Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Netanyahu doubles down on settlements
Ynet 7 June by Amihai Attali, Elisha Ben Kimon — The prime minister promises to protect the settlement enterprise and build in all parts of the West Bank, both inside settlements and outside; comments come as minister of housing and construction proposes plan for 67,000 apartments in West Bank to combat high prices in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area — …Speaking at a ceremony Tuesday commemorating the Six Day War and settlement in the West Bank, Netanyahu referred to the two most pressing issues for settlers—the building taking place today and the possibility that they could be evacuated from their homes as part of an agreement with the Palestinians. “No one will be uprooted from their home, I’m doing everything to protect the settlement enterprise,” said Netanyahu, adding, “We decided to build in all parts of Judea and Samaria and we are building both inside and outside the settlements.” Netanyahu’s statements on building inside and outside of settlements echo a plan put forward by Minister of Housing and Construction, Yoav Galant (Kulanu), who proposed 67,000 apartments in the West Bank in order to deal with the real estate crisis in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. A call by the settler leadership for massive construction in the West Bank in response to the real estate crisis in the center of the country is nothing new, but the plan presented Tuesday in the Knesset was put together in cooperation with Galant, who was thoroughly involved in planning the details. As part of the plan, the Yesha Council commissioned a panel of experts to map out the total amount of vacant land available for construction in the area between Karnei Shomron in the north, through the city of Ariel and up to Modi’in.The panel ultimately determined that the western area of the West Bank could immediately accommodate the construction of some 67,000 housing units, in which no less than 340,000 people could live. The new plan claims that the target price for a four-room apartment in the same area will be NIS 1.2 million.
Israel advances plans for 1,500 West Bank settler homes: Peace Now
AFP 6 June — Israeli authorities on Tuesday advanced plans for 1,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, including units for the first new official settlement in some 25 years, the Peace Now NGO said. A defence ministry committee advanced the plans and may do so for around 1,000 more on Wednesday, the NGO that tracks settlement building in the Palestinian territory said in a statement. The move came as Israelis and Palestinians marked the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, fought from June 5-10, 1967 and when Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began. Israeli authorities did not respond to requests for comment on the plans, which Peace Now said showed that “a two state solution is not on (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s) agenda.” “By promoting the establishment of the first new settlement in 25 years, as well as thousands of additional settlement units, Netanyahu’s actions speak louder than his empty words on peace,” Peace Now said. The plans moved forward on Tuesday are at various stages in the process and the units are located in different areas. Plans for 102 units for the new settlement, to be known as Amichai, are in the early stages and require a series of further steps….
In step toward annexation, ministers demand new laws include settlements
Times of Israel 6 June by Marissa Newman — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced Tuesday that all government legislation will henceforth explicitly mention applicability to residents of West Bank settlements, in an apparent step toward expanding Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. MKs were holding a series of committee meetings on improving the lives of Jews living in West Bank settlements — regarding education, immigration absorption, and housing — as the Knesset celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War, when Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, Gaza and Sinai. “We are trying to change the reality of legislation in the Knesset,” Shaked, of the right-wing Jewish Home party, told the Knesset House Committee. “There is no doubt that the lives of residents of Judea and Samaria need to be exactly the same as the lives” of other Israeli citizens, she said, using the biblical name for the West Bank. The directive by Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin applies strictly to government-backed laws from June 1 but not to private legislation presented by individual lawmakers. Shaked said she had instructed the ministers to comply with the new instructions, which require “a reference” to West Bank residents on government bills. She said only half a dozen Israeli laws currently mention the settlers, including adoption laws and recent anti-discrimination laws. Laws will not be required to extend to settlements, but will need to explicitly state whether they do or do not, and an explanation will be needed in cases where they only apply to one side of the Green Line. Currently, Israeli law is applied to the settlements by issuing individual military orders, a process that Shaked described as cumbersome and selective….
Israeli settlers take over Palestinian lands in Salfit, erect illegal outpost
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 7 June — A group of settlers from Israel’s illegal Nufim settlement erected an outpost on Tuesday on Palestinian lands in the Khirbet Shihada area in the eastern outskirts of the village of Deir Istiya in the occupied West Bank district of Salfit. Local activist Nathmi Salman told Ma‘an that the settlers erected 13 tents and a number of wooden caravans on Palestinian land owned by residents of Deir Istiya. Salman added that a road equipped with electricity and lights was previously built to connect Nufim to the Palestinian lands where the outpost was then constructed. Palestinian farmers in Deir Istiya said that they were also threatened from going near the area by an armed Israeli settler … Coordinator of a popular resistance group against Israeli settlements Rizq Abu Nasser told Ma‘an that the lands of Khirbet Shihada have been isolated from residents of Deir Istiya since 2001 after a road connecting the village to their lands in Khirbet Shihada was taken over by Israel’s Havat Yair settlement. Havat Yair was also first established on the lands of Deir Istiya as an illegal outpost in 1999, and was slated for evacuation multiple times by Israeli authorities. However, the Israeli government eventually retroactively legalized the outpost.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by Israeli forces in Kafr Qasim clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot dead by an Israeli security guard during clashes in the Palestinian-majority town of Kafr Qasim in central Israel on Monday night. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement on Tuesday morning that clashes erupted shortly before midnight when police detained a local man who was “wanted for questioning.” Local youth threw stones at the police officers during the detention, and a “suspect” was also detained. According to local news outlet Arab48, police officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the crowd, which it said had gathered to denounce police failure to properly handle the high level of crime in Kafr Qasim.
Clashes continued into the night outside of the local police station, Rosenfeld said, adding that “as a result of a life-threatening situation,” a private security guard fired towards the protesters. Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that at least two Palestinian citizens of Israel were injured by gunshots. One of the men — whom Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri identified as 21-year-old Muhammad Taha — was evacuated in critical condition to the Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, where doctors later declared him dead. Rosenfeld also reported that Kafr Qasim protesters set fire to three police vehicles, while Israeli news outlet the Jerusalem Post reported that a police officer was “slightly wounded.”
