Gaza power authority: Egypt curbs fuel delivery after PA freezes bank transfers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — The ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip deepened on Saturday after fuel purchased from Egypt was reduced by between 33 and 50 percent, with Gaza’s power authority claiming the Palestinian Authority (PA) froze all bank transfers to Egypt that were paying for fuel used to operate the besieged coastal enclave’s sole power plant. Additionally, Egyptian power lines, which typically provide up to 28 megawatts of electricity to Gaza’s southern districts, were also damaged and have thus ceased to provide any power, according to a statement from the Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation. The developments came amid reports that the Ramallah-based PA has been moving to block the growing alliance between Gaza’s de facto leaders Hamas and Egypt, particularly since fuel deliveries from Egypt that arrived in late June served to avert a full humanitarian collapse in Gaza, after Israel drastically reduced its fuel supplies at the request of the PA. According to the Hamas-run electricity company, as of Saturday, the total power supply available to the small Palestinian territory dropped to just 93 megawatts — 70 megawatts of which were being provided from Israel (compared to the 120 megawatts provided before the current crisis), and 23 from Gaza’s sole power plant, which, as a result of the stymied Egyptian fuel deliveries and bank transfers, was operating just one generator out of three.
The 93 megawatts compares to the 125 to 170 megawatts that have been provided over the past two weeks following the provision of Egyptian fuel, the 208 that was provided before Israel slashed its supplies — all a small fraction of the estimated 500 megawatt demand for Gaza’s electricity needs … The Hamas-run power authority said it was working out “alternative ways to transfer the money for the fuel to Egypt to resume supplies to Gaza.”….
Two Palestinians injured, one seriously, in northern Gaza
IMEMC 8 July — On Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed across the border fence east of Jabalia in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip opened fire on Palestinian protesters, wounding two, including one who suffered a serious injury. Medical sources said the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a gas bomb to the head, leading to a life-threatening injury, while another Palestinian was shot with a live round in his leg. Both Palestinians were moved to Kamal Adwan hospital. In related news, the soldiers fired several live rounds at a Palestinian ambulance, east of Gaza City. The Israeli attacks took place as the soldiers opened fire on protesters in Palestinian lands close to the border fence, in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas says security at southern Gaza border reinforced following Sinai attack
GAZA (Ma‘an) 9 July — In the wake of a car bomb attack Friday in the northern Sinai Peninsula that left at least 23 Egyptian soldiers killed, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said it was cooperating with Egypt in reinforcing security measures at Gaza’s southern border with Sinai. An Egyptian army spokesperson said at the time of the attack that 26 members of Egypt’s armed forces were either killed or injured in the explosion in the Rafah district, which were initially said to include 10 fatalities. However, it was later reported that more bodies were pulled from under the rubble, and that at least 23 soldiers were killed. Forty fighters were killed in a subsequent gun battle with Egyptian soldiers, and ABC news said Monday that the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. Deputy Interior Minister in Gaza Tawfiq Abu Naim said Sunday that Gaza security forces subsequently tightened security at the border area “to prevent any cases of wanted fugitives attempting to sneak into Gaza from Egypt.” He offered condolences to Egypt for the loss the soldiers who were killed in the attack, as did the head of Hamas’ politburo Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh visited a memorial site set up by the Egyptian community in Gaza’s Rafah city and affirmed Hamas’ commitment to continuing to strengthen ties with Egypt, referring to recent meetings between the two bodies regarding improving relations based on increasing cross border security, which includes plans to construct a 100-meter-wide military buffer zone….
Children with cystic fibrosis in Gaza in ‘mortal danger’ for want of medicine
GAZA (Ma‘an) 9 July — Tens of Palestinian children being treated at a Gaza City hospital for cystic fibrosis are facing possible imminent death, relatives and medical sources told Ma‘an, amid what rights groups described as the worst medication crisis the besieged Gaza Strip has seen in years, stemming from debilitating budget cuts by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA has been the center of widespread condemnation in recent weeks for its policies in Gaza aimed at putting pressure on Hamas to relinquish control of the besieged coastal enclave and hand over the territory to the PA. The main victims of the current medication crisis are cancer patients, infants with developmental deficits, and hundreds of cystic fibrosis patients, according to a report last month from Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI). Information gathered by PHRI showed that the PA’s regular monthly budget for Gaza medical supplies had been $4 million, but dropped to $2.3 million in April, and to a mere $500,000 in May. As a result, one-third of essential medicines and more than 270 medical equipment items for operating rooms and intensive care units have vanished from the health ministry’s storerooms or in Gaza’s hospitals. Chairman of the Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Gaza Ashraf al-Shanti has said that over 320 cystic fibrosis patients are in mortal danger. He said the patients require 40,000 Cryon pills, but storerooms were already completely empty as of mid-June.The parents of young cystic fibrosis patients being treated at Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi hospital west of Gaza city told Ma’an that the life-saving medication has become a “distant dream,” and also reported that alternative medicine being provided by the Palestinian Health Ministry is actually worsening the conditions of their children …
Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, the father of a six-year-old cystic fibrosis patient, said that his son’s illness has drastically deteriorated since the medicine disappeared from storerooms and hospitals in the small Palestinian territory … The man said that his son is facing the possibility of death “at any moment.” Al-Yacoubi’s first son, who also had cystic fibrosis, died for want of treatment when the family could neither find medication in Gaza nor obtain Israel permission to leave the blockaded coastal enclave for treatment at Israeli hospitals.
Poor families in Gaza traumatized by poverty as well as conflict
Islamic Relief — Three years after the most recent conflict began in Gaza – July 8 2014 – poor families are traumatised by the poor economic and social conditions they are forced to live in, says Islamic Relief following the publication of a new report on poverty in the Palestinian territory. The new report, Poor Families in Focus, is based on a study carried out in partnership with local development associations, women’s groups and farmers’ co-operatives. Involving 3,342 families identified as living below the poverty line, the report identifies some of those who are most in need, and how best to work with them to help lift them out of poverty. “The destruction and bloodshed caused by conflict have contributed significantly to psychological problems in Gaza,” says Muneeb Abu Ghazaleh, Islamic Relief’s country director in the territory. “But the constant pressure felt by poor families due to unemployment and poverty is also having a massive impact on people’s psychological health and family relationships. “Children and mothers, in particular, bear the brunt of fathers’ psychological problems due to their feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Many have lived through the destruction of their homes and businesses more than once.”…
“I would dearly love to sell my own son”Atef lives with his wife and seven children in a damp-ridden 50m-square ‘house’ with a dilapidated ceiling and a kitchen that doubles up as a bathroom in Rafah City in the south of Gaza. Interviewers were shocked to hear him say how he would dearly love to sell his own son. He lost his job as a builder due to spinal problems and cannot find a job as an electrician, even though he has the right skills. His wife is ill with glandular problems for which she has to conduct monthly laboratory tests costing 1000 New Israeli Shekel (£220). With eyes full of tears, he explained: “I haven’t got a penny to pay for the taxi to the hospital.” His older children cannot find work and he can’t afford the school fees for the younger ones. With a voice full of pain he explained: “I thought that if I sell my youngest child to one of the rich families here I could afford the school fees for the other children.”….
