Israel’s arms makers to become more American under new military-aid pact
Haaretz 18 Sept by Ora Cohen — A gradual end to local procurement will mean more production in the U.S. and greater collaboration with American companies — The key to Israeli defense firms not losing business under the new U.S. military aid deal will be to follow Elbit Systems and set up subsidiaries in the United States to bid for defense orders, industry officials said over the weekend. They were speaking days after the United States and Israel signed a 10-year memorandum of understanding that will provide Israel with $3.8 billion in annual grants. In the deal, Israel will no longer be entitled to spend 26.3% of the money – equal to around $815 million annually in recent years – in Israel. But the local-procurement clause only goes into effect in 2025, the sixth year of the agreement, and winds down to zero by the 10th year. Defense sources said the grace period should give Israel’s biggest defense companies – Tel Aviv-listed Elbit as well as state-owned Israel Military Industries, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries – time to adjust … As defense officials envision it, Israel will keep its technology and know-how at home while sending the production to the U.S. unit. “We’ll have cooperative agreements with American companies …. The development work will be done here and the manufacturing in the U.S.,” said one source. “Smaller Israeli companies can act as subcontractors to American subcontractors.” … The big problem for Israel’s defense industry, a key employer and one of the world’s 10 biggest arms exporters, will be preserving jobs as more manufacturing shifts to the United States.…
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Two policemen seriously wounded in Jerusalem stabbing attack
Haaretz 19 Sept by Nir Hasson — Two police officers were seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City early Monday. The alleged assailant was subdued, according to police. According to Magen David Adom emergency responders, paramedics were at the site, near Herod’s Gate, treating the two for stab wounds to the upper body. A woman in her 20s was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition and a 45-year-old man was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. More details to follow.
Palestinian shot, seriously injured after allegedly stabbing, wounding Israeli soldier
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man after he allegedly stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli army officer Sunday morning at a guard post in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat southwest of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank. The incident came after four Palestinians and one Jordanian were killed by Israeli forces in recent days, amid an upsurge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory. According to an Israeli army statement, an “assailant stabbed and wounded an Israeli army officer. In response to the immediate threat, forces fired at assailant. Both evacuated for medical care,” reportedly at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. According to Israeli media, the 30-year old Israeli army commander sustained stab wounds to his upper body, and other Israeli army soldiers stationed at the guard post shot and wounded the Palestinian suspect. According to Israeli news site Ynet, the settlement’s electronic security system had identified movement within 400 meters of the settlement between 2 and 4 a.m. on Sunday, and a “civilian security squad” accompanied by Israeli army forces went to the scene to search for a “suspicious individual.” “At around 6 a.m., the assailant, who was hiding in the bushes, jumped out and stabbed the officer using two knives,” Ynet reported. Local Palestinian news sites also reported that Israeli authorities had instructed to prevent the entry of Palestinian workers to the Efrat settlement after the attack.
The suspect was later identified by locals as 20-year-old Baha al-Din Muhammad Khalil Odeh, originally from the village of Artas southwest of Bethlehem city, who was reportedly living in the village of Wadi Rahhal located just northeast of the illegal Efrat settlement.
Israel returns body of Jordanian killed by Israel forces in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli authorities returned the body of a Jordanian citizen who was killed two days earlier to his family on Sunday, a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said. Muhammad Mahmoud said that the body of 28-year-old Said Hayil Amr, a native of the village of al-Mughayyir, was returned to Jordan on Sunday afternoon via the Allenby Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank. Israeli border police killed al-Amr on Friday, after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack outside Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem.
Family of Jordanian killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem ‘doubts’ Israeli narrative
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Sept — Said Hayil al-Amr “always dreamed of praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque,” his family told Ma‘an via telephone from their home in the village of al-Mughayyir in al-Karak, Jordan. Members of al-Amr’s family said they “doubted the Israeli narrative” of his death. The 28-year-old Jordanian citizen was shot dead by Israeli border police in front of Damascus Gate of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday afternoon, after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli officer stationed there, according to Israeli police … A witness told Israeli newspaper Haaretz at the time that he didn’t see al-Amr attacking anyone before he was killed. When Israeli police officers suspected the man and asked him to lift his shirt, al-Amr yelled “Allahu akbar,” and was shot by one of the officers, the witness added. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police found three knives on al-Amr’s person, which Rosenfeld claimed al-Amr intended to use in a stabbing attack. Several of al-Amr’s family members, who spoke to Ma‘an by phone and by Facebook messenger, said they doubted the Israeli police narrative. His mother said she was “shocked” when she received the news about his death. Al-Amr, according to a close friend, realized his dream of praying in Al-Aqsa after the young Jordanian obtained a tourist visa to visit Jerusalem through a tourism company. A first-degree relative who also asked to remain anonymous highlighted that al-Amr was “committed” to religion, but “never expressed extremist ideology, was never affiliated to any organization, or joined any political activities.” He added that al-Amr used to “go to mosque for prayer, then come back home.” “I knew him very well and we used to spend time together. He was polite, well-mannered, and committed to religion, but he was never the type of person to preach or intervene in other people’s affairs.” Al-Amr is survived by his mother, three brothers, and four sisters. He studied at Mutah University in al-Karak, and was employed by the city’s water distribution company. One of Said’s uncles said an atmosphere of sadness and shock prevailed in al-Mughayyir. “He simply went to Al-Aqsa to pray, but it seems his own feet took him to his death. (Israeli police) claimed he attempted to stab someone, but that cannot be true. He never had such thoughts.”
