Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
How Israel is disabling Palestinian teenagers
BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank 21 Sept by Jaclynn Ashly — In the Dheisheh refugee camp, it is common to see Palestinian teenagers with deep scars dotting the length of their legs, while posters and murals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces adorn the concrete walls – testaments to a disturbing reality of routine Israeli violence in the camp. International law prohibits the use of live ammunition on civilians, except as a last resort during an imminent threat of life. However, Israeli soldiers freely fire live bullets at Palestinians during confrontations or military raids. Both Palestinian and Israeli rights groups have noted that Israel’s excessive use of force on Palestinians has caused scores of permanent and temporary disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territory … The Bethlehem-based Palestinian NGO Badil reported a significant increase in Palestinian injuries in the refugee camps last year, the majority of which were caused by live ammunition. Most of the gunshot wounds were directed at the lower limbs of the youth in the camps, now commonly referred to as “kneecapping.” Residents of the Dheisheh camp say that an Israeli army commander, who the youth in Dheisheh refer to as “Captain Nidal”, has been threatening to intentionally disable Palestinians in the camp. “I will make half of you disabled and let the other half push the wheelchairs,” he has been reported as saying. Badil underscored that the threats indicate that incidents of “kneecapping” are “not accidental or isolated.” But instead “result from a systematic Israeli military policy aimed at suppressing resistance, terrorising Palestinian youth, and permanently injuring them and/or causing significant damage to their physical and mental well-being”….[personal narratives follow]
Israeli forces injure 9 Palestinians in clashes near Jerusalem-area school
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Nine Palestinians, including students, were injured Wednesday morning when Israeli forces raided the town of Abu Dis in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, triggering clashes with Palestinian residents next to a university and schools in the area while children were present. Local activist in the town Hani Halabiya said that Israeli soldiers raided Abu Dis as students were heading to school, and claiming that there was “a suspicious object found,” with clashes erupting in the area afterwards. Israeli soldiers indiscriminately fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at the Al-Quds University campus and schools in the area, interrupting schooling, he said. Schoolchildren were evacuated from the classrooms after inhaling the tear gas, Halabiya said, adding that one person was hit by a live bullet while eight others were injured from rubber-coated steel bullets. He said all of the wounded were treated at local clinics because Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances were not able to reach the site of clashes.
Israeli forces raid Abu Dis on a daily basis, particularly since the new school year started last month, Halabiya said, and Israeli forces deploy at the streets surrounding al-Quds University and and four schools in the area attended by more than 2,000 students.
A similar Israeli raid at the university just over a week ago also sparked clashes.
Two people killed in hit-and-run accidents, a third dies from taking pesticide: police
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 18 Sept – Two people were killed on Monday and the night before in hit-and-run incidents in the West Bank and a third died after taking pesticide, according to police reports. Police spokesman Loui Irzeiqat said a truck with Israeli license plates hit on Monday morning a 30-year-old man from the village of Jdeireh, northwest of Jerusalem, while walking near Qalandia checkpoint, south of Ramallah. He said the truck was driving against traffic when it hit Fadi Tayyem, who was taken to hospital in Ramallah where he was reported dead. Irzeiqat said the driver escaped from the scene and there was a search for him.
Earlier, a 22-year-old woman identified as Sara Masharqa, from Dora in the Hebron area, was killed when hit on Sunday night by a truck with Israeli license plates on the Hebron-Fawwar road south of Hebron. Irzeiqat said Masharqa was taken to hospital in Hebron where she was pronounced dead. The truck driver, from the [Bedouin] village of Rahat, inside Israel, who escaped from the scene, had later turned himself over to Israeli police, said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, police and the prosecutor’s office were investigating death of a 26-year-old man from Deir al-Asal, southwest of Hebron, after taking pesticide….
