Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Charges dropped in shooting of Palestinian siblings at Qalandiya
Times of Israel 26 Oct by Raoul Wootliff — Charges will not be filed against two civilian guards who shot and killed an armed Palestinian woman and her brother at the flashpoint Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank in April, Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday. Maram Hassan Abu Ismail, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16 — both residents of the central West Bank village of Beit Surrif — were killed by guards in April after Abu Ismail threw a knife at the guards, according to police. Taha was also found to have been carrying a knife. A statement from the prosecutor said the case against one guard would be closed due to a “lack of evidence,” and against the other due to a “lack of guilt.” According to security footage of the incident, one guard fired a shot at the woman as she drew the knife, and “as such he acted in self-defense,” the statement read … Their father, Salah Abu Ismail, 61, from the village of Katana north of Jerusalem, told The Times of Israel in a telephone interview a day after the incident that his daughter had arrived at the crossing to obtain a permit to enter Jerusalem for medical treatment. He insisted that neither of his children was carrying a knife … The preliminary investigation earlier this year found that the guards complied with protocol and arrest procedures by firing warning shots into the air as the siblings approached guards at the checkpoint in a suspicious manner. Police had refused to release footage of the incident, classifying it as evidence in an ongoing investigation, despite demands from the Abu Ismail family. With the investigation closed Wednesday, the police did not immediately respond to a Freedom of Information request from The Times of Israel to release the footage….
Palestinian succumbs to wounds after a vehicular accident with Israeli settler
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — A Palestinian man succumbed on Wednesday to wounds sustained when an Israeli settler’s vehicle hit his horse-drawn cart a day earlier in the northwestern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya. Muhammad Daoud, 61, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening, while his wife Naela Hassan Ali Daoud remained in the Darwish Nazzal hospital in Qalqiliya for treatment of her moderate injuries. The incident took place on the main road near the village of al-Nabi Elyas while the Palestinian couple was on their way to their farm east of Qalqiliya, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The illegal Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashem is located in the area. Initial reports did not indicate whether the incident was suspected to be a traffic accident or an attack. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an on Wednesday that they were looking into whether the army was investigating the case.
5 Palestinians injured in car crash with military vehicle
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Five Palestinians were injured on Wednesday after an Israeli military vehicle hit their car at a crossroads west of the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, with one of the injured telling Ma‘an that the Israeli army vehicle deliberately ran into their car to “try to flip it over.” Medical sources at al-Ahli hospital told Ma‘an that ambulances from the Palestinian Red Crescent evacuated the five Palestinians to the emergency room, and that they were suffering from minor to moderate injuries as a result of a car crash, and were expected to be discharged from the hospital later on Wednesday. The sources identified the victims as Ali Baradiyya, Muhammad Ibrahim Ghanim, Omar Baradiyya, Muhammad al-Qadi, and Ahmad al-Qadi. They are all from the Hebron-area town of Surif.
Israeli forces could have avoided killings: report
AFP 25 Oct — Reviews of shootings in which Israeli security forces killed a knife-wielding Palestinian and another throwing stones found the use of deadly violence could have been avoided, public radio reported Tuesday. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the cases had been looked into as part of routine procedure, but was unable to comment on the reported findings. It was unclear if the officers involved would face further action. Citing an internal army document, the radio said border police under the command of the military fired a hail of bullets when they killed a knife-wielding Palestinian woman [Rahiq Shaji Birawi] on October 19. They initially followed regulations, firing warning shots into the air followed by a single round at the 19-year-old’s legs when she failed to stop at the Tapuah junction in the northern West Bank. Four officers then fired more than 30 rounds at her, said the report. Video footage that emerged of the shooting appeared to show four officers firing after she was already on the ground. Another case reviewed was that of the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Palestinian stone thrower Khaled Bahar the following day near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Public radio said the army review reported that the shooting occurred after a patrol pursued young Palestinians who had stoned a passing Israeli bus. “One of the youths tried to throw a stone at short range at the force commander who shot and killed him,” the report said. “According to the enquiry there was no danger to life (to the commander). He should not have fired at the central body mass in order to kill.” An army spokesman confirmed that those and other recent cases not resulting in fatalities had been looked at as part of routine procedure. “It was an operational review to inspect and improve our performance on the ground,” spokesman Arye Shalicar told AFP. He would not confirm the review’s reported findings but said military police automatically investigate fatalities and it was for them to decide if there had been improper behaviour….
Khaled Bahar’s blood cries out, but no one in Israel hears it / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 27 Oct — The blood of Khaled Bahar cries out. It cries out almost audibly from the ground on which he fell, in the shade of the apricot trees, where a black stain of congealed blood remains alongside a few stones and a bottle of water, put there for a memorial. His blood cries out from Room 1207 of the boys’ high school in Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron – the classroom of the 10th grade, which this week stayed home from school in mourning. The strike was a spontaneous decision by the students. They laid colorful flower petals on each desk, hung plastic memorial flowers on the walls and on the desk of the deceased placed his last photograph, surrounded by wreaths. Khaled sat there Thursday, just a few hours before an Israeli soldier killed him. Khaled’s blood cries out from the deathly silence that shrouds the empty classroom and from the flag in the schoolyard, lowered to half-staff. His blood cries out from the circumstances surrounding his death; a 15-year-old boy whom soldiers chased with their jeep because they suspected that he had thrown stones at their armored vehicle, until three soldiers got out and one shot him in the back from a distance of 20 meters, killing him as he fled desperately for his life. His blood cries out from the total disinterest his killing generated in Israel, as is the case with every killing of Palestinians. His blood cries out from the way this teenager, who participated in a Jewish-Arab soccer project, was portrayed as a “terrorist.” It cries out from the automatic, unfeeling response of the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman’s Unit, with its “stone-throwing” and “operational conclusions” and “Military Police investigation” and “the findings will be submitted to the prosecution.” All of it is whitewashing from the IDF excuse factory; it doesn’t contain a word of truth or a modicum of humanity. As for an apology or expression of regret – not a chance, even after the army’s own investigation concluded that the soldiers weren’t in any kind of danger. Khaled’s blood cries out because the soldiers took his body after killing him, and Israel, with unbelievable chutzpah, has not returned it one week later – first “because of the holidays,” and now for reasons that aren’t clear. Let the family wait; who cares about them, anyway….
