Violence /Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Palestinian shot dead after alleged attack attempt near Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Israeli forces Thursday shot and killed a Palestinian near the Beit Einun junction northeast of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron after an alleged stab attempt, witnesses and Israel’s army said. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed near the junction, who responded by opening fire on the alleged assailant. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli military forces prevented Palestinian Red Crescent medics from accessing the shot Palestinian for medical treatment. The man was identified by his father who arrived at the scene following his death as Muayyad Awni Jabbarin, 20 [from Sa‘ir, yet again]. Clashes erupted following the incident between locals and Israeli forces, who deployed in the area and closed the main road. The night before, Israeli Border Police at the Beit Einun junction opened fire on a Palestinian driver they described as “suspicious” before afterward detaining him. The junction near Hebron city has been site to at least four Palestinian deaths this month, among over 150 Palestinians to be killed since violence increased in the occupied Palestinian territory in October.
2 Palestinians shot dead at Beit Einun junction near Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon shot dead two Palestinians at the Beit Einun junction northeast of Hebron, alleging that one intended to carry out a stabbing attack while the other had driven him there. An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian “armed with a knife” after he attempted to stab soldiers stationed at the junction. Locals later identified the Palestinian as 23-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Khalil Kawazba from the nearby village of Sa‘ir. They said that they tried to reach his body, but Israeli forces prevented anyone from reaching the scene. A second Palestinian, identified as 17-year-old Adnan Hamid al-Mashni from the village of Shayoukh, was shot and fatally wounded at the same time while driving near the junction. An Israeli army spokesperson alleged that Mashni had driven Kawazba to the junction to carry out the attack. She confirmed that Israeli forces shot him, and said he afterward fled the scene. Mashni was evacuated to al-Mizan Hospital in Hebron with a fatal gunshot wound to his chest. “We tried to save his life, but the wound was very critical,” said Sharif al-Tarada, a doctor at the hospital. “We pronounced him dead.”
Deaths climb as Israel tightens grip on Palestinian village
SA‘IR (Ma‘an) 12 Jan by Killian Redden — A small plot of land set aside for the bodies of “martyrs” in the center of Sa‘ir is rapidly running out of space. Wet cement was plastered over four fresh graves in the cemetery last weekend, following the joint funeral of four local youths who were shot dead two days earlier when they allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. Another grave already lay empty beside theirs, in anticipation of the next death. Sa‘ir has now seen 11 [now 12 with today’s killing] of its residents killed since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October. Lying in a quiet valley in the hills northeast of Hebron — far from Israel’s separation wall and settlements — there is no immediately obvious reason the village has seen so much bloodshed. For Sa‘ir’s residents, however, the explanation is simple. Israeli soldiers have been given permission to kill with impunity, and since October they have had a constant presence on the outer reaches of the village. Kayyed Jaradat, the village mayor, referred to it as Sa‘ir’s “military siege,” and said that the Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks that now exist on every road leading into the village had allowed for a spiraling descent into violence. On Saturday, as Sa‘ir gathered to bury their dead, the Israeli army was out in force, sealing the village entirely, allowing Palestinians to enter only by foot. Under a gray sky, they trudged past the soldiers’ cocked guns.
Sa‘ir is just one among dozens of Hebron-district villages to have found its entrances placed under the control of the Israeli army in recent months. Following a series of deadly stabbing attacks in October, Israel flooded the southern West Bank with soldiers and established a greatly expanded network of checkpoints to tightly control the movement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Nearly half of Sa‘ir’s deaths have taken place at a single spot to the village’s southwest, the Beit Einun junction, where a settler bypass road runs off toward the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arbaa, and where Jaradat said the army now held an “intensive presence.” (Continued)
Palestinian shot dead during clashes in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man during clashes in Beit Jala west of Bethlehem on Tuesday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.The ministry said the young man, initially identified as 21-year-old Srour Ahmad Abu Srour from ‘Aida refugee camp to Bethlehem’s north, was shot in his chest with a live round in clashes that broke out when Israeli forces raided al-Sahl street in Beit Jala. He was rushed to Beit Jala public hospital where he was pronounced dead. [From IMEMC: Also, one Palestinian, identified as Tareq Ziad Obeid, 20, was also shot with a live round in the chest, and is currently in critical condition in Beit Jala hospital. Head of the Emergency Unit of the Red Crescent in Bethlehem Mohammad Awad said the soldiers also shot and injured another Palestinian with a live round in his leg, while scores of residents suffered severe effects of tear gas inhalation.]
Israeli forces stormed several parts of Bethlehem and its surrounding towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour after gunshots were reportedly fired from a speeding car at the Container checkpoint northeast of Bethlehem. Israeli forces reportedly set up a number of checkpoints in Beit Sahour while a surveillance drone was seen flying over the nearby town of Abu Dis. The shooters’ car was reportedly found, although the gunmen had fled the scene. In Beit Jala, Israeli forces were reported to have ransacked a number of homes, restaurants and shops in the town’s al-Sahl area, where Abu Srour was killed.
Army injures three Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Jan — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man with a live round, and two others with rubber-coated steel bullets, at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The Bethlehem office of the Red Crescent Society said the soldiers shot a young man with a live round in the leg, before he was moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital, suffering a moderate but stable injury. Medics also provided the needed treatment to two Palestinians, who were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and to many residents who suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Child targeted with bullet, north of Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Jan — Israeli soldiers, Monday, directly hit a Palestinian child with a live round in the village of Hizma, north of Jerusalem, under the pretext of hurling stones at a bus carrying Israeli settlers. According to witnesses from the village, 12-year-old Qusai Nimr sustained injuries after being targeted with a bullet in his lower body. He was transferred to Ein Kerem hospital and is currently being detained, WAFA reported.
Soldiers injure one Palestinian near Salfit, kidnap another in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Jan — Medical sources have reported that one Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli army fire on Sunday evening, near Kafr Qassem military roadblock, close to the Zawiya village, west of the occupied West Bank city of Salfit. The soldiers also kidnapped one Palestinian, north of Hebron. The sources said the Palestinian, identified as Ahmad No‘man ‘Awwad, 34, from Series town south of Jenin, was shot with two live rounds in the shoulder and arm, suffering a moderate injury, before he was moved to the Beilinson Hospital (Rabin Medical Center). The Israeli army claimed that the soldiers shot ‘Awwad when he “attempted to cross into Israeli-controlled lands, behind the roadblock,” but did not provide further information on the incident.
In related news, the soldiers kidnapped one Palestinian after interrogating him in the Etzion military base, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The Palestinian, Ayesh Nasser Ekhlayyel, 20, from Beit Ummar town north of Hebron, was summoned for interrogation in Etzion, and was taken prisoner after he headed there.
Thousands attend funerals of 4 Palestinians across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Thousands of Palestinians gathered Wednesday near the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Ramallah to attend the funerals of four Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in recent days. Just north of the Hebron in the southern West Bank, residents mourned the deaths of Ahmad Kawazba, 23, and Adnan al-Mashni,17, who were both killed on Tuesday near the Beit Einun junction. Israeli forces shot dead Kawabza after the Israeli army said he attempted to stab soldiers stationed at the junction, and shortly afterward shot and fatally wounded al-Mashni, who they alleged drove Kawabza to the area. The 17-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after. The bodies of Kawabza and al-Mashni were brought from the al-Ahli hospital in Hebron to their family homes in the villages of Sa‘ir and al-Shayoukh respectively, before being laid to rest in local cemeteries. Hebron District Attorney Alaa Tamimi told Ma‘an that autopsies conducted at the hospital prior to the funerals showed that both were shot in the chest with live ammunition.
