Video: Dozens of soldiers invade Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Sept 07:54 — Dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers invaded, earlier on Sunday, the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, and fired dozens of concussion grenades on local worshipers, and attacked dozens. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, including undercover officers, surrounded local Muslim worshipers in the Al-Qibli Mosque, and fired dozens of concussion grenades, before storming it and assaulting several Palestinians, wounding at least two. The police also detained two mosque guards near the Chain Gate, one of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and surrounded scores of worshipers in the mosque. The army and police prevented all men below the age of fifty from entering the mosque courtyards, as they were heading there for dawn prayers. The incident caused tension that eventually escalated after the army invaded the mosque. The soldiers also forcibly removed, and assaulted, dozens of worshipers during the invasion, while extremist Israeli groups continued their provocative tours in the mosque’s courtyards. [The term Al-Aqsa can refer to either the whole compound called the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, or to the holiest mosque itself, also known as Al-Qibli, along the southern wall of the compound. The Dome of the Rock is a shrine, not a mosque, and is not referred to here.]
Videos: Clashes continue as Israeli minister participates in Al-Aqsa Mosque invasion
IMEMC 13 Sept 11:36 — Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel joined dozens of Israeli extremists who stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem Sunday, under extensive military and police presence, leading to clashes and dozens of injuries among the worshipers. The soldiers attacked the guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and dozens of worshipers and students, including many children, and forced them out. The Palestinian TV said the army used excessive force against the Palestinian Muslim worshipers, fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at them, and occupied the rooftop of the Al-Qibli Mosque of Al-Aqsa. The soldiers also chased dozens of residents in the mosque, and engaged in fistfights with many young Palestinians. The Palestinian Waqf and Islamic Endowment Department said the soldiers imposed a strict siege on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City, since late night hours, and installed iron barriers to prevent the Palestinians from entering. Dozens of Palestinians have also been injured after the soldiers sprayed them with pepper-spray, in addition to throwing concussion grenades and sound bombs the Palestinians, while many others have been injured by Israeli rubber-coated metal bullets, in addition to scores who were beaten by the soldiers. The Palestinian TV said dozens of Palestinians were also injured, not only in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but also in various Palestinian neighborhoods in the occupied Old City, after the soldiers used excessive force against them, while allowing Israeli fanatics to continue their provocative tours and invasions into the Al-Aqsa courtyards. Many wounded Palestinians received first aid by the medics of the local clinic in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the army prevented Palestinian medics and ambulances even from approaching it.
Arab Member of Knesset Dr. Ahmad Tibi, who was in the mosque compound during the attack, said Israel is implementing its recent decision to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He added this division is done physically, and by allotting certain hours every day only specified for Jewish settlers , after removing all Palestinian worshipers from the entire area. Dr. Tibi also stated that he and many other Arab members of Knesset, social and religious figures, personally witnessed how the Palestinians were completely removed from the mosque and its courtyards, before the police started allowing dozens of Israeli fanatics into it . . . The official stated the decision came as a result of years of planning by consecutive Israeli government, the same way they divided the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron.
Israel has ‘taken over’ Aqsa compound, says offficial
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 13 Sept – The director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, said Sunday that Israel had effectively taken over the holy site, after a day of violent clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police took place there. Kiswani told Ma‘an that having brought the compound under occupation in 1967, “today, the (Israeli) occupation authorities have imposed their sovereignty over it by power of force.” He pointed to Israeli control over who enters and leaves, and their use of force against Palestinians that challenge them, including the assault of Islamic Endowment employees. The director made his comments after a day of violent clashes at the holy site, during which witnesses said Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, Islam’s third-holiest site, and caused damage. Israeli police said they only closed its doors to lock in rioters throwing stones, fireworks and other objects. Israeli forces earlier Sunday prevented most Palestinians from entering the compound in a bid to clear way for Jewish worshipers visiting the site ahead of the Jewish new year. However, Israeli police said that young Palestinians had spent the night inside the mosque, and clashes quickly broke out when Israeli forces stormed the compound. Israeli forces said no arrests were made and no injuries were reported during the clashes, although Palestinians witnesses reported several injuries, and an AFP journalist said that he saw a number of people were detained. A Palestinian boy identified as Anas Siyam was also reportedly evacuated to the hospital after he was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the chest. Kiswani said that two Islamic Endowment employees were shot with rubber-coated bullets in their upper bodies, while dozens of others suffered bruises after being assaulted by Israeli police. He said that both he and the head of the compound’s female guards, Zeinat Abu Sbeih, were assaulted, while the compound’s Palestinian guards were forced out of the compound and beaten . . .
President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called an Israeli police “attack” at the site, saying that sites such as Al-Aqsa constituted a “red line.” “We will not allow attacks against our holy places,” a statement from his office said. Meanwhile, a Netanyahu statement said Israel would act “to maintain the status quo and order” at the compound . . . United Nations Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov urged restraint on both sides . . . Jordan condemned what it described as an assault by the Israeli army. Egypt, the only other Arab country to have a peace treaty with Israel, also condemned its actions at the compound.