Israeli soldiers invade Nabi Saleh
IMEMC 27 Oct — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Wednesday evening, the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah in central West Bank, and clashed with local youths, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. The soldiers invaded the village from different directions, and fired many live rounds, gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at youngsters who hurled stones and empty bottles on the invading military jeeps. The army also fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades at many homes in the areas of clashes. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.
Israeli forces detain well-known Palestinian activist Salah al-Khawaja
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Israeli forces detained well-known Palestinian activist Salah al-Khawaja during a predawn raid in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, sparking clashes. Israeli forces raided al-Khawaja’s home in the Old City of Ramallah, also known as Ramallah al-Tahta, and searched the house for more than an hour and a half before detaining him. Clashes erupted during the raid, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, who responded by heavily firing tear gas in the area. The soldiers also fired tear gas canisters at neighboring homes, causing several families to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation. Locals and Palestinian civil defense crews intervened on the scene to rescue and treat the families. Al-Khawaja is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), a Palestinian political party aiming to provide an alternative to Fatah and Hamas, as well as an activist for the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. PNI Secretary-General Mustafa al-Barghouthi condemned the detention of al-Khawaja, adding that Israeli detention raids and its suppression of Palestinian activists would not break the will and determination of the movement to continue its fight for the freedom of Palestinians.
Israeli soldiers kidnap thirteen Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 25 Oct — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, overnight [Monday] and early on Tuesday, thirteen Palestinians, including two children, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The Bethlehem office of the PPS said the soldiers invaded Nahhalin town, southwest of the city, searched homes and kidnapped three Palestinians identified as Abdul-Karim Shakarna, 18, Khaled Shadi Najajra, 14, and Omran Yousef Najajra, 16. In Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers searched a few homes and kidnapped Nidal Ja’far, 30, and Mahmoud Ma’moun Hawasheen. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded the al-Am‘ari refugee camp, and kidnapped Mohammad Sobhi Nimir, 23, after breaking into his home and searching it. In addition, the Jerusalem office of the PPS said the soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians, identified as Ragheb Abu Sneina, Monir al-‘Ajlouni, Mo’men Hasheem, Majd Sharifa and Nasser al-‘Ajlouni, in the occupied city. Also in Jerusalem, the soldiers stopped and harassed a large number of schoolchildren and young men in Bab al-‘Amoud area, while provocatively searching and humiliating them. The soldiers also invaded at dawn the home of Misbah Abu Sbeih, in the ar-Ram town, north of Jerusalem, and photographed its interior and exterior in preparation for demolishing it … On Monday at night, the soldiers kidnapped Makram Shadi Ghawi, 18, from his home in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and Mohammad Wajeeh Hilal, from his home in Beit Ur al-Tahta, south of Ramallah. Also on Monday at night, the soldiers invaded the home of detainee Jad Sultan, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank, and violently searched it. His family said the soldiers brought their detained son with them during the search; Sultan was kidnapped by the army two days ago. The soldiers also fired several concussion grenades and gas bombs at a few homes close to Sultan’s property, and withdrew from the area.
2 Palestinian youths detained in Kafr Qaddum en route to pick olives
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli forces Tuesday detained two Palestinians, ages 17 and 20, as the youths were en route to pick olives near a gate east of the village of Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya. Murad Shtewei, coordinator of a local popular resistance committee, told Ma‘an that the two youths, identified as Rafe Muhammad Hussein, 17, and Muhammad Nidal, 20, were stopped by Israeli forces on their way to go olive picking and were held for several hours before being transferred to an unknown location. According to Shtewei, Saturday marked the first day since the start of the olive-picking season in the occupied territory that Israeli forces were permitting Palestinians from the village to harvest their olive trees near the illegal Israeli settlement of Qadumim. The Kafr Qaddum village has remained a site of frequent clashes with Israeli soldiers, as village members have staged weekly demonstrations since 2011 to protest Israeli land confiscations for illegal settlements, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces detain 2 children, teenager in East Jerusalem raids
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli police Tuesday evening released two Palestinian children from the neighborhood of Shu‘fat in occupied East Jerusalem after hours of interrogations with Israeli forces for alleged stone throwing, while Israeli forces detained another teenager from the village of al-‘Issawiya during detention raids.
Sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces summoned 12-year-old Palestinian twins Muhammad and Sair Abu Khdeir after raiding their home in Shu‘fat. Their father, Izzat Abu Khdeir, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided his home in an attempt to detain his children who were at school at the time. The soldiers handed the family a summons notice for the twins to be interrogated by Israeli intelligence and, according to the family, called them minutes later and threatened to detain the children if they failed to come to the interrogation. Abu Khdeir added that the children were interrogated for several hours, and then released on bail upon the condition that they come to the Israeli police station on Sunday. Meanwhile in the village of al-‘Issawiya in East Jerusalem, a member of the local follow-up committee told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager and transported him to an Israeli interrogation center amid clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians during a detention raid on the village. He added that Israeli forces raid al-‘Issawiya on a daily basis, provoking residents of the village, while searching for Palestinian youths and raiding stores.An Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement that Israeli police and border guard forces detained the 13-year-old Palestinian from al-‘Issawiya after he was caught throwing rocks at passing vehicles near the Maale Adummim area.
