Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Opinion: Israelis killing Israelis / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 16 July — Five armed Israelis were killed Friday at the entrance to the Temple Mount after a brief gun battle. Three Israelis from Umm al-Fahm killed two police officers from the towns of Maghar and Hurfeish in the north. Then the assailants were killed, in a fight over control and presence at this holy and occupied place. The assailants’ motives were religious, nationalist or a combination, but either way, they used violent resistance against the presence of police at the entrance to what they consider a holy site. Just the ethnic affiliation of the five would be enough to shuffle the deck: This wasn’t a terror attack like the ones we’re used to. The assailants weren’t Palestinians from the territories, their victims weren’t Jewish Israelis, and the operation wasn’t a terror attack; terror is directed against civilians. This wasn’t the beginning of a civil war, but it was a reminder that even in Israel there are people who will join in the armed struggle against the occupation. It’s a reminder that should worry every Israeli.
Israel’s response was knee-jerk, as it always is after an attack where Israelis are killed. It tried to show that what happens after a Druze in uniform is killed is the same as what happens after a Jew in uniform is killed – collective punishment and a harsh response. The Temple Mount was closed for two days because something had to be done, and the mourning tents in Umm al-Fahm were demolished – perhaps as an alternative to demolishing the assailants’ homes – an infuriating infringement on the right to mourn. Would anyone even think to prevent Jews from sitting shivah no matter who they were?
Politicians also vied to see who could condemn the attack in harsher terms, as if that mattered … And above all, once again, no one is asking why it happened and why it will still happen many more times. The killing of two policemen is a serious incident; the fact that Israelis killed them makes it worse. But even incidents like these have a motive, a reason and deep roots. Discussing them is considered treason and a justification of terror. Israel doesn’t even ask itself whether it’s worth it to pay the price of this bloodshed for control of Al-Aqsa or the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the refugee camp at Balata or Jenin. It prevents these questions from coming up because it knows full well the answers and it flees them as from fire….
Israeli forces kill Palestinian, pursued for allegedly committing drive-by shootings
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli forces shot and killed a 34-year-old Palestinian man during a predawn raid in the village of Nabi Salih west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday, when another Palestinian, described as a “youth” by Israeli police, was also injured and detained. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri claimed in a statement that the slain Palestinian, identified as Amr Ahmad Khalil from Nabi Salih, was responsible for two shooting incidents that took place in the area the previous day, and that “following reports that the Palestinian was responsible for the shooting attacks,” Israeli forces launched a campaign to detain him and headed to Nabi Salih. During the raid, Khalil allegedly pointed his weapon at Israeli border police forces, “leading them to shoot and kill him.” No Israeli forces were injured in the incident. She added that another Palestinian youth from the area was detained for interrogation. Israeli news outlet Haaretz reports that the detainee was lightly wounded and treated at the scene.
Al-Samri claimed that the Khalil had opened fire at an Israeli-plated vehicle north of Ramallah near the illegal Israeli Ateret settlement Saturday afternoon, which resulted in the light injury of the driver, who was Palestinian. Khalil was also allegedly responsible for another shooting later in the day at an Israeli military site in Nabi Salih that caused no casualties. The victim of Saturday’s first shooting incident Nasser Nael gave a video recorded testimony to the Israeli army saying that he came under fire from a man driving a car towards him, and said that he also saw a woman in the passenger’s seat beside the gunman. The Israeli prime minister’s office said on Twitter on Sunday that Khalil committed the shootings with his fiancée because “their families didn’t approve of their engagement.” Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesperson, also said that Khalil was a former member of the Palestinian Authority’s security services.
Khalil was the 44th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis this year. Ten Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.He was also the eighth Palestinian to be shot dead by Israeli forces within the span of one week.
Hundreds gather for funeral of 18-year-old Palestinian killed during Israeli army raid
[Video; photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Hundreds of Palestinians gathered on Friday in the Bethlehem area in the southern occupied West Bank to mourn 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda, who was killed earlier in the day during an Israeli army raid in the al-Duheisha refugee camp. Crowds carried Hamamda’s body from the Beit Jala governmental hospital, after it was determined that Hamamda had been shot in the upper chest, to al-Duheisha, where his family bid their final farewells. Following noon prayers, a funeral procession took place from the al-Duheisha mosque to the Shuhada cemetery in the neighboring village of Artas, where Hamamda was buried. Participants chanted slogans demanding revenge for the 18-year-old’s death, while the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) offered its condolences. The teenager succumbed in the hospital to wounds sustained in his upper body when Israeli forces raided the refugee camp on Friday morning seeking to detain two residents and fired live bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at al-Duheisha residents out protesting the raid. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that during a detention raid in al-Duheisha, Palestinians threw “explosive devices and blocks” at Israeli forces, who then fired towards the youth. They said that the army was “examining” reports that a Palestinian had been killed. Locals told Ma‘an that Hamamda had been preparing to enter his last year in high school in the fall….
3 Palestinian citizens of Israel, 2 police officers killed in Jerusalem shooting
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Three Palestinian citizens of Israel and two police officers — also Palestinian citizens of Israel — were killed during an armed confrontation in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem early on Friday morning. According to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, three Palestinians carried out a shooting attack at the Lions’ Gate entrance to the Old City at around 7:00 a.m. on Friday, critically injuring two Israeli police officers, who were taken to hospitals for treatment, and lightly injuring another. Israeli forces then heavily opened fire towards the Palestinians as they headed inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, injuring the three, who were left on the ground bleeding while medics were reportedly prevented from approaching them, witnesses told Ma‘an. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the Palestinians entered Lions’ Gate on a motorcycle and shot at the police officers at point-blank range, before heading inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Gate of Remission — known in Arabic as Bab al-Huttah — where Israeli forces shot them at close range. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri later identified the shooters as Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19; and Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19 — all Palestinian citizens of Israel from the Palestinian-majority town of Umm al-Fahm. Al-Samri added that none of the three men had previously had a “security” record.
Rosenfeld reported early on Friday afternoon that the two critically injured officers had succumbed to their wounds while in the hospital, identifying them as Hail Stawi, 30, and Kamil Shakib Shinan, 22 — two Druze citizens of Israel from the villages of Maghar and Horfish respectively. Unlike Muslim and Christian Palestinian citizens of Israel, Druze and Circassians with Israeli citizenship are subject to mandatory military service in the Israeli forces, one of a number of distinctions made by the Israeli government between indigenous residents of Israel that have been denounced as “divide and conquer” tactics. A video published by several Israeli news outlets seemingly showed one of the Palestinians lying on the ground in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, then jumping to his feet as Israeli officers approached him, only to then be shot at close range and fall to the ground. Al-Samri said that the Palestinians were carrying two Carlo submachine guns, a handgun, and a knife….