Videos: Eleven injured Sunday; Journalists syndicate denounces Israeli targeting of reporters
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Sept — The Syndicate said the army, and police, deliberately assaulted the journalists, wounding eleven in just a few hours, as dozens of soldiers and Israeli extremists stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and their courtyards. It demanded the International Community to ensure the implementation of the May 2014 Security Council resolution number 2222, regarding the protection of journalists, and prosecuting those who assault them . . . The wounded journalists have been identified as:
1. Ahmad Gharabla – French Press Agency, correspondent.
2. Diala Jweihan – Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda Newspaper, correspondent.
3. Jihad al-Mohtasib – Roya news Agency, correspondent.
4. Monther al-Khatib – Al-Ghad Al-Arabi Newspaper, cameraman
etc. . . .
Several mosque guards have been injured after the soldiers assaulted them, while many have been detained, in addition to a woman and a child. Among the wounded are several medics, and a firefighter who was shot in his arm. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said twenty Palestinians injured in the Old City and in Al-Aqsa have been moved to the al-Makassed Islamic Hospital, in Jerusalem.
Seven Palestinians kidnapped in Al-Aqsa, elderly man shot in the eye
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Sept — Dozens of undercover soldiers of the Israeli army, and police officers, invaded on Monday morning the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, assaulted many Palestinians, kidnapped seven, and wounded several others, including seniors, with rubber-coated steel bullets, while an elderly man was shot in the eye. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers and officers invaded the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa mosque, from various directions, and assaulted many Palestinians before firing rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing dozens of injuries. Medical sources said an elderly man was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the eye, before local medics provided him with the needed treatment, and moved him to a hospital in the occupied city. The sources added that the soldiers and police officers invaded the courtyards of the mosque, and smashed the door locks of the Al-Qibli mosque, before storming it to attack dozens of Palestinians. The soldiers fired concussion grenades and gas bombs in addition rubber-coated steel bullets, in an attempt to force the Palestinians to leave the mosque to allow groups of Israeli fanatics to invade the holy site, and tour its courtyards. The Israeli attack led, for the second consecutive day, to burning carpets in the Al-Qibli mosque. In addition, soldiers surrounded dozens of worshipers in the Dome of the Rock Mosque, chased many others in its courtyards, and kidnapped at least seven Palestinians. Earlier Monday, soldiers prevented all young Palestinian men, and women of all ages, from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and only allowed elderly men to enter. Later, the soldiers sealed the mosque and its courtyards to allow groups of Israeli fanatics to conduct their daily provocative tours and violation
Hamas: Liquidation of Al-Aqsa ‘a dream that will never come true’
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 Sept — Israel’s dream to enforce a spatio-temporal division on Muslims’ holy al-Aqsa Mosque is a dream that will never come true, Hamas Movement said Sunday. Hamas said in a statement that the Israeli occupation has taken advantage of Arabs’ and Muslims’ preoccupation with home affairs to perpetrate preplanned schemes for the division of Muslims’ holy al-Aqsa Mosque. “We’ve been keeping tabs on the Israeli assaults on al-Aqsa which have recently materialized in random shooting of peaceful Muslim sit-inners, arson attacks on the Qibli Mosque, and sacrilegious break-ins by fanatic Israelis,” Hamas said. Such Israeli assaults on al-Aqsa will certainly have serious repercussions,” the statement read. Hamas called on the international community to urgently step in so as to prevent the Israeli occupation from desecrating the al-Aqsa and alleviate simmering tension sparked by Israeli sacrilegious schemes. The group also urged the Palestinian Authority to halt all forms of security coordination with the occupation and give way to armed resistance to protect Islamic places of worship. It further called for maintaining sit-in vigils across al-Aqsa plazas. Hamas statement was released a few hours after the Israeli occupation forces broke into the plazas of al-Aqsa and the Qibli Mosque and unleashed heavy barrages of tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. According to local sources, at least 110 peaceful Muslim worshipers and sit-inners sustained wounds due to the break-ins.
Violence / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Israeli suppresses anti-separation wall march in Beit Jala with tear gas
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 13 Sept – Israeli soldiers Sunday violently suppressed a peaceful anti-wall protest in the town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, according to local sources. Munther Abu-Amira, an anti-settlement activist in Bethlehem, said dozens of activists participated in a peaceful protest against Israel’s ongoing construction of parts of the Israeli Segregation Barrier at the expense of the town’s land. Protesters also rallied to protest the Israeli crackdown on al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning. Among the participants was Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop of Palestine and Jordan.
According to Israeli media, a number of studies have cast doubts about Israel’s use of CS tear gas as a method of crowd dispersal, and said this kind of teargas has in recent years caused several cases of death. An interview conducted by the Israeli daily Haaretz in 2011 also revealed that some eye and lung injuries, as well as skin diseases, could be associated with the use of CS tear gas.
