Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Israeli settler runs over Palestinian shepherd’s flock of sheep, kills 25
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 10 June — An Israeli settler ran over a flock of sheep belonging to a Palestinian shepherd near the al-Zubeidat village in the occupied West Bank district of Jericho on Friday, causing the death of 25 of the sheep, according to Palestinian sources. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that an Israeli settler was driving at a high speed and ran over the flock of sheep while they were crossing the road. The Palestinian shepherd requested that Israeli authorities penalize the Israeli settler and provide compensation for the losses.
Palestinian shot, wounded after alleged stabbing attempt at Nablus area checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 June — A Palestinian, who locals said was mentally disabled, was shot and injured after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli soldiers in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Friday afternoon, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. The spokesperson said that the alleged stabbing attempt took place at a “security post” at an entrance to the city of Nablus, adding that the Palestinian had been evacuated to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, where he was in serious condition. According to a spokesperson from Rabin Medical Center, he was undergoing surgery for his injuries as of Friday evening. No Israelis were injured in the case. Local sources told Ma‘an that the Palestinian shot at the Awarta checkpoint east of Nablus was a mentally disabled youth. They identified him as Hasan Khalid al-Qadhi, 26, from the village of Awarta, claiming that he was riding a bike when Israeli forces shot him. The sources added that al-Qadhi had been detained by Israeli forces on several occasions in the past, before being released after they determined that he was mentally disabled. Israeli forces reportedly deployed around Nablus and closed several checkpoints in the area.
Israeli forces disperse weekly protests in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 June — Dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces suppressed weekly Friday demonstrations in the occupied West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, while protests were also staged in the village of Bil‘in. Murad Shtewei, popular resistance coordinator in Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, said Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and used skunk water to disperse protesters, causing dozes to suffer from tear gas inhalation, who were treated on the scene. Shtewei added that clashes broke out after Israeli forces raided the village, but no injuries were reported.
Meanwhile in the central occupied West Bank village of Bil‘in near Ramallah, activists carried out weekly protests Friday afternoon, calling for resistance against the Israeli occupation and the release of Palestinian prisoners. Protesters raised Palestinian flags, and roamed the village’s streets calling for Palestinian unity, resistance, and for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Residents of Bil‘in, Israeli peace activists, and dozens of foreign activists took part in the protest, which was called for by Bil‘in popular resistance committee. [There was no violence from the Israeli forces, for the third week in a row]
Extremist Israelis vandalise Palestinian property in Yaffat al-Nasra
[with surveillance video] MEMO 10 June — Jewish extremists set fire to two cars and wrote racist, offensive and anti-Arab phrases on trucks early this morning. Phrases include “make the Arabs pay” in reference to the death of those shot in Tel Aviv. Vandals attacked the Marah Al-Ghazlan neighbourhood in the village of Yaffat Al-Nasra [near Nazareth, now in Israel]. Surveillance cameras recorded the extremists in the act. Ibrahim Na‘arani, who owns the two trucks, said: “At 3am, the surveillance camera installed in our parking space recorded the two unknown Jewish religious extremists writing anti-Arab phrase on the trucks in an attempt to avenge the shooting in Tel Aviv and they burned two other cars.” “I filed a complaint with the police and they have begun investigations. I will continue judicial measures until the end, as these racist attacks must be put to an end.”
Settlers graffiti anti-Arab slogans near Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 9 June — Extremist Israeli settlers, on Thursday, spray-painted racist graffiti on the walls of an Arab village known as Abu Ghosh, to the northwest of Jerusalem [in Israel], according to WAFA sources. The painted graffiti included racist slogans, such as “Death to Arabs” and “Price Tag”. According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, “Israeli civilians have perpetrated various forms of violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, damaging their lands, their persons and their property.” It further explained, “In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan ‘price tag.’ These are acts of violence aimed at the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces.” B’Tselem has documented many such acts including the blocking of roads, throwing stones at cars and houses, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, and other damage to property.
Dispatches: Case closed for boy killed in the West Bank
Human Rights Watch 9 June by Ashira Ramadan — A poster showing three young faces hangs in the home of Fatmeh and Sami al-Kasbeh in the Qalandia refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The faces belong to three of their children, each shot to death by Israeli soldiers in incidents spanning 14 years. On August 12, 2001, their 11-year-old son Yasser, who allegedly was throwing stones at Israeli security forces, was shot by an Israeli soldier whose identity is unknown. The Israel Defense Forces investigated and concluded, “the soldier who fired the shot acted according to regulations.” Forty days later, Samer, 15, was shot, also while allegedly throwing stones. No soldier was punished for that killing either, the parents said. Then, on July 3, 2015, a commander fatally shot the al-Kasbeh’s third son, Mohammad, 17. Security camera footage capturing part of the incident, but not the shooting, shows Mohammad fleeing after throwing a stone at the jeep in which the commander rode, shattering its window. Eyewitnesses told the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem that the colonel shot Muhammad from a distance of ten meters as the boy ran away, seemingly posing no immediate threat. On April 10, 2016, a military investigation into Mohammed’s death deemed the shooting lawful. It noted three bullets hit the boy in the back and the side of the face but called the commander’s bad aim a “professional mistake.”….
Israel detains 12 Palestinians in West Bank
NABLUS (WAFA) 9 June -– Israeli forces last night detained at least 12 Palestinians during raids across the West Bank districts, according to local and security sources. In Nablus district, Israeli troops broke into the village of Beita, south of Nablus in the West Bank, and detained Bashar al-Adili, 18, after searching his home along with several other homes in the village. Other detainees in Nablus area were identified as Ahmad Dawoud, Ali Lolah, Sami Dababseh, and Mohammad Safi Hamdallah. Meanwhile in Hebron district, army stormed the main city and the nearby towns of Surif and Yatta, where they detained Mohammad Ibrahim Makhamreh, 22, Izzeddin al-Hour, 22, and Morad Qawasmeh, 21. The three were taken to an unknown destination. Israeli soldiers stationed at nearby Za’tara checkpoint, on Nablus-Ramallah road, also detained a Palestinian from Nablus while he was attempting to pass. He was identified as Mahmoud Hamama. In Bethlehem, in southern West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the city and detained two Palestinians, after raiding and searching their homes. The two were identified as Mahmoud and Mohammad Ahmad al-Balboul. Israeli troops also detained Mohammad Bassam Ajaj, 23, from the village of Seida, to the north of Tulkarm, after raiding his house and beating him up.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians, carry out large-scale raids in West Bank, E. Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 June — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians and carried out large-scale predawn detention raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday, according to Israeli and Palestinian security sources. In the central West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces raided the ‘Aida refugee camp and searched the home of Palestinian legislative council member, Mahmoud al-Khatib, before detaining his son Daoud, Palestinian security sources. Nader al-Basha and Muhammad Sbeih from the village of Hizma to the east of Jerusalem city in the central West Bank were detained. Towards the north, Israeli forces detained Ahmad Kamal Salem Daraghmeh, 22, in the city of Tubas after raiding and searching his home. An Israeli army spokesperson reported an additional detention in Tubas, but no details were given. In Hebron city in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces detained Ramadan al-Qawasmi after raiding his home, Palestinian sources said.