According to Ma‘an documentation, Taha is the 28th Palestinian to have been killed by an Israeli in 2017, and the second Palestinian citizen of Israel to be killed by Israeli forces this year. In January, Israeli forces shot and killed Palestinian citizen of Israel Yaqoub Abu al-Qian in highly contested circumstances during a raid in the Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran.
Knesset member Ayman Odeh, who heads the Arab Joint List, a coalition of political parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, went to Kafr Qasim with fellow Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi and Meretz lawmaker Issawi Freij following the clashes. Odeh accused Israeli police of treating Palestinians with Israeli citizenship as enemies to be fought rather than citizens to be protected….
General strike observed to protest killing of Palestinian citizen of Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June — Palestinian communities in Israel observed a general strike on Wednesday to mourn the death of a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was shot dead by an Israeli security guard during clashes in the Palestinian town of Kafr Qasim in central Israel on Monday night. Palestinian-majority towns in the southern Negev desert, the Triangle region, Galilee in the north, and coastal cities launched the strike after a decision from the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel to protest the killing of 21-year-old Muhammad Taha.
Taha was shot dead when Israeli police officers suppressed protesters in Kafr Qasim who had gathered to denounce police failure to properly handle the high level of crime in the town. His funeral on Tuesday was attended by thousands of mourners.
Wednesday’s strike saw business, schools, and civil institutions shuttered across Palestinian-majority municipalities in Israel, as locals organized for protests scheduled for 5 p.m., news site Arab48 reported.
Palestinian taxi driver rushed to hospital after being attacked by Israeli soldiers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces violently assaulted a Palestinian taxi driver “for no reason” near the village of Nabi Saleh west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday night, members of his family told Ma‘an. Tamir Farah Tamimi was driving his taxi back home to Nabi Saleh after a day of work when Israeli soldiers stopped him at a military checkpoint near the entrance to the village and started to punch him and hit him with the butts of their rifles. Members of his family said that Tamimi suffered from severe bleeding from his head and was unconscious when he was evacuated in an Israeli ambulance to a hospital inside Israel. The extent of his injuries, and the location of the hospital where Tamimi was being treated remained unknown…. [IMEMC: The young man suffered moderate-but-stable wounds, and was transferred to the Israeli Beilinson Hospital, in Petah Tikva.]
Several children injured in Nabi Saleh
IMEMC 6 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, violently searched and ransacked homes, and fired many gas bombs at homes, during clashes that took place following the invasion, causing many children to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Local activist Bilal Tamimi said dozens of soldiers invaded the town from various directions, before storming and ransacking homes belonging to Naji Tamimi, Bassem Tamimi and Mahmoud Tamimi, reportedly looking for their sons, Anan Naji Tamimi, Wa’ad Bassem Tamimi and Maher Mahmoud Tamimi. The three were not at home during the invasions, while the soldiers resorted to excessive violence and deliberate property damage, demanding the three Palestinians “to surrender.” The invasion led to clashes between dozens of youngsters, and the soldiers, who fired many gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets, causing several children to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. The wounded children received treatment for the severe effects of teargas inhalation, without the need to hospitalize any of them.
Israeli forces shoot, injure 5 Palestinians during detention raid in Qalqiliya
QALQILYA (Ma‘an) 7 June — Five Palestinians were wounded with live fire when clashes erupted in the northern occupied West Bank city of Qalqilya during a predawn detention raid Wednesday, as the Israeli army detained at least 12 Palestinians in multiple detention raids across the occupied territory. Medical sources from the Palestinian Red Crescent said that three Palestinians were shot and injured with live bullets in their lower extremities and two others were injured with shrapnel during the clashes in Qalqiliya. They were all transferred to Darwish Nazzal governmental hospital in Qalqilya for treatment.
During the raid, Israeli forces detained 29-year-old Muhammad Abdullah Abu Khadija and took him to an unknown location, according to locals. However, a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Abu Khadija was 32 years old, and added that another unidentified Palestinian was also detained during the Qalqiliya raid.
Elsewhere in the northern occupied West Bank, one Palestinian was detained in the village of al-Jalama in the Jenin district, one in the Nablus area, and one in Tubas, the army spokesperson said. PPS identified the detainee from Nablus as Muhammad Adnan Asfour, the detainee from Tubas as Jihad Ismael Masaaed, and the detainee from Jenin as 19-year-old Thaer Osama Abu Arab.
In the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, the Israeli army said one Palestinian was detained in Beit Ur al-Tahta.
PPS also said that Radwan Fawaqa, from Dura al-Qar in the Ramallah district, was detained at Israel’s Qalandiya checkpoint.
One Palestinian was also detained in the village of Hizma in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district according to the Israeli army, identified by PPS as 21-year-old Muhammad Rashid Salah al-Din. Elsewhere in the Jerusalem area, PPS said Israeli forces also detained 20-year-old Amir Mahmoud.
Meanwhile, an Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement that during an overnight raid in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, Israeli forces seized an automatic “Carl Gustav” rifle. “Police (are) continuing an investigation into the incident and searching for suspects connected to the weapon,” Mickey Rosenfeld wrote in the statement….
2 Palestinians injured with live fire in Ramallah-area clashes with Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 June– Two Palestinians were injured with live ammunition during clashes with Israeli forces that erupted early Sunday afternoon in the village of al-Mughayyir, east of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. Palestinian medical sources told Ma‘an that the injured Palestinians — who were referred to as “youths” though their exact ages remained unknown — were taken to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah city, highlighting that one was shot and injured in his right knee, while the other was injured in his left leg. The two were reported to be in stable condition. Sources noted that several others suffered from tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces raided the village and closed its entrances, fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live fire at residents….
Palestinian prisoners and their relatives assaulted by Israeli forces during visit
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli prison forces attacked a number of Palestinian prisoners and their relatives during a family visit to Eshel prison on Monday morning, with security guards using pepper spray on both the prisoners and their family members and beating them with batons, relatives told Ma‘an. The father of prisoner Omar al-Sharif told Ma‘an that the families had traveled from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem to Eshel prison more than 100 kilometers away in Israel’s southern Negev desert.