Jordan condemns Israeli killing of Jordanian who allegedly attacked Jerusalem cops
Haaretz 17 Sept by Jack Khoury — The Jordanian foreign ministry has condemned the killing of a Jordanian citizen who allegedly tried to stab Israeli Border Police officers in Jerusalem on Friday. Said Amro was shot by Israeli security forces at the Damascus Gate after he charged at the officers while waving knives, the police said. The foreign ministry in Amman called the killing “deliberate,” “barbaric and unjustified.” Israeli Border Police said Amro arrived at Damascus Gate from inside the Old City and waved a knife in each hand while yelling “Allahu akbar” before he was shot and killed. In a search of his body, the Border Police found an additional knife. A witness told Haaretz that the officers suspected the youth and asked him to lift his shirt. At that point, he yelled “Allahu akbar” and was shot by one of the border policemen, said the witness, who added that he had not seen Amro actually attack anyone with the knives. A spokeswoman for the Jordanian foreign ministry, Sabah Rifai, said her government does not accept the Israeli claim that Amro was trying to carry out a stabbing attack, particularly in light of a statement by the Israel Police, which said that none of the Israeli security personnel were injured. The Jordanian ministry said it would be closely monitoring the Israeli investigation of the incident … Amro entered Israel on Thursday as a member of a group of Jordanians planning on touring Jerusalem….
Israeli forces raid Hebron villages, detain 5 Palestinians, seize car
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli forces raided areas of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron in the predawn hours Sunday morning, detaining at least five Palestinians, ordering two others to appear for interrogation, and seizing one car, as reports also emerged of Israeli settlers attacking a Palestinian home in the district. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Islam Ghayad Muhammad Zawahra from his home in the city of Hebron, after searching and ransacking the house.Israeli forces also raided a house in the village of Wadi Abu Katila in northwestern Hebron, and delivered a summons to brothers Uday and Musab Hashim al-Haymuni to appear before Israeli intelligence for interrogation. In Surif in the northwestern Hebron district, locals said Israeli forces raided the village and seized a car. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention in Hebron and informed Ma‘an of two more in the city, and added that a suspected “Hamas operative” was detained in Khursa southwest of Hebron, while another Palestinian was detained in the village of Beit ‘Awwa on the western edge of the district. Meanwhile, locals reported that Israeli settlers “attacked a house” belonging to the Rabi family in the village of al-Tuwani in the southern Hebron hills, without providing further details. The Hebron raids came a day after the Israeli army announced it was deploying an additional battalion to the district, in the wake of a number of alleged attacks committed by Palestinians in the area that left three Palestinians shot dead and one critically injured by Israeli forces in less than 48 hours.
Many Palestinians injured, store burnt, by Israeli gas bombs near Jerusalem
IMEMC 18 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, the town of al-‘Ezariyya, east of occupied East Jerusalem, and fired many gas bombs, causing scores of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to burning a clothing store. Medical sources said dozens of Palestinians, including many children, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, especially after the gas bombs struck many homes and stores. Palestinian medics rushed to the town, and provided the needed aid to the wounded Palestinians. In addition, a women’s clothing store was burnt after being struck by a number of gas bombs and concussion grenades. Store owner Wisam Emtour said the clothes, and store contents were burnt, costing him a very serious financial loss. He added that the soldiers deliberately targeted his store and many nearby shops, although they were filled with customers, an issue that led to dozens of injuries due to smoke and gas inhalation. Many residents rushed to extinguish the fire, before Palestinian fighters arrived at the scene and controlled it.
Also on Saturday evening, in ‘Iraq-Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, [Israeli forces] searched homes and kidnapped five young men; many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians in overnight raids across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least 18 Palestinians in overnight raids between Saturday and Sunday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), three Palestinians were detained from Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, identified as Islam Zahda, Anas al-Karki, and Moyad al-Khateeb. Meanwhile, locals sources and the Israeli army reported earlier that three other Palestinians were detained in overnight raids in different areas in the Hebron district, one of whom was identified by locals as Islam Ghayad Muhammad Zawahra, when Israeli forces also seized a car and delivered summonses to two Palestinians to appear before Israeli intelligence for interrogation. In the northern district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained two brothers, identified by PPS as Ibrahim and Muhammad Hameidan, as well as Jameel Raghdan Qadous, Hamada Kamal Qadous, Wajdi Nadi Qadan, Osama Walid Qadous, Maher Dahshat Qadous, and Shalabi Salim Sefi. In the central district of Ramallah, PPS said Israeli forces detained Salah Hamida. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a Palestinian was detained from the Ramallah-area village of Beituniya. According to PPS, Israeli forces also detained Osama Muhammad Omar in the northern district of Tulkarem, 26-year-old Saud Fisal Thawabta from Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, and Rushdi Shwiki from occupied East Jerusalem. PPS added in their statement that Israeli forces had detained a total 45 Palestinians across the West Bank throughout the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha last week.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian boy allegedly carrying knife, Molotov cocktails
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli forces reportedly detained a 12 year-old Palestinian on Sunday afternoon for allegedly being in possession of Molotov cocktails and a knife, Israeli media reported. According to news website Ynet, Israeli border police searched the boy near an Israeli military site near the occupied West Bank city of Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and found a knife and two Molotov cocktails in his possession. The boy was then detained and taken in for questioning. The young boy was also reportedly carrying a Palestinian flag. Earlier on Sunday, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian woman near the illegal Israeli settlement of of Itamar south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, claiming to have found a knife in her bag she allegedly intended to use in an attack.