Video: Gaza’s gaping wound
EI 8 July by Maureen Clare Murphy — Three years ago this day, the Kaware family in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza received a phone call from the Israeli military stating that their home was about to be bombed and that they must get out. The family obeyed the order, evacuating the three-story building as their neighbors gathered round. About an hour later, a drone-fired missile hit the solar water tank on the building’s rooftop. This tactic is euphemistically called a “roof-knock” by the Israeli military. It entails striking a building with a small missile without an explosive warhead as a precursor to the use of a heavier bomb. After the “roof-knock,” the Kaware family and their neighbors began to ascend to the roof, hoping their presence would deter Israel from targeting the home. Six children killed Four of them had made it to the top of the building when it was hit by a heavy missile fired from an F-16 warplane. The roof collapsed, killing eight people, all but two of them children. One of the 28 persons who were injured in the strike died of his wounds days later. The Israeli military claimed that operational error caused unintended civilian deaths when it targeted the Kaware family home, where a senior figure in Hamas’ military wing was living. The bomb was in the air when the family started returning to the home, a senior air force commander explained at the time, and there was no way to divert it. Operational error or not, the targeting of residences belonging to Hamas figures is a violation of the laws of war … On the same day that the Kaware family home was targeted, Israel bombed that of the Hamad family in northern Beit Hanoun without warning, shortly after the family had gone to bed. Six members of the family, including a 16-year-old girl, were killed. Like in the case of the Kaware family, Israel attempted to justify its targeting of the Hamad family home by saying it belonged to an activist with the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. By Israel’s logic, incompatible with international law, an apartment block in Tel Aviv would be a legitimate bombing target because an army general lived there, or Tel Aviv itself because Israel’s military is headquartered in the city center
Opinion: Can Israel see the children of Gaza yet? / Marilyn Garson
Haaretz 9 July — Three years after the Israel – Hamas war, I am still haunted by the Palestinian children killed by Israeli missiles on a Gaza beach near where I lived — On July 16, 2014, the Israeli navy fired at a fishermen’s jetty on a Gaza City beach. Boys, who had been playing nearby, ran from the explosion. The IDF killed four of them with a second missile. They were cousins, aged 9 – 11, and they were small. Journalists, some of whom had been playing soccer with the boys earlier, watched and filmed from the Al Deira Hotel as the boys crumpled onto the sand. They died a few hundred meters from my apartment, although I wasn’t at home. As a member of UNRWA’s emergency response team, I was working in the Central Operations Room some blocks away. The room fell silent with word of the four boys’ killing. The war was one week old. One Israeli had died. Of Gaza’s 213 deaths, 43 were children. Gazans, like Israelis, feel each death as a personal, family loss. Those boys were everyone’s boys. Also in common, each for their own reasons, Gazans and Israelis clung to a protective myth of perfect aim. My Israeli relatives “knew” that their technology was clear-sighted and precise, because the shots were fired by their peers. My Gazan colleagues needed that to be true, as shots might be fired into the window next door. We used to joke about painting an arrow on our windows, pointing the missiles somewhere else. The killings on the beach begged a terrible question. Either the IDF could see the boys they killed, or they could not. Which possibility was more frightening? Next day, the IDF killed three children playing on the roof of their house….
How Gazans are dealing with internet crisis
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 9 July by Rasha Abou Jalan — The internet has become the only outlet for Gazans to escape the concerns and problems resulting from the ongoing Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. However, Gaza has been barely getting any internet service due to increased power cuts that are leaving the citizens without electricity for 20 hours a day. On June 19, Israel reduced the electricity coming through the Israeli supply lines to Gaza from 120 megawatts (MW) to 48 MW, in response to a request from Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority. Internet service is an important commodity for Gazans, as they cannot travel abroad due to the continued closure of the Rafah crossing. Unemployed Gazan youth search for freelance work online in light of the growing unemployment rate, which reached 41.2% in the Gaza Strip, according to official statistics issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics published in July 2016. The number of internet subscribers in Gaza is growing. According to a report issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Gaza on May 7, the number of internet subscribers reached 116,793 at the end of the first quarter of 2017 compared to 94,958 during the first quarter of 2016. There are four main companies in Gaza that supply internet to a number of subcompanies, which in turn sell their services to citizens: the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, Digital Communication, Mada and Fusion. These companies acquire their internet supply through Israeli companies such as Bezeq. In light of the electricity crisis, Gazans rely heavily on rechargeable batteries as a source of energy to keep internet service provider distribution centers and home internet routers operating….
Opinion: How Gazans manage to keep cool and carry on / Amira Hass
Haaretz 10 July — With all the money Gazans have invested in private solutions to combat electricity outages, a solar power plant could have been built for the entire Strip — Aside from the beach, the only places to escape the heat and unbearable humidity in electricity-starved Gaza are the mosques. They are always air-conditioned, or at least almost always – even when there’s no power supply to the areas in which they’re located. “I put on a mandil [headscarf] and go to religious lectures for women, just to escape the heat at home,” said one woman during Ramadan. It’s a solution adopted by many. There are other individual solutions people use. This is the place to state that this is further proof that the Gazans are extraordinarily creative and resilient. But my friend, R., pours cold water on my enthusiasm. The mosques that are lit when the whole neighborhood is dark, and the refreshing air conditioning within, are a source of complaints in face-to-face conversations and on social media. It has also been debated by Gaza’s political factions. Where does the extra power for the mosques come from, everyone wonders, and who is paying for it? The Palestinian Religious Affairs Ministry is one of the richest government ministries, with income from pilgrimages to Mecca and from real estate. So one must assume that it is paying the mosques’ extra electricity bills. But that doesn’t answer the question of where the power itself is actually coming from. According to a Gaza City resident, the mosques are connected by underground cables to several different transformers. As a result, even if power is cut to one area, they continue to be supplied by another one … Now, when for every three or four hours of power there are 20 hours without it, it could be that the mosques are also suffering a few hours without electricity. Generators are presumably part of the mosques’ solution. Generators – smaller ones for households; large ones for institutions – have been a common solution for over 10 years. They’re expensive, noisy, polluting – but vital. Over the past year, and especially since the Gaza power plant was shuttered, generators have developed into a real business … The Hamas administration encourages these individual solutions, hailing them as evidence of people’s resilience, says R. – but it’s like treating cancer with a cup of mint tea. The crisis is a political and social one, while the solution is privatized. Electricity production and supply have been privatized; the efforts and funds are decentralized; they are invested by individuals, albeit on a mass scale. R. estimates that from what all the people in Gaza have invested and paid privately to lengthen the time they have power by two to three hours, a solar power plant could have been built to serve the entire Strip….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
18-month-old Palestinian dies after being injured with Israeli tear gas 2 months ago
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — An 18-month old Palestinian infant died on Friday, some two months after suffering from tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces shot tear gas at Palestinian homes in the village of ‘Abud in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 18-month-old Abd al-Rahman Barghouti was transferred to Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem after suffering from tear gas inhalation in May, owing to the severity of his condition. However, Wafa pointed out that “all efforts to save his life failed,” and the infant was declared dead on Friday evening.
The infant was injured after clashes broke out across the occupied West Bank on May 19 in support of some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who were undergoing a mass hunger strike to demand better treatment and conditions in Israeli prisons. At the time, Israeli forces haphazardly shot tear gas at Palestinian homes, which caused many residents, including Abd al-Rahman, to suffer from tear gas inhalation. At the same time, Israeli forces opened live ammunition on protesters, injuring several Palestinian youths in the lower part of their bodies. According to Wafa, Israeli soldiers had prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the infant’s home to treat him, and blocked the ambulances with Israeli army jeeps, forcing Palestinian medics to rush on foot to the infant to provide first aid. The medics were also forced to carry him back to the ambulances, which were located a 30 minute walk away from Barghouti’s house, Wafa pointed out.