The families arrived at 7:30 a.m. and were not allowed inside until 12 p.m., he said, when both men and women were subjected to invasive and “provocative” searches at the hands of the Israel Prison Service (IPS). Heated arguments erupted in the visitation room, until a group of IPS officers stormed the room and attacked prisoners and their family members with pepper spray and beat them with batons, before the prisoners were handcuffed and the visitors were forced out. The father of prisoners Muhammad and Ahmad al-Bakri told Ma‘an that IPS officers had treated visiting relatives harshly since they arrived to Eshel early in the morning. “After going through inspections at the entrance and passing through the metal detectors, female IPS soldiers searched the women inside a separate room, and forced them to take off their headscarves and jewelry.” Al-Bakri described the search as “an unprecedented provocation.” … Improving conditions for family visits to Palestinian prisoners was a central demand of a 40-day mass hunger strike launched in Israeli prisons that ended last month.….
Israeli forces remove Hebron memorial for slain Palestinian girl for second time
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli forces removed a stone plaque in the southern occupied West Bank memorializing a teen Palestinian girl who was shot dead by Israeli forces in 2015 for the second time, Israeli news sites reported on Tuesday. Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva reported that the Israeli army removed a plaque between the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba and the city of Hebron on Monday evening. The plaque, which states that the street was renamed after 17-year-old Bayan al-Esseili, had previously been removed in April as part of what the Israeli army called at the time “ongoing efforts against incitement.” At the time of Bayan’s killing, the Israeli army justified fatally shooting the teenage girl — on a day two other Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces in Hebron — by saying that she allegedly attacked a border police officer, who sustained light injuries to her hand. The removal of Bayan’s memorial was characteristic of an Israeli policy of dismantling monuments and mourning tents for Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, which Israel claims contributes to promoting future attacks against Israelis — amid a wider crackdown on Palestinian freedom of expression…
Locals in Hebron have also noted that at the entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, just a short distance away from where Bayan’s memorial stood, settlers continue to visit a gravestone and memorial for Baruch Goldstein, an American born Israeli settler who massacred 29 Palestinians inside Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994.
Five cars vandalized in east Jerusalem price tag attack
Ynet 5 June by Yael Friedson — Unknown perpetrators vandalized five cars belonging to Arab residents in east Jerusalem early Monday, slashing tires and spraying “Death to Arabs” on the vehicles. Police launched an investigation into the price tag incidents, reported both in the French Hill neighborhood and near the hotels on Bar-Lev Boulevard, which connects the neighborhood to Highway 1 … One of the graffiti writings said, “Revenge. Binyamin RIchter says hello.” Richter was released from prison last week after having served three years for vehicular arson. One of the owners of the vandalized vehicles, Amir Abu Hamed, posted pictures of the damage to his Facebook page but wrote he and his friends have no intention of filing a complaint as they have no faith in the police. “When I go to the supermarket at 3am in the French Hill, police officers stop me and ask me where I’m going at such an hour. But a pure Jew with a kippah on his head can wander around without police asking him where he’s from or where he’s going,” Abu Hamed wrote. “We’re tired of this. It’s 2017. I feel like throwing up and mostly escape this shitty place.” Gadi Gvaryahu, the head of anti-racism group Tag Meir, said, “This is the fifth price tag attack in the last month. We expect the police to stop the wave of attacks against innocent Arabs as soon as possible.
Israeli forces suppress Palestinian Naksa march in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 June — Israeli forces suppressed a protest in the southern occupied West Bank city in Hebron on Tuesday, launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. June 5 is remembered by Palestinians as “Naksa” Day, meaning “setback,” marking the Israeli invasion and occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights that began on June 5, 1967 during the Six-Day War, displacing some 300,000 Palestinians, as well as thousands of Syrians, from their homes. The protest march headed from the northern entrance of Hebron city towards Road 35 that leads to the town of Halhul, when Israeli forces fired stun grenades at demonstrators and assaulted local human rights activist Emad Abu Shamsiya, local activists told Ma‘an. The peaceful protesters were holding torches and signs in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, which called for the end of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.
Skirmishes with Israeli soldiers in West Bank town of Nabi Ilyas
QALQILYA (PIC) 6 June — Violent clashes broke out on Monday afternoon between local young men and Israeli soldiers on the main road of Nabi Ilyas town, east of Qalqilya city in the occupied West Bank. Local sources told the PIC reporter that the events started after Palestinian young men hurled stones at a Jewish settler’s car traveling on the road. Consequently, Israeli troops aboard military vehicles rushed to the area, erected barriers on the road and clashed with the youths, who also showered them with stones.
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian police officer in Gaza
IMEMC 7 June — Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Tuesday evening, a Palestinian staff sergeant with the traffic police, after shooting him in the abdomen, and injured at least seven other Palestinians. The Health Ministry in Gaza said the Palestinian, Fadi Ibrahim Najjar [or Amjar?], 25, was shot with a live round in the abdomen, and died from his serious wounds. It added that the soldiers also shot another young man, moderately wounding him in the leg.