Israeli sources reported one additional detention in Hebron city, with another being detained outside of the city. An Israeli army spokesperson reported additional detentions in the West Bank, with one in the town of Abu Dis in the Jerusalem governorate in the central West Bank, one in the West Bank district of Qalqilya, and two in the district of Ramallah. Palestinian security forces also reported that Israeli forces searched the home of legislative council member Khalil al-Rabies while raiding the town of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, adding that an additional raid was carried out on the homes of the families of the two alleged attackers in Wednesday’s deadly shooting in Tel Aviv. Israeli forces reportedly took measurements of the homes and searched both the houses. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an she was looking into reports on the number of detentions carried out in Yatta, which remains undisclosed since the town was sealed by Israeli forces following the attack in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and injured an additional six.
Palestinian security sources added that Israeli forces also carried out raids in the villages of al-Shuyoukh and Beit Awwa in the southern part of Hebron city, the towns of Sinjil and Budrus in the district of Ramallah, the neighborhood of Kafr Saba in Qalqiliya, the town of Tammun in the northern Tubas governorate, the towns of al-Eizariya and Abu Dis in the Jerusalem governorate, and in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Clashes erupted in several areas following the raids, as Israeli forces opened live fire on Palestinian communities, including shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas bombs.
Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
TULKAREM (WAFA) 11 June -– Israeli forces Saturday detained five Palestinians from across the West Bank districts of Tulkarem and Hebron, in addition to five others from the Jerusalem area, after physically assaulting them, according to witnesses. In Tulkarem, forces raided a number of Palestinian homes in the town of Bal‘a to the east, thoroughly searched them, and questioned their dwellers before detaining four locals. They were identified as Mesh’al Omair, Abdel-Raheem Shahrour, Ra’ed Shahrour, and Mos’ab Sulaiman. Meanwhile, forces detained a Palestinian youth identified as Mahmoud Makhamreh, 27, during a military raid into the town Yatta, in southern Hebron. In Jerusalem, Israeli police detained five Palestinians, while they were present near al-Aqsa mosque. The police reportedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets, pepper sprayed and physically attacked the youth with their clubs, causing them cuts and bruises throughout their faces and bodies.
Aftermath of Tel Aviv attack
Israel defense minister halts return of Palestinian bodies following Tel Aviv attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 June — Newly appointed Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued an order on Thursday to suspend the return of all Palestinian bodies killed during suspected attacks in response to a shooting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that left four Israelis killed and an additional six injured. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the ultra-right politician issued the order following a security cabinet meeting to discuss government responses to Wednesday’s attack. Lieberman’s decision split with his predecessor Moshe Yaalon, who argued against withholding Palestinian bodies, saying the policy has only served to exacerbate tensions with Palestinians. However, Lieberman claimed the return of bodies had sent the “wrong message” to Palestinians, and that halting their return could prevent future attacks against Israelis. The decision comes a day after Israeli police announced that slain Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem suspected of “terrorism” would no longer be able to have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the Israeli police. Israeli authorities have claimed funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces following alleged attacks had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state. In May, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the release of all Jerusalemite Palestinian bodies withheld by Israel before the start of Ramadan. However, Israeli authorities continue to hold at least a dozen Palestinian bodies in refrigerated conditions in Israel.
Palestinians left reeling amid ‘collective punishment’ after Tel Aviv attacks
MEE 9 June by Emily Mulder — Israel’s response to a deadly Tel Aviv shooting carried out by two Palestinians has already begun to reverberate in the daily lives of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank … Issa Amro, a prominent activist in the Hebron area, arrived in Yatta on Thursday morning as soldiers began closing the roads. “Yatta is now 100 percent under siege,” Amro told Middle East Eye. By late afternoon on Thursday, Amro said, all roads leading in and out of the city, including side and agricultural roads, were closed off by earth mounds or concrete blocks. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the closure of the city after Wednesday’s attack, and told MEE all movement was prohibited with the exception of humanitarian cases. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday said that “life in the Yatta village won’t carry on as usual. A village that has terrorists leaving from its midst will pay the price.” The initial closures sealed in about 45,000 Palestinians and will inevitably take a serious toll on the local economy. “People usually come from all over the West Bank to the Friday animal market in Yatta, which would be very active because of Ramadan,” Amro said. The closures will not only hurt farmers who rely on Ramadan sales, but also thousands of people who will no longer be able to travel to see relatives, Amro said, adding that such a move by the Israeli army was ripping apart the social fabric of Ramadan for locals. Philip Luther of Amnesty International has warned that such actions against Yatta may be breaking international law.
