Before firing at a Palestinian, the Israeli sniper asked, Where do you want to be shot?
Haaretz 15 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Four rounds of sniper fire hit Mohammed Amassi, a young Palestinian baker standing on the roof of his home in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp. As he tries now to recover from his wounds, he still remembers the mocking words of the soldier who shot him — Why waste words when the video from the Palestinian news agency Ma‘an shows pretty much everything? Israeli soldiers are on the roof of the next-door apartment building: One is on the lower roof, two on the balcony of the apartment above the roof, and two more are looking out from the apartment window. A few teenage girls and children are looking at them from the neighboring roof. Total silence. Suddenly, the two soldiers on the balcony raise their hands, as though giving a signal, and one of them, the sniper, aims and starts shooting. On the roof of the building, Mohammed Amassi is hit. He falls to the ground and starts crawling for his life, bent on getting off the roof. Finally, a medical team gets him down via a ladder. The only thing Amassi is holding is his cell phone. Nothing about him could have seemed threatening to the soldiers on the roof opposite, about 80 meters (260 feet) away. The sniper took aim and fired, hitting him with round after round. The palm of one hand is covered with blood; he is writhing in pain, stunned.
A few weeks later, Amassi, 22, is in his living room, lying on a new adjustable bed that has been loaned to him by a Palestinian charity. He’s a good-looking young man, smiling and quiet … Mohammed studied interior design, but afterward became a baker to help provide for the family. He works two shifts a day, morning and afternoon, seven days a week. He has never been arrested or even been interrogated by Israeli authorities. Above the living room in which he is now recovering, another apartment is being built: he will live there when he marries and has a family of his own. His hand is bandaged, and both legs are marked with wounds and scars from the shooting and subsequent surgery. Bedridden, Amassi continues to suffer from intense pain. It’s not clear whether he will be able either to walk again or to use his hand. At the moment, he can only hobble around with the aid of crutches….
Video: Israeli sniper shoots youth during assault on refugee camp
EI 16 Sept by Ali Abunimah — This video shows part of an incident in which an Israeli military sniper severely wounded 22-year-old Palestinian Muhammad al-Amsi [or Amassi] during a massive army raid on al-Fawwar refugee camp in the southern West Bank city of Hebron in mid-August. Al-Amsi was standing on his roof talking on the telephone when the sniper shot him four times. It was filmed by Mahmoud Abu Yousef, a videographer with the Ma‘an News Agency, and published on Friday by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem as part of a report into the Israeli raid in which another youth, 19-year-old Muhammad Abu Hashhash, was shot dead by Israeli forces … -‘Where do you want it?’- In addition to the killing of Abu Hashhash, B’Tselem found that 32 Palestinians were injured during the raid on al-Fawwar refugee camp that lasted from the pre-dawn hours of 16 August until late into the evening. Israeli occupation forces searched more than 150 homes and took positions on the rooftops of dozens of them. “During most of the intrusions into homes, the soldiers closed all family members off in a single room or section of the house for several hours,” B’Tselem reported. “Soldiers broke windows, doors and walls and damaged property in 28 of the homes they invaded.” The Israeli raid was allegedly meant to search for individuals wanted for questioning and to look for weapons. Three Palestinians were detained and two guns were found. But the massive scale and lethal brutality of the assault raised suspicions among camp residents that they were actually being used as live guinea pigs for a training exercise….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Hebron; family accuses soldiers of ‘executing’ their son
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Sept — Israeli forces Saturday morning shot dead a Palestinian in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank after an alleged stabbing attack, the second Palestinian to be killed in the neighborhood in less than 24 hours, and the fifth to be killed by Israeli forces in less than 48 hours, while the family accused Israeli soldiers of “executing” their son on his way to work in Hebron’s city center. Local sources identified the slain Palestinian as 25-year-old Hatim Abd al-Hafeeth Shaludi. The family of Shaludi accused Israeli soldiers of “executing” their son while he was on his way to work. Shaludi’s brother Ayman told Ma‘an that the family lives near Al-Rahma Mosque, located just a few meters from Israeli checkpoints that surround the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, saying that Shaludi was headed to work in the morning like every morning, but when he passed near a checkpoint “Israeli soldiers executed him in cold blood.” Ayman added that Shaludi worked at a factory in Hebron and was shot walking the only way that residents of the neighborhood can enter Hebron’s city center. The family reported that Israeli forces had raided their home, searched the premises, and questioned Shaludi’s mother before leaving. An Israeli army statement said that Shaludi had stabbed a soldier before he was shot dead by Israeli forces. Israeli media reported that the soldier was lightly injured. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the series of attacks were “another example of the danger of Palestinian incitement through social media,” adding that the Israeli army is “conducting intensive intelligence and operational efforts to stop the violence.” However, the spokesperson could not explain to Ma‘an how these attacks were connected to “incitement through social media.”
Palestinian shot dead after alleged stab attack in Hebron’s Old City
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — A Palestinian man was shot dead after stabbing and lightly injuring an Israeli soldier near the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank Friday afternoon. He was the third Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in less than 24 hours, while a Jordanian national was also shot dead on Friday by Israeli police. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the Palestinian arrived at the Gilbert military checkpoint near Tel Rumeida armed with a knife, and stabbed an Israeli army soldier who was reportedly 19 years old. “Responding to the threat, Israeli soldiers shot towards the assailant, resulting in his death,” the spokesperson added. The slain Palestinian has yet to be identified. [Later: He was 15-year-old Muhammad Thalji Kayid Thalji al-Rajabi.] The spokesperson could not confirm the Israeli soldier’s condition, though Israeli newspaper Times of Israel reported he had been “lightly” injured by a knife wound to the face, and was evacuated by Israel’s emergency medical services Magen David Adom for treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Local sources said Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching the Palestinian after he was shot.