The incident took place after the soldiers fired many live rounds at Palestinians protesting on their lands, close to the border fence, in Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region. Furthermore, Israeli soldiers stationed on military towers around Nahal Oz base, across the border fence, east of Gaza city, fired many live rounds at dozens of Palestinians, wounding two in their legs. Medics rushed the two wounded young men to the Shifa Medical Center, suffering moderate injuries. Three other Palestinians were also shot with live Israeli army fire, east of Jabalia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, after the soldiers attacked Palestinians marching close to the border fence. The three wounded Palestinians, who suffered moderate injuries, were rushed to the Indonesian hospital, in nearby Beit Lahia town. Clashes also took place east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and the soldiers fired live rounds and gas bombs, causing at least twenty Palestinians to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli soldiers injure five Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 6 June — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, on Monday evening, five young Palestinian men with live fire, during clashes that took place after the soldiers opened fire on youngsters in Palestinian lands, close to the border fence, in various parts of the besieged coastal region. The soldiers, stationed in military towers, and tanks, in the Nahal Oz base, across the border fence, fired many live rounds at Palestinian youngsters, including children, for “approaching the border fence,” built on Palestinian lands east of Gaza city, wounding one person in the leg. Medical sources said the wounded Palestinian suffered a moderate injury, and was moved to the Shifa Medical Center. Another Palestinian suffered a severe injury, after the soldiers shot him in the abdomen, east of Rafah city, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Medics rushed him to Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital, in Rafah. Three Palestinians were also shot with live fire, east of Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and were moved to Kamal Adwan Hospital and the Indonesian Hospital, in nearby Beit Lahia city, suffering moderate wounds. Clashes also took place east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and east of Khan Younis city, in the southern part of the coastal region, and the soldiers fired many live rounds, in addition to gas bombs.
7 Palestinians injured after ordnance explodes in Gaza
GAZA (Ma’an) 4 June — Seven Palestinians were injured after an “unspecific object” exploded in the al-Mughraqa village, southwest of Gaza City in the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday, according to Gaza’ Ministry of Health. Spokesperson for the ministry Ashraf al-Qadra said in a statement that seven Palestinians sustained moderate and serious injuries when the device exploded, noting that the injured were transferred to Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip for treatment. Palestinian police in Gaza have opened an investigation into the explosion.
Two Palestinians in Gaza were injured earlier this year under similar circumstances in Gaza. One was moderately injured, while the other was reported at the time to be in critical condition and had to undergo surgery to amputate several fingers.
While the nature of the explosion remained unclear, more than 7,000 unexploded ordnance were left throughout the Gaza Strip following the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, according to officials of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories (OCHA). A 2012 report published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that 111 civilians, 64 of whom were children, were casualties of unexploded ordnance between 2009 and 2012, reaching an average of four every month in 2012.
Israel to end temporary expansion of Gaza fishing zone in 2 weeks
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities are set to maintain a temporary expansion for the designated fishing zone in the southern besieged Gaza Strip for two more weeks, according the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for enforcing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory. Israeli authorities announced on May 3 that the unilaterally-declared fishing zone in the southern part of the territory was temporarily expanded from six nautical miles to nine — without specifying when the temporary expansion would end — while the zone would remain at six miles in the north. A month after the extension was imposed, COGAT confirmed in a statement on Monday that the fishing zone would be extended for an additional two weeks, “in accordance to the decision to enlarge the fishing range in light of the fishing season that occurs during May through June.”…
Despite COGAT’s claims regarding the benefits of the expansion, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union Zakariya Bakr has said that it was unlikely to mean real change for Gaza’s fishermen. He told Israeli legal NGO Gisha that since the expansion only applies to the south of the Strip, a larger concentration of fishermen is drawn to the area, depleting each fisherman’s catch. According to Bakr, there are currently 3,750 fishermen working on 1,270 boats in Gaza. Fishermen also reported to Gisha that while the expansion helped, it was not sufficient. The southern Gaza coasts are sandy, rather than rocky, meaning less fish can be found there, while the more ample and varied catches of fish are found beginning at 7.5 nautical miles off shore — causing overcrowding in a 1.5-miles area within the designated zone. Furthermore, “any departure from the zone defined by Israel places fishermen’s lives at risk,” Gisha noted. “Incidents in which fishermen made a navigational error, or drifted outside the zone by mistake, ended with Israel confiscating their boats and/or opening fire at the fishermen, resulting in injury, damage to equipment and even death.”….
Hamas leader heads to Egypt for rare talks with officials
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 4 June by Fares Akram — Hamas’ newly chosen leader in the Gaza Strip on Sunday traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian security officials, in the first high-level meeting between the sides in months, a Hamas official said. The delegation left through the Rafah border crossing, which was opened Sunday for the group to cross. The border is mostly closed for the 2 million residents of Gaza, part of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Israel and Egypt have enforced the blockade, citing security reasons, since Hamas seized control of Gaza a decade ago. Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas official, said the delegation will discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza under the blockade, Egypt’s role in improving conditions and the need to open Rafah crossing for Palestinian travelers. Bardaweel said the three-member delegation was led by Yehiya Sinwar, Hamas’ newly chosen leader in Gaza, the group’s stronghold … Hamas has been trying to convince Egypt that it is a reliable security partner. It has deployed more troops along the border with Egypt’s northern Sinai region, where the Egyptian military is battling Islamic extremists. But over the past month, at least four Gaza residents were killed while fighting alongside the Islamic State group’s Sinai affiliate, complicating Hamas’ reconciliation attempts.
Opinion: And then the power was cut in the children’s hospital in Gaza / Mohammed Azaizeh
Haaretz 5 June — A technical problem stopped the generator, and the children’s respirators started to work on batteries. But after 15 minutes the batteries ran out — Three children are attached to respirators in the intensive care unit in the Rantisi Children’s Hospital in Gaza City. Their lives depend on the proper running of the generators, which have become the main suppliers of electricity in the Gaza Strip … I came to the children’s intensive care unit (ICU) and to the hospital in general as part of my work as a researcher for the Gisha human rights organization. In the words of the hospital director, Dr. Mohammed Abu-Salmia, “The situation is catastrophic.” Every time the flow of electricity from the grid stops and the generator is activated, he says, mishaps are likely, which interfere with the activity of the wards, the laboratories and the medical equipment, including the oxygen generators and pumps for distributing it in the wards, along with the sewage, laundry, cooking and sanitation systems … In addition to the loss of power, according to Dr. Abu-Salmia hundreds of types of medicines and medical equipment are missing from the warehouses of the Gaza Health Ministry, and of course the Rantisi Hospital suffers from that too. In the gastroenterology department, for example, feeding tubes for infants have run out, and the staff is forced to use tubes whose diameter is too large for their tiny windpipes, causing the babies unnecessary suffering. Even transferring equipment from Israel that was bought in advance especially for Rantisi is a challenge: Four months have passed since the renovation of the oncology department, with the help of monetary assistance from an American foundation, and they’re still waiting here for essential parts for the air conditioning system. The entry of the parts and equipment into Gaza is being delayed because Israel decided to label them “dual-use” items (in other words, items that are liable to be used for military purposes). The department is designed for children with cancer and their caretakers; those who can’t go out for treatment via the closed Rafah crossing, those whom Israel labels a “security risk” and doesn’t approve their exit for treatment outside Gaza, patients who were able to receive the desired permit but won’t be able to endure the journey that awaits them….