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least 13 Palestinians during overnight raids on Tuesday night across the occupied West Bank. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in the West Bank district of Nablus, citing one detention in Burin, one in ‘Awarta, one in ‘Urif, and one in Madama. However, Israeli media reported that Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the village of Burin. In the Ramallah district, the army spokesperson said that one Palestinian was detained in the city of Ramallah, while another was detained in Silwad and an alleged Hamas operative was detained in ‘Arura. The Palestinian detained in Ramallah was identified by locals as well-known activist Salah Khawaja. Meanwhile, Israeli media reported a total of two detentions in Silwad. In the southern occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said that it detained two Palestinians in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘, as well as one in Beit Ummar and another in Dura in the Hebron district. Locals in Tuqu‘ said that Israeli forces raided the town before dawn on Wednesday and detained Ahmad Jamal al-Umour and Ahmad Khalid al-Umour after raiding their homes. Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near nightly basis, while also summoning Palestinians to appear for interrogation, commonly without evidence of any wrongdoing.
Israeli police detain 34 Palestinians in the Negev
IMEMC 26 Oct — The Israeli police conducted, Wednesday, a large-scale invasion into Houra and al-Leqia towns in the Negev, and detained 34 Palestinian workers, who did not obtain work and entry permits into Israel. According to a statement by the Israeli Police, the 34 Palestinians, from different parts of the West Bank, were working in stores, including barber shops, car repair facilities and restaurants, and that they “illegally entered the country for work.” Two Palestinians from the Negev were also detained for providing shelter and work to the workers from the occupied territories. The police also claimed a woman from the Negev was detained and sent to an interrogation center after the officers found weapons wrapped in blankets in a stroller she was pushing. It added that officers also located thousands of Shekels believed to have been smuggled and laundered.
Prisoners / Court actions
Despite difficulties, Palestinian women continue to marry prisoners
RAMALLAH, West Bank 26 Oct by Ahmad Melhem — More Palestinian women are marrying prisoners serving life sentences in Israeli jails in what they see as an act of patriotism — About 7,000 Palestinian prisoners linger in Israeli jails, including more than 470 sentenced to life imprisonment. While many of them are married with children who are growing up without their fathers, others sometimes get married while serving long prison sentences. On Sept. 30, 30-year-old Heba Ayad from the town of Abu Dis married 40-year-old Munzer Snobar from the town of Yatma in Nablus. Snobar is detained in an Israeli prison. Ayad, who has been working at the Hurriyat Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights in Ramallah for five years, is one of dozens of young women who have married prisoners serving life sentences. Snobar was arrested on Dec. 29, 2003, and given four life sentences for participating in several military operations against the Israeli forces during the second intifada (2000-2005). Ayad told Al-Monitor that her engagement to Snobar “was out of complete conviction and not out of sympathy,” expressing her happiness with her decision. She first met Snobar in 2014 through a prison window while she was visiting her brother, who is also a prisoner. On April 17, 2015, his parents asked Ayad’s family for her hand in marriage….
Israeli court sentences Palestinian to 17 years in prison over stabbing attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced a Palestinian on Wednesday to 17 years in prison for carrying out a stabbing attack in 2015 in which an Israeli soldier was moderately injured. The court also imposed on Saed Muhammad Qumbuz, a resident of the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, a 50,000 shekel ($13,000) fine. Qumbuz was convicted of carrying out a stabbing attack on an Israeli soldier in Jerusalem on Dec. 27, 2015, causing moderate wounds.
Israeli prosecutors charge 13 people for mocking Palestinian baby’s death
Reuters 26 Oct — Prosecutors in Israel on Wednesday charged 13 people with inciting violence and terrorism after a wedding video showed far-right Jews dancing with guns and knives and guests mocking the death by arson of a Palestinian toddler. The amateur video of the wedding in Jerusalem in December was broadcast on Israeli television, causing an outcry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said its “shocking images show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger” to Israeli society. Court officials in Jerusalem said 13 wedding participants – including the bridegroom – were indicted on Wednesday on charges of inciting violence or terrorism. The crimes carry a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment. Pleas have yet to be entered. In the video, one dancing celebrant stabbed a picture of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe while others waved assault rifles, knives and what appeared to be a petrol bomb. Wedding songs contained lyrics such as “the mosque will burn” and “the mosque will explode.” The boy and his parents died after their home in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank was set ablaze in July 2015. A 21-year-old Jewish settler was charged last January with racially motivated murder, and a second Jewish defendant, a minor at the time of the incident, was charged as an accessory.
Israel to temporarily extend Gaza fishing zone
GAZA (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli authorities have decided to temporarily expand the designated fishing zone off the northern coast of the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials told Ma‘an on Tuesday. According to the official, Israeli authorities will expand the northern coastal fishing zone from the current six nautical mile limit, to nine nautical miles for the duration of the month of November. At the end of November, the zone will presumably be reduced back to six nautical miles, officials said. The officials added that Israeli authorities said they may allow the extension to stay effective for another month, “if the Palestinian side maintains calmness at the maritime boundaries.” Israel previously extended the fishing zone off Gaza’s southern coast to nine miles on April 3, before reducing it again to six miles on June 6, then re-extending the zone for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan due to an “abundance of fish” at the time … The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has reported that Israeli naval forces often open fire on fishermen within these limits, putting their lives in danger on a near-daily basis. Due to the high frequency of the attacks, live fire on fishing boats often goes unreported. Last year Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times, killing three, wounding dozens, and damaging at least 16 fishing boats.
Israeli forces target Gaza fishermen and farmers
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Oct — Israeli naval forces, on Tuesday morning, reportedly opened fire towards the fishermen on the Gaza shores, according to the PNN. Media sources added that naval forces have opened fire on fishermen on the Al-Sudaniyya and Al-Waha shores of the northwestern Gaza Strip, with no injuries reported. On the northeastern borders of the Strip, soldiers opened fire on farmers while in their lands. No injuries were reported. Gaza farmers and fishermen report such attacks on a near-daily basis despite the Egyptian-brokered truce, in August of 2014, between Hamas and Israel.
Israeli bulldozers enter Gaza border area, raze lands
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Several Israeli military vehicles entered eastern Gaza City on Wednesday near the Nahal Oz military site and razed agricultural lands in the area, witnesses told Ma‘an, hours after five Israeli military bulldozers crossed the border and raided an area near the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning while drones flew above the area.