Palestinian shot dead, another injured in Hebron after car ramming attack
HEBRON (Ma’an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man at the entrance of the Kiryat Arba settlement in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron and critically wounded a woman who was also in the vehicle after the two allegedly carried out a car ramming attack on Friday that left three Israeli civilians injured. The slain Palestinian was later identified by locals as Moussa Muhammad Khaddour, 18, while the wounded Palestinian woman was identified as Moussa’s fiancée, 18-year-old Raghad Abdullah Abdullah Khaddour, the sister of Majd Khaddour who was killed by Israeli forces at the same junction in June after attempting a car ramming attack. Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner said in a statement that three Israelis were wounded in the attack, without specifying the extent of their injuries. He added that Raghad Khaddour was evacuated from the scene. Lerner also posted a picture of the crime scene on twitter, showing blood-stained car seats with a large knife placed on the passenger seat. Lerner did not reference or explain why a knife was placed in the center of the passenger seat in his statement. Another Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the army was looking into more details on the incident.
The two Palestinians originate from the village of Bani Na‘im, which has experienced an escalated crackdown by Israeli forces after a series of attacks were committed by Palestinian residents of the area at the end of June and early July. The village was completely sealed from the rest of the West Bank for more than a month as Israeli forces placed the entire village under a military blockade and revoked Israeli travel permits for some 2,700 residents of the village.
[Ma‘an Saturday morning: RAMALLAH — A lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Saturday reported that 18-year-old Raghad Khadour, who was shot with her fiancé after an alleged car ramming attack on Friday near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was in a “difficult” and “worrying” medical state. Karim Ajwah said Raghad, who has remained in the ICU of Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, was shot with live fire in the abdomen and has been connected to a respirator. Ajwah noted that Raghad had an operation on Saturday, adding that her condition remained difficult, but seemed to be stabilizing.]
Israeli forces shoot and kill Jordanian in East Jerusalem after alleged stab attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces Friday shot and killed a Jordanian youth in occupied East Jerusalem after an alleged stab attack at Damascus Gate in the Old City. Israeli police spokeswoman for Arabic media Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a “terrorist” attempted a stabbing attack on an Israeli border policeman outside Damascus Gate and was “neutralized” by Israeli forces, a term commonly used by Israeli authorities when Palestinians are shot dead at the scene of an attack or alleged attack. A witness told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he didn’t see the man attacking anyone before he was killed. When Israeli police officers suspected the man and and asked him to lift his shirt, he yelled “Allahu akbar” and was shot by one of the officers, the witness added. Al-Samri added that the youth was a citizen of Jordan in his 20s and entered Palestine on Thursday via the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan. He was later identified as Said Amr, 28. While the youth was initially reported as being Palestinian, it has not yet been made clear if he was a Palestinian citizen of Jordan. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld reported that the youth had three knives that he attempted to use while carrying out the attack, which the spokesman posted on his twitter account. Rosenfeld also said that there were no Israeli injuries during the attack and that the Damascus Gate has been completely closed off.
Another version, with a different name for the dead man:
Israeli soldiers kill a Jordanian man in Jerusalem
IMEMC 16 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Friday, a Jordanian man, reportedly after he attempted to stab Border Police officers at entrance of Damascus Gate, leading to the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. According to the army, the man ran at the officers while yelling “Allahu Akbar,” and was shot dead before he could harm any of them. Israeli sources said the man was killed after Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem, and that he “carried two knives.” The Israeli Police in Jerusalem confirmed that the slain man was a Jordanian national, and that he approached the officers while carrying a knife in each hand, and raising his arms preparing to assault the soldiers The Police said that, after the man was killed, the officers found out that he was also “concealing a knife under his clothes.” The police added that the man, identified as Fadi al-Jo‘ba, 28, entered the country on Thursday through the Allenby Border Terminal. The young man works as a photojournalist, while several eyewitnesses said he did not attempt to attack the soldiers. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said it is following the event, before coming to a conclusion about events that led to his death.
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained during military raid in Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — A 30-year-old Palestinian Thursday succumbed to wounds sustained earlier in the day during a military detention raid in the village of Beit Ula in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Muhammad Ahmad Abed al-Fattah al-Sarrahin was shot with live fire after Israeli forces stormed the village. Both Muhammad and his father, Ahmad, were detained during the raid. Witnesses said at the time that al-Sarrahin was wounded with live ammunition after a fist fight broke out between him and a group of Israeli soldiers while they attempted to raid his home. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that al-Sarrahin had succumbed to injuries sustained during the detention raid.
2 Palestinians shot, injured during clashes with Israeli forces in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians with live fire during clashes with Israeli forces near al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces shot live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, before Israeli forces retreated from the main road towards the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El…
A report recently released by the Palestinian NGO BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, warned of an intensification of the “systematic targeting” of Palestinian youth in the occupied Palestinian territory — particularly in refugee camps — since the beginning of 2016. “This targeting has taken the form of injuries and arbitrary killings by the use of live ammunition by the Israeli army in the context of arrest campaigns, military raids, and random wide searches which usually trigger clashes,” the statement said. BADIL’s initial investigations into the trend focused on the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, where at least 83 people have been shot with live ammunition since the beginning of the year, the majority in their legs and knees, causing both permanent and temporary disabilities. The escalation of live fire injuries came amid reports of an Israeli army commander responsible for the near-nightly raids into Bethlehem’s three refugee camps — Duheisha, ‘Ayda, and ‘Azza — threatening to disable all the camp youth in Duheisha….
Israeli forces raid Beit Ummar, detain Palestinian teenager
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager on Friday in the Hebron-area village of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank, as dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation when clashes broke out during the Israeli army raid.. Media activist Muhammad Awad Ayyad told Ma‘an clashes broke out between youths and Israeli forces after Israeli troops raided the center of the village and closed down al-Baqa road in the northern part of the village, preventing youths from crossing and using the road. Anan Adil Abu Ayyash, 17, was detained during the clashes.
Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinians in West Bank raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least seven Palestinians Thursday in overnight and daytime raids across the occupied West Bank Thursday, according to local and Israeli army sources … An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they detained five Palestinians in overnight raids, identifying three from the village of Surif in the southern district of Hebron, claiming two were “Hamas operatives.” They also identified one detainee from Hebron city, and one from the al-Amari refugee camp in the central Ramallah district.
