Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
B’Tselem: Israeli forces abuse Palestinian, force him to say ‘Muhammad is a pig’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 June — Israeli forces abused and humiliated a 19-year-old Palestinian for hours when he was detained last month during a march in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, while the youth reported that he had feared for his life and was severely degraded by Israeli forces, according to a report released by Israeli rights group B’Tselem on Monday. Israeli forces detained Baraa Kanan, from the village of Beit Rima, at the same march Israeli forces shot and killed 22-year-old Saba Abu Ubeid and injured at least two others. Kanan was riding in an ambulance with a relative and fellow demonstrator who had been struck in the head with a stone thrown by another protester during the march when the ambulance was stopped by at least 10 Israeli soldiers … “While they led me along, they swore at me and called my mother names,” Kanan recalled to B’Tselem. “One of them tightened the blindfold on my eyes and ordered me to say, ‘I’m friends with the soldiers’. I repeated what he said. Whenever I stopped, he ordered me again to say, ‘I’m friends with the soldiers.'” “They knocked me down and then picked me up. They beat me and swore at me,” Kanan continued. “They didn’t let up. I was terrified that they were taking me to some lonely spot so that they could murder me and no one would find me.” Kanan added that soldiers finally stopped, at which point one said to Kanan “You’re a big-time terrorist. I’m going to shoot you.” Kanan said that he heard the soldier load his gun and felt the gun be placed on his head. “I was sure he was going to kill me,” he said. Kanan said that the soldiers then beat him again, and “covered his legs with earth and then removed it.” According to B’Tselem, he was also transferred to a tent and made to sit on the floor. The soldiers’ removed his blindfold and “forced him to say ‘Muhammad is pig’ and ‘Muhammad is a dog’, and snipped off bits of his hair with scissors.” After the soldiers finally returned his identity card and removed his plastic cuffs, they left Kanan in an area unknown to the youth, after Kanan had told the soldiers he did not know how to get back to Nabi Saleh….
Israeli police detain 60-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem, break his arm
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — Israeli police released a 60-year-old Jerusalemite Palestinian on Tuesday night after assaulting him, breaking his arm, and detaining him from his home in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem earlier in the day. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Abd al-Hai al-Zir’s home was raided by Israeli forces during a raid in the al-Abasiya area of Silwan. According to the center, Israeli forces demanded that al-Zir open a door between his home and his neighbor’s. When al-Zir refused, an Israeli officer allegedly threatened to break his arm if he did not open the door. The center said that Israeli forces then “violently beat” al-Zir and his 15-year-old son Ahmad. When al-Zir attempted to stop the police from beating his son, they broke his right arm. “Despite the fact that the soldiers heard the sound of the bones in my arm breaking, they continued to beat me,” al-Zir told the center. Israeli police detained al-Zir and his son and took them to a police station for interrogation, and denied al-Zir immediate medical care for his injuries, the center said. While al-Zir was released by the Israeli police Tuesday night, his son remained in detention, according to the center….
Israeli soldiers injure two Palestinians near Bethlehem
IMEMC 16 June — Israeli soldiers injured, on Friday morning, two young Palestinian man from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, after chasing them and firing gas bombs at them, in Wad Abu al-Hummus area, east of Bethlehem. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers chased many Palestinians trying to enter occupied Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades on them. They added that the soldiers shot the two Palestinians with a gas bomb and a concussion grenade in the head and back respectively. The two Palestinians were rushed by local medics to a hospital in Hebron, suffering moderate but stable injuries.
Qalansawe family claims police used excessive violence
[with video and photos] Ynet 15 June by Hassan Shaalan — Police officers searching for a wanted suspect in Qalansawe [in central Israel] are being accused of excessive force and violence by a village family. In a conversation with Ynet, the family said they did not understand what police wanted and claim authorities resorted to violence immediately. According to Kafa Suidan, the wife of one of the detained suspects, “We were sitting at a Ramadan meal. All of a sudden, we saw police around the house. Within seconds, they entered the hour two dogs and started causing damage during their search. They disrespected the women. “They humiliated and cursed at us, and yelled at us in front of the children. The children were terrified and didn’t stop crying. All this happened without us understanding what they wanted.” Suidan said her husband and two of her sons were violently arrested. “They beat them and wounded them. We called an ambulance, but unfortunately, they did not allow them to treat the wounded. “The police also brought dogs into the house. I tried to stop them, but a police officer pushed me hard and the dog that was with him bit me in the mouth. They treated us like terrorists. Even criminals don’t get treatment like this.” Finally, the family understood that police were searching for a wanted suspect, who is a resident of the West Bank. “I don’t know where they got this false information. We would never do something like that.” Suidan went on to claim that the family intends to file a lawsuit against police, saying, “We won’t go through this quietly.” In response to the claims of the family and footage, police issued a statement saying, “The residents of the home and additional persons attempted to prevent police from conducting operations by attacking officers. Four suspects were detained for assaulting police, obstruction of justice and insulting a public servant.”
‘We just wanted to pray’: Palestinians face humiliation in Bethlehem’s 300 checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — “All we wanted to do was pray,” Baraa Jawabreh, a 14-year-old Palestinian told Ma‘an at Israel’s infamous 300 military checkpoint in northern Bethlehem, after Israeli forces denied the teenager entry as he was attempting to enter occupied East Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa for the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Israeli authorities permit men above the age of 40, women of all ages, and children younger than 12 years of age from the occupied West Bank to enter Jerusalem without a permit on Fridays, while all others are only allowed to enter with Israeli-issued permits. Palestinians must endure long waits at the 300 checkpoint, the only access point Palestinians from the southern occupied West Bank have to Jerusalem … For cousins Hussein and Baraa Jawabre, both aged 14, the process was futile. They were sent back by Israeli soldiers at the permit check, due to Israel’s age restrictions. The cousins were among thousands of other Palestinian children prevented entry into Jerusalem for prayers on Friday. “I have attempted to reach Jerusalem three times, but each time the soldiers have banned my cousin and I from entering,” Hussein told Ma’an at the checkpoint. “We woke up very early and we were happy to pray at Al-Aqsa.” But, “the occupation prevented us,” Hussein added. The cousins had traveled all the way from the al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron city to try and enter Jerusalem for prayers. Palestinian women told Ma‘an that they were humiliated while crossing the checkpoint, as Israeli soldiers forced them to remove their niqabs in front of hundreds of other men and women, an act that can be degrading and embarrassing to Muslim women, and despite the existence of special rooms in the checkpoint for Israeli soldiers that could have easily been used in order to provide privacy for the Palestinian women. One woman who was forced to remove her niqab, who preferred not to be named, told Ma’an that she was forced by Israeli soldiers to unveil herself, which she grudgingly conceded to “in order to achieve my dream of praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque.” … The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, is venerated as Islam’s third holiest site.