Families petition Israeli Supreme Court to return bodies of 3 slain Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — A lawyer representing the families of three Palestinians who were shot dead in June for carrying out a deadly attack in occupied East Jerusalem submitted an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to have the remains of the three young men released for proper burial. Muhammed Mahmoud, an attorney from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, petitioned the court on Monday on behalf of the families of Adel Ankoush, 18, Baraa Saleh, 18, and Osama Atta, 19 — all from the central occupied West Bank town of Deir Abu Mashaal. A hearing has not yet been scheduled to review the appeal. Israel has detained their bodies since the three were shot dead after carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack that left an Israeli police officer dead outside of Jerusalem’s Old City on June 16. Human rights organizations have widely condemned Israel’s policy of withholding Palestinian bodies, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer calling it a form of “collective punishment” against Palestinians who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, also noting that it “adds to the severe grief and trauma of families of the deceased.”
Furthermore, the three families in Deir Abu Mashaal have had their homes punitively demolished and blown up, leaving a total of 22 people homeless despite having not having been charged with any wrongdoing. The petition submitted by Mahmoud over the three bodies came amid an ongoing petition submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court calling for the release of the bodies of nine slain Palestinians, which also included the remains of Ankoush, Salah, and Atta. Despite the fact that the court has yet to reach a decision on the case, the Israeli state announced last week that the bodies of four of the Palestinians included in that appeal have already been buried in so-called cemeteries of numbers — mass graves comprised of marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years.
WATCH: Settler attacks left-wing activist, breaks his arm
+972 blog 17 Sept by Yael Marom — Guess who was detained and taken in for questioning — An Israeli settler attacked a left-wing activist in a settlement in the south Hebron Hills Saturday, breaking his arm. The activist was transferred to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, where his left arm was put in a cast. On Saturday morning, left-wing activists from Ta‘ayush arrived for a solidarity visit with the Palestinians of Umm al-Kheir, after settlers from the nearby settlement of Carmel have been throwing stones at them for the past few weeks. A few of the activists headed toward Carmel to protest the stone throwing, where Israeli soldiers prevented them from approaching, claiming that filming was not allowed since the settlement keeps the Sabbath, and that the area had been deemed a closed military zone, except for residents of Carmel. Suddenly, Carmel’s rapid response team, made up of who are meant to be the first line of defense against terrorist attacks until security forces can arrive, came rushing to the scene. One of them attacked Ta‘ayush activist Guy Butavia, hitting him in his chest with his weapon and pushing him to the ground. Butuvia was treated by an IDF medic on the scene before being taken to a hospital….
Israeli soldiers abduct five Palestinians near Ramallah, three near Qalqilia
IMEMC 18 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the village of Kobar, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, searched many homes and abducted five Palestinians. The soldiers also abducted three Palestinians from ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said at least fifteen armored military jeeps and vehicles invaded the village [Kobar] at dawn, before the soldiers stormed and searched homes, and abducted five Palestinians. The abducted Palestinians have been identified as Raed Sabah, Basel Abu al-Haj, Jadallah Abu al-Haj, Ibrahim Adnan and Tamer Salah. The invasion and abductions led to clashes between many youngsters, who hurled stones at the military jeeps, and the soldiers who fired live rounds and gas bombs.
In addition, many army jeeps invaded ‘Azzoun town, east of Qalqilia, and conducted extensive military searches of homes. During the home invasions, the soldiers abducted three young men, identified as Ekrima Mohammad Nassar, Saed Mohammad Sweidan and Aseed Abdul-Qader Sweidan.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army said that its soldiers have arrested sixteen Palestinians in the West Bank, and located a “Carlo” weapon in the Sawahra village, east of Jerusalem.
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians from the West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 19 Sept – Israeli forces Tuesday detained 16 Palestinians during raids in several areas in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). It said in a statement that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from Hebron, two from Qalqilya, and another two from Nablus. Meanwhile, two people from Bethlehem were detained, two more from Salfit, three from Jenin and one from Tubas.
According to statistics by Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, the total number of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons is 6,297 as of August 2017 with 465 of them being administrative detainees, 300 minors and 65 females.
Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem raids
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 20 Sept – Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians in overnight raids across the West Bank, the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and security sources said on Wednesday. Israeli forces detained four Palestinians during a raid into ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. Forces also detained a 17-year-old Palestinian following a raid into the village Kafr Ein in the Ramallah district. Another Palestinian was detained during a raid into Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. In the northern West Bank, forces detained four Palestinians, including three brothers, after storming and ransacking their family homes in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. Police also detained a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces ransack Hebron charity
HEBRON (WAFA) 20 Sept – Israeli forces raided early Wednesday the Friends of the Palestinian Martyr’s Society in Hebron, south of the West Bank, according to security sources. The forces ransacked and sabotaged the offices causing heavy damage to property and files before leaving the area.
Hundreds of Israelis enter Al-Aqsa on eve of Rosh Hashanah
[photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Hundreds of Israelis entered Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the eve of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, which marks the start of the Jewish new year, on Wednesday, under the protection of armed Israeli forces. Rami al-Khatib, an employee of the Islamic trust, or Waqf, which manages the holy site, said that 241 Israeli “settlers” had “raided” Al-Aqsa Mosque compound via the Moroccan Gate in the morning and afternoon. Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and subsequent annexation, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust not to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. However, non-Muslims are permitted to enter and visit the holy compound during designated hours. Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, who oftentimes carry out prayers in an attempt to challenge the status quo at Al-Aqsa, leading to tensions with Palestinian worshipers … Meanwhile, Israeli forces banned the head of Sharia (Islamic) education at Al-Aqsa Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat from entering Al-Aqsa for three months, according al-Khatib. Scores of Palestinians have been temporarily banned from entering the holy site in recent weeks, with many Palestinians being targeted following a mass civil disobedience campaign in occupied East Jerusalem in July following the imposition of unprecedented security restrictions at Al-Aqsa.
Israel closes West Bank, Gaza borders for Jewish holiday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Israeli authorities will implement a closure on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip beginning Tuesday night for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year on Wednesday. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied West Bank and Gaza’s crossings starting midnight Tuesday night, to reopen midnight Saturday night. She said that only “humanitarian, medical, and exceptionally urgent cases” would only be allowed to cross during the closure. COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry agency responsible for civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory, confirmed the closures and announced additional restrictions on Palestinian movement in the coming weeks. The Erez crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israel will be closed periodically starting Sept. 20-23, as well as Sep. 29-30, Oct. 5-7, and Oct. 12-14, COGAT said. It remained unclear if all the dates would also apply to West Bank border crossings with Israel. Al-Samri had also announced that heightened security measures would be imposed in occupied East Jerusalem…
The closures come as Muslims prepared to celebrate the Muslim New Year, 1439 Hijra, on Thursday, with worship and prayers planned at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Government announces holiday on Thursday marking Muslim New Year
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Sept – The Palestinian government declared that Thursday will be an official holiday marking the Muslim Hijra New Year 1439. The announcement means all government institutions, schools, banks and many businesses will shut down for the day. The Muslim New Year is usually marked with prayer and worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel sentences injured Palestinian minor to more than 3 years in Israeli prison
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — An Israeli military court sentenced a wounded 16-year-old Palestinian to three years and two months in Israeli prison on Wednesday. According to sources, Lama al-Bakri was sentenced to prison and was ordered to pay a 6,000 shekel ($1,715) fine. Al-Bakri was initially detained in Dec. 2015 after she allegedly attempted a stabbing attack near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron in southern occupied West Bank. Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured al-Bakri at the time.
Elor Azarya released from prison on 4-day furlough for Rosh Hashanah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Former Israeli soldier Elor Azarya, convicted of manslaughter for shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron in 2016, was released from prison for a four-day furlough for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, according to Israeli media reports. Israel’s Channel 20 reported that Azarya was granted the furlough that started 8 a.m. Wednesday and that he will return to prison 9 a.m. on Sunday, according to a translation in English by Israel National News. According to the report, Israeli soldiers are usually only granted furloughs from prison after serving a third of their sentence. Azaraya began serving his 18-month sentence only last month. The report cited Azarya’s lawyer Yoram Sheftel as saying that for “the first time since the beginning affair” — since Azarya was caught on video shooting Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif in the head at point-blank range — Israeli military authorities treated his client fairly, by granting the furlough. “Let us hope that this is a swallow which heralds the arrival of spring and a significant relief from the army’s punishment,” Sheftel reportedly said….