Army kidnaps two Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC 16 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, searched homes and kidnapped two Palestinian men. The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers kidnapped Shadi Mohammad Abu ‘Aker, 32, and Mamdouh Saud Karaja, 21. The PPS added that Abu Aker was a former political prisoner who was held by Israel for ten years. Late on Thursday at night, the soldiers invaded Zabbouba town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, clashed with local youths and fired many gas bombs, causing several Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Family of man killed by Israeli army feels ‘powerless’
SILWAD, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 16 Sept by Nigel Wilson — On a recent afternoon, three generations of the Hamed family gathered in the living room of their family home in the occupied West Bank town of Silwad. Reunited amid grim circumstances, the family was mourning the death of Iyad Hamed, 38, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on the outskirts of town late last month. Brothers, parents and cousins came and went, as Iyad’s two young children clambered over the sofas. Iyad, who had a cognitive impairment, was shy, quiet and enjoyed walking by himself or spending time with his wife and children, his family said. “He was a simple guy and led a simple life. His mind operates differently from our minds; he was just very simple,” Iyad’s brother, Yahya, told Al Jazeera. Iyad had worked in the building industry for two decades, initially with his father Zakaria. They often worked in the Palestinian towns and villages of the central occupied West Bank. In the week before his death, Iyad had been working for a contractor in the village of Mazraa, just north of Silwad. “We were very close. We spent a lot of time together. I took him to work with me in construction in 1990 and we continued until I left for the United States. He was reliable and loyal. He was always the one we could turn to,” Zakaria told Al Jazeera, holding back tears. Iyad’s parents, along with five of his brothers, have all moved to the US within the past decade, and Iyad was also hoping to relocate there. Yahya, who lives in Ohio, visited his brother earlier this summer for a vacation. “We talk a lot on the phone; we are a close family,” he said. “Iyad likes to get dressed, and dress nice, so when I came from the States, I brought him some new shoes.” The morning of Friday, August 26, started typically for the Hamed family. “It was a completely normal day; nothing strange or different happened that morning. We had breakfast together with the family,” Nirmeen Hamed, Iyad’s wife, told Al Jazeera. After breakfast, Iyad left his home and picked up treats for his wife and two young children from the local grocery store. After returning home to deliver the snacks – crisps and chocolates for eight-year-old Zakaria and two-year-old Layan – he told Nirmeen that he did not want to be late to the mosque, and he promptly left the house. Within an hour, the town was awash with rumours that there had been an incident close to the Israeli army watchtower on the road to Yabrud, a neighbouring town. Iyad had been shot dead. Iyad’s family believes that he was walking to the mosque in Yabrud when he encountered soldiers, panicked and began to run….
In wake of attacks, Israeli officer vows strict punitive measures to come in Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — After two Palestinians and one Jordanian were killed on Friday in separate incidents after they allegedly carried out attacks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, an Israeli officer vowed that strict punishments would be imposed on Palestinian civilians residing in the villages from where the slain Palestinians originated … In a statement, Director of the Hebron district office for Israel’s Coordinator of Israeli Government’s Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Hariz Safadi said Israeli authorities could not rule out the possibility of imposing punitive measures in the villages where the slain Palestinians resided. He said Israeli authorities “plan to impose punishments and security arrangements” on the Hebron-area village of Bani Na‘im, where the Khaddours were from, and its surrounding areas. Safadi added that the attacks came after “a period of calm” in which Israeli forces provided “facilitation” for Palestinians, such as an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to move ahead with plans to build a gas pipeline to the Gaza Strip and an agreement allowing the PA to manage international postal services between the occupied Palestinian territory and the rest of the world. Only a month ago, Israeli forces lifted a more than one-month military blockade on Bani Na‘im, imposed in July after a resident of the village killed a 13-year-old Israeli girl and wounded another Israeli in the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement. The Palestinian attacker was shot dead at the scene.
Following the siege of Bani Na‘im, the entire district of Hebron was also put under a military closure amid a massive manhunt for the suspect responsible for a shooting attack which left an Israeli man dead. The manhunt was concluded when the gunman was killed after Israeli forces bombarded and destroyed a house while he was inside, by firing anti-tank missiles at the house and ultimately razing it to the ground with bulldozers. The home of his accomplice, who was later arrested imprisoned by Israel, was also punitively demolished, leaving his entire family homeless. Israeli forces also detained scores of Hebron residents in nightly raids, restricted movement for tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians living in the Hebron area, revoked Israeli travel permits for some 2,700 residents, and cut tax transfers collected by Israel on behalf of the PA in the wake of the attacks.
Police admit Palestinian was arrested to prevent him from protesting
+972 Blog 15 Sept by ‘John Brown’ — Police arrested Muhammad Abu Hummus to prevent him from peacefully demonstrating against the Jerusalem Marathon — then lied about it — In March of this year, Israeli police arrested Muhammad Abu Hummus, a resident of the village ‘Issawiya in East Jerusalem, where he serves as a member of a community organizing committee. He was arrested along with two other residents for alleged disorderly conduct. At 4 a.m. on March 18, approximately 20 police officers arrived at Abu Hummus’ home and took him to the local police station for interrogation, even though a simple summons would have sufficed. The police, however, did not proceed to interrogate him over disorderly conduct of any sort. During his detention Abu Hummus claimed that he was being held in order to prevent him from demonstrating against the annual Jerusalem Marathon, which was set to take place that day, partially in East Jerusalem. Lo and behold: after the marathon came to an end, he was released. When Abu Hummus asked an interrogator at the station whether he was in fact detained to prevent him from protesting, he was told he was mistaken. Even the police spokesperson rejected the claim, telling the press that “the three were arrested over suspicion of involvement in disorderly conduct, with no connection to the marathon.” Following his arrest Abu Hummus filed a civil suit against the police over false imprisonment and distress. Now the police is admitting in its statement of defense that they lied, and that Abu Hummus was indeed arrested to prevent him from protesting the marathon:….