Gideon Levy: Palestinian family left in the dark after teen’s horrific death at checkpoint
Haaretz 15 June by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac — Israeli agents told the family their 15-year-old son was wounded after waving a knife at border police; four days later, they returned his bullet-riddled body — This boy’s killing passed almost unnoticed in Israel. Raed Radeideh was shot to death by the Border Police on May 22, the day U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Israel, and public attention was focused far away from him. Very few also knew about the circumstances of the teen’s killing. No one bothered to update his family, apart from the Shin Bet security service agents who interrogated the boy’s father, and told him his son had been wounded. Four days later, the family received the body at a checkpoint. When did he die? How? Did he die at the scene of the incident or in the hospital? The family doesn’t even know that. According to Raed’s father, the boy’s body was riddled with bullet holes: There were some 15 bullet wounds – in the head, shoulders, hands and legs. Raed’s right leg was almost completely shattered from the shooting. Why was he shot to death? And why was such massive firepower used on a teenager? He was 15 years old, a 10th-grader “who didn’t even have an ID card yet,” says his father, Ahmed Radeideh, a 54-year-old handyman who’s worked for years in Jerusalem and has many Israeli friends … Raed wanted to be a doctor. In the meantime, he had been preoccupied with his appearance. He got his hair cut four times a month, his father relates. “That’s something I can’t get a handle on. It’s not the money – 10 shekels ($2.85) for a haircut – but why go to the barber every week?” Raed’s father says uncomprehendingly. “He wanted to be handsome. He was blond and had blue eyes. ‘Yo, I’m a hunk,’ he would say. If he were with us now, he would speak to you in fluent English. If he’d met you, he would talk to you as an equal. He was an excellent student.” Raed’s hair is well groomed in the photos that now cover the living room windows. He liked clothes and sunglasses. His closet looks like that of an adolescent Israeli: numberless T-shirts and Adam deodorant….
Israeli Supreme Court further delays decision on withholding of Palestinian bodies
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — The Israeli Supreme Court gave the public prosecution a week on Wednesday to justify its stance regarding the withholding of slain Palestinians’ bodies. Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud said that the Supreme Court gave the prosecutors until June 21 to provide a response, fining them 3,000 shekels ($854) for failing to get back to the court on time. In January, Israel’s security cabinet said that the bodies of Palestinians allegedly affiliated to the Hamas movement would not be returned to their families, as Israel considers the bodies to be a bargaining chip that could be used in a future exchange deal with Hamas, the de facto ruling party of the besieged Gaza Strip, where the bodies of two Israeli soldiers are believed to be held. The Supreme Court rejected the state’s order in March, ruling that the claim that the bodies could be used in such a deal was “unconvincing.” The prosecution has repeatedly delayed presenting its justifications to the Supreme Court for Israel withholding the bodies of of Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour, Muhammad Tarayra, Muhammad al-Faqih, Rami Awartani, and Misbah Abu Sbeih — which have been held for 14 months, 12 months, 11 months, 11 months, and eight months respectively. Israel has also continued to hold the body of Fadi al-Qunbar, although he was not included in the case heard by the Supreme Court. The court gave the prosecution 45 days to respond to the file in March, while simultaneously rejecting a petition by the prosecution that requested that the Palestinians be buried in Israel’s “cemetery of numbers,” a series of mass graves comprised of marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years….
Jewish terrorism is rearing its head again
Ynet 15 June by Alex Fishman — Anarchistic-messianic Jewish terrorism, which aims to destroy the Zionist state for holding up the arrival of redemption, is rearing its head once again, Shin Bet officials have warned. In the past two months alone, eight covert Jewish terrorist attacks have been recorded within the Green Line and in the West Bank: In Arab communities in Wadi Ara, in the northern village of Na‘ura, in Jerusalem, and in Palestinian villages around the settlement of Yitzhar. So far, these attacks have involved vandalism of property, car torching and nationalistic graffiti on walls. There have been, in addition, multiple cases of Jewish rioting against soldiers, police forces, Palestinian residents and Israeli civilians, sometimes resulting in injuries.
In the past two years, they have been paralyzed, with almost zero attacks. Some of their leaders and perpetrators of attacks were sent to jail, while others were ordered to stay away from the West Bank. However, since the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona in February, the Jewish terrorists have been stepping up their activity. Shin Bet officials have pointed to escalation in Jewish terrorist activity similar to the previous wave, which reached its peak in July 2015 with the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma.
The Shin Bet’s Jewish Division and police forces dealing with the Jewish nationalistic subversion are working at the same pace they did in 2015, which was a record year in the war on Jewish terror. But the “Duma effect,” which shocked Israeli society and gave the Shin Bet and the Israel Police the tools and support to strike this terror, has worn out [off] since then. In professional definitions, Jewish terrorism is now in its “third stage” in the degrees of escalation. The first stage is violence around the communities. The world view of Jewish terrorists is as follows: In our places of residence, there must not be a single ‘enemy’ in our line of vision — police officers, soldiers, Palestinians, or left-wing peace activists. No one. Whoever comes near will be targeted. If a Palestinian accidentally finds himself at the gate to Yitzhar, he has no chance of escaping unharmed. A Border Police jeep approaching the area will be pelted with stones.
The renewed Jewish terrorism has two centers of activity. The first one is Yitzhar, where the “price tag” acts of vandalism were invented and where the anti-Zionist perception has been fostered. The second one, which at the time was given the tender nickname “Hilltop Youth,” is made up of violent groups that live in the “Baladim” outposts in the Binyamin region, like Geulat Zion and Ramat Migron. Some of these outposts are located inside a closed military zone, but who cares? Some are removed occasionally, and nobody deals with the rest. It’s where the hard core of the “Revolt Group,” led by Rabbi Kahane’s grandson Meir Etinger, came from. Two members of this group were charged in the Dawabsheh murder, and the group was also behind the arson attack at Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey and at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Yitzhar and Baladim delinquents have teamed up in recent months, and the hilltop youth are being led to terror activities by violent youth from the community.
In the second stage, the youths leave the community on “Shabbat trips,” as they are known in Yitzhar. After the morning prayer, they head to villages like Burin, Urif and Hawara, and beat residents up…. [very long and informative article, well worth reading in its entirety]
Palestinian, 14, arrested in Jerusalem after pulling knife in spat with Israelis
Times of Israel 13 June — A 14-year-old West Bank Palestinian was arrested in Jerusalem after brandishing a knife at a group of teenagers who taunted him in the local bakery where he was employed, police said. The teenager and his father, who also worked at the bakery, were detained by police after the minor pulled a knife and threatened a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish teenagers on Bar Ilan Street of the capital. Police arrived at the scene after receiving alerts of a Palestinian armed with a knife. The teenage suspect told investigators that the ultra-Orthodox teenagers had teased him and he waved the knife to scare them off. An initial investigation indicated the suspect and his father did not have a permit to work in Israel, police said. The owner of the bakery was also detained for employing a West Bank Palestinian who was not permitted to cross the Green Line into Israel.