Abd al-Rahman became the 36th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2017. Eight Israelis have also been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.
Palestinian shot dead after carrying out alleged vehicular attack on Israeli soldiers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — A Palestinian was shot and killed after he carried out an alleged vehicular attack on Israeli soldiers, lightly injuring one, at a junction near the village of Tuqu‘ and the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Amos in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed that the alleged assailant rammed his car at Israeli forces stationed at the junction, leaving one Israeli soldier lightly wounded. The driver then allegedly exited his vehicle armed with a knife and attempted to stab the soldier, when another soldier fatally shot the Palestinian.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom said it evacuated the 20-year-old Israeli soldier in a moderate condition to Israel’s Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem for treatment, while the Palestinian driver was “neutralized” and treated by the Israeli army at the scene before being declared dead. An eyewitness told Ma‘an that he saw the Palestinian, who was wearing a red shirt, lying motionless on the ground, and claimed that he saw two wounded Israeli soldiers — one suffering from a serious injury and unable to move, and another with a minor injury. However, the Israeli army spokesperson said just one soldier had been wounded.
According to Ma‘an documentation, the man, who remained unidentified, became the 37th Palestinian to be killed by an Israeli in 2017….
Israel releases body of Palestinian killed more than a month ago
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli authorities released the body of Muhannad Abu Safaqa on Friday, who was killed in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya almost two months ago after carrying out a stabbing attack. Safaqa was a resident of the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem, and was shot and detained after he stabbed an Israeli police officer in the neck, lightly wounding the officer. Safaqa succumbed to his wounds two days after being shot by Israeli forces. Palestinian Civil Affairs committee said on Friday that Safaqa’s body would be released at Israeli Anab checkpoint east of Tulkarem and that they had informed Safaqa’s family of his body’s release.
Pregnant Palestinian woman injured after being rammed by an Israeli settler’s car in Hebron
IMEMC 9 July — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a pregnant Palestinian woman was injured, Sunday, after an Israeli colonist’s car struck her near al-‘Arroub College, in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The sources stated that the woman, Abeer Bassam Jawabra, 28, suffered various cuts and bruises, and was moved to the al-Mezan hospital, in Hebron. She was struck by the Israeli car at the main entrance of the refugee camp. The woman, who suffered moderate wounds, is undergoing further examination and checkups, to ensure her well-being, and the well-being of her fetus.
Israeli forces injure 6 Palestinians, Korean activist, during protest in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) July — Israeli forces injured six Palestinians and a Korean activist on Friday in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya during the village’s weekly march against the Israeli occupation. Popular resistance coordinator Murad Shteiwi said that Israeli forces attacked protesters and fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd during the march, which, according to Shteiwi, marked the sixth year anniversary of the weekly protests organized by the village. He said that six Palestinians had sustained injuries, one of whom was wounded in the head, and a female supporter from Korea was wounded with a rubber bullet. Shteiwi added that all had been transferred to Rafidiya Hospital for medical treatment … Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces … The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained during the demonstrations since their start in 2011, and at least one protester was killed, while 84 have been injured by live fire, including 12 children, Shteiwi told Ma‘an during a similar protest last yearSome 120 others have been detained at demonstrations and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shteiwi said at the time, adding that they had paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
Army injures many Palestinians near Ramallah
IMEMC 9 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, Saturday, Beit Rima town northwest of Ramallah in the central West Bank, and fired many gas bombs during clashes that erupted during the invasion, causing many Palestinians to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Media sources in Ramallah said the soldiers fired many gas bombs directly at homes, causing many Palestinians, including children, to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers also confiscated a Palestinian car which burnt three days ago, on the main road of Beit Rima, and withdrew from the town.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinians at Israeli-controlled checkpoint in Jenin
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles passing the Israeli-controlled Bartaa military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin on Friday, while Israeli soldiers reportedly watched without intervening. According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, local sources in the Bartaa village said that a dozen Israeli settlers hurled rocks at Palestinian vehicles passing through the checkpoint, and broke one Palestinian’s car windshield. Wafa reported that locals noted that Israeli forces did not intervene in the incident, and instead watched the attack on the side. A vehicle belonging to Ibrahim Kabha was damaged in the attack, Wafa noted.
Palestinian worker injured after jumping off separation wall to dodge Israeli bullets
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — A Palestinian construction worker from the southern occupied West Bank town of al-Khader fractured his feet on Saturday after Israeli forces opened fire at him while he was attempting to pass over Israel’s separation wall and jumped off it to escape the bullets. A local activist Ahmad Salah told Ma‘an that 41-year-old Hazim Abu al-Sheikh Mousa was trying to traverse the wall in the Wadi al-Hummus area in southern Jerusalem near Sur Bahir, in order to get to work inside Israel along with a group of other workers who did not have permits needed to pass through the Israeli-controlled border crossings separating the occupied West Bank from occupied East Jerusalem and Israel. After he climbed the wall, Israel troops who were on the other side started to fire gunshots, prompting him to jump back. The other workers evacuated Mousa to Beit Jala public hospital where he received treatment for fractures in both of his feet … Salah noted to Ma‘an that workers who do not have permits sometimes prefer to cross the border on Saturday because they believe Israeli restrictions are lighter on Saturday, the Jewish day of rest and Israel’s national weekend when many public services are closed….
Israeli soldiers assaulted Tamer Tamimi, 23, at checkpoints twice in one day; he was abused and beaten until he lost consciousness and needed hospital care
B’Tselem 5 July — On Sunday, 4 June 2017, at around 5:15 P.M., Tamer Tamimi, a taxi driver from a-Nabi Saleh, arrived at the ‘Atarah checkpoint with seven passengers en route from Ramallah to a-Nabi Saleh and Beit Rima. The ‘Atarah checkpoint has a watchtower that is permanently staffed by soldiers, and guard booths on either side of the road, which are staffed only some of the time. That day, three soldiers were stationed at the guard booth on the road leading to a-Nabi Saleh, and they were checking some of the vehicles passing through. The soldiers ordered Tamimi to pull over, then ordered him and two passengers to get out of the taxi and sit by the side of the road. They then took all of the passengers’ phones and checked their IDs. The soldiers then proceeded to check the other vehicles that had arrived at the checkpoint. In a testimony given to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 5 June 2017, Tamimi described what he saw while he was held up at the checkpoint. His description was backed up by another eyewitness account gathered by B’Tselem. Tamimi recalled: …One of the passengers in Samih’s taxi wanted to go with his daughter, who looked about ten years old and needed to use the bathroom. The soldier apparently refused. He yelled at the father and ordered him to get back in the taxi. The man wouldn’t and they started yelling at each other. Then, the soldier fired a shot in the air to scare the father, who got back in the taxi without his daughter relieving herself. While we were waiting, one of the passengers in my taxi asked the same soldier for permission to answer her phone, which was on the taxi’s dashboard. He refused. I heard her begging him, and explaining that her son was calling her on an urgent matter. I asked the solider to let her answer. He told me to shut up, and swore at me “Shut up you asshole, you son of a bitch,” and he hit me with his rifle on the back of the head. I got mad at the soldier for cursing my mother, so I cursed him back. He shoved me with his rifle, and I shoved him back….