Israeli police arrest 18 undocumented Palestinians in central Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Sept — Israeli police arrested 18 undocumented Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank Saturday morning on Highway 5 in the Sharon region of central Israel. According to a statement from Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, Israeli police officers signaled a “suspicious commercial vehicle” to stop, and the driver sped away. The driver pulled over at a later checkpoint set up by police on Highway 2 North. However, after the vehicle stopped, the passengers immediately attempted to flee on foot, and “it was made clear later on that there were 18 Palestinian workers in the vehicle without permits,” al-Samri said in her statement. The 18 Palestinians were arrested and taken in for questioning … Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel due to crippling unemployment in the West Bank,as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according rights groups. Israeli authorities have imposed a massive crackdown on undocumented workers in Israel in recent months, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in March that since a wave of violence began last fall — that to date has left some 32 Israelis and 227 Palestinians killed — “a large proportion of (Palestinian) attackers were present in Israel illegally or infiltrated into Israel illegally.” … However, few Palestinians attackers were in fact workers in Israel, and the recent crackdown on undocumented workers has been condemned by rights groups as a political game, unlikely to affect the violence, yet economically harmful to both Palestinians and Israelis.
Israeli forces raid, implement closure on Bani Na‘im village in Hebron after alleged attacks
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 Sept — Israeli forces Saturday raided the village of Bani Na‘im in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, searched several homes, and delivered notices to several Palestinians summoning them for interrogation. Meanwhile, Israeli forces completely sealed the village on Friday, preventing Palestinians from entering or exiting. The raid on the village came after Israeli forces shot dead Fares Moussa Muhammad Khaddour, 18, while critically wounding his fiancee Raghad Khaddour, also 18, both residents of Bani Na‘im, after the two allegedly carried out a car ramming attack at the Elias junction near the illegal Israeli Kiryat Arba settlement. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided several homes in the village and delivered interrogation summons to Murad Muhammad Abu Sakout and Abd al-Rahman Khaled al-Teshli. Israeli forces also raided and searched the house of Youssef Khaddour, the uncle of Fares Khaddour, while Israeli forces closed the entrances of the town on Friday, placing dirt mounds and cement blocks at the Wadi al-Juz, Khillet al-Ward, and Yaqin areas of the village, preventing Palestinians from entering or exiting.
Israeli forces close northern entrance to Hebron-area village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli forces closed the northern entrance of the village of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Sunday morning, according to local activist Muhammad Ayad Awad, in order to carry out maintenance work on an Israeli military watchtower. Israeli forces are to impose the closure until Thursday, Awad said, adding that since maintenance work began Sunday morning, Palestinian cars have been barred from entering or exiting through the village’s northern entrance. Awad told Ma‘an the maintenance work will likely continue to negatively affect the daily life of Palestinian residents and their ability to travel to and from the town.
The road closure comes amid heightened Israeli military presence in the Hebron district in the wake of a number of alleged attacks committed by Palestinians in the area, with the Israeli army adding an additional battalion to the district and imposing a complete blockade on the village of Bani Na‘im.
Prisoners rights group demands urgent action to resolve suffering of hunger strikers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — The head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), Qadoura Fares, criticized on Sunday the inability of Palestinian civil society and security organizations to find a solution to end the suffering of Palestinian hunger strikers Malik al-Qadi and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, who have all gone more than two months without food in protest of being held by Israel without charges. Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul have been on hunger strike for 76 and 74 days respectively, while al-Qadi entered the 65th day of his strike on Saturday. In a statement released Sunday, Fares demanded that Palestinian organizations take a firm position against Israel’s government, security services, and judicial authorities regarding the hunger-striking prisoners. He highlighted the importance of participating in solidarity events with Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners, and warned of the shame that would befall all parties involved should one of the hunger strikers die, as lawyers have repeatedly warned that death could come at any moment for each of them.He also called upon Palestinian parties to boycott Israeli courts, especially in light of the ongoing administrative detention orders against al-Qadi and the Balbouls, which were all temporarily suspended earlier this month until their health conditions improved. However, the prisoners have steadfastly committed to their hunger strikes until they are completely released from administrative detention. Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, the Waed Captive and Liberators Society organized a solidarity event for the hunger strikers on Sunday in front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights building in Gaza City….
Palestinian detainee comes out of coma on 65th day of hunger strike
Haaretz 18 Sept by Yotam Berger — A Palestinian administrative detainee came out of a coma on the 65th day of his hunger strike Saturday. According to his family, Malik al-Qadi has been receiving forced medical treatment from the Israeli authorities. Qadi’s family said he was first arrested last December, released in May and rearrested 40 days later. He had been held without trial for four months. At the beginning of this month, as Qadi’s medical condition worsened, the Supreme Court ruled that he presented no security danger while in hospital. “Therefore we instruct, with the consent of the state, that the administrative arrest warrant against him be suspended so that his family can visit him not as a detainee, in keeping with the rules of the hospital.” On Saturday, when he regained consciousness at Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, Qadi, 19, asked to speak with a journalist about what he had experienced in detention. However, the police prohibited Haaretz from speaking with him, despite the court’s ruling. “It’s hard for me,” he managed to say, before the policeman on duty prevented the interview from taking place. Now he is conscious, Qadi is refusing medication. But according to his family, when he was unconscious he received medication and vitamins intravenously. Family members said that at no point during his detention was he informed of the suspicions against him. His father, Salah al-Qadi, said that Malik “wasn’t told anything in interrogation. Tell him what he did. He goes into interrogation and asks, ‘What did I do?’ Maybe he did something, drank something with somebody, talked to some person … but nothing. No connection to anything, not to Hamas.” Salah Qadi said his son is a media student at Al-Quds University, Abu Dis. “All Malik loves is the camera. I take responsibility for every word I say about this. Nobody in my family has gone to prison except for one guy who was out of his mind, younger than me. Malik is a person who can’t even slaughter a chicken. He only wants to study at university, get a camera, take pictures and have fun.”….