Israeli soldiers murdered dozens of captives during one of the wars the IDF fought in the first decades of Israel’s existence
Haaretz 16 Sept by Aluf Benn — According to testimony obtained by Haaretz, captives were ordered to line up and turn around, before they were shot in the back. The officer who gave the order was released after serving seven months in prison, while his commander was promoted to a high-ranking post — Israeli soldiers murdered dozens of captives during one of the wars the IDF fought in the first decades of Israel’s existence. The officer who gave the order to kill the prisoners was tried, but got off with a ridiculously light sentence. His commander was promoted to an extremely senior post and the entire affair was hushed up. The dozens of prisoners were soldiers in one of the enemy armies. They had surrendered after the battle and thrown down their weapons. Some of them were seriously wounded. The Israeli soldiers who initially took control of the place where they surrendered gathered them into an interior courtyard surrounded by a wall, gave them food and talked with them about their lives and their military service. A few hours later, these soldiers were assigned a different mission, and another Israeli force was sent to replace them at the site where the captives were being held. This changing of the guard prompted questions among the officers at the site as to what to do with the captured enemy soldiers, because the new force refused to accept responsibility for them, while the departing force had no means of transporting the prisoners. The company commander who was the officer in charge at the site then ordered his soldiers to kill the captives. According to testimony obtained by Haaretz, the captives were ordered to stand in a line and turn around, then shot in the back. An enemy officer who had been serving as a translator fled, but was shot to death by soldiers from the new force, who were in a jeep. Following the murder, an army bulldozer piled the bodies into an improvised grave.
Two eyewitness accounts of the prisoners’ murder were given to a Haaretz reporter many years ago … This murder of dozens of prisoners was one of the most serious war crimes in the IDF’s history, but the army whitewashed it and hushed it up. Making the details public remains important even today, in order to understand the history of the IDF’s combat ethics and to learn leadership, educational and command lessons for the future. [This article has been censored. To find out when, where, and to whom this crime happened, and who perpetrated it, see here]
Prisoners / Court actions
More than 100 detainees join hunger strike
IMEMC 16 Sept — The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported, on Friday morning, that more than 100 detainees have joined the hunger strike, in solidarity with the striking detainees Mohammad Balboul, his brother Mahmoud and Bilal Kayed. The Committee said the detainees are held in Ramon, Nafha, Negev, Ofer and Galboa’ Israeli prisons. In a press release, the committee said that the detainees have been returning all meals for the last three days, and more are likely to join the strike soon. It added that the Israeli policies against the detainees, the constant abuse and violations, and its rejection to listen to their legitimate demands could lead to very serious consequences. The committee also said that detainee Malek al-Qadi who fell into a coma ten days ago, after 57 days of hunger strike, is in a life-threatening condition, especially after developing pneumonia, heart issues, hearing loss and various infections throughout his body. In addition, the committee said that hunger-striking detainees Mohammad Balboul and his brother Mahmoud, remain in serious conditions at the Wolfson Israeli medical center. They are suffering from loss of eyesight and hearing in addition to constant pain in the abdomen, head, joints and frequent spasms. They are also frequently losing consciousness. The Detainees’ Committee called on the international community to intervene, and pressure Israel into ending its crimes and violations against the detainees, and to save their lives.
Palestinian driver charged after police shoot passenger
AFP 15 Sept — A Palestinian at the wheel of a car when police fired on it, killing a passenger, was charged with manslaughter Thursday after prosecutors said his erratic driving made officers shoot. Ali Nimr was driving in east Jerusalem in the early hours of September 5 with his cousin Mustafa Nimr when he tried to evade a police spot check and ignored orders to stop, according to the charge sheet, obtained by AFP. Police said at the time they feared that the driver was trying to run them down in a deliberate attack and they fired at the vehicle, killing Mustafa who was in the passenger seat … The shooting took place in Shu‘afat Palestinian refugee camp where police were conducting an unrelated search for weapons … Police subsequently found that Nimr was not seeking to ram them but they said his wild driving made police suspicious and he was therefore responsible for his cousin’s death.”The accused drove while he was drunk and under the influence of dangerous drugs, with the deceased sitting next to him,” said the charge sheet filed in Jerusalem magistrates court. “The officers at the roadblock signalled repeatedly with their flashlights to the accused to stop and called on him to halt in Hebrew and in Arabic.” It said the police fired two sponge-tipped bullets at the car windscreen but still it did not stop. “The accused broke through the police roadblock at high speed and did not stop,” it said. It was then, the prosecution said, that the officers felt that their lives were endangered and opened live fire. “As a result of the fire the accused was hit along with the deceased who died at the scene as consequence of a gunshot wound to the head,” the charge sheet said. The justice ministry unit that probes police conduct opened an inquiry, as is routine when civilians are killed. The prosecutors were however adamant that blame for the killing rested with Ali Nimr. “The recklessness and negligence of the accused… caused the death of a person,” they wrote. He was charged with negligent manslaughter, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and driving while intoxicated.
Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in Gaza clashes
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians on Friday after clashes broke out during protests east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip when several youths gathered near the border fence to protest Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and the ongoing blockade in Gaza. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health Spokesman in the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qidrah said one Palestinian was injured in the thigh and in moderate condition, while the other was injured in the hand … Earlier this month, an 18-year-old Palestinian in Gaza was killed after a soldier reportedly shot the youth in the head during protests east of al-Bureij refugee camp. The Israeli army, however, has denied any involvement in the deadly shooting. At least 28 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since a wave of violence first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel last October, according to Ma‘an documentation. The majority of the slain Palestinians were shot dead during protests along the security barrier near Israel.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing for 4 days to facilitate return of Palestinian Hajj pilgrims
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Egyptian authorities announced Friday that the Rafah crossing would be open for four days to allow for the return of Palestinians on the Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The Gaza Strip crossings committee said in a statement that they were informed by Egyptian authorities that the crossing would be open on Saturday, 18, 21, 22, and 23 to facilitate the return of pilgrims. The committee added that humanitarian cases inside the Gaza Strip or stranded on the Egyptian side would not be permitted to enter or leave the besieged enclave during these days … Palestinians in Gaza must receive permission from the Egyptian government to go on the Hajj pilgrimage, as the airport in Cairo is the only avenue Gazans have to travel abroad.
