Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
14 years ago today, Israeli bulldozers killed ISM activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza
GAZA (PNN) 16 Mar — Today marks the anniversary of the Israeli killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, 14 years ago. On March 16, 2003, Rachel was killed by an Israel Occupation Force (IOF) armored bulldozer in Rafah during the second Palestinian intifada. Rachel had come to Gaza to try and establish a sister city project between her hometown Olympia, Washington and Rafah, Gaza. She was a peace activist connected to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who tried to prevent the demolition of Palestinian houses which were being carried out by the Israeli army. After a three hour long confrontation between ISM activists and the Israeli army’s demolition forces, she was killed, less than two months after arriving in Gaza. Israel claims that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Rachel because of the limited field of view from within the bulldozer. Humans rights groups claim that the driver had seen her and deliberately continued driving, disregarding her fellow activists who were shouting and waving their arms, which resulted in Rachel’s death. The Israeli army’s investigation of the incident concluded that the death was an accident because the driver of the bulldozer had limited visibility and therefore couldn’t see Rachel. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations criticized the military investigation, claiming that it was not transparent, credible or thorough enough….
Palestinian girl shot, injured at Gush Etzion junction after alleged vehicular attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — A teenaged Palestinian girl was shot and injured by Israeli forces at an intersection in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Wednesday afternoon after allegedly attempting to carry out a vehicular attack. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a Palestinian attempted to run into Israeli soldiers at a junction near the illegal Israeli settlement bloc of Gush Etzion. “Responding to the imminent threat, security forces shot and wounded the attacker,” the spokesperson said, adding that the Palestinian teen had been evacuated to an Israeli hospital for treatment. The army added that no Israelis had been injured in the incident. Relatives told Ma‘an that the girl was Fatima Jibrin Taqatqa, a 16-year-old from the village of Beit Fajjar [IMEMC: she had no experience driving a vehicle]. Security camera footage of the event [below] showed a car seemingly losing control at the junction, going over a median strip, and hitting posts near a bus station. Palestinian Red Crescent spokeswoman told Ma‘an that the organization was unable to ascertain the health condition of the Palestinian woman, as she was taken away by Israeli ambulance services before Red Crescent ambulances reached the scene….
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian at separation wall near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian with live fire Wednesday morning, as the man was attempting to pass through a gap in Israel’s separation wall in the occupied West Bank to go to work in Jerusalem. Witnesses said that Israeli forces opened fire on the man in the Wadi Abu al-Hummus area, near Israel’s Mazmuriya military checkpoint east of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Red Crescent said they received the man, suffering from a gunshot wound in his left thigh, from Israeli forces who were heavily deployed at the checkpoint. He was evacuated to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital for treatment, where his injury was described as moderate. The Palestinian Red Crescent identified him as 27-year-old Ahmad Radaideh, from the town of al-Ubeidiya east of Bethlehem. Palestinian residents of the West Bank are not allowed to access occupied East Jerusalem or Israel without an Israel-issued permit, and many risk being shot and injured while trying to cross into Israel to work.
Violent Israeli raid in Duheisha refugee camp leaves 5 Palestinians injured
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Five Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces opened live fire at locals during a predawn detention raid Wednesday in Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an that fierce clashes broke out between local youth and Israeli troops who raided the camp around dawn to detain one young Palestinian man from his home, identified as former prisoner Murad Zghari. Three young men were injured during the clashes, identified by locals as Ahmad al-Jiwi, Muath Abu Nasser, and Muhammad Faris Fararja. Witnesses and family members told Ma‘an that 40-year-old Iyad Ibrahim Ramadan was shot in the leg while he was standing on the rooftop of his home in the camp, before his brothers Mahmoud and Shadi rushed him to a car to drive him to the Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala. As they were driving through the neighboring village of Doha, Israeli troops opened fire on their car. Mahmoud, 34, sustained injuries after being hit in the head with shrapnel. Shadi, who was driving the car, was unharmed. The Ramadan brothers are the sons of the Jenin governor Ibrahim Ramadan, who also lives in Duheisha refugee camp. Family members who witnessed the incident told Ma‘an that the three men survived by “miracle” after Israeli troops “showered their vehicle with gunshots.” In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a “violent riot” occurred in Duheisha during “a routine military activity,” saying locals threw cement blocks and explosive devices at Israeli forces who “responded to the threat by firing towards rioters.” The spokesperson said that four people were injured, but did not confirm Mahmoud Ramadan’s injury and did not comment on why Israeli forces opened fire on the vehicle.
Israeli assailants injure a Palestinian cab driver in Jerusalem
[with two short videos] IMEMC 16 Mar — A Palestinian taxi driver was injured, late on Wednesday at night, after two Israeli assailants assaulted him, in occupied East Jerusalem. The driver has been identified as Fadi ‘Aabed, from Shurfat village, near Beit Safafa, in occupied East Jerusalem. The two Israeli attackers repeatedly struck him, and attempted to stab him, inflicting various injuries, mainly to the head and face, before fleeing the scene.
IOF attack schoolchildren in Teqou‘
BETHLEHEM (PNN) 14 Mar — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Monday afternoon have stormed Teqou‘ village east of Bethlehem, and violently attacked schoolchildren on their way home. According to PIC, Israeli soldiers chased down the Palestinian strudents across the streets and alleys in the village, amid intense teargas and gunfire. Teqou‘ mayor, Tayseer Abu Mufrih, said 17-year-old minor Mohamed Saleem al-Badan, a secondary school pupil, was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers from his family home in the village. Abu Mufrih added that the boy was kidnapped shortly after the end of the school shift on allegations of hurling stones at the occupation patrols.