Meanwhile in Bethlehem, locals told Ma‘an that Palestinians laid to rest Ahmad Abu Srour in the ‘Aida refugee camp cemetery, a day after he was shot and killed by Israeli forces. The 21-year-old was in the neighboring village of Beit Jala, reportedly on his way to al-Quds Open University, when Israeli forces raided a main street and shot him dead during clashes. During his funeral, Abu Srour’s father — a former prisoner who served 17 years in Israeli jails — used his speech to urge all Palestinian political parties to bring an end to factional divisions. Clashes broke out following the funeral near the entrance to ‘Aida refugee camp, where locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinians. The director of Bethlehem’s Red Crescent emergency service, Muhammad Awad, told Ma‘an that three Palestinian youths were shot and injured with live bullets in their lower extremities, seven with rubber-coated steel bullets, and 40 suffered excessive tear gas inhalation. All injuries were moderate to light, he said. An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the clashes.
Also on Tuesday, Palestinians in Ramallah buried 17-year-old Mustafa al-Khatib. The teenager’s body had been held by Israeli authorities for 90 days after Israeli Border Police opened fire and killed him near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem on Oct. 12. The forces said they shot the teen after he allegedly attempted to stab an officer. Al-Khatib was from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkabir, but Israeli authorities returned his body to his family on the grounds that he be buried in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Palestinians attend funeral of Tel Aviv shooter in Arara
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Dozens of Palestinians in the village of Arara [‘Ar‘ara] late Tuesday attended the burial of Nashat Melhem, the man responsible for a fatal Tel Aviv shooting attack earlier this month, Arabic-language news sites reported. Israeli police handed over Melhem’s body after days of postponement, and participation in his funeral was limited due to conditions placed on the handover, Israel-based and Palestinian-run news site Bukra said. Israeli media reported that the conditional return required no more than 80 attendees at the funeral and that Israeli authorities gave little warning before transferring the body to the family. Haaretz reported that Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan prior to the release said: “As long as the family meets the demands the Israel Police have made to ensure that the terrorist’s funeral will not be turned into a show of support for terrorism and incitement to additional attacks – then the body will be released.” Melhem was shot dead by Israeli forces who had launched a seven-day long manhunt after he killed three people and injured seven others in Tel Aviv on Jan. 1. Erdan following the attack labeled Melhem a “terrorist” acting out of “nationalistic motives,” and Israel’s Defense Ministry recognized the Israelis killed in the shooting as “victims of terror.” The attack pitted Israeli forces against Palestinian citizens of Israel during the search for Melhem, in which rights groups told Ma‘an the forces enforced discriminatory treatment in Palestinian communities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was slammed by critics for incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel during the search, and Haaretz reported that the PM may revoke a plan intended to advance minorities in Israel. The five-year $2.5 billion plan was approved by Israel’s cabinet last week and would fund employment and social development for Palestinian citizens of Israel as well as other minorities. Head of right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile proposed that Israeli citizenship should be revoked from any person found guilty for assisting Melhem. At least Palestinian citizens of Israel are reportedly still jailed on suspicion of assistance in the attacks.
Army injures a Palestinian in Tubas, invades Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Jan — A number of armored Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the central West Bank city of Tubas, shot and injured at least one Palestinian. The soldiers also invaded Nablus and nearby communities. Local sources said several military jeeps invaded Tubas from different directions, before the soldiers surrounded various neighborhoods. The invasion led to clashes between the soldiers and local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at the military vehicles; the soldiers fired several live rounds, wounding at least one Palestinian, and gas bombs, causing many residents to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. In related news, the soldiers invaded several neighborhoods in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Balata and Askar refugee camps, in addition to Qabalan nearby town, and fired many gas bombs, live rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets targeting Palestinians protesting the invasion.
Israeli soldier praised for shooting protesters in video footage
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Palestinian activists on Wednesday released video footage purportedly filmed by Israeli soldiers at clashes in Ramallah during which they can apparently be heard congratulating one another on shooting Palestinians. Palestinian protesters said they found the footage on a camera that was dropped by an Israeli soldier during clashes near Ramallah. Palestinian activists later published the footage on Facebook, saying that it “refuted” the Israeli army’s claim that Israeli forces only opened fire on Palestinians posing an imminent threat. The footage includes several snippets of conversation between two people said to be Israeli soldiers, one a sniper and the other his commanding officer, as they discuss opening fire on Palestinian protesters. In one early scene, the officer congratulates the sniper for shooting a Palestinian “in his butt.” In other scenes, he repeatedly says: “Wow, very cool,” after the sniper shoot and hits protesters. “Come on, you are allowed to shoot,” the officer urges the sniper, after which the sniper fires a shot and says: “I got him! I got him!” In a later scene, the officer asks: “Did you hit him?” to which the sniper replies: “Of course I did, bro.” A final scene shows the men climbing into an Israeli military jeep, appearing to show the interior of the vehicle. The authenticity of the video footage could not initially be confirmed. An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into the reports.
Family of Palestinian woman denies she was planning attack in Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — A Palestinian family from the Ramallah-district village of Beit Sira on Monday denied Israeli media reports that a young woman from their family had intended to carry out a suicide attack in southern Israel. Israeli news sites, including the Jerusalem Post and Ynet, reported Monday morning that Israeli police were searching for a woman that had entered Israel from the occupied West Bank with the intention of carrying out a suicide bombing. They identified the woman as Diana Ibrahim from Beit Sira, with Israel’s Channel 10 publishing a photo purportedly showing her. However, Imad Hammad, the woman’s brother, told Ma‘an: “She hasn’t left her home. Everything Israeli police claimed about her was false and definitely baseless.” Hammad said that his family had contacted the Palestinian liaison department as well as the Ramallah governor’s office over the incident. Police in southern Israeli reportedly detained a Palestinian man, who Israeli media sites said had intended to drive the would-be suicide attacker into Israel. Israeli news sites later confirmed that the initial reports of a security threat were false, and Ynet reported that Israeli authorities were looking into the possibility that “the whole event was a hoax.”
Israeli troops raid East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli police forces on Tuesday evening raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, firing tear gas at Palestinians and their homes, a local monitor said. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of a local committee in ‘Issawiya, said dozens of Palestinians suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during the raid, adding that Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets at youth. Abu al-Hummus alleged that Israeli forces began shooting off the rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas “randomly,” and for no apparent reason. Moments later, Palestinian youth began throwing rocks at Israeli police and clashes erupted. An Israeli police spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment. During the clashes, Israeli police reportedly raided homes of Palestinians in the village, and detained two people identified as Muhammad and Alaa Halasah .Israeli forces also reportedly detained Rawan Abu Ghoush, the wife of Palestinian activist Samer Abu Aisha, during an undercover raid around nearby Hebrew University.
The occupation forces arrest a Jerusalemite from inside his vehicle and leave his children inside alone
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 12 Jan — The occupation forces arrested on Monday a Jerusalemite from the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh in Silwan after pulling him over and searching his vehicle. Witnesses explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the occupation forces established a checkpoint in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh in Silwan and stopped vehicles and checked passengers’ IDs and also searched the vehicles. One vehicle was pulled over and the forces arrested the driver who was identified as Hani Haymooni –a resident of Al-Sweih neighborhood- in Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan. Witnesses added that the forces arrested the young man and took him to the police vehicle while his two children were left alone in the vehicle. The forces did not seem to care for the children who were crying; young men who were in the area took care of the kids until their mother arrived.
Arresting four Jerusalemites from the village of al-Tur
[with photos] SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 12 Jan — The occupation forces arrested on Tuesday early morning four Jerusalemites after raiding their homes in the village of Al-Tur. The detainees are: 19-year old Mohammad Hadreh, 14-year old Mohammad Hadreh, 19-year old Ibrahim Hadreh and 16-year old Emad Abu Ghannam.
Army kidnaps twelve Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 12 Jan — Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, at least twelve Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. Among the kidnapped is a journalist from Jenin. The Hurriyat Center for Defence of Liberties and Human Rights has reported that the soldiers kidnapped one of its journalists, identified as Mojahed Sa‘adi, from his home in Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Several military vehicles also invaded Kafr Dan village, northwest of Jenin, searched homes and kidnapped three Palestinians identified as Waseem Mofid Ayed, 25, Mohammad Nidal Salah, 32, and Nidal Yousef Salah, Another Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Ali Methqal, 24, from the Jenin refugee camp, was taken prisoner from his work in historic Palestine. In addition, the soldiers invaded various neighborhoods in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped three Palestinians identified as Soheib Makkawi al-Kharraz, 26, Ahmad Ammar Qandeel, 17, and Samer al-Bistami.