Israeli police detain Palestinian in Jerusalem for alleged knife possession
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli forces detained a Jerusalemite Palestinian for alleged knife possession in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. According to Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva, an Israeli security guard apprehended a young Palestinian at the central bus station in Jerusalem for being in possession of a knife and turned him in to Israeli police. Arutz Sheva added that there were no reported injuries during the incident.
Israeli soldiers abduct eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 9 July — Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight and earlier on Sunday, at least eight Palestinians during military invasions of homes and communities in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. The soldiers invaded the town of al-‘Eesawiyya, in the center of occupied Jerusalem, abducted a young Palestinian man, identified as Mohammad Hussein Obeid, and took him to an interrogation center in the city. The soldiers also searched homes, interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, and installed roadblocks.
On Sunday at dawn, the soldiers invaded Tulkarem refugee camp, and Saida town, in the northern West Bank governorate of Tulkarem, searched homes and abducted three Palestinians. Media sources in Tulkarem said the soldiers abducted Naseem Hosni Hamad, 19, from Saida, in addition to Ibrahim Noureddin Shehada, 21, and Khalil Ahmad Abed-Rabbo, 27, from Tulkarem refugee camp.
The soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron in the southern part of the occupied West bank, abducted two Palestinian teenagers, identified as Fares Ibrahim ad-Douda, 18, and former political prisoner, Tareq Nasser Abu Ayyash, 17, and later abducted two other Palestinians, identified as Mohannad Rajabi and Mahmoud Yasser Sa‘id.
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in raids including 11- and 12-year-old boys
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians — including two young children — in military raids across the occupied West Bank between Sunday night and Monday morning, with a raid into al-Duheisha refugee camp sparking fierce clashes with locals. Israeli troops stormed the refugee camp, located in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, around dawn time Monday, and broke into several homes after bursting open their front doors. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers showered the camp with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas. Before they left, Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Haidar Izzat Abu Dayya, 18-year-old Yazan Yousif Manna, and 23-year-old Muhammad Yousif Milhem. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the three detentions and said they were looking into reports of clashes to provide comment.
Meanwhile, earlier on Sunday evening, Israeli forces detained two Palestinian boys aged 11 and 12 years old, during a military raid in the village of al-Judeira in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli troops raided the village and detained 11-year-old Khattab Muhammad Barjas and 12-year-old Hindi Nasser al-Hindi while the two were playing in front of their house. Locals highlighted that Israeli military raids are a daily occurrence into the village, which is subject to a heightened military presence due to its proximity to Israel’s illegal separation wall and military bases built on the community’s land.
In a predawn military raid into the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli forces detained two young men identified by locals Anas Naim Misk and Uday Muhammad Abu Turky. During the raid, Israeli forces also delivered a summons to Raafat al-Julani, demanding that appear for questioning at an Israeli interrogation center. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the two detentions in Hebron, and also said that an additional Palestinian was detained in the town of Yatta south of Hebron city.
She added that one Palestinian was detained in the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya, and that another Palestinian was detained in the village of al-Jalama on the northernmost edge of the district of Jenin.
37 undocumented Palestinian workers detained, 57 others see permits revoked
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli forces detained at least 37 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Sunday for attempting to enter Jerusalem without Israeli work permits, while 57 Palestinians had their work permits revoked for allegedly violating their terms, according to a statement from the Israeli army. The statement said that the group was detained in an area near an Israeli checkpoint in the village of Husan amid a campaign launched Sunday morning by the Israeli army to find undocumented Palestinian workers. The statement provided a photo of the area, which is sometimes used as a point of access from the occupied West Bank for Palestinian workers, who walk up a wooded hill to a dirt road that leads to West Jerusalem. A suspect was also detained for “assisting” the Palestinians in entering Israel, according to the statement, presumably referring to a person who intended to drive the group into Jerusalem. The statement added that the Israeli army also confiscated valid work permits for 53 Palestinians who were “staying in Israel,” as work permits typically do not allow Palestinians to sleep inside Jerusalem or Israel overnight….
Court actions / Prisoners
Israel sentences chairwoman of Palestinian women’s union to administrative detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli authorities sentenced Khitam al-Saafin, the chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee, to three months in administrative detention, Israel’s highly contested policy of internment without trial or charges, on Sunday. The head of the legal unit for prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Mahmoud Hassan, said that a court session would be held on Wednesday in the Ofer detention center to confirm the sentence. Israeli forces detained al-Saafin on July 2 in the village of Beituniya in the central occupied West Bank, on the same day as they detained Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar, another prominent feminist and human rights advocate. The Ofer court extended both al-Saafin and Jarrar’s detentions on Monday in order to search computers that were confiscated in their homes during the detention raids and to give the Israeli prosecution enough time to argue in favor of administrative detention.
The Israeli army said at the time that both detentions were due to the women’s leading roles in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — a well-known leftist Palestinian party which Israel deems to be a terrorist group. “We protest the arrest of Palestinian lawmakers and women activists, as well as the ongoing detention of Palestinian political and civil society leaders,” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said following Jarrar and al-Saafin’s detention, adding that “clearly, this political arrest is further proof that the judicial system in Israel has no relation to justice.”….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
Israel army orders work on natural reserve near Nablus to stop
NABLUS (WAFA) 9 July – Israeli army Sunday ordered a halt on cultivating work at a natural reserve in the village of Khirbet al-Tawil, south of Nablus, said local sources. Yousef Deriya, a member of the local Anti-Settlement Commission, told WAFA that Israeli forces handed three notifications ordering cultivating work to stop at the natural reserve, which is being executed in cooperation with Oxfam International. He said the reserve is part of a project to increase the pastoral areas in Khirbet al-Tawil to 500 dunums, adding that water wells have been drilled there. According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), Khirbet Al Tawil is one of the most targeted areas in the Nablus district, and has been “subjected to a huge number of violations and attacks by the occupation forces.” Hundreds of the town’s residents have been displaced over the years by demolitions carried out under the pretext that the structures lacked permits. Not only is the village located in Area C, but it is also situated within the so-called closed military zone of the Jordan Valley, where thousands of dunams have been confiscated for Israeli army training operations, thus preventing Palestinians from accessing their land.
Floating over Jerusalem without ever seeing the city’s Arab residents
Haaretz 9 July by Moshe Gilad — A planned cable car in the air will ostensibly bring tourists and worshipers to the Old City, but it’s linked to a group settling Jews in Arab East Jerusalem — In 2021 we’ll glide in a cable car to the Western Wall. The optimists give us four years to get used to the idea. The pessimists say an entire lifetime won’t be enough to accept the sight of transparent cars hovering over Mount Zion and landing near the Old City wall. The plans and simulations look like Disneyland on a spring day. They show well-dressed tourists thronging to the Western Wall in glass compartments – a long line of futuristic bubbles hanging by a thread over the Ben Hinnom Valley … To understand the political thread the cableway is suspended on, you have to know the location of the route and the stops. The stop near the Western Wall is to be built near Dung Gate on the roof of the Kedem compound 20 meters (66 feet) from the Old City wall; this is near the entrance to the City of David archaeological site. Although the site is a national park, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority handed operation of it over to Elad, a right-wing group that helps settles Jews in East Jerusalem. In recent years extensive archaeological work was carried out in the compound, over which a large visitors center for the City of David is to be built. The cable-car stop is due to be built on this building’s roof. “The City of David is pleased with any government initiative that strengthens tourist accessibility to ancient Jerusalem and helps broaden historical interest in the place where it all began,” an Elad official told Haaretz … Later, while walking through Silwan, Tatarsky quotes Mayor Nir Barkat from another Nir Hasson article: “The enterprise is intended to make its users understand who this city’s real landlord is.” According to Barkat, two of the five stops will be at the Elad-run City of David site. Khaled Zar, a Silwan resident, says the project’s main danger is the destruction of the village’s cemetery. “They intend to take a third of the cemetery from us, and already now they’re not allowing us to bury our dead there,” he says. “The Nature and Parks Authority is letting this happen on its land, leaving us no choice but to fight it in the courts.”