Israeli forces assault Palestinians during protest over home demolitions in Israel
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Dozens of Palestinians in Jerusalem protested outside Israel’s Ministry of Finance on Tuesday against the “Kaminitz” draft bill being considered for legislation in the Israeli Knesset — expected to intensify Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem — while clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli police forces.
The protest was called by the Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities in coordination with several other committees and organizations. The committee said that the protesters chanted slogans condemning the demolition of Palestinian homes, while calling the Israeli government “racist.” Israeli special forces suppressed the demonstration, while assaulting protesters when they attempted to close the street leading to the Ministry of Finance. Those assaulted by Israeli forces included Palestinian Members of Knesset Yousif Jabarin and Taleb Abu Arar — both members of the Joint List, representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset — and Musawa Center head Jaafar Farah. Jabarin said that the assault “confirms the real face of the Israeli police that treats Arabs as enemies and not as citizens with equal rights.” …
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that “the incident did not happen,” and that there were no reports of any demonstration held around the issue of home demolitions. However, a video [below] was released documenting the event and the suppression by Israeli forces which included attempting to beat protesters. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Israel’s Kaminitz bill is aimed at increasing the power of “administrative entities, especially national planning entities,” in their “enforcement of planning laws,” and their handling of construction without Israeli-issued building permits. If adopted into Israeli legislation, the bill would “increase the amount of fines and lengthen prison terms for construction offenses, as well as expand the circle of penalization for these offenses,” according to ACRI. The committee added that the law would also enforce penalties on Palestinian local leaders if they refused to “take an effective role” in home demolitions in their communities….
Family of Palestinian slain in Jerusalem: ‘Our son was executed in cold blood’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — After an Israeli policeman shot and killed Ibrahim Matar in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City early Monday morning for allegedly committing a stabbing attack against two other officers, members of Matar’s family have demanded that Israeli authorities release security camera footage of the incident, insisting that the 25-year-old blacksmith was “executed in cold blood.” While Israeli police claimed that “a terrorist” stabbed and injured two officers with a knife, locals said they witnessed a dispute between Matar and police while he was being detained inside a police post near the entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque, insisting that the altercation was “under control” and that Matar could have been detained without the use of lethal force. Witnesses made no mention of a knife being in Matar’s possession and said they saw the young man “carrying a stick,” while Israeli police released a photo purporting to show the knife used in the alleged attack.
Israel army denies soldiers intended to plant knife on Palestinian boy in Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — After footage emerged of a 15-year-old Palestinian being detained at gunpoint in Hebron in the occupied West Bank — which local activists said depicted an attempt by Israeli forces to plant a knife on the teen before killing him — the Israeli army denied the activists’ claim, calling the reports “false manipulations and an attempt to distort the truth.” The footage showed an Israeli soldier approaching the checkpoint with a knife in his hand, before another soldier leads 15-year-old Muhammad Qazzaz away. In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson wrote to Ma‘an on Tuesday saying that the knife was found in the “terrorist’s” possession after he arrived at the checkpoint. According to the spokesperson, who asked Ma‘an to change the headline in the initial report of the incident, Qazzaz later admitted during interrogation that “he planned to carry out a terror attack in the Jewish Quarter in Hebron.” The spokesperson confirmed that Qazzaz had not yet been charged and investigations were still underway.
However, local activists with the group Human Rights Defenders — Zeidan al-Sharabati, who filmed the incident, and eyewitness Badi al-Dweik — claimed that the detention could have taken a deadly turn if the encounter had not been filmed, and alleged soldiers were planning on planting the knife on the scene. When al-Sharabati arrived near the checkpoint, he said he saw Qazzaz flat on the ground with a soldier, pointing a machine gun the boy’s head, placing his boot on Qazzaz’s neck. A second soldier was seen carrying a knife and then throwing it near the checkpoint. Sometime later, another soldier was seen picking up the same knife and then moving with the young Palestinian towards the Israeli police station, when the footage was taken. According to al-Sharabati and al-Dweik, many local Palestinians had gathered around the checkpoint to witnesses the violent detention, one of which, who understood Hebrew, heard a soldier telling another soldier to shoot and kill Qazzaz. The Palestinian bystander repeatedly shouted out to the soldiers “I understand Hebrew! Don’t kill him!” Later, Israeli soldiers tried to force those who were filming to go away, the activists said, who insisted if that if witnesses hadn’t been there to document the event, Qazzaz would have been killed and the knife would have been planted beside his body.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian teen at checkpoint for alleged knife possession
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — A Palestinian teenager was detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday for allegedly carrying a knife, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that border police detained a 17-year-old resident of Hebron at the Ibrahimi Mosque checkpoint in the Old City, adding that the teenager had a knife. Rosenfeld said that the Palestinian was being questioned by Israeli forces. The incident occurred a day after Israeli forces denied eyewitness reports that an Israeli soldier had attempted to plant a knife on a Palestinian teen at a checkpoint in Hebron’s Old City.
Israeli forces raid home of slain Palestinian in Jabal al-Mukabbir
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Israeli forces stormed occupied East Jerusalem’s Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood Tuesday afternoon and broke into the home of Fadi al-Qunbar, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in January after he drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in an illegal Israeli settlement, killing four of them. The Israeli Supreme Court later ruled in favor of punitively demolishing his house, despite the fact that al-Qunbar’s relatives have repeatedly denied having advanced knowledge of any plans to carry out an attack. Al-Qunbar’s wife and four children — the oldest being six years old and the youngest an infant — still live in the house and would be left homeless by the demolition. Al-Qunbar’s parents told Ma‘an that since the ruling, Israeli forces have raided the home a number of times threatening to demolish it. They said that during Tuesday’s raid, cement mixing trucks arrived in the area and waited outside of the house, but left after sometime because they appeared to have trouble accessing the home from the street.