The soldiers also invaded the at-Tour neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, and kidnapped four Palestinians, including two children. (Continued)
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians from across the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israeli military forces detained at least 13 Palestinian from across the West Bank early Wednesday, according to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society. The Palestinian organization said that Israeli troops had detained five Palestinians from Hebron, identified as Musab Salah Shalaldah, 28, Ali Muhammad Rasras, 27, Wael Issa Masalmah, 22, Ghanim Farhat al-Jabri, 31 and Muhammad Fares Rajabi. From the area of Ramallah and al-Bireh, Israeli troops detained Muhammad Bashir Baraghthah, 18, and brothers Abdullah and Nasrallah Adel al-Barghouthi, 15, Osama Ibrahim Nakhlah, 38, and Muhammad Abu Zaid from the al-Jalazun refugee camp. Israeli forces also detained two boys — Salah Monis,14, and Muhammad al-Qarsli,15, as well as Hazem Qasem from the village of Qablan near Nablus.
Birzeit University condemns Israel’s constant violations of the right of education
IMEMC 12 Jan — Official Press Statement from Birzeit University 01/11/16: In the early morning hours, the Israeli occupation army invaded Birzeit University campus. This is neither new nor unprecedented given the ongoing colonial aggression against the people and institutions of Palestine. Birzeit University condemns this attack and the direct violation of the sanctity of the university campus. This is a belligerent military attack on the university and our right to education and all the principles involved in the freedom of education. More than fifteen military Israeli vehicles raided Birzeit University at 2:50 in the morning breaking through the entrance to the university through the western gate. The military forces invaded the Student Council building and the Faculty of Science. They forcibly deterred our University security personnel as they invaded these buildings. The military confiscated equipment and computers used in the activities of the students council and destroyed and damaged furniture leaving a great deal of havoc behind. This is a blatant attack on our student council and the sanctity of democratic values. This violation of the campus is a part of a systematic attack on the right of education and freedom of expression. Birzeit University condemns the continuous Israeli occupation military’s invasions of university campuses throughout Palestine. Eighty students at Birzeit University, in addition to hundreds of students throughout other universities in Palestine, are in Israeli prisons, more than twenty-five arrested and detained in the last three months alone. (Continued)
Israel claims to arrest Hamas ‘cell’ in West Bank
RAMALLAH, Palestine (videonews.us) 10 Jan by Mustafa Pazarh — The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, claimed Sunday that it had arrested members of a Hamas-linked armed group in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “In a joint operation carried out with Shin Bet, the Israeli army arrested [members of] an armed group belonging to Hamas that had planned to carry out shooting attacks last November in the Hebron area of the southern West Bank,” read a statement issued by the Shin Bet. “The group was headed by Mohamed Qawasmi and included as members Louay Hashlamon, Amer al-Awawi and Fakhri Hashlamon,” the agency asserted. According to the Shin Bet, members of the group had an M-16 rifle and a handgun in their possession. Hamas, for its part, has yet to comment on the agency’s assertions. In a related development last Thursday, the Israeli army said it had arrested members of a Hamas cell, which, it claimed, had planned to kidnap Israeli settlers in order to swap them for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Video: 2015 most prominent events in the city of Jerusalem
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 10 Jan — [Arabic with English subtitles] Executions…arrest…demolition…displacement…raiding Al-Aqsa Mosque…deportation…targeting educational and medical institutions…these violation and others were committed by the occupation during 2015…What if we compare them to violations during 2013 and 2014. Which year do you think was the most difficult on the city of Jerusalem? Wadi Hilweh Information Center-Silwan monitored the most prominent violations in 2015 and compared it to 2013 and 2014.
Rights groups urge Israel to end Hebron ‘closed military zones’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — A petition signed by 25 rights groups renewed their call on Tuesday for an end to Israel’s “closed military zone” in the Old City of Hebron and ongoing repressive policies against Palestinian residents of the city. The petition, put together by rights groups International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Hebron Defense Committee, denounced the closure of areas of the Old City since Nov. 1 by Israeli forces, who have prevented both Palestinians and foreigners from entering the closed military zone. The groups called “on the international community to take immediate action regarding the continuous closure of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood and the part of Shuhada Street that has remained inaccessible to Palestinian residents since the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in 1994, in occupied al-Khalil,” using the Arabic name for Hebron. Shops in these Hebron neighborhoods were forced to close, and Palestinian residents required to register for special permits to cross through the 18 military checkpoints in the city center. “Soldiers and settlers are making life for the Palestinians intolerable to force them to leave their houses voluntarily. This is a crime under international law,” the petition quoted Tel Rumeida resident Abed Salaymeh as saying. “They are targeting activists to silence the truth and stop the truth from reaching the whole world,” Salaymeh added. Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in 1997 under the Oslo agreements.
SEE! Occupation in Hebron
Christian Peacemaker Teams 13 Jan — Weekly photos of the Israeli occupation in Hebron.
One Palestinian killed, three injured by Israeli missile in northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Jan — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Wednesday, that one Palestinian was killed and three others were injured, at least one seriously, after an Israeli drone fired a missile into an area, west of Beit Lahia town, in the northern part of the coastal region. The sources said Mousa Z‘eiter, 23, was instantly killed in the attack, while another Palestinian suffered a serious injury, and two others suffered mild wounds. They were all moved to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia.
In addition, Israeli navy boats fired three shells into the bombarded area, while many armored bulldozers and vehicles invaded it and uprooted Palestinian lands. The Israeli army claimed it targeted Palestinian fighters, allegedly planting explosives on a military road, behind the border fence.
Israeli naval ships open fire on Palestinian Gaza fishing boats
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Jan — Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Monday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, close to the Beit Lahia shore, in the northern part of the coastal region. The navy fired several live rounds of the fishing boats, forcing the fishers back to shore; no injuries were reported.
Army carries out limited invasions into northern and southern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Jan — Several Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers carried out, on Wednesday morning, limited invasions . . . Media sources said the vehicles advanced a few dozens of meters into farmlands in Beit Lahia, bulldozed lands, especially close to the border fence, and fired several live rounds. Also, five military bulldozers and a few armored vehicles advanced approximately 50 meters into farmlands east of al-Qarara in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region, and bulldozed farmlands close to the border fence.
In addition, Israeli navy ships fired live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters near Beit Lahia; the attack caused no injuries among the fishers.
Sources: Egypt to keep Rafah crossing closed due to security concerns
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 12 Jan – An Egyptian security source on Tuesday told Ma‘an that the Rafah crossing will remain closed until Jan. 25th, due to security concerns. The source explained that Egyptian intelligence received alerts about militant groups in the Sinai Peninsula planning to carry out a “major terrorist attack” during commemoration of 2011’s January 25th Egyptian revolution, which sparked upheaval across the country. In preparation against possible attacks, Egyptian authorities have declared a state of alert. Meanwhile, a Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said in a statement Tuesday that his movement submitted suggestions to a delegation representing Palestinian factions about the movement’s vision regarding the future of Rafah crossing, which was closed for the majority of 2014.
Morocco: ‘Arab siege’ on Gaza it the ‘most aggressive phenomenon’
MEMO 12 Jan — First Deputy Speaker of the Moroccan Parliament Mohamed Yatim said that the “Arab siege on Gaza is the most aggressive phenomenon,” stressing on the “importance” of supporting the Palestinians, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday. Speaking to Al-Resalah, Yatim said: “The issue of the siege on Gaza and the attempt to subjugate its people reveals that some of the Arabs are keeping up with the Israeli occupation.” He stressed that his country’s position towards the Palestinian cause is very clear and it is “unchangeable”. “It is the complete refusal of all kinds of occupation and aggression against the Palestinians.” He expressed his surprise regarding the work being completed by human rights organisations while Arab states take part in the siege. He noted that the positions of the Arab regimes, which support the siege, are completely different from the positions of the Arab people.