Stun grenade thrown into Maghar mosque
Ynet 15 July — Unknown assailants threw a stun grenade at a mosque in the Muslim neighborhood in the Arab town of Maghar, located in Israel’s Northern District, east of Carmiel. The incident was likely a reaction to a status published by a young woman in the village, expressing support of Friday’s Jerusalem terror attack at Temple Mount. There were no injuries or property damage in the grenade incident, and the status was deleted following it. Staff Sgt. Maj. Ha’il Satawi, a resident of Maghar, was one of two soldiers murdered in the attack, along with Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shnaan.
Israeli police release the Mufti of Jerusalem; Aqsa remains closed
IMEMC 15 July — The Israeli police released, Friday, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, who was abducted earlier following the fatal shooting in Jerusalem that led to the death of three Palestinians and two Israeli officers. The Police also abducted 58 employees of the Waqf and Endowment Department. The Mufti was attacked and taken prisoner by the soldiers and officers after he led Friday prayers in front of the Aqsa Mosque gates, after Israel decided to shut it down following the shooting. He was released after being ordered to pay a 10.000 Israeli Shekels bail, after several hours of detention and interrogation. The Waqf Department said that the soldiers also assaulted and abducted 58 of its employees following the shooting which took place in the courtyards of the Mosque. The police interrogated the employees for several hours, and released 53 of them, while three employees, identified as Ayman al-Khailidi, Majed Tamimi and Tariq Sandouqa, were remanded for further interrogation until this coming Monday. On Friday evening, the Israeli police detained Ahmad Jabarin, the father of Mohammad, after the police and soldiers stormed and ransacked the homes of the thee slain Palestinians. In addition, undercover Israeli officers caused excessive damage to doors and bathrooms in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and assaulted many worships before forcing them away from the holy site … The closure this Friday prevented prayers in the mosque for the first time in fifty years.
Analysis: Temple Mount attack raises tensions between Israel’s Muslim, Druze communities / Jack Khoury
Haaretz 16 July — Killing of two Druze police officers by three Muslim gunmen at Al-Aqsa complex could set the two Arab groups on a collision course — The horrible bloodshed at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday morning joins a series of attacks the city of Jerusalem has seen over the past two years. What’s different about Friday’s attack was that it was perpetrated by three young Israeli Arabs – residents of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel and members of one of the city’s largest and best-known clans. Friday’s attack became even more complex when it emerged that the two Border Policemen killed were members of Israel’s Druze community, residents of the villages of Maghar and Hurfeish in the Galilee. The fact that the attackers were three young Israeli Muslims who killed two young Israeli Druze has raised concerns about the impact on the ties between the two communities, particularly in areas with mixed Muslim-Druze populations. Anyone who has monitored the situation over the years can see that the conflict between the two communities has exacted a heavy price on both sides. The main variable that has entered the picture in recent years has been social media: Those who follow what has been written on these sites have to be concerned over a possible clash between the two groups. Since Friday’s attack, some in the Druze community have condemned the attackers and their backgrounds. Simultaneously, some in the Arab community have expressed understanding toward the attack due to the fact the two policemen were serving “the occupation forces.” Mutual accusations were not long in coming.…
Islamic Jihad holds sit-in in Gaza to support deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem
GAZA (Ma‘an) 14 July — The Islamic Jihad movement organized a sit-in on Friday at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the besieged Gaza Strip in order to protest Israel’s closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and to express their support for a deadly shooting carried out earlier in the day that left two Israeli police officers and the three Palestinian assailants dead.
Islamic Jihad leader Khalid al-Batish said during the sit-in that Al-Aqsa Mosque “isn’t for sale or for trade,” and that while “the nation has been deterred from the path of the Prophet, the knights of Umm al-Fahm, Gaza and Bethlehem will give their souls for this path,” referencing the three Palestinian citizens of Israel from the town of Umm al-Fahm who were shot dead by Israeli forces after carrying out the attack. The “Jerusalem battle” was heroic, al-Batish said, and has sent a message that Jerusalem could not be a “site of normalization” with other Arabs who have conflated Palestinian resistance with “terrorism” and have worked to “build relations with the occupation.” Al-Batish’s remark likely referred to the fact that the two slain Israeli policemen were both members of the Palestinian Druze community, who, unlike Muslim and Christian Palestinian citizens of Israel, are subject to mandatory military service in the Israeli forces, one of a number of distinctions made by the Israeli government between indigenous residents of Israel that have been denounced as “divide and conquer” tactics.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians, raid home of slain teenager in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli forces detained at least three Palestinians and raided the home of a slain Palestinian teenager during predawn raids in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, when a Palestinian man was also shot dead after being pursued by Israeli border police. Local sources said that Israeli forces detained 24-year-old Muhammad Khalil Farhat after raiding and searching his house in Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed one detention in Hebron city. The spokesperson also said one Palestinian was detained during a military raid in the town of Dura west of Hebron. Local sources said that Israeli forces also installed military checkpoints at entrance to the village of al-Samu‘ in the southern Hebron district and conducted security checks on all Palestinian residents passing in either direction.
In the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, Israeli forces also raided the house of slain Palestinian Omar Arafat Issa Zaaqiq,19, who was killed by Israeli forces in 2015 after he injured six Israeli soldiers in a car-ramming attacks. Local activist Muhammad Ayyad said that a large group of Israeli soldiers raided Zaaqiq’s house, searched it and demanded Zaaqiq’s father hand over all of the money in the house — a common practice during Israeli raids on Palestinian homes — under the allegation that the money had been given to him by Palestinian political factions. Ayyad said that Israeli soldiers confiscated Zaaqiq’s vehicle, which he noted was worth 70,000 thousand shekels ($19,686). Ayyad added that clashes erupted in the village during the raid, with Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters at Palestinians who threw rocks.
Meanwhile in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, Israeli forces raided al-Duheisha refugee camp, where a Palestinian teen (Baraa Hamamda)was killed during a similar raid on Friday. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided a number of houses in the camp and the nearby town al-Doha. Violent clashes broke out between Israeli forces who fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs, and local Palestinian youth threw rocks at the armed forces. The Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that a number of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation, as Israeli soldiers fired gas canisters towards people’s homes….
Israeli forces injure 25 Palestinians during raid in Abu Dis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli forces injured more than 20 Palestinians on Friday night in the town of Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district after clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces during a raid. The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service told Ma‘an that their paramedics had treated 25 people. Six of the injured were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, 16 suffered from tear gas inhalation, and three suffered burns, the Red Crescent said.