Israeli options may be limited after Tel Aviv shooting
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 June — Israel imposed travel restrictions Thursday on tens of thousands of Palestinians and sent hundreds of additional troops into the West Bank in response to a deadly shooting at a popular Tel Aviv tourist spot. But as the nation’s leaders vowed tough responses, they stopped short of taking wider-scale military action. The attack has presented Israel’s newly configured Cabinet, and its firebrand new defense minister, with its first big test. A relatively muted response by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet reflected the lack of options that Israel seems to have as it grapples with a nine-month wave of violence … In Israel’s initial response to the shooting, COGAT, an Israeli defense body, said early Thursday that it had frozen 83,000 permits for Palestinians in the West Bank to visit relatives in Israel during the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Special Ramadan permits were also suspended for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to travel out of the blockaded territory and to attend prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The army also announced that it had deployed two additional battalions — comprising hundreds of troops from infantry and special forces units — to the West Bank. Among the participants in the Israeli Cabinet meeting was the new defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of an ultranationalist party known for his hard-line views toward the Palestinians. “I promise that everyone who was involved in this murderous terror attack will not evade punishment and we will reach them and bring them to justice,” he said. Despite the tough language, the Cabinet announced no additional action. Even amid widespread anger over the shooting, Israeli officials appear to have few choices for confronting the violence that has killed 32 Israelis and some 200 Palestinians since September. Officials believe the attacks, mostly stabbings, car rammings and shootings, have been carried out by assailants acting on their own with primitive weapons, making them difficult to predict or stop. Wednesday’s shooting, for instance, was carried out with a rudimentary homemade gun….
Israel cracks down on Palestinian workshops producing guns
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 June — Israeli security forces are cracking down on metal workshops in the West Bank suspected of manufacturing a crude homemade gun, which has emerged as the weapon of choice for Palestinian attackers in months of deadly assaults on civilians and soldiers — including in this week’s Tel Aviv shooting that killed four Israelis. Welded together from spare parts of various weapons and pipes, it looks like a short-barreled submachine gun, with a long magazine. The weapon, known by its street name “Carlo,” was used by the two Palestinian gunmen who killed four people and wounded five others in a popular Tel Aviv area filled with crowded shops and restaurants on Wednesday night, as well as in several other attacks since the current round of violence erupted in September. “There has been an increase in security operations in and around the West Bank area to try and find factories where the weapons are made,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Associated Press. He said the quality of the workmanship varies from gun to gun, depending on the materials and the manufacturer … According to an Israeli intelligence official, the homemade gun has become the weapon of choice for Palestinian gunmen, ousting the Kalashnikov that has traditionally been in use. Carlo’s popularity stems from availability, he added. “Real weapons” are now hard to find and expensive in the West Bank due to raids carried out by Israel as well as those undertaken by forces of the Palestinian government, which rules about a third of the territory….
UN says Israel move on Palestinian permits may be collective punishment
GENEVA (Reuters) 10 June — Israel’s cancellation of entry permits for Palestinians following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv may amount to collective punishment, which is banned under international law, the United Nations’ top human rights official said on Friday. The Israeli military on Thursday revoked permits for 83,000 Palestinians to visit Israel and said it would send hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank after a Palestinian gun attack that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemns the attack but is deeply concerned about the revoking of permits “which may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians”, spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing.
Haaretz editorial: Only solution to Palestinian terrorism is the end of the occupation
10 June — In the wake of the deadly Tel Aviv attack, ministers voice empty bravado and call for collective punishment, thereby just pushing more Palestinians to violence. It’s time Israel learned the lesson: Terrorism will continue as long as the occupation does — The murderous terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market took the lives of four Israelis on Wednesday: Ido Ben Ari, Ilana Naba, Michael Feige and Mila Mishayev. It wounded six others … Immediately after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rushed to announce a list of collective punishments against the Palestinians. Cabinet members competed over who would make the most extreme announcement. Lieberman quickly declared he had “no intentions of settling for lip service,” while his deputy minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, threatened the town where the terrorists are from: “Life in Yatta won’t carry on as usual.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett compared the terrorists to “that murderous organization sitting to our north,” and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called for preventive measures “that will go down in history.” Meanwhile, Science Minister Ofir Akunis called for terrorists’ families to be deported and their homes demolished, and Culture Minister Miri Regev suggested that Israel “burn into the enemy’s consciousness” the price to be paid. This impassioned and hollow talk, similar to the acts of collective punishment, has no real value. It will not protect the life of a single Israeli; it will just increase the frustration and hatred among those forced to live under Israeli occupation. In the end it will only push more young people to terrorism. It’s amazing how the Israeli government does not learn its lesson and recognize what should have been clear long ago: The terror will continue as long as the Palestinian people have no hope on the horizon. No military steps will eradicate it and no boastful declarations will end it. The only way to deal with terrorism is by freeing the Palestinian people from the occupation….
At funeral, Sarona victim’s father urges solution to conflict
Times of Israel 9 June by Sue Surkes — The father of Ido Ben Ari, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists Wednesday at a shooting attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market, on Thursday accused the government of failing to find a strategic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and relying instead on “tactical” moves that only cause more suffering to the Palestinians and push more of them into the cycle of terror. Speaking in Yavne at his son’s funeral, which was attended by hundreds of friends and relatives, as well as deputy minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), he said: “The leaders we elect at democratic elections are supposed to find a strategic solution, which demands far-reaching vision, concessions, a creative solution, and not mantras and laundered words. “Last night, after the attack, the prime minister and two of his ministers arrived and yet another security cabinet issued decrees — not to return corpses, to put up barriers, to destroy houses, and to make lives harder. These solutions create suffering, hatred, despair and [lead] to more people joining the circle of terror,” he said. “What’s needed is a solution rather than saying all the time that there’s nobody to make peace with. We chose you to stop the cycle of blood, already 49 years you’ve been trying to solve things tactically and you haven’t succeeded. The time has come for a strategic solution,” the father said….