Palestinian women and girls: 5 administrative detainees, 58 women prisoners and 10 minor girls in Israeli jails
Samidoun 19 Sept — Sabah Faraoun, Palestinian Jerusalemite seamstress and mother who is held without charge or trial under administrative detention, was issued a final order for three months in administrative detention on 19 September 2017. She has been repeatedly ordered to different periods in administrative detention since she was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 19 June 2016. Her administrative detention order has been renewed six times for periods ranging from one to four months; administrative detention orders are generally indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have been jailed for years at a time without charge or trial. She is one of five Palestinian women held in administrative detention, among over 450 total administrative detainees and 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners. This final order means that her administrative detention will not be renewed upon its expiration.
The other four Palestinian women held in administrative detention are former prisoner Ihsan Dababseh, Afnan Abu Haniyeh, Palestinian leftist parliamentarian and national leader Khalida Jarrar and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees president Khitam Saafin.
Also on Tuesday, 19 September, an Israeli military court sentenced Ahlam al-Mahlouk, 19, from the village of Qarawat Bani Zeid near Ramallah, to six months and one day in prison for “incitement,” for posting on social media. She was seized by Israeli occupation forces who invaded her home on 16 June 2017 as she was in the midst of planning for her upcoming wedding….
Three Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike including isolated Anas Shadid
Samidoun 19 Sept — Three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are currently on hunger strike, reported Asra Voice on Tuesday, 19 September. Anas Shadid, 21, from the village of Dura near al-Khalil and former long-term hunger striker who engaged in an 90-day hunger strike to win his release from administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, is on his sixth day of hunger strike. He was once again seized by Israeli occupation forces on 14 June and ordered to administrative detention for a six-month indefinitely renewable period. He is one of over 450 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention. He was ordered to solitary confinement in Hadarim prison and launched his hunger strike to demand an end to his isolation and administrative detention, reported his brother, Abdel-Majid Shadid.
Ahmad Salameh al-Sawarkeh, from Gaza City, also is on hunger strike for the fourth day after he remains jailed in Israeli prisons; his sentence expired one year ago, in September 2016. He had been detained since 16 March 2009 and sentenced to seven and a half years in Israeli prisons. Last year, he was told that he would be released to Sinai as an Egyptian, but he has rejected this and demands to be released to Gaza City where he lived before his arrest with his wife from Deir al-Balah. He is now demanding his release to Gaza.
Sheikh Izzadine Amarneh, 55, who is blind, was detained by Israeli occupation forces from his home in the village of Ya‘abed south of Jenin on 10 September. He was ordered to administrative detention on 18 September without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence and launched his hunger strike on 18 September demanding his freedom. A former prisoner, he has been held in the past for 6 years in Israeli jails.
Residency / Citizenship
How Israel robs Palestinians of citizenship
Electronic Intifada 19 Sept by Jonathan Cook — Israel has quietly revoked the citizenship of thousands of members of its large Palestinian minority in recent years, highlighting that decades of demographic war against Palestinians are far from over. The policy, which only recently came to light, is being implemented by Israel’s population registry, a department of the interior ministry. The registry has been regularly criticized for secrecy about its rules for determining residency and citizenship. According to government data, some 2,600 Palestinian Bedouins are likely to have had their Israeli citizenship voided. Officials, however, have conceded that the figure may be much higher. The future offspring of those stripped of citizenship are likely to suffer problems gaining citizenship too. Human rights groups have severely criticized Israel for violating its own laws, as well as international conventions to which it is a party, in carrying out such revocations. Sawsan Zaher, a lawyer with Adalah, a legal center for Israel’s Palestinian minority, told The Jerusalem Post newspaper: “This policy is illegal and in contravention to international law because you cannot leave someone stateless.” Palestinian citizens, one in five of Israel’s population, are descended from Palestinians who survived a mass ethnic cleansing campaign waged during Israel’s creation in 1948. Today, some 200,000 Bedouins live in Israel, most of them in a semi-desert area known as the Naqab. One of the two fastest-growing groups in Israel’s population, the Bedouins have faced especially harsh treatment. Israel continued expelling them to Jordan, Egypt and Gaza through the 1950s and to this day tightly limits the areas in the Naqab where the Bedouins can live. Revelations of the revocations emerged as Ayelet Shaked, the far-right justice minister, warned Israel’s judges to prioritize demographic concerns and maintenance of the state’s Jewishness over human rights. She called growing numbers of non-Jews in the state “national challenges” that risked turning a Jewish state into “an empty symbol.”….