Israeli soldiers abduct eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 13 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, Tuesday, at least eight Palestinians, including a woman and two siblings, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The Hebron office of the PPS, in the southern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers abducted Manal Mahmoud Abu Ali, from Yatta town, south of Hebron, after stopping her in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron city. The soldiers also abducted Nitham Qa‘qour, from Tarqoumia town, west of Hebron, after invading his home and searching it. In Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Fadi Ahmad ‘Ammouri, 40, Adnan Ahmad Khader, ,49, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rahman Ekbariyya, 40. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Moath Shiokhi and Mansour Shiokhi, from occupied East Jerusalem, and Mohammad Shahwan, from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, in the Ramallah and al-Biereh governorate.
12 Palestinians detained, 4 shot and injured, in overnight Israeli military raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians in detention raids on Wednesday across occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with one violent raid erupting in clashes that left four Palestinians shot and injured. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, searched several houses, and detained two former prisoners Muataz Sharayaa and Yunis al-Zghari, both 25 years old. Clashes broke out in the camp, with Israeli forces firing live ammunition toward demonstrators, causing the injury of four Palestinians. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the al-Duheisha raid, which came after rights groups have routinely denounced excessive force by the Israeli military and a wider policy of suppression of resistance of Palestinians, particularly in al-Duheisha refugee camp.
The spokesperson told Ma‘an that “tens of rioters hurled rocks toward forces,” and that Israeli forces responded by opening fire with 0.22 caliber rounds “to prevent an escalation of violence,” after which “forces carried out with the arrests as planned.”
In the nearby village of Husan southwest of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Nabil al-Shaer after raiding and searching his family’s house, locals said…
According to the Israeli army spokesperson, a Palestinian was also detained in the Ramallah area, while an alleged “Hamas operative” was detained in the village of Jaba‘ in the central Jerusalem district.
During a raid into the northern occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained Adam Daoud, according to local sources. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed on detention in Qalqiliya.
Locals said that the Israeli army also raided Misliya south of Jenin city in the northern Nablus district, where they heavily fired tear gas and sound bombs before detaining 18-year-old Qasim Muhammad Abu al-Naim.
Meanwhile, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, member of the local follow-up committee Muhammad Abu al-Hummus said that Israeli police escorted by Israeli intelligence forces stormed the village on dawn, raided several houses, and detained four Palestinians identified as Muhammad Samer Mahmoud, Muhammad Alaa Mahmoud, Abd al-Fattah Abu Siyama, and Shakir Mustafa. Abu al-Hummus said that since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in late May, Israeli forces have been raiding ‘Issawiya every day, either around dawn or after dusk, when those observing Ramadan break their fast with the iftar meal …police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that one Palestinian was arrested overnight in the nearby Shu‘fat refugee camp, beyond Israel’s illegal separation wall and within Israel’s municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. He said that “during an overnight police operation” in Shu‘fat, Israeli police stopped a “suspect vehicle,” in which police found a number of pipe bombs and subsequently detained the driver.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank during overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. In Nablus city in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported in a statement that Israeli forces detained Farouq Nabil al-Bashtawi. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an that Israeli forces had detained a Palestinian in Nablus city for allegedly being a Hamas operative. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two Palestinians were detained from the northern Qalqiliya district — one from Qalqiliya city and another from the village of ‘Azzun. Palestinian sources did not provide additional information on these detentions. In the central West Bank district of Salfit, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, according to an Israeli army spokesperson. Also in the central West Bank, Nayef Muhammad Bazar was detained from the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, according to PPS, which did not identify the exact village from which Bazar was detained.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the southern West Bank Bethlehem district, identified by PPS as Raed Ibrahim Abu Friha, Bilal Ismail Masalma, and Ahmad Ubeidallah. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed a detention in Beit Sahour and another in the village of Hussan in the Bethlehem district. According to PPS, Israeli forces also detained four Palestinians, including three former prisoners of Israel, from the Hebron district in the southern West Bank. PPS identified the detainees as Anas Shadid, Murad al-Qawasmi, Mahmoud al-Ewiwi, and Safwat Muhammad al-Jabari.
Court actions / Prisoners
Three prominent Palestinian organizers, journalists orderd to further imprisonment without charge or trial
Samidoun 8 June — Three prominent Palestinian activists were ordered to additional periods of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Palestinian journalist Hasan Safadi, youth organizer Hassan Karajah and leftist community leader Rami Fadayel, all of Ramallah, were ordered to further imprisonment without charge or trial by Israeli military courts … Haneen Nassar, Fadayel’s wife and an organizer with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee, a popular organization in Palestine that works to support the prisoners’ struggle and demand their freedom, said that she and her husband have never been able to enjoy a free and safe lie since their marriage. Fadayel has been arrested repeatedly; they marked their engagement while he was imprisoned. She noted that their daughter, Mays, 10, has not seen her father in their home for nearly half of her life. Fadayel is well-known in Ramallah as a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian leftist political party …
There are currently over 500 Palestinian administrative detainees imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. Some Palestinians have spent years at a time under administrative detention on the basis of this so-called secret evidence. Over 50,000 administrative detention orders have reportedly been issued since 1967; the practice dates from the colonial British mandate over Palestine and was re-imposed by the Israeli occupation.
Meanwhile, Hasan Safadi, Palestinian journalist and the Arabic media coordinator of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association was also ordered on 8 June 2017 to another six months in administrative detention by an Israeli occupation military court. He had been scheduled for release on 8 June, but was instead hit with another arbitrary detention renewal…
Hassan Karajah, a prominent youth activist with the Stop the Wall Campaign and a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activist, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 12 July 2016 at a military checkpoint west of Ramallah. He has been held under administrative detention without charge or trial since that time; his detention was also renewed on 7 June 2017 for the third time for a four-month period….
Co-author of controversial book ‘The King’s Torah’ indicted for incitement over 2 op-eds
JERUSALEM (JTA) 13 June — A West Bank rabbi who co-authored “The King’s Torah,” a treatise on halachah, or Jewish law, that discusses situations in which Jews are permitted to kill non-Jews, was indicted for incitement to violence. Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Yitzhar settlement was indicted Tuesday for two opinion articles he wrote in which he justifies civilians “taking action against the enemy,” the news website Ynet reported. The Reform movement and the nongovernmental organization Tag Meir had filed a petition two years ago against the rabbi in light of the articles. “It is high time Israel cease to tolerate the intolerable,” Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, said in a statement. “A rabbi like him contaminates our Jewish tradition and pollutes our democracy. Freedom of speech ends when hate and violence are preached and practiced. ”An investigation into Elitzur and co-author Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira over the contents of “The King’s Torah” was closed in 2012 due to lack of evidence.