Since the deadly truck attack — in addition to the punitive demolition order — al-Qunbar’s relatives and the wider community of Jabal al-Mukabbir have been subjected to what critics have called a “policy of reprisal,” referring to collective punishment measures that are typical of Israel’s response to attacks, measures that rights groups say are illegal under international law. The Israeli Minister of Interior decided to revoke the Jerusalem residency status of 13 members al-Qunbar’s family — including his mother — and demolition notices were delivered to some 81 houses in Jabal al-Mukabbir under the pretext that they were built without permits. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have closed main roads in the area for alleged security purposes, disrupting of the movement of people and public transport. In the wake of the attack, Israeli leaders also called for the family to be expelled to the besieged Gaza Strip or exiled to war-torn Syria. Israel’s Jerusalem municipality has also reportedly approved plans to establish a new settlement in the neighborhood, on the site of al-Qunbar’s home, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10.
Never obey the occupation: the legacy of Bassel al-Araj
EI 14 Mar by Budour Youssef — We will hear several accounts of what happened in the Ramallah area on 6 March 2017, when Bassel al-Araj was killed in an Israeli military raid. How long did the confrontation between Bassel and the Israeli soldiers last? Was the video published by Israel purporting to show the incident authentic? Did Bassel manage to injure any of the soldiers? We may never know. But one thing we can be sure of is that Bassel never surrendered. “The biggest insult against a martyr would be to say that he was obedient, submissive and polite in the face of his killer,” Bassel once said. Bassel was anything but obedient. Resistance was his choice. He wasn’t driven to this path by depression, economic anxiety or lack of opportunities but rather by an unwavering commitment to the Palestinian struggle for full, unconditional liberation … While we are still struggling to come to terms with Bassel’s physical loss, we must fight for the ideals he lived and died for.
In recent days, I have been speaking to Bassel’s friends and family in al-Walaja, his home village in the occupied West Bank. Despite the tremendous pain they are suffering because of Bassel’s killing, his family’s pride remains intact. “I am eternally proud of him,” his brother Saeed said. “He lived in honor and died like a hero.” Bassel’s family have opened their hearts and home for all Palestinians wishing to pay condolences but insisted that the Palestinian Authority and its official media are not welcome. Siham al-Araj – Bassel’s mother – said that her son “scared the two states,” as she described Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “Israeli soldiers killed him but the PA paved the way for them.” … The PA had persecuted Bassel for a number of years. Bassel took part in numerous protests against the PA’s cooperation with Israel. Such protests have continued since his death and they have been violently attacked by the PA’s forces. Bassel knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of the PA’s repression … While the PA must be opposed and eventually toppled, Palestinians should direct most of their energy towards fighting the Israeli occupation. It was important, in Bassel’s view, to understand that the PA’s collaboration with Israel was structural….
Updated: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 30 Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 15 Mar — In a press release, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the number of Palestinians, abducted by Israeli soldiers overnight and at dawn Wednesday in different parts of the occupied West Bank, has arrived to thirty, most of them from occupied Jerusalem. Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud, of the Jerusalem Parents of Detainees’ Committee, said dozens of soldiers invaded Jabal al-Mokabber village, searched homes and abducted seven Palestinians, identified as Wajdi Khalil Eshqeirat, 33, Mithqal Khaled Eshqeirat, 21, Hussein Bassam Eshqeirat, 29, Mohammad Essam Eshqeirat, 19, Bashar Bassam Eshqeirat, 17, Re’as Ibrahim Eshqeirat, 19, and Ahmad Amin Mashahra, 31. Mohammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of the Jerusalem Follow-Up Committee in the Al-‘Eesawiyya town, in Jerusalem, said the soldiers also searched homes, and abducted three Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Rafat Dari, Ahmad Abu Ermeila and Ismael Mheisin. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Omar Firas al- A’war, 20, from his home in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem.
In addition, the soldiers invaded many homes, and searched them, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and abducted six Palestinians, identified as Mos’ab Nidal Zghayyar, Abdullah Ahmad Zghayyar, 22, Khubab Monther Abu Sneina, 20, Wael Yousef Abu Ayyash, 28, Ibrahim Mohammad Awad, 34, and Ali Mohammad Za’aqeeq, 27. The soldiers used excessive force during home searches in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, causing damage to doors, windows, floors and walls, allegedly while “looking for weapons.”….
Israeli soldiers abduct a young woman and a young man in Jerusalem and Jenin
IMEMC 16 Mar — …soldiers invaded Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, in Silwan town in occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted a Palestinian journalist, identified as Samah Dweik, from her home. The army claimed the young woman was detained for what it described as “incitement on social media outlets,” and moved her to an interrogation center in Jerusalem. She was previously detained and interrogated on similar allegations. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted a young man, identified as Sobhi Mahmoud Mas‘oud, from the al-Fandaqumiya village south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, as he was crossing a military roadblock southwest of Jenin.
PPS: Israeli soldiers abduct nine Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 16 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted, overnight and during early morning hours Thursday, nine Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, amidst violent invasions and searches of homes. The abducted Palestinians have been identified as: 1. Nidal Mohammad Nofal, former political prisoner from Qalqilia. 2. Abdullah Jihad Bani Odah, former political prisoner from Tammoun in Tubas. 3. Moath Khaled Daraghma, former political prisoner from Tubas. 4. Luay Rashed Daraghma, former political prisoner from Tubas. 5. Ayman Abu Arab, from al-Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah. 6. Ahmad Ayman Abu Arab, from al-Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah. 7. Ahmad Abdul-Hai Dari, from al-‘Eesawiyya in Jerusalem. 8. Arafat Abu al-Hamam, from Silwan in Jerusalem. 9. Ahmad Sharif al-Heeh, former political prisoner from Surif, in Hebron.