Hajj is ‘blessed season’ for Gaza shop owners
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 16 Sept by Huda Baroud — At a market in Gaza, Souad Abu Jarbou filled four large bags with prayer rugs and different gift items, including prayer beads, perfumes, incense, jalabiyas and ihram clothing. It cost her $1,500 to buy the various gifts for the guests expected to visit her family to congratulate her mother for making the hajj on Aug. 27. “My mother decided that we should buy gift items from the local Gaza market, particularly since the various items are less expensive than those in the Saudi market,” Abu Jarbou told Al-Monitor … Some pilgrims bring their relatives special gifts from Saudi Arabia, such as cell phones, jewelry and Gulf-made abayas. Ibrahim Shurfa, a customer in the market, explained to Al-Monitor, “The pilgrims use the money given by family members to get them some clothes and special things, such as loose overgarments, incense and devices like cell phones.” He noted that perfumes and incense of the kind in Saudi Arabia are unique and difficult to find in Gaza. “My father-in-law bought traditional gift items for guests who will be congratulating him on the pilgrimage,” said Shurfa. “The pilgrims’ families are buying presents from Gaza to save money and time, since it has become difficult to carry luggage through Egypt from Saudi Arabia to Gaza, given the many Egyptian checkpoints on the way back until the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.”….
Zaytouna-Olive left Barcelona, was followed in Spanish waters
WBG — UPDATE: at last news, the Zaytouna-Oliva is still in Spanish territorial waters and is being shadowed by Coast Guard vessels. We remain in touch and hope that they will be able to proceed on their voyage towards Ajaccio as planned. —- For immediate release – Barcelona, Spain 2016-09-16 Due to technical problems, the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) Amal-Hope returned to Barcelona and is now docked at a mooring in the Barcelona area. Its sister ship Zaytouna-Oliva was temporarily delayed by the port authorities, although it did possess all necessary documentation. While Amal-Hope is getting assessed for needed repairs, Zaytouna-Oliva has now finally left Barcelona. With regards to the Amal, WBG crew member, Madeleine Habib from Tasmania, Australia, explained that “safety is paramount. As eager as we are to visit our sisters in Gaza, we also want to make sure that we aren’t taking unnecessary risks in our voyage.” Habib, a seasoned skipper, has traveled extensively across the Mediterranean on Médecins San Frontières rescue missions to help refugees. WBG participant Yudit Ilany from Israel expressed the collective resolve of the women passengers. “We are certainly disappointed our French friends in Ajaccio may not have a chance to see Amal-Hope, but we trust that they will understand our priority of ensuring we sail to Gaza.” Wendy Goldsmith, a WBG organizer from Canada, agrees. “The Palestinian people are well-known for their steadfastness which they call sumud. Like them, we must continue with patience and perseverance towards our ultimate destination.” Once an assessment of the Amal-Hope’s technical problems is complete WBG leadership will assess the prospects of continuing the journey directly to the final European port of call, Messina, Italy. Claude Léostic, Freedom Flotilla representative in France, notes that while “our friends in Ajaccio will miss having a proper visit with Amal and Zaytouna, they look forward to a visit from one of the boats headed for Gaza.”
WATCH: Jewish American explains why she’s on latest flotilla to Gaza
Israeli Social TV 16 Sept — For eight years now, international activists have attempted to symbolically break Israel’s decade-long blockade on the Gaza Strip. In 2008, the Israeli Navy let two sets of boats through. Two years later, Israeli commandos killed 10 activists on the ‘Mavi Marmara.’ Every year since, activists have attempted new flotillas, all of which have been stopped by Israel. This year, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is sending a ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza,’ a flotilla of two boats named ‘Amal-Hope’ and ‘Zaytouna-Oliva.’ We spoke to one of the participants before the flotilla left its first port in Barcelona this week.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces evict Palestinian family in East Jerusalem to make room for settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Sept — Israeli forces Thursday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the neighborhood of Saadiya in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem in order to make room for Jewish-only housing managed by right-wing settler group Ateret Cohanim. Mazen Qirrish, the owner of the house, told Palestinian Authority (PA)-run Wafa News Agency that Israeli police broke into the house and gave him an eviction order issued by an Israeli court, claiming that Qirrish was no longer a “protected tenant.” Muhannad Jubara, the lawyer for the family, told Ma‘an in May that the Qirrish family fell under “protected status,” which refers to certain Palestinians in East Jerusalem who held rental agreements with the Jordanian government before 1967, when Israel occupied the Palestinian territory. Leaseholders are considered protected tenants for three generations. However, when the last family member of the third generation dies, the family loses the status. The Israeli-issued court order evicted Qirrish and eight family members from a home they had lived in for 58 years, according to Wafa. A video of the family sitting on a street with backpacks stuffed with their belongings was posted online by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), showing Qirrish visibly distraught and condemning the eviction. “My home is my soul. They (Israel) took it away from me. I couldn’t defend it alone,” Qirrish said in the video, adding that “every piece of earth in our home is very dear to us.” The family has battled eviction orders for several decades. Most recently, the family had challenged the eviction orders by appealing to Israeli courts, but their appeal was rejected in May … Qirrish told Ma‘an that in July 2010 Israeli settlers seized parts of the house. Following the settler takeover, an Israeli court ruled that the family had to evacuate the property completely. The eviction order was reportedly approved by both the Jerusalem district court and Israel’s Supreme Court….
Israel forces Palestinian to demolish his home in Jerusalem
IMEMC 17 Sept — Israeli soldiers forced, Friday, a Palestinian man to demolish his own home, in Jabal al-Mokabber town, south of occupied East Jerusalem, after the City Council ruled for the demolition of the property, under the pretext of being built without a permit. The Palestinian, Morad Ja‘abees, built him home ten years ago, and was living in it with his wife and eight other family members. He resorted to demolishing the property as the fines and costs are more than 80.000 Israeli Shekels, should the City Council conduct the destruction. “I received a demolition order three months ago,” he said, “Having Israel demolish my home would costs me much more than the costs of destroying my home on my own – It is very hard for a human being to destroy his home after he built it brick by brick….” “I am from Jabal al-Mokabber; I was born here, raised her and will continue to be here, even if I have to live in a tent,” he added, “Israel is practicing ethnic cleansing against us, wants the Palestinians out of occupied Jerusalem.” It is worth mentioning that dozens of Palestinians volunteered to help the Palestinian since early-morning hours until the evening, especially since they also had to remove the rubble as part of the Israeli ruling against the property.