Political activist Rasmea Odeh a symbol of deportation’s many faces
Chicago Sun-Times 20 Sept by Maudlyne Ihejirika — Rasmea Odeh was deported Tuesday. The 70-year-old Palestinian immigrant, whose U.S. citizenship was revoked by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for not disclosing having served time as a prisoner in Israel, didn’t cry until the end, only after ICE refused her huge crowd of supporters entry into the airport. Before that, Odeh was staunchly defiant, the etched lines of her set countenance only occasionally twitching during a three-hour O’Hare Airport send-off for the political activist who became symbolic of a cause — Palestine liberation — her case gaining notoriety worldwide. “Up until this very moment, I didn’t believe they will throw me out of the place I’ve spent over 23 years, separate me from the people whom I love and they love me,” she said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times … Odeh has waged a four-year legal battle to stay in the U.S. since her immigration case began in October 2013. She was indicted for failing to disclose she was convicted in 1969 of participating in a deadly terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, served 10 years, and was released in a prisoner exchange in 1979. Odeh and her supporters have maintained her confession was a false one extracted under torture … “Jordan was not my choice. It was the passport they said they will give me when I get to the airport,” she said. “I used to have people in Jordan, but it’s been years. I don’t know who’s there, what’s there. I’ll have to find and make a place for myself in my community, which is not easy at my age, rebuilding a life at 70 years old?”
Hamas fighter dies during training exercise in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — the Hamas movement’s military wing — died in a “training accident” on Tuesday in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. The ministry identified the fighter as 24-year-old Hani Faraj Muhammad Shluf. The brigades later released a statement confirming Shluf’s involvement in the group and his death, though they did not clarify the exact circumstances of his death. Shluf was the third Hamas fighter to die over the past week. Two fighters died last week during a tunnel collapse.
Israeli navy abducts two fishermen in Gaza waters
IMEMC 18 Sept — Israeli navy ships attacked, on Monday morning, several fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters in the Sudaniyya area northwest of Gaza city, abducted two fishermen, and confiscated their boat. One of the fishermen who witnessed the Israeli assault told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the navy ships fired many live rounds at the fishing boats, less than four nautical miles from the shore. He added that the navy then abducted two fishermen, and took them along with their boat to Ashdod Port, near Gaza.
Two meals and two fields: At the intersection of hunger and labor
RAMALLAH (Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP)) 20 Sept — “My favorite dish is fish,” said Muath Ghalia. At 12 years old, he is well versed in the challenges of producing and eating food in the Gaza Strip. “The last time I ate it was four or five months ago, I don’t remember clearly,” he added. Muath and his family of eight depend on the two acres of agricultural land his father rents in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, for their vegetable intake. Muath and his brother eat only two meals a day, lunch and dinner, while putting in long hours between school and the farm. “We do not have breakfast,” he explained to Defense for Children International – Palestine, “because we wake up early and go directly to work.” Lunch typically consists of potatoes or tomatoes, fried, to add in extra calories. Although hungry, Muath said he is at times too exhausted to eat. “Sometimes I skip dinner and go to bed once I come home from work because I am very tired.” Most of the family’s meals are vegetarian by default. The family rarely eats chicken, red meat, or fish. “Red meat costs 40 NIS ($11) per kilo, explained Muath’s father, Raed Ghalia. “I can’t afford it.” With little in hand, the World Food Programme (WFP) provides the family with much needed food assistance. “We receive four bags of wheat, five kilos [11lbs] of lentils, five kilos [11lbs] of sesame oil and five kilos [11lbs] of chickpeas every three to four months,” said Ghalia. The assistance goes a long way in staving off malnutrition. Even so, the diet it allows is fairly limited, putting the family’s eating schedule on repeat mode. “The last meal I had was lentils. We had lentils yesterday as well,” Muath told DCIP….