Curfew, harassment and break-in for Shuhada Street as settlers celebrate Purim
[with photos] HEBRON, occupied Palestine 14 Mar by ISM, al-Khalil Team — Israeli settlers on 12th March 2017 harassed and threatened Palestinians and attempted to break into Shuhada Street kindergarten, as the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) was put under curfew for Palestinians so that settlers could celebrate Purim undisturbed by Palestinian presence. As on every festive occasion celebrated at the illegal settlements in here, Palestinians had to expect even greater restrictions than usual on their freedom of movement and their human rights (almost non-existent even on ordinary days). Around 11 am and with no notice at all, Israeli forces closed the Shuhada Street checkpoint, the main access point for Palestinians into the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, leaving many Palestinians stranded outside the checkpoint unable to get home. This was essentially a curfew, as Palestinians already inside the checkpoint could not leave their homes for fear of attacks from the settlersHundreds of settlers marched from the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement towards Ibrahimi Mosque on Shuhada Street, while Israeli forces ensured that settlers did not have to see so much as a single local Palestinian resident on their way. Qurtuba school and Shuhada Street kindergarten were unable to sent their students home, as soldiers denied them passage and the street they need to walk down was completely blocked by settlers, who have a history of harassing and attacking Palestinian children here. Israeli forces also invaded a Palestinian family roof on Shuhada Street in order to watch the procession of costumed settlers….
Israeli airstrikes hit two areas in Gaza, damaging electricity infrastructure
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israeli forces conducted two airstrikes in the besieged Gaza Strip late Wednesday night, damaging the coastal enclave’s already tenuous electricity infrastructure. The Israeli army said in a statement that in response to a projectile being fired from Gaza and landing in an open area in southern Israel, causing no injuries, Israeli air forces had “targeted two Hamas terror organization positions in the northern Gaza Strip.” Local sources reported that two Israeli missiles hit a training post of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — the Hamas movement’s military wing — west of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, sparking a fire. Two more missiles landed east of the Shujaa‘iya neighborhood of Gaza City, cutting off the electricity supply in the area. No injuries were reported in either airstrike. The electricity company in Gaza said that three power lines were damaged by the airstrikes across the blockaded Palestinian territory, with spokesman Muhammad Thabet stating that it wasn’t clear how long it would take to reinstate electricity access to the affected neighborhoods.
Israeli bulldozers level lands in eastern Gaza under military protection
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Several Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers crossed the border fence into the besieged Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning and leveled lands, witnesses told Ma‘’an, with no gunfire being reported. Witnesses said that bulldozers leveled lands in the central Gaza Strip town of Juhr al-Dik under military protection as Israeli military drones hovered overhead.
Israeli naval forces open fire at Gaza fishing boats
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City on Thursday. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli navy ships opened fire heavily at fishermen who were sailing within the Israel-designated fishing zone, forcing them to head back to shore. No injuries were reported.
Israel’s Gaza Island mystery: Everyone seems to be on board but Netanyahu
Haaretz 14 Mar by Sami Peretz — An artificial island would open Gaza to the world without jeopardizing Israeli security, and even enjoys the right’s support. So why isn’t it happening? — Nine years have passed since Israel’s top copywriter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, coined the concept of “economic peace.” In a January 2008 address at the annual Herzliya Conference, he proposed that economic development and stability for the Palestinians precede any political solution. Netanyahu also mentioned a joint tourism project with the Palestinians, saying that such a program and the jobs it would create could do more for peace than international conferences could. But no such project has ever been launched, and the Gaza Strip has become a powder keg that explodes every two or three years. The attitude of “there’s no partner for peace” is more firmly rooted than ever, as is the lack of hope for a negotiated settlement. So why was the vision of “economic peace” abandoned? Every so often, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz raises his idea of creating an artificial island off the Gaza coast; it would contain a port, power and water desalination plants, and an airport that would let Israel lift its blockade of the Strip and prevent a humanitarian crisis there and future wars with Israel … Katz envisions an island seven or eight square kilometers (3.1 square miles) large and linked to the Gaza coast by a bridge that contains Israeli security checkpoints. This would loosen the noose around Gaza and allow for economic development while letting Israel continue to monitor imports to the territory. And in the event of a military escalation, Israel could rapidly take control of critical infrastructure. All told, this would be a controlled, conditional lifting of the blockade that could offer the potential for development that Gazans and their Hamas government wouldn’t rush to jeopardize. Even the far right likes it It’s not clear why Netanyahu hasn’t put the plan to a cabinet vote..Ministers including Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Zeev Elkin are known to support the idea, as do the army chief and top commanders … Now is the time for creative steps that will free Israel from the burden of humanitarian responsibility for Gaza and give hope to its 2 million people. The artificial-island project could create jobs for tens of thousands of Gazans and hold the attention of its leaders for years to come….
How Israel uses gas to enforce Palestinian dependency and promote normalisation
[with map of gas fields off the shores of Israel and Gaza] Al-Shabaka 12 Mar by Tareq Baconi — Overview Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory does not only exist above ground. Since 1967, Israel has systematically colonized Palestinian natural resources and, in the field of hydrocarbons, has prevented Palestinians from accessing their own oil and gas reserves. Such restrictions have ensured the continued dependence of Palestinians on Israel for their energy needs. The Palestinians’ own efforts to develop their energy sector fail to challenge Israel’s overarching hegemony over Palestinian resources. Rather, they pursue growth and state building within the reality of the occupation, further reinforcing – even if inadvertently – the asymmetric balance between occupied and occupier. Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow Tareq Baconi begins by reviewing the context of recent gas deals. He goes on to discuss how efforts to develop the Palestinian energy sector fail to challenge this reality and rely primarily on occupation-circumventing practices that seek to enhance quality of life within the context of the occupation. The Political Impact of Israel’s Gas Bonanza Until a few years ago, both Israel and Jordan relied quite heavily on Egyptian gas imports. In 2011-2012, and especially after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, gas exports from Egypt became unreliable … With the drop of Egyptian imports, Israel and Jordan began seeking alternative sources of supply. In 2009, an Israeli-American consortium of energy firms discovered Tamar, a field roughly 80km off the coast of Haifa, containing 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas. With Israel’s energy security in jeopardy, the consortium rapidly moved toward production, and gas began to flow in 2013. A year after Tamar’s discovery, the same consortium identified the much larger Leviathan gas field, estimated to hold around 20tcf of gas….