Armed Israeli settlers threaten, hurl rocks at Palestinians near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — A group of armed Israeli settlers reportedly hurled stones Friday at Palestinian cars passing by the village of al-Fureidis, east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, according to Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa quoted Palestinian security sources as saying that a group of settlers carrying weapons threatened Palestinian passersby and hurled stones at Palestinian cars driving on the main road near the village. No injuries were reported.
Israeli army raids Palestinian TV station office in West Bank
NEW YORK (CPJ) 14 July — The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned Israeli soldiers’ raid of the office of Al-Quds TV and that of its affiliate Ram Sat in the West Bank city of Hebron. The Israeli soldiers burst into Al-Quds TV’s office in the early hours of yesterday morning and confiscated memory cards, hard drives, and six computers, Al-Quds TV’s Hebron bureau chief, Alaa al-Rimawi, told journalists. The military also raided the office of Ram Sat Media, a production company affiliated with Al-Quds TV, and confiscated all the computers’ hard drives, according to news reports. Al-Quds TV is affiliated with Hamas and is frequently critical of the actions of the Israeli government and military. The Israeli military’s North America desk did not immediately respond to CPJ’s email requesting comment. An Israeli military spokesperson told journalists that the raid was a part of an investigation into the station’s activity on “suspicion of incitement,” and that “further steps” would be taken if “incitement material” were found on the confiscated hard disks. “The Israeli army is not the arbiter of what constitutes journalism or suspected incitement,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “The authorities should return all seized equipment immediately.” [Ynet: A simultaneous raid was also carried out on a media company in Hebron that supplies information to another Hamas broadcasting channel, Al-Aqsa TV.]
Palestinians fear Al-Aqsa closure following attack could affect status quo at holy site
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Following a deadly shooting attack in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Friday that left two Israeli [Druze] police officers and three Palestinians dead, Israeli forces imposed widespread closures on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and wider Jerusalem area, sparking widespread condemnation from Palestinian officials who called the moves “terrorist procedures.”Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were deployed across streets around the Old City, preventing people from entering or leaving the area, while dozens of mainly elderly Muslim worshipers were pushed away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Old City. Unable to access Al-Aqsa, worshipers performed Friday prayer in the streets and alleyways leading to the compound inside the Old City. Firas al-Dibs, Head of the Public Relations and Media department at the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) — which administers the compound — told Ma‘an that dozens of Israeli soldiers and intelligence officers raided and completely surrounded Al-Aqsa following the armed confrontations, which took place at the Lions’ Gate entrance to the Old City — where the two police officers, both Druze citizens of Israel were killed — and ended inside the compound where the three Palestinians, also citizens of Israel, were shot and killed. Al-Dibs said that Israeli forces prevented Muslims from reaching the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, while employees of the Waqf were detained for interrogation and had their ID cards confiscated. Al-Aqsa compound director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that Israeli forces banned Waqf employees from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque and detained 15 of the mosque’s guards. The grand mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had prevented him from entering Al-Aqsa from multiple entrances on Friday. Hussein told Ma‘an that it was the first time that Israel had prevented Muslims from performing Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa since 1967.”We insist on reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque and performing prayers there,” Hussein told Ma‘an. “The occupation preventing us from praying marks an assault against our right to worship in this pure Islamic mosque.” … Palestinians have long feared that Israel has been attempting to shake up the status quo at the holy site, in the shape of routine Jewish incursions on the site and right-wing Israeli calls to demolish the mosque and replace it with a third Jewish temple. However, according to Wafa, which is owned by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Netanyahu confirmed to Abbas that the status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque would remain in place.
Temple Mount to gradually reopen Sunday
Ynet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to gradually reopen the Temple Mount Sunday, while taking additional precautions, such as adding metal detectors and installing security cameras at the entrance gates. “I held a discussion with the top security leadership, and I instructed that metal detectors be placed at the entrance gates to the Temple Mount. We will also install security cameras outside the Temple Mount, in a way that gives us almost complete control over what goes on there,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday night. The Jerusalem District Police has been on high alert and added hundreds of officers to reinforce its existing forces in the wake of a terror attack Friday, when three armed Israeli Arabs opened fire from within the Temple Mount complex at Israeli police forces, killing two officers and wounding another. The Israel Police decided to temporarily close the holy site to visitors and worshipers alike to ensure no more weapons are hidden there. Police forces spent the entire weekend searching for weapons in the Temple Mount complex, while maintaining and respecting the sanctity of the place. The searches continued on Sunday morning. The decision to temporarily close the Temple Mount was met with harsh criticism and demands to reopen the holy site from the Palestinians Authority, Hamas, the Waqf and Jordan….
Al-Aqsa officials reject new Israeli security measures as compound reopens
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — As Israeli officials moved to “gradually reopen” the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem for afternoon prayers Sunday after three days of closure, officials from the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) that runs the holy site refused to pass through new metal detectors that were installed at the compound’s entrances — though Israeli police said at least 200 people had entered.
The attempt to reopen the compound came upon an order from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after it had been closed following a deadly shooting attack inside the compound that left two Israeli border policemen killed and three Palestinian assailants shot dead on Friday. After discussions with “top security leadership,” Netanyahu announced additional security measures at the holy site, including the installation of the metal detectors as well as security cameras outside the compound. Netanyahu lauded the measures as giving Israel “almost complete control over what goes on there.”
Israeli news daily Haaretz cited Israeli police sources as saying that at first, Israeli authorities planned to open only two of the compound’s nine gates to Muslims, and that only Palestinian residents of Jerusalem would be allowed to enter. Later in the day, foreign tourists and Jewish visitors would also be allowed at the site. Earlier on Sunday, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani voiced his disapproval of the measures while speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio station, saying “it is a dangerous and unprecedented move to impose control over Al-Aqsa mosque. ”When Israeli authorities attempted to reopen the mosque at 12:30 p.m. before afternoon prayers, Waqf officials refused to pass through the metal detectors. Haaretz reported the Waqf also refused to unlock the gates as a further act of protest, which could not immediately be independently confirmed by Ma‘an …
As of Sunday morning, Israeli authorities had continued to ban the ‘adhan,’ or Muslim call to prayer, in the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering the mosque, forcing them to perform dawn prayer in the street. The entirety of the Old City has been shuttered to Palestinians who don’t reside there since Friday, while Israelis and tourists have been allowed to enter undisturbed, Haaretz reported Saturday….