Gaza facing ‘worst medication crisis in years,’ rights group says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — In the wake of a decision by Israel to approve a request by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to drastically reduce electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip, an Israeli human rights organization has raised the alarm over what it described as the worst medication crisis facing the besieged coastal enclave in years, with the main victims of the crisis being cystic fibrosis patients, cancer patients, and infants with developmental deficits.
According to Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), the medication crisis came as the result of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) gradually cutting its budget for Gaza healthcare and medical supplies over recent months, which reached “an unprecedented low” in May. Information gathered by PHRI from Gaza’s Health Ministry showed that the regular monthly budget had been $4 million, which dropped to $2.3 million in April, and to a mere $500,000 in May — affecting the regular operations of 13 government hospitals and 54 primary care centers.
According to PHRI, one-third of essential medicines and more than 270 medical equipment items for operating rooms and intensive care units can no longer be obtained in the the health ministry’s storerooms or in Gaza’s hospitals. Due to the severe medicine shortages, over 320 cystic fibrosis patients are in mortal danger, 240 infants with developmental deficits do not receive therapeutic milk, and 90 percent of cancer patients do not receive full treatment, according to the report. “In the Gaza Strip, there are 321 (cystic fibrosis) patients who require 40,000 Cryon pills, but the storerooms are completely empty and the supply level reached zero” PHRI quoted Ashraf al-Shanti, chairman of the Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Gaza, as saying…
Head of the radiology department for Gaza’s public hospitals Ibrahim Abbas also said Monday that diagnostic radiology equipment that has been provided over the last ten years — at an estimated worth of $10 million — would soon fall into disrepair due to their sensitivity to blackouts….
Gaza: Heart catheterization items to end soon at al-Shifa Hospital
GAZA (PIC) 15 June — A senior official at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has warned that the cardiac catheterization unit at the hospital will stop providing vital services for its patients soon after its storage of main medical supplies has almost run out. In press remarks to al-Ray news agency, head of the hospital’s cardiac cath unit Mohamed Habib stated that important medical items used in cardiac catheterization at the hospital will run out completely in the coming weeks. Habib appealed to all concerned parties to supply the hospital’s catheterization unit with its medical needs to continue providing services for the patients and alleviate their suffering. Al-Shifa Hospital’s catheterization unit conducts about 1,500 therapeutic and diagnostic procedures every year at a rate of 150 operations a month.
WHO steps up emergency response in the Gaza Strip, June 2017
13 June — The World Health Organization (WHO) has released over US$360,000 from its internal emergency funds to scale up its response and prevent the further deterioration and collapse of the health sector in Gaza. Following the shut-down of the Gaza Power Plant, Gaza’s 14 public hospitals and 16 health facilities face partial or complete closure of essential services. The situation is immediately life threatening for all those in need for hospital services out of the 2 million populations. Coupled with this, the shortages of essential and often life-saving medicines and disposables are deteriorating the health status of the population. According to the Ministry of Health, a number of coping mechanisms have already been adopted to conserve electricity, such as limiting sterilization services, postponing elective surgery and prematurely discharging patient. But without fuel, 40 surgical operation theatres, 11 obstetric theatres, 5 haemodialysis centres and emergency departments will be forced to close critical services. The situation will be immediately life-threatening for 113 newborns in neonatal intensive care units, 100 patients in intensive care and 658 patients requiring haemodialysis. Refrigeration for blood and vaccine storage will also be at risk.
Haaretz Editorial // Stop abusing Gaza
16 June — Despite Abbas’ desire, it is up to Israel, and only Israel, to decide if some two million people — including the elderly and the sick — will go on trying to survive with four hours of electricity a day — The days go by, the Palestinian Authority quarrels with Hamas, Israel quarrels with both of them and it’s all at the expense of two million people who have been under siege for about 10 years, and now, in addition, have almost no electricity. About an hour’s drive from central Israel a widespread humanitarian disaster is taking place and Israel, which is largely, even if not solely, responsible for it, is dragging its feet. Instead of renewing the full power supply to the Gaza Strip, Israel plays along with the Palestinian Authority’s political considerations, using them as an excuse to continue the abuse. But no excuse will diminish Israel’s role in the approaching catastrophe. Suffice it to read the report of Mohammed Yousif Azaizeh, the Gaza field coordinator of Gisha, the Legal Center of Freedom of Movement (Haaretz June 5), to understand the disaster’s dimensions. Azaizeh visited the Rantisi Children’s Hospital this month and described the situation there, with only four hours of electricity service a day. “The situation is catastrophic,” hospital director Dr. Mohammed Abu-Salmia told him. In the hospital’s intensive care unit, children are on respirators powered by a generator that can break down at any moment. “And then we’re really lost,” Abu-Salmia said. The situation is clear-cut. Beyond the indescribable daily suffering of Gazans as a result of the power cuts, the lives of patients, newborns, premature infants, the old and people with disabilities, which depend on a regular power supply, are in danger. Israel must not continue to wait until infants and patients die before putting an end to this maltreatment. It is difficult to understand how a country that hastens to send humanitarian aid to almost every disaster site in the world, is the first to dispatch military rescue teams and to set up field hospitals, closes its heart and eyes to a humanitarian disaster that is unfolding in its backyard, and is largely its own doing….
Egypt reportedly offers electricity to Gaza in exchange for security coordination
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 June — As Gazans prepare for the dire humanitarian consequences of an Israeli decision to cut down its electricity supply to the besieged coastal enclave by some 40 percent, Egypt has offered to provide more electricity to Gaza — but only if Hamas cooperates with Egypt in its harsh ‘counterterrorism’ crackdown. Israeli authorities approved the electricity cuts Monday, upon the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank, which foots Gaza’s monthly electricity bill from Israel by subtracting from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. According to a report Tuesday from London-based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Egypt has since offered Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, increased electricity supply and more freedom at the Rafah border crossing in exchange for a list of security demands. Egypt has reportedly demanded that Hamas hand over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, more protection by Hamas at the border, the cessation of alleged weapons smuggling into the Sinai Peninsula, and information on the movement of “elements” into Gaza via underground tunnels.
According to al-Sharq al-Awsat, the demands were presented by Egyptian security officials to the head of Hamas’s politburo in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, during his nine-day trip to Cairo that ended on Monday.