474 Palestinian pilgrims return to Gaza on first day of border crossing opening
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip early on Sunday morning, after opening the crossing to allow the return of Palestinian pilgrims who had traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj. An Egyptian security source at Rafah told Ma‘an that 474 Palestinian pilgrims had crossed into the Gaza Strip since Saturday night. Egypt will reopen the Rafah crossing on Wednesday for three days to facilitate the return of the rest of Palestinian pilgrims, the security source added.
Zaytouna-Olive participant list and replacement search for Amal
Women’s Boat to Gaza 18 Sept — As Zaytouna-Oliva makes its way towards Ajaccio, France, the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) releases its passenger list which includes women from nine countries across five continents. The list (found here) includes parliamentarian Malin Björk, a Swedish member of the EU parliament; Spanish actress Rosana Pastor Muñoz; and Yudit Ilany of Israel who serves as advisor to Knesset member Haneen Zoabi. Meanwhile, sister ship Amal-Hope remains in Barcelona following her return to that port because of mechanical problems (we had such problems in previous missions). Based on a professional assessment, she will not be in condition to follow Zaytouna-Oliva. Organizers are actively pursuing a new ship and are launching a campaign to defray this additional cost. Zaytouna-Oliva is estimated to arrive in Ajaccio on Monday, September 19. The passenger list, which will change with each leg will be updated and shared throughout the Journey. With regard to the Amal-Hope, Jaldia Abubakra, a passenger from Spain/Palestine, said “we are sorry to leave her behind. But we carry Amal-Hope in our hearts.”
Hamas says deputy leader Haniyeh to return to Gaza
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Anadolu) 18 Sept by Hidayah al-Saidi — Palestinian group Hamas has reiterated that the group’s deputy leader, Ismail Haniyeh, will return to the Gaza Strip following his current visit to Qatar. Haniyeh left Gaza earlier this month for Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, amid reports that he plans to vie for the presidency of Hamas political bureau in upcoming internal polls to succeed the movement’s political chief, Khaled Meshaal. On Saturday, the Hamas leader arrived in the Qatari capital Doha. “Haniyeh will hold meetings with his brothers in the leadership [in Doha] and will return to Gaza after the visit,” Hamas said in a statement late Saturday. The statement, however, gave no date for Haniyeh’s return to the Palestinian territory. Hamas deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk also denied Haniyeh’s plans to stay outside Gaza. “The issue of Haniyeh’s staying in another country is not up for discussion and it is premature to talk about Hamas internal election,” he told the pro-Hamas Al-Aqsa TV.
Gazan personally finances rescue for stray animals
GAZA CITY 18 Sept by Rasha Abou Jalal — Every morning, Said al-Arr, a Gazan of Bedouin origin, roams the streets of the Gaza Strip to find stray cats and dogs and provide them with food and health care. He then takes the animals that need constant care to his own association, which specializes in the care of stray animals, a first of its kind in Gaza. There are no official associations or nongovernmental organizations — local or international — dedicated to the care of stray animals in Gaza, as raising pets is not a popular hobby among citizens. Taking care of animals is costly, and Gazans can’t afford it in light of their harsh living and economic conditions. Arr established his association, “Sulala Association for Animals Care,” in May in the town of al-Zahra in central Gaza. He told Al-Monitor, “The aim of this association is to protect stray animals from being run over in the streets or getting killed. We also offer care for injured animals and raise awareness among Gaza’s citizens about animal care.” The Sulala building, which occupies a space of 2,500 square meters (27,000 square feet), includes a smaller building to provide veterinary care for the animals and an open area planted with trees where the animals are put in cages … The association houses 65 dogs and four cats. About the low number of cats, Arr said, “People treat stray cats better than dogs, as there is a popular belief that killing or injuring a cat brings bad luck — dogs do not have this reputation.” Arr opens the Sulala Association to the public to watch the cats and dogs being trained. Anyone can also adopt any animal found in the center on the condition that they provide the animal with care and protect it from abuse. Arr said, “About 25 citizens already adopted animals from the association….” Arr also launched a Facebook page to show the public the work his association is doing and to encourage Gazans to follow suit….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Finding Sisyphus in the South Hebron Hills
+972 blog 18 Sept by Sarah Stern — ‘I have the distinct feeling that the next time we come back, none of what we are building will be here.’ — I run my hands over small jagged stones, turning over rubble and finding bits of fuzz, broken marble, plastic cups … remains of day-to-day life. I realize there’s something a bit Sisyphean to what we’re doing. I scoop up a pile of rocks and dump it into a bucket, pouring these into the inside of a makeshift wall alongside other Ashkenazi Jews, bright red, oppressed here only by the sun. We are working with Palestinians from a rural community in the South Hebron Hills. Their structures are technically illegal, so the Israeli army recently demolished them. This happens often. But today, there’s almost 50 of us visitors, and we’re rebuilding. We all eye the yellow gate just meters away that opens to a fully intact illegal Israeli settlement — on the grid, despite our remote location. The doors remain closed on this Shabbat day while we work. As I’m sifting, I find a stack of right-wing Likud party campaign postcards, most likely from the nearby settlement, but who knows. I once met a serious right-wing supporter who lives in the town of Umm al-Hiran, another Palestinian village slated for demolition, except inside Israel proper. Today we are in Umm el-Kheir, being watched in the West Bank by the face of this politician, wedged on these postcards beneath our work. Here is where I’m reminded of the Greek Sisyphus, a deviant man whose divine punishment is to forever push a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Like Sisyphus, there’s no respite for the residents of Umm el-Kheir. When they rebuild their homes with metal siding donated by the EU, they know the Israeli government will destroy them. The point of this policy is to make the life of the damned unbearably frustrating….