Israeli police commander keeps title despite being indicted for assaulting Palestinian
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — The Israeli Ministry of Justice indicted two Israeli police officers, one of whom is a police station commander, on Tuesday for assaulting a Palestinian held in handcuffs in 2016 in occupied East Jerusalem, as Israeli media reported on Wednesday that the two were not expected to be convicted. Israeli news Channel 10 reported that, following an investigation by the Justice Ministry’s department of internal police investigation, Jerusalem police station chief Erez Tabor and police officer Tal Ben Kiki were indicted over charges of beating a Palestinian man near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound at an unspecified date last year. Despite the indictment, Tabor has not been removed from his commander position, and police sources told Channel 10 that neither Tabor nor Ben Kiki were expected to be convicted in the case. Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote on Wednesday that the Palestinian, whom it identified as Ahsan Jarrar, was detained by Tabor, Ben Kiki, and another unidentified police officer after calling out “God is Great” in Arabic upon seeing a group of Jewish Israelis entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound — known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and a site of religious tensions in Jerusalem. As the Palestinian laid on the ground face down and handcuffed, Tabor began kicking Jarrar in the “lower body,” the indictment reportedly read, even moving a bench out of the way to continue assaulting him. Ben Kiki, meanwhile, reportedly pressed his foot on Jarrar’s back, before kicking the man in the upper body.
Soldier faces disciplinary action after threatening B’Tselem activist
[with Video] Ynet 13 July by Elior Levy — Palestinian activist films an IDF force conducting routine security checks in Hebron when one of the soldiers, hearing she’s from B’Tselem, calls her a ‘slut’ and threatens to come back at night and arrest her; IDF: ‘Soldier’s comments not in line with the IDF’s values.’ Soldiers documented threatening a B’Tselem camerawoman in Hebron will face disciplinary action, the IDF said Thursday. In late May, an IDF force was called to the al-Harika neighborhood in Hebron following reports of stone throwing near Kiryat Arba. The force arrived at the scene and stopped a car in which a Palestinian couple and their baby were traveling for a random security check. A B’Tselem Palestinian activist who was at the scene filmed the entire incident. In the video, which was obtained by Ynet, one of the soldiers asks the Palestinian activist what she was doing, and she identifies herself as a member of B’Tselem. The soldier expressed his displeasure of the fact she was filming the routine activity. Because she is allowed to film the soldiers as long as she does not interrupt the operations of the force, they cannot order her to stop. When another soldier, standing several meters away from the first one, heard the activist was from B’Tselem, he started swearing and threatening her, calling her “sharmuta,” which means “slut” in Arabic and is used colloquially in Hebrew as well and adding “someone needs to bash their heads in.” During the incident, the force’s commander, who was not an officer, was a short distance away and likely did not notice what was happening. The Palestinian activist did not respond to the soldier’s provocations, and he is seen in the video threatening to film her back and then return at night to arrest her….
Gaza Health Ministry: Toddler died because PA delayed medical treatment in Israel
Haaretz 14 July by Jack Khoury — Despite promises, the toll continues to rise in the power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian Authority — A three-year-old girl died in the Gaza Strip on Thursday because the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry in Ramallah delayed approving medical treatment for her in Israel, said the enclave’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry. Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for Gazan Health Ministry, said the girl was suffering complications from heart problems and required urgent surgical intervention that could not be provided by the hospitals in the Strip. The request for treatment in an Israeli hospital remained unanswered by the PA’s Health Ministry, he added. The girl was the 16th victim of Ramallah’s delays in providing approval and the requisite financial commitment for such treatments in Israeli hospitals in the last two months, the Gazan Health Ministry said. Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Authority began limiting approval for treatment in Israel, the West Bank or overseas as part of the power struggle between it and Hamas. The PA and the Health Ministry in Ramallah vehemently denied claims of a change in policy, and blamed both Hamas and Israel for the situation.
Life under siege: Electricity cuts put dialysis patients at risk
PCHR 16 July — Yasmin is hoping the electricity will not cut while she is on the dialysis device. Dr. Mohamed Shatat is the Head of the Dialysis Department of al-Shifa hospital, located in Gaza City, whose working conditions have deteriorated due to the ongoing electricity crisis, caused by the Israeli siege. “The electricity crisis is very severe in the hospital in general and in particular for the dialysis department, which cannot work without electricity”, Dr. Shatat explains. Throughout the past months, the already dire electricity provision of the Gaza population has decreased from 8 hours electricity per day to only 3 or 4 hours. The most severe consequences are experienced by hospitals and their patients, and whereas generators can partially compensate for the lack of electricity, regular fallouts interfere with treatments. This has particularly negative effects for the dialysis section of the hospital, where an interruption in electricity provision leads to an interruption of the blood cycle rotation. Accordingly, blood is kept within the machine, which leads to coagulation and a waste of blood, lastly contributing to blood shortage and complications that can affect the patient’s overall health. Depending on the patient’s condition, the interruption of dialysis might lead to death. “The electricity provision from the generators is not constant, which also affects the dialysis devices themselves and can damage them or make them entirely useless. Electronic devices needed to repair the machines are not available in the Gaza Strip and acquiring them from international donors takes 6 to 12 months due to the siege.
Consequently, patients in need of treatment cannot get the life-saving treatment they need”, Dr. Shatat elaborates. With the fallout of machines, the patient’s dialysis is delayed and waiting times increase, which has a strong psychological and social effect on the patients. Furthermore, a high number of patients do not live within Gaza City but have to travel to get to the hospital. “I have a patient who has tried to schedule her dialysis appointment for the afternoon instead of finishing by midnight because she lives in the border area, which can be an unsafe zone at night. It happened before that when she would reach the border area late at night, the Israeli soldiers were shooting at the car from a nearby point of inspection. So, these people risk their lives when they come to us for a delayed treatment”, Dr. Shatat emphasizes. The hospital currently offers treatments in 5 different shifts, the last being from 11 in the evening until 3 in the morning, which can be very tiring for older patients and patients living further away. The hospital currently has 45 dialysis machines and treats 328 patients. In addition to the electricity problem, several medicines are not available, such as the biotin hormone, a lack of which leads to anemia. In the severest cases, a lack of medical supplies essential for the dialysis treatment can lead to an interruption of the dialysis and lastly to an intervention of the ICRC or other international organizations.
Gaza power watch: How many hours of electricity did Gaza get today?
Haaretz – daily updates. On the 15th Beit Lahia got the worst of it with only one hour of power, from 1:30 to 2:30.