The lonely journey of a Palestinian cancer patient
JERUSALEM (Washington Post) 26 May by William Booth and Sufian Taha — The patient in Room 120 was struggling, you could see right away, on what her oncologist called “the cancer journey.” She was three long years into this trip. Today she felt a pain jabbing its fist into her right side. But Maweya Abu Salah was not done yet. She was a mother who wanted to see her children again. “I just feel a little down,” she told us. “Come, come. Sit down.” She arranged herself under the bedspread. Outside her window at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, the spring flowers were in epic bloom. She praised God and her nurses. She was going home, if not today, in a day or two, she said. Salah was quick to tell anyone who passed by about her kids: the accountant, the chemist, the math teacher. And the youngest, just 13 years old, a blessing, a handful. The children wanted to be by her side. One son applied for a permit to accompany his mother to the hospital but was refused, Salah said. Another son was in Jordan and denied entry into Israel. In the days to come, her eldest daughter tried, too, but was turned away. They were Palestinians stuck on the other side of Israel’s borders and barriers. One of her doctors told us, “This happens every day.” Only Salah’s husband of 34 years had a permit to come to the hospital and spend the night…
Maweya Abu Salah died on Thursday afternoon. A medical resident patted Jamal’s arm and said, “We think she’s gone.” A nurse handed him his wife’s gold rings. Jamal put his hands on his wife’s face. He read a prayer from the Koran. With help, he packed a bag with her shoes, her robe, her purse. He went into the hallway, cried for a moment and then began frantically calling his adult children. They had to make arrangements to get her home one last time. Jamal hired a private Jerusalem ambulance to take them to the checkpoint. But not even ambulances are allowed to pass freely … As her body was being transferred from ambulance to ambulance, an Israeli policeman, with an armed Israeli soldier standing by, checked her papers one last time. The officer looked at her face. He looked at the photograph on her Palestinian ID, at her death certificate and her final permit….
PHOTOS: Hundreds call for release of Ethiopian-Israeli held in Gaza
Activestills 3 June by Oren Ziv & Orly Noy — Hundreds gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to call for the release of Avera Mengistu, who has been missing in Gaza for 1,000 days. In nearby Petah Tikva, hundreds demonstrated against police brutality and threats to freedom of expression — Hundreds of people marched down Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Saturday evening in solidarity with Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian-Israeli who entered Gaza in September 2014 and has been missing ever since. He is presumed to be in Hamas captivity….
Gaza dating site matches widows to men seeking 2nd (or 3rd) wife
GAZA CITY (NY Times) 4 June by Majd Al Waheidi — He was looking for a woman with particular attributes, hopefully a widow of a man killed in the struggle against Israel, without children, between 25 and 30, from southern Gaza. Her requirement was no less important: She was looking for a married man. For Majdi and Ghada Abu Mustafa, their simultaneous search for a spouse turned out well, and the pair are now married. “She is beautiful and a widow of a martyr at the same time,” Mr. Abu Mustafa said, using the word preferred by Palestinians for a killed fighter, often a terrorist to Israelis. She is the second of his two wives. “When I get wealthy, I will marry the third wife.” The couple met on Wesal — it means communion or reunion in Arabic — a first-of-its-kind matchmaking website in Gaza. It has been successful, and not just because Tinder and other dating apps are banned or severely frowned on here. Its founder knows his demographic well: residents of the religiously conservative Gaza Strip, with its culture of resistance. Some 1,400 men have been killed in the three wars with Israel since 2008, leaving many widows who would like to remarry. Tradition, however, can make it difficult for them to wed single men. Mr. Abu Mustafa, 34, a math teacher, said he had no specific reasons to get married again, but said he did wish to give “dignity” to a widow. Ms. Abu Mustafa’s first husband died during the conflict between Hamas and Israel in 2012. Islam permits a man to have up to four wives.“Our men fight wars and die. Women stay alive,” said the site’s founder, Hashem Sheikha. “This is why my project supports polygamy.”
Palestinian resentenced to life in prison, 34 years after being released
IMEMC/Agencies 6 June — Israeli authorities have resentenced a Palestinian man to life in prison, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported on Monday, more than 30 years after he was released in a prisoner swap deal. Yousif Hassan Ahmad Abu al-Kheir, a 74-year-old Palestinian from the coastal city of Akka in Israel, was serving a life sentence in Israeli custody for what Israeli news outlet Ynet called “serious security offenses” when he was released in 1983 as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the Fateh movement, PPS said. Following his release, Abu al-Kheir’s Israeli citizenship was revoked, and he moved to Greece. A few years later, he started attempting to recover his Israeli citizenship in order to travel back home and live with his family. In late May, PPS said, Abu al-Kheir’s lawyer notified him that he had been allowed to return to Israel. However, Ma‘an further reports that Israeli authorities detained him when he arrived at the airport, and a special Israeli committee ruled that he serve his life sentence, 34 years after he was released. Israeli authorities have regularly redetained Palestinians who were released during prisoner exchange deals, in violation of the agreements. Since a 2011 prisoner swap deal in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged against more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners back into Israeli custody….
No plea bargain for Elor Azaria
Ynet 5 June by Yoav Zitun –The chief military prosecutor and prosecutor Lt. Col. Weissman met with Azaria’s lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, but did not reach an agreement. “The gaps are significant and essential,” the IDF spokesperson said, meaning that the judges of the military appeals court will be the ones to decide the fate of the soldier.
