Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Palestinian detained after attempted stabbing at Jerusalem bus stop
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — A Palestinian was detained Sunday after reportedly attempting to stab an Israeli in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a “young Arab terrorist attacked an Israeli civilian while standing at a bus station.” The bus station was located on Barzani street in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood which borders the Palestinian Jabal al-Mukkbir neighborhood. The suspect attempted to stab the Israeli and fled the scene before being detained by Israeli police and taken for questioning, al-Samri said. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Palestinian shot dead after Israel soldier stabbed at Gush Etzion
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Jan– A Palestinian was shot dead after reportedly stabbing an Israeli soldier south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s army said. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that an assailant stabbed a soldier stationed at the Gush Etzion junction, lightly wounding him. “Israeli forces responded to the attack and shot the assailant, resulting in his death,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the soldier had been evacuated for medical treatment. The body of the Palestinian, who has not yet been identified, was reportedly delivered to the Palestinian liaison office in Bethlehem. The Gush Etzion junction — entrance point to the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc — has been site to several attacks since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October. Over ten reported attacks have taken place at the junction since, with at least six Palestinians shot dead while carrying out suspected attacks that have left three Israelis killed.
Palestinian shot after alleged stabbing attempt in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Jan — A Palestinian man was shot and moderately wounded after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli police officer in central Jerusalem on Monday afternoon, Israeli police and medics said. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld initially reported that two Israelis were wounded in the alleged attack near Jerusalem’s light rail, with the Palestinian “terrorist” shot and wounded. However, a spokesperson for Hadassah hospital later confirmed that neither Israeli had sustained stab wounds. “No one got stabbed,” she said. She said that a 15-year-old girl had received a very light injury to her leg, although the cause was not clear, while a 29-year-old student was also lightly injured when he fell to the ground during the incident. The Palestinian, meanwhile, was taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in moderate condition. A spokesperson for the hospital said that he had been shot three times and was unconscious but stable.
Bethlehem: 3 Palestinians, including child, shot in Sunday clashes
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Jan — Three Palestinians, including a child, were shot and injured by Israeli fire during clashes that erupted in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, to the south of Bethlehem, Sunday. Security sources informed WAFA that a large military force stormed the camp and deployed its troops throughout the area, amid firing live rounds, concussion grenades, and tear gas canisters, shooting and injuring three, including a child. According to Red Crescent paramedics, two unidentified Palestinian youth were shot and injured in the abdomen and thigh with live ammunition, whereas a 13-year-old child received an explosive dum-dum bullet in his leg. The severity of the child’s injury necessitated surgery. Earlier Sunday, a Palestinian youth was shot and injured in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet during an Israeli army raid into the city of Bethlehem.
85 percent of Palestinians killed by Israel were extrajudicially executed
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 3 Jan — The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee said in a report published on Sunday that 85 percent of Palestinians killed by Israel since the beginning of 2015, 179 Palestinians, were killed in extrajudicial field executions. It maintained that Israeli forces executed Palestinians in ‘cold blood’ and on the grounds of mere suspicion, maintaining that forces acted as both judges and executioners. The committee noted that based on a series of documented and publicized incidents, the majority of Palestinians who assaulted Israelis or were suspected of doing so were executed by Israeli forces despite that fact that they posed no immediate danger to the latter’s lives, stressing that forces could have restrained and detained them instead. The committee added that a large number of Palestinians were left to bleed to death, without providing them with the necessary first aid, or even allowing Palestinian ambulances’ access to them. It said that the majority of killed Palestinians were shot from a very close range with the intention to kill. It described Israeli politicians’ calls to kill Palestinians instead of detaining them, as a ‘war crime’, and intentional extrajudicial murders; which it affirmed, violates principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the four Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The committee noted that the Israeli authorities have not conducted any criminal investigations against soldiers who intentionally killed Palestinians, citing an incident where an Israeli sniper was praised for killing a number of Palestinians near Gush Etzion settlement bloc in Hebron. It further pointed to previous remarks made by Israel’s minister of culture, in which he called to change the open fire regulations and for the field execution of Palestinians. “Politicians and senior police officials urged citizens to carry weapons and to shoot to kill. As a result, there were several instances of shooting in breach of the regulations, and innocent people lost their lives,” said the 2015 annual report published by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). “Ministers, Knesset members, senior police officers and other public officials have explicitly called to take revenge on those who commit a stabbing, or are suspected of stabbing, by killing them,” added ACRI . . .
Deceit and obfuscation: How the NY Times shields Israel
Times Warp 4 Jan by Barbara Erickson — As scores of Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli forces over the past three months, The New York Times has endeavored to hide the full story of this bloodbath, emphasizing Israeli losses, ignoring the majority of Palestinian deaths, and promoting a narrative that shields trigger-happy troops and obscures facts to the point of deceit. Thus, a recent story about deadly attacks in Tel Aviv tells us that “at least 20” Israelis have been killed since Oct. 1 and about 130 Palestinians, “up to two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks, or attempting to attack Israelis, according to the police. Others have been killed in clashes with the Israeli security forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and along Israel’s border with Gaza.” In other words, the Times is saying that Israeli troops were justified in these killings because they were trying to repel deadly attacks or responding to “clashes” with the army or police. This is the message we are to hear, and readers are unlikely to notice that its source is none other than those responsible for a significant number of Palestinian deaths — the Israeli police. The Times betrays its claim of neutrality by ignoring other sources. Nothing is said of reports by alternative media and human rights groups that accuse Israeli forces of carrying out extrajudicial executions and killing Palestinians who pose no possible threat to security forces or civilians. Likewise, nothing is said of those victims who were taking no part in demonstrations but were merely bystanders or passers-by when they were killed. The Times, omitting contrary evidence, thus leaves readers with the impression that all of the Palestinian dead were killed as they participated in acts of violence. At the same time the Times has been quick to name Israeli casualties but has provided identities for only a fraction of the Palestinians. . . .
Israeli extremists attack a Palestinian home in Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Jan — A number of extremist Israeli colonizers attacked, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian home in Beit Forik town, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and hurled a Molotov cocktail into it. Head of the Beit Forik Local Council ‘Aref Hanani said the Israeli assailants drove their motorcycles into the village, hurled stones at a number of homes, and a Molotov cocktail that struck a home. The attack led to property damage but no casualties, medical sources confirmed. Hanani added that the Palestinians in Beit Forik countered the Israeli assailants, and forced them out of their town.
Armed settlers attack Palestinian cab driver
Ynet 4 Jan by Hassan Shaalan — A Palestinian taxi driver was attacked by armed settlers at the end of last week next to the settlement of Mevo Dotan in the northern West Bank. Mahmoud Kabaha, from the town of Barta‘a on the Green Line near Umm al-Fahm, was wounded and taken to a hospital in Jenin for treatment. Footage of the incident [below], which was obtained by Ynet on Monday, gives a glimpse into the daily reality of violence against local residents and the sense of powerlessness even when Israeli security forces on the scene . . . Kabaha told Ynet that the attack happened during the afternoon, between the Richan checkpoint near Barta‘a and Mevo Dotan. “I was carrying a few passengers towards Barta‘a. But settlers blocked my way and wouldn’t let me continue on the journey. There were soldiers there who tried to open the road again, against the wishes of the settlers,” Kabaha added. “While I was waiting in the taxi two armed settlers approached me and told me to go back, not to continue on the same route. But I didn’t follow their order,” Kabaha continued. “So the two settlers struck me in the face several times and hit me in the eyes. I got out of the car to call for help, I called the soldiers, but I was forced to get back in the taxi because of the settlers’ threats.” Kabaha added that he also called for the police. Officers arrived on the scene and took down personal details of the settlers, who denied that they had attacked him. “I also let out the passengers, although they hadn’t reached their destination,” Kabaha said. “I went to the hospital in Jenin so I could get treatment for the severe pain in my head that resulted from the attack.” . . . The Samaria and Judea District Police responded that they had opened an investigation into the incident.