5 ways the Gaza electricity crisis makes life unlivable
ANERA 14 July — …Below, we list five big ways the Gaza electricity crisis has made life in the isolated enclave — already difficult — nearly impossible. 1. Water is Even More Scarce Already, over 90% of all water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. But with the power crisis, the little available water cannot be purified and pumped up to the top floors of apartment buildings. Desalination plants can’t function without power, so the water supply dwindles each day. Sewage networks can’t function without power, either. This has been a catastrophe in Gaza, which lacked sufficient sewage facilities to begin with… 2. Health is a Luxury Hospitals and their patients are surviving on a carefully rationed emergency fuel supply that’s in serious danger of running out, as well as overworked generators that break down often. At Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, newborn babies are crowded onto beds in the neonatal intensive care unit, so they can reach generators that supply them with oxygen. Other patients in need of surgery are turned away, and hospitals are forced to cut back on basic sterilization practices. It’s also been an exceptionally hot summer. Families have been sleeping on rooftops to escape the oppressive heat indoors without air conditioning or fans. Meanwhile everyday cleaning, like doing laundry or washing hands, is now even more difficult. 3. No Internet, No Work Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world, at 41 percent. The youth unemployment rate is even higher, at 60 percent. Yet the fortunate who that have jobs are struggling without electricity for their phones and computers. The others, especially jobless youth, can’t use the internet to look for freelance work 4. Crops are Dying Agriculture has been a traditional source of income for a large part of Gaza. But in order to survive, Gaza farmers are buying expensive fuel to run generators and irrigate their crops. Now the cost of produce has risen and the quality of crops has fallen… 5. Kids Can’t Be Kids Gaza’s children have been through unimaginable horrors. Even those under the age of 10 have already experienced three devastating wars. It’s estimated that one-quarter of all children in Gaza still require psychosocial support to cope with war-related trauma. Living in near-constant darkness is not helping Gaza’s children cope. Under blackout, they can’t play games and socialize. Even doing homework has become a struggle, and children are having to study by hazardous candlelight….
‘If we ever get 24 straight hours of electricity, it’ll be a culture shock’
+972 blog 14 July by Ghada Al-Haddad — With the electricity crisis far from being over, Gaza resident Ghada Al-Haddad recalls that the dire situation in the Strip is not a temporary exigency, but rather a culmination of a persistent reality that has developed over a decade of closure — To children born after 2006 in the Gaza Strip, stories about the days when electricity was available all day long sound like fairytales, fantasies that can scarcely be believed. Born into a reality structured by an unreliable power distribution schedule, the inconsistent supply of electricity for domestic use has often been insufficient for children to watch an episode of their favorite TV show in its entirety. Nine-year-old Misk Said keeps asking her parents in bewilderment, “is it true that there was once a whole day without a single power cut?” … Since April, power supply has been reduced, sometimes to a mere three or four hours a day. There is no solution to the current crisis in sight, but even if such a solution is reached, it will mean, at best, going back to cycles of eight hours on, eight hours off. Even that seems unlikely at this point. “For now, all I want is the eight-hour electricity schedule,” says Said’s wife, Khitam. The second the electricity comes on, Gaza’s men and women are jolted into urgent action, running to do laundry, bake bread, pump water into their tanks for domestic use, iron clothes, and charge laptops, cellphones, and other electrical appliances. “I feel very relieved when I finish all of the tasks before the electricity turns off again,” Khitam Said says….
Israeli border guards fire at farmers, shepherds in southeast Gaza
GAZA, July 13, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday opened live fire toward Palestinian shepherds and farmers along the Gaza borderline to the east of the town of Juhr Addik, in southeast Gaza, said sources. Israeli soldiers stationed at watchtowers along the borderline area to the east of Gaza, opened heavy machine gunfire on farmers and shepherds. No injuries were reported.
Fadi Thabit photo exhibit documents Gaza life
Arab Daily News 16 July by Mohammed Asad — A photo exhibit by art teacher and Gaza photographer Fadi Thabit offers insight into the daily lives of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel’s punishing military embargo — The art teacher and photographer Fadi Thabit recently organized a photo gallery of photographic portraits of Palestinian life on a stone wall along the Gaza Strip seaport. Thabit’s exhibit provides a fascinating perspective capturing the everyday life of Palestinian men, women and children surviving under the brutal occupation of Israel’s punishing military embargo. The photos were collected over many years. The Gallery shows aspects of daily life and how the locals dealt with life’s challenges and details. Thabit believes that his selected photos show how the people love life, how they challenge the siege, and how they manage in times of wars and losing many of their loved ones, friends and neighbors to Israel’s violence and settler driven terrorism.
How solar power is helping Gaza residents overcome electricity crisis
The National 15 July by Naomi Zeveloff — … Most Gazans can’t afford solar energy, but for upper and middle class people in the embattled strip it is becoming an increasingly popular option as the local energy system crumbles. The United Nations Development Programme is also installing solar panels in schools and hospitals in Gaza. Last month, the Israeli government further reduced its energy supply to the territory at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, which blamed Hamas for failing to repay the energy costs. Now, Gazans are receiving just four hours of electricity every 24 hours. Not far from Mr Dahman’s home on a busy Gaza City thoroughfare, a solar company has put shimmering panels on display on the pavement outside its shop. Inside, Tareq Darwish, the Oceanic Company’s 25-year-old accountant, says that sales of the India-made panels, which must pass through Israel to reach Gaza, have almost tripled in the last 10 weeks. From selling 15 panels a month, they are now selling up to 50. With more vendors selling the panels, prices have gone down from 1,000 shekels per panel to 600 or 700 shekels each. It’s still not cheap — Mr Darwish says he can’t even afford the product he is selling — but he tells customers that solar panels are a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to generators, which can be deadly if misused. In the past, Gazans have died from generator fires and carbon monoxide poisoning from keeping their units indoors. Business owners in Gaza are also looking to solar energy. In the northern part of Gaza City, the tall metal roof of the Al Nour Gas station is topped by tilted solar panels drinking up the sun. The petrol station is part of a large complex owned by the Abu Qamer family, which also includes a popular 24-hour grocery store known all over the northern Gaza Strip for its large refrigerators full of perishable items such as hummus and labane cheese, and a 12-unit apartment building housing more than 100 members of the family….
Middle East quartet in first Trump-era statement expresses concerns about Gaza
WASHINGTON (JTA) 13 July — The first meeting of the coordinating body that oversees Middle East peace since President Donald Trump took office expressed its concerns over the “worsening humanitarian situation” in the Gaza Strip. The Middle East Quartet, which represents the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union, met Thursday in Jerusalem to discuss current efforts to advance peace in the region. “The envoys expressed serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed efforts to resolve the crisis,” a statement said … Notably, the statement was shared in a tweet by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s lead Middle East peace negotiator. “Important #Quartet mtg today on how to best facilitate peace btw Israelis and Palestinians and improve dire situation in Gaza,” Greenblatt said. Greenblatt’s endorsement of the meeting and its concerns about Gaza – and the fact that the meeting took place at all – showed again that Trump is hewing to diplomatic norms when it comes to Israel and maintaining international alliances that he has diminished in other spheres….