Other news and opinion
Hamas-affiliated lawmakers receive salaries from PA after ‘technical error’
GAZA (Ma‘an) 6 June — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has denied allegations that it cut salaries for 47 deputies of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc in the Palestinian parliament. The political bloc said in a statement Monday on Hamas’ official website that the PA had cut the lawmakers’ salaries, condemning the move as a continuation of the PA’s policy against Hamas parliamentarians residing in the occupied West Bank since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Local news outlet Palestine Now quoted head of the salaries department at the Palestinian Finance Ministry Abd al-Jabar Salim as saying that “salaries were not paid as a result of a technical error in the salary system.” He said that the error was being dealt with and that salaries of the Hamas-affiliated lawmakers would be paid later on Monday. Israeli news site Ynet later reported that Hamas lawmaker Ayman Daraghmeh confirmed the 47 parliamentarians had indeed received their salaries after being informed by the PA the delay came as technical error.
However, in Hamas’s initial statement, the faction also accused the PA of cutting the salaries of 270 former prisoners of Israel who have been deported to the besieged coastal enclave, and also denounced the PA for upholding a widely criticized decision to cut salaries for Gaza-based civil servants by 30 percent. In response to the reported development, Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Rahman Shahid said the Hamas body responsible for overseeing prisoners would review all the suspended salaries, according to Israeli news outlet the Jerusalem Post….
Hamas accuses PA of ‘continuing violations’ against Palestinians in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — The Hamas movement accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of “continuing its violations against Palestinians in West Bank,” in a statement on Monday, which said that two Palestinians were summoned for questioning overnight, while the PA has continued to detain several Palestinians in PA jails, denying the detainees “all of their their rights,” including the right to receive family visits, Hamas said. In the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, PA forces summoned former prisoner Tariq Gharib to appear for question on Tuesday, the report said. Meanwhile, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, “former political detainee” Samah al-Nadi was briefly detained Sunday night after being summoned by PA intelligence, and was released after agreeing to return for further questioning next week, Hamas wrote. Hamas highlighted in the statement that former prisoner Hamza Zablah was still being detained by the PA in Hebron for the 13th consecutive day … Meanwhile, Hamas’s media office in Gaza reported on Sunday that during the month of May, PA forces detained 75 Palestinians affiliated with Hamas, summoned 35 others for questioning, and extended detention sentences of four. They were among a total of 103 Palestinians to be detained by the PA that month, when 179 were also summoned for interrogation, according to an statement on Hamas’ website last Thursday. The statement said the detainees included 67 former prisoners of Israel, 83 former political detainee of PA, three journalists, 15 university students, one high school student, and four imams….
PA raid sparks armed clashes in Balata refugee camp, 2 injured
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 June — Palestinian security forces conducted a raid into Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus before dawn on Sunday, sparking armed clashes with locals that left two “wanted criminals” injured. Nablus Mayor Akram Rujoub told Ma‘an that a group of armed men in the camp opened fire at Palestinian security forces who were “conducting a security operation” in Balata, causing clashes to erupt. Palestinian forces shot and injured one man in the foot, while another sustained an unspecified injury and was treated by an ambulance crew that entered the refugee camp, according to Rujoub. Rujoub confirmed that no injuries were sustained among Palestinian security forces. Rujoub did not mention the purpose of the raid, and it remained unclear if the two injured men or any others were arrested.
Balata refugee camp is often the site of violent clashes between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and armed locals, as the PA has launched a massive security crackdown to seize weapons and detain “wanted criminals” across the West Bank, as a part of the PA’s widely criticized security coordination with Israel established under the Oslo Accords….
Press release by PCBS and Environment Quality Authority on World Environment Day
RAMALLAH (PNN) 5 June — World Environment Day (WED) -the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment- is celebrated annually on the 5 June since 1972 … Despite its small geographical area, State of Palestine is characterized by a great variation in topography. This variation is directly reflected on climate and the distribution and diversiﬁcation of agricultural patterns. The West Bank is divided into four major geomorphologic parts: Nablus Mountains, Jerusalem Mountains, Hebron Mountains, and the Jordan Valley. The mountainous area of the West Bank serves as the main rainfall collection and replenishment zone for the underground water aquifers. Many drainage and valley systems are spread in and among the above mentioned four parts. Gaza Strip is essentially a foreshore plain gradually sloping westwards. In the north of the Gaza Strip there are four ridges with different elevations ranging between 20 to 90 m above Sea Level. The ridges are: Coastal ridge, Gaza ridge, the el-Muntar ridge and the Beit Hanoun ridge …
Biodiversity in Palestine There are about 51,000 living species (flora and fauna) in historical Palestine, constituting approximately 3% of global biodiversity. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip there are an estimated 30,850 animal species, consisting of an estimated 30,000 invertebrates, 373 birds, 297 fish, 92 mammals, 81 reptiles and 5 amphibians.
IDF drones over West Bank used to enforce carbon emission reductions
[with VIDEO] JOL 4 June by Amit Boukai — Under the Israeli Civil Administration’s framework to enforce carbon emission reductions in the West Bank, drones were used for the first time in Area B, which is under the Palestinian Authority’s civil responsibility. Footage from the drones exposed a number of additional timber sites holding wood burned into charcoal. As a result, an operation was carried out to confiscate the timber in order to prevent further pollution and eliminate the charcoal wood-burning phenomenon. As part of the operation, about 200 cubic meters of wood were found in the Palestinian village of Ya‘bad, and 23 wood-burning sites were extinguished. Drone footage shows that residents hide the timber on the outskirts of the village near their homes as a result of the Civil Administration’s heavy enforcement against wood-burning”. We are determined to take action against the wood-burners in Ya‘bad that harm the health of children in the area, especially the residents of the area, both Israelis and Palestinians,” wrote Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major General Yoav Mordechai. “The Civil Administration will continue to seek solutions in cooperation with the Palestinians, but at the same time the campaign against the wood-burners will continue, including taking measures against their owners.”