Four Palestinians kidnapped, one injured, in the West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the West Bank districts Jenin and Jericho, kidnapped four Palestinians, and injured at least one. Media sources in the northern West Bank city of Jenin said the soldiers invaded the Jenin refugee camp, and kidnapped two Palestinians after violently breaking into their homes and searching them. The two have been identified as Suleiman Farahati, 20, and Mohammad Abu az-Zaki, 20. The Jenin office of the Palestinian Red Crescent said the soldiers shot and injured Ahmad Hussein al-Bali, 24, before he was moved to the Khalil Suleiman Hospital, in Jenin. The Palestinian was shot with a live round in his left thigh, and suffered a moderate injury, it added.
In addition, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that several Israeli military vehicles invaded the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp, south of Jericho, and kidnapped two brothers after storming their home. The PPS said the two have been identified as Tareq, 40, and Khalil Hazem Dawwas, 27.
International arrested in al-Khalil and banned from part of the city
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 12 Sept by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — Sunday night an international human rights observer was arrested by Israeli forces on bogus charges in al-Khalil (Hebron) in occupied Palestine. The activist was detained by Israeli soldiers when leaving a house in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of al-Khalil. Only a few minutes later, a reinforcement of another group of about 7 soldiers arrived. The only explanation provided by the soldiers in English to the two volunteers, who do not speak any Hebrew, was that they had to wait for the police to arrive for an explanation on the detention. When the police arrived, the policeman immediately took the passport of one of the internationals, not even asking to see the other person’s passport. As the policeman himself did not speak any English, a soldier had to translate the charges to the volunteer and explain to her that she had to come to the police station. The soldier lawlessly accusing the international was later present at all times at the police station except for interrogation. The international was released only on the condition of signing a paper banning her from the ‘Jewish part’ of the city and passing through any checkpoint for a week. An explanation on what exactly that means was not given by the Israeli forces, who tried to ascertain the activist that she would be allowed back to move freely in al-Khalil on Saturday morning, an obvious attempt to have a reason to legally arrest her on violating the conditions of the seven-day period. This is clearly intended to impede her work as a human rights observer, and tries to stop her from documenting and reporting on violence against Palestinians and violations of human rights and international law by Israeli forces. In al-Khalil (Hebron), a ctiy often dubbed a microcosmos of the occupation with illegal settlements right in the heart of the city, violence against Palestinians both by settlers and soldiers is rampant.
WATCH: Protesting collective punishment in East Jerusalem
Israeli Social TV 13 Sept — Israeli police regularly shut down roads in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya following clashes there, in what amounts to collective punishment on the village’s entire population. That is the message residents had for police: we just want to live. Stop punishing us.
Business as usual for children arrested by the IDF
+972 Blog 13 Sept by Gerard Horton — Despite lofty promises and pilot programs aimed at improvement, evidence points to little change in the patterns of abuse Palestinian children are subjected to when arrested by the Israeli army — The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in March 2013 that it would study the conclusions of a UNICEF report on children held in military detention which found that ill-treatment appeared to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” and work to implement them through “ongoing cooperation” with the UN agency. Two-and-a-half years on and around 2,250 arrests later, there is new evidence as to how this “cooperation” is progressing. To begin with, the number of children arrested at night appears to have jumped from 51 percent in 2013 to 65 percent today. One possible explanation for the jump is that the military authorities appear to be issuing far fewer summonses than last year, relying instead on the army breaking down doors in the middle of the night rather than parents bringing their children for questioning during the day. The latest evidence also indicates that with an increase in night arrests, more children are being transferred on the floor of military vehicles from their homes to interrogation centers – something a summons can make redundant. The number of children who report being painfully hand tied and blindfolded has remained fairly constant, but there has been a small increase in the percentage of children who report being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. (continued)
Israel rejects compensation for burnt historic Christian church
IMEMC 13 Sept — The Israeli Tax Authority has rejected a claim for compensation by officials of the Catholic Church demanding compensation for the burnt Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, which was burnt in an Israeli terrorist arson attack last June. Israeli Channel 2 reported Wednesday that tax officials who visited the burnt historic Christian church, where according to Christianity Jesus Christ multiplied loaves and fishes, have decided that the assault “was not a terrorist attack.” Rejecting to label the attack on the Christian church in the Galilee as a terrorist attack means that the Israeli government has no obligation to pay any compensation, as Israel only pays compensation to victims of attacks it deems as terrorist. The decision of the Tax Authority even ignores statements by senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who both labeled it as a terrorist attack. Israel apprehended and charged three Israeli Jewish extremists, believed to be responsible for the attack, and for writing racist graffiti saying, “Idols will be cast out.” . . . The “Times Of Israel” quoted Amir Cohen, a tax authority official, saying that he was not convinced the attack on the church was politically motivated. Cohen said, “the charges filed against the three Israeli suspects state that their attack carried a religious motivation,” and “was based on religious hatred of Christians.”