Settlers breach wall of Palestinian house in Jerusalem’s Old City
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Jan — Israeli settlers on Sunday made a number of breaches [photo] through the wall of a Palestinian home belonging to Noura Sub Laban in the Old City of Jerusalem, family members told Ma’an. Noura’s son, Ahmad Sub Laban, said the family was shocked to find at least six breaches through the wall, which borders a property that was taken over by settlers just two weeks ago. Ahmad said the family called Israeli police, who arrived on the scene and asked that the settlers repair the damage without bringing any formal procedures against them, despite the settlers admitting to breaching the wall . . . Ahmad said: “I do not know the motivations behind this action, but this has confirmed that our house is in real danger as it is surrounded by Israeli enclaves on all sides, which means the house could be stormed at any moment.”The far-right settlement organization Ateret Cohanim has been trying to seize the home of Noura Sub Laban, which lies in the Old City’s Oqbit al-Khalidiya area, since 2010, with the Sub Labans fighting to defend the home in Israel’s courts.
2 shooting attacks carried out in Hebron, suspects flee scene
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Two separate shooting attacks were carried out in the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday, Israel’s army and media reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a shooting had taken place on Israeli security forces stationed at a military junction south of Hebron, without giving any further details. Israeli media reports said that one Israeli soldier was lightly to moderately wounded in the leg and Israeli forces were searching for the suspect.
Hours before, a suspected Palestinian gunman reportedly shot and injured an Israeli outside of the Ibrahimi mosque before fleeing the scene. The Israeli army confirmed to Ma‘an that the attack was carried out outside of the mosque, located in the Old City of Hebron. The attacker reportedly opened fire from afar, hitting an Israeli woman before fleeing the scene, Israeli media reported. Israeli forces in the area had begun a manhunt for the attacker following the incident. Israel emergency service Magen David Adom said that paramedics treated a 19-year-old victim in moderate condition. An eyewitness in the area at the time told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers deployed in the area following the attack, shutting down all roads leading to the mosque.
UPDATE: Israeli soldiers release ex-hunger striking prisoner Khader Adnan
JENIN (WAFA) 4 Jan – Israeli forces Monday released former hunger striking prisoner, Khader Adnan, 42, from Araba, southwest of Jenin, after being detained for few hours at a flying military checkpoint near the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah. Adnan’s family informed WAFA that Israeli soldiers detained him while on his way to offer condolences for Silwad’s Palestinians who were killed under pretext of attacks against Israeli targets, and to participate in a solidarity protest with prisoners at al-Manara Square in Ramallah. Witnesses told WAFA Israeli soldiers forcefully stopped all vehicles without any prior warning for about 45 minutes and prevented anyone from advancing or turning around. Adnan was ordered to leave the vehicle he was riding with another man and was taken to an unknown destination.
UPDATE: Israel detains 12 Palestinians in West Bank, summons others
HEBRON (WAFA) 3 Jan– Israeli forces overnight detained 12 Palestinians from the West Bank districts, including Jerusalem, as well as summoned four others for interrogation, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and security sources. In Hebron, armed Israeli soldiers detained seven Palestinians from across Hebron district. Local Saber Abu Sneneh, 25, was detained from the city, after forces physically assaulted him and his entire family. Forces further searched the house thoroughly. Forces also detained Ahmad M. Awad, 18, and ex-detainee Montaser A. Awad, 23, who spent three years in Israeli jails. Soldiers reportedly raided the home of local Naser Ikhlil, in search of his two sons, who were at work at the time of the raid. Locals Mohammed Obaido, 21, and Ishaq al-Jnaidi, 27, were also detained from the Hebron area. As forces withdrew from the area, provoked locals hurled stones and empty glass bottles at the army, which responded by firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward locals and their homes. Meanwhile, in Hebron’s Beit Owwa town, the army detained two locals identified as A’qel Ismail Masalmeh, and Mo’tasem Farooq Masalmeh. In Bethlehem, forces detained local Yousif As-Shaikh, 21, after raiding and searching his family’s home in the village of Marah Rabah to the south. Another Palestinian was reportedly detained during clashes that broke out earlier Sunday in Dheisheh Refugee Camp to the south . . . In Bethlehem’s village of Dar Salah to the east, forces summoned a father, his son, and daughter, to appear before the Israeli intelligence at Gush Etzion settlement bloc for interrogation. They were identified as Jamal Salah, 46, Suhaib, 22, and Wisal, 21, respectively. . . .
Israel detains 20 Palestinians in West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 4 Jan – Israeli army forces Monday detained at least 20 Palestinians, mostly during predawn and night raids across the West Bank districts, said local and security sources. In Hebron, Israeli troops detained at least four Palestinians after raiding their homes and searching their homes . . . Israeli army also stormed the nearby town of Beit Ummar, where they detained two Palestinians, Muhannad Barbarawi, and Muhannad Abu-Ayyash, 19. Forces also summoned two Palestinian minors from Beit Ummar for interrogation . . . Meanwhile in Tubas, in the northeast West Bank, Israeli troops broke into Fara‘a refugee camp and detained four Palestinians, identified as Ra’fat Abul-Hassan, 24, Qais Madi, 25, Mohammad Bayadseh, 23, and Rabee Shawish, 24. In Nablus, the Israeli army broke into the village of Tell and detained two Palestinians, identified as Abdur-Rahmad Shtayyeh and Majd Shtayyeh. Forces further stormed the village of Barta‘a, to the southwest of Jenin, and detained 46-year-old Abdul-Wahhab Qabaha, after raiding his house and a commercial store of his own in the village. . . .
Return of bodies / Funerals
Israeli forces shoot, injure 11 Palestinians after funeral
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Jan — Israeli forces on Monday shot and injured 11 Palestinians with live and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted after a funeral in Kattana village in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, medical sources said.
Medical sources said Israeli forces shot and injured seven Palestinians with live fire, and four more with rubber-coated steel bullets following a funeral procession for Ahmad Jamal Taha, 16. Taha was shot dead in November, after stabbing and killing an Israeli soldier on Route 443, west of Ramallah. More than two thousand people attended the funeral, which started from the Palestine Medical complex in Ramallah, after Israeli forces released the body, which then underwent an autopsy. After the autopsy, the body was brought to the family’s home, then local mosque, before Taha was laid to rest in the village’s cemetery.
Mass joint funeral held for 14 Palestinians in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to attend the joint funeral of 14 Palestinians whose bodies were returned by Israel the night before. The bodies were among 23 handed over by Israeli authorities on Friday night, 17 to the Hebron area, in line with a decision made by Israeli officials to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis. The bodies were carried on the shoulders of their families to the al-Hussein Ibn Ali mosque in the city center, where funeral prayers took place. Thousands collectively performed the prayer inside the adjacent al-Hussein football stadium and across city streets, locals told Ma‘an. The procession then marched through Ein Sarah street before reaching the al-Shuhahda (Martyrs) Cemetery, where the 14 were laid to rest. Elderly participants present told Ma‘an they had never before attended a funeral for such a large number of slain Palestinians. The thousands of mourners attending the funeral shouted slogans as the bodies were carried through the streets, condemning Israel’s conditional releases of the bodies of Palestinians . . . The bodies of the Hebron-area Palestinians returned Friday underwent autopsy following their handover, according to Hebron’s District Attorney.
3 Palestinians buried in Hebron-area villages; clashes break out
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Jan — Three Palestinians were buried in Hebron-area villages after their bodies were returned by Israeli authorities the night before. They were among 23 bodies to be released by Israeli authorities Friday of Palestinians killed while suspected for carrying out attacks on Israeli military and civilians. In the town of Sa‘ir, mourners marched in the funeral of Fadi Hassan al-Froukh, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on Nov. 1 during clashes at the Beit Einun crossroads in eastern Hebron. The Israeli army said at the time of his death that al-Froukh had attempted to stab an Israeli soldier when forces opened fire and killed the young man. Residents of Sa‘ir were accompanied by Palestinians from surrounding villages in the funeral procession, repeating national slogans calling for unity and demanding the Palestinian leadership respond to Israeli violations.