The report also claimed that Egypt believes it has more influence over Hamas’ leadership, now that both Sinwar and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh reside in Gaza, as the two need Egyptian permission to travel abroad via Rafah. Hamas’s previous political bureau chief, Khalid Meshaal, resided abroad.
The Rafah crossing is also the primary lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s two million residents, but has been severely restricted by Egypt, largely due to a militant insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, which has coincided with forced disappearances and possible extrajudicial killings at the hands of Egyptian authorities amid its shadowy counter terrorism campaigns. The Egyptian government has in the past accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations….
Hamas mulls new security measures for Gaza border after Egyptian ultimatum
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 June — The Gaza Ministry of Interior and Internal Security recommended in a statement on Tuesday evening a series of new and additional procedures “to enhance the state of security at the southern borders with Egypt.” The statement came just hours after London-based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Egypt has offered to provide more electricity to the crisis-stricken Gaza Strip — but only if Hamas cooperated with Egypt in its harsh ‘counterterrorism’ crackdown.
According to the statement, Deputy Minister Tawfiq Abu Naim visited the southern borders of the Gaza Strip with Egypt “to check all security procedures in the area and held several meetings with specialized sides.”Abu Naim stressed in the statement that the stability of Gaza’s southern borders with Egypt “is a priority” and that Hamas administration, the de facto leading party in the enclave, “will not allow any security threats in the area.”… It remained unclear, however, to what extent Egypt was capable of mitigating Gaza’s power crisis, since the power lines from Egypt that supply electricity to southern Gaza are often out of operation due to technical issues. When the Egyptian lines do work, they provide 25 megawatts — just 6.25 percent of the amount necessary to power Gaza for a full day. The Gaza electricity company said on Monday, after news broke of Israel’s decision to slash electricity supplies, that it had been informed by Egypt’s power company that it could cut off power lines feeding Gaza at any time, without providing further details….
Israeli ministers support building island off Gaza; no decision reached because of Lieberman’s objection
Haaretz 13 June by Barak Ravid — In addition to serving as a seaport, the island would contain infrastructure facilities that would provide water and power to Gaza residents — Many members of the security cabinet favor building an artificial island off the Gaza Strip to serve as its port, but due to opposition from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, no decision was made when the forum discussed the idea Sunday night, according to three senior officials briefed on what happened at the meeting. The proposal, the brainchild of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, calls for the artificial island to be under international control. In addition to serving as a seaport, the island would contain infrastructure facilities that would provide water and power to Gaza residents. Speaking on Monday at Haaretz’s Israel Conference on Peace in Tel Aviv, Katz himself described some of what happened at Sunday’s meeting, which focused on Gaza’s electricity crisis. He said he had shown the ministers a two-and-a-half-minute video prepared by the Israel Ports Company, which included a computer simulation of the artificial island, details about the proposed port and infrastructure facilities, explanations of how the island would be linked to Gaza by a bridge, and explanations about how security inspections would be conducted at sea, on the island and at the crossing to Gaza. “The video clip answered all the questions and showed the alternative reality that could be created in Gaza,” he said. Katz, who is also the intelligence minister, said he also told the security cabinet that building the island would cost around $5 billion, all of which would come from international donations….
Israeli soldiers and navy open fire on Gaza farmers and fishermen in Gaza
IMEMC 14 June — Israeli soldiers and navy opened fire, on Wednesday morning, targeting a few fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, and against farmers, in the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers stationed on military towers across the border fence east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, fired many live rounds at the farmers, in their own lands close to the border fence. The attack did not lead to any injuries, but forced the Palestinians out of their lands, in fear of further military violence. Furthermore, Israeli navy ships fired many live rounds at fishing boats, in Palestinian waters, in the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip, forcing the fishermen back to shore. The attacks are part of constant violations carried out by the army and the navy against the Palestinians in the improvised Gaza Strip.
Video: Ramadan in Gaza
EI 14 June — Ramadan, a time of worship and joy for Muslims around the globe, is mixed with sadness in Gaza. During Ramadan three years ago, Israel launched a massive military offensive that would last 51 days and claim more than 2,200 Palestinian lives. The many families in Gaza who lost loved ones during that offensive, and the ones that came before it, feel little joy in their absence. Successive Israeli military offensives, and a decade of blockade, have destroyed Gaza’s economy, further clouding Ramadan. But Palestinians in Gaza try to carry on with Ramadan traditions – sharing meals with family and visiting neighbors after a long day of fasting, enjoying qatayif sweets and and carob and tamarind drinks. Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.
Gaza drug dealer ‘commits suicide’ during raid by security
GAZA (Ma’an) 15 June — A drug dealer in Gaza who was reportedly wanted for more than a year committed suicide by shooting himself on Thursday, during a raid by Hamas security forces to detain him in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip.
Gaza Police Spokesperson Ayman al-Batiniji told Ma‘an that police had received reports that a number of wanted men were in a house in Khan Yunis. According to al-Batiniji, security forces immediately headed to the location to detain the men. Once forces arrived, the men in the house opened fire on security forces. One person turned himself in, while a man, who al-Batiniji [called] ‘A.A’, 39, was found “shot and killed on the ground,” with security forces saying he killed himself. Al-Batiniji said that a third wanted man was detained while searching the home, and a large quantity of drugs was seized.
Palestinian activist detained for criticizing Hamas
AP 12 June — Gaza’s Hamas rulers have detained a young man who criticized the Islamic militant group’s call for protests at the border that have set off deadly clashes with Israeli troops. Mohammed al-Taluli’s family said Monday the 25-year-old was detained by Hamas after posting a video on YouTube in which he accused the group of “pushing the youths to death” to stay in power. For weeks, Palestinians have rallied at the Gaza fence against the deteriorating living conditions in the impoverished coastal territory, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas took over in 2007. Youths have thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers, and two Palestinians have been killed in the clashes. Al-Taluli and his friends have been detained by Hamas several times since organizing protests in January against power cuts.
Journalist unions condemn detention of Palestinian journalist in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in denouncing Hamas’ continued detention of a Palestinian journalist in Gaza, according to a statement released by IFJ on Tuesday. “We strongly stand by our Palestinian colleagues from the PJS,” IFJ President Philippe Leruth said in the statement, and urged Hamas to release Fouad Jaradeh, a correspondent for the Palestinian Authority (PA)-run Palestine TV. On June 8, Hamas’ security forces raided Jaradeh’s home and asked him to bring his computer and mobile phone with him, Jaradeh’s wife told PJS, promising to free him within an hour. However, he has since remained in detention “without justification” or knowledge of what he has been accused. “Hamas security forces must stop preying on Gaza journalists and systematically violating their fundamental rights,” Leruth added….