Analysis: Burned alive by Israelis / Jamal Kanj
Ma‘an 13 Sept — Five years ago at a stop during my book signing tour in San Diego, I met an adorable toddler named Farah. She was being treated in the US for severe burns she received at the age of two. Farah was one of thousands of civilians who were either injured or killed when Israel rained white phosphorus bombs on Gaza in 2008-2009. The phosphorus that burned through Farah’s angelic flesh was American made and paid for by US taxpayers. Ironically, so was Farah’s treatment. Last Sunday, mother of two Riham Dawabsha died from burn injuries. On July 31, Riham, her 18-month-old son Ali, his four-year-old brother Ahmad and their father cuddled on a floor mattress in their small room. Outside, the stars were glistering in the clear sky of a warm summer night in the village of Duma, Palestine. Ahmed complained it was hot. Saad, his 32-year-old father, decided to open the window to let in the cool breeze from the fields of their peaceful village. Ali spread his tiny legs and was first to fall asleep, followed by Ahmad. Riham kissed her babies goodnight and covered them to keep the mosquitoes away before she and Saad dozed after a hard day working on the farm. In the middle of that Friday night, Riham was startled from her sleep by Ali’s loud wail. Her vision was blinded by the bright blaze engulfing her baby’s small body. She jumped over Ahmed to reach Ali when another firebomb landed between them, setting Riham, Saad and Ahmed on fire. Ali, the 18-month-old baby, was burned to death. Saad succumbed to his fate a week later. Riham joined them after more than a month in coma. Four-year-old Ahmad is still fighting for his life. The perpetrators celebrated their feat by spraying their signature and symbol of pride, the Star of David, on nearby walls. Israeli police arrested known extremists from a nearby illegal Jewish-only colony. Most were released later and no-one was charged.(Continued)
Israeli group raises NIS 147,000 for Duma attacks survivor
Times of Israel 13 Sept by Stuart Winer — As of early Sunday afternoon, an Israeli crowdfunding drive has succeeded in raising over NIS 174,000 ($45,000) to support Ahmed Dawabsha, a Palestinian boy seriously injured on July 31 in a firebombing attack that killed his parents and little brother. The anti-racism group Tag Meir launched the fundraiser on Wednesday on the Headstart website with an initial goal of NIS 80,000 ($20,000), but exceeded that sum within 24 hours. Organizers wrote on the project’s web page that they have now raised the bar to NIS 240,000 ($62,100), to be reached by early October . . . Gadi Gvaryahu, chairman of Tag Meir, wrote on his Facebook page that the rapid response should also be seen as a grassroots protest against attacks by right-wing Jewish extremists. He said contributors to the campaign were notifying the Israeli government that they were “fed up” with the extremist “criminal gang known as ‘price tag,’ which acts in the name of Judaism and under its guise uproots olive trees, torches places of worship, damages property, and, more than anything else, hurts innocent Arabs and even kills in cold blood.”
Fighters exchange fire with soldiers invading northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Sept — A group of Palestinian armed resistance fighters exchanged fire, Sunday, with Israeli soldiers invading the eastern area of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The military vehicles advanced approximately 40 meters near the Shuhada Graveyard, and fired rounds of live ammunition targeting fighters on a monitoring post, close to the border. The fighters exchanged fire with the invading soldiers for more than fifteen minutes, before the army withdrew; no casualties reported. Israel claimed a number of Palestinians crossed the border fence, but the claim was never verified; the fighters said the claim aims at justifying the ongoing Israeli invasions and violations.
Israeli forces exchange gunfire with Gazans near border, detain 2
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Israeli forces on Sunday morning exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen, east of the town of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, and detained two men, witnesses told Ma‘an. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers detained two Palestinians who tried to cross the border fence into Israel, then opened fire at Palestinians near the fence. Witnesses said Israeli troops were the first to open fire at Palestinian gunmen near the border. Palestinian gunmen who were in the area fired back at the Israeli troops, according to witnesses. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that “two suspects breached the security fence,” adding that Israeli forces then “fired warning shots into the air, and the suspects were taken in for further questioning.” The spokesperson did not comment on whether fire was exchanged between the Gazans and Israeli forces outside of the alleged “warning shots.” No injuries were reported.
Gaza fisherman hope October’s season will get them through winter
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Sept – Gaza’s fishermen need October’s fish harvest – this year’s last sustainable fishing season in Gaza – to make it through the coming winter. The previous two fishing seasons have been poor, and October will be the only chance for Palestinian fishermen to make an income in their trade until spring. Muflih Abu Riyala, a local fisherman, supports a family of seven through his work out at sea. “[We] hope to be able to catch large sums of fish to make up for the two poor seasons,” Abu Riyala told Ma‘an. There are certain fish available for fishing in the winter, Abu Riyal said, but the kind of fish that swim off the enclave during the colder months are primarily breeds that need deep water, found further off the coast than Israel permits Gazans to venture. In the winter fishermen need to access waters at least nine nautical miles off shore in order to fish in depths that allow them to catch their income, Abu Riyala said, but Israel’s blockade on the enclave only allows Gazans to access six nautical miles – half the distance that was established in 2014’s ceasefire agreement, and one third of the 20 miles agreed upon during the Oslo Accords.