Is Israel banning entry of Gaza cancer patients?
Al Monitor 26 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — Israeli physicians say that many cancer patients from the Gaza Strip are banned from entering Israel, and so they are hospitalized in Gaza where there is no adequate medical treatment — Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) claims Israel has “dramatically toughened” its policy on granting permits to sick Palestinians needing life-saving treatment in Israeli hospitals, among them many cancer patients. This, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays in full for every patient referred by its Health Ministry for care in Israel. Attorney Mahmoud Abu Arisha, in charge of the organization’s occupied territories department, told Al-Monitor that over the past six months PHR has received 158 appeals from severely ill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank whose requests for treatment in Israel were turned down by the Shin Bet security agency. Naturally, not all people turn to PHR when their requests for entry permits are denied. Thus, the organization estimates that the number of requests refused by the Shin Bet is much higher than that. In 2015, in comparison, the organization received 48 such appeals over the entire year, and only 23 the year before. Over the past few years, he said, Palestinians have submitted annually about 1,300 requests for entry permits to Israel to benefit from life-saving treatments in Israeli hospitals. According to PHR’s data, during these past years, more than 10% of the requests were turned down on grounds of being a security threat. But in the past few months, the organization has detected a surge in the number of rejections. Absent a medical alternative in the West Bank, and even more so in the Gaza Strip, denying Palestinians medical treatment in an Israeli hospital is effectively a death sentence.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian merchant at Gaza border crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian merchant at a border crossing between Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening. Palestinian sources told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities detained Zaki Abu Jazar after holding him for hours at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities meanwhile released Palestinian merchant Atef al-Dabbas after detaining him for several days. Al-Dabbas had come to the Erez crossing for an interview with the Israeli intelligence to obtain a permit to enter Israel but was detained.
Picturing the misery of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza
MEMO 26 Oct by Mohammad Asad — A photo exhibition was held in the Gaza Strip yesterday to expose the misery residents of the besieged enclave suffered during the Israeli offensive in 2014. Media House, an NGO in Gaza, Put pictures taken by three photographers on show to reflect the suffering of people living in Gaza who are still homeless more than two years after the end of the latest assault. Hundreds of people flocked to the exhibition, which was also attended by a government official from the Ministry of Housing. A number of foreign diplomats were also in attendance. Israel launched “Operation Protective Shield” on the Gaza Strip in July 2014. The 51-day onslaught led to the death of more than 2,140 people, the majority children, and left hundreds of thousands homeless, living in UNRWA schools or in tents. Organisers of the exhibition said they hope it would serve as a reminder to international bodies and donors that more than 70,000 residents of the Gaza Strip are still homeless and awaiting funds from pledges given to rebuild the devastated Strip.
Gaza’s boxers dream of hitting it big
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 24 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — Dozens of young Gazans dream of becoming professional boxers and competing in international boxing championships. However, the single boxing ring in Gaza cannot help these youth make their dreams come true. There is a severe shortage of boxing equipment and capabilities in Gaza, which has forced boxers to take turns using accessories, such as bag gloves, punching bags and even mouthguards. Boxing is one of the oldest sports in the Palestinian territories — the Palestinian Boxing Federation was established in 1936. Yet the 1948 Palestinian exodus and the 1967 Israeli occupation, along with the subsequent wars, have prevented the youth from having interest in this sport and prompted them to focus on confronting the occupation, said Ali Abdel-Shafi, deputy head of the Palestinian Boxing Federation. The Palestinian Sports Federation has been trying to revive this sport through local championships. These attempts, however, have faced huge obstacles. Abdel-Shafi told Al-Monitor, “There is only one boxing ring in Gaza, and there are no boxing clubs. This sport is done in sports clubs prioritizing activities such as football or basketball, which prevents us from identifying and developing talent.” He noted that there are only 60 boxers and 10 coaches in Gaza.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli-enforced demolitions in Jerusalem leave scores of Palestinians homeless
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — Israeli-enforced demolitions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Silwan on Wednesday left at least 44 Palestinians homeless. Three homes in the al-Ashqariya area of Beit Hanina north of Jerusalem were demolished Wednesday afternoon without prior notice, according to members of the families who were displaced as a result of the demolitions. Meanwhile in Silwan, an extended family of 30 Palestinians — mostly children — were displaced after the Jerusalem municipality rejected the family’s attempts to obtain building permits for nine years. Nasser al-Rajabi, the owner of one of the houses in Beit Hanina, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided his home and started to remove his furniture before they demolished it under the pretext that the structure lacked the necessary Israeli-issued permits. He said eight family members, including four children, were living in the 60 square meter house. Al-Rajabi said it was the second time the home was demolished despite the fact that he has been trying to obtain permits for the past two years. The second home, which was owned by by Ahmad Abd al-Razaq Siyam, was demolished while Siyam was at a store nearby. His wife Nivin told Ma‘an that she attempted to reach her husband at the store after Israeli forces raided the home, but they prevented her and carried on with the demolition. She added that Israeli forces demolished the house while most of the furniture was still inside. Nivin and Ahmad Siyam, along with their three children, were living in the 95-square-meter house. The home demolished in Beit Hanina on Wednesday afternoon was owned by Thaer Ismael Siyam. He told Ma‘an he was preparing the house, which consisted of a trailer and two rooms, for his upcoming marriage this year.