Father of Tel Aviv attacker: If I had the chance, I’d ask Khaled why he did it
Al-Monitor 9 June by Shlomi Eldar — The father of Khaled Mahamra, one of the two terrorists responsible for the shooting attack June 8 in Tel Aviv, can’t understand how his son was able to hide his plans. Khaled was a student at the Faculty of Engineering at Mutah University in Jordan. He was supposed to return there this summer to complete his studies. He was the eldest child, and his family had pinned high hopes on him. They had expected him to help support the family once he obtained his coveted degree. But instead of providing them with financial assistance, Khaled Mahamra, once the pride of his family, could be the reason why their home in Yatta will be demolished. In an interview with Al-Monitor the day after the attack, Khaled’s father, Ahmad, said that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) forces had not yet been to his home (at the time of this interview, the IDF had already raided the home of the other terrorist, Mohammad Mahamra). They were, however, surrounding the village and not letting anyone out. “If I had the chance to sit with Khaled now, I’d ask him why he did it. Why did he kill human beings?” his father wondered. Two of the terrorists’ uncles are senior members of Fatah’s military wing. One of them was even released from Israeli prison in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Still, according to Ahmad Mahamra, the attack his son committed together with Mohammad struck the family like lightning on a clear day. “We had no idea. The only thing I can think about is that everyone is a victim: him [Khaled] and the Israelis. Even though he was studying engineering, both he and the youngsters of his generation thought that there was no hope, that there was no future,” said Ahmad … One indication of the tension that continues unabated in the territories and the possibility that the wave of violence could start up again is the expression of joy among young Palestinians, who were documented celebrating news of the attack. This is a familiar phenomenon from the past. The greater the sense of distress in the territories and the deeper the desire to take revenge on Israelis, the more jubilant the celebrations are after every attack in Israel. “They’re just gangs of young people. They don’t indicate anything,” said Musa Mahamra. Nevertheless, he said that he cannot discount the possibility that the miserable situation in the territories could explain the exuberant celebrations in Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarm and the Gaza Strip. He is concerned that other desperate young people might try to imitate the two assailants from Yatta.
The Tel Aviv terrorists: two cousins from a West Bank town, influenced by Hamas
Haaretz 9 June by Jack Khoury — The cousins who perpetrated the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night were not Hamas members but were influenced by its ideology, according to relatives of the two. Khaled Mohammed Mahamra and Mohammed Ahmad Mahamra, both from the West Bank town of Yatta, shot and killed four Israelis at the Sarona marketplace, killing Ido Ben Ari, 42, Ilana Naba, 39, Michael Feige, 58, and Mila Mishayev, 32. A relative told Haaretz that they left home three days ago, after which their tracks disappeared. He said the family was surprised to hear their names after the attack and when security forces showed up at their door. He said that Khaled studied law at Mutah University in Jordan, while Mohammed worked in construction sites in the Be’er Sheva area. The Mahamra family is big in Yatta, which is near Hebron. One of its members is Khaled Mahamra, a Hamas member who was released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal and re-arrested after the kidnap of the three Jewish youths in 2014. Another relative is Taleb Mahamra, who was a commander in the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, and is serving seven life sentences. The relative said that the two terrorists were not officially Hamas members, but they were influenced by the atmosphere and by being related to people associated with the group. Musa Mahamra, the head of the Yatta council and a distant relative of the terrorists, also told Haaretz that the two were not members of any terror group, and certainly not the military wing of Hamas. He added they had no security-related record.
Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai: Palestinian celebrations of terror result of ‘occupation’
JPost 9 June by Lahav Harkov, Ariel Ben Solomon — Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Joint List lawmakers found the culprit for the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that took four lives – not just the two terrorists from Yatta, but the “occupation” and the government, they said Thursday. Joint List head Ayman Odeh (Hadash) responded to the killing of four Israelis in Tel Aviv saying: “I condemn and feel the pain of the terrible blow to civilians.” “My heart goes out to the families. An attack against innocent people is always reprehensible. There can be no justification for shooting civilians in the street,” he said. Odeh went on to attack the current government, which “only leads to a deepening of hatred and violence.” “Remove all Palestinian and Israeli citizens from the cycle of terror and bloodshed. We must fight together to bring an end to the occupation, and do the right thing for justice and peace for both peoples.” Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Osama Saadi condemned Wednesday night’s attack and any government “immoral collective punishment against the Palestinians” in response. “We reject attacks on civilians in every way. Such an act does not advance Palestinian rights,” they said. “As Ta’al [their party in the Joint List] has been saying for 20 years, civilians should be removed from the cycle of violence and the occupation should end.”
Similarly, when asked on Army Radio if there is a chance for peace when Palestinians celebrated the attack on civilians at a café by handing out candies, Huldai blamed the “occupation” and not the celebrants. “We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights,” Huldai claimed, though there are more than 200 territorial disputes worldwide. “You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright.” Huldai encouraged dialogue when there is a lull in terrorism, saying that “no one has the courage to take a step toward attempting some kind of agreement.
Israeli forces hold 100 Palestinian high school students at checkpoint in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 June — Israeli forces Thursday briefly held 100 Palestinian high school students for military security searches as they tried to leave the town of Yatta in the occupied West Bank to attend final exams, as the town remained sealed by Israeli forces following a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. A military liaison official in the district of Hebron said in a statement that the high school students were allowed to cross after being held at an Israeli checkpoint for several minutes on their way to school, while military liaison officials pressured the Israelis to release them. The liaison office reported that the students arrived safely to their exam halls. Upon a request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the military liaison of Hebron issued an alert for Palestinians to prepare themselves in cases of assault or violations by Israeli settlers or soldiers, as they would likely be prevented from reaching hospitals or schools at the Israeli checkpoints.
Gazans lament loss of permits to visit al-Aqsa during Ramadan
Al-Monitor 10 June by Shlomi Eldar — After the Tel Aviv terror attack June 8, the Israeli military revoked its decision to ease the restrictions on the Palestinians during the month of Ramadan. As per the decision signed by Minister Avigdor Liberman on his first day at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, according to the manager of the Erez border crossing, almost 4,000 Palestinians would be granted travel permits allowing them to exit the Gaza Strip in groups, to visit and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. When word of the cancellation became public, hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the Office of Civil Affairs in Gaza, demanding that the Palestinian Authority (PA) protest Israel’s decision to suspend the permits and thereby taking away an important rite during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But such a protest is unlikely to bear any fruits. Following the Tel Aviv attack, the Israeli defense apparatus started reassessing its policies, including granting more travel permits to Palestinians and work permits for West Bank Palestinians wishing to work in Israel. Only 500 Gazans over the age of 50 made it to Al-Aqsa Mosque on June 3 to pray there on the eve of the start of Ramadan before the travel permits were revoked. While for some it was the first time they had ever left the Gaza Strip, for the majority it was the first time they left Gaza since the closure was imposed in 2007. Many of those who traveled through the Erez border crossing used to work in Israel and were shocked by all the changes in the country and the differences they observed between themselves and the people of the West Bank. Al-Monitor spoke to some of the Gazans who had obtained permits to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque, shortly before the checkpoint was closed again. “It was like a furlough from prison,” Said Abu al-Jameh from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City told Al-Monitor. He recounted that the people on the bus felt like they were going from darkness into the light….