Trapped and traumatized in Gaza
EI 13 June by Darah Algherbawi — Samih is demoralized. Two years ago, he graduated with an engineering degree from the Islamic University of Gaza. Despite applying for many jobs, the only work he has found has been as a casual laborer. The pay has only been enough to provide him with some pocket money and let him buy cigarettes. “For a decade now, the Gaza Strip has gone from one crisis to another. Every day you wake up to hear of new crises: wage cuts, electricity cuts, problems with water, lack of medicines, closed crossings. Everything just makes us feel more and more hopeless here.” Samih has tried to leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. His plan was to travel through the crossing – which separates Gaza and Egypt – and then towards Turkey. But the Egyptian authorities have blocked him. With Gaza under an Israeli siege for the past 10 years, Rafah has been the only exit to the outside world for most of Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants. Yet Egypt has compounded the siege by sealing its border. “It’s a cruel feeling to go from being young, active and full of hope to being depressed,” Samih said. “Gaza is not a good place to live. If I had a choice, I would not live here.” The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has estimated that more than half of all people in Gaza have experienced depression. Abd Hamid Muharib, a psychotherapist with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, described such statistics as “highly alarming.”….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
Israelis condemn plan to allow Palestinian construction in Area C of West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israel’s so-called Samaria Regional Council, which provides services to illegal Israeli settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, denounced plans by the Israeli government to permit Palestinian construction in some parts of Israeli-controlled areas in the territory, after reports emerged that the Israeli army intends to expand the municipal boundaries of Qalqiliya city, Israeli media reported on Wednesday. According to The Jerusalem Post, the plan would see 14,000 new homes planned for Palestinians in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control, where Palestinians are essentially prohibited from building or developing.
Yossi Dagan, the head of the council, called the government “crazy” for implementing such a plan, adding that “this kind of double-faced conversation can’t continue.” “The government can’t continue to contend in the morning that it is doing everything possible for the settlement enterprise, but then halt building in Judea and Samaria. Nor can it turn around in the evening and approve Palestinian building,” Dagan added, insinuating that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “halted” illegal Israeli settlement construction, despite advancing plans for thousands of illegal settler units this month alone.
The plans to expand Palestinian access in Area C stem from an agreement made between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli officials, reportedly as a result of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region last month, to rescind some of Israel’s control in Area C, as one of several steps aimed at easing the economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank….
Israel’s separation wall construction affecting Palestinian water access, organization says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) accused Israel of affecting water access to parts of the central occupied West Bank due to construction of segments of its illegal separation wall, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Wednesday. According to Wafa, the PWA said on Tuesday that a water pipeline near al-Jib in the Jerusalem district was damaged months ago when Israeli authorities built sections of the separation wall — an Israeli structure running through the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem deemed illegal under international law and known to activists as the “apartheid wall” — in the area, adding that the pipeline had not been repaired since. As a result, PWA Chairman Mazen Ghneim said the Ramallah district of the West Bank serviced by the pipeline has since suffered from water shortages, exacerbated during the hot summer months. The PWA said that, in conjunction with the Jerusalem Water Undertaking (JWU), it had contacted both Israeli authorities and Israeli water company Mekorot in order to address the issue, adding that it had informed Israel of its willingness to repair the line, without receiving a response. According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), 92.5 percent of land in al-Jib, where damage to the pipeline took place, is located in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, where Palestinians need Israeli permission to carry out construction or repairs….
Israeli forces level privately owned lands in Nablus area
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 June — Israeli forces escorted bulldozers onto privately owned Palestinian lands on Monday and leveled the land, located in the Furush Beit Dajan village in the northern Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that Israeli forces leveled the land, which locals said was privately owned, under the pretext of “unpermitted water connections.” Wafa quoted Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, as saying that Israeli forces “continued for the second consecutive month to raze land in the (Furush) Beit Dajan area in search for ‘unauthorized’ water holes and pipelines.”Daraghmeh, according to Wafa, called the measures punitive, and said they were aimed against Palestinian farmers, and were “an infringement of Palestinian property rights.”
Israel demolishes Palestinian Bedouin village for 114th time
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 14 June– Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel for the 114th time since 2010 on Wednesday morning, and for the sixth time this year, according to Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa quoted witnesses as saying that officials from the Israel Land Authority (ILA), accompanied by Israeli police and bulldozers, raided the village and demolished all the tin homes in the area, which were built by the village’s residents following the most recent demolition of raid last month….
Israel’s renewal of law restricting family reunification condemned as apartheid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 June – Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, renewed the controversial “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” law, which sets severe limitations on Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory married to Israeli citizens, for the 14th year on Monday, as Palestinian members of parliament denounced the move as “racist” and a show of “apartheid” against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The law was extended by a vote of 57 in favor and 16 against, according to a statement released by the Knesset.
The law applies to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, and foreign nationals from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq — and can apply to other nationalities originating from countries the Israeli government deems a security threat.
However, the law has primarily affected Palestinian citizens of Israel, making up 20 percent of the Israeli population, who often marry Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. Although the Israeli Supreme Court prevented the provision from being introduced as permanent legislation, the Israeli government has renewed the temporary security measure every year since 2004. The law was revised in 2005 to allow for Israel’s military commander to grant exemptions to Palestinian women older than 25 and Palestinian men over 35 from the occupied West Bank. However, according to Israeli rights group Hamoked, the permits would only be temporary and would not provide married civil status or any social security rights….
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (8-14 June 2017)
15 June — Shooting: During the reporting period, in a new crime of excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 21 others, including 2 children, in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea and open fire at farmers along the border areas. In the Gaza Strip, on 09 June 2017, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 21 others, including 2 children, when the Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of young men protesting near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. In the northern Gaza Strip, those forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 18 others, including 2 children. Five of whom were hit with bullets to the limbs, one was hit with bullet shrapnel to the chest, 10 were directly hit with gas canisters and 2 were hit with metal bullets. In the eastern side of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, two civilians were wounded with bullets to the limbs while in al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip, a civilian was hit with a bullet to the limbs. In the same context, the border area witnessed protests against the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. They used force against the protestors, due to which 7 civilians, including a child, were wounded (excluding the 2 abovementioned) In the context of Israeli attacks against fishermen in the sea, on 08 June 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee for fear of being arrested or killed. However, neither casualties nor damage to the boats were reported. The shooting recurred at the Palestinian fishing boats in the same area on 13 June 2017 when also fishing boats sailing off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip were targeted in the same way.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces used force to disperse protests organized by Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders in the villages of Ni‘lin, Bil‘in, west of Ramallah, al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city, and Kafr Qaddoum, northeast of Qalqilya. As a result, some protestors suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises after being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.