Exacerbation of electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip
RAFAH (PIC) 13 Sept — Gaza Power Plant (GPP) halted one of its power generators and re-applied the Gaza Strip’ electricity schedule of 6 hours supply and 12 hours blackout due to lack of fuel. The electricity distribution company said in a statement that the GPP was forced on Saturday in coordination with the Palestinian Energy Authority to stop a generator in its plant due to the lack of enough diesel to run that generator because of the Israeli closure of the crossing points which prevents the entry of sufficient amounts of industrial diesel. The company added that the power outage coincides with the failure of all Egyptian lines feeding southern areas of the Gaza Strip with diesel, which worsened the electricity crisis. The company appealed to all parties, including the UN and international human rights institutions, to pressure the Israeli occupation in order to allow sufficient quantities of industrial diesel to the power station. It warned that the insufficient power supply from the three sources (Egypt, Israel and the GPP) will have a dramatic impact on citizens.
Gazans protest power cuts in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Sunday morning against ongoing daily power cuts. A Ma‘an reporter said the protesters chanted harsh slogans against Palestinian officials and against the Gaza electricity company. Rafah, they said, suffers power cuts more often than other districts in the coastal enclave. The current heat wave has only intensified their suffering, protesters said. On Friday, the head of the Gaza Union of Gas Station Owners warned that fuel supplies in the Gaza Strip were running increasingly low, due to a lack of gasoline coming into the coastal enclave through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing on the border of the southern Gaza Strip.
Israel considers natural gas pipeline to Strip
Ynet 13 Sept by Elior Levy — Jerusalem is reviewing a proposal to lay a pipeline for transporting natural gas between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Ynet has learned. According to the project, proposed by Qatar, the pipeline would connect Israel to Gaza’s power plant, and in this manner Israel will transfer natural gas to operate the plant and thus alleviate the crisis in coastal territory. The power plant currently supplies Gaza residents only eight hours of electricity a day. Under the plan, the Palestinian Authority will bear the costs of the gas transferred. Qatar has offered to finance part of the project, and some is supposed to be financed by private funds under the Palestinian Authority’s management.
Working without pay in Gaza: Essential employees victims of political dispute
GAZA CITY (MEE) 11 Sept by Mosab Abu Toha — Mostafa Hasan has worked hard as a nurse at Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital since 1996, caring for both the chronically ill and the wounded no matter the chaos around him. He made what is considered in Gaza to be a decent salary of $800 a month, managing to support a wife and five children. However, since 2007, he has not been paid regularly – receiving no salary at all for many months and today, just $300 every five weeks, sometimes less. Why? Although the Palestinian Authority (PA) employed Hasan when he first started nursing, he went to work for Hamas when the party won control of the parliament in 2007. The PA, which is based in the West Bank and is the recipient of all foreign aid, didn’t accept the victory (in part due to international pressure). Instead, it pays about 70,000 employees who stayed loyal to Fatah to stay at home. Those like Hasan, who continued to show up for work under the new government, paid the price. He estimates that at this point, he is owed about $48,000 . . . Hasan is among more than 50,000 employees in Gaza who continue to work at vital public-sector jobs without full or even regular pay. Knowing their work is necessary, and fearing they will never be paid at all if they quit, they sporadically erupt into strikes and demonstrations to protest the continuing feud between Hamas and Fatah over who runs the blockaded Strip.
Families appeal to Cairo to disclose fate of 4 Palestinian captives
RAFAH (PIC) 14 Sept — Families of the four Palestinians kidnapped by anonymous Egyptians 26 days ago urged on Sunday the Egyptian authorities to disclose the fate of their sons at the soonest time possible. Jihad Zanoun, the brother of one of the captives, said during a rally staged near Rafah by the popular movement in support of Palestinian captives that the enforced abduction of his brother and the other captives is much more agonizing than death itself. “26 days of agony and pain have elapsed. My captured brother, Yasser, is not just a number,” he said. “Yasser does certainly have a mother that bemoans his disappearance all day and night; just as his wife, children, and friends do.” He urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Egyptian president Abdul Fatah al-Sissi to seriously work on releasing the four Palestinian captives. Family of Abdul Dayem Abu Labda said the abduction was carried out in very ambivalent circumstances, raising questions on how, when, by whom, and for whose interest the “crime” was committed . . . Secretary-General of the Ahrar Movement, Khaled Abu Hilal, said the four Palestinian youths were kidnapped on their way to recover from illnesses or to pursue their studies somewhere oversees.
Israel deprives hunger striker treatment for chronic brain condition
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The Israeli Prison Service has allegedly prevented a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike from receiving treatment for a chronic brain disease, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said Sunday. The lawyer said in a statement that Bilal Dawoud, 26, who has been on hunger strike nearly three weeks, was not being given proper medical treatment for a chronic brain disease he has been suffering. The statement did not specify the nature of the disease. Dawoud went on hunger strike on Aug. 24 to protest his administrative detention, under which he has been held since February . . . There are currently 400 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails under administrative detention, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer. Through its documentation Addameer has found that “prisoners are often prescribed painkillers without any thorough medical follow-up,” and that “transfers to hospitals for needed treatment may take place only after weeks or months.”