Photos: Israeli authorities permit 7,000 Palestinians to enter Al-Aqsa, deny thousands more
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 June — Israeli authorities on Friday permitted Palestinian men above the age of 45 and women of all ages to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while Palestinian men between the ages of 35 and 45 were only allowed entrance if they held Israeli-issued permits to attend prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of other Palestinians were prevented from crossing at checkpoints, which were sealed following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Palestinian police spokesman Luay Irzeiqat told Ma‘an that some 7,000 Palestinians were allowed entry into occupied East Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa until 10 am through the 300 checkpoint in northern Bethlehem. Irzeiqat added that Palestinian police forces were deployed near the checkpoint in order to organize and guide the entry of Palestinians, while handing out hats to protect them from the heat. Several Palestinians who were prevented entry into Jerusalem said they would not give up on performing Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as others stated they would perform the Friday prayers at Israeli military checkpoints. The Israeli army announced a military closure on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, with the exception of humanitarian and medical cases. Gazans who had previously been allowed to go pray at Al-Aqsa saw their permits frozen for Ramadan.
Israeli chief rabbi: Rebuild Jewish temple but keep Muslim shrines too
JTA 10 June — Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, David Lau, said the Jewish temple can be rebuilt on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount without moving any of the Muslim shrines there. Speaking on the Knesset Channel Tuesday, Lau appeared to approve the idea of rebuilding the temple at the hotly contested site and said that there is enough room there for “Jews, Christians, Muslims, everyone,” the Times of Israel reported Thursday. Since 1967, when the Temple Mount came under Israeli sovereignty, the chief rabbis have consistently ruled that Jews should not go there for fear they might inadvertently step over the place where the Ark of the Covenant was said to be stored in the first temple. The mount, which is adjacent to the Western Wall and was the location of Judaism’s first and second temples, is run by the Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian body, under a deal worked out in 1967. Muslims generally have full access to the site, from where Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven, and the exclusive right to pray there. Jews can only ascend the mount during limited visiting hours and are forbidden from doing anything resembling worship such as kneeling, singing, dancing or rending their clothes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to maintain the status quo at the site, even as growing numbers of Jewish activists have visited it — something many Palestinians view as a provocation. Rumors that Israel planned to change the status quo helped trigger the wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks and other violence that began in October.
Closure / Apartheid
Continuous implementation of apartheid policies in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 9 June by ISM, al-Khalil Team — For already more than seven months, Israeli forces have kept a staircase leading to Qurtuba school and the surrounding neighbourhood in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) under closed military zone (CMZ) orders, blocking the access for Palestinians only. Despite the lifting of the closed military zone (CMZ) in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood and the tiny stretch of Shuhada Street that is still accessible for Palestinians, the access to Qurtuba stairs has been kept blocked by Israeli forces for Palestinians to use. The access restriction only applies to Palestinians though – who are entirely denied the use of the stairs – while settlers are free to use the stairs however they please. The stairs, right at Daboya checkpoint, mark the line where Palestinians are no longer allowed to proceed on Shuhada Street, as from there on the street is settlers-only. Therefore, the stairs were a major thoroughfare for Palestinians, as it’s the only option to proceed when coming down this tiny strip of Shuhada Street that is accessible for Palestinians. Around 70 families have been depending on the stairs to access their homes through Shuhada Street. All of these families, with their homes further up from the stairs, are now forced to take a longer and more-strenous detour through olive-groves. These families include old people, women, little children and sick people – none of who will be allowed passage regardless of that. Additionally, the stairs have been the main access to the Muslim cemetry, as well as the second hand market in the Abu Sneineh neighbourhoood, which regularly attracts hundreds of people. With the access through the stairs closed, Israeli forces are effectively forcing all these Palestinians to take much longer detours that, depending on the way, even require a 15-minute taxi-ride. With settlers, and most often internationals, allowed to use the stairs; there’s no reason to keep up the discriminatory blocking of access for Palestinians….
Video: Palestinian carrying watermelon is stopped for four hours by Israeli soldiers
Mondoweiss 9 June — This is upsetting. A Palestinian man attempts to bring a watermelon home in Hebron and Israeli soldiers stop him and force him to put the offending fruit down … The video was produced by Ta‘ayush, and translated by the Alternative Information Center (AIC): What is green on the outside red on the inside and threatens Israeli security? On June 1, 2016 an elderly Palestinian tried to go through Shuhada Street in Hebron carrying a watermelon. This is his story.
Israel demolishes home of 16-year-old Palestinian accused of stabbing Israeli settler
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 June — Israeli forces early Saturday destroyed the family home of a 16-year-old Palestinian accused of stabbing and killing an Israeli settler in January, leaving ten people homeless. Popular resistance coordinator in the area Ratib Jbour told Ma‘an that after a large number of Israeli forces at 2 a.m. raided the village of Beit Amra west of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli bulldozers razed the two-story house belonging to Mourad Badir Adais’s family. The building housed ten people. Israeli forces also raided several other homes and a medical lab in the village, and detained Mutaz Jamal Abu Arram, according to Jbour. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the overnight punitive demolition was carried out because Mourad was accused of stabbing an Israeli settler to death on Jan. 17. The Palestinian teenager allegedly “infiltrated” the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel and stabbed 39-year-old Dafna Meir, a mother of six, before fleeing the scene. Meir was treated for severe injuries before succumbing to her wounds. After a two-day manhunt, Israeli forces detained Mourad — then 15 years old — on suspicions of carrying out the attack. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Palestinian minor was indicted for the case in February, when military prosecutors claimed Mourad decided to carry out the attack after “watching videos on Facebook portraying Israeli soldiers as murderers who defile young Palestinian women.” Israeli authorities delivered the demolition order to the family on Feb. 5, and was given until Feb. 9 to appeal the decision. The family’s appeal was rejected by Israeli justices, by charging that while there was no evidence that the family was aware their teenage son was planning an attack, they had “closed their eyes” to what was happening, according to Haaretz … Israeli rights group B’Tselem has meanwhile condemned the practice as “court-sanctioned revenge” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment and illegal under international law….