Israel: West Bank school for Bedouin children to be demolished, relocated
Haaretz 15 Sept by Yotam Berger — More than 100 students are enrolled in the school in Khan al-Ahmar, which has become a symbol for the West Bank’s Bedouin community. The structure was built in 2009, but local residents claim they were unable to obtain a permit due to Israeli policy — A school in the illegal Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, near Kfar Adumim in the West Bank, is to be demolished and moved to another location, the state informed the High Court of Justice Wednesday. Responding to a petition by residents of Jewish settlements near the school, the state argued that the Defense Ministry was looking for an area to which to move the school. The school was built in 2009 with the assistance of an Italian NGO, Vento Di Terra, using ecological methods including construction out of used tires. There are currently more than 100 students at the school, which has become a symbol for the West Bank’s Bedouin community. Diplomats frequently visit the school to express support for the Palestinians. Residents of the nearby settlements petitioned the High Court a number of times demanding that the school be demolished. The residents of Khan al-Ahmar claimed through their attorney Shlomo Lecker that they were unable to obtain a permit to build the school because of Israel’s discriminatory policy. Eid Hamis Jahalin, a local resident, told Haaretz following the state’s announcement to the court that “it’s all because of Kfar Adumim,” adding: “The school isn’t bothering anyone. This is happening because the settlers want all the Bedouins out of the area entirely, that’s their decision. So now they start with the school and after that, there will be a demolition order against all the Bedouin.”….
Restriction of movement
Israel temporarily denies entry to 200 Muslims returning from hajj
Times of Israel 16 Sept — Some 200 Muslim pilgrims returning from the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia were stranded Friday at the Allenby border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan. Israel Radio said that the pilgrims were turned back due to a dispute over work hours between Israel’s Interior Ministry and its Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration (PIBA). The radio channel said it was 250 pilgrims, not 200, who were refused passage at the border crossing. The crossing is the central departure and entry point for West Bank Palestinians. According to Army Radio, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz tried to intervene in order to allow the pilgrims to cross but to no avail. The pilgrims were told that they were denied passage as their arrival had come too close to the start of the Jewish Sabbath, when state officials do not work. They were sent back to Amman, where they would spend the next 24 hours in a hotel paid for by an NGO, and would return to Israel on Saturday night. The NGO was not named in the report. Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara became involved from Washington, where he was on an official visit, to help resolve the situation, Israel Radio said.
PHOTOS: Palestinians visit beach during Eid al-Adha holiday
Activestills 15 Sept Photos by Oren Ziv — Most of the West Bank is no more than an hour’s drive from the beach, but the Palestinians who live there cannot visit the Mediterranean without a special permit from the Israeli army. Those permits are usually difficult to come by. A few times a year, however, the army issues large numbers of entry permits to West Bank Palestinians, mostly during Muslim holidays. During the Eid al-Adha holiday this week, for example, the army issued 100,000 permits to Palestinians valid from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to AFP. For many, it is their first opportunity to swim in the sea.. Many Palestinians were expelled from towns and cities inside Israel before and during the 1948 war, others temporarily fled the fighting but were not allowed to return once it ended. Jaffa, which was one of the largest Palestinian cities and economic centers before the war, was depopulated of the vast majority of its Palestinian residents. During Muslim holidays in which the Israeli army allows Palestinians to enter Israel, like Ramadan and Eid al-Edha, thousands make the journey to Jaffa to hold barbecues along the shore and enjoy the beach and sea. Others head to Haifa and Acre in the north of the country. Although Jaffa still has a significant Palestinian population, it has a Jewish majority today and is in the process of rapid gentrification that is leading to the displacement of more and more Palestinian residents.
Birzeit University condemns denial of entry to UK academic
Birzeit U. 16 Sept — Birzeit University condemns in the strongest possible terms the denial of entry to Dr. Adam Hanieh, who was invited by the Ph.D. Program in the Social Sciences at Birzeit University to deliver a series of lectures at the university. Dr. Hanieh, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, was deported back to London on the morning of September 13, 2016. He was held for questioning for 10 hours at Ben Gurion airport, and then taken overnight to a detention centre outside the airport. In addition to being refused entry, Dr. Hanieh was banned from entering the country for ten years. Dr. Hanieh was scheduled to share his vast knowledge of global and Middle East political economy with students in the Ph.D. program as well as the university community in a series of lectures scheduled in the coming two weeks. Hanieh is an accomplished scholar … This act of denial of entry and deportation by the Israeli state and its agencies is part of a systematic policy of denial of entry to international academics, professionals and activists intending to visit Palestine. This policy represents an attack on Palestinian academic freedom, and is routinely practiced at the two entry points, the airport in Tel Aviv and the Jordan valley crossing from Jordan.
Israel bars American journalist from entering Gaza citing ‘pro-Palestinian views’
teleSUR 15 Sept — While some media outlets have been able to access the strip, Israel has been known to place restrictions on representatives from critical media organizations wishing to enter Gaza — Abby Martin, host of teleSUR’s “The Empire Files,” has been accused by the head of Israel’s foreign press office, Ron Paz, of not being a journalist because of her her pro-Palestinian views. “We took a look on your Twitter account too, just to get a sense of it,” Paz told Martin in an email Wednesday. “What we found can easily be labeled as pure Palestinian advocacy, and sure not journalism.” Paz provided three examples of tweets by Martin, which are clearly critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “Our squad, from all different backgrounds, in solidarity with #Palestine’s resistance — One day this wall will fall!” reads one tweet that was reshared by Martin and used by Paz in his email to point to her pro-Palestinian “bias.” Requesting an explanation, Paz said: “Please explain if this is the correct professional approach of a team of journalists arriving to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Isn’t supporting ‘Palestine’s resistance’ already taking side(s) in the most biased way can be (sic) imagined?” “US issues biggest military aid package ever to Israel, $38 billion to ensure apartheid & brutal occupation continues,” reads the second tweet shared by Paz in his email. “Please explain if this too falls under professional, unbiased journalism, or is it pro-Palestinian activism,” the Israeli foreign press chief asks. Last week Paz told Martin that her press pass to enter the Palestinian Gaza Strip was put on hold pending an investigation by his department about teleSUR cooperating with Iran’s state-run media outlet, HispanTV, a country branded an “enemy state” by Israel. In his latest email, the senior Israeli official said the investigation has confirmed the allegations, and requested both Martin and teleSUR address the issue….