In the town of Beit Ula west of Hebron, Palestinian locals took part in the funeral of Hamzeh Moussa al-Imla, who was killed on Oct. 20 after the Israeli army said he injured two soldiers in a vehicular attack at the Gush Etzion junction.
Meanwhile clashes erupted in the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron following a funeral held for Omar Zaaqiq, 19, who was killed Nov. 27 after running his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers stationed in the town, moderately injuring four. After mourners marched in a funeral procession and buried Zaaqiq’s body in the local cemetery, hundreds of Palestinian youths throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, a local activist Muhammad Ayyad told Ma‘an. Ayyad said that 12 were shot by rubber-coated steel bullets, including two in the head. Ahmad Mahmoud Ayyad Awad, 29, was injured in the head and was taken by a Red Crescent ambulance to a hospital in Hebron with moderate injuries. Abd al-Rahman al-Allami, 57, was also hit in the head but treated on site.
Israel returns body of Palestinian killed in November
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — A funeral procession was held Sunday in the occupied West Bank village of ‘Arura [district of Ramallah] for a Palestinian whose body was returned by Israel the night before, locals said. Mourners from ‘Arura and neighboring villages joined for the funeral of Muhammad Munir Saleh, 24, who was shot and killed on Nov. 17 after the Israeli army said he exited a vehicle with two others and opened fire on an Israeli military patrol near Ramallah. Locals told Ma‘an that Saleh’s body was carried from the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to al-Quds Open university where his body underwent autopsy before being taken to his hometown of ‘Arura. The young man’s family bid him goodbye before he was buried in the village cemetery following funeral prayers, locals said. Some participants in the funeral reportedly shouted slogans praising Palestinians who have been killed while carrying out attacks, urging vehicular and knife attacks to continue. Locals reported military checkpoints set up by Israeli forces in surrounding villages during the funeral, stopping several vehicles traveling to ‘Arura.
Israel to return 4 Palestinian bodies if buried outside of wall
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Jan — Israeli authorities on Sunday announced that the bodies of four Palestinians from Jerusalem who were killed while reportedly carrying out attacks would be returned conditionally. A lawyer for prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Muhammad Mahmoud, said in a statement that Israeli authorities would hand over the bodies on condition that they be buried outside of the separation wall that splits occupied East Jerusalem. Mahmoud said the authorities requested the bodies be buried in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Kafr ‘Aqab and ‘Anata, part of Jerusalem but cut off from other neighborhoods by a concrete wall. The four bodies belong to Palestinians who were killed between Oct. 10 and Oct. 30. Israeli authorities demanded that the bodies of 16-year-old Ishaq Badran and Ahmad Hamada Qneibi, 22, be buried in the Kafr ‘Aqab cemetery. Badran was shot on Oct. 10 after carrying out an alleged stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, lightly injuring two Israelis, and Qneibi was shot after stabbing two Israelis in Sheikh Jarrah on Oct. 30. Both are residents of Kafr ‘Aqab.The authorities also included Muhammad Saed Ali, 19, who was killed on Oct. 10 after stabbing an Israeli officer in the neck outside of the Damascus gate. The teen is from the Shu‘fat refugee camp, located next to ‘Anata, where Israeli authorities demanded he be buried. Also to be buried in the ‘Anata cemetery is 16-year-old Hassan Khalid Manasra, who was killed on Oct. 12 after reportedly attempted to stab a police officer in Jerusalem. Each family was asked to deposit a bail of 5000 shekels ($1285) in order to guarantee they would adhere to the preconditions stipulated by Israeli authorities for their return, Mahmoud told Ma‘an. Israel has held the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis since violence increased in October, holding over 80 bodies since the unrest began, according to documentation by the United Nations. Conditional releases have been decried by Palestinians who see the policy as collective punishment and a violation of religious traditions. [See photographs of the 3 Jerusalemites here]
Dawabsheh arson murders
A revolt and a king: The ideology behind Jewish terrorism
Ynet 3 Jan by Yoav Zitun — Members of the Jewish “Revolt” terror group believe that the State of Israel has no right to exist and that there is no place for Arabs in the Jewish kingdom they will establish, so it is permissible to kill them. Several of the members of this group were indicted on Sunday morning for the murder of the Dawabsheh family, including 21-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel and a 17-year-old Israeli-American teenager, as well as for other acts of violence perpetrated against Palestinians. The Shin Bet said Ben-Uliel admitted to planning and perpetrating the attack, and recounted it last month during a reconstruction of the crime. His version supported concealed evidence and other investigative details. The Shin Bet has arrested 23 members of the “Revolt” group since November 25, when the investigation into the arson in Duma became known. The group’s hardcore element numbers at 30-40 people, most of whom are between the ages of 15-24, though there are some as young as 13 . . . he Shin Bet says there has been an increase in the number of youths who want to join the group in its actions since the Duma arson attack. According to the Shin Bet, the “Revolt” group’s ideology started taking shape in October 2013. Since that time and until the Duma attack, its members committed 11 arson attacks against Palestinians or churches . . . The “Revolt” group seeks to overthrow the democratic government and establish “Jewish rule” in the land of Israel. The Jewish state envisioned by the “Revolt” group is a monarchy that would include religious coercion and a king who would eradicate idol worship, build the third Temple and expel all gentiles. The Shin Bet seized manifestos detailing the “Revolt” group’s ideology:
* The State of Israel has no right to exist, and we are therefore not bound by the rules of the game.
* Destroy everything first, and then rebuild.
* A king must be crowned after the overthrow of the government.
* Under the current foreign rule, we must set up cells in every settlement, hill, city and yeshiva, made of 3-5 members who decide to act.
* The cell can begin with small acts.
* There must be no contact between the cells.
* Don’t tell, don’t investigate, and don’t make inquiries.
* There is no room for gentiles, particularly Arabs, to live inside the borders of the state, and if they do not leave here it is permissible to kill them indiscriminately – women, men and children.
* The blood of those who are not Jews will always be cheaper than the blood of Jews.
These manifestos also detail how to commit terror attacks:
“Simply break a glass door or window, pour gasoline inside or light a Molotov cocktail and throw it in however possible. (Continued)
Will Jewish terrorism suspects get a ‘fair trial’?
+972 mag 3 Jan by Edo Konrad — Had a Palestinian committed the exact same crime in the exact same location, he would find himself in an entirely different justice system. Maybe ‘fair’ is relative — Israel’s justice minister on Sunday said she “hopes” that the alleged Jewish terrorists indicted for murdering three members of the Dawabshe family will receive a fair and just trial. Hopes. According to Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson and Barak Ravid, Justice Minister Shaked declined to clarify whether her hope amounts to trust in the court system or whether believes the suspects will receive a fair trial. (The Justice Ministry was quick to release a tersely-worded statement, according to which the Shaked is “certain” the accused Jewish terrorists will receive a fair trial.) If you didn’t know any better, one might conclude from Shaked’s remarks that there are suspects in Israeli courts who do not receive fair trials — or at least who don’t have equal access to the same justice system. And there are, of course. But those suspects are Palestinians. The occupied territories, where the Dawabsha family was murdered, have two parallel, segregated legal systems: one for Jewish settlers and one for Palestinians. Israeli settlers who commit violent acts against Palestinians — even acts as egregious as murdering a Palestinian family — are tried in civilian courts. On the other hand, Palestinians who take part in violence against Israelis — from stone throwing to shootings — are tried in military courts, where detainees have minimal rights, and the prosecution and the judges wear the same military uniform. From every angle, a Palestinian who find him or herself in military court, has all the cards stacked against them. (For detailed explanations of why, I suggest reading this and this.) . . . And then there is the “us and them” factor. Last week The Forward reported that Justice Minister Shaked personally met with the mother of one of the Jewish terrorism suspects in the Dawabshe murder. Shaked was allegedly assuaging fears that the woman’s son was being tortured by the Shin Bet. In other words, the Jewish terrorist was one of us. His family has access to the halls of power. When was the last time a Palestinian prisoner’s family was able to express their concerns about his or her treatment in custody with the minister of justice?