Unsure of shelter, yet praying for rain
+972 blog 26 Oct by Sarah Stern — Spending the Sukkot holiday on a Palestinian farm highlights the stark contrast between a holiday in which Jews celebrate in temporary structures, and a reality in which Palestinians are forced into an existence of impermanence and military demolition orders scattered across hilltops — Daoud Nassar carries 54 keys on his belt loop, in rotation. His sprawling family property, on the last Palestinian hilltop in the middle of the Gush Etzion settlements, is dotted with tented structures, caves, and gated areas, all fastened with a lock. As the family orients me on the property for a long weekend of volunteer work, they remind me to lock each time I exit the kitchen, or anywhere else for that matter. They say it’s to keep out mice and stray dogs. Locking has become a sort of ritual and mentality at the Tent of Nations. It’s about dogs and mice, but it’s also about ensuring ownership and security — two things this Palestinian family sorely lacks. The Nassar family purchased the land exactly 100 years ago, just before the fall of the Ottoman Empire. They subsequently registered the land with British Mandate authorities. Despite ample documentation, however, in 1991 the Israeli army declared the area “state land” and the family has been embroiled in an expensive legal battle ever since. Daoud tells volunteers to look out for Israeli army demolition orders scattered across their 100 acres. Often times, the family won’t even know they’ve received a new order. The Tent of Nations project started in 2001. The family was searching for solidarity and help with manual labor on their vast agricultural land. But just as important, they realized that just having internationals consistently sleeping in one of their 20-person tents helped the family establish and maintain their presence on the land, especially now that some of them live in Bethlehem most of the time. Since 2002, there has been no harassment from surrounding settlements….
Illegal Israeli colonists install tents in Palestinian land, in the northern plains
IMEMC 25 Oct — Dozens of extremist Israeli colonists invaded, on Tuesday, a Palestinian land in Khirbit al-Himma, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, and installed tents, after recently illegally occupying the land, and establishing a new outpost. Mo’taz Bisharat, who monitors Israel’s illegal colonist activities in Tubas Governate, said nearly 30 Israeli colonists invaded the land in Khirbit al-Himma, and installed four tents in a newly illegally established outpost. Bisharat added that, on Tuesday morning, the Israeli assailants closed the main road leading to Khirbit al-Himma with rocks and tires, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it.
Fatah leader: Peace process is dead, Palestinians must boycott Israeli goods
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — International Relations Commissioner for the Fatah movement Nabil Shaath called on Palestinians to begin a full-fledged consumer boycott of Israel in an interview with The Arab Weekly on Tuesday. “A consumer boycott should be the Palestinians’ weapon against Israel,” the newspaper quoted Shaath as saying. Referring to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has failed and been revived numerous times, Shaath said Palestinians should “wake up from their dreams of peace,” adding that the peace process should be declared dead. “Rights are not given, but taken by force,” Shaath said, saying the biggest strength Palestinians have against Israel’s military, air force, and navy, was public action. “If anything, past experiences and alterations in the world and around us in the region tell us that we should start depending on ourselves, not wait for others to give us our rights,” Shaath said … The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was launched ten years ago by Palestinian civil society, and has been steadily gaining steam internationally over the past few years. International successes of the BDS movement have led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call it a “strategic threat” for Israel and allocate state resources to fight it….
Despite crackdown, BDS makes gains in France
EI 24 Oct by Ali Abunimah — Despite a harsh government crackdown, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in France continues to make gains in its quest to hold Israel accountable for its abuses of Palestinian rights. On 20 October, the town council of Ivry-sur-Seine, a Paris suburb with 60,000 residents, voted by a large majority to call on the French government to end its criminalization of BDS and Palestine solidarity activism. The resolution, put forward by the Ivry Citizens Convergence group, recognizes the Palestinian call for BDS and urges France to ban the importation of goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights. The resolution states that the BDS movement, “inspired by the victorious struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa,” has been the subject of “expanding and unacceptable criminalization, harming the rights of citizens and aiming, above all, to silence all criticism of Israel’s illegal policies and actions.”….
Palestinians uncover assassination plot: source
AFP 25 Oct — Security forces in the occupied West Bank have uncovered a Palestinian cell plotting to assassinate three senior leaders, a security official said Tuesday. “The four-man cell planned to assassinate three leaders,” the source said, adding that the targets came from the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Three of the suspects, including a senior member of the Palestinian security services, were arrested more than two months ago, the source said, while a fourth was on the run. The targets were Ghassan Shakaa, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, as well as Jamal al-Tirawi and Amin Maqbool, officials in president Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah party, the source added. He said they sought to undermine security in Nablus. Tirawi confirmed the plot, saying all of the suspects were also members of Fatah and were known to him personally. “The three suspects admitted planning the assassination,” he told AFP. He added that the fourth person was the “key to solving the puzzle” of who was supporting them. Akram Rajoub, governor of Nablus, declined to confirm or deny the plot to AFP, saying the matter was under investigation. “When we finish the investigation we will declare all the details.” The Palestinian General Intelligence announced the matter was under investigation on Monday. On July 1, unidentified gunmen fired at former Nablus mayor Shakaa’s home while he was sleeping, causing damage but no casualties. Three weeks later intelligence services announced they had made arrests in the case. A number of suspects were arrested and allegedly confessed to the crime.
PA arrests Fatah member after speaking out on being removed from office
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) preventive security service arrested a former spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement on Tuesday night, shortly after he gave a televised interview commenting on his removal from office days earlier. Raafat Elayyan was arrested in his home in the village of ‘Anata in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank. Earlier Tuesday evening, Elayyan had appeared in a televised interview on the Palestine Today satellite channel to discuss a decision from the Fatah movement — the PA’s ruling party — to discharge him as its Jerusalem spokesperson on Saturday. He was the second Fatah official to be removed from office over participation in a meeting attended by hundreds of local Fatah leaders on Saturday, which was dispersed by Palestinian security forces. Former senior Fatah leader and lawmaker Jihad Tummaleh, who was also dismissed following the meeting, said on his Facebook page that the meeting was held to discuss “Fatah unity and awakening.”….