Refuge for some, Gaza’s corniche is a lifeline for others
GAZA CITY (EI) 18 Sept by Mousa Tawfiq — Khalid Abu Hasira takes his family to Gaza City’s beach each week. “Coming to the beach on Fridays is a tradition for every ordinary family,” the 36-year-old taxi driver said. For the two million Palestinians living in the besieged enclave, the sea is their only refuge. “No electricity, no clean water, and a very hot summer. We have no choice but to come here,” Abu Hasira said. But even enjoyment of the sea, Gaza’s crown jewel, hasn’t been spared the misery inflicted on every aspect of life here. Because of chronic power cuts, 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage are pumped into the sea each day, leaving the water polluted and the beaches health hazards. Middle and upper class families now prefer going to inland vacation homes with swimming pools at a cost of up to $200 a day. Poorer families have no choice but to enjoy the coast from the corniche, avoiding the beaches. “We sit on the corniche far from the sea. The sea smells bad and we won’t take any risk by swimming in sewage,” Abu Hasira said.
As a result of the current situation and the unemployment rates in Gaza – believed to be among the highest in the world – hundreds of people have taken to selling refreshments at the corniche. The corniche, built in 2012, has become one the most vibrant public spaces in Gaza – and a lifeline for some. Ashraf Abu Qamar sold his wife’s last gold ring to pay for a small stall on Gaza’s corniche. The 36-year-old had worked in construction until he was blinded in the left eye during an on-the-job accident. “I had to find a solution,” the father of nine said. Every afternoon, Abu Qamar goes to his stand where he sells hot drinks. “The economic situation is bad. If a young man wants to go to a café, he will pay $3.50 to drink a cup of coffee,” he said. “Here, he can drink coffee and sit on the corniche for a dollar.” Abu Qamar is helped by his 16-year-old son and brother. “I give each of them $3 a day. We make around $15 a day. On Fridays, we can make $25,” he said….
Israeli firms seek hi-tech help — in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 20 Sept by Joe Dyke — When Dan Leubitz needed a contractor for a project with his Israeli tech firm, one address in the list of tenders caught his eye: Gaza. It was 2015, only a year after Israel fought a brutal war with Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, leaving 2,251 Palestinians killed and 74 dead on the Israeli side. Leubitz’s rapidly growing firm Innitel was scouting for a contractor in low-cost, highly skilled tech hubs such as eastern Europe and India. But the Israeli-American had never considered looking in a territory just 50 miles away. The Israeli and Gazan firms have since formed an unlikely alliance, doing business worth around $10,000 (8,300 euros) a month. “Now friends at other companies ask me ‘do you have the guy’s number?'” said Leubitz, whose firm provides cloud-based call centre software. It is not uncommon for hi-tech companies from the West Bank, the other part of the Palestinian territories run by Hamas’s secular rival Fatah, to work directly with Israeli counterparts. But in Gaza, which has seen three wars with Israel since 2008, it is almost unheard of. Hamas executes Gazans for “collaborating” with Israel, while the Jewish state maintains a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave and designates Hamas a terrorist organisation. Yet the online nature of the tech industry largely avoids the Israeli restrictions that limit trade in other sectors. Leubitz’s partner firm has now expanded to work with a number of Israeli companies….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel demolishes Palestinian home in Jerusalem-area village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Israeli bulldozers on Monday demolished a Palestinian residential building in the village of al-Zaayyem, located in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, according to Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that Israeli forces arrived to the building, owned by Muhammad al-Sairy, and cordoned off the area before bulldozers proceeded to demolish the building. The building was demolished under the pretext of not having a nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permit. Wafa added that al-Zaayyem is located in Area B, the parts of the West Bank under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.