Likud ministers, MKs urge legalization of illegal outposts
Times of Israel 17 Sept — Twenty-five of the 30 lawmakers from Likud called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend to advance a bill to legalize West Bank outposts, ignoring the position of the attorney general and — very likely — international law. The Knesset members, including nine cabinet ministers, signed a petition which calls for legislation to prevent the Supreme Court-ordered evacuation of the Amona outpost in the central West Bank. This, despite the fact that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in July deemed the bill “unconstitutional” and said it would likely be shot down by the court. “Ministers, deputy ministers and MKs from the Likud faction support the ‘resolution’ bill that is intended to legally authorize the homes of residents in…all of Judea and Samaria, and to prevent the moral, human and social injustice that would be created by the evacuation of hundreds and thousands of families who built their homes with the support and aid of Israeli governments,” the petition said, according to Channel 2 News….
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Jewish fury over plans to recreate Israeli-Palestinian border checkpoint in church exhibition
LONDON (Mail Online) 17 Sept by Dave Burke — A London church planning to host an exhibition featuring a life-sized replica Israeli checkpoint has been accused ‘fanning the flames of antisemitism’. Jewish religious leaders have hit out at the Hinde Street Methodist Church, close to Oxford Street, over an upcoming display inspired by an Israeli border control point between Jerusalem and the West Bank. The exhibition, called ‘You cannot pass today: Life through a diving wall’, will offer an insight into daily life in the Holy Land when it opens on Monday, according to organisers. Publicity material for the display says it will give visitors the chance to experience what it is like to cross a checkpoint every day, and will ‘explore how we can break down the walls that divide us’. The church said the exhibition will not criticise the Jewish community or faith. But Rabbi Barry Marcus, of the Central Synagogue, which is less than a mile from the church, said he feared it would ‘demonise’ Israel, telling The Times: ‘Why the hell is a church wasting resources on fanning the flames of antisemitism? They should be ashamed.’ And campaign group Jewish Human Rights Watch has written to the church to express its dismay over Israeli security measures being replicated. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has also added its voice to the condemnation….
UC Berkeley’s ban on Palestine course ‘McCarthyist’
SEATTLE (Al Jazeera) 18 Sept by Emily Mulder — Students enrolled in the course demand that university administrators lift the suspension, calling it discriminatory — Tensions between University of California Berkeley students and administrators came to a head this week over the suspension of a student-taught course “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis”, sparking concerns that the university is violating academic freedoms. Students and academics charged university administrators with buckling under external political pressures from Israel advocacy groups when they suspended the course on Tuesday, allegations the administration denied. Paul Hadweh, a senior undergraduate, had already started teaching the course through the university’s DeCal programme, which allows students to teach courses on material of their choice under faculty supervision. Hadweh released a public statement saying that he “learned the course was under scrutiny from a report in the Israeli media that describes the involvement of an Israeli government minister in efforts to cancel the course”. “Two hours later, I received an email from the university notifying us of the suspension,” Hadweh said. Hadweh’s supervising professor, Dr Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in Near Eastern Studies and Ethnic Studies, said he was notified by Carla Hesse, the executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, one week into the academic term that the course “did not undergo required academic review” and would be formally suspended until a review of the course material was completed. Hadweh and Bazian said the course was approved in July through all processes required by the university, including full approval from a faculty adviser, the chairman of the Department of Ethnic Studies, and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction. Negative media reports on the course began circulating earlier this month. The AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit organisation, released a statement to the UC Berkeley chancellor saying that the course met the US government’s criteria for what constitutes anti-Semitism and was “intended to indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it”….
Opinion: Israel on verge of being dismissed from world soccer because of settlement teams / Rogel Alpher
Haaretz 17 Sept — Many people won’t be aware of Beitar Givat Ze’ev, a small club that plays its games in the Israeli third division. But it could be why Israel is kicked out of the World Cup and all international soccer competitions next month.– The fans of Beitar Givat Ze’ev — a soccer team that plays in the southern section of Israel’s third division — may not know this, but their club is one of the five most important in Israel today. In fact, not in Israel. According to international consensus, Givat Ze’ev lies in what is defined as occupied Palestinian territory. This makes it a non-Israeli club playing in the Israel Football Association (IFA) … There are four other settlement clubs playing within the framework of the IFA. They represent Ma’aleh Adumim, Kiryat Arba, Bikat Hayarden (in the Jordan Valley) and Ariel. However, there are currently 153,000 signatures on a global online petition calling on international soccer’s governing body, FIFA, to enforce its own rules and expel Israel from the organization. This would mean kicking it out of the World Cup, the European Championships, and the Champions League and Europa League. As usual, Israelis who don’t want to know and who think the occupation is just dandy have yet to acknowledge the fact that, a month from now, this issue will come up for discussion at FIFA. FIFA’s rules are unambiguous. They are not open to interpretation or an issue that allows for some discretion. Since 1998, FIFA has recognized the Palestinian Football Association and the league it operates, and it sees the West Bank as Palestinian territory. FIFA rules do not permit the Israeli soccer association to operate within the bounds of the Palestinian one without the express approval of FIFA and the Palestinian association. Obviously, such permission has never been given .In order to abide by FIFA rules, Israel will have to move the activities of the teams from the settlements to within the 1967 borders … A few days ago, 66 members of the European Parliament signed a sharply worded letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, calling on him to enforce FIFA’s rules.…
Chilean MPs protest Israeli MKs’ Santiago visit
JPost 18 Sept by Lahav Harkov — Chilean parliamentarians protested a visit by Israel-Chile Parliamentary Friendship Group chairwoman Sharren Haskel (Likud) and MK Yossi Yona (Zionist Union) meant to strengthen relations between the two countries. Chile has more than 300,000 residents of Palestinian descent, making it home to the largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world. Haskel called the large Palestinian community in Chile a “challenge” when it comes to relations, saying they “take advantage of the lack of knowledge [about Israel] in South America and spread false propaganda.” Ahead of Haskel and Yona’s visit, 16 Chilean MPs, including some who identify as Palestinian, wrote an angry letter against the MKs and the local officials meeting with them. They wrote that Israeli lawmakers should not be allowed to hold high-level meetings in Chile or to legitimize Israel’s policies. Haskel said Israel has the right to defend itself against lies spread by those who seek to harm it. “There’s a strong and active Palestinian lobby in Chile, and it’s aggressive against Israel,” the Likud MK said. “That’s why we came here – to be a counterweight against the Palestinian lobby slandering Israel and sabotaging Israel’s relations with Chile.”….