Youth who assisted in Dawabsheh murders one of ‘Samaria elite’
Ynet 5 Jan by Roi Yanovsky — His mother is an educator, his father is a rabbi in a northern West Bank settlement, and they live in a large and well-kept house. How did ‘a good guy from a good home’ become a central activist in Jewish terror, according to the indictments against him? — Alongside the indictment of Amiram Ben-Uliel for carrying out an attack in Duma that murdered three members of the Dawabsheh family, E., a minor, was also charged with being an accessory to the crime. E., 17, grew up in a well-known and established settlement in the northern West Bank. The fact that he is underage means that his identity remains under wraps even after the general gag order over the Duma investigation was lifted. He is being charged with a series of “price tag” activities, including vandalizing Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey, an arson attack on a Palestinian taxi near the village of Yasuf, the setting alight of a storage unit in the town of Aqraba near Nablus, an attack on a Palestinian shepherd in Kochav HaShahar and slashing tires in Beit Safafa in Jerusalem . . . “I remember him as a good guy from a good family,” said one of the family’s neighbors. “They didn’t give any impression of being extremists, not in their views or in their conduct.”. . . And yet, E.’s life led him out of the structure of educational institutions. Up until two years ago, he studied in a yeshiva in the Binyamin area, but at some point he decided to drop out and stopped going to school. He went to live in illegal outposts in the northern West Bank, including Baladim, and started to work odd jobs. A friend described him at that time as a charismatic individual who lived ascetically.At that time he got to know Ben-Uliel, the central suspect in the Duma murders, along with other price tag suspects. At the Baladim outpost, he and his friends absorbed the ideology of the “Revolt” group. According to the Shin Bet, the dozens of youngsters belonging to the group have developed a new anti-Zionist ideology with the aim of overthrowing the government, crowning a king of Israel and rebuilding the Temple.(Continued)
Tel Aviv shooting
Tel Aviv shooter’s father held gun license even after son attacked soldier
Haaretz 2 Jan by Gili Cohen & Jonathan Lis — The suspected assailant in Friday’s Tel Aviv shooting at the Simta pub Friday apparently used a Spectre, an Italian-made semi-automatic pistol. The weapon belonged to Mashat Melhem’s father, who works for a security firm in Hadera. The father reportedly identified his son after viewing a video of the attack. He contacted the police after he discovered his gun was missing after viewing the video. The father said that the safe in which the gun was kept was undamaged, which means that whoever opened had obtained the combination. Spectres (also known as “Falcon”) were indeed once in common use by security firms, but have fallen in popularity. Security firms preferred it for a number of reasons. While the weapon is a semi-automatic, it is defined in its permit as a pistol. This allows security guards accompanying school trips to carry the weapon, since it is considered a long-barreled gun. According to Public Security Ministry directives, any licensed weapon, whether privately owned or owned by a security firm, must be kept in a safe. The latest regulations issued by the ministry, allowing security guards to take their weapons home rather than store them at the place of business they have been assigned to guard, has recently been extended. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also intended to change the law, enabling security guards to take their weapons home. Initial legislation has already been formulated about it, as reported in Haaretz.
Netanyahu’s speech at scene of Tel Aviv shooting: A shameful, fear-spreading horror show / Yossi Verter
Haaretz 3 Jan — The prime minister proved that he has not lost his penchant for hatred and inciting against minorities, for seizing every tragedy to make political hay. It was low, even by his own standards — . . . Netanyahu’s speech on Saturday — at the scene where two young men were shot to death and 10 more people were wounded, with dozens of memorial candles flickering at his feet — was Bibi at his worst. Not containing, not calming, not leading — a small politician. He was not ashamed to mention — presumably on orders from his wife, who was recovering at home from being questioned by the police fraud unit for hours on Thursday — her investigation session – that their two sons are around the same ages as the victims. He only forgot to mention that as the prime minister’s children, Yair and Avner are followed by a security detail at all times. They, thank God, are protected. Everything else he said was a harsh, shameful, near-racist diatribe against Israel’s Arabs. He described the whole community, as gun-toting criminals and potential terrorists. “I will not accept two states within Israel,” Netanyahu said. Israel, he said, cannot be a lawful state for some and lawless for others, where “there are enclaves without law enforcement.” . . . One might infer from his remarks that since the shooting, which was perpetrated by a young, apparently unstable, man from the Wadi Ara town of ‘Ar‘ara, the entire “sector” has been celebrating the murder and calling for similar acts. It is precisely the opposite. The suspect’s father, a volunteer in the Israel Police for the past 30 years, notified the authorities after recognizing his son in security videos on television. All of Arara’s leaders condemned the act and disavowed the suspect. There were no calls or acts of solidarity with the crime in other Arab communities in Israel.
Israeli police raid Arab TAU students’ homes in search for shooter
+978 mag 4 Jan by Orly Noy — In their search for the suspect in the Tel Aviv shooting attack, police are ‘visiting’ the homes and dorms of Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University. Joint List chair asks whether the university gave police info on innocent students — As part of the manhunt for Nashat Milhem, the suspect in the deadly Tel Aviv shooting last week, a significant number of young Arab men and women are reporting police raids and searches of their apartments near Tel Aviv University and even in student dormitories . . . Another of the police “visits” took place Sunday morning in Khavier Sidawi’s apartment, in north Tel Aviv’s Ramat Aviv neighborhood, where he lives with his cousin. Perhaps on account of the fact that the pair are from ‘Ar‘ara, the same village as the suspected shooter, the police were less mannered at Sidawi’s home. “At around 7 a.m. we woke up to something like 15 cops standing over our beds with rifles drawn,” Sidawi said. This time, the officers didn’t bother knocking. They just broke in. Needless to say, the police officers didn’t present any search warrant or identifying documents this time either. “They barely let us move, they escorted us to the sink when we went to wash our faces,” Sidawi added. “They also didn’t let me get my phone — they only let me send a message to my work to let them know that I would be late, and even that, they were looking to see what I was writing the whole time.” According to Sidawi, the officers were later joined by a man in civilian clothing, apparently from the Shin Bet, who interrogated them for about an hour. He also didn’t identify himself to Sidawi or his cousin. The two were asked if they knew the suspected shooter, what they thought about the shooting, what they do for a living, and the like. “When he saw I was getting quiet, he asked me, ‘why are you so sad?’,” Sidawi said . . . It is not clear how the police were able to ascertain so quickly which apartments in north Tel Aviv are occupied by young Arabs. Does that mean that Israeli police keep all Arabs living outside of “Arab cities” under some form of surveillance? Does Israel Police consider every Arab suspicious to some degree? When police are searching for a yarmulke-wearing suspect, do they conduct searches of every yarmulke-wearing family in the area? Or is that treatment reserved especially for Palestinian citizens of Israel?
Police say Tel Aviv shooter likely killed third victim while fleeing
Haaretz 4 Jan by Yaniv Kubovich, Noa Shpigel, Jack Khoury and Ilan Lior — On fourth day of manhunt, forces are focusing search in north Tel Aviv; ministers call on public to remain calm: ‘The risk of car accidents is still incomparable to that of terrorism.’ — Police said on Monday they have reason to believe that the gunman who killed two and wounded seven in a shooting spree in downtown Tel Aviv on Friday also murdered another man. A taxi driver found murdered near north Tel Aviv’s Mandarin Hotel a short while after the attack seems to have been the third victim of 19-year-old Nashat Melhem, the suspected perpetrator of a shooting. Police were initially unsure if the murder of Amin Shaaban, the cab driver, was linked to the shooting. Authorities also arrested on Monday a second, initially unidentified family member of Melhem whose attack on the pub left two Israelis dead and seven others wounded. Jaudat Melhem, the brother of Nashat Melhem, was arrested on Friday in connection with the attack.