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
‘Israel Hayom’ outs prominent Jewish American BDS activist
+972 blog 9 July by Yael Marom — Under the headline “BDS activist tricks authorities, enters Israel against protocol,” Israel Hayom, the country’s most widely-circulated daily newspaper, published an article last Thursday that outed Jewish American activist Ariel Gold over her support for boycotting Israel. The article, written by Shimon Yaish and Yair Altman, provided a golden opportunity to make sure the interior minister was made aware of the situation, after the Knesset passed legislation earlier this year banning foreign nationals who support the boycott of the country from entering its borders. Yaish and Altman made sure to call the authorities’ attention to the so-called “oversight.” From the article: “Ariel Gold, a major boycott, divestment and sanctions activist was able to trick authorities and enter Israel last week despite measures to prevent the entry of anti-Israel activists, Israel Hayom learned Thursday…As it turns out, a week prior to arriving in Israel, Gold deleted her anti-Israel Facebook posts, going as far back as 2012.” The two even went so far as to quote an anti-BDS activist, who called Gold’s entry “a disaster.” According to Israel Hayom, a Public Security Ministry official said the ministry was reviewing the situation, and that Gold would not be allowed to enter Israel in the future. The recent steps taken by the Israeli government against Jewish activists — both Zionist and less Zionist — such as Jennifer Gorovitz, the vice president for finance, operations, and administration of the New Israel Fund, who was held for interrogation at Ben Gurion Airport earlier this year, signal a possible change in Israel’s Law of Return. If until now every Jew was freely able to enter or immigrate to the Jewish state, it appears that the government is changing direction and allowing only those Jews who hold a specific set of views to enter. Those who aren’t Jews, as always, are left out.
Israel Hayom did not bother speaking to Gold or asking her for a response. Moreover, she has yet to be contacted by any government or police official. We spoke to Gold, a prominent activist in the left-wing feminist organization, CODEPINK, to ask her a few questions about the controversy:….
BDS movement turns 12, marks anniversary with list of 12 wins in 2017
IMEMC/Agencies 10 July — July 9, 2017 marks 12 years since the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was born. It’s been 12 years since an impressively large and diverse coalition across Palestinian civil society surmounted incredible odds to unify around three basic Palestinian rights and a nonviolent, inclusive, anti-racist path of struggle to achieve them. Despite the fragmentation, military occupation, segregation and dispossession, we came together to assert our people’s right to freedom, justice, equality and dignity. The 2005 BDS Call embodies overwhelming Palestinian support for demanding an end to Israel’s military occupation and the dismantling of its illegal wall, an end to its institutionalized and legalized system of racial discrimination which meets the UN definition of apartheid, and the right of refugees to return to their homeland as stipulated in international law. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights Movement, entities representing Palestinians everywhere called on people of conscience worldwide to adopt pressure tactics in support of our struggle for rights. BDS calls for boycott and divestment initiatives in the academic, cultural, economic and sports fields and for pressuring states to implement meaningful sanctions against Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law. BDS: “You have not let us down.” As BDS turns 12 this week, here are 12 indicators of the movement’s growing impact from 2017 which mark the occasion:…
In Israel, a new tide of labor activism is fighting inequality
The Nation 7 July by Miriam Berger — But it’s up against the country’s powerful right-wing politics and institutional racism against Palestinians — Musa Alabid, 41, is getting organized. Alabid is a Bedouin from Rahat, in southern Israel, one of some 200,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel. He works at SodaStream, the Israeli carbonated-drink company popularized by Scarlett Johansson–studded commercials. A few years back, a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign targeted SodaStream’s plant in a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, resulting in a wave of bad publicity for the company and putting Johansson under immense public pressure. SodaStream relocated from the Mishur Adumim industrial zone near the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement in the West Bank to a factory in Lehavim near Rahat, though the owner maintains the move was not because of the BDS campaign but because it had outgrown the facility.
But last year, frustrated SodaStream employees — Alabid among them — started to push for better pay and working conditions. So they turned to the Histadrut, Israel’s largest and state-aligned trade federation, which was founded by Labor Zionists in 1920. After continuing negotiations, in June the Histadrut filed a lawsuit against SodaStream’s management for allegedly trying to disrupt unionizing. The union was, all things considered, a surprising choice. Israel’s nationalist trade federation initially excluded Arab workers like Alabid. The Histadrut was a crucial part of the early Zionist movement, and it became a backbone of the Jewish state. At its peak, it represented over 80 percent of Israeli workers and had a hand in all parts of economic and social life, from transportation to publishing to health insurance. Then came the age of neoliberal politics in the 1980s and ’90s, with waves of privatization that gutted Israel’s welfare state and labor movement. Today less than 30 percent of Israeli workers are union members. And as the private sector grew, so did wage and economic divides: Israel has among the highest rates of poverty and inequality among the 35 countries of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD)….
Hundreds march against occupation on major West Bank highway
+972 mag 7 July by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis marched along a major highway used by settlers in the West Bank on Friday demanding an end to the occupation and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. For two years now, Combatants for Peace and other organizations have held the near-monthly marches on Route 60, the southern West Bank’s main north-south artery that connects Jerusalem, Beit Jala, the Gush Etzion settlements, and Hebron. Participants marched along the side of the highway, chanting against the occupation and violence and playing drums. At the end of the march, several speakers addressed the crowd. “We stand here together, Israelis and Palestinians, who want to build peace together, standing together against the occupation, and opposing the racist discourse of separation,” Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh, head of the Knesset’s third-largest party, said in a speech at the march. “The idea of seeking a Jewish majority is racist and harms our joint struggle. We support the establishment of a Palestinian state for the benefit of the Palestinian people and their right to live with independence and dignity, and because it will be good for both peoples.”….
Israeli and Palestinian rescue teams hold joint exercise in West Bank
JNS.org 7 July — Israeli and Palestinian rescue and security teams participated Wednesday in a joint drill simulating an emergency rescue exercise following a car crash. The exercise, an initiative of the Israeli Civil Administration, came a week after a severe accident on Highway 60 that claimed the lives of seven people, including a mother and five of her children. Highway 60 stretches through the West Bank and is shared by Israeli and Palestinian drivers. Israeli and Palestinian rescue teams worked together at the scene of last week’s accident. During Wednesday’s drill, Israeli and Palestinian teams practiced sawing through overturned vehicles and pulling crash dummies trapped inside the vehicles to safety. “You have to remember that in Judea and Samaria there are a lot of routes where both Israelis and Palestinians drive, and that you have to [assist] injured parties regardless of their origin,” said Lt. Gen. Samir Khayuf, head of Jenin’s Civil Administration Coordination Headquarters, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “It’s true that the political situation [between Israel and the Palestinians] carries an important role, but at the end of the day we receive orders from our leadership and carry them out,” said Khaled Cadura, head of the Jenin Communication Unit. The exercise concluded with a meal, after which the Israeli and Palestinian teams applauded the joint effort and expressed their desire to conduct similar exercises in the future.