Incursions:During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 38 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 7 others into Jerusalem and its suburbs .During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 46 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children. Fourteen of them, including 6 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. Among those arrested were ‘Abdel Khaleq al-Natsheh (62), a Hamas leader, and Wasfi Qabha, a former Minister. The Israeli forces also confiscated a car belonging to al-Natsheh’s wife and another car belonging to Hadil Abu Menshar. The Israeli forces claimed that the two confiscated cars belong to Hamas movement while both al-Natsheh and Abu Menshar families confirmed they bought those cars from their own money….
UN: 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank may lose food assistance in July
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 14 June — A spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a statement at a press briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, warning that the World Food Program (WFP) would be forced to suspend assistance to some 150,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip next month unless additional funding is provided. Stephane Dujarric said in his statement that the WFP “urgently requires” $6.6 million in order to continue providing food assistance for the “poorest non-refugee families” in Gaza and the West Bank through vouchers over the next three months. “A disruption of WFP assistance could further undermine food security and deepen the dire living conditions of the poorest families, most of whom live on less than $3.20 a day,” Dujarric noted. Dujarric added that the WFP had warned that unless additional funding “quickly arrives,” it would be forced to suspend its food assistance voucher program for the month of July, leaving 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the majority of whom are women and children, without any food assistance. Dujarric also noted how this reduction in food assistance would contribute to the already crippling humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip…
Palestinian government bans news sites critical of president
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 15 June by Mohammed Daraghmeh — The Palestinian government in the West Bank has blocked 11 news websites affiliated with Hamas and other political rivals critical of President Mahmoud Abbas. An official at the attorney general’s office of the Palestinian Authority says the sites were blocked because they are in “violation of the rules of publications,” which forbid alleged fake news and defamation. The official spoke anonymously Thursday because he was not authorized to brief the media. The editor of Jordan-based Amad news website, Hassan Asfour, said in a statement that the censorship was due to its “bold reporting” on the Palestinian government’s “dirty deals.”
PA continues politically motivated arrests across occupied West Bank, Hamas says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — According to a statement released by the Hamas movement, Palestinian Authority (PA) forces arrested four Palestinians on Wednesday, including two university students, a lawyer, and a teacher, in a continuation of what the group has claimed is a wave of arrests targeting Palestinians over their political opinions. In the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, PA intelligence services arrested Muhammad al-Khatib, a student at Birzeit University, after raiding his apartment. According to Hamas, al-Khatib is the son of Fathi al-Khatib, a leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — the armed wing of Hamas — who is currently serving 29 life sentences in Israeli prison. The statement noted that PA intelligence services also arrested a former prisoner of Israel and Palestinian lawyer Mreisheh Shreitah from the al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyeh village in Ramallah.
In the northern West Bank, PA security services arrested a student at the al-Najah University in Nablus, whom Hamas identified as Ahmad Darwish, who had previously been detained by the PA owing to his political background. The PA also arrested a teacher, Muhammad Mualla, from the Beita village in the Nablus district, who teaches at the Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie in the city of Tulkarem.cThe statement added that the PA has continued to hold three students from the Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie, identified by Hamas as Yahya Sway, Izz al-Din Freihat, and Mahmoud Abu Hamra. PA intelligence services in Jericho have refused to release Rawhi Abu Shamsiyeh, a student at Hebron University who has been held by the PA for 40 days, despite a release order being issued by a PA court on Tuesday and his family already paying the required bail for his release, according to the statement….
Palestinian Authority attacks Hamas, calls Gaza ‘the second Nakba’
Ynet 14 June by Elior Levy — The Palestinian Authority issued a statement on Wednesday, marking the tenth anniversary of the terrorist group turned political party Hamas’s military coup that led to its taking over the Gaza Strip from under the PA and Fatah party. In the statement, the PA struck out against Hamas, describing Hamas’s rule over Gaza as “the second Nakba that struck our people.” The PA’s statement continued by saying that Hamas has “turned the Gaza Strip into an intolerable hell.” The use of the phrase “Nakba” in a different context than that of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 is exceptional for any Arab organization, but particularly the PA….
PA imposes curfew on Hebron-area village after large-scale family dispute
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 June — Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces imposed a curfew in the village of Taffuh in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday night, after a large family dispute left four people wounded. Palestinian police detained at least 39 Taffuh residents involved in the fight, which erupted overnight and lasted until dawn, culminating with the village’s municipality building being set on fire.Civil defense crews put out the fire, while four Palestinians were wounded, with injuries reported to range between light and moderate. Palestinian police spokesman Luay Irzeiqat said the curfew was imposed upon request of the Hebron Governor Kamel Hmeid in order to maintain public safety and protect public and private property.
Despite Tillerson reassurance, Palestinians not stopping ‘martyr’ payments
RAMALLAH (Reuters) 14 June by Ali Sawafta — Palestinian officials say there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis, contradicting comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson told a Senate hearing on Tuesday he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs. The issue of compensation has become a sticking point in efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Israeli officials citing it as one reason they do not regard Abbas as a “partner for peace”. “They have changed their policy,” Tillerson said, referring to the Palestinians. “At least I have been informed they’ve changed that policy and their intent is to cease payments.” But Palestinian officials said they were not aware of any change and that it was unlikely a policy that has been a cornerstone of social support for decades would be altered … The Palestinian Authority makes a variety of social security payments, mostly to families, for those convicted and imprisoned by Israel for fighting against the occupation and those killed in violence, whether they were carrying out suicide attacks, shot while throwing stones or in other circumstances. Amounts vary depending on whether the person killed was married or had children. Those wounded also receive aid. In total, some 35,000 families receive support from a dedicated fund established in the 1960s, including those living outside the Palestinian territories … For Abbas, ending such payments would be politically fraught. Surveys show he is highly unpopular and that would only likely worsen if support were stopped. It would probably strengthen his rival in the Islamist group Hamas….
Knesset approves bill to cut tax transfers to PA over prisoners compensation program
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, moved forward on Wednesday with a bill that would see the Israeli government cease to transfer an estimated 1 billion shekels ($280 million) per year to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the controversial “martyrs” compensation program that provides financial allowances to Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and their families. Israeli media reported that the Knesset plenum approved a preliminary reading of the bill, with some 48 Knesset members voting in favor of the bill and 13 opposing it. The vote came amid contradicting reports from Israeli, Palestinian, and US officials regarding the status of the payments, which are part of a social program managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that provides financial allowances to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and their families, those injured by Israeli forces, and families of Palestinian “martyrs” — those killed by Israeli forces, whether during attacks against Israelis or in situations in which they were void of wrongdoing….