The ethnic cleansing of al-Sindiyana
+972 Blog 14 Sept by Noam Rotem — True reconciliation can only begin once we acknowledge past injustices. And there’s a lot to own up to — When Prime Minister Netanyahu released a video blaming Palestinians for wanting to commit ethnic cleansing against Israeli settlers last week, he may have touched on a topic that hits a little too close to home: Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 — the Nakba. One of the villages that was erased during that ethnic cleansing was al-Sindiyana, a lively village that stood on a hilltop on the southern edge of the Carmel Mountain. Proof of its existence goes back to the 18th century, and the village appears in the maps and reports of many researchers and tourists from the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, including Ottoman and British land registries that list the number of village houses, the different types of agriculture grown there, and details about its residents. Named after the oak trees that surround it, al-Sindiyana was ethnically cleansed in 1948 by the Irgun (Etzel) and Lehi (Stern Gang) militias. Its residents were expelled, some of them were murdered, and the dozens of homes left abandoned were blown up. Today, only the stones that were once part of those homes lie strewn across the field.
Christian groups slam Israel over Gaza ‘prison’, call on US to cut military aid
Christianity Today 16 Sept by James Macintyre — Two leading Christian groups have strongly criticised Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, demanded the Jewish state end the “prison-like conditions” in Gaza and called on the US to cancel its military aid budget to its Middle Eastern ally. In a joint statement following a “consultation on the Holy Land” this week, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The National Council of Churches of Christ, USA (NCC) ecumenical groups that represent over 545 million Christians combined, said that “keeping an entire population under occupation and even in a closed area, such as Gaza, in prison-like conditions is a grave and unsustainable situation.” It added: “We are also well aware that Israel is the occupying force and has commanding power over the people of Palestine and, thus, bears special responsibility for taking the initiative.” The statement called on the US to “cease its practice of arming various state and non-state actors in the Middle East and, in particular, to reconsider its proposed $38 billion military aid package to Israel, for the last thing needed at this time is more weapons,” and “end the current wave of legislative efforts to penalize the use of non-violent economic measures to influence policy in Israel.” The statement said: “No people should be denied their rights and, certainly, no people should be denied their rights for generations. The unresolved conflict in Israel and Palestine is primarily about justice, and until the requirement of justice is met, peace cannot be established. As Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza nears the 50-year mark, generations have been suffering under this reality.” ….
Israel, PA to move ahead with Gaza gas pipeline
Times of Israel 15 Sept by Avi Issacharoff & ToI staff — Quartet-chaired and Dutch-supported task force to review feasibility study on route, costs and funding from donor states – –Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to move ahead with plans to build a gas pipeline to Gaza in an effort to boost energy and water supplies to the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave. Gaza faces a severe energy crisis, with authorities using an 8-hour on, 8-hour off electricity rationing system. The sole power plant in Gaza routinely operates at half capacity. A source in the PA told The Times of Israel that Palestinian officials were told the Israeli political echelon gave the go-ahead Tuesday. Israel and the Palestinians are set to jointly request funding for the pipeline from a number of donor countries. A committee comprised of representatives of such donor states is set to meet in New York later this month. The agreement came amid a number of economic deals between Israel and the PA, including a massive NIS 2 billion ($530 million) Palestinian debt to the state-owned Israel Electric Corporation. Agreements on upgrading the postal service system and 3G cellphone technology in the West Bank were also signed recently….
French official visits Israeli jail in West Bank as Paris grapples with terror
JPost 15 Sept by Yonah Jeremy Bob — A French politician and top anti-terrorism expert who has urged his country to adopt the practice of administrative detention visited Israel’s Ofer Prison on Thursday morning, to learn more about how Israel uses the controversial procedure. The Jerusalem Post has learned that the official, Georges Fenech, the French counter- terrorism “czar” and head of the country’s inquiries into its failure to block major recent terrorist attacks and an opposition MP, met with IDF Judea and Samaria Court President Col. Netanel Benishu during his visit. There have been many European and UN delegations that have visited the West Bank facility in the past to criticize Israel for its treatment of Palestinian- defendants and detainees, but this was the first time that an official had come to learn from the facility’s work methods. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had no official comment. A spokeswoman at the French Embassy said that Fenech made the visit as a member of parliament, and that the embassy was not involved in organizing it or in any of the logistics behind it. She had no comment when asked whether the embassy believed the visit was a positive or negative development … On Wednesday, Fenech dropped a political bombshell by asserting that in France “we need to have administrative detention.” Without specifying a time, he announced that he planned to visit Israel’s detention center at Ofer Prison as a possible model … “I know as a judge that it is hard to reduce civil liberties,” he said. “But when someone is on the S register [in France], not the 15,000 [suspicious] people, the first few hundred on the list – should we wait for them to act or should we act before them? If you want to insist, you can wait for them to have a lawyer, but in the meantime people are killed. Or you can sacrifice a little of your freedom, arrest them before they act, put them in detention centers to evaluate how dangerous they are.”….
US designates senior Hamas figure ‘global terrorist’
WASHINGTON (AFP) 16 Sept — The United States today added a senior Hamas official, the Islamist group’s former interior minister Fathi Hammad, to its “global terrorist” list. Hamas, the Palestinian party controlling the Gaza Strip, has already itself been proscribed by the United States as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Under the new designation, US citizens and companies will be banned from doing business with Hammad and any property he holds in areas under US jurisdiction will be frozen. According to the US State Department, which issued the designation, as interior minister Hammad used his position to “coordinate terrorist cells.” The statement also said Hammad founded Al-Aqsa TV, “with programs designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood.