Palestinians rescue Israeli settler family after traffic accident
IMEMC 10 July by Celine Hagbard — [In?] Hebron, an area of the West Bank known for being home to the most violent groups of Israeli settler militias, a group of Palestinian teens and young men rushed to the aid of a colonial settler family when their car crashed in a Palestinian area. A video of the incident shows the car flipped up on its side, and the young men rescuing the wounded children from inside the vehicle. They then provided basic medical care, and called for a Palestinian ambulance to come and assist the family. This is not the first time that Palestinians have assisted Israeli settlers who have had car accidents while speeding through Palestinian land on their way to armed enclaves constructed on stolen Palestinian land. Despite the fact that Israeli settlers are attempting to drive Palestinians from their land by creating ‘de facto’ colonies on what had been Palestinian land in an attempt to expand the border of the state of Israel, Palestinians who have seen settlers in distress have come to their assistance in virtually every case.
PA reportedly halts paying salaries of Hamas-affiliated MPs
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Several Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmakers said on Sunday that the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) had failed to paid the salaries of 37 Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members living in the occupied West Bank. PLC member Ayman Daraghma from the northern West Bank district of Tubas told Ma‘an on Sunday evening that he and 36 other Hamas MPs had not been paid their June salary. Daraghma added that when he contacted the PA Ministry of Finance regarding the issue, “a ministry official told me unofficially that the PA had decided to stop paying (Hamas MPs’) salaries,” without providing further explanation. Daraghma added that, with the exception of Ibrahim Dahbour, all Hamas-affiliated lawmakers imprisoned by Israel had received their salaries. He went on to say that the affected MPs had sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for an explanation, adding that they were ready to take their case to human rights groups….
Cybercrime law draws mixed reactions among Palestinians
Al-Monitor 6 July by Ahmad Abu Amer — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently approved a law to battle cybercrime in the West Bank, but some journalists and citizens worry ulterior motives might be involved. The version of the bill Abbas signed June 24 isn’t the one journalists and the public were expecting, said Nabhan Khreisheh, a member of the Union of Palestinian Journalists’ General Secretariat. He told Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper June 27 that the law is a “retrograde step” designed to intimidate Palestinians and keep them from criticizing the political system. The law undermines freedom of expression online, he said, contending that it was passed in part so authorities could block more than 11 websites affiliated with Hamas and parliament member Mohammed Dahlan, an Abbas rival. The new law regulates online transactions, media websites and social networking sites, imposing fines on those violating public order or inciting hatred on these websites. It states, “Anyone who has established a website, disseminated information on the internet or any information technology tool, promoting ideas and programs violating the public order and morals, [will] be sentenced to prison for a period of no less than five years.” Police, however, see the new law as a helpful tool, as previous laws didn’t specifically address cybercrime….
Newspapers review: Abbas’ meeting with Egypt’s Sisi focus of dailies
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 July – President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo hit the front page headlines in local Palestinian dailies on Monday. Al-Quds reported Abbas and Sisi stressing Israeli settlement construction was a major obstacle to achieving regional security and stability. Al-Ayyam quoted “well-informed” Palestinian sources expressing their profound satisfaction with the outcome of Abbas-Sisi summit. Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Abbas stating Palestine stands with Egypt in its fight to eradicate terrorism and its funders. Sisi was reported in al-Ayyam stressing the priority attached to the Palestinian question and in al-Hayat al-Jadida stating solving the Palestinian question was a fundamental pillar to restoring regional security and stability. Abbas was also reported in al-Ayyam threatening Hamas leaders with financial penalties if they remain adamant on entrenching the intra-Palestinian division … In addition, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israeli ministers expressed their opposition to striking a prisoners’ exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.
Egyptian, Palestinian leaders meet amid likely Gaza shakeup
CAIRO (AP) 9 July by Hamza Hendawi & Mohammed Daraghmeh — Egyptian and Palestinian leaders met in Cairo on Sunday amid signs of a rapprochement between Cairo and the Islamic militant Hamas group that could shake up Gaza’s political landscape and sideline the Palestinian president. Officials close to Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leader met with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to seek clarifications on what appears to be an emerging power-sharing agreement between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and an exiled Abbas rival, former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan. Under the deal — parts of which have been confirmed by other parties involved — Hamas would retain control over Gaza’s security, while Dahlan would eventually return to Gaza and handle its foreign relations. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Neither leader made any comments to the media after their meeting in Cairo.
Analysis: Abbas’ shortsighted Gaza policy
Ma‘an 7 July by Al-Shabaka — Al-Shabaka is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.This policy memo was authored by Tareq Baconi, Al-Shabaka’s US-based Policy Fellow — Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to increase Hamas’s isolation — by cutting salaries and then electricity to the Gaza Strip — mirror regional dynamics in the age of Trump. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have all mobilized to isolate Qatar, a major investor in the Gaza Strip and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza. Gaza’s electricity crisis was averted, in an ironic twist, by Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi’s willingness to provide fuel to Gaza’s power plant as a stopgap measure despite Abbas’s protests. The decision was mediated by Muhammad Dahlan, historically Hamas’s nemesis, not least because of his attempt to remove Hamas from power in the wake of its democratic election.
Abbas’s misguided strategy — Abbas remains committed to the premise of the Gaza blockade, in place since 2007: that increasing Hamas’s isolation and the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza will destabilize Hamas’s rule and cause Palestinians to rise up against the movement — even if this precipitates a “total collapse,” as human rights organizations described the reduction of electricity. This rationale assumes that the PA would be able to resume administration of the Gaza Strip once Hamas’s rule is weakened. This is unlikely for two reasons: * Israel benefits from the geographic and political separation in the Palestinian territories and has undermined previous attempts at unity, including through military intervention. The 2014 Shati Agreement between Hamas and Fatah was one of the drivers for Israel’s military assault of the Gaza Strip that year. * The PA’s return to Gaza would have to entail a resumption of security coordination with Israel. For that to happen, Hamas would have to disarm. That is unlikely even with increased isolation, as it would cause an existential battle for Hamas, one that could pave the way for another round of armed civil discord….
PA detains Palestinian journalist for filming prime minister’s convoy at Israeli checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — The Palestinian Authority (PA) detained Palestinian journalist Jihad Barakat on Thursday in Tulkarem city in the northern occupied West Bank after he took photos and filmed Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s car convoy passing an Israeli-controlled checkpoint. Palestinian journalists and activists launched a campaign on social media #وين_جهاد (Where is Jihad), condemning the detention on social media and demanding Barakat’s immediate release, after the Palestinian journalist was detained near the Israeli-controlled Anab checkpoint east of Tulkarem, according to Palestinian news outlet Al-Quds. According to activists, Barakat was reportedly taking a video of Israeli forces searching Palestinian members of Hamdallah’s convoy before he was detained. Al-Quds reported that the PA had extended Barakat’s detention for an additional week until Sunday. Palestinians voicing their frustrations over social media said that this was the latest move by the PA characterized by “excessive” aggression against Palestinian journalists, and that activists and journalists experience “threats on a daily basis” for carrying out their work in the occupied West Bank.