Palestinian grandfather, 81, sits high school exams (again)
HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) 6 June by Nidal Almughrabi – A year into his ninth decade, Abdel-Qader Abu Ajameyah is studying hard and hoping for the best as he sits exams for his high school diploma. The 81-year-old, a retired food salesman from Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, took the national test for the first time last year but failed. So he’s having another go. A father of 14 children, he has been studying five hours a day and doing his best to concentrate despite the attempts of some of his 36 grandchildren to get him to play. “I like education,” he said with pride, wearing a formal suit and tie. “There is no limit for someone to study, it does not stop at a certain age. “I want to set an example to generations – never stop learning.” Abu Ajameyah is taking the exams in a room set aside for him at a local school. A recent stroke has restricted his hand movement, making it difficult to write, so he dictates the answers to a woman aide who fills in the papers. Figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics show illiteracy among Palestinians aged 15 and above stands at just 3.3 percent, one of the lowest rates in the Arab world … “My mother takes care of all my father’s needs as if he was an 18-year-old high school student,” said 43-year-old Zakaria, one of Abu Ajameyah’s sons. “We all encourage him and we are all very proud of him.” Zakaria said his father began school in a village near Ramla, in what is now Israel, before Israel’s creation in 1948. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Abu Ajameyah’s family was forced to flee, becoming refugees in the West Bank. Abu Ajameyah soon gave up school to work selling food, and only started thinking about studying again once he retired decades later. He said his aim now is to be on a par with his children and grandchildren. The exam results are due in mid-July. The family is getting ready for a celebration if he passes, but his son says he doesn’t plan to go on to university.
Israel ‘not ready’ for peace: Palestinian official
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 6 June — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s office on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to keep permanent security control over the West Bank, saying Israel was “not ready” for peace. It said Netanyahu’s remarks on Monday night were meant as a stumbling block to US President Donald Trump’s attempts to breathe life into long-stalled peace efforts. “They are a message to the US administration and to the international community that Israel is not ready to reach peace based on international law and resolutions,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina wrote in a statement. “We reject these remarks, which seek to create a climate that makes the situation more complicated and are absolutely not aimed at supporting efforts for a solution,” he added. Netanyahu made the comments at a ceremony to mark 50 years since the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War.
When will the Israeli Left accept that the occupation started in ’48, not ’67?
+972mag 6 June by Rami Younis — Only when the Israeli Left accepts that the occupation began in 1948 — and remains an open wound for Palestinians — can Arabs and Jews truly refuse to be enemies — One of the negative characteristics of the Israeli “Left” is how it terms the military rule over the West Bank and Gaza “The Occupation.” Part of the Left even accuses Palestinians who claim there is no difference between Petah Tikva and Ariel of being like the Right, because “that’s what the Israeli Right claims.” For most Palestinians, however, this exaggerated and Orwellian talk of “The Occupation” blurs Israel’s real shame, and the skeleton buried deep in the closet: The brutal and criminal occupation of 1948. Ethnic cleansing and massive land expropriation, and then settlement of that land, are the mother of all disgraces — even if Israelis refuse to recognize it as such in public, and even if they try very hard to ignore what most Arabs are saying. Israelis’ designation of the ’67 occupation as “The Occupation” is intended, among other things, to either obscure or prevent any engagement with the Nakba. As such, most of Israel’s pseudo-Left is actually composed of Nakba deniers. One of the most worn-out claims used to avoid referring to the crimes of ’48 as an “occupation” is that the Nakba, or the “War of Independence” to use the laundered Zionist expression, was necessary for the national project of establishing a state for the Jewish people following World War II. Another claim, put forward mostly by the Israeli Right, is that Palestinians refused the 1947 UN Partition Plan. This claim has always seemed to me to be void of any foundation or basic logic, and is therefore not worth addressing. Let’s see those who wave this claim around agree to distribute their homes and land to people who have arrived from overseas to dispossess them, and then we can talk about it….
Opinion: Germany is repaying its post-Holocaust debts to Israel – but not to the Palestinians / Daniel Barenboim
Haaretz 7 June — Europe, whose anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust, also has moral and historical obligations towards the Palestinians, who still suffer its consequences — …Half a century has passed, and a resolution to the conflict seems more distant than ever. No one today can expect a young Palestinian or a young Israeli to reach their hand out to the other. But despite the fact it’s not trending in popular culture and media, the conflict is still important, indeed, it is of vital significance, not only for the people of Palestine and Israel, but for the entire Middle East, and for the world. That is why, on the 50th anniversary of the occupation, I call on Germany specifically and Europe in general to make the resolution of this conflict a priority once again. This is not a political but rather a conflict between two nations who are both absolutely convinced that they have the right to the same, small piece of land. If today more than ever, Europe is stating with a loud voice that it must be stronger and more independent, then this new strength and independence entails the clear demand for the end of the occupation and recognition of the Palestinian state. As a Jew living in Berlin for more than 25 years, I have a special perspective on Germany’s historical responsibilities within this conflict. I am only able to live freely and happily in Germany because the Germans have faced and processed their past. Of course, even in modern-day Germany, there are worrying trends on the far left against which we all must fight. But by and large, however, German society has grown into a tolerant, free society aware of its humanitarian responsibilities. Of course, Germany and Israel have always had a particularly stable relationship; Germany has always rightfully felt particularly obligated to Israel. But I must go one step further: Germany also has a special obligation to the Palestinians. Without the Holocaust there never would have been a partition of Palestine, there would have been no al-Nakba, 1967 war, and occupation….