Anti-Abbas clashes erupt across West Bank refugee camps
Times of Israel 26 Oct by Avi Issacharroff & Dov Lieber — PA security forces reportedly use live fire to suppress marchers in ongoing Fatah feud, at least 2 said injured — Intense clashes erupted in three refugee camps Tuesday night between Palestinian youths and Palestinian Authority security forces, after a protest over the recent expulsion from the Fatah party of a Palestinian lawmaker was suppressed. At least two people were wounded from reported live fire during the clashes, which took place in the refugee camps of al-‘Amari, near Ramallah; Balata, near Nablus; and Jenin. The clashes began when PA security refused to allow a protest in support of Jihad Tummaleh, who was expelled from the Fatah party on Saturday by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, near Tummaleh’s home in the al-‘Amari refugee camp. Tummaleh’s expulsion came after he organized a conference at al-Amari in support of “party unity.” The event was viewed by some in Ramallah as an effort to urge reconciliation between Abbas and his chief political rival Mohammad Dahlan … It was not immediately clear if the simultaneous clashes in Jenin and Nablus were directly related to the events in Ramallah. The Palestinian news agency Ma‘an reported large forces were deployed in the al-‘Amari camp to prevent Tummaleh supporters from leaving the area. Images on Palestinian social media showed Tummaleh among his supports during the protest….
Fatah concerned Israel may torpedo its party convention in Ramallah
Haaretz 25 Oct by Jack Khoury — The entrance of hundreds of Palestinian delegates from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria into the West Bank is dependent on Israeli permits — Doubts about Israel’s position regarding the convention of the Fatah Central Committee in Ramallah next month have arisen among officials close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent interview with a Palestinian newspaper in which he attacked the PA’s president. The committees’ convention is dependent on Israel granting hundreds of the committee’s delegates, who are set to arrive from abroad, entry permits into the West Bank. In a Monday interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, Lieberman said that he supports the two-state solution, but blamed Abbas for the failure in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that he had evaded taking advantage of opportunities … Abbas has stepped up efforts in recent weeks to hold the Fatah committee convention, during which delegates will choose members for positions in the party’s top institutes. Some 1,500 delegates are set to participate in the convention, including hundreds from the Gaza Strip and from refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria….
Rivals, regional powers grow uneasy with Palestinian leader
RAMALLAH/GAZA (Reuters) 26 Oct by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi — Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states are piling pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve divisions in his Fatah party and with the rival Hamas movement, amid growing concerns about whether Palestinian democracy is under threat. Neighbouring states, diplomats and major funders fear the festering divisions could lead to conflict, and say the lack of a clear transition process raises questions about what would happen if the 81-year-old Abbas, in power since 2005 despite his mandate expiring, were to die in office. In a non-binding paper circulated last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates made recommendations for tackling splits that have deepened over the past year, while strengthening Palestinian leadership and trying to keep the stalled peace process with Israel alive. “Efforts to unite Fatah and empower it are aimed at balancing the Palestinian internal arena and this falls under the responsibilities of the head of the movement, Abu Mazen,” the two-page paper said, referring to Abbas by his nickname. Among the recommendations was the holding of “free and fair” elections for parliament and the presidency by July 2017, although there are no indications that will happen. They would be the first parliamentary elections since January 2006….
Egyptian conference deepens internal Fatah split
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 25 Oct by Mohammed Othman — Oct. 18 was the last day of the Egypt and the Palestinian Issue conference, which was held for the first time at the invitation of the National Center for Middle East Studies at the Ain Sokhna Red Sea resort to discuss the Palestinian cause and the situation in the Gaza Strip. The conference was met with rejection by supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas inside the Fatah movement, under the pretext that it was funded by his sworn enemy, Mohammed Dahlan, a Fatah leader who was dismissed from the movement June 12, 2011. About 130 parliamentary figures, academics, researchers, former ministers and political analysts from the Gaza Strip were invited by the national center to attend the conference that took place over three days, starting Oct. 16. But only 80 people attended, in addition to other Egyptian figures, in light of the controversy, according to Ashraf Jomaa, a parliamentarian in Fatah’s Legislative Council who was among the conference attendees….
Abbas eyes support of Qatar, Turkey
MEMO 26 Oct — Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas seeks Qatari and Turkish help to overcome his political rival Mohamed Dahlan who is more accepted by traditional allies Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE. In a long report published yesterday, AlKhaleejOnline said that Egypt and Jordan had already started to prepare for the post Abbas stage, adding that Abbas knew this and found himself obliged to declare he would not go for presidency in the future and would leave the political arena. The website said that the main problem which faces Abbas is that his traditional allies, mainly Egypt and the UAE, started to raise Dahlan, the former senior Fatah leader and Palestinian MP, to the stage. Abbas has several times rejected Arabic mediation to end the differences with Dahlan, who he dismissed from Fatah, and all of its institutions due to political and personal differences. He did not give this issue any importance in the past, but after seeing tangible measures regarding the Arabic support for his rival, he started to feel afraid of being deposed and replaced. Thinking how to foil this plan, the site said Abbas was forced to improve his relations with Turkey and Qatar, the two countries which he and his followers had severely criticised and accused of interfering in internal Palestinian affairs due to their good relations with Hamas….
Arafat museum recovers Nobel prize from Hamas
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 25 Oct by Mohammed Daraghmeh — A new museum dedicated to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will display his 1994 Nobel Peace Prize — now that the Hamas militant group has returned the medal to the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank. Nasser al-Qidwa, Arafat’s nephew and president of the new Arafat Institute, told reporters on Tuesday that the medal will be among dozens of Arafat’s belongings displayed at the museum, which is scheduled to open in Ramallah on Nov. 9. Arafat shared the prize with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for their work in reaching the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord. The prize was meant to usher in a final peace accord, but those dreams were never realized. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by an ultranationalist Jew opposed to peace making. In 2000, a Palestinian uprising erupted and Arafat spent the final years of his life living under siege at his West Bank headquarters before dying in France in 2004. Peres died last month. Arafat’s Nobel Prize was kept at his Gaza headquarters. But when Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from forces loyal to Arafat’s successor, President Mahmoud Abbas, the building was looted. Since then, Abbas has governed autonomous areas in the West Bank, while Hamas has retained control of Gaza. Al-Qidwa did not say when Hamas returned the medal to the Palestinian Authority, but said it was the only item to be recovered from the building. He said most are believed to have disappeared, and some have even been spotted in Gaza marketplaces. “Lots of belongings were lost in Arafat’s long exodus from Beirut to Tunis to Gaza and Ramallah,” al-Qidwa said….
