanging over him – and our Arab brethren are already protesting because this police chief-designate, Maj. Gen. Bentzi Sao, was involved in killing Arabs in the October 2000 protests. They have some nerve. Instead of saying thank you to Deputy Minister Yaron Mazuz that those young people were killed with Israeli ID cards in their pockets – issued by the Middle East’s only democracy – the Arabs are brazenly trying to tell the Jews who should fill official posts … How can it be that Sao, who commanded the Border Police in the north during the October 2000 protests and was responsible for the deaths of young people in Umm al-Fahm, is being appointed police commissioner? According to the Or Commission, which investigated the incidents, Sao violated police rules when he used snipers against demonstrators, treated Umm al-Fahm as an enemy city and captured three buildings, one of which bore the name “The Red House.”
Israeli PM slams breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks
JERUSALEM (Xinhua) 5 July — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries, saying on Sunday that the reported breakthrough in negotiations is rather a “breakdown.” “It seems that the nuclear talks in Iran have yielded a collapse, not a breakthrough,” Netanyahu told ministers and media outlets at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, according to a statement from his office. The Israeli prime minister, who reiterates the danger posed by a nuclear Iran to Israel, said that the P5+1 countries (China, U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Russia) are making more and more concessions as days pass ahead of a final deal on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Netanyahu added that the deal being formulated these days is worse than the framework announced in Lausanne at the beginning of April, and that it would “pave Iran’s path to the production of many atomic bombs.” He also said that the deal as it appears now would “channel to Iran hundreds of billions of dollars” with the removal of sanctions, that would enable it to support “terrorism campaigns” around the world.
Rereading Sayed Kashua’s columns, I reached a different conclusion
Haaretz 2 July by Ishay Rosen-Zvi — Kashua’s ostensibly lighthearted book is in fact a most strident indictment of Israeli society — “Ben Haaretz” (Son of the Land), by Sayed Kashua, Keter Publishing House (Hebrew), 281 pages, NIS 72 — I wanted to talk about the famous Kashua technique; the refusal to commit, the constant translation of the macro to the micro, the need to make everything ridiculous … But then I read the book, and realized that all of the above is balderdash, nothing but wishful thinking. I had been fooled. The book is wholly political. And makes no attempt to hide it. You don’t need any Kafka here. Kashua simply narrates, column after column, the impossibility of living as an Arab in the Jewish state. Sure, the columns are still clever and entertaining in their left-handed anti-heroism. They succeed in being symbolic without dissonance or figurative effort … But all this becomes secondary when you read the columns in their aggregate form. Something else appears, loud and clear: a narrative of an unending effort to be assimilated. To get through security at the airport, at the entrance to the mall, at the hospital, in the elevator. To belong, even if only in the ironic and self-aware sense of the author. But no. There isn’t a single moment in the book in which he is not marked. What was I laughing about, week after week, when I read the individual columns in the paper? How did he fool me? This allegedly lighthearted, amusing book is one of the most strident indictments of Israeli society to be written in many years … Now I see all the things that are not funny. The children, for instance. “Why did you lie to me,” asks his son, when a new friend at the playground leaves abruptly after hearing him speak Arabic. Or the daughter who inadvertently touched someone at school, leading to a “Yuck, the Arab touched me,” and who in response to her father’s soothing words, hurls back at him: “You’re scared, too, and you also smile at them all the time.” Or his grandmother, who lost her whole world in 1948: “People here aren’t prepared to hear your stories, Grandmother, and not mine, either.” All of a sudden, this is the only thing I can see in the stories. This and nothing else.
A month in Palestine / Tom Blanx
Middle East Monitor 4 July — This May, I traveled to the West Bank in occupied Palestine. I had a fairly good idea of the kind of things I would see when I went, but wanted to take a closer look at what I think is an unfair and asymmetrical situation. I don’t stand against Jews or Israelis. I stand against racism, violence, oppression and ignorance, and all of those things, I think, are here. During my time in the West Bank, I lived and worked with a Palestinian farmer who runs a Permaculture Project in a small village called Marda. I wanted to see for myself what life was like for Palestinians living under occupation and how Permaculture could help. Knowledge is everything and with that in mind I’m sharing everything I saw, heard, thought and felt in the time I was there. Below are excerpts from Tom Blanx’s blog. Read the full blog here. – Getting in – For those who haven’t been, Israel’s not the easiest of places to get in and out of. And if you plan on checking out the occupied territories you’ll need to be a bit creative with the truth. Despite my polite passport note from the queen, I decided not to reveal how freely I would be passing while on my travels as it would have most likely landed me straight back on British soil. This had happened to previous volunteers so the NGO I had organised the trip with had suggested that I lie.