PA holds Israel ‘responsible’ for sick prisoner’s life
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said Sunday that it held the Israeli Prison Service responsible for the life of a Palestinian prisoner’s health whose health had seriously deteriorated. Issa Qaraqe, the head of the committee, said that a deterioration of Sami Abu Diak’s health had left him in serious condition. Qaraqe said that the prisoner underwent surgery at Assaf Harofeh hospital near Tel Aviv after he was transferred from al-Ramla prison hospital. Earlier this month, he underwent another surgery at Soroka hospital. Qaraqe said that he held the Israeli Prison Service responsible for Dayyak’s life as the prisoner had faced “medical negligence.” He said that Israel’s prison authorities had failed to treat him adequately, even though they were aware of the medical conditions he suffered in his liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Abu Diak, from Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, has been in prison since he was 20, spending 13 years of three life sentences plus 30 years of jail time.
Lawyer: Palestinian prisoner not receiving adequate medical treatment
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — A Palestinian prisoner in Israel’s al-Ramla hospital is not receiving adequate medical treatment, a lawyer for the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said Saturday. Lawyer Hanan al-Khatib said that the health condition of Palestinian prisoner Salah al-Din al-Titi was very poor, as he suffers from congenital birth defects, resulting in kidney, bladder and genital problems. She said that the prisoner had undergone 10 surgeries before his detention. However, despite suffering pain in his sides, dizziness, and poor vision, she said that he has not received any medical treatment beyond pain killers. A spokesperson for the hospital could not be reached for comment. Al-Titi, from al-Arrub refugee camp in the southern West Bank, was sentenced to three years in prison in February 2013. Al-Khatib said that Israeli courts had refused an appeal to release him on health grounds three separate times.
PA intelligence flouts court order releasing political detainee
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 14 Sept — The family of political detainee Nader Jubran has complained that the Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence agency refuses to comply with a court verdict ordering the release of its son. According to the family, Jubran started an open-ended hunger strike in protest at the PA intelligence’s refusal to obey the court ruling, which had dismissed the charges against him as unfounded. The PA security apparatuses accuse the detainee of possessing weapons and being involved in money laundering, but the family confirm that the charges are untrue and aimed at keeping its son in jail. This was not the first time the PA security apparatuses refused to execute court rulings ordering the release of political detainees.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israel is pulling the West Bank out from under Palestinian feet
+972 11 Sept by Natasha Roth — With over 14,000 demolition orders issued against Palestinian structures in Area C since 1988, Israel is maintaining a vast system of control-by-threat that at once dispossesses and undermines social stability — . . .The figures presented in OCHA’s report illustrate the scale of the threat of demolitions for Palestinians living in Area C. Although only a minority of demolition orders have been executed, they do not expire, “leav[ing] affected households in a state of chronic uncertainty and threat.” This exerts tremendous psychological pressure on affected individuals, who are forced to live with the sword of Damocles dangling over their necks. When orders are carried out they result in homelessness, loss of livelihood and deepening poverty. Moreover, the Israeli army has at times used demolitions both as bargaining chips to pressure Palestinians into stopping anti-occupation demonstrations, or as a means of collective punishment. Yet these statistics, while headline-grabbing, are not the most telling aspect of the report. More revealing is the information presented regarding the spatial distribution of demolition orders: nearly 60 percent of demolition orders are hanging over communities which partly lie in Area A and/or B. The reason for this lies in the original designation of land under the 1995 Oslo Accords. The accords divided the West Bank into areas A (17 percent of the territory, under full Palestinian Authority security and administrative control), B (23 percent of the territory, under Israeli security and Palestinian administrative control) and C (60 percent of the territory, under full Israeli security and administrative control – hence the need for Palestinians to have building permits). However, for many communities in the West Bank, only built-up areas were designated as Area A or B. Much of the land that fell into Area C was empty and should in fact have been left available for those Palestinian communities in built-up areas to expand into. This created a situation in which Israeli settlements have vast swathes of open space into which they can expand, while Palestinian towns and cities will gradually asphyxiate from lack of space needed to accommodate population growth. (continued)
Palestinian refugees – Syria
How Yarmouk came about: Israel’s role in the Syrian refugee crisis / Ramzy Baroud