Report: Israel asks PA for help in finding Tel Aviv shooter
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Jan – Israeli authorities have officially reached out to the Palestinian Authority for assistance in finding a shooting suspect responsible for an attack in Tel Aviv late last week, Hebrew media reported. Israeli news site Walla reported that Israeli forces believe the suspect in a shooting that left two Israelis dead and seven others injured on Friday could have fled to the occupied West Bank. Israeli intelligence reportedly delivered security details about the shooter, identified as Mohammed Melhem, 29 and a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the northern town of ‘Ar‘ara. Melhem fled the scene after he opened fire on Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv, the second attack in the Israeli coastal city since Nov. 19 when two Israelis were stabbed and killed near Tel Aviv’s Panorama building. Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom said in initial reports on Friday that paramedics arrived to the scene and treated nine victims. An Israeli police spokesperson confirmed that two were killed and medics reported the injured to include two in severe condition and five in moderate condition.
Father of Tel Aviv terror suspect arrested
Ynet 5 Jan by Hassan Shaalan — Police on Tuesday arrested the father of Nahat Melhem, suspected of carrying out the terror attack on a Tel Aviv pub on Friday that killed three and wounded several more. Five others were arrested along with Ahmad Melhem. Police Chief Roni Alsheikh met the fmaily of Alon Bakal, one of the two people murdered in the Tel Aviv attack, on Tuesday morning. Alsheikh addressed the search for the first time, stressing the importance of keeping investigation details confidential. He hinted that some progress had been made, saying that residents of the Tel Aviv metro area could significantly “reduce tensions”. Some public criticism had been leveled at police and security officials, as no senior official publicly discussed the hunt for Melhem during the first few days of the search. On Monday, the suspect’s father publicly addressed his son, saying: “Call me. Maybe I can help you. If you can’t do it, ask one of your friends. Don’t stay out there. Turn yourself in.” On Saturday, the suspect’s brother Jaudat was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder .It was Melhem’s father who first contacted police after seeing his son’s picture on television. “It’s important to me now that they reach my son and arrest him, because he’s still armed, and just like he murdered two people he could murder more,” he said on Saturday.
Israel charges two 12-year-old Palestinian boys with murder
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Jan — Israeli military prosecutors on Sunday charged two Palestinian 12-year-old boys with attempted murder [Silwanic: ‘planning an attack’] and possession of knives, the prisoners’ rights group Addameer said. A lawyer for the group, Muhammad Mahmoud, told Ma‘an that the charges were among those submitted to the Jerusalem central court against Shadi Anwar Farrah and Ahmad Raed Za‘tari, both 12 years old. The court judge decided to send Farrah to a reformatory in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem and Za‘tari to a reformatory in Tamara in Israel. Amjad Abu Asab, who heads an East Jerusalem committee for prisoners’ families, said that both children were detained last Wednesday and were “interrogated in the absence of adult family members and lawyers, which is a serious violation of Israeli law and international law.” Abu Asab added that the Jerusalem central court had also ordered each of the boys’ families to pay a bail of 5,000 shekels and sign a bail of 10,000 shekels. According to Israeli watchdog Military Court Watch, there were 407 Palestinian children in Israeli custody at the end of November. That was up from 171 children at the end of September, before a wave of popular unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory the following month.
Israeli forces demolish homes of 2 Palestinian attackers in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Jan– Israeli forces on Monday demolished the family home of a Palestinian attacker killed in October and sealed off the home of another attacker’s family with cement, the families told Ma‘an.The homes, in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, belonged to relatives of Alaa Abu Jamal and Baha Elayyan who were both shot dead on Oct. 13 after carrying out separate attacks that left four Israelis dead. Israeli forces reportedly stormed the homes and ordered the families to evacuate them before they proceeded with the demolitions. Abu Jamal’s family told Ma‘an that Israeli forces sealed with cement the home of Safa Abu Jamal, Alaa’s sister, after claiming to have secret information that it belonged to her slain brother. The home consisted of one floor and three apartments, and was lived in by Safa, her husband, and their two children, the family said. They added that Israeli authorities had earlier decided not to demolish the home after ruling that it belonged to Safa and not to her brother, Alaa. Meanwhile, the father of Baha Elayyan told Ma‘an that his family had been ordered to evacuate his home while Israeli forces demolished its interior walls. The home is an apartment on the second floor of a three-story building, measuring 130 square meters and currently housing eight family members.
Local photographers provide snapshot of life in Gaza
GAZA CITY 4 Jan by Mohammed Othman — Award-winning photojournalist Mohammed al-Baba once again is receiving international accolades, being named one of The Guardian’s top 10 photographers for 2015. The Guardian recognized Baba, a cameraman for Agence France-Presse, for his work documenting the daily lives of citizens following Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. He has received 14 various international awards over the last 15 years. Baba told Al-Monitor, “It is important for photographers to capture human aspects. Once the news is covered, photographers ought to dive into the aftermath of the event. The humane message that I conveyed through the pictures I took was about the way citizens in the Gaza Strip carry on with their daily lives and mix life with death even after their houses are destroyed . . . Ibrahim Faraj, a cameraman from Gaza, chose to begin his career away from the war environment. He captured aspects that had long remained hidden, such as normal life and poverty in the Gaza Strip. Faraj works for Alray, the Palestinian government’s media agency. He told Al-Monitor he started out by capturing pictures of nature, the sea, green landscapes and other beautiful scenery in the Gaza Strip. The Strip features two aspects of life, Faraj said: a tragic one full of destruction and poverty, and another, wonderful one that combines hope, optimism, happiness and beauty. “I completed my journey, which started in 2008, by showing the beautiful and simple life in Gaza. Some of my fans support the nature of my photos while others oppose them. I sometimes receive positive feedback that encourages me to carry on, but I also receive negative comments that disregard the content and fail to grasp the idea,” Faraj said. Despite the nine-year-long Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and repeated wars, Faraj was able to capture pictures that highlight Gaza’s magnificence and prove that Gaza is still full of love, beauty and life. (Continued)
2016: 10 years since beginning of Gaza siege
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Jan — It has now been ten years for the strict, harsh and inhumane Israeli, Egyptian and internationally backed blockade on the Gaza Strip. The blockade started in the wake of the 2006 Palestinian elections, which the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won with an overwhelming majority. Local and international monitoring organisations described the Palestinian poll as one of the most transparent ever recorded. However, Palestinians remember it with sadness, as the elections marked the internal political split and the start of the siege on Gaza. The Israeli occupation closed all crossings into the territory, keeping only the Erez Crossing open for occasional pedestrian traffic and Kerem Shalom for a few classified and highly-regulated goods. According to Days of Palestine, Erez has been used a trap for people trying to cross. Egypt has been keeping the Rafah Crossing closed for most of the time. In 2015, the crossing was only open for 21 days; just 10,000 Palestinians were allowed through, among them pilgrims, patients and students . . . Attempts to break the siege The plight of the Palestinians in Gaza has aroused widespread popular support across the world and many attempts have been made to break the siege by sea. Although a few small boats made the trip in the first few years, later and more ambitious attempts were stopped in international waters by the Israeli navy, often violently. In May, 2010, for example, the Israeli commandos intercepted the Freedom Flotilla. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the assault and a number of others were wounded; one died in 2014 as a direct result of his wounds. The ships were towed into and Israeli port and everyone on board was arrested. During the siege, the Israeli occupation has launched four major military offensives against the people of Gaza, in 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014; the latter was the most destructive. It lasted for 51 days and whole areas of Gaza were flattened by Israeli bombs; tens of thousands of people were displaced. The strict siege and wars have shattered the Palestinian economy in Gaza, economic commentator Maher al-Tabaa told Quds Press.