Threats against Palestinian groups may damage Netherlands, government says
EI 17 Sept by Adri Nieuwhof — The Dutch government this week expressed its public concern about the intimidation of human rights organizations assisting the work of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The positions outlined by Dutch ministers make clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to the Netherlands has not tamped down concern over the threats and harassment authorities believe are connected to investigations into suspected war crimes by Israel. For months, Nada Kiswanson, a lawyer with the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, has reported receiving intimidating phone calls, emails and a bouquet of flowers with an ominous message, threatening the lives of her and her family. Al-Haq and Kiswanson believe that the threats are related to their work on the ICC’s preliminary examination of possible war crimes committed by Israel in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 … Harassment and intimidation of human rights organizations including Al-Haq and Amnesty International that support the ICC’s work is “never acceptable,” the Dutch ministers state. “Human rights defenders are indispensable for sustainable change towards more open and free societies.” The government also expressed concern that the threats against human rights organizations could damage the “status and reputation” of the Netherlands, which hosts several international juridical bodies including the ICC….
Abbas meets with Arab officials at Non-Aligned Movement summit in Venezuela
CARACAS (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met a number of Arab ambassadors on Sunday at the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Venezuela. Abbas informed Arab ambassadors of the difficult circumstances in the occupied Palestinian territory amid an escalation of Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and settlement activity. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeineh said that the Palestinian case was one of the central subjects of discussion during the summit. Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, and Palestinian Ambassador to Venezuela Linda Subih also attended the summit. Abbas had met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday to brief him on the Palestinian situation, and also reportedly met with Cuban president Raul Castro. Following the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, Abbas will head to New York to attend a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. While in the United States, the Palestinian president is set to meet a number of foreign dignitaries, including US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Fight over Palestinian electoral lists gets technical
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 16 Sept by Ahmad Abu Amer — The stages of the local council elections in the Palestinian territories that started July 27 have highlighted a deep-rooted Palestinian internal division at various levels. The division was felt even more sharply when the electoral campaigns started, when slander and insults were exchanged between Fatah and Hamas supporters. Fatah refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Gaza courts following the disqualification of some of its electoral lists by the courts and the Central Elections Commission, allegedly for not meeting the electoral requirements or violating the law. The lists that were disqualified are mostly Fatah’s, in addition to one independent list. On Sept. 4, the elections commission disqualified five Fatah lists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after objections were filed against them. The commission dismissed 154 objections raised against other electoral lists supported by Hamas and by independents in Gaza and the West Bank. The lists in question then had to file challenges before the courts in the West Bank and Gaza in accordance with the Palestinian electoral law. Five additional Fatah lists were disqualified on Sept. 8, while one list was readmitted to the electoral game in the West Bank….
Jenin’s ‘most dangerous fugitive’ arrested, Palestinian police say
JENIN (Ma‘an) 17 Sept — Palestinian security services on Saturday managed to arrest the “number one and most dangerous fugitive” in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin, according to the spokesperson for the Palestinian police. Luay Irzeiqat said in a statement that Palestinian security services detectives were notified that the “most dangerous fugitive” in the Jenin district was in a house in the village of Silat Al-Harithiya. A squad immediately rushed to the area and inspected the house. The statement said that weapons and ammunition were seized during the raid, but that the suspect fled the scene. However, Palestinian police managed to apprehend him shortly thereafter. The suspect, according to Irzeiqat, is accused of murder, shooting at civilians and security officers, illegally possessing weapons, kidnappings, and “creating chaos and disturbing the peace,” among other offences. The arrest of the man, who was not identified, came hours after unidentified gunman shot and injured an off-duty police officer in Jenin, and fled the scene. It remained unclear if the arrest was related to the Saturday’s shooting, or a previous shooting on Monday in the Jenin village of Bir al-Basha for which police said they managed to immediately arrest the suspect. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced in July plans to amend the penal code and “arrest all fugitives and put them to justice,” amid an ongoing crackdown of PA security forces on criminal activity in the West Bank….