Ma‘an 13 Sept — When Zionist Haganah militias carried out Operation Yiftach, on May 19 1948, the aim was to drive Palestinians in the northern Safad District which had declared its independence a mere five days earlier, outside the border of Israel. The ethnic cleansing of Safad and its many villages was not unique to that area. In fact, it was the modus operandi of Zionist militias throughout Palestine. Soon after Israel’s independence, and the conquering of historic Palestine, the militias were joined together to form the Israeli armed forces. Not all villages, however, were completely depopulated. Some residents in villages like Qaytiyya near the River Jordan, remained in their homes. The village, located between two tributaries of the Jordan — al-Hasbani and Dan rivers — hoped that normality would return to their once tranquil village once the war subsided. Their fate, however, was worse than that of those who were forced out, or who fled for fear of a terrible fate. Israeli forces returned nearly a year later, rounded the remaining villagers into large trucks, tortured many and dumped the villagers somewhere south of Safad. Little is known about their fate, but many of those who survived ended up in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. Yarmouk was not established until 1957, and even then it was not an ‘official’ refugee camp. Many of its inhabitants were squatters in Sahl al-Yarmouk and other areas, before they were brought to Shaghour al-Basatin, near Ghouta. The area was renamed Yarmouk. Many of Yarmouk’s refugees originate from northern Palestine, the Safad District, and villages like Qaytiyya, al-Ja’ouneh and Khisas. They subsisted in that region for nearly 67 years. Unable to return to Palestine, yet hoping to do so, they named the streets of their camp, its neighborhoods, even its bakeries, pharmacies and schools, after villages from which they were once driven. When the Syrian uprising-turned-civil-war began in March 2011, many advocated that Palestinians in Syria should be spared the conflict. The scars and awful memories of other regional conflicts — the Jordan civil war, the Lebanese civil war, the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, and the US invasion of Iraq wherein hundreds and thousands of Palestinian civilians paid a heavy price — remained in the hearts and minds of many. But calls for ‘hiyad’ — neutrality — were not heeded by the war’s multiple parties, and the Palestinian leadership, incompetent and clustered in Ramallah, failed to assess the seriousness of the situation, or provide any guidance — moral or political. The results were horrific. Over 3,000 Palestinians were killed, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees fled Syria, thousands more became internally displaced and the hopeless journey away from the homeland continued on its horrific course. (Continued)
PA refuses to defend bid for UN recognition of posters archive
EI 10 Sept by Charlotte Silver — A senior Palestinian Authority diplomat has refused to defend an initiative aimed at ensuring that the United Nations recognizes the historical significance of posters opposing the Israeli occupation. Next month, a program run by UNESCO — the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural organization — will approve a number of collections of documents deemed to have historical and universal value. Approximately 1,600 Palestine-themed posters are among the nominations to Memory of the World, as the program is known. The nomination has been strenuously opposed by a pro-Israel lobby group, the World Jewish Congress, which has argued that the UN should not associate itself with the posters as they “could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions.” Supporters of the collection approached the Palestinian Authority seeking help in countering the pro-Israel lobby. Elias Sanbar, the PA’s ambassador to UNESCO, refused to help .In an email message, seen by The Electronic Intifada, Sanbar stated that he would not get involved in the issue because the feeling that some of the posters were anti-Semitic was shared by Irena Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general . . . Dan Walsh, who has assembled the collection, said he was “stunned” by Sanbar’s attitude. “It completely contradicts Palestine’s push to legitimate the country’s cultural patrimony via the United Nations,” Walsh added.
PA and Gaza economy ministries head-to-head over Gaza import tax hike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Economy has been lobbying its Gazan counterpart to reconsider a recent decision to implement a higher tax on products entering the Gaza Strip, including those coming from the West Bank, the PA deputy minister told Ma‘an on Saturday. PA Deputy Minister of Economy, Taysir Amro, told Ma‘an that the two ministries have been involved in talks on the matter, with Amro stressing the risks of imposing extra taxes on the Gazan people, and the possible economic backlash of the decision to include West Bank products in the taxation. The Gazan Ministry of Economy announced the tax hike on Sept. 1 after a meeting at the ministry where the details of the taxation were determined, however, the amount of the tax increase in currently unclear. While the Deputy Minister of Economy in the Gaza Strip, Imad al-Baz, told Ma‘an that his ministry had not received complaints from Gazans regarding the extra taxes, Amro said the PA had been contacted by several Gazan merchants who object to the decision. Amro said he has demanded that the Hamas-led government void the tax increase, calling it “unacceptable nonsense,” as the Palestinian territory should be treated as one body. “The movement of Palestinian products from the northern to southern districts is considered movement inside one national market, and it is not reasonable to impose taxes on them,” Amro said. “It’s unacceptable nonsense.” Al-Baz insisted that the taxes are the same levies imposed on all products entering the Strip, whether they were coming from the West Bank, Israel or abroad, and the inclusion of West Bank products in the taxation is “nothing new.”