Gaza faces harsh winter after Israel cuts gas supply
Al Jazeera 13 Jan by Ryan Rifai — Palestinians say Israel has severely curtailed gas supplies to the occupied Gaza Strip this winter, fueling a major disruption to ordinary life for most families and exacerbating the harsh impact of the cold weather. Tholfikar Sweirjo, a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s committee in Gaza, told Al Jazeera the amount of gas entering Gaza has been decreased by at least 50 percent since early December. “People are suffering from the shortage … especially because a lot of cars had been converted to use gas instead of petrol due to the high prices of petrol,” he said. Sweirjo accused Israeli authorities of causing this gas shortage to intensify pressure on Gaza in a bid to push people against Hamas, the group that governs the strip . . . Ramy Abdu, director of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor who is based in Gaza, told Al Jazeera more than 20 percent of households in the strip do not have any gas, as well as hospitals and schools. “Normally we wait a couple of days to obtain our gas ration, but for many it is now taking weeks… We are talking about a permanent shortage during winter,” he said, adding some restaurants have been forced to close.
Gaza families still enduring the aftermath of 2014 Israeli assault
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip 13 Jan by ISM, Gaza Team — A year and a half after the last massive assault on the Gaza Strip the promised reconstruction has not yet appeared. However, what has not ceased to appear since then are new sequels and side effects due to the Israeli forces’ use of military equipment in residential areas and against the civilian population of Gaza. In Beit Hanoun, a town north of the Gaza Strip located on the border with the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, ISM visited Amar Abu Janad and his family. Amar is 42 years and has 9 children. His house was bombed during the last slaughter while the family took refuge in a UN school. “At the school we slept on the stairs and we bathed in the toilets, where there was no running water. Besides, the whole school was very dirty and many days the food they gave us was in bad shape.” In addition, he explains, the school where they took refuge was one of the many schools of UN attacked by the Israeli military during those 51 days of bombing. In one such attack against the school Amar’s uncle died. During a ceasefire the family decided to go home to get some clothes, and “everything smelled like death… the street, the houses …” they said. Besides the home Amar lost his car, with which he earned his living as a taxi driver . . . Amar’s wife explained that “after the war many people began to suffer from rare diseases. When we returned to live in what was left of our home we all started to suffer from skin problems and our oldest daughter’s eyes started to hurt and got very red. We took her to the doctor and he told us that she had a chronic problem. Periodically she suffers attacks during which we have to put some drops in her eyes 18 times a day. These droplets are so expensive and scarce that the doctor didn’t sell them to us or let us take them home, so during the crises we have to visit the doctor 18 times a day.” She also spoke of another child: “our 6 year old son started seeing double. At first we thought he was joking. . . . Recently he has begun to wear glasses, but still doesn’t see well. The doctor told us that after the war many children have begun to suffer such problems.” (Continued)
Gaza activists’ lawsuit argues Israel attacked US territory in raid on ship
WASHINGTON (The Guardian) 12 Jan by David Smith — Four activists are attempting to make legal history by arguing that Israel attacked American territory when it raided a US-registered ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza six years ago. The group said they were shot with rubber bullets, Tasered, and handcuffed by masked commandos during a “terrifying” midnight assault on their vessel, part of a flotilla seeking to break Israel’s naval blockade in 2010. One was injured by a stun grenade that exploded one foot from his head, he said, causing permanent partial loss of sight in one eye. Several legal actions have been launched since the May 2010 incident, in which nine Turkish activists died on the Mavi Marmara ship, but none have succeeded. In 2014, the international criminal court decided not to investigate because the alleged crimes were not considered to be of “sufficient gravity”. However, the four plaintiffs – three US citizens and one from Belgium, who were among 17 people sailing on the small Challenger I – will argue that because they were sailing on an American-registered, American-flagged vessel in neutral waters, they were in American territory. As an infringement of US sovereignty the raid was, in effect, no different from an Israeli raid on Times Square. “The fact of claiming jurisdiction because it’s a US-owned vessel is a novelty and possibly unprecedented,” said lawyer Sir Geoffrey Nice, working on the case with London-based law firm Stoke & White. “It you’re under a flag it means you’re entitled to the protection of the state, and vessels are entitled to protection on the high seas.” (Continued)
Gaza journalist says he’s done writing about politics after being tortured in Hamas jail
GAZA CITY (AP) 12 Jan by Fares Akram — Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Aloul frequently writes about the hardships of life in the Gaza Strip, and is one of the few voices willing to publicly criticize the rule of the Islamic Hamas movement. But after nine days in jail, al-Aloul says he won’t be writing about politics anymore. He said a painful experience that included beatings and being forced to sit uncomfortably in a tiny chair has made him a “new man” and that he will now focus on less controversial topics like sports, food, literature and fashion. “I’ve decided not to talk about the general situation anymore,” al-Aloul said in an interview at his home Tuesday, a day after he was released. “The experience I went through was very difficult.” Al-Aloul’s experience is part of a crackdown by Hamas at a time when the continuing miseries of life in Gaza appear to be driving its population toward more open dissent. Critics have grown bolder on social media sites, and attempts by Hamas to impose new taxes have triggered rare public protests. Al-Aloul said his new reticence would not affect his work as a reporter for an Iraqi TV station, which he described as straight news reporting and not “opinion-making.” It was his personal social media activity that drew attention. In recent months, he wrote under a popular hashtag urging Hamas to withdraw from the Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt. Like many Palestinians, he believes that Egypt has shuttered Rafah because it doesn’t want to deal with Hamas, and proposes letting the Western-backed Palestinian Authority manage the crossing. He also published pictures of people looking for leftover food in garbage containers, quoted business owners angry over increased taxes and blamed Gaza authorities for prolonged power blackouts. (Continued)
Hamas-run court sentences 4 to death for collaboration with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — A military court in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday sentenced four Palestinians to death for collaboration with Israel, Palestinian security sources said. Security sources told Ma‘an that the Hamas-run military court tried three suspects in absentia, all of whom were sentenced to death, as well as a fourth from the al-Zaitoun neighborhood in Gaza who was sentenced to execution by hanging. The sources said that charges of collaboration included spying on fellow Palestinians, handing over vehicle and residence information to Israeli officials, and obtaining arms with the intention of assassinating Palestinian officials. Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy — usually Israel — are punishable by death. All execution orders are supposed to be approved by the president before they can be carried out, but such approval is sidestepped by Hamas, who does not recognize the legitimacy of president Mahmoud Abbas.
Gaza strawberries shipped to West Bank for first time in 2016
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — The first strawberry shipment of 2016 from the Gaza Strip landed in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, an official from Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture told Ma’an. Tahsin al-Saqqa, the ministry’s director of marketing, said the first shipment of six tons is just the first load of many, as Gaza expects to ramp up its exports this year. Al-Saqqa said Gaza plans to ship out between 300 to 400 tons of strawberries to the occupied West Bank. In 2015, some 150 tons of the small fruit were exported from Gaza to the West Bank, al-Saqqa said. With Gaza’s plans to double, or even triple, its exports, al-Saqqa said Israeli authorities have deliberately delayed the shipments in hopes to kill competition for Israel’s own strawberry sales in the occupied West Bank. Al-Saqqa added that around 60 tons of strawberries have also been exported out of Gaza to European markets during the last few months.
UNRWA: Only 20% of Gaza reconstruction funds received
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Jan — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that it received only 20 percent of the money needed for the reconstruction of the destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip, QudsNet reported yesterday. UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said, according to Al Ray, that the organization received funds for only 2,000 housing units, and that it started building 300 units for the people whose houses were completely destroyed in the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza. Abu Hasna noted that about 80 percent of the first stage of those units is almost ready, calling for the potential beneficiaries from following stages to prepare their building licenses and be ready to receive reconstruction funds. He added that UNRWA has been exerting efforts to secure the donations pledged during the donor conference held in Cairo, following the Israeli offensive, noting that the organisation received only $250 million of the $724 million pledged.