PA spokesperson Tariq Rishmawi reportedly said that the PA had detained two Palestinian “youths” for “violating the laws on filming,” and said that no Israeli forces were deployed at the checkpoint while Barakat was filming, denying allegations that Barakat had been detained for filming PA members being searched by Israeli soldiers, most of whom are between the ages of 18-21 … However, Palestinians quickly took to social media to denounce Barakat’s detention. One critic expressed his suspicions over what Barakat was technically detained for on Facebook. “Is it because he embarrassed Hamdallah while he was being searched?… “What is wrong with filming a video and publishing it on Facebook of the Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah being searched at an occupation checkpoint? Do you think we might realize that our authority (PA) lacks sovereignty?” another said….
Palestinian journalists protest outside prime minister’s office in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July– Dozens of Palestinian journalists organized a protest outside of the Palestinian prime minister’s office in Ramallah on Saturday, urging both the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank and Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip to immediately release all imprisoned journalists. The protest came after PA forces arrested Jihad Barakat on Thursday, a journalist who works for the Beirut-based TV channel Palestine Today … Director of Palestine Today Farouq Ulayyan said during the protest that Jihad Barakat “did not break the law in any way whatsoever,” and criticized the PA’s statement on the detention that said two Palestinian “youths” were arrested for “violating laws on filming,” and did not mention that one of the detainees was a well-known journalist. The Palestinian government, Ulayyan added, is familiar with Barakat and his work and “invite him to cover governmental activities almost every day.” Member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate Faris Sarafandi stressed the vital role Palestinian journalists play in conveying the Palestinian narrative to the world, and sarcastically suggested that “Palestinian security services both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip should notify journalists that working in media is forbidden if they want to bury these stories. Then all journalists can just stay at home.”….
Palestinian journalist released after being detained by PA intelligence for 3 days
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July– The Palestinian Authority (PA) released journalist Jihad Barakat from custody on Sunday, three days after he was detained for filming the Palestinian prime minister’s motorcade passing through an Israeli military checkpoint, which sparked outrage among Palestinians and rights groups. Barakat, a correspondent for TV channel Palestine Today, was released by the PA’s internal intelligence agency, the Preventive Security Service (PSS), in front of the PSS headquarters in Ramallah …
According to [Palestinian prisoners’ rights group] Addameer, Barakat was interrogated six times since the moment of his arrest, three times in Tulkarem and three in Ramallah, and was under great pressure to give the PA access to his telephone and computer. Al-Quds News reported that hours prior to his release, Barakat refused to leave without his phone and laptop. The Ramallah district attorney decided to release Barakat on bail after the journalist gave a “final testimony” on Sunday, according to initial reports. Barakat was ordered to appear in court on Monday for the case’s final proceedings….
Other news and opinion
New power plant operates in Jenin starting Monday, says governor
JENIN (WAFA) 9 July – Governor of Jenin Ibrahim Ramadan Sunday announced that the newly established power plant in the village of al-Jalameh will be operated for the first time on Monday. The inauguration of the power plant, which is going to be attended by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, will take place after the signing of the interim agreement to buy power for the plant from the Israeli representative of the regional electric company. Ramadan said this plant is the first high-pressure plant ever used in Jenin. “It is part of the project to build four plants in the center, north and south of the occupied West Bank, which were built in the cities of Jenin, Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus. It is also part of a comprehensive project to boost the energy sector in Palestine and ensure that it meets consumers’ growing needs.” With the operation of this plant, the Palestinian National Electricity Company will be able to import electricity of high pressure from its producers and sell it in accordance with the average pressure of the distributors. Ramadan hoped that operating this plant will put an end of years of power blackouts and a beginning to economic activity and development in all sectors. For years, several cities in the West Bank have been affected by power blackouts due to the excessive power load in the summer months. Power blackouts are more critical in the northern cities than any other part in the West Bank.
First in Palestine — Electricity generated from sewage
NABLUS (WAFA) 6 July by Bassam Abu al-Rub – To the west of Nablus, a sewage treatment plant was built. The land around it is planted with trees and other crops. Sewage and waste water coming from the western sections of Nablus, as well as from five villages, are collected at this station, which treats around 10 cubic meters of waste water a day and which is used to irrigate trees and land. However, what makes this station unique is the fact that it is also used to generate electricity from the methane gas emitted from the sewage treatment. The station, built with 90 per cent financing from the German government and the rest from the municipality of Nablus at a cost of 40 million euros, can also produce, in addition to treated water, seven megawatts of electricity a day to run it. This means the municipality will also be able to save 1000 euros a day in electricity it would have bought from Israel to run the plant … With the success of this project, the Nablus municipality plans to build another treatment plant on the other side of the city that will also be able to generate enough electricity and water to serve the city’s residents.
FIFA to discuss Palestine’s objections against Israeli settlement teams
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 July – A proposal has been made by FIFA Congress to hold a meeting this month to discuss Palestine’s objection to presence of football teams from the illegal Jewish settlements in the Israeli Football Association (IFA), according to Jibril Rjoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA). He told a meeting for the PFA Council held on Wednesday at its headquarters in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, that following the dismal position by FIFA in its last meeting in Bahrain regarding Palestine’s legitimate objections against the IFA, a proposal was made to discuss these objection in a meeting scheduled for July 25 in Zurich, the FIFA headquarters. Rjoub described what happened during the FIFA meeting in Bahrain as “a breach and a violation of FIFA laws,” indicating that the PFA went to the “cup” court to bind the International Federation to enforce the laws.
Netanyahu cuts $1 million more from UN budget after UNESCO Hebron vote
Times of Israel 7 July — Israel will now pay just $1.7m to UN out of required $11.7m following 4 cuts since Dec.; some funds to go instead to build a museum on Jewish heritage in Hebron — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that Israel would further reduce the amount it gives annually to the United Nations in membership fees by another $1 million following a decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to list the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank as an endangered Palestinian world heritage site. That decision was preceded by a UNESCO resolution Tuesday denying Israeli claims to the Old City of Jerusalem. In a statement Friday after UNESCO passed its Hebron motion, Netanyahu said the funds would instead go toward “the establishment of a ‘Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron’” and to other projects related to Jewish heritage in Hebron. “In the face of UNESCO’s denial, the prime minister is determined to present to the whole world the historical truth and the thousands of years of deep Jewish roots in Hebron,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Friday. The cut brings Israel’s slashing of funds to the UN to $10 million since December of last year. The announcement Friday marks the fourth time in eight months that Israel has reacted to UN resolutions it deems biased against it by announcing the slashing of its payments to the body. Israel will now pay just $1.7 million into the UN budget … Israel reacted furiously to Friday’s Hebron resolution as well as to Tuesday’s decision on Jerusalem. Netanyahu said the motion to declare the Old City of Hebron, home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, revered as the biblical burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, was “delusional,” and vowed to protect the site.
Netanyahu offers friendship to those ignoring Palestinians
Al-Monitor 6 July by Akiva Eldar — The visits this week to Israel of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame reflect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inclination to reinforce ties with countries that ignore Palestinian suffering — Upon his arrival in Israel on July 4, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded an honor generally reserved for American presidents; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed him in person the moment he set foot on Israeli soil and did not leave Modi’s side until he boarded his plane — and for a good reason. Unlike US President Donald Trump and most leaders visiting Jerusalem, Modi did not take the opportunity to hop over to the neighboring city of Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, in the West Bank. It is unusual, to say the least, for such VIPs visiting Israel to identify so fully with Netanyahu’s disregard for the Palestinian neighbors living for half a century under Israeli domination. Israel need not worry that the Indian Foreign Ministry will condemn the Netanyahu government’s harassment of human rights organizations, as the German Foreign Ministry did last month….