US envoy Haley berates UN rights council, demands reforms
GENEVA (AP) 6 June by Jamey Keaten — U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday berated the U.N.’s top human rights body, calling it a “forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion” that allows rights abusers to whitewash their images and foes of Israel to criticize the Jewish state unfairly. Nikki Haley, in the first visit to the Human Rights Council by America’s top diplomat at the U.N., trained most of her focus on alleged abuses by Venezuela’s government, a relatively easy target in that President Nicolas Maduro has increasingly run afoul of some of his Latin American neighbors. Haley made only a passing reference to poor human rights in Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally that recently agreed to buy hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-made weapons over the next decade. Many of the weapons could be used in the Saudi-led fight against rebels in impoverished, war-wracked Yemen. After brief comments to the Human Rights Council, Haley used an academic forum in Geneva to pinpoint two reforms sought by the United States: the use of competitive elections to choose the council’s 47 members and removal of Israel as a permanent fixture on its agenda — the only country in the world that is … Haley also dangled the possibility that the U.S. could quit the council … The American Civil Liberties Union responded by calling on the United States to “practice what it preaches” on human rights. The ACLU, in a statement, urged the United States to make human rights a priority at home, and then it could “begin to credibly demand the same of other countries abroad.” “It’s hard to take Ambassador Haley seriously on U.S. support for human rights in light of Trump administration actions like the Muslim ban and immigration crackdowns.”
Venezuela’s ambassador in Geneva also struck back tartly with a “right of reply” under council rules. The ambassador, Jorge Valero, denounced “the pathetic intervention from the ambassador of the North American empire this morning.” “What’s unbelievable is that the United States empire — which has massacred entire nations with its preventable war and which practices torture against people arbitrarily held within illegal facilities — would declare itself against any nation,” Valero said….
Saudi foreign minister says Qatar needs to take steps to restore ties
Reuters 6 June — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Qatar needed to take several steps, including ending its support of Palestinian Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to restore ties with other key Arab states. “We’ve decided to take steps to make clear that enough is enough,” Adel Al-Jubeir told journalists in Paris. “Nobody wants to hurt Qatar. Qatar has to choose whether it must move in one direction or another direction.” Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Al-Jubeir added that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood and backing “hostile media.”
Qatar crisis could damage Gaza reconstruction, NGO warns
AFP 6 June — Gulf sanctions against Qatar could damage reconstruction in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, where the emirate has provided large financial backing, the head of a major humanitarian charity warned Tuesday. The Gulf state is one of the largest donors to the Hamas terror group and the impoverished Palestinian enclave, having funded the rebuilding of much of its infrastructure since a 2014 war with Israel. Saudi Arabia and its allies cut off ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting extremism. Riyadh, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Manama have also closed their airspace to Qatari planes, a move which could severely damage the Gulf state’s economy. Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and a former head of the UN’s humanitarian wing, warned Qatar might have to cut back some of its aid to Gaza. “Qatar has been very important as an investor in Gaza and as a contributor to infrastructure progress there. It is my impression this may not easily continue,” he said….
Trump takes sides in Arab rift, suggests support for isolation of Qatar
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 7 June by Roberta Rampton — U.S. President Donald Trump took sides in a deep rift in the Arab world on Tuesday, praising Middle East countries’ actions against American ally Qatar over Islamist militants even though the tiny Gulf state hosts the largest U.S. air base in the region. Trump wrote on Twitter that his recent trip to the Middle East was “already paying off” and cast an anti-Islamist speech he made in Saudi Arabia as the inspiration for a decision by Arab powers to sever ties with Qatar in protest at what they say is the Gulf nation’s support for terrorism. “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” Trump wrote on Twitter. Qatar vehemently denies the accusations … Trump’s tweet appeared at odds with comments from U.S. officials who had said on Monday that the United States would quietly try to calm the waters between Saudi Arabia and Qatar because Qatar is too important to U.S. military and diplomatic interests to be isolated….
California judge: 2014 Gaza conflict was war
JPost 5 June by Amy Spiro — Legal battle over insurance for ‘Dig’ TV show dismissed before trial — The fighting between Israel and Gaza in the summer of 2014 was officially a war – at least, according to a Los Angeles judge. The ruling came in relation to USA Network’s TV show Dig – an FBI thriller set in Jerusalem – which has been the center of an ongoing legal battle for at least a year. The TV series, which was canceled after one season, was shot, at least partly, in Israel in June 2014. As tensions began to heighten in what would eventually become a deadly, 50-day ground operation, the production crew decided to leave Israel and finish filming in Croatia and New Mexico. NBCUniversal, USA’s parent company, filed a $6.9 million insurance claim with its Atlantic Insurance Company to cover the unexpected costs. The show’s policy offered full coverage in case of terrorism, but not in the case of war. NBC argued that the crew was forced to relocate due to Hamas terrorism, while Atlantic said it was a war, though the Israeli government never declared it as such. On Friday, Judge Percy Anderson dismissed NBC’s claim and accepted Atlantic’s motion for summary judgment, ending the case before it could go to trial. Atlantic, in its winning motion calling on the judge to dismiss the claim, said it was obvious the war exclusion should apply to the Gaza fighting. “The conflict lasted 50 days, killed thousands, injured thousands more, and devastated both sides,” the motion read. Atlantic added that many news organizations, including those affiliated with NBC, referred to the conflict as a war during their reporting.…
Sears and Walmart sell ‘Free Palestine’ paraphernalia
Ynet 7 June — The two American retail giants begin selling clothing and accessories including t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters and cell phone cases calling to ‘Free Palestine,’ ‘Free Gaza,’ and ‘End Israeli occupation.’ — … The web stores of both American retail giants offer a variety of clothing options, including tank tops, short-sleeve shirts and long-sleeve shirts. The shirts feature a fist with the colors of the Palestinian flag above the text, “Free Palestine. End Israeli occupation.” Additional clothing items come with a picture of a Palestinian flag with the words “Free Palestine. Free Gaza. Freedom for Palestine.” Prices for the shirts and other clothing items can be as high as $50 per item. Ynet reached out to Walmart and Sears, the latter explaining the products were sold through a third-party company and that following complaints from customers, have decided to reevaluate the issue to determine the appropriate action. Sears removed the page from their website shortly thereafter. Walmart has yet to comment.