UNRWA employees union announces series of strikes in occupied Palestinian territory
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — The union for local employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Tuesday that a series of protests would take place in the occupied Palestinian territory after talks with UNRWA reached an impasse. A joint committee representing the unions of employees from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip said in a statement that the UNRWA headquarters in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as all main offices and regional offices in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, would be completely closed on Wednesday and Thursday. The statement added that UNRWA employees in the health sector would also go on a two-hour strike on Nov. 2, and that all UNRWA-affiliated schools in the West Bank and Gaza would go on a two-hour strike on Nov. 3. Further protests will be announced in the next few days, the committee said. The joint committee blamed UNRWA’s administration for the failure of talks to resolve issues with local employees, saying that UNRWA’s “superiority and arrogance” was rejected by Palestinians who would “continue to protect the agency which they are loyal to, and which is a major witness to the suffering of Palestinian refugees.”….
The complicated business of picking olives in the West Bank
JPost 25 Oct by Adam Rasgon — Abdel Hafiz Ali, wearing a hat with extended flaps to block the sun, has helped his family pick olives all week, and plans to continue picking them until all of his family’s trees have been harvested. “I come every year because we depend heavily on the oil produced from these olives to make ends meet,” says Ali. More than 100,000 Palestinian families rely to some extent on the income they generate from their olives and some 18% of Palestinian agricultural production comes from olives. Ali, who usually works in construction, also believes that working with olives is a sacred practice. “Harvesting olives is holy work because they are mentioned in Surat al-Tin [the Fig Chapter] of the Koran, and our olive trees physically connect us to this land,” he says. It is the first Thursday of the olive harvest in the Nablus area, the West Bank’s second-most populous region. Thousands of Palestinian have taken vacation from work to wake up in the early hours of morning and hike with their families to their olive groves. Palestinian social media is replete with pictures of olive trees and dark-green olive oil, and radio stations are dedicating complete shows to the olive harvest. One well-known journalist in Nablus tells a local radio station, “May God bless all the farmers.” While some families in the Nablus region simply walk over to their trees near their homes and pick olives, most families have to trek outside of their immediate villages to open fields of olive trees, often adjacent to settlements. The Ali family, from Jama‘in, a village southwest of Nablus, is one of those families. It owns some 700 olive trees half way up a hill near the settlement of Tapuah Ma’arav. Ali, now standing on a ladder to reach olives in the uppermost branches of a tree, says that his family has recently invited a group of volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli human rights organization, to serve as an extra line of protection. “We invited these volunteers to prevent settlers from harming us,” he remarks, stating further that they did exactly that on Sunday “when a settler threatened to attack [his] family with a bat.” … Many olive trees in the West Bank including the Ali family’s trees lie in Area C, which means that Israel is responsible for providing security for Palestinians and Israelis there….
Planned West Bank show by national theater sparks outcry
Times of Israel 25 Oct — Artists protest against first-ever Kiryat Arba show for Habima amid claims of pressure from culture minister — Israel’s national theater will perform in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba for the first time next month, sparking criticism of the theater troupe amid an ongoing dispute over a government attempt to have cultural acts toe a more nationalistic line. The Habima National Theater will stage “A Simple Story,” based on a story by S. Y. Agnon, in the Hebron-adjacent settlement on November 10. Critics claimed that in putting on the show in Kiryat Arba, the organization caved to pressure from Culture Minister Miri Regev of the ruling Likud party, who has warred with cultural institutions over her right-wing stances. Regev, who has threatened to withhold funding from artists expressing a pro-Palestinian stance, has introduced financial initiatives to cultural groups that perform in the West Bank, claiming that she wants to make culture accessible to all. The Culture Ministry offers an extra 10% funding for those who perform over the Green Line, and institutions which refuse to perform in the West Bank are liable to have their government budget slashed by one-third….
Following attacks, B’Tselem donations increase tenfold
+972 Blog 24 Oct by ‘John Brown’ — Over 3,700 people have signed on to a call supporting the human rights organization, after the Knesset coalition chair calls to revoke its executive director’s citizenship — B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad addressed the UN Security Council last week, calling on its members to take real steps toward ending the military dictatorship over the occupied territories, which is nearing its 50th year. Following El-Ad’s speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a statement condemning B’Tselem for joining the “chorus of slander” against Israel. It was only a matter of time before thousands of right-wingers took to social media to call for El-Ad’s execution. As expected, Israeli police did nothing to stop the incitement, and not a single person has been arrested. In the week that followed, however, B’Tselem reported a fivefold increase in “small” donations, which come from individuals, rather than from organizations. Following Knesset coalition chair David Bitan’s proposal to revoke El-Ad’s citizenship, the donations have increased tenfold. Meanwhile, over 3,700 people have signed on to a call supporting B’Tselem on social media.
Israel recalls UNESCO envoy after Jerusalem vote: PM
AFP 26 Oct — Israel recalled its ambassador to UNESCO for consultations Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, after a second resolution accused of denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. “The theatre of the absurd continues and I decided to recall our ambassador for consultation,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We will decide what the next steps will be.” The UNESCO World World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution earlier Wednesday saying it was “deeply concerned” by Israeli building works and archeological excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem. It refers throughout to the Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram Al-Sharif religious complex, without using the Israeli name “Temple Mount,” according to a copy seen by AFP. The site is the third holiest in Islam and the most holy in Judaism. Senior Palestinian figure Saeb Erekat hailed the resolution, saying it “aims at reaffirming the importance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.” The heritage committee, made up of 21 member states, adopted by consensus the text proposed by Kuwait, Lebanon and Tunisia. The vote comes eight days after a resolution of UNESCO’s Executive Council on the same theme that infuriated Israel.