When will Gaza gas field start operating?
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 12 Mar by Ahmad Melhem — The Palestinian Authority is working to accelerate efforts to develop the Gaza Marine gas field, whose production capacity could help solve the energy crisis plaguing Palestinians — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told the local Donia al-Watan website March 7 that the consensus government is discussing with developing companies the extraction of natural gas off the coast of the Gaza Strip. However, the prospects for this remain hindered by security and political obstacles. On Feb. 21, the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) announced that there are ongoing Palestinian talks with the Anglo-Dutch Shell company to develop the Gaza Marine gas field off the coast of Gaza. Mohammed Mustafa, the head of the PIF, told Al-Monitor that the talks with Shell are about the development of the Gaza Marine gas field, with Shell having the largest share of the field development rights (55%). The Palestinian side is urging the company to accelerate its efforts to develop the field as soon as possible given the benefits that this would bring to the national economy … The gas field is fully located in Palestinian territorial waters. The gas field’s development has been hampered due to several reasons, namely the lack of gas buyers at the time and in the foreseeable future. In addition, Israel did not allow access to the field with the outbreak of al-Aqsa intifada in 2000, and it prevented any attempts to extract gas from the field. This remained the case following the victory of Hamas in the legislative elections of 2006 and Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Asked what gave the Palestinians hope, Mustafa said that two years ago, Israel gave BG the approval to develop the field….
Gisha spokesperson: The public understands Israel’s control of Gaza comes with responsibility for Gaza residents
2 Mar — Gisha spokesperson Shai Grunberg appeared on “London et Kirshenbaum” on Israeli television Channel 10, and spoke about the results of a public opinion poll Gisha had conducted among the Israeli public. “There were a number of results in this poll that surprised us” Grunberg said, “for instance, that 76% of the public understands how deep Israel’s control of Gaza goes. They understand Israel controls access to Gaza, all land crossings with the exception of Rafah, and the sea and air space. More than half the public also understands this control comes with responsibility for the civilian and economic state of Gaza’s residents.” Grunberg also addressed the State Comptroller’s report regarding Operation Protective Edge in 2014, which was published in late February. “The Comptroller also noted that the main defect is that there was never a discussion about finding a solution. We keep going back to a military dialogue, repeated rounds of fighting, and this is not a situation anyone wants to return to, certainly not Gaza’s residents. What’s needed is a different solution.”
Gaza military court orders 10 PA intelligence officials to turn themselves in
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — A Gaza military court gave 10 officials affiliated to Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence services ten days to turn themselves in to authorities in the blockaded coastal enclave on Tuesday. In a statement made public on Thursday, the court said that if the officials did not turn themselves in within that time frame, they would be considered fugitives and tried in absentia, and that any civilians who knew of the wanted men’s whereabouts but did not report them to Gaza security forces would be charged with misprision. The statement identified six of the wanted officials as PA intelligence majors Sami Nasman, Jamal Hassouna, Shabaan Abdullah al-Gharbawi, Sabri al-Mazen Askari, Muhammad Sami Abd al-Aziz al-Bardini, and Ibrahim Abu Taha Askari. The court did not specify what the ten officials were wanted for.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli police issued indictments in only 8 percent of anti-Palestinian attacks, report finds
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — New data unveiled by Israeli NGO Yesh Din on Monday revealed that Israeli authorities have served indictments in less than 10 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years. According to the legal rights group, only 8.2 percent of investigations monitored by Yesh Din between 2013 and 2016 ended with indictments. The establishment of an Israeli police “nationalistic crime unit” in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2013 intended to specifically handle “ideologically motivated crimes” in the West Bank only led to an 0.2 percent increase in indictments. “The miserable results of this department after four years raise concerns that its opening was only performed for appearance’s sake and was not meant to truly address ideologically motivated crime against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Yesh Din information coordinator told Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday. Of the 289 investigations monitored by Yesh Din during the three-year time frame, 47 percent were attacks on Palestinian property through theft, damage, or arson, while 34 percent were physical assaults or threats of assault against Palestinians. Of those 289 files, prosecutors had reached a final decision in 245, of which only 20 saw investigation files opened….
Israel hands Palestinian 2 life sentences for involvement in deadly shooting attack
HEBRON (Ma‘’an) 15 Mar — Israel’s Ofer military court sentenced 40-year-old Muhammad Abd al-Majid Amayreh to two lifetimes in prison, after the man was convicted for his involvement in a drive-by shooting in July 2016 that left one Israeli settler killed and three others injured, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Wednesday. According to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, Amayreh admitted to driving the car from which Muhammad al-Faqih shot at an Israeli family’s car south of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank. The attack resulted in the death of Michael Mark, a rabbi and resident of the illegal Otniel settlement, while his wife Chava was critically injured. Two of their children sustained moderate and light wounds. Al-Faqih, who carried out the shooting, was killed by Israeli forces after a weeks-long manhunt, when the home in which he was hiding was bombarded with missiles and razed to the ground while he was inside.