Israeli forces demolish car-wash workshop in Shu‘fat
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 19 Sept – Israeli occupation authorities’ bulldozers Tuesday demolished a car-wash workshop in East Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Shu‘fat. Voice of Palestine correspondent said Israeli forces cordoned the area off before they demolished the facility, bringing the total number of Palestinian homes and structures demolished in East Jerusalem since the first of September to 105.
Soldiers uproot West Bank crops
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Sept — Israeli forces, on Wednesday, uprooted dozens of fruit trees and leveled Palestinian land west of West Bank city of Nablus. Tareq Hazzaa, owner of the land, said that a bulldozer escorted by Israeli Civil Administration forces razed more than 50 fig and lemon trees that were bearing fruit. He said he was told, by occupation forces, that the work was undertaken to expand the main Nablus-Tulkarem road near the Beit Lid crossroads, and to create a roundabout in the area. The land owner said that the Israeli occupation leveled about two dunams out of his four-dunam piece of land, according to Days of Palestine. Israeli forces and settlers regularly attack olive and fruit trees in a bid to oust Palestinian farmers from their land, and a loss of a year’s crops can cause destitution for farming families. Beit Lid is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement Einav, and hundreds of fruit trees have been uprooted in the area, over the years, on land confiscated from the Palestinian village for development of the settlement.
Liberman: West Bank settlements are necessary for Israel’s defense
JPost 18 Sept by Tovar Lazaroff — West Bank settlements ensure Israel’s security even in the era when Israel is under threat from missile and cyber attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday evening. “From my perspective, it’s clear that the settlements in Judea and Samaria and those here in the area of Jericho and the Dead Sea are the State of Israel’s true defensive wall,” Liberman said. This is true “even in the cyber age and the missile era,” Liberman said. He spoke during a Jewish New Year toast with settler leaders in the Vered Yeriho settlement, which overlooks the Palestinian city of Jericho. “At the end of the day, what is determinative is who is in the field. The settlements have always been the pioneers of the pioneers of [Israel’s] security,” Liberman said. “In this way, nothing has changed since the time of the ‘tower and the stockade,’” Liberman said. Liberman gave a rousing speech in defense of the settlement movement on the eve of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Sunday. The Palestinians have insisted that settlement activity is a stumbling block to peace and the US has frowned on such building. But Liberman, who himself lives in the Nokdim settlement in Gush Etzion, promised to continue supporting Jewish building in the West Bank. The minister explained that he had done more for settlement building than anyone else in the last 17 years, which includes granting official status to the municipal committee that governs Hebron’s Jewish community….
Ministry condemns Israeli decision to expand arms possession system
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 Sept — Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on Wednesday strongly condemned a decision by Israel’s minister of public security, Gilad Erdan, to expand the system granting Israelis firearm licenses, which would allow them to kill more Palestinians under the pretext of attempting attacks. The Ministry said in a press statement that this dangerous decision stems from a large-scale campaign of incitement and hatred launched by Israel’s extremist right-wing movement against Palestinians. The Ministry held Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, fully responsible for the consequences of this decision, calling on the various human rights organizations to work to stop this decision and expose the Israeli criminal policies pursued against Palestinians.
Hebrew media sources on Tuesday revealed that Erdan has decided to allow more Israelis to have firearms possession licenses, claiming that this decision would contribute to confronting Palestinian resistance attacks. Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the decision will even include the graduates of combat units who have finished their military service. According to the paper, before Erdan’s decision was issued, only Israeli officers of high ranks were allowed to possess and carry weapons outside the military barracks.
Drowning in the waste of Israeli settlers
SALFIT, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 18 Sept by Jaclynn Ashly — Some 19 million cubic metres of wastewater from Israeli settlements flows through the occupied West Bank each year — Jamal Hammad remembers when the al-Matwa spring in Salfit city was a popular destination for locals. Several decades ago, the area would often be crowded with Palestinians hiking in the valley and families picnicking alongside the clear, flowing stream. Now, however, the sewage flowing through the spring, the rancid smell that engulfs the valley, and the mosquitoes swarming the area have left the valley largely deserted. “All of this waste is coming from Israel’s settlements; mostly from the Ariel settlement,” Hammad told Al Jazeera on his modest farm adjacent to the spring. “We are very worried about what long-term effects this pollution will have on our future.”