Hamas mulls over proposed solutions to closed Rafah crossing
GAZA (PIC) 3 Jan — The Hamas Movement has embarked on studying proposals it has received recently as part of an initiative to solve the crisis of the closed Rafah border crossing. Its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated on Saturday that these proposals were submitted to his Movement by different Palestinian parties, including factions, lawmakers and civil society activists. Abu Zuhri expressed his Movement’s appreciation for such keenness on seeking a permanent solution to the issue of the Rafah crossing. He said that his Movement started to study these proposals in order to ameliorate the humanitarian suffering of the population in Gaza, support their steadfastness, and achieve the national unity and partnership. The proposals, which also were submitted to Fatah and the government in Ramallah, call for officially accepting the current employees working on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing as government personnel and reinforce them with former civil servants to complement each other. The initiative also suggests that presidential guard forces should be responsible for the security of the crossing. The government, for its part, announced the formation of a committee chaired by its premier Rami al-Hamdallah and with the membership of his deputy and some ministers to deliberate on the proposed ideas and discuss them with all concerned parties.
Gaza’s agriculture hard hit by $300,000 of losses
GAZA (PIC) 3 Jan — The agriculture sector of the blockaded Gaza Strip sustained a staggering $300,000 of losses as a result of an Israeli air strike on agricultural structures at dawn Saturday, a Palestinian official reported. Director of the Mechanical Testing Stations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Shaher al-Rifi, said the station has been bereaved of 70% of its operational power and sustained $300,000 of losses due to the Israeli strikes. Al-Rifi added that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replace the destroyed kit due to the tough siege imposed by the Israeli occupation army and the closure of border-crossings with Gaza. He said the targeted station, which provides services for testing stations and agricultural nurseries, suffered the loss of a set of tractors and mechanisms used for agricultural and maintenance work. An electric generator was also damaged in the attack. The official also denounced the Israeli bans on the entry of agricultural equipment into blockaded Gaza, saying such restrictions rather impinge the ministry’s work. He called on the concerned authorities to rally round Gazans and help them get through the crises rocking the besieged enclave due to Israeli aggression, voicing hope that serious steps would be taken to help Gazans restore the damaged kit and rehabilitate the agricultural sector.
Israelis cut Gaza gas supplies
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Jan — The suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has doubled, due to Israeli cuts on cooking gas supplies during this current wave of extreme cold. “It is week four since the Israeli authorities severely decreased cooking gas supplies for the Gaza Strip,” said Mohamed al-Abadaleh, member of the Union of Owners of Fuel and Gas Companies. He also said that the amount allowed into Gaza is only 15 per cent of the daily need during normal times; however, the current consumption is far more than the 300 tons, due to the cold weather of winter. Gaza stations across the Gaza Strip are full of empty gas containers, as they are unable to fulfill the needs of the consumers. People have started using coal and wood fire for cooking and other tasks, in order to keep life going on.
Israel forces open fire at Gaza farmers
GAZA (WAFA) 4 Jan – Israeli forces Monday morning opened live fire at Palestinian farmers to the east of Gaza city, reported WAFA correspondent. Israeli forces in borderline watchtowers in Nahal Oz opened heavy gunfire on farmers attempting to reach their fields near the border, forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported in the cross-border shooting attack.
Video shows captured Israeli soldier at Gaza barbecue
EI 3 Jan by Ali Abunimah — A video released Sunday by the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, includes new footage of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli prisoner of war who was held in Gaza for five years. Shalit was released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange Israel negotiated with Hamas. Israeli media had reported years ago that Shalit beat his Hamas guards at rounds of the video game FIFA Soccer. But the new video shows scenes of the smiling Shalit grilling meat at a barbecue. It also shows him drinking tea with Hamas fighters and watching television. In one clip, Shalit sits in a relatively spacious cell with an exercise bicycle and adjoining toilet as an attendant brings him a beverage. The footage of Shalit is part of a 10-minute video highlighting the Qassam Brigades’ Shadow Unit, whose secret mission the video describes as “securing enemy prisoners who come into the hands of Qassam.” It also says that the unit’s mission is to “treat enemy prisoners with dignity and respect, according to the principles of Islam, and to provide them with physical and moral sustenance, notwithstanding the enemy’s treatment of captured resistance fighters.” The video calls the successful years-long effort to conceal Shalit’s location from Israel – he was captured in 2006 – “one of the most complex security operations” in the movement’s history. The video names five members of the Shadow Unit who were involved in securing Shalit. It also provides their ages when they were each killed by Israeli action in recent years . . . – Low profile – Other than a few trips abroad soon after his release, Shalit has largely declined to take part in official Israeli propaganda. Keeping a low profile may be Shalit’s own choice, but it may also be that he provides little propaganda value. Aside from the fact of his long detention – which largely conformed to the Third Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war – Israel has presented no evidence he was not treated humanely, and Shalit himself has made no such claims . . . – Dead or alive? – The new video may be intended to reinforce a message to Israel that Hamas still has the capability of concealing prisoners far from its reach. In July, Israel admitted that at least two of its citizens are currently detained in Gaza, at least one by Hamas. One is Avera Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent. Israel says he entered Gaza across a beach in September 2014, after the 26 August truce. But a senior Hamas leader has claimed the Israelis had already inquired about Mengistu’s whereabouts during the negotiations in Cairo that led up to the truce. The other is reportedly an unnamed Palestinian citizen of Israel. Hamas also reportedly holds the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were part of Israel’s invasion force in the summer of 2014.
Young bear the burden of Israel’s siege on Gaza
GAZA CITY (The National) 4 Jan by Kate Shuttleworth — Haisam Momen and Karam Habeeb are almost hidden by the dozens of balloons they are trying to sell for just under Dh1 each. The Palestinian cousins, both only 15 years old, dropped out of school to help support their families. They work eight-hour days selling balloons in Gaza City’s parks, shopping centres and outside restaurants such as the upscale Mazaj, where a pasta dish costs more than their daily income of about Dh21 each. Haisam and Karam are just two of an estimated 104,000 children forced into labour in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, according to a United States department of labour report. With nearly half of the adult population out of work, the World Banks says Gaza’s unemployment rate is probably the highest in the world. After Hamas won the 2006 election in Gaza and seized control from Fatah, the leading secular Palestinian party, Israel blockaded Gaza by air, land and sea. Unemployment climbed, and today, after three wars in under six years, the economy is on its knees. The number of Gazan children and youth forced into labour rose dramatically after the 51-day war in 2014, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis dead. Some children lost one or both parents in the war. Others have parents who were injured and are now unable to work. By law, the minimum working age in both Palestinian territories is 15, and 18 for hazardous work involving chemicals or dangerous machinery, but this is not enforced in Gaza . . . Jamil Momen, 21, and his younger brother Haisam, 15, live in the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza. Jamil wants to go to university but has to sell balloons and rides on an electric car for children instead to support the family because his parents are unemployed. Inside their two-room house, Jamil checks the lights on the battery-powered toy car that he will sell rides on that night. Jamil married recently and his wife is now pregnant, putting pressure on Haisam to leave school to help support their 13-member household. Nearby, in central Gaza, Jamil and Haisam’s cousins are also working to support their extended family . . . Maher Al Tabbaa, a Gazan economist, said the reality of child labour in Gaza was perhaps one of the worst in the world in that children are forced to work because their parents cannot.
Hamas forces detain satirical journalist in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Jan — Hamas security forces on Sunday detained Palestinian journalist and satirist Ayman al-Aloul in the Gaza Strip, his wife told Ma‘an. His wife said that al-Aloul was arrested from their home by Gaza’s internal security service, who also confiscated her and her husband’s mobile phones and laptops. Al-Aloul is best known for the outspoken satirical reports he publishes on Youtube, using both formal and colloquial Arabic to draw attention to the difficulties of life in the Gaza Strip. He also works as a news editor for Arab Alaan (Arabs Now) news agency, and reports for the Iraqi al-Furat (Euphrates) television channel. During the 2014 Gaza war, al-Aloul received significant attention for a video report he published in response to the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” in which people posted videos of themselves pouring a bucket of icy water over themselves on social media to draw attention to ALS disease. Al-Aloul in his report said that there was not enough water in Gaza to take part in the social media phenomenon and no way to make it cold, and so instead he poured a bucket of rubble over his head to highlight the destruction of Gaza.