Public workers to donate 1 percent of wages toward demolished homes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — The Palestinian Public Workers’ Union announced Monday that its members would donate 1 percent of their wages this month to the families of suspected Palestinian attackers whose homes were later demolished by Israeli forces. The union head, Bassam Zakarneh, told Ma‘an that he expected to raise 16 million shekels, allowing the families to move into new homes within six months. He added that if other Palestinian unions were to make the same offer, up to 90 million shekels could be raised. Zakarneh said the donation marked a bid to “face the policy of collective punishment against our people.” He said that the donations would be transferred to a government committee, with the union assigning a representative to follow up with these committees. Punitive home demolitions were expedited at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in mid-October, and a number of them have been carried out since. The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice does not deter attacks.
Abu Khdeir family seeks demolition of Jewish terrorists’ homes too
Haaretz 14 Jan by Nir Hasson — As court mulls sentence, parents of slain Palestinian teen say if killers houses had been torn down ‘Dawabsheh family wouldn’t have been burned.’ — The mother and father of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and murdered in 2014, testified at the sentencing hearing for his murderers and urged the state to treat them as it would any Palestinian terrorist. In sentencing hearing at the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday for the two minors convicted of his murder, the slain teen’s parents also said they still fear for the lives of their other children, calling on the court to set an example of the two, who were convicted last November for murdering Abu Khdeir in July 2014. The verdict in the case of 31 year-old Yosef Ben-Haim, the main suspect in the crime, was postponed after a last-minute submission of a private psychiatric assessment to the court. Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, demanded that the court “demolish their houses, just as happens with Arabs. There should be equal penalties . . . “They burned him once, but we burn everyday” said the father, who owns an electric goods shop, adding: “My Jewish customers ask me if I hate them. I tell them I don’t. I hate those who did this. I ask you to punish them in the most severe manner.” “My son was my whole life,” said his mother, Suha Abu Khdeir. She tearfully turned to the murderers and said: “Mohammed was your age. Why did you do this?” . . . Abu Khdeir’s murderers kidnapped him near a mosque in the Sho‘afat neighborhood in East Jerusalem. They beat and strangled him, ultimately burning him to death in the Jerusalem Forest.
Jenin: Army photographs home of slain Palestinian in preparation to demolish it
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Jan — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the al-Jadeeda village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, took measurements and pictures of the home of a Palestinian who was killed by the military two days ago, in preparation to demolish the property. The soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Abu Mariam, 23, who was killed by Israeli army fire, two days ago, along with Sa’id Jouda Abu al-Wafa, 38, after the army alleged they attempted to stab soldiers on the al-Hamra military roadblock. Abu al-Wafa is from the Zawiya village. In addition, several soldiers invaded the home of Nasser Qalalqwa, 50, and violently searched it, causing excessive property damage.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel force-fed hunger-striking detainee, journalist Mohammad Al-Qeeq
IMEMC 12 Jan — The Head of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee Issa Qaraqe’ said that the Israeli Authorities have force-fed hunger striking detainee, journalist Mohammad al-Qeeq, via intravenous infusion. Qaraqe stated al-Qeeq is the first detainee to be force-fed since the Israeli government passed the force-feeding law in July of 2015, in an attempt to crush the legitimate demands of the detainees . . . The official also said that the “Ethics Committee” in the al-‘Affoula Israeli Hospital, composed of three doctors, a psychologist and a social worker, have approved the force-feeding of al-Qeeq. Al-Qeeq has waged a hunger strike since November 24th, in protest of his arbitrary administrative detention, without charges or trial. The detainee was strapped, hooked to two machines, and was force-fed through an intravenous infusion, allegedly because his strike is endangering his life. Al-Qeeq is a Palestinian journalist working for the al-Majd TV; he is from Ramallah, and started his strike on November 25, 2015.
Extending the arrest of Ala’ Saleh despite losing his eye due to a rubber bullet
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 12 Jan — The Magistrate judge extended on Monday the arrest of 18-year old Ala’ Nabil Emran Salah until next Sunday. Ala’ turned himself in last Monday (4/1/2016) for interrogation at Al-Maskobyeh police center in West Jerusalem after occupation forces raided his house in the village of Esawyeh and provoked his family, insulted them and damaged the house contents. The police extended his arrest and prevented his mother from attending the court session. Ala’ Salah, a freed prisoner who spent several months in the occupation’s prisons in addition to one year of house arrest, was injured with a rubber bullet in his eye on 17/10/2015 which led to the removal of his eye and facial fractures (around the eye and nose). His mother said: “Ala’ and I were on our way to the hospital to visit my daughter who was in labor. While walking towards the bus station in the village of Esawyeh, there were ongoing clashes between young men and occupation forces that heavily fired tear-gas canister and rubber bullets in the area. I hid in one of the neighborhoods after suffering a state of suffocation and was separated for minutes from my son Ala’. I then heard the young men saying that somebody lost his eye.” She added: “Ala’ was injured with a rubber bullet in his eye and suffered severe bleeding and fractures. He underwent a surgery and his left eye was removed. He also underwent another surgery to implant platinum underneath his eye in addition to another surgery in the nose; he still needs another surgery for his eyelid which was removed.” She continued: “My son did not finish his treatment and was requested for interrogation. He needs ointments for the eye and another surgery.”
After refusing ‘public service’ . . . sentencing a child to 100 days in prison
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 6 Jan — The 15-year old Abdullah Siam turned himself in on Wednesday to Al-Maskobyeh police center to serve his 100-day prison sentence after refusing to do free public service in the occupation’s organizations. Siam explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that he chose actual imprisonment for 100 days over “public service” for 5 months considering free public service is Israeli organizations which aims at breaking the will of young men and children. Siam is a resident of the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan. He was arrested on 13/5/2015 while coming home from school on charges of throwing stones towards Israeli forces. He remained under arrest for two months and was released with a financial bail and open house-arrest with allowing him to go to school; Siam is in 10th grade.
The occupation decides to transfer two Jerusalemite children to internal institutes
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Jan — The District judge decided last week to transfer two Jerusalemite children to internal “rehabilitation” institutions after an indictment was submitted against them including charges of “attempt murder and possession of knives”; they were arrested on 31/12/2015 while walking in Street number 1 in Jerusalem. Last week, a session was held for 12-year old Shadi Farrah and 12-year old Ahmad Za‘tari at the District Court in Jerusalem and an indictment was submitted against them. The “social affairs” report to transfer them to an internal institution was also discussed. Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud explained that the public prosecution submitted last Sunday an indictment to the District Court against the children Za‘tari and Farrah and the judge decided to transfer Farrah to an internal institution in Beit Hanina while Za’tari was transferred to another institution in the city of Tamra in the “1948 lands”; note that both children are residents of the area of “Al-Matar north of Jerusalem.
Amjad Abu Asab, head of Jerusalemites detainees and prisoners families committee, explained that the occupation interrogated the children after they were arrested without the presence of their parents and without giving the children the chance to consult with a lawyer which is considered a major violation to the Israeli law as well as international law regarding the arrest of children.
Palestinian prisoner ends 50-day hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 — A Palestinian hunger striker ended his 50-day strike on Tuesday after Israeli authorities reportedly agreed to some of the prisoner’s demands, a lawyer with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said. The lawyer said Kifah Hattab, who is also being held in Afula hospital for treatment, ended his hunger strike after meeting with a lawyer who had arranged several of Hattab’s demands be met by Israel’s Prison Service. The details of the agreement are unknown. Hattab’s most recent hunger strike marks his third such strike during the past three years. One of Hattab’s main demands is to be considered a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention. Hattab was detained in 2004 and is serving two life sentences.
Ofer court jails female teenager for three months
RAMALLAH (PIC) 12 Jan– The Israeli military court in Ofer has sentenced a Palestinian female teenager from al-Dahriya town in al-Khalil province to three months in jail. The Palestinian Prisoner Society said that 16-year-old Maha Shatat was also ordered by the court to pay a penalty of 2,000 shekels. Shatat was detained on December 27 near the Ibrahimi Mosque and accused of possessing a knife.