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli authorities sentence Palestinian journalist to 6 months’ detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 June — Israeli authorities sentenced Palestinian journalist, activist, and Addameer media coordinator Hasan Sadadi to six months of administrative detention on Friday, the prisoner’s rights group Addameer announced. Israeli forces detained Safadi as he crossed the Allenby bridge between the occupied West Bank and Jordan at the start of May, keeping him under Israeli military interrogation for forty days before sentencing him to six months of administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — on Friday. According to Addameer, the human rights activist was set to be released on bail on Friday, and had already reportedly paid the bail fee of 2,500 shekels ($648), when a magistrate court issued the detention order. Israel’s widely-condemned policy of administrative detention allows internment without charge or trial in maximum six-month long renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing … According to Addameer, 715 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention, including three Palestinian parliament members.
Egyptian electricity lines to Gaza repaired after severe cuts
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 June — Two Egyptian power lines connected to the besieged Gaza Strip have been repaired and are currently operational, Gaza’s electricity company announced Friday. The company said in a statement that both power lines which had been out of order since the beginning of June were now functioning properly. The Egyptian electricity lines feed power to the Rafah and Khan Yunis districts of the southern Gaza Strip with 22 megawatts of power. The besieged enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory. From the start of May, the Gaza Strip was only provided power for six-hour intervals followed by 12 hours without power for two weeks, due to problems with the Egyptian power lines. Gaza’s electricity company announced mid-May that the besieged enclave would gradually return to the usual electricity schedule of eight-hour intervals followed by eight hours without power. However, at the start of June, the Egyptian power lines were knocked out completely, causing electricity blackouts in the southern region.
Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian lands in southern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 June — Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian lands in eastern Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli forces deployed east of Shuhada Khuzaa School in Khan Yunis opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands, witnesses said. No injuries were reported.
Gaza attempts to deal with beggars
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 9 June by Rasha Abou Jalal — On May 24, the director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs of the General Investigation Department of the Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip, Imad Harb, announced in a press statement to Safa Press Agency the arrest of 72 beggars, including 42 children in the streets of Gaza. The arrests were part of the campaign launched May 8 by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza in cooperation with the Palestinian police and the Ministry of Culture to fight begging and arrest beggars in Gaza’s streets. Harb said in his statement that the problem of beggars is being addressed by making them sign pledges not to return to the streets after their arrest. In case the beggar returns to panhandling, the necessary legal measures will be taken for violation of Article 193 of the 1936 Palestinian Penal Code. According to this article, begging is an illegitimate source of income, and beggars are punished with a one-month prison sentence the first time they are caught and a one-year sentence the second time. However, this campaign has sparked controversy in the Palestinian street, as some questioned its effectiveness in light of the poor living conditions and the government’s failure to address its causes, namely the high poverty and unemployment rates … Yousef Ibrahim, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs in the Gaza Strip, told Al-Monitor, “Begging is a phenomenon rejected by society. It does not emanate from poor economic conditions, but is motivated by the desire to illegally acquire wealth.” He added, “This is why we launched the anti-begging campaign and are arresting beggars with the aim of bringing them to the probation officer in the ministry, who in turn examines the extent of their need to receive aid. Those who are deemed in need of assistance have their names added to the financial assistance list of the ministry and they are asked to sign a pledge not to return to begging. In case they do return to begging, they are held legally accountable. “Those who are not in need of financial assistance are not included on the list of financial aid and only sign a pledge not to return to begging. In case they do return to begging, they are arrested, tried and imprisoned in Ansar prison. The children are transferred to Al-Rabih Association that cares for juveniles under the age of 18.” ….
Israel changes status of soldiers declared dead in Gaza to ‘captured’
MEE 10 June — Two Israeli soldiers believed killed during the 2014 Gaza war are to have their status altered to captured and missing in action, the Israeli Defence Ministry decided on Friday. According to the Maariv newspaper, the status of Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin will be changed due to a lack of information about the conditions of their capture or loss, and the non-existence of a burial ground. Both were presumed killed in action after their disappearances during the conflict in Gaza in summer 2014. The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced the capture of Shaul in the wake of an attack on the armoured vehicle he was barricaded in together with a number of soldiers in Al-Shuja’iyah neighbourhood at the start of the war. Shaul was later confirmed by the Israelis to have been killed by an anti-tank mine during the fighting, while Goldin died during fighting in southern Gaza. Goldin is still listed as “killed in action”, but will also now receive the additional status of “missing in action and in captivity.”
Shaul will also be recognised as “killed in action” and as a soldier whose place of burial is unknown, but also as “missing in action and in captivity.” According to Haaretz, the implementation of apparently contradictory statuses is meant as a means of ensuring that efforts continue to return all remains to Israel. “We praise the IDF [Israeli army] and the security apparatus for the new status of Hadar and Oron,” said the Goldin family, according to Ynet.
Four Spanish cities retract support for BDS amid legal action by pro-Israel groups
JTA 8 June — Following legal action by supporters of Israel, four Spanish municipalities dropped their former policy of support for boycotts of the Jewish state. Occurring amid an unprecedented judicial crackdown in Spain against the phenomenon, three of the four reversals last month came following court-issued injunctions that suspended municipal motions passed in support of a boycott, ACOM, a Madrid-based pro-Israel group, wrote in a statement last week. The fourth municipality, Sant Sadurnì d’Anoià, a town of 12,000 residents in Catalonia, voided its own motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement following ACOM’s threat to sue … The anti-BDS rulings are a recent development in Spain, which has for many years been seen as a hub of anti-Israeli lobbying in Europe. In parallel to these rulings, motions proposing to adopt BDS policies have failed in five Spanish municipalities in recent months. Another three municipalities nonetheless passed BDS motions — ACOM has vowed to defeat them in court. Spain’s government has repeatedly expressed its opposition to BDS, which is illegal in neighboring France because it is deemed discriminatory. Britain’s ruling party is formulating similar legislation, officials said earlier this year.