Rivlin: Return of Israeli soldiers’ bodies is precondition for rebuilding Gaza Strip
Haaretz 13 July by Yotam Berger & Jonathan Lis — At a ceremony Thursday evening marking the third anniversary of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, President Reuven Rivlin declared that the return of missing soldiers from Gaza is a precondition for rebuilding the Gaza Strip. “The rebuilding of Gaza requires the return of our sons and the cessation of all hostilities with Israel,” Rivlin said at the ceremony, held in the new memorial hall on Mount Herzl, and attended by dignitaries and the families of those killed in the Gaza war. “As long as Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s destruction, that does not respect human life, that does not respect human rights, a brutal and murderous organization, runs Gaza – Gaza will not be rehabilitated.” The president went on to say, “We are not complacent, we know that Protective Edge probably won’t be the last war. We are fighting a brutal and extreme terror organization and we are prepared to respond to any scenario and any threat.” … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the negotiations for the return of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held in Gaza. “Our commitment to bring home [the bodies of soldiers] Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin is as strong as ever. We are not relenting in this sacred mission – including in recent days. The same goes for [civilians] Avera Mengistu and Hisham Asad, Israeli civilians who are being held in the Gaza Strip, by a cruel enemy.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel is expelling 300 Palestinians to a village it plans to demolish
+972 blog 13 July by Eli Bitan — Israel’s High Court of Justice is set to decide the future of a small Palestinian village in the West Bank next week. Dkaika, located on the edge of the South Hebron Hills in Area C, is living under the shadow of demolition, with the state threatening to uproot its villagers by March 2018. The village’s 300 residents are to be expelled to the nearby village Hamida — which is also under threat of demolition. The High Court is set to hear the case on July 17. Out of Dkaika’s 140 structures, 114 are slated for demolition. In order to prevent the expulsion, the village submitted a detailed plan, put together by Professor Rasem Khamaisi, to the state. The Civil Administration rejected the plan, and in 2014 the village petitioned the High Court to demand the state either accept the plan, or order the Civil Administration to come up with its own that will allow the village to remain in its current location. Should the petition be rejected, or should the High Court refuse to intervene and defend the residents from expulsion, the state may completely or partially demolish the village. Fifteen of the homes that were built after the petition was submitted are especially vulnerable to demolition. The villagers, who live off agriculture, demand that the state allow them to continue building inside the boundaries delineated by Khamaisi’s proposed plan….
BDS / Activism / Solidarity
IDF sentences conscientious objector to five days in prison
+972 blog 13 July — The Israeli army sentenced conscientious objector Noa Gur Golan to five days in military prison Wednesday, after she announced her refusal to serve due to the violence of the IDF. Gur Golan arrived at the IDF induction center in Tel Hashomer on Wednesday morning accompanied by family members and activists. Following her sentence, she will once again be asked to show up at the center, where she is expected to continue to refuse induction, and will likely be sentenced again. She is being supported by Mesarvot — Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest at the occupation. Gur Golan, 19, from Netanya, refuses to serve in the IDF due to her pacifist beliefs in nonviolence, and because she believes that she must actively work to reduce violence and bring about peace. She has previously stood before a conscientious objectors committee, which rejected her request for exemption. Gur Golan demands to be recognized as a conscientious objector, rather than a pacifist (whom are more easily granted exemption from the committee), and is willing to pay the price. In her declaration of refusal, she wrote the following:….
Canada backtracks on labeling wine from the West Bank
TORONTO (AP) 14 July — Canada’s federal food inspection agency backtracked Thursday from its decision that wines produced in the West Bank and other areas controlled by Israeli forces [settlements] should not be labeled as products of Israel. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a statement that it had not “fully considered” the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in reaching its ruling. The agency said the wines do in fact adhere to the agreement and can be sold as currently labeled. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario said the inspection agency notified wine sellers last week that it would be unacceptable to declare Israel as the country of origin for wine products that aren’t produced within Israel’s formal borders…. The Food Inspection Agency expressed regret Thursday and said it was following up with the Ontario liquor board to correct the situation.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (6-12 July)
PCHR-Gaza 13 July — Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians, one of whom is a child, in the West Bank. 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 2 children and a photojournalist. Israeli forces conducted 43 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 in Jerusalem. 33 civilians, including 3 children, were arrested; 8 of them, including 2 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied Palestinian Jerusalem. A residential building consisting of 6 apartments and stores in al-Eisawiya village was demolished. 2 houses and a carwash in al-Mukaber Mount and Selwan village were demolished. The settlers attempted to seize a plot of land in Silwan, south of the city. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th year Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 2 civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank. [details follow]
With a push from Trump’s envoy, Israel and the Palestinians make a water deal
JERUSALEM (WashPost) 13 July by William Booth — President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, on Thursday announced a water-sharing agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that will provide additional supply to the parched populations in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip. The deal is part of a larger, previously announced plan to draw salty water from the Red Sea to a huge desalination plant, which will then move fresh water via pipeline to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians. The undrinkable brine will be used to help replenish and restore the Dead Sea, which is slowly disappearing. Greenblatt’s mediation on the water deal was the first fruit of the Trump team’s effort to see if it can bring Israel and the Palestinians back to peace negotiations. The agreement to provide more water to the Palestinians, at a reduced rate, is also designed to build some trust between the antagonists. Israel will begin to provide the extra water to the West Bank and Gaza Strip now. The supplies will eventually come from a desalination plant linked to a Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline, to be completed in four or five years … Mazin Ghunaim, head of the Palestinian Water Authority, said the increased supply of water “will reduce the suffering of the Palestinian people, which has been worsened by the beginning of summer and the crises that they are living through.” About one-third of the additional supply will go to Gaza, “where more than 97 percent of the water is not drinkable,” he said. Tzahi Hanegbi, Israel’s minister of regional cooperation, said that after years of stalemates, the Red Sea project will move forward. He thanked both Greenblatt and the Palestinians. He called the desalination and pipeline venture the “biggest, most ambitious project ever initiated in our area.”….