34 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Jan — Israeli authorities, on Monday, issued administrative detention orders against 34 Palestinian detainees, said the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS). Fourteen of the detainees received administrative detention orders for the first time, according to WAFA, whereas the remaining 20 received renewed administrative orders. The names of the detainees are available via WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency. There are more than 500 Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention, a controversial and archaic Israeli practice, dating back to the Days of British Mandate, which allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial, up to six months, and can be renewed indefinitely.
4 Israelis indicted over beating of Eritrean migrant
JERUSALEM (AP) 12 Jan — Four Israelis have been indicted over the beating an Eritrean migrant they mistook for an attacker during an October shooting. Habtom Zerhom fled for cover when an Arab assailant fatally shot a soldier in the central bus station of the southern town of Beersheba. Tuesday’s indictment says a security guard mistook Zerhom, in his 20s, for the attacker and shot him. A mob attacked Zerhom as he lay on the floor. The indictment says a prison guard, a soldier and two civilians kicked Zerhom and rammed him with a bench. Zerhom died in hospital. An autopsy showed he died of gunfire. About 34,000 Eritrean migrants live in Israel. They say they are fleeing lifelong military conscription. Israel says they are economic migrants and refuses to grant them refugee status.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Attacks on non-Jewish religions
Israel to build 6 new watchtowers in Nablus, confiscate land
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli forces on Tuesday officially informed the Palestinian Authority of plans to build six military watchtowers in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, a local monitor told Ma‘an. Ghassan Doughlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern occupied West Bank, said Israeli forces told the PA the six towers will be built near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzar, a well-known hotbed for settler extremism. Doughlas said Israeli authorities plan to build the watchtowers in order to better protect the settler population in the area. It is unclear if all six towers will be built on Yitzar road, or if some will be built directly off highway 60, the main road in the area that connects the southern and northern occupied West Bank.
The land off highway 60 in the northern West Bank is dotted with settlements, some of which are officially recognized, while others are unofficial outposts. In addition to new military towers in the area, Doughlas said Israeli forces also plan to expand an already existing fence near the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar, which will confiscate thousands of dunams of land in the name of security (1000 dunams is equal to 250 acres). Doughlas said Israeli forces on Tuesday began digging in the area in preparation for the expansion of the fence.
Separately, Doughlas also reported that Israeli authorities have notified the PA of plans to demolish eight agricultural structures between the Nablus villages of Duma and Talfit. The owners of the land were officially notified and given a 45-day notice before demolitions will take place.
Jerusalem families in legal battle to stay in Old City homes
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — For the past few weeks, four Palestinian families living in Jerusalem’s Old City have faced the threat of immediate eviction from their homes. The Hashima, Kastero, Seidawi, and Maswada families, who live in the Old City’s Aqbat al-Khalidiya quarter, told Ma‘an that they were handed eviction notices in December when an Israeli court ruled that their homes originally belonged to a Jewish organization. Hayil Sandouka, a Palestinian who has long worked on the restoration of Palestinian buildings in the Old City, told Ma‘an that the building previously belonged to the Diskin Orphan Fund of Israel, founded in 1881. Sandouka said the organization left the building in the 1930s, after which Palestinian families moved in “upon legal leases which, according to Israeli law, entitles them the status of protected leaseholders.” However, the Diskin Orphan Fund later moved back into two units in the building, one in 1989 and a second in 1992, Sandouka told Ma‘an, adding that the organization was now aiming to gain back the entire building, which would require the Palestinian families to leave the four units they reside in. Hammuda Kastero, a Palestinian resident of the building, told Ma‘an he has lived in his apartment for 47 years but received two eviction notices last month on the pretext that he had failed to pay rent, allegations Kastero said were false. Kastero told Ma‘an that Israelis attempting to evict him said he neglected to show up for court hearings regarding his apartment, but he insisted that he had received no notifications regarding his home prior to the eviction orders. He added that the eviction orders were the most recent move taken by Israel against the families, which have have been targeted by Jerusalem’s municipality for decades. “We can’t change doors, windows or tiles. We can’t paint the house and we need permission if we need to hammer a nail,” Kastero told Ma‘an. Kastero told Ma‘an that the four families insisted on remaining in their homes despite poor living conditions in an effort to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which many Palestinians believe is threatened by Israel. (Continued)
Israeli forces tear down plant nursery near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 Jan– Israeli forces tore down a plant nursery in the northern West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday, a local official said. Abd al-Rahim Suleiman, the mayor of the village of al-Sawiya south of Nablus, told Ma‘an that a bulldozer escorted by military vehicles arrived in the morning and demolished a plant nursery owned by Fahd Audah Salih on the village’s main road. He said the nursery was 1,500 square meters and included an ancient two-room building which had been built before Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967. Suleiman called the demolition “unjustifiable.”
Israel orders a halt to the construction of 4 agricultural ponds
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 12 Jan — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) ordered Palestinian citizens to stop the construction of four agricultural structures in al-Khalil’s northern town of Beit Ummar on account of unlicensed construction. The Land Research Center at the Arab Studies Society quoted the targeted farmers as stating that Israeli civil administration crews stormed Wadi al-Arab area, to the northeast of Beit Ummar, and attached the notifications to the targeted ponds. The IOA ordered the farmers to immediately cease construction works, claiming a hearing will be held on January 21, 2016 to decide on the projected demolition of the structures. According to the Land Research Center, the notified ponds have been built by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Palestinian Hydrology Group as part of intents to support Palestinian farmers in Beit Ummar’s eastern corners. The targeted structures, intended to irrigate at least 40 dunums of cultivated land lots, are reportedly owned by the four Palestinian citizens Waheed Abu Maria, Ghassen Ibregheith, Jameel Abu Maria, and Khaled Ibregheith.
300 dunams of Palestinian farmland seized by military
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Jan — Israeli forces have confiscated 300 dunams of Palestinian farmlands in Ya‘bad town, and declared it a closed military zone. The director of Ya‘bad municipality, Yosef Atatrah, said that soldiers erected barbed wire around the lands, adding that the farmers found military orders hanging on the trees, dating January 7, which noted that the area is a closed military zone. Atatrah explained, according to Al Ray, that these orders have grave impacts on the Palestinian economic and agriculture life, since the owners of the lands will not be able to reach them. Ya‘bad lands have witnessed active military activities, which require a strong stand by the relevant rights groups in order to stop Israeli aggravations. An Israeli report revealed, recently, that 78 percent of the confiscated lands are not used for military purposes; instead, they are used to expand the area of conjunction settlements.
Extremists desecrate Christian cemetery
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Jan — The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said that extremist Israeli Jews have desecrated a Christian cemetery near the occupied city of Jerusalem. “People attacked and desecrated the cemetery in Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem, and destroyed crosses,” Latin Bishop of Jerusalem William Shomali told Vatican Radio. He noted that Israeli police are still investigating the incident. “All we know is that the attackers are extremist Jews living in the same area,” he said, noting that “this has happened several times in the past and the attackers were from amongst the Jews in the area.” Shomali pointed out, according to Days of Palestine, that such attacks have been increasing, and stressed the “urgent” need for the police to search and find the perpetrators, “who continue attacking churches, cemeteries, monasteries and other Christian symbols.” The bishop insisted that the extremists are known to Israeli security services. “As such, we call on the police to be more serious in bringing them to justice.”
Police probe defacement of Muslim prayer room at Jerusalem College
JPost 13 Jan by Daniel K. Eisenbud — Police are investigating the vandalization of a Muslim prayer room in the capital’s Hadassah Academic College, in an apparent nationalistically motivated hate crime on Tuesday night. According to police, numerous posters inside the room, which is reserved for Arab students, were torn off the walls, although no holy scriptures, including a Koran, were damaged. “This was the first such incident to have taken place in the building and police have opened an investigation to find out who was behind it,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Hours after students reported the vandalism, the college issued a statement condemning the “unusual incident,” and vowed to continue to promote coexistence between Arab and Jewish students.