Palestinian mayor in West Bank brushes off his violent past
HEBRON, West Bank (AP) 15 June by Mohammed Daraghmeh — For Palestinians, the new mayor of Hebron is a hero who they hope will improve their city. But to Israelis, the new leader of the divided West Bank city is an unrepentant murderer. Weeks after the former PLO fighter took office, Tayseer Abu Sneineh is a contentious figure in the West Bank’s most volatile city, showing no remorse for his role in an attack 37 years ago but saying he is now committed to pursuing a peace agreement with Israel. He sports a short gray beard today, but as a 26-year-old math teacher he took part in an attack in Hebron on Israeli settlers returning home from Friday night Sabbath prayers on May 2, 1980. Six people were killed and 16 wounded. Abu Sneineh was convicted as one of the gunmen and sentenced to life in prison. But he was released three years later in a prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and deported to Algeria. He returned to the West Bank, along with other exiled PLO figures, after the Oslo interim peace agreement was signed in 1993. Abu Sneineh says the attack, one of the deadliest on West Bank settlers, was justified. “They all were armed settlers and soldiers, no women or children,” he recalled. “We attacked them with guns and hand grenades.” “We wanted to send a message to the settlers that this is our city and they have to leave,” Abu Sneineh added. Hebron is the West Bank’s most populous city, holy to Muslims and Jews, where several hundred nationalist Israeli settlers live in fortified compounds in the midst of 170,000 Palestinian inhabitants….
Video: How a website blooms in the West Bank
CNN Money 14 June — Ramallah-based Yamsafer is an online travel booking company that caters to travelers in the Middle East.
Video: Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim visits West Bank
BBC 13 June — Daniel Barenboim, has been visiting the West Bank for the first time in nearly a decade – to work with young Palestinian musicians. He has been a strong opponent of Israel’s occupation of land that the Palestinians want for their future state, saying his visit was timed to remember the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war – when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The maestro, who also has Palestinian citizenship[which he was given nine years ago], has been speaking to the BBC.
CAS to hear Palestinian FA appeal over FIFA decision
Reuters 13 June — The Palestinian Football Association has filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport over a decision by world soccer’s governing body FIFA regarding the association’s rights to run football activities there. CAS said in a statement the appeal was against a decision taken during the FIFA Congress in May to not vote on a proposal by the PFA in which it sought the “recognition of its rights to run football activities in accordance with the FIFA statutes”. FIFA instead chose to vote on an alternative proposal in which the FIFA Council was granted a time limit until the end of March 2018 to study and evaluate reports from the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine. The dispute centres on six teams from lower divisions of the Israeli league who are based in settlements on the occupied West Bank and play their matches there. The PFA says this is contrary to FIFA statutes which state that a member country’s teams cannot play matches on the territory of another association without permission … The PFA has also complained that Israel hampers its activities, including limiting the movement of players between the West Bank and Gaza, and that it has barred some international travel. Israel has cited security concerns for its actions and the Israeli FA, which is a member of European soccer body UEFA, says it is not responsible for the actions of its government … CAS said a decision on the appeal would be issued at a later date following the exchange of written submissions and the completion of a hearing.
Anti-occupation NGO gains donation from Israeli win of Man Booker prize
JERUSALEM (AFP) 15 June — An Israeli human rights group disliked by the government welcomed Thursday the donation of prize money from the Man Booker International Prize won by David Grossman. The Israeli writer won the prize on Wednesday evening for his novel “A Horse Walks Into a Bar,” along with his US translator Jessica Cohen, with the two splitting the £50,000 ($64,000, €57,000) award. Cohen announced at the awards she would donate “half of the award money” to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which campaigns against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. “For almost thirty years now they have been reporting on human rights violations committed in the occupied Palestinian territories,” she said. “It is not easy to tell uncomfortable and unflattering truths, and it’s certainly not easy to hear them, but it is essential, not only in literature but in life.” B’Tselem spokesman Amit Gilutz welcomed the donation … B’Tselem’s work on human rights issues in the occupied West Bank has seen it regularly fall foul of Israeli politicians in the current government, considered the most right wing in Israel’s history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently floated the idea of banning all state foreign funding to NGOs, seen as targeting B’Tselem and other leftwing groups.
Ashrawi slams Israel amid reports that UN official could be expelled from country
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Conflicting reports emerged Thursday that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding the expulsion of United Nations (UN) official Robert Piper, who serves as the Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, while Israel’s foreign ministry spokesperson has denied the claims. Arutz Sheva reported that the ministry is demanding the removal of Piper from his position, as well as threatening to revoke his residency in the country, due to comments he made recently that were critical of Israel on the 50th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory.
“It should be obvious, but it bears repeating, that occupation is ugly,” Piper said in a statement at the time. “Living under foreign military rule for years on end, generates despair, suffocates initiative and leaves generations in a kind of political and economic limbo.” Israel’s i24 News reported that if the UN does not terminate Piper’s tenure, Israeli authorities said that “it would be difficult to continue working with him, which could harm coordination of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza.”
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi released a statement following the reports, saying “Israel insists on escalating its language of threat and intimidation against anyone who dares reveal the truth about the oppressive policies of the toxic occupation.”
New Israeli pro-diplomacy lobby hopes to avoid another Gaza war
Al-Monitor 13 June by Mazal Mualem — Yesh Atid Knesset member Haim Jelin promotes a new lobby for offering Gaza residents a diplomatic horizon and hope in the form of developing infrastructure and addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip — Almost three years have passed since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. While there is unanimity among the political and defense leadership that another round of fighting against Hamas in Gaza is only a matter of time, it is one of the least popular issues to deal with politically. The public actually prefers suppressing it entirely. Reports on what is happening in Gaza tend to be pushed to the bottom of the Israeli media agenda, with very few politicians advocating for any agenda to confront the issue. That is why the new lobby formed by Jelin is worthy of attention. As head of the Eshkol Regional Council (adjacent to the Gaza Strip) during Operation Protective Edge, Jelin became an iconic symbol of that turbulent summer….
Israel’s prime minister: Med pipeline would be ‘revolution’
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) 15 June — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Thursday to promote plans for an ambitious Mediterranean undersea natural gas pipeline project, in a bid by his country to become a key European energy supplier.
Israel is hoping to export much of its newly discovered natural gas to Europe by a proposed 2,200-kilometer (1,350-mile) undersea pipeline to Cyprus and Greece. “It’s something we’re very excited about,” Netanyahu said in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. “Of course the idea of the East Med pipeline would be a revolution. We’ve had preliminary studies of it. It seems promising and we’re going to look further.” Netanyahu met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades after the three countries signed a joint declaration in Tel Aviv in April to promote construction of the pipeline. Greece and Israel are also planning an undersea electricity cable link and are considering a Mediterranean data cable….