Israeli-Palestinian water deal could chart course for further talks
Al-Monitor 14 July by Shlomi Eldar — An agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project could build some trust between the sides, but the Palestinians are leery of any impact from it going into negotiations — President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, said at a July 13 joint press conference for Israeli and Palestinian representatives that “Water is a precious commodity in the Middle East. The US welcomes the agreement reached by the Palestinian Authority [PA] and the government of Israel, which will allow for the sale of 32 million cubic meters of water from Israel to the [PA].” The deal, which will allow Palestinians to purchase water at reduced rates, was made in the context of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project led by Israel and Jordan. Also participating in the press conference, which took place in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, were Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzahi Hanegbi and the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Mazen Ghonaim. “This is the biggest, most ambitious project ever in our region,” said Hanegbi. It is hard to remember the last time that official representatives of Israel and the Palestinians sat together in such a festive setting to celebrate the turning of a new page in their relationship. “I hope that this is an indication of what is to come,” said Greenblatt. Perhaps he was referring to the renewal of negotiations to reach a permanent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As far as the Palestinians were concerned, it was important to emphasize that this water agreement will not impact any other future political negotiations. They do not want to let Israel claim in any future talks that the issue of water has already been resolved and there is no reason to discuss it further. “This is a regional agreement which has nothing to do with the core issues of any final agreement or the rights of Palestinians to water,” said Ghonaim….
PA police detain 66 Palestinians attempting to enter Jordan via Allenby Bridge
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 15 July — Palestinian police detained 66 Palestinians over the past week for either being wanted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) or for being banned from traveling abroad, according to a statement released on Saturday by the Palestinian police. All 66 Palestinians were detained while attempting to exit the occupied West Bank into Jordan via the Allenby crossing, the statement said. The statement noted that some 62,000 Palestinians and visitors passed through the land crossing over the previous week, adding that 28,791 passengers left the West Bank into Jordan while 33,132 arrived in the West Bank from Jordan. Coordination was also made for 15 sick Palestinians on both sides of the border to cross Allenby in Palestinian ambulances during the same time period. Meanwhile, 29 people were turned away from the Israeli side of the Allenby crossing for alleged security reasons. Both Israeli and Palestinian forces routinely detain Palestinians at the crossing, as Palestinians must cross the border to travel abroad via the Amman International Airport, while many Palestinians have family residing in Jordan.
Israeli police detain Palestinians for shooting off fireworks during Tawjihi celebrations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli police detained four Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday for possessing and shooting off fireworks during celebrations throughout the occupied Palestinian territory following the announcement of official results from Palestine’s secondary school examinations, known in Arabic as “Tawjihi.” Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the four were detained after being found in possession of fireworks and using the fireworks during Tawjihi celebrations. Al-Samri said that the Israeli police have worked to fight against the “dangerous phenomenon of launching fireworks,” which is a usual occurrence following announcements of Tawjihi results. Fireworks, she said, have served to “terrify people,” and have injured people and damaged properties. She noted that Israeli police had also detained two Palestinian “suspects” on Tuesday from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir for using fireworks, adding that several boxes of fireworks were found in a courtyard of a house in the neighborhood.
The Tawjihi certificate is equivalent to a high school completion certificate, and is required for students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies. Not only is the certificate required for university admissions, the score on the test determines which field of study (Medicine, Engineering, Finance, etc.) a student will be allowed to pursue….
More than 67 percent of students have passed general matriculation exam
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 July – More than 67 per cent of the students who sat for this year’s general matriculation exam in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip have passed the crucial test that would qualify them to enroll in universities at home and around the world. Minister of Education Sabri Saidam announced on Wednesday in Ramallah the long-awaited for results, which was immediately followed with jubilant celebrations in the streets and at homes, shooting off of firecrackers and sounding of car horns by those who passed the exam. According to the results, 67.42 per cent of the 70,237 students who sat for this year’s exam have passed. Saidam said the rate was 2.58 per cent higher than last year’s results. The title and content of this year’s exam was changed from the traditional decades-old “tawjihi” system to the new “injaz” general matriculation exam. Saidam said the new system allows students who either did not pass certain subjects or want to improve their grades in a certain topic to sit for another round of exam on August 5.
Rozana launches 9th Heritage Week in Birzeit
BIRZEIT (WAFA) 12 July – Rozana Association Wednesday launched the 9th edition of the Birzeit Heritage week in the Old City of Birzeit. The festival kicked off with a parade and the traditional wedding ‘Zaffeh’ towards the old town of Birzeit for the ribbon cutting ceremony, then proceeded towards the main stage, passing through the Souq of the Heritage Week. Then a married couple took part in a traditional Palestinian wedding and bridal Henna in a show that highlights Palestinian traditions and heritage.Kiosks were set up all along the Old City’s streets which sell everything from food, embroidered items, drinks, soaps, clothes and accessories. All of these products were made by local and small Palestinian businesses as Rozana aims to support and help promote the development of small communities through using available resources. The performances for the first day will include Rap Music, traditional music, and plays for children, Dabkeh and a storytelling performance. Birzeit Heritage Week is organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Birzeit municipality. The main sponsor is the European Union, working within a joint project with the Sareyyet Ramallah entitled “Palestine and Europe: Joint Human Values through cultural activities”.
Palestinian girls play soccer to win in West Bank
albawaba sports 14 July — The Palestinian Women’s National Soccer Team trains under harsh conditions in a sport that seems to give hope and incentive for change. Already at nine in the morning, E-Ram’s streets are burning with heat. It crawls through the lively markets and into the crowded buses, lingering above the artificial grass of the town stadium, home to the Palestinian Women’s National Soccer Team. Instead of advertisements for American beer or energy drinks, the banner ads on the sideline feature portraits of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat. Three times a week, Dima Youssef, 22, comes here to play soccer. Even last month, during Ramadan, she notes that “games takes place at night after people had dinner, or right before sunset so you can go eat and drink afterward.” She shrugs her shoulders. Actually, none of this applies to her, she says, since she is a Christian. But it does influence her teammates, she adds, and therefore the energy of the whole team. According to Youssef, the conditions to pursue a sport professionally are less than ideal in the West Bank for the Palestinian Women’s National Soccer Team …
For over a year [Gina] Khnouf has been coaching girls under 19: a task between hope and frustration. “So many talents here are wasted,” she says. “Most Palestinians don’t even know that there is a women’s soccer team. It is a man’s sport, even more than in Europe. But I am trying to spread the word.” This is an undertaking which is twice as hard: even most male Palestinian athletes have trouble expanding their talents outside the territories; not to mention Gazans or underage girls for whom travel to games and training camps abroad often remain virtually impossible. The opposing team usually has to come to the West Bank, and that only happens very rarely. “In 2011 we played against Japan; that was a highlight,” Khnouf declares proudly, despite having lost 19 to 0Soccer has become an integral part of Palestinian culture since the first soccer union was founded in 1928. Since 1998 the men’s soccer team has been part of FIFA; in 2006 the women followed….