Israeli Arab political party calls fraud allegations ‘political persecution’
Haaretz 18 Sept by Jack Khoury — Over 20 Balad party officials arrested in probe of alleged funding cover-up — Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka on Sunday rejected as false allegations that senior party officials had systematically and illegally transferred millions of shekels into the party’s accounts. The Knesset member called the police investigation, which began a few months ago and was made public on Sunday, “part of a campaign of political persecution against Balad.” Party officials were notified Sunday afternoon of an additional round of arrests of party activists. Zahalka was speaking at a press conference at party headquarters in Nazareth Sunday morning. Participants included leaders of Balad, representatives of the other three mainly Arab parties that together form the Joint List and the Chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, former MK Mohammed Barakeh. Police searched suspects’ homes and offices and detained for questioning over 20 people, including senior party officials such as former Secretary General Awad Abd al-Fatah. Balad’s MKs were not questioned by police.Investigators suspect that for a few years figures in the party hid and falsified the sources of millions of shekels given to Balad, which were used to fund its activities, while making false reports to the authorities.…
Israel’s ’50 most influential women’ – not a single Arab
+972 mag 18 Sept by Samah Salaime — Last week the Israeli magazine Lady Globes (put out by business daily Globes) published its list of Israel’s 50 most influential women for 2016. Although it remains unclear what it takes for a woman to make the list — not to mention who came up with the criteria — I decided to use the list to analyze Israeli society from the eyes of a Palestinian. I wanted to learn who these women are, and why they are so influential. The list includes truly impressive women, who at first glance seem to come from the world of business, economics, finance, banking, etc. For a moment I thought Globes was looking for women with money, but the list also includes Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), and a few spots after her is Culture Minister Miri Regev. I continued thumbing through the pages and found President of Israel’s Supreme Court Miriam Naor, as well as a number of high-ranking members of various government ministries … So, dear editors of Lady Globes, next time before you include MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union) in your list of Israel’s most influential women — despite the fact that most of the struggles she has spearheaded have not really succeeded — perhaps you should pick up the phone and call MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), the first Arab woman to head the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, and who has a positive influence on many aspects of women’s lives here, be they Arab or Jewish. I suggest you also meet Attorney Mariam Kabha, the highest-ranking Arab woman in public service, who was appointed national commissioner for equal employment opportunities within the Economy Ministry. Perhaps you should weigh looking through the list of inspiring Arab women on the website “A-List”; you’d be surprised to discover researchers and executive directors at start-ups in Arab society. You will find, among others, the “pioneer of the hi-tech sector,” Reem Younis, who heads Alpha Omega….
Tel Aviv University works to combat racism among Jewish and Arab pupils
JPost 18 Sept by Lidar Gravé-Lazi — A Tel Aviv University exchange program between Jewish and Arab elementary school students is producing “sustainable tolerance” as it works to combat racism and prejudice, according to a study published by the university in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of School Psychology. “We’ve taught Israeli Jewish and Israeli Palestinian children to be compassionate and empathetic – not only toward their friends in the program, but also toward people outside the classroom,” said Dr. Rony Berger of the Stress, Crisis and Trauma Program at TAU ’s Bob Shapell School of Social Work, who, together with Dr. Hisham Abu-Raiya, also of the Shapell School, leads the Extended Class Exchange Program (ECEP). Geared toward third- and fourth-grade Jewish and Arab pupils, the program was launched with the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa and the Tel Aviv Municipality to respond to growing tensions resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its bimonthly meetings and classes are based on direct and structured contact, a curriculum that promotes mutual respect and acceptance of the “other,” and skill training that focuses on empathy and perspective-taking – understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, desires, motivations and intentions….
Palestinian family seeks to make a ripple with a tipple
AFP 18 Sept — Nearly 20 years ago, Nadim Khoury created the first Palestinian brewery. Now, with his son Canaan, he wants to add Palestine to the map of the world’s wines. In 2013, after Canaan returned from studying in the United States, they founded a winery in the village of Taybeh set in the hills of the occupied West Bank. The Khourys, a Christian family, are one of only a handful of significant producers of wine in the Palestinian territories, along with the Salesian priests from the Cremisan monastery near Bethlehem. “Since the time of Christ, people have made wine in the Holy Land,” said Nadim Khoury, whose given name in Arabic refers to a sometimes tipsy meal companion, a character who can be found as far back as pre-Islamic poetry. “My grandmother and grandfather pressed grapes at home,” added Nadim’s daughter Madees. Their descendants now want to “increase production and improve quality,” she said. Around 20 varieties of grapes are grown in the West Bank and account for a key part of Palestinian agriculture, second only perhaps to olives. Vine-dotted terraces cling to steep hills, while in kitchens across the territories, the fruit is used for desserts and consumed freshly squeezed. Their leaves, stuffed with rice or meat, are a staple of family meals and holiday feasts. Vineyards cover about five percent of cultivated land in the West Bank, and annually produce more than 50,000 tonnes of grapes, according to the Palestinian agriculture ministry. But Palestinians, 98 percent of whom are Muslim, produce little to no wine, despite the West Bank being far from devoid of it. Some 400,000 Jewish settlers have moved to the land Israel occupied in 1967 in a situation never recognised by the international community. And these settlers have established more than 20 vineyards across the region. For Khoury, producing a Palestinian wine is as much a matter of taste as an act of faith in the Palestinian cause. Christians also represent 90 percent of the population of Taybeh — one of the highest concentrations in the West Bank. Every year the Khourys produce 30-35,000 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah red and white wines made from local grapes, using oak barrels imported from Italy and France….