In January, Amayreh was convicted of murder for the rabbi’s killing, in addition to being convicted of attempted murder over the injury of the family. PPS lawyer Akram Samara said in a statement that the court also imposed a fine of 250,000 shekels (approximately $68,300) on Amayreh. In August, Israeli forces demolished Amayreh’s family home in Dura after an Israeli court rejected an appeal from the family against the punitive demolition.
Report: MK Basel Ghattas would have to leave Knesset in case of plea bargain
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — The House Committee of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, held its first discussion on Tuesday on the topic of unseating MK Basel Ghattas, as requested by 71 lawmakers, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Ghattas, a member of the Joint List political bloc which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset, was indicted in January on charges of smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody. Haaretz reported at the time that Ghattas was charged with suspicions of “illegally smuggling phones into a prison, prohibited use of property for terrorist purposes,” and “deceit and breach of trust by a public servant and aggravated fraud.” Tuesday’s discussion was the first of its kind dealing with the ousting of a sitting lawmaker since Israel passed a highly contentious law last summer allowing the Knesset to oust a lawmaker for “incitement to racism” and “support of armed struggle against the state of Israel.”….
Judaization / Apartheid / Land, property theft & destruction
Israel briefly detains Palestinian mapper of settler growth
JERUSALEM (AP) 14 Mar by Josef Federman — Israeli police on Tuesday burst into the offices of a Palestinian cartographer who tracks Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and detained him for several hours, accusing him of illegally working for the Palestinian Authority. It was believed to be the first arrest of its kind since Israel banned the Palestinian Authority from carrying out official business in east Jerusalem in 2001 … Khalil Tufagji, a former Palestinian negotiator, said police entered his office early Tuesday and confiscated computers and files before taking him away. He was released after several hours. Tufagji denied working for the Palestinian Authority.
Tuesday’s incident reflected the deep sensitivities on both sides over the status of east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed. Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. The conflicting claims lie at the core of the conflict. Since 1967, Israel has ringed east Jerusalem with more than half a dozen housing developments meant to cement its control. In addition, settler groups have set up small enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods — an effort the Palestinians say is meant to erode their presence in the city.
In a statement, Israeli police accused Tufagji of conducting official research for the Palestinians on Israeli land activities in east Jerusalem and presenting them as “land theft.” They claimed that he was in “constant contact” with Palestinian security forces and that his research included details on Palestinians who intend to sell east Jerusalem properties to Israelis. Palestinians consider such land sales treasonous. “Activity by the Palestinian cartography office is part of the Palestinian Authority’s plan to harm our sovereignty in Jerusalem and even to threaten Arabs selling real estate to Jews in the city,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. He vowed to “prevent a foothold of the Palestinian government in Jerusalem.” He said Tufagji’s office would remain closed for six months.
But several hours later, Tufagji was freed without further comment by police. Speaking to The Associated Press, Tufagji denied all the claims against him and said he would be permitted to reopen his office immediately. “I proved that I have no direct connection with the Palestinian Authority. We are an NGO funded by foreign donors, not the Palestinian Authority,” he said. Tufagji is considered the foremost Palestinian expert on Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. His activities include monitoring Israeli newspapers for advertisements announcing plans to develop areas of east Jerusalem. He said he receives funding from Arab donors, though he shares his research with Palestinian officials, including a vast database on Israeli settlements. He said he has no contact with Palestinian security forces….
Report: Israel has established ‘apartheid regime’
BEIRUT (AP) 15 Mar by Zeina Karam — A report published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia that concludes that Israel has established an “apartheid regime” drew swift criticism from the U.N. and Israeli officials on Wednesday. The report titled “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” was released by ESCWA at a news conference in Beirut. Its authors conclude that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon issued a statement condemning the report. “The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” he said. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked about the report, said it was published without any prior consultations with the U.N. Secretariat and its views do not reflect those of the secretary-general. When asked who commissioned the report and who reviewed it, he said: “That’s a question to ask of ESCWA. It’s a report commissioned by ESCWA, and I would refer your questions to ESCWA.” … Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the U.S. is outraged by the report and suggested it be withdrawn.
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon without giving prior notice, under the pretext that it was built without Israeli-issued construction permits. Witnesses told Ma‘an that excavators under heavy military and police protection stormed the Ein al-Luzah area of Silwan and demolished a two-room home built of bricks and roofed with tin sheets, owned by Muhammad Abu Salih. Muhammad’s father Amin Abu Salih told Ma‘an that excavators escorted by Israeli forces carried out the demolition raid without giving prior notice. According to the family, one of the rooms was built 18 years ago, and the other was added five years ago.
Israeli settlers assemble new outpost on Palestinian land in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli settlers have started to assemble a new settlement outpost on Palestinian land in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, a local activist told Ma‘an on Tuesday. Activist Kathem Hajj Muhammad said that Israeli settlers have set up caravans in the area of al-Tabbun in al-Mughayyir, Abu Falah, and Kafr Malek villages. He added that the settlers had placed barbed wire around the caravans in the new outpost, while opening a road in order to facilitate reaching the outpost from a nearby settler bypass road, Muhammad said. The new outpost is the second reported since the start of the year, with Israeli settlers setting up mobile homes on land belonging to the village of Azmut in the northern West Bank district of Nablus at the start of the year. The new outpost is located just a few hundred meters away from the illegal Elon Moreh settlement.
Israeli authorities destroy Bedouin crops in Negev
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — For the second day in a row, the Israeli Land Authority (ILA) destroyed crops planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev desert of southern Israel on Wednesday morning, according to locals. Residents told Ma‘an that bulldozers and tractors under heavy armed protection plowed and destroyed crops in a 50-acre-field that belongs to the al-Quraan Bedouin tribe near the Nevatim junction on Highway 31 … Similar events took place on Tuesday morning, as Bedouins reported that ILA officials destroyed fields of wheat, barley, and other grains planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the outskirts of the villages of al-Surra, Tal al-Milih, and Kseifa in the Negev. Reports of ILA officials destroying crops belonging to Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev have seen a recent increase. Last week, for three consecutive days, Israeli authorities damaged crops belonging to Bedouins in the Negev-area village of Waldi al-Niam over claims that the lands were property of the state of Israel.