Israel built a wall. But Palestinian laborers continue to sneak through daily
YATTA, West Bank (LA Times) 14 July by Joshua Mitnick — He was only 12 when he first stole into Israel from his home in a Palestinian farming village in the West Bank to find work. A few weeks later, he returned with more than $2,000 in wages. Ever since, Ahmed has been working construction and agriculture jobs throughout Israel, from high-rise buildings around Tel Aviv to the melon fields on kibbutzes in the Negev desert. He has spent months at a time in Israel, some of it in hiding. To avoid arrest, he takes refuge in building sites, open fields or forests. It hasn’t always worked: Ahmed counts six stints in Israeli jails and a combined 2 ½ years of incarceration for working in Israel without a permit. If he’s arrested again he risks additional jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. But Ahmed and tens of thousands of undocumented Palestinian laborers like him continue to sneak into Israel anyway, going around, through and over the separation barrier of fencing and concrete slabs around the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The jobs he lands tend to pay about 200 shekels, or $57, a day. The alternative, he says, is remaining in Palestinian areas of the West Bank where wages are one-third of those in Israel … Ahmed, who asked that his last name be withheld for fear of arrest, is one of more than 50,000 Palestinian laborers who work in Israel illegally on a daily basis, according to the Israeli state comptroller — despite the $4.2-billion separation barrier meant to seal off Palestinians in the West Bank from Israel’s largest cities.
Started at the height of a Palestinian campaign of bombings and shootings in Israel about 15 years ago, the barrier has helped reduce attacks in the country, according to the government and security analysts. But tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers for years have found ways to skirt the barrier … For many Israelis, the workers are an irresistible source of cheap labor. An online search of shabachim brings up pages of legal advice aimed at employers, who risk criminal indictment, stop-work orders and fines. Despite border police and army patrols of the West Bank frontier and police raids in Israeli cities, the thirst for Palestinian labor on farms and construction sites in Israel generates a labor flow that exceeds what Israel’s security forces can handle. Even the threat of penalties for employers has not eliminated the challenge….
Israelis and Palestinians join hands in W. Bank to fight car accidents
Ynet 13 July by Elisha Ben Kimon — Israelis and Palestinians have decided to fight together against vehicular road accidents, in the West Bank’s Judea and Samaria. Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan, together with influential Palestinian political figures, has agreed to set a civil organization to combat the high accident rates. The organization has already come out with a campaign whose slogan is ‘Jews and Arabs want to return home safely’. Vehicular accident-related deaths in Judea and Samaria have become a cause of great concern for the area’s residents. Their concern was mirrored two weeks ago by a string of deadly crashes, resulting in ten deaths within ten days. Dagan convened several Palestinian officials in his office to discuss the matter. The Palestinians’ names were not made public due to the sensitivity of the interaction. According to the plan, the organization will include Israeli and Palestinian volunteers, who will begin an education campaign along accident-prone axes in the region, with talks and lectures on the matter. The organization will additionally try to fight the use of cars that do not meet the necessary safety standards … One of the Palestinian officials who meet with Dagan said, “This isn’t a political matter. There are Jews and Arabs who die on the road. We call Road 60 ‘the Road of Caskets.'”
Israel’s ever more sadistic reprisals help shore up a sense of victimhood
NAZARETH (Counterpunch) 13 July by Jonathan Cook — When Israel passed a new counter-terrorism law last year, Ayman Odeh, a leader of the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens, described its draconian measures as colonialism’s “last gasp”. He said: “I see … the panic of the French at the end of the occupation of Algeria.” The panic and cruelty plumbed new depths last week, when Israeli officials launched a $2.3 million lawsuit against the family of Fadi Qanbar, who crashed a truck into soldiers in Jerusalem in January, killing four. He was shot dead at the scene. The suit demands that his widow, Tahani, reimburse the state for the compensation it awarded the soldiers’ families. If she cannot raise the astronomic sum, the debt will pass to her four children, the oldest of whom is currently only seven. Israel is reported to be preparing many similar cases. Like other families of Palestinians who commit attacks, the Qanbars are homeless, after Israel sealed their East Jerusalem home with cement. Twelve relatives were also stripped of their residency papers as a prelude to expelling them to the West Bank. None has done anything wrong – their crime is simply to be related to someone Israel defines as a “terrorist”.
This trend is intensifying. Israel has demanded that the Palestinian Authority stop paying a small monthly stipend to families like the Qanbars, whose breadwinner was killed or jailed. Conviction rates among Palestinians in Israel’s military legal system stand at more than 99 per cent, and hundreds of prisoners are incarcerated without charge. Israeli legislation is set to seize $280 million – a sum equivalent to the total stipends – from taxes Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, potentially bankrupting it. On Wednesday Israel loyalists will introduce in the US Senate a bill to similarly deny the PA aid unless it stops “funding terror”. Issa Karaka, a Palestinian official, said it would be impossible for the PA to comply: “Almost every other household … is the family of a prisoner or martyr.” Israel has taken collective punishment – a serious violation of international law – to new extremes, stretching the notion to realms once imaginable only in a dystopian fable like George Orwell’s 1984. Israel argues that a potential attacker can only be dissuaded by knowing his loved ones will suffer harsh retribution….
Testimonies from the censored massacre at Deir Yassin: ‘They ran like cats’
Haaretz 15 July by Ofer Aderet — A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies collected by filmmaker Neta Shoshani about the massacre in Deir Yassin are difficult to process even 70 years after the fact — For two years now a document that makes for difficult reading has been lying in the archives of the association to commemorate the heritage of Lehi – the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel pre-state underground militia. It was written by a member of the underground about 70 years ago. Reading it could reopen a bleeding wound from the days of the War of Independence that to this day stirs a great deal of emotion in Israeli society. “Last Friday together with Etzel” – the acronym for the National Military Organization, also known as the Irgun, another pre-state underground militia, led by Menachem Begin – “our movement carried out a tremendous operation to occupy the Arab village on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road – Deir Yassin. I participated in this operation in the most active way,” wrote Yehuda Feder, whose nom de guerre in Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) was “Giora.” Further along in the letter, he describes in detail his part in the massacre that took place there. “This was the first time in my life that at my hands and before my eyes Arabs fell. In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17 who were helping the Arab who was shooting. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun,” he wrote, describing how he carried out the execution of the girls with a submachine gun … This letter is one of the historical documents revealed in a new documentary film entitled “Born in Deir Yassin” by director Neta Shoshani, who devoted the past several years to comprehensive historical research on the Deir Yassin massacre, one of the constitutive incidents of the War of Independence, which has remained a blot on Israel to this day. In advance of the premiere screening of the film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Shoshani showed Haaretz the testimonies she has gathered about the incident, the result of extensive digging in archives along with in-depth interviews with the last living participants in the action. Some of them broke a silence of decades when they spoke to her, often for the first time in front of a camera….