Palestinian mushroom farm blighted by Israeli occupation
WEST BANK (The National) 18 Sept by Lorena Rios — When Mahmoud Kuhail thinks about why he decided to open his mushroom farm, the first in the West Bank, he remembers as a young child watching his grandmother picking wild mushrooms in Hebron and Jerusalem. Decades later and his Amoro Agriculture business was growing enough mushrooms to supply 80 per cent of the Palestinian market. But that was until three months ago when, slow and costly Israeli customs procedures on imports to the occupied West Bank and an unfair advantage given to their Israeli competitors finally took their toll. As a result, Amoro has been forced to halt its operations and rethink its strategy. The Palestinian company now faces two options: to shut down its business, or to build its own compost yard that would allow them to become self-reliant. Amoro, set up by Mr Kuhail and his two partners nearly four years ago, sprang from the absence of local mushrooms in the West Bank. After a year in business, Amoro took over Israel’s monopoly of the Palestinian mushroom market. “Unfortunately we thought it would be very easy, like any other business, but it turned out to be a very challenging business to operate,” said Mr Kuhail. Amoro used to rely on the Israeli port of Ashdod to import the compost necessary to grow their produce. However, Israeli authorities held the container for 80 days at the port, and made the small mushroom farm pay around US$1,200 (Dh4,400) per day for storage, and other expenses until it was released. Israeli mushroom farmers import the same raw materials from the same supplier in Holland as Amoro, but it takes only one or two days for their containers to be processed….
Citing ‘Zionist terrorism’, Hamas official in Gaza slams US for listing him as global terrorist
dpa 17 Sept by Saud Abu Ramadan — One of Hamas’ top leaders in the Gaza Strip condemned on Saturday the decision of the U.S. State Department to include him in its list of world terrorists. “As Israel escalates its assaults on our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the American Administration, which backs the Israeli occupation, puts me on the so-called world’s terrorists’ list,” Fathi Ahmad Mohammad Hammad said in an e-mailed press statement. “The American Administration is the biggest supporter to the Zionist terrorism,” Hammad said, adding: “This decision biased to the occupation is an additional black page in the book of the American Administration with a bad reputation.” He insisted that such decisions “would never terrify us and never break our determination to serve our people and defend their just rights whatever the price is,” adding that “dying for the sake of Allah is our goal.” Hammad is considered one of the most prominent leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip … The U.S. State Department said on Friday it considered Hammad a top international terrorist who used his position as interior minister of Hamas to coordinate terrorist cells.
200 Jordanian, Palestinian figures call for Husseini’s release
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 16 Sept — 200 Jordanian and Palestinian figures sent a letter to Jordan’s King Abdullah II appealing for the release of Ghazi Husseini, 75, member of the Palestinian national council. The letter appealed for the immediate release of Husseini who has been detained by Jordanian Intelligence Service “without any legal basis,” especially that he suffers from a number of health problems. Husseini is a resistance fighter who made a lot for his country (Palestine) and the country that hosted him and his family, the letter said. The letter pointed to Husseini’s difficult health condition as he suffers cancer and other chronic diseases that made him unable to move easily. Family sources affirmed that Jordanian security forces stormed Husseini’s house two weeks ago and arrested him without any known reasons.
Obama, Netanyahu to meet in New York: White House
AFP 18 Sept — President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the White House said Sunday. The two leaders will have a bilateral meeting Wednesday, with discussion topics likely to include the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. Earnest said the meeting would afford Obama and Netanyahu an opportunity to discuss “the strong ties between the United States and Israel.” The two allies signed a new 10-year agreement last Wednesday in Washington. It calls for the United States to provide Israel $38 billion of defense aid, beginning in 2019, the single-largest pledge of military assistance in US history. Netanyahu “will personally thank President Obama for the military aid agreement signed last week,” the Israeli leader’s office said in a statement. “Prime Minister Netanyahu will discuss with President Obama the challenges in the Middle East and the ways to advance progress in peace and security,” it said. Obama and Netanyahu, who both took office in 2009, have had a notoriously difficult relationship….
In first, Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts rockets fired from Syria
Haaretz 17 Sept by Gili Cohen — The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two rockets above the Golan Heights on Saturday afternoon, the first successful interception on the Syrian border. No one was hurt and no damage caused in the incident, the Israeli military said. The rockets, fired by Syrian rebels, were first believed to be Israel-bound. But shortly after Iron Dome was activated, it became clear that the rockets would have exploded on Syrian territory if not intercepted, the IDF said. This was the first time an Iron Dome battery successfully intercepted a rocket from Syria. In June 2014, a battery was activated on the border, but failed to shoot down a mortar shell that exploded in Israeli territory … Saturday’s incident follows two apparent spillovers from the fighting across the border this week, when Syrian mortar shells hit the Israeli Golan Heights on Tuesday and on Monday. The mortar fire was followed by Israel Air Force strikes on Syrian military targets. Also on Tuesday, the Syrian army claimed to have shot down two Israeli aircraft over the Golan Heights. Israel has denied any of its aircraft was downed.
Sabra and Shatila massacre: 34 years later, victims still awaiting justice
IMEMC/Agencies 17 Sept — Marking 34 years since the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps of Beirut, Lebanon, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), says that the victims are still awaiting justice: “Thirty-four years ago an Israeli general, Ariel Sharon, violated an Israeli obligation not to enter West Beirut and facilitated the barbaric massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees that were under his control,” said Erekat in a statement published on Friday. “Instead of being held accountable, Sharon was even promoted to become Israel’s Prime Minister. He passed away two years ago without ever facing justice for his heinous crimes.” Erekat stressed that the massacre of Sabra and Shatila “is a symbol of the Palestinian exile.” He continued: “Over the past few years, Palestinian refugees have also been persecuted and killed in Iraq and Syria. Resolving the plight of Palestinian refugees, in accordance with international law and UN resolution 194, is of vital importance for our region.”….