Separately on Sunday, Facebook activists reported that Hamas security forces had detained another young activist identified as Ramzi Hirzallah. The past two years have seen a significant rise in the number of violations against Palestinian press freedoms.
Hamas: 2016 will be a year for rising intifada operations
RAMALLAH (PIC) 1 Jan — The Hamas Movement has affirmed that al-Quds intifada (uprising) will continue to develop and escalate in 2016 as long as the Palestinian land is still under occupation. Hamas spokesman Husam Badran stated on Thursday that 2016 would be seeing different forms of intifada and resistance operations against the occupation. Badran also mourned the death of 22-year-old Hasan Bazzour, who carried out a vehicular attack at Beita junction in Nablus earlier on the same day, and described him as a “hero.” “The heroic operation of martyr Hasan Bazzour has taken place as the Palestinian people are saying farewell to the current year and receiving a fresh one, which will be a year for anger and growing revolt in the face of the Zionist occupation,” he underscored.
Gaza: The brink of collapse triggers war / Dr. Ahmed al-Burai
MEMO 2 Jan — “I counted all the gunshots in his chest one by one. Why did they shoot him? He was naked and waving with his hands pleading for their help to get medication for the injury he has been suffering from since the Battle of al-Furkan of 2008,” said the mother of Ishaq Hassan, a young man who was recently killed by an Egyptian soldier while scraping through the sea into the Egyptian territory. She broke down in tears and added “We always receive our martyrs with cries of joy and we feel proud of them because they are killed by our enemy not by a Muslim brother. I don’t know what to say; I wish I were in a nightmare and I’ll wake up soon.” View: Exclusive Images from Issac Hassan’s funeral. Sisi-led Egypt announced Gaza as a hostile entity and Hamas representatives were expelled from Egypt, whereas the Gazans has been ironically identified as enemies of the Republic of Egypt and as an imminent threat to the Egyptian national security. Lately Egypt’s ruling Generals have been trying to persuade Israel not to allow any Turkish empowerment in the Gaza Strip mainly after reconciliation talks between Turkey and Israel have surfaced. Turkey’s prerequisites to normalize relations with Israel and prioritizing lifting the blockade on Gaza apparently exasperated the Generals of Sisi’s regime. Palestinians believe that Egypt is working hard to topple any agreement that would ease the suffocating siege on their coastal enclave.
Irish bishop to visit Gaza
DUBLIN (UTV Ireland) 4 Jan — Irish bishop John McAreavey, accompanied by bishops from Europe, South Africa and North America will on Tuesday start a ten-day visit to Christian communities in Gaza and Bethlehem, and refugees in Jordan, it has been announced. This marks the third consecutive year that the bishops have visited – during which time the conflict of 2014 has led to the deaths of over two thousand Gazans, including over five hundred children with one third of the population being internally displaced. In Gaza, the Christian community comprises of about 2,500 people, of whom Catholics number around two hundred. On Thursday, the group will celebrate mass with the small Christian community in Gaza, before meeting with parishioners, visiting the school of the Holy Rosary Sisters, as well as various projects helping people to rebuild their lives following the most recent conflict in 2014. The bishops will then return to Bethlehem where they will celebrate Mass and visit the Christian community of Beit Jala, which has suffered the loss of land and livelihood following the annexation of their property as well as the building of a separation wall in the Cremisan Valley.
Poll: Israelis say Jewish, Palestinian terror should get same treatment
JPost 4 Jan by Lahav Harkov — More than half (56 percent) of Israeli Jews say the same interrogation methods should be used on suspected Jewish and Palestinian terrorists, according to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s monthly Peace Index Poll, released Monday. Over a third (36%) of those polled say Jewish suspects should be interrogated less harshly. Among United Torah Judaism and Shas voters, the percent of those who agree was much higher: 54% and 74% respectively. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Jewish Israelis say Jewish terrorists should not be given more lenient sentences for their acts, with 30% taking the opposite stance. The poll was taken on December 29-30, 2015, before the state attorney’s indictment of two Jewish Israelis suspected of committing a July arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma and murdering three members of the Dawabsha family; an 18-month old toddler and his parents. A plurality of Israelis (43.5%) say the Shin Bet’s methods of interrogating Palestinians are appropriate, compared to 21% who say they are too mild and only 7% who consider them too harsh. A relatively high rate (28%) did not know. When it comes to Jewish suspects, 36% of Israelis say the method is appropriate and 23.5% said it is too harsh, more than three times as many who said so about Palestinians. The vast majority of the Jewish public – 88% – say the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) is making every possible effort to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jews, and most – 78% – say the same of efforts to stop Jewish attacks against Palestinians. The vast majority of both the Jewish (80.9%) and Arab (81%) populations agree with some level of certainty that if the attack on Duma were intentionally perpetrated by Jews, it should be called an act of terrorism. In addition, 73.4% of Jewish Israelis and 59.9 of Arabs agree to some degree that the Jews who attack Palestinians are a marginal, minority part of the national- religious population. The Peace Index also asked Jewish Israelis if they fear being harmed in the current wave of terrorism. The number that said yes has steadily risen over the months, reaching 70% in December, after it was 67% in November and 57% in October. Among Israeli Arabs, 65.5% fear being harmed in a terrorist attack. As for support for a two-state solution, 84% of Jewish Israelis and 75.5% of Israeli Arabs see little chance that one will be implemented in the next decade, though 52% of Jews and 80% of Arabs support such a solution. In previous years, the rates of support among Israeli Jews for the two-state solution came to about two-thirds and even higher. Nearly three-fourths (72%) of the Jewish population say the Jews’ historical, religious and cultural bond to the land is stronger than that of the Palestinians . . .
Among Israeli Arabs, 43% said Jews and Palestinians have a similar bond to the land.
UN rights investigator quits as Israel denies access
Reuters 4 Jan — The U.N. investigator for human rights violations in the Palestinian territories resigned on Monday, saying that Israel had reneged on its pledge to grant him access to the West Bank and Gaza. Makarim Wibisono, United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that his repeated oral and written requests for access had gone unanswered over 18 months. In a statement announcing his resignation, Wibisono, who reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council, voiced “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.” Israel has long rejected the post of the independent investigator for the territories, accusing the 47-member state forum of bias against the Jewish state, a position backed by its main ally the United States . . . Wibisono, a former Indonesian diplomat who took up the U.N. post in June 2014, said in his first report to the council in March 2015 that Israel should investigate the killing of more than 1,500 Palestinian civilians, one third of them children, during the 2014 Gaza war, and make the findings public. His resignation is effective on March 31, after his final report to the council. “My efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Wibisono said, adding the Palestinian government had cooperated fully.
Jerusalem children squeezed out of school by Israeli discrimination
EI 3 Jan by Charlotte Silver — Every year, around 300 boys in the Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem complete middle school and are ready to advance to the next grade. But fewer than half of them are able to find a spot in the only secondary school in the neighborhood, Sakhnin High School. Many just drop out altogether. Looking for space in another area is not a solution. The shortage of classrooms available to students in Jabal al-Mukabir is replicated throughout the occupied city. Israel has militarily occupied East Jerusalem since June 1967 and formally annexed it in 1980. No country recognizes Israeli sovereignty and under international law its annexation of the city is null and void. But under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which the UN Security Council has repeatedly stated applies to Israel, the occupying power is responsible for the welfare of the population it rules. – Classroom shortage – It is conservatively estimated that 2,247 new classrooms are needed to meet current shortages and replace existing substandard facilities for Palestinian students in East Jerusalem, according to a new report by Israeli human rights group Ir Amim. That adds up to a need for school places for an estimated 80,000 students. Ir Amim says that the dearth of classroom space is responsible for the fact that 36 percent of children in East Jerusalem do not complete a high school education . . . .