After extremist settlers killed my neighbors in a West Bank arson attack, we still can’t get the one thing we want from the Israeli military: protectiom / Eman Dawabsheh
Salon 10 Jan — It is the Israeli army’s duty to protect us, but we have seen how they safeguard their own children, not ours — In the early hours of July 31, my husband, Mamoun, received a phone call from his brother: Our home in the West Bank village of Duma was on fire. Mamoun and I jumped in our car and drove from Nablus (where we had been spending the night with our five children) to Duma, where we found the first floor of our two-story house entirely decimated by fire. Our neighbor’s house (Sa’ad and Reham Dawabsheh, distant relatives and close friends) had also been burned. Hebrew graffiti on our walls reading “The Messiah King lives” and “Revenge” indicated that the fire had been set by extremist Israeli settlers.My immediate family was lucky: We were not at home when the settlers doused the two houses in flammable liquid and threw Molotov cocktails inside. Tragically, Sa’ad, Reham and their two children (18-month-old Ali and 4-year-old Ahmed) were home . . . Last Sunday – five months after the attack – two Israelis were charged in the deadly arson . . . Yet, despite the indictments, the residents of Duma have still not been granted the one thing that we desperately need: protection. In the months since the attack that claimed the lives of my neighbors, settlers have tried to return to Duma repeatedly. Twice, villagers called the Israeli army to thwart them. On several other occasions, a night patrol composed of young men from the village deterred the settlers. My 17-year-old son has stood guard on the roof of our house until 2 or 3 in the morning, monitoring the main road where settlers have parked their cars, trying to approach Duma on foot through the olive trees. (Continued)
In Israel and the occupied territories, shoot to kill is the new normal / Gideon Levy
MEE 11 Jan — The greatest enemy of the struggle against the Israeli occupation is routine. That danger in routine is apparent only in retrospect, looking back at the occupation over time. What was unacceptable yesterday, even unimaginable, becomes today’s routine on the way to tomorrow’s norm. Thus the occupation rolls along from one phase to the next, yet one thing never changes: occupation remains occupation, its manifold aspects hidden in plain sight. Resistance to the occupation, also ever-present and altering only in its appearance and the means employed to express it, has for some three months now shown a new face as the “Intifada of the Knives” or the “Lone Wolf Rebellion,” or whatever else one wishes to call it . . . In the last three months, 27 Israelis and more than 150 Palestinians have been killed in almost 100 different incidents of this nature. A few of the Palestinians were killed during demonstrations, but most were killed in attempted terror attacks or what the Israeli authorities designate as attempted terror attacks. Barely a single day passes without one. They have become routine. At the same time, the Israeli response to these incidents has also become routine. In most cases they end in a summary execution without benefit of trial. There is no other way to accurately describe the Israeli response to these knifings and vehicular assaults. Soldiers, police, and ordinary citizens have received or assumed a license to kill, in each case as a first resort, almost invariably. Young Palestinians, men and women, boys and girls, who merely brandished a pair of scissors, have been sentenced to death on the spot. Palestinians whose driving was suspect were sentenced to death by live fire. Only a small proportion of the people thus executed were actually endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers or civilians at the time they were killed. The overwhelming majority of them could have been stopped without killing them. But all received the same sentence: death . . . people with no intention of hurting anyone are shot to death in criminal killings that now pass as trivial. It is hard to believe that Mahdiyya Hammad, a 40-year-old mother of four, intended to run over the policemen standing in the road in her village, Silwad. She was driving home to nurse her infant child. They shot dozens of rounds and continued shooting even after she was dead. Police also shot mistakenly at a family car owned by the Abdallah family of the remote West Bank village of Amuriya, killing Samah Abdallah, 18, a cosmetology student whose father had come especially to take her home from school so that she could avoid the risky journey on public transportation during these dangerous days on the roads. (Continued)
EU funding Dead Sea road to help annex area to Palestinian Authority, NGO charges
JPost 13 Jan by Tovah Lazaroff — The European Union is funding an unauthorized Palestinian road to the Dead Sea in Area C of the West Bank to help annex that area to the Palestinian Authority, said the non-governmental group Regavim. The group, which monitors illegal Palestinian construction, is scheduled to give a presentation on the matter to Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s sub-group on Judea and Samaria. It also petitioned the High Court of Justice last month against the road, the first 20 kilometers of which are under construction. At present, the road is designed to be an access route from homes in the Palestinian village of Teqoa to nearby agricultural lands. Some eight kilometers of the road have been laid out in preparation for the pouring of cement. But Regavim has charged that it is just the first phase of a much larger infrastructure project. “It’s like a snake that is hiding in the grass,” said Oved Arad, who is in charge of Regavim’s land division. “We’re talking about what will be a highly strategic road,” Arad said. “When a road like this is built by the PA with EU funding, it allows it the [PA] to rule over a large area in the Judean desert and annex it,” he explained. “The State of Israel can’t afford to give up on this territory and it certainly can’t allow foreign governments to break the law in this way.”
How Bibi buried plan to develop Israeli Arab sector
Al-Monitor 11 Jan by Shlomi Eldar — Three days after its approval, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has killed a historic plan to invest in the Israeli-Arab sector by imposing three conditions that cannot be met — It took just three days for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to walk back support for the five-year plan to develop the Arab sector advanced by the Likud’s own Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel. According to the program, which was approved at a special Cabinet meeting on Dec. 30, over the next five budgetary years, the Arab sector would receive a total of 15 billion shekels ($3.8 billion) to develop infrastructure, housing and construction, employment, education and public transportation . . . But it was premature to celebrate the passing of the plan. After the terror attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street, Netanyahu walked back his support for the program and decided to set preconditions for its implementation. At the same time, ministers from HaBayit HaYehudi, settlement leaders and prominent activists on the right began to criticize the decision by Netanyahu and his government to transfer money to the Arab sector . . . t was hardly reckless speculation to guess that Netanyahu would find an escape route to avoid a plan designed to help Arab Israelis overcome discrimination. And so, during the Jan. 10 Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu announced that the program could not proceed if the law were not enforced in the Arab sector. “There are … gaps and discrepancies in rights and obligations,” said Netanyahu, and with that, he just about buried the program once and for all . . . The first condition concerns the fight against illegal weapons in the community. However, this issue has never been solely the responsibility of the government of Israel and the Israeli police. Arab Knesset members and the heads of Arab local councils have been warning about the problem for years and demanding that the authorities rein in the phenomenon. The second condition concerns national service, and the third the enforcement of building laws and the transition to multistory apartment buildings in Arab settlements. According to the heads of the Arab sector, Netanyahu is trying to shift the responsibilities of a sovereign government to a population that already faces discrimination, especially when it comes to fighting crime and dealing with the illegal possession of weapons. (Continued)
The other occupation / Furat Awadallah
+972 blog 13 Jan — While Israel suppresses Palestinians from the outside, the Palestinian Authority is tightening its grip and control of political expression in the media, the streets, and even in mosques — all of which is a gift to the occupation — In August 2015, Palestinian security forces arrested, and in some cases detained without charge, 194 Palestinian civilians, including lawyers, university students and lecturers, largely on grounds of political affiliation or opinion, or for criticizing PA officials on social media. Later in 2015, PA security forces oppressed Palestinian civil society, including journalists, to rein in political and media freedoms. These events follow ongoing arrests and detentions, by the PA and its president against young voices that are critical of the Palestinian government or supportive of Hamas, as documented by Human Rights Watch. The bill for these security forces reached $1 billion of of the Fatah-led government’s $3.8 billion budget in 2014, or an estimated 28-37 percent of the national budget, based on even higher estimates from other sources, according to Al-Monitor. By contrast, just .01 percent of the budget went to the Ministry of Culture. (Continued)
Wallstrom calls for UN probe into Israeli violence
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Jan — Sweden’s foreign minister called for an inquiry, on Tuesday, into claims that Israeli forces have carried out extrajudicial killings, in clashes with Palestinians. “It is vital that there are thorough, credible investigations into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” Margot Wallstrom told lawmakers, according to World Bulletin/Al Ray. Daily attacks have been taking place for the last three and a half months, while at least 140 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army since mid-September. Slamming the violence on both sides, Wallstrom said that the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, as well as other relevant human rights groups, have raised concerns about possible “extrajudicial killings” by Israel.