Israel says ancient papyrus supports its claim to Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 26 Oct by Jeffrey Heller and Rinat Harash — Israeli archaeologists have made public a fragment of an ancient text which they say is the earliest Hebrew reference to Jerusalem outside the Bible – a discovery the government swiftly enlisted as evidence of the Jewish connection to the holy city. The 11 cm by 2.5 cm (4.3 by one inch) piece of papyrus, dated by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the 7th century B.C., was presented at a news conference in Jerusalem shortly after Paris-based UNESCO adopted a resolution that Israel said denied Judaism’s link to the ancient city. Two lines of ancient Hebrew script on the fragile and faded artifact suggest it was part of a document detailing the payment of taxes or transfer of goods to storehouses in Jerusalem. “From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem,” it reads. The Antiquities Authority said its investigators had recovered the document, described as “the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing”, after it was plundered from a cave by antiquities robbers. For Israel’s government, the papyrus is a rebuttal to UNESCO, the UN scientific and cultural organization, which is regarded by many Israelis as hostile. Arab members of UNESCO and their supporters frequently condemn Israel….
Worldwide protests demand release of Lebanese militant Georges Abdallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Ongoing protests in the occupied Palestinian territory and around the world have demanded the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese militant for Palestinian resistance who has been imprisoned by France for more than 32 years. A rally was held on Monday in front of the headquarters for International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City, organized by the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun reported. Demonstrators burned posters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Francois Hollande, and US President Barack Obama, who the PFLP said were the “three rulers most complicit in the imprisonment of Georges Abdallah and Palestinian prisoners.” A message from imprisoned PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat was read at the rally by PFLP member Haneen Ammar … An event in support of Abdallah is scheduled to be held on Tuesday afternoon in Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, and in the Israeli city of Haifa on Wednesday, as rallies have also been held around the world, including in Beirut, Athens, Tunis, Paris, Istanbul, and Chicago. The former head of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Brigade, Abdallah was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after being accused of involvement in the 1982 murders in Paris of US military attache Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yacov Barsimantov, and the attempted murder of US Consul General Robert Homme in Strasbourg in 1984, during the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon. He has been eligible for release under parole since 1999, for which he has repeatedly been refused.
Palestinian dies fighting with ISIS in Libya
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — A Palestinian from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip died Monday morning while fighting with the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Sirte, Libya, according to local Palestinian sources who identified the man as Muhammad Adel al-Zamli Abu Moyad. Sirte is the only city that ISIS controls in Libya, and forces allied to the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli have been battling for some six months to gain control of the city, with the help of US airstrikes as well as special forces from the US, the UK, and France since August. A number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have reportedly died while fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq as well. In August, Ma‘an reported that a resident of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun died while fighting with ISIS in Syria, after leaving Gaza some five years ago.
15-year-old killed in cross-border fire from Egypt
JPost 25 Oct by Eliyahu Kamisher — An Israeli teenager died after he was shot near Mount Harif while working along the Israeli-Egypt border fence Tuesday, the IDF said. Nimr Bassem Abu Amar, 15, from Lakiya, a Bedouin town in the South, was hit by a bullet that came from Egypt at noon. Abu Amar was carrying out maintenance work for a Defense Ministry subcontractor. He succumbed to his wounds while being airlifted, and he was pronounced dead at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. According to the Defense Ministry, Abu Amar was not a formal employee of the ministry subcontractor but had arrived with family members. Speaking to press outside Soroka, Abu Amar’s father blamed the Defense Ministry. “The soldiers left and came back only when they heard bursts of gunfire,” he said, adding that his son had been making coffee for the workers. According to the IDF, an initial investigation revealed that the shooting was not terrorist-related. “The initial indications do not appear to be connected to terrorist activities,” an IDF spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post. She added that the source of the gunfire was not clear and that the army is investigating in coordination with the Egyptian army. Reports in Egyptian and other Arabic media, which cited Egyptian security sources, said the teenager was hit by stray fire as a firefight broke out between smugglers and security forces in the area.
In response to the death, Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev said the Defense Ministry was shirking its responsibility for employing a minor and called for Abu Amar to be recognized as a formal employee killed in action. “The Defense Ministry is too big an elephant to try and hide behind a contracting company that employed a 15-year-old boy,” he said … In 2014, another 15-year-old, Muhammad Qaraqra, was killed while working for a Defense Ministry subcontractor along the Syrian border. Qaraqra was killed and three others were wounded after a rocket from Syria hit the contractors.
Will ICC see through Israel’s sham justice?
Electronic Intifada 25 Oct by Charlotte Silver — For decades, Israel’s crimes against Palestinians living under its military occupation were subject to little more oversight than that of public opinion. This may soon change, and Israel is putting on a show of applying the law in order to evade accountability. Nearly two years ago, the Palestinian Authority, with non-member state status at the United Nations, ratified the Rome Statute, giving it access to the International Criminal Court. With war crimes files now formally submitted, for the first time Israel may be held accountable outside its own courts, thus posing a test of the ICC’s mandate “to combat impunity and prevent the recurrence of violence.” Since its founding in 2002, the ICC has almost exclusively investigated and prosecuted the heads of African states who are not only considered responsible for reprehensible crimes but also hold little power on the global stage – neither being attributes with which Israel wants to be associated. While Israel might easily shrug off a critical UN report or condemnatory statement, it would prefer to avoid appearing in a courtroom whose earliest incarnation in Nuremberg tried and convicted Nazis. At the beginning of 2015, the ICC opened a preliminary examination into the “Palestine situation,” bringing under review all potential war crimes committed in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since 13 June 2014. The date marks the beginning of Israel’s massive military operation in the West Bank after three Israeli teens went missing and later were found dead. The manhunt saw six Palestinians killed and hundreds arrested, and led to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the most ferocious of three wholesale assaults on Gaza between December 2008 and 2014….