Ariel university continues to pollute Salfit environment
SALFIT (PIC) 3 Jan — The Ariel settlement university has continued to pour its harmful chemical waste through its sewer system into Palestinian agricultural land in al-Matwi Valley in Salfit province, local sources complained on Sunday. Residents from the area told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the Israeli university persists in disposing of hazardous chemical waste into the valley with no regard for the environment in the surrounding areas. Palestinian researcher Khaled Ma‘ali said that the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem had affirmed in previous reports that Israeli settlements and Ariel university in the West Bank violate international and local environmental protection laws. Ma‘ali invited international and local environmental institutions to visit Salfit province and witness its suffering from the pollution resulting from the flow of wastewater from several settlements, especially Ariel.
Who receives more foreign funds: The Left or the Occupation?
+972 blog 4 Jan by Dror Etkes — The Israeli government is up in arms about the foreign funds propping up human rights organizations. Guess what else foreign cash props up: the occupation — The road between the Nablus-area villages of Bazaariya and Deir Sharaf was once narrow and in a state of disrepair. Not anymore. Also the road that historically connected Ramallah and Nablus was pretty dilapidated, until several sections of it were widened and repaved. Today they are wide, modern roads like those leading to and within Israeli settlements. These roads are not just anecdotes — dozens of roads have been upgraded, repaved and widened throughout the West Bank. The residents of Husan village, west of Bethlehem, also have good news to celebrate: a 50-year-old Jordanian minefield, just a few dozen meters south of homes in the village, is being cleared, which means that the village residents will be able to securely access their lands that were off limits until now . . . These projects were designed to improve — and indeed, they are improving — the infrastructure serving the West Bank’s millions of Palestinian residents. But all of those projects also have two other things in common: A. They don’t in any way threaten the Israeli-settler hegemony in Area C (61 percent of the West Bank — read more about the administrative divisions of the West Bank here.) B. They didn’t cost Israeli taxpayers a single cent. They were all funded by foreign countries, organizations and funds that operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It turns out that also in this context, the schizophrenic Israeli moral compass makes a distinction between international involvement that Israel is interested in, and that which it isn’t interested in. The Israeli government, and its justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, who sponsored the “NGO Law,” actually are very interested in international involvement to help fulfill its obligations toward the basic welfare of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories . . . Every foreign dollar that goes toward those infrastructure and humanitarian projects is a dollar the Israeli treasury saves. These are enormous sums that Israel would have been forced to invest according to its obligations under international law, which defines certain obligations of an occupying power toward the population living in occupied land. If Israel were forced to pocket those costs, the economic viability of continuing to occupy the West Bank and maintaining the entire settlement project would look entirely different.
Israeli army fires into south Lebanon
MEE 4 Jan — The Israeli army has launched an attack on south Lebanon in response to an explosive device planted by Hezbollah. The Israeli fire reportedly struck the town of Wazzani in the Hasbaya district of Lebanon’s Nabatieh Governorate. An Israeli army spokesperson told Sky News Arabia that forces targeted suspected Hezbollah positions in retaliation for an earlier attack by the group. Army spokesperson Lieutenant Peter Lerner said in a tweet that Israeli forces had responded to a Hezbollah attack with “targeted artillery fire”. A correspondent for Russia Today said that nine artillery shells fell on the town of Wazzani. Lebanese sources also said that Syrian refugees who had sought shelter on the Lebanese side of the border had evacuated their temporary homes. The Israeli army spokesperson denied reports that the Hezbollah attackers had attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers, or that militants had been able to cross into Israeli territory. Hezbollah had earlier targeted an Israeli army patrol in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, which lies at the intersection between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the Lebanon-Syria border. In a statement, Hezbollah said the attack had “destroyed the armoured Hummer vehicle and injured those in it”. . . .
Erdoğan: We must admit that Turkey needs a country like Israel
Haaretz 2 Jan by Barak Ravid — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday that Turkey and Israel should admit they need each other. “Israel needs a country like Turkey in this region. We, too, should admit that we need a country like Israel,” Erdoğan told journalists on a flight back from an official trip to Saudi Arabia. “This is a regional fact. We need to see it.” The Turkish president said that if both Israel and Turkey implement necessary measures based on mutual sincerity, “normalization will naturally ensue.” A just agreement between Israel and Turkey, he said, would alleviate Palestinian suffering. “There is no water or electricity there (in Gaza). Problems are not solved through shouting or fights. Months pass and the problems remain,” Erdoğan said. “We will soon finish the building of a hospital there. Under normal circumstances, it would have finished already.” Erdoğan said that preconditions for any reconciliation with Israel are known to all. He said Turkey seeks to send a ship that will provide electricity and building materials to Gaza, and claimed that Israel has agreed to lift the embargo on Gaza if the materials went through Turkey. Erdoğan noted that he has not seen a written draft of the deal and added that “a written text will ensure there will be no deviation from any agreement.” Another issue that is also important to Turkey is the keeping of the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he added.
Netanyahu welcomes return of Egyptian ambassador to Israel
MEMO 4 Jan — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Egypt’s new ambassador to Israel yesterday, Palestinian Safa news agency reported. “Over the weekend Egypt’s new ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat, arrived,” Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting. “I welcome his arrival and the re-stationing here of an Egyptian ambassador to Israel, something that will enable us to further strengthen relations within this important and key Arab country.” Egypt withdrew its ambassador to Egypt during the reign of the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi three years ago. The Egyptian Embassy opened in Tel Aviv after the Camp David Peace Accords were signed in 1979. In 1982, Egypt withdrew its ambassador in protest against the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon, he was returned in 1986. In 2000, Egypt withdrew its ambassador due to the Israeli desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian Intifada. He was returned in March 2005 only to be withdrawn again in 2012 when Israel waged a war on the Gaza Strip.
What Israelis aren’t being taught in school, and why / Shaul Arieli
Haaretz 3 Jan — The Education Ministry has for many years been guilty of replacing historical facts with political views about key aspects of the formation of the state. We must regain control of our educational system — . . . The role the international community played in the state’s establishment has disappeared, which allows many to see the United Nations as the embodiment of the claim that “the whole world is against us.” Nowadays, no one remembers the decisive clause in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which bases the diplomatic and legal legitimacy of the new state on UN Resolution 181(II) (the Partition Plan). And who cares that on the Shabbat after the UN vote, a special prayer of thanks was offered at the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv? It opened with these words: “Our father who art in heaven, bless the nations, big and small, who voted on the decisive day in favor of the weakest among the nations, to give it a name and a place in the land of its ancestors.” Most of those who have heard of the November 29 resolution know only the part that relates to the establishment of a Jewish state. The fact that it also declared the establishment of an Arab state in the Land of Israel has slipped their minds. They also forget that it was David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency and Zionist Congress, who turned to the British foreign minister in February 1947 and wrote, “The only immediate and possible arrangement that has an element of permanence is the establishment of two states, one Jewish and one Arab […] The Arab community has a right to self-determination and self-rule; we would not even consider depriving them of that right or making less of it.” . . . Not many know that, until 1967, the total area of East Jerusalem was less than six square kilometers (2.3 square miles), while many believe that “united Jerusalem,” in all its 126.4 square kilometers, has the same historical, religious and nationalist standing as David and Solomon’s Jerusalem – even though that occupied less than 2 percent of the city’s current area. And who among those who seek to change the status quo on the Temple Mount wants to learn of Menachem Begin’s 1944 promise that the government would “declare the Christian and Muslim holy sites to be extraterritorial”? [long and important article, pity it’s behind a paywall]