Arab Israeli MK sparks controversy with harsh Peres criticism
AFP 15 Sept — An Arab Israeli lawmaker has caused an uproar after describing ailing Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres as covered “head to toe” in Palestinian blood. Former Israeli president and prime minister Peres, 93, remained in serious condition Thursday, according to his doctor, after suffering a major stroke two days earlier. As messages of concern and wishes for his recovery flowed from public leaders at home and abroad, MK Basel Ghattas posted on his Facebook a scathing attack on the veteran leader’s record in the conflict with the Palestinians. Peres, he wrote in Arabic, was one of the “strongest pillars of the Zionist colonialist settlement project and one of the most despicable, cruel, radical and long-living.” Arab Israelis — who represent about 17.5 percent of Israel’s population — are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948. Although they are citizens of the Jewish state they largely identify as Palestinians. Peres, who became director general of the nascent defence ministry at just 29 years old, once hawkishly rejected any compromise with hostile Arab states. He said he became a dove after 1977, when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Jerusalem, leading to the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty. “Our blood covers him from head to toe,” wrote Ghattas, a member of the Joint List Arab coalition. “Let us… remember his real essence as a tyrant and a direct administrator of the crimes and war crimes carried out against our rights.” Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords. But he was also an early backer of Israeli settlement in the West Bank after its occupation in the 1967 Six Day War. He was Israel’s foreign minister in 1996 when the Jewish state shelled a United Nations compound at Qana village, in Lebanon, killing 105 civilians in what a UN report ruled was a deliberate attack .Another Arab MK, of the Arab-Jewish leftist Meretz party, took Ghattas to task for his comments. “The majority of Arab society thinks otherwise,” Issawi Freij told the Ynet news site. “Ghattas won the support of a minority.” “The things he said have no place in society and should be condemned,” Freij said. “These things seriously hurt the Arab population of the country.”
The dolls that defend Palestinian culture
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 16 Sept by Dalia Hatuqa — In the dead of a cold December night, Israeli soldiers came for Yasser. They rummaged through the shelves and behind the looms of a darkened factory, searching for the little man, only half a metre tall. They knew he would be easy to spot, wearing his signature black-and-white keffiyeh and olive-coloured military fatigues. Finally, they found him, expressionless and hiding in plain sight, along with a dozen other plush clones. The brainchild of Hilana Abu Sharifeh, a 32-year-old mother of four, Yasser is among the dozens of toys she designs and manufactures at her small, Tulkarem-based business. His confiscation, along with about 1,700 other toys, baffles Abu Sharifeh to this day. “The soldiers ransacked the whole place, seized fabric and damaged some of the products in the process,” she said of the toy factory that her husband first opened in their garage more than two decades ago. “They especially went after Yasser, in his military fatigues, and the keffiyeh looms,” Abu Sharifeh told Al Jazeera. “They said it’s because the toys incited violence. The dolls are meant to reflect our culture and heritage, nothing else. In the case of Yasser, he resembles the late President Yasser Arafat.”Rotem Toys, named after a plant that grows in the Mediterranean, had just started to pick up steam when Israeli forces raided the factory. Abu Sharifeh had recently re-branded the toy line, which her husband had to discontinue during the second Intifada. With new designs inspired by Palestinian culture, she was about to kick off a fresh line of high-quality dolls. The plush toys, made from cotton cloth woven in Hebron, have a signature trademark: They wear clothing made from recycled thobes (traditional Palestinian dresses) and intricate embroidery. “I didn’t understand why something like a keffiyeh would incite hatred,” she said. “For children, these toys are a means to understand and be proud of where they are from … Some experts believe that Israel, embarking on its 50th year of occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, no longer tolerates even the most innocuous of Palestinian symbols. The Knesset recently passed an anti-terror law – which applies in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem – that could criminalise flag-waving or slogan-chanting. “The moment symbols are connected to anti-colonial practice, they immediately become a threat,” said Ala al-Azzeh, a professor of cultural anthropology at Birzeit University. “It’s also about controlling the indigenous population – not just physically, but by destroying national identity and collective symbols. The colonial structure is deep enough to go after the seemingly mundane.”
Israel prepares civilians for threat of 230,000 enemy rockets
JPost 15 Sept by Yaakov Lappin — The IDF Home Front Command is preparing for the possibility that Hezbollah will fire thousands of missiles from Lebanon into Israel during the next war. A national war drill will be held from Sunday to Wednesday, including a nationwide air raid siren at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. The goal of the exercise is to train civilians how to quickly enter “safe zones” in homes and workplaces, in the event of a mass rocket attack. According to assessments by the Home Front Command, in any multi-front conflict, some 95% of enemy rockets would be light-weight and have ranges less than 40 km., and 1% of all incoming projectiles would score direct hits on buildings. A mass rocket attack in a war on multiple fronts would be expected to cause mass disruption and perhaps hundreds of casualties. The Home Front Command has been working with emergency services, government ministries and local authorities to prepare for such a scenario. The preparations do not reflect an assessment that a conflict is imminent, but rather, standard Home Front Command work during routine times. Keeping basic services running under fire is a central goal of the command. Israel’s enemies collectively have some 230,000 projectiles, more than half of which are in Hezbollah’s arsenal in Lebanon….
Paratroopers Brigade conducts large-scale drill in Golan
Ynet 15 Sept by Yoav Zitun — Amid IDF assessments regarding threats on the border with the Syrian Golan, the Paratroopers Brigade conducted a large-scale exercise simulating an operation against ISIS-aligned terrorist organizations and Hezbollah; Drills included raids on terrorist concentration centers in Syrian villages, destruction of weapon caches and seizure of enemy territory … The exercise was carried out following an IDF assessment that the most likely threat facing the area is a massive terrorist infiltration or heavy rocket bombardment of Israeli communities, which could result in a significant loss of life. In such a scenario, the IDF will be required to conduct an unprecedented, yet limited operation across the border. Such an operation would likely resemble the raids in the Gaza Strip in the two years following the 2005 disengagement….