Interview: Omar Saad – ‘Speaking Druze is speaking Palestinian’
MEE 10 Sept by Thomas Vescovi — Nineteen-year-old Omar Saad, a violist in the Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO), is a member of the Druze minority living in Israel. Last year, Israeli media regularly reported about him following his refusal to perform compulsory military service. Middle East Eye caught up with Saad in France, during PYO’s tour there. MEE: Can you first tell us more about your community? Who are the Druze of Israel? Omar Saad: This is a group professing Muslim faith apart from Sunni and Shia traditions. There are 118,000 of us in Israel. Since 1956, the Israeli state has developed a policy that aims to isolate us from the rest of the Arab community in Israel. It starts with conscription. Treating us as if we were Israeli Jews, each Druze is called to do his three years military service at the age of 18, while “Arabs of Israel” are exempt. The second weapon is the development of a school system for the Druze, separate from Jewish schools and traditional Arab schools. From primary to high school, we are among Druze. The aim is to make us brainwashed from childhood. We are taught loyalty to the State of Israel. MEE: How do your community members identify themselves: Arabs, Palestinians or Israelis? OS: The question of identity is really complicated. Nobody really represents the Druze identity. Whoever wants to do his military service cannot claim to represent the Druze community, nor those who refuse to serve in the Israeli army, as many of us do not wish to be politically involved or position ourselves in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. MEE: You were part of those who, last year, refused to serve in the Israeli army. How did you justify this refusal? (Continued)
The women in Hebron cooperative
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 13 Sept by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — International Solidarity Movement human rights monitors spend the afternoon at the Women in Hebron embroidery cooperative where Palestinian women are empowering themselves and persisting with grace in a colourful and beautiful way in a community space amidst the horror of the ongoing military occupation of their home — Silverware clinks on plates, numerous excited voices float above the large trays of food laid out and loud bursts of laughter punctuate most bites of food. We are in the colorful and warm ‘Women in Hebron’ embroidery cooperative space in the village of Idna in the Hebron district. And we are surrounded by the women who keep the business running and the spirit of community and empowerment nearly bursting the center at its very seams . . . “We welcome everyone here. People from all over the world have come to work with us. We open our home to them; there we have an entire floor dedicated for volunteers, three rooms and three bathrooms, they have free food and can travel with us. …And we teach them embroidery.” . . . And like all other elements of life in the occupied territories, the work of Women in Hebron and Leila’s shop in the souq do not go untouched by the cruelty of their occupiers. “Shops in Hebron gets lots of water from the rain because the soldiers close the gates separating the settlers from the old city. Our area floods so the settlers can stay dry.” This was the reality this past April in Hebron when heavy rains flooded the souq to staggering chest level heights, destroying shelf-fulls of embroidery Leila made by hand at the cooperative to sell at market.
Australia dumps Israeli ‘crime-fighting’ system tested on Palestinians
EI 11 Nov by Ali Abunimah — Australia has dumped an expensive – but apparently worthless – “crime-fighting” system bought from an Israeli arms maker. In 2013, the Australian Federal Police signed a 145 million Australian dollar ($102 million) contract with Elbit Systems to buy a database “used by Israeli security agencies in their battles with Palestinian militants.” The system was reportedly “developed in the Middle Eastern flashpoints of Gaza and the West Bank.” But last month, Jane Halton, director general of Australia’s finance ministry, ordered the contract canceled – even though tens of millions of dollars had already been sunk into it . . . While there is no indication that human rights concerns played a role in the decision to dump Elbit, activists in Australia have strongly protested dealings with the Israeli weapons maker . . . Israeli weapons, surveillance and population control systems are often marketed as “battle-tested” – on the captive Palestinian people. Israel systematically carries out violent night raids on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank for the sole purpose of collecting information on the entire population. Such information would almost certainly be stored in, and perhaps used to develop and test, the types of “intelligence” databases Israel sells abroad . . . This is not the first time a country that has fallen for Israeli marketing has ended up with a costly lemon. In 2011, the Obama administration canceled a “virtual fence” along part of the Arizona-Mexico border after the US had already spent $1 billion on it. A subsidiary of Elbit was a key contractor in the project.
Haaretz editorial: Israel is destroying its own freedom
13 Sept — In the row of flags at the entrance to the United Nations in New York, the flag of Palestine now flies. It’s only symbolic, as if the nations of the world sought to say, if we cannot grant the status of a genuine state to Palestine, we will settle for symbolic recognition. Another symbol of a long, bloody and ongoing battle between Israel and the Palestinians. A few thousand kilometers away from that hapless glass building — where the world’s leaders will once again convene this month to voice foolish hopes about world peace — the parties continue to spill real blood. The last colonial state, which today celebrates the 48th Rosh Hashanah of the occupation, continues to believe that controlling another people ensures its victory. This superstition, which in the past vanquished great powers such as France, Britain and the Ottoman Empire, was shaken a few days ago by a terrifying, symbolic picture. In the small village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, an armed and masked Israeli soldier set upon Mohammed Tamimi, a 12-year-old boy with an arm in a cast. His mother and additional female relatives then set upon the soldier, trying to free the boy from the soldier’s chokehold. If there is a symbol that summarizes and distills the reality of the State of Israel in the territories, it is the photograph from Nabi Saleh, which spread around the world like wildfire. In Israel some people were angry that the soldier did not shoot the boy, and some were astounded at the humanity of the soldier, who decided, on the basis of either his conscience or the presence of television cameras, not to shoot. This is a distorted dichotomy, which would not exist if Israel understood that occupation and morality, occupation and heroism, occupation and democracy, cannot coexist.