Palestinian refugees – Syria
UNRWA: Violence in Syria destroys civilian homes, claims 2 Palestinian lives
IMEMC/Agencies 10 June — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on Wednesday, deplored the escalation of the armed conflict in Syria which, in recent days, has claimed the lives of two Palestine refugees in the northern city of Aleppo, and continues to gravely endanger the safety of Palestine refugees in the Khan Eshieh camp of southern rural Damascus. On June 4, at around 4:30 pm, 14-year-old Baraa Mahmoud Hosin Jomaa was killed in the Al Hamadaniyeh area of Aleppo city when an exploding rocket struck his home. He died as the area was being shelled by a barrage of munitions which caused dozens of deaths and casualties. On June 5, at approximately 10:30 hrs, Ms. Khairieh Zohir Siam, aged 41 years, was struck by a bullet from a sniper rifle while she was traveling in a commercial mini-bus in the Al Ramoseh area of Aleppo city. She was killed instantly, while another Palestinian refugee, a fellow passenger, was injured in the hand and neck. UNRWA strongly condemned the parties responsible for these deaths. The thoughts and condolences of UNRWA staff are with the bereaved families.
In related news, in the Khan Eshieh camp of rural southern Damascus, intense fighting involving the use of heavy weapons and airborne munitions continues to endanger the lives of Palestine refugees and to damage and destroy civilian homes. On June 4, shortly before 1:00pm, the home of a Palestine refugee was targeted and severely damaged by a munitions explosive. This just follows the death of a six-year-old Palestine child refugee from an artillery explosion on May 27, and the death of five Palestinian refugees in two separate artillery strikes inside Khan Eshieh camp on May 17….
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (2-8 June 2016)
PCHR-Gaza 9 June — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt 2 Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were killed, north of the West Bank 5 civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and a 6th was wounded in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces conducted 48 into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the Gaza Strip. 44 civilians, including 6 children, were arrested in the West Bank. 11 of them, including 5 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. A girl child and her sister were wounded by the gunfire of Israeli gunboats stationed in the sea off Rafah shore. 3 fishermen (brothers) were arrested and their boat was drowned, north of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. 80 health service units in Bab al-Ghawanmah were closed. These health unties used to offer health services to worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque….
Palestinian presidency ‘rejects violence against civilians’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 June — The Palestinian presidential office released a statement on Thursday underscoring the presidency’s rejection of the attack carried out in Tel Aviv on Wednesday which left four Israelis killed and an additional six wounded. In a statement published on the government-run WAFA news agency, the presidential office underscored its rejection to the attacks, saying it “reiterated once and again that it rejects operations against civilians by any side, regardless of justifications.” “Achieving a just peace and creating a positive atmosphere will contribute to removing the reasons behind tension and violence in the area,” the statement read. The statement added that achieving a sustainable peace would require everyone to “stop any acts that would increase tension and strain, or that resort to violence.”
Hamas, Fatah to hold new talks next week in Doha
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 June — New talks are set to be held between Fatah and Hamas in the Qatari capital of Doha next week, according to a statement released on Thursday by National Relations Commissioner for Fatah’s Central Committee, Azzam al-Ahmad. Al-Ahmad said in a press statement that the focus of the talks would be to continue discussions on ways to implement the reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian parties, adding that the implementation would require honest political intentions to end the division between the political factions. The national relations commissioner expressed concern over statements made by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzuq saying the upcoming discussions would focus on the political agenda of the government, which al-Ahmad said had already been decided on. Al-Ahmad added that statements by the Hamas leader were not encouraging and highlighted his fears that the comments could hinder the reconciliation talks.
US, Palestinians slam minister’s call for partial West Bank annexation
Times of Israel 9 June by Raphael Ahren — Asked about Uri Ariel’s plans for Area C, State Department spokesman urges avoidance of ‘inflammatory rhetoric’ — American and Palestinian officials on Wednesday denounced comments made by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who earlier this week urged Israel to annex Area C of the West Bank and who was incorrectly quoted calling for the removal thousands of Palestinians who live in that area. A spokesperson for Uriel has since clarified that while the Jewish Home party minister did call for the annexation of Area C — some 60 percent of the West Bank — he did not call for the removal of Palestinians from there, and that his comment to this effect was mistranslated. (The Times of Israel has corrected its original article to reflect this.) … The Palestinian Foreign Ministry issued a statement [Arabic] demanding the United Nations Security Council deal seriously with the call to annex Area C, which it said undermined the chances of a two-state solution and spoiled international efforts to revive serious and meaningful peace process. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry statement also denounced the “extremist” Israeli government for its alleged plans to expand Israeli settlements and for its increased calls for annexation of West Bank territory.
An Israeli living in Ramallah?
JPost 11 June by Max Schindler — It’s illegal; the IDF prohibits Israeli Jews from entering Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Yet that doesn’t stop one man from crossing checkpoints to live in Ramallah … A painter, Eflal, 33, has lived in Ramallah for most of 2016. He’s one of the only non-journalist Israeli Jew residing here. And he’s your quintessential young sabra. Eflal was born and bred on Kibbutz Yiftah … Eflal’s part-time home town, Ramallah, sitting amid a sea of Israeli settlements and military checkpoints, is also the bustling provisional capital of the Palestinian Authority. So why would an Israeli Jew to live in Ramallah? “Curiosity,” he said in an interview with the Magazine. “I knew I could speak to people and to meet people. I didn’t just come here to eat falafel.” … He thought of crashing for a night at the run-down, yet charming, Hostel in Ramallah. His stay there would soon turn into four months, as Eflal found no need to hide his identity. Palestinian friends surprised him “by how much they actually didn’t care,” and they seemed supportive. If anything, they wanted to hear what Israel was like. “I’ve met friends here who’ve never gone to Jerusalem and they’ve lived here their entire lives in Ramallah. I mean it’s crazy; Jerusalem could be 10 minutes away by car,” he said … Very few other Israeli Jews live in Ramallah. One is Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass. She avoids driving through the Kalandiya, checkpost, Hass told me last year, in an effort to avoid a legal imbroglio. Instead, she breezes through Israeli-only roads, claiming settler residency. Another Israeli residing here, Tali Shapira, is a fulltime activist with the group “Anarchists Against the Wall.” She travels back to visit family in Pektah Tikvah by joining leftwing Israelis returning from West Bank demonstrations. By residing in Ramallah, Eflal, Hass, Shapira and others defy an Israeli military decree barring Jews from entering Area A (autonomous cities in the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority). The decree – issued in October 2000, during the early days of the second intifada – came after two Israeli reservists mistakenly entered Ramallah. A mob lynched the two, killing them and mutilating their bodies. Yet the decree is mired in a legal black hole – the restriction stays on the books, despite a Jerusalem district court ruling in April 2013 that says Israeli civilians failing to comply may not be arrested.