British government on trial for blocking BDS
MEMO 16 Mar — Campaigners for Palestine have been granted permission to take the UK government to trial over its attempt to restrict boycott and divestment of Israel. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has won a legal challenge against measures introduced by the British government, and has been granted permission for a judicial review of the changes to rules which critics say is an attack on freedom of choice and democracy. The case will now proceed to a full trial. In October 2015, the UK government announced new measures governing Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) with the specific aim of curtailing divestment campaigns against UK defence firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law. Under the new measures, ethical decision-making by LGPS was restricted in areas relating to UK foreign policy or the UK defence industry, although the exact scope of the areas remained uncertain. Human rights campaigners criticised the new measures and voiced concerns over the increasing threats to freedom of expression in UK on Palestine, including government overreach in local democracy, and the rights of pension holders to divest funds. The PSC believes that the measures taken by the government was another attempt to undermine the peaceful British BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, which is modelled after the South African anti-apartheid boycott movement. In granting permission, the judge described the case as “of significant public importance” and ordered that the trial be expedited to begin as soon as possible after 1 April….
Palestinian diaspora divided over right to return
Al Jazeera 16 Mar by Ali Younes — With the two-state solution to end the Middle East’s long-running conflict between Israel and the Palestinians teetering on the brink of collapse, thousands of members of the Palestinians diaspora converged on the Turkish city of Istanbul last month to discuss and debate what the future holds for them. The gathering marked the first attempt by the Palestinian diaspora since their displacement many decades ago to organise a global group to demand an end to what they see as concessions made by the political leadership based in Ramallah in their name that favour Israel and demand the right to return to Palestine. The final statement of the two-day conference demanded the right of return of millions of refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel. Israel views this demand as beyond consideration because it would, for all practical purposes, undermine its founding principle as a state created for the Jewish people, albeit by displacing native Palestinians.
However, the Palestinian diaspora is hardly monolithic when it comes to the question of whether Israel should continue to exist largely as a Jewish state, with views differing almost as widely as the present geographical addresses of the conference attendees. The Istanbul conference provided clear proof that each diaspora community has developed its own discourse that revolves around its collective experience of citizenship, displacement and life in refugee camps … The Istanbul diaspora conference highlighted the fact that Palestinians who live in Arab countries, whether as refugees or citizens, hew to positions and terminology that evoke memories of Palestinian nationalism in Palestine dating back to the 1930s and ’40s … Most of the Palestinian diaspora currently outside the Middle East migrated during the Ottoman period, and the overwhelming majority of them were Christians. They did not suffer the trauma of displacement or having to lead lives according to the dictates of Middle Eastern authoritarian and dictatorial regimes …in Latin America, where Israel’s influence is less, the Palestinian diaspora has been able to assert its influence to the full extent.” In this context, it is worth noting that the Palestinian diaspora narrative in Latin America does not revolve around nationalism and displacement as it is the case in the Middle East. It is a very different kind of experience that centres on integration and empowerment. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, Latin American Palestinians represent the largest population of Palestinians outside the Arab world….
Israel collects millions of dollars from Palestinians in Jerusalem annually
Palestine Chronicle 11 Mar — Israeli occupation authorities continue collecting money from Palestinians in East Jerusalem while they continue demolishing their houses and banning them from building new ones or expanding existing homes, Quds Press reported on Friday. Speaking to Quds Press, Palestinian economic expert Mohamed Qirsh said that the Israeli municipal authorities in Jerusalem collected $22 million yearly from the Palestinians. The Israeli authorities collect the money in the form of taxes and fines under the pretext of “unlicensed” building of homes by Palestinians. He also said that the Israelis had recently approved the budget for the holy city, noting that the budget excluded the planning and development of Palestinian neighbourhoods in the city. Read: Israeli plan aims to accelerate demolition of Arab homes. The expert also said that the budget of the Israeli municipality included funding for building new homes in the Al-Sawahra neighborhood in the east of the occupied part of the city….
Will new regulations deal a blow to Palestine’s local tobacco industry?
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 15 Mar by Ahmad Melhem — The Palestinian government ratified a plan Feb. 28 to regulate the tobacco sector in an attempt to improve the quality of locally grown tobacco, restructure prices, protect farmers and local companies, fight tax evasion and cigarette smuggling and increase government revenue. In the northern West Bank, especially in the Jenin governorate, hundreds of Palestinians independently plant, harvest and distribute locally grown tobacco, popularly called “Arab tobacco,” to meet the high demand driven in part by low prices. A pack of Arab tobacco sells for $1.50, while a pack of imports sells for $5.50. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in April 2016, some 23.5% of Palestinian youths were smokers, with 29.5% of them in the West Bank and 14.9% in the Gaza Strip. Louay Hanash, director general of the Customs, Excise Duties and VAT division at the Finance Ministry, told Al-Monitor that the government plan aims to organize the cultivation of tobacco in the West Bank under the supervision of the Agriculture Ministry by allowing Palestine Investment and Development, a privately owned company, to buy tobacco from farmers at a fixed price of $8 per kilo and then sell it to companies for cigarette production, packaging and distribution. Hanash said companies will produce cigarettes subject to the control of the Health and Economy Ministries in line with regulations adopted in 2015 by the Palestine Standards Institution….