Opinion — The Arabic language in Israel: Official but inferior / Yonatan Mendel
Haaretz 10 July — The Knesset is telling the Arab community that their language’s standing is in jeopardy, so they should be careful not to make any unexpected moves — The nation-state bill will apparently be brought to a vote during the current Knesset session. Granted, our country is called Israel, its flag is blue and white, its emblem is a seven-branched menorah, the Law of Return exists for Jews only and the Arab parties have never been members of any governing coalition, but even so, cabinet ministers and Knesset members from the coalition – and perhaps also enough populist MKs from the opposition – deem it urgent to pass a law which states that Israel belongs primarily to the Jews. The nation-state bill has many meanings, which are naturally related to a series of laws that seek to sharpen Israel’s identity as more Jewish and less democratic. But my goal here is not to analyze the bill, which will apparently pass, but rather one specific provision that will apparently be removed from it: the one dealing with the Arabic language. The original bill had a provision stating that Israel would have only one official language, Hebrew, and that Arabic would lose its status as an official language and instead become a language “with a special status.” This provision is in an ongoing dialogue with previous attempts to weaken Arabic’s status in Israel. Arabic is a language that has official status on paper, but in practice is greatly inferior to Hebrew and even to English, which isn’t an official language … Tomorrow the Knesset will hold an Arabic Language Day – a welcome initiative by MK Dr. Yousef Jabareen of the Arab parties’ Joint List – for the second year in a row. The MK who came up with the idea of a day to discuss promoting the Arabic language also heads a lobby for promoting coexistence between Jews and Arabs is no surprise. Jabareen understands that the threat to Arabic’s official status has a direct impact on the possibility of promoting coexistence between Jews and Arabs. For this reason, and to avoid a chronic situation in which Arabic will have to be “grateful” every year anew to Knesset members who graciously allow it to retain its official status, Jabareen, his party colleagues and those who share his idea, along with civil society, must fight for Arabic not only to remain alive, but also to have a full life – in schools, the media and public service. This is the only way it can remove the threat of revocation hanging over its head. And it’s also a chance to advance the coexistence of Hebrew and Arabic, and of Jews and Arabs….
Maccabi Tel Aviv signs first Arab Israeli player, but butchers [his] welcome
Times of Israel 9 July — The Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club signed its first Arab-Israeli player on Sunday, but butchered an announcement welcoming him to the team. The 2014 EuroLeague champions took on the Bnei Herzliya standout Karam Mashour with a two-year contract. The 25-year-old forward from Nazareth led the Israeli League in rebounding last season. In a picture that Maccabi posted to its social media accounts Sunday morning, the team attempted to write “Welcome to Maccabi” in Arabic along with the phrase in Hebrew and a picture of Mashour. However, the template had the Arabic letters spelled from left-to-right instead of right-to-left, producing an incoherent sequence. The team’s spokesperson Nitzan Feraro told The Times of Israel that the mistake was noticed “within minutes and corrected accordingly.” He apologized for the error, but said any attempts to make a bigger story out of the the issue were “blowing the situation out of proportion.” Prior to joining Herzliya in 2015, Mashour played college basketball in the US for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and later at Morehead State….
Egyptian singer files lawsuit against Israeli police
IMEMC/Agencies 9 July — Egyptian singer Hani Shaker has filed a complaint to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor, against the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, after Israel Police used his picture and a clip of one of his songs in its campaign to recruit Israeli-Arab residents. Speaking to Quds Press, Shaker said that he was “surprised” by the campaign, adding that he immediately asked his lawyer in order to file a complaint against the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. He reiterated his opposition to the use of his art in the recruitment campaign by the Israeli police. He said, according to the PNN: “This is theft of Arab art, and an Israeli assault on it,” he said. “It is a despicable attempt to falsify the Arab consciousness.” The 55-year-old singer added, “This damages the reputation of Egyptian artists who support the Palestinians and their rights, including the rejection of all forms of normalisation with Israel and which call for return rights to their owners.” Israeli police recently launched a campaign to encourage Arab-Israelis to join the force. Shaker’s music was included in the advert. His lawyer told Quds Press that he has started the procedure of filing a complaint against Israel, stressing that Shaker opposes normalizing ties with Israel. The lawyer accused the Israeli police of trying to reach the hearts of the Arab residents in Israel through their love for Shaker.
US envoy returns to region for more talks on Palestinian-Israeli peace
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 10 July – US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt arrived in the region on Monday to continue efforts to revive the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. A White House statement said on Sunday that while the primary purpose of the US envoy’s trip is to meet with US Ambassador David Friedman “now that the Ambassador is on the ground and fully installed in his position … Greenblatt will also likely be taking meetings relevant to both the Israelis and the Palestinians.” The statement described the trip as “an interim visit as talks continue about potential next steps.”
The Israeli media has kept us in the dark for 50 years / Yizhar Be’er
+972 blog 5 July — Since 1967, the Israeli media has hid the ugly, everyday reality in the occupied territories. But even if they really knew, would Israelis still choose to end 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians? — According to the democratic-liberal-utopian model, let us assume for a moment that every citizens has access to all the information about the reality that surrounds us. In this world, Israelis would know everything about what is being done in their names in the territories occupied in 1967. And what would happen then? Over the past few months I have been producing a radiophonic project on the first years in the Gaza Strip after 1967, as part of a series of podcasts I host on Israeli myths … Champagne in exchange for dead terrorists There should be no doubt: Israelis should have known what kind of trouble “holding on to the territories” would bring in the first two to three years after the 1967 War. If only journalists and the local media would have delivered the proper information. As I gathered more information for my project, I discovered terrible things — some of them yet unknown — that the IDF did in Gaza under the Ariel Sharon, who headed the Southern Command at the time. In an interview with former Major General Yitzhak Pudak, who served as the military governor of Gaza and northern Sinai at the time, he told me about a bound prisoner who was taken from his cell in Gaza so he could point out the exact spot where he had hid weapons in an orchard. After revealing the hiding spot to his interrogators, they shot and killed him. When I asked the two governors whether this was an isolated incident, they said no. There were many such cases, they responded. In one of the intelligence reports submitted to Pundak in his capacity as military government, he read: “Our unit chased a wanted terrorist in Al-Shati refugee camp. He ran into one of the buildings. The unit captured him, disarmed him, and killed him inside the home.” Pundak described how he heard Sharon promised those under his command a bottle of champagne for every dead terrorist. Those who take a terrorist hostage only get a soft drink. Pundak, who often prevented Sharon from doing whatever he wanted, was nicknamed “the terrorist” by the latter. In addition to extrajudicial killings, the IDF demolished thousands of homes without any reason, expelled entire populations, and collectively punished civilians. Or put otherwise: it committed war crimes that were covered up and kept secret by the defense establishment and military censor. The first silence breakers came from the Nahal Brigade, who saw others abuse men, women, and children with whips and batons, who saw soldiers loot money and property and sow destruction in Palestinians’ homes. Four Nahal soldiers, astounded from what they saw, wrote to Prime Minister Golda Meir, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, and Haim Bar-Lev, the IDF’s chief of general staff….