Israeli soldier feared kidnapped revealed to have safely hitched ride with Palestinian
JERICHO (Ma’an) 10 June — An Israeli soldier who was reportedly feared kidnapped on Friday near Jericho in the central occupied West Bank was revealed to have merely accepted a ride from a Palestinian to a car mechanic, according to Palestinian security sources. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an that after investigating reports that an Israeli soldier had entered a “suspicious vehicle,” it was confirmed that no kidnapping had taken place. She added that the situation was currently being reviewed by the army. Hebrew-language site Rotter.net reported earlier on Friday that Israeli forces were deployed heavily in the central occupied West Bank district in Jericho over suspicions that an Israeli soldier had been kidnapped in the area. According to Rotter.net, an Israeli soldier had been hitchhiking near Jericho in the Jordan Valley when he stopped a vehicle and got inside, sparking Israeli fears that the Palestinian driver had kidnapped him. Palestinian security sources said that an Israeli soldier who was hitchhiking armed and in uniform, accepted a ride from a Palestinian in a Palestinian-plated car, who drove him to a car repair shop in the village of al-‘Auja, where his car was being fixed.
Sixty-eight years after Palestinian Nakba, cultural resistance grows in West Bank
JENIN (The Wire) 11 June by Urvashi Sarkar — In Palestine’s occupied West Bank, different kind of theatre, music, circus and dance are thriving, and serve not just as entertainment but a means for Palestinians to assert life, their living and existence — Juliano Mer-Khamis, one of the co-founders of Palestine’s ‘The Freedom Theatre’ (TFT), was murdered in 2011. The identity of his assassin still remains unknown. A second co-founder, Zakaria Zubeidi, has faced arrest by Israelis and detention by the Palestinian authority. Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha of the Palestinian Circus School and Loai Tafesh of the Naqsh popular art troupe too are under the Israeli detention. These examples illustrate that cultural performers and artistes in the West Bank, part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, are every bit dangerous in the eyes of the Israeli occupation as those who are part of the armed resistance. According to Mahmoud Muna, manager of the Educational Bookshop in Jerusalem, culture is the last wall of Palestinian defence against Israel, “Palestinians have been stripped of all their rights, political representation and freedom. Culture is our last wall of defence, which Israel is trying very hard to break down. But if our culture, history, narrative and language are occupied, we are then slaves of Israel.”….
Jenin, once the most militant of Palestinian refugee camps, waves a white flag
Haaretz 10 June by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — The residents of this refugee camp, once a site of horrific clashes with the army, are more occupied with Facebook these days than with the occupation. Still, no one knows how long the calm will last — Two doves, one snow-white and the other gray, flew like a sort of hackneyed symbol through the huge new hall under construction in the lower part of the Jenin refugee camp. The 750 square-meter structure is named Nisan, in memory of the month in the Arabic Gregorian calendar in which the Israeli army invaded – April 2002 – sowing horrific devastation in the camp. A project of the Popular Committee, which acts like a local government, the hall will be available at cost to local residents for private celebrations. The first such hafla will be a wedding reception for 27 couples from the camp, at the conclusion of the Ramadan holy month, which began this week. Each couple will receive a gift of $3,000 from the committee. Signs of hope in the Jenin camp. Not far away from the hall, other projects are also nearing completion. One, a stylized white Square of the Return, will be a memorial to the 57 villages from which the residents’ forebears fled during the Nakba. The camp’s entrance gateway, also of hewn stone, carries the inscription, “Waiting station for the return.” … A new cemetery was also recently dedicated in the camp – the previous one, which came into use after the Israeli invasion, is full. And in the large sports stadium, where we witnessed a rally of armed fighters during the second intifada, new lighting poles have been installed. The new inscription on the wall is: “Even if I don’t get there, it’s enough that I tried.” Nearby, a new supermarket, called Happy Family, in English, has opened, as has a car wash. Jenin, Jenin. The camp has changed since our last visit here more than two years ago. At that time, we came after 21-year-old Hamzi Abu al-Haija, – whom we’d known since he was a child, when both his parents were in prison at the same time – was killed. “There’s nothing to worry about,” he told us, two weeks before Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed him after he opened fire as they were trying to arrest him. He’s the last person to have been killed in Jenin. Two years and three months with no one killed, knock on wood. The camp has barely taken part in the current “lone-wolf” intifada. People here don’t believe in it. They’re occupied with Facebook, with exchanging recipes, with the improving economic situation, and with the vast quantities of weapons still remaining in almost every home: Although the firearms are intended for use in celebrations, they worry the locals … Jamal Zubeidi, 60, a member of the Popular Committee, is one of the most impressive residents of the Jenin camp that we’ve met over the years. He acknowledges that the situation there is better than it was two years ago – but the improvement doesn’t fill his heart with joy after all the years of struggle and suffering. “People don’t think about politics anymore,” he says. “They don’t talk about politics. Everyone thinks only about himself. We have reached a point of despair. War doesn’t work. Politics doesn’t work.” He blames the Arab world for abandoning the Palestinians to their fate. And meanwhile, no one in the camp knows how long the quiet will last. Has the hope for liberation been lost completely? Has it been crushed by Israel? It’s hard to know….
Why Israel is blocking access to its archives
JERUSALEM (Al Jazeera) 10 June by Jonathan Cook — – Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country’s state archives move online. They claim government officials are concealing vital records needed for historical research, often in violation of Israeli law, in an effort to avoid damaging Israel’s image. The Israeli army has long claimed to be the “most moral” in the world. Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks this week the 49th anniversary of the 1967 war, when it seized and occupied Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights. Many of the records to which access is being denied refer to that war and the first years of Israel’s military rule over Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Menachem Klein, a politics professor at Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, said researchers needed such documents to gain a clearer picture of events half a century ago, the goals of policymakers, and human rights abuses. “We have gradually been able to expose some of what happened in 1948 [the war that established Israel], but there is still very little available to help us understand the 1967 war,” he told Al-Jazeera.