Rewriting Palestinian history: The Crusaders’ war against reality in Bethlehem
MEE 15 Mar by Joey Ayoub — When a 20-second long video by Canadian blogger and self-appointed “crusader” Faith Goldy from The Rebel TV went viral on Twitter it prompted many responses, notably by Palestinian Christians. The video shows Goldy standing near a mosque in Occupied Bethlehem, ranting about how the Muslim call to prayer can be heard in the city, and ending it with the crusaders’ battle cry “deus vult”, Latin for “God Wills.” As is often the case, what is not said can be just as interesting, if not more so, than what is. Goldy ignores the fact that Bethlehem’s mayor, Vera Baboun, elected in 2012, is a Palestinian Christian Catholic. She also ignores the fact that Baboun herself cited Israel’s Apartheid Wall as a major obstacle to trade and development, saying: “We are a strangulated city, with no room for expansion due to the settlements and the wall.” When she took office, the biblical city which is highly dependent on tourism had an unemployment rate of 18 percent. The real threat In fact, Bethlehemites have been at the forefront of the struggle against Israeli apartheid in Palestine, using the fame of their city to bring international attention to the occupation … “We feel we must inform the international community of the real threat to the Christian population in Palestine – the military occupation of our land, and the crippling poverty that this has caused,” adding that: “Israeli policy has left Bethlehem in a state of captivity and economic strangulation, from which those with the means to do so, would understandably flee.” Knowing these facts is crucial because it dethrones these self-appointed “defenders of Christians” by using their own professed motives. It leads an honest observer to wonder: if they claim to defend Christianity but ignore actual Christians, whose Christianity are they defending? Is it the Christianity of all its adherents, or is it only the Christianity of Western conquerors?
Netanyahu defies international law by holding official meeting in occupied zone
IMEMC/PNN 15 Mar –National Bureau for Defending of Land and Resisting Settlements by Madeeha Araj — The National Bureau for Defending of Land and Resisting Settlements has warned against Israeli PM Netanyahu’s maneuvers to hold a celebratory cabinet meetings in the illegal settlements built in the West Bank, on the occasion of what he named “the Silver Jubilee of liberating the West Bank,” adding that holding such a meeting in any settlement in the West Bank sends a clear message to the world on the Israeli position about the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan. As well as its position regarding international law and legitimacy, including Security Council resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlements. The right-wing, pro-Netanyahu and settlement Makor Rishon’s newspaper, funded by Jewish-American casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, reported that, during his participation in the meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the Knesset, last week, Netanyahu said that the next meetings of the government will be held in Jerusalem and settlements of the West Bank, so as to commemorate the 50th anniversary of liberating the Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, besides a final celebratory festival in the Kfar-Etzion settlement. Netanyahu also instructed Miri Regev, Minister for Official Ceremonies, to prepare for those events….
Trump’s special envoy meets with Abbas in Ramallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — US President Donald Trump’s special envoy met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday at his office in Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank as part of a fact-finding mission aimed at relaunching the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. According to a statement released by the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, held a meeting with Abbas during which the two agreed to work together in order to “advance genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” ….
Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi on FBI’s Most Wanted list
Al Jazeera 15 Mar — The FBI has placed a Jordanian woman who assisted in the 2001 suicide bombing of a Jerusalem restaurant on its “Most Wanted Terrorist” list. The US case against Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi was filed under seal in 2013 but announced publicly by the justice department on Tuesday. The charge against al-Tamimi stems from an August 9, 2001, bombing at a Sbarro pizzeria that, in addition to killing 15 people, also injured some 120 others. Two of those killed were US nationals. After her capture, Tamimi, now in her mid-30s, pleaded guilty at trial in Israel and was sentenced in 2003 to 16 life prison terms.
The criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday charged al-Tamimi, who worked as a journalist at a television station in the occupied West Bank, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the US against US nationals. Federal prosecutors accuse her of having agreed in the summer of 2001 to carry out attacks on behalf of the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement and having travelled with the restaurant bomber to Jerusalem. Prosecutors say that she instructed the bomber to detonate the explosive device, which was hidden in a guitar, in the area.
Al-Tamimi was freed from prison in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. She was returned to Jordan, and though the justice department says it is working to bring her into custody, Jordanian courts have said their constitution does not allow for the extradition of Jordanian nationals. “This is the first time the US government has attempted to achieve the extradition and prosecute someone involved in a Palestinian attack against the Israeli occupation,” Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi, reporting from Washington, DC, said. “There have been civil wrongful death suits filed by relatives of Americans killed but this is the first time the government is taking such action.” Mary McCord, the acting head of the justice department’s national security division, called al-Tamimi an “unrepentant terrorist”.
Opinion: Palestinian Authority blindness – or collaboration? / Amira Hass
Haaretz 15 Mar– PA leader Abbas has solid reasons to fear abandoning the field to independent military cells that won’t defeat the occupation but only worsen the situation. This, however, is not the message he and his security forces are conveying — Foolishness and shortsightedness, subcontracting for the Israeli army, or direct collaboration with the occupier – which of these can explain Sunday’s Palestinian police violence against a few dozen social activists in Ramallah? Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced the establishment of an investigative committee to examine “the events at the courts compound” on Sunday. Six Palestinian prisoners were meant to be tried that day for illegal weapons possession and endangering human life. But four of them had already been arrested by Israel and one of them, Basil al-Araj, had been killed by the Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police a week earlier, during a raid on Al-Bireh. Immediately afterward the social networks elevated him to the rank of national hero, fighter and intellectual. Those who sent a police unit armed with batons, pepper spray, stun grenades and tear gas could have been more understanding of the demonstrators, who were shocked by the very idea that a Palestinian trial was being held for someone who was killed by Israel and for another four men imprisoned in Israel. But the orders were given and obeyed as if in a bubble divorced from history, geography, society and politics.…