Conscientious objector goes to jail
AIC 12 Jan — Tair Kaminer reported to an Israeli military induction base in Tel Hashomer on Sunday. There, the 19 year old announced her refusal to serve in the Israeli military and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. A statement by Kaminer reads: “I will not take an active part in the occupation of the Palestinian Territories and in the injustice to the Palestinian people that is perpetrated again and again under this occupation.”Kaminer told the Refuser Solidarity Network that the hundreds of messages of support she has received give her strength.
US church puts five Israeli banks on investment blacklist
AP & Barak Ravid 13 Jan — The pension fund for the United Methodist Church has blocked five Israeli banks from its investment portfolio in what it describes as a broad review meant to weed out companies that profit from abuse of human rights. Senior officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said they are still examining the decision, but added that Israel will make quiet efforts to convince the leaders of the church to change or soften the measure ahead of the Methodist General Conference in May. The fund, called the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, excluded Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, according to the pension board’s website. . . . The pension board identified Israel and the Palestinian territories among more than a dozen “high risk” countries or regions with “a prolonged and systematic pattern of human rights abuses.” Other countries on the list include Saudi Arabia, the Central African Republic and North Korea . . . The pension board’s decision came at a time when divestment is gaining momentum among liberal Protestants as a tool to pressure Israel over its policies toward Palestinians. Last year, the United Church of Christ voted to divest from companies with business in the Israeli-occupied territories. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took a similar vote in 2014.
Why Israel’s schools merit a US boycott / Saree Makdisi
Los Angeles Times 8 Jan –At its annual convention this week, the Modern Language Assn., which represents 26,000 language and literature scholars, will become the latest academic body to consider the merits of adopting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This follows endorsements of such a boycott by the Assn. for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Assn. and, most recently, the American Anthropological Assn., which voted 1,040 to 136 to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its November annual meeting in Denver; the AAA’s entire membership will soon vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass. The justification for an academic boycott — which targets institutions, not individual scholars — stems from the peculiar relationship between Israel’s educational system and its broader structures of racism. The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination points out with alarm that Israel maintains two separate educational systems for its citizens — one for Jewish children and another for the children of the Palestinian minority — a structure that reinforces the profound segregation of Israeli society in everything from matters of citizenship and marriage to housing rights. According to official Israeli data cited by the human rights organization Adalah, by the turn of the 21st century Israel was investing three times as much on a per capita basis in the education of a Jewish as opposed to that of a Palestinian citizen. (Continued).
Brazilian senior diplomats issue joint statement against diplomatic Israeli appointment
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Jan — The Israeli government’s nomination of Dani Dayan as its next ambassador to Brazil, and Brazil’s delay in approving the appointment, is heightening diplomatic tensions between the two governments . . . Below is a translation of the Brazilian diplomats’ statement: “We, the retired diplomats undersigned, remembering Ambassador Luís Martins de Sousa Dantas, who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust; pride of the role played; We, the retired diplomats undersigned, remembering Ambassador Luís Martins’ memory representing Brazil at the United Nations when, with Osvaldo Aranha as the President of the UN General Assembly, the creation of the State of Israel was approved; We consider it unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly announced the name of the person he intended to appoint as his country’s new Ambassador to Brazil before submitting it, in accordance to the norm, to our Government. This rupture with a diplomatic practice seems to have been on purpose, an attempt to establish facts, since the appointed, Dani Dayan, between 2007 and 2013, was the President of the Yesha Council, responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal by the international community, and has already declared himself contrary to the creation of the Palestinian State, which counts on the support of the Brazilian Government and was already recognized by over 70% of the UN member States. Under these conditions, we support the Brazilian Government’s position on this issue and wish that the current episode is quickly overcome, so we can, together, strengthen the bonds between the two countries in a historical moment in which the conciliatory spirit becomes imperative.”
When every fire is a potential arson attack
+972 mag 11 Jan by Haggai Matar — As incitement against the Israeli Left grows, it is no surprise so many people believed right-wing arsonists were behind the fire at the offices of Israel’s oldest human rights organization — Preliminary investigations by Israeli Police and Israel Fire and Rescue Services indicated that the fire that erupted Sunday night in the Jerusalem offices of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem was not the result of arson. The police and fire department published detailed explanations on their findings, according to which the fire was a result of a short circuit in the office’s acoustic ceiling. The fire reportedly burned the entire ceiling before engulfing the rest of office. Furthermore, there were no signs of a break in, neither from the door or the windows. Additionally, there was no graffiti or other sign that this was a hate crime, and the security cameras did not capture any suspicious activity. Thus, as far as we can tell, there was no arson. B’Tselem’s staff believes this to be true as well. And yet, Sunday’s fire raised everyone’s suspicions as the possibility of arson. I am not talking about a few human rights activists or members of Knesset. The Fire and Rescue Services were the first to presume it was an arson attack; nearly every single media outlet adopted the suspicion as truth, despite a lack of evidence. Much of the public also bought into the suspicions, which seemed so logical. With everything we know about the political climate in Israel today, it is not so far-fetched that such a thing would happen. (Continued)
Cartoonist Joha vows to continue drawing despite deleting her Facebook page
GAZA (PIC) 11 Jan — The Palestinian cartoonist Omayya Joha said she will continue drawing caricature in defense of the Palestinian Question in spite of blocking her Facebook page. In an interview with the PIC reporter, Joha said that she has received so many messages from Facebook management since Sunday’s dawn informing her of some people’s objections to her pro-Palestinian question cartoons. Israelis are obviously responsible for the reports campaign, she opined. The cartoonist Joha added that her page on Facebook received hostile comments and racist cartoons and images targeting Palestinian people and martyrs. The Facebook management never deleted these anti-Palestine posts, despite deleting the page, she pointed out. The Palestinian comic artist Joha demanded Facebook management to reverse the decision of blocking her page. She underlined that she will use her art to defend her people. She hailed the large-scale support with her as well.
Palestinian business man arranges for Dawabsha to meet football star
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Palestinian-American businessman Farouk Shami said Wednesday that he was arranging for four-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha, the sole survivor of a deadly settler attack on his family home last year, to fulfill his dream of meeting football star Christiano Ronaldo. Al-Shami told Raya News Agency that it was his “national duty” and the least he could do. He said his office would begin preparations for the boy’s trip to Madrid on Thursday. Shami said he would also be visiting Dawabsha in the hospital where he is still being treated for wounds he received during the arson attack. The Real Madrid football club had earlier announced that they would be receiving the four-year-old, following a request from the club’s official fan base in the occupied Palestinian territory. . . .
Bedouin coming-of-age drama vying for Oscar nod
JORDAN (AP) 12 Jan — Jordanian ‘Bedouin Western’ with an amateur cast is one of 9 shortlisted films in the Academy Awards’ best foreign language category — A coming-of-age drama set among Bedouin tribesmen roaming the desert emerged as the first potential Oscar contender produced by Jordan’s nascent film industry. “Theeb” (Wolf), set in 1916, tells the story of a playful 11-year-old Bedouin boy of the same name who gets caught up in his tribe’s alliance with the British against Ottoman rulers during the era’s Arab Revolt. For the amateur cast from a Bedouin clan and for two young Jordanians writing and directing their first feature film, making Theeb has already been a wild ride, climaxing in the 2014 world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. That marked the first time the actors left Jordan or saw the entire film. “They got a 10-minute standing ovation,” said director Naji Abu Nowar, who won for best director in the “Orrizonti” (Horizons) category in Venice. “The Bedouins, it’s a very macho culture, and you never see anyone cry, even the children … and to see tears coming out of some of their eyes (during the premiere) was a really powerful moment,” he said, speaking from the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a last pre-Oscar opportunity to promote foreign films.