The issue of waste management has been ongoing for decades in the occupied West Bank. Last year, some 83 million cubic metres of wastewater flowed throughout the occupied West Bank, of which approximately 19 million cubic meters originated from Israeli settlements built on Palestinian territory in violation of international law, according to the Knesset Research Institute. Alon Cohen-Lifshitz, a researcher for the Israeli NGO Bimkom, tells Al Jazeera that many Israeli settlements do not have proper waste treatment facilities. About 12 percent of settlement sewage remains untreated and travels down into streams near Palestinian communities. “This is caused by the fact that Israel declared uncultivated land in the West Bank, which is usually on the hilltops, as ‘state land,'” during the Israeli military takeover of the territory in 1967, Lifshitz explained. “Taking over the hilltops also made it so Israel could easily control the area.” These areas are where Israeli settlements were subsequently constructed. Palestinian communities are severely affected by settler-produced waste owing to many of their villages having been forced to move to lower agricultural lands after Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory. Therefore, “the sewage issue is a side effect of Israel’s matrix of control in the West Bank,” Lifshitz added … B’Tselem’s report noted that the pollution had caused the local extinction of several species that had once inhabited the area, including deer, rabbits, and foxes. Boars are now the only animals left alive there, according to the group….
Israel annexes four new villages, increases civil administration employees
RAMALLAH (PNN) 18 Sept — Israeli announced its plan to dismantle four Palestinian villages near Ramallah, northern West Bank, and relocate their residents to the West Bank town of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, saying it will take care of changing and adjusting the population’s papers, including IDs and permits. The villages, Beit Leqya, Beit Sira, Tira and Kharbata al-Mesbah, are all located on the opposite side of the settlement road known as 443. This road and the separation of the four villages will cause separating the central part of the West Bank from its southern areas. In addition, the construction of the alternative Amihai settlement outpost which will replace Amona will cause separating the north part of the West Bank from its surroundings. Therefore, the relocation process, and the settlement construction will cause completely dividing the West Bank into two parts. These Israeli actions bring to mind the Israeli “four regions” plan that the occupation wants to impose on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and then dividing the West Bank into two areas, north and south, and finally keeping the center independent…..
Hamas asks Abbas to lift Gaza sanctions after disbanding shadow government
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) 19 Sept by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Hamas called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to respond to the disbanding of its shadow government in the Gaza Strip by ending his sanctions on the impoverished enclave. Following Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks with Abbas’s Western-backed Fatah faction, Islamist Hamas said on Sunday it would dissolve its Gaza “administrative committee” to enable the president’s administration to retake control. The announcement promised relief for Gazans who, under a decade of Hamas rule, have endured poverty, three wars with Israel and Cairo’s cold shoulder. Yet implementation may hinge on power-sharing negotiations that stymied previous unity bids. “We have taken practical steps on the ground. The administrative committee no longer functions in Gaza and we are ready, starting now, to welcome the government of national consensus,” Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh told reporters. Speaking after crossing into Gaza from Egypt, Haniyeh said he spoke with Abbas by phone, telling him: “Our people expect you to suspend and cancel the measures and begin a dialogue.” Aiming to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Abbas in June cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to the enclave, leading to power being provided for less than four hours on some days, and never more than six hours a day. Abbas has also slashed by 30 percent the salaries of some 60,000 Gazans employed by his Palestinian Authority. Abbas, who is at the U.N. general assembly, on Sunday welcomed the Hamas overture and said he would convene the Palestinian leadership for further discussion on his return.
Hamas bends over backwards yet EU retains snub
EI 19 Sept by Ali Abunimah — Far-reaching compromises by Hamas have been met in recent months with a firm wall of intransigence, both from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and from the so-called international community – especially the European Union. Yet with few other options, the political and resistance organization persists in revising long held positions in the slim hope that its flexibility will be reciprocated. On Monday, recently elected Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh phoned Abbas to “assure him of the positive atmosphere prevailing in the Palestinian political arena since the movement announced on Sunday the dissolution of the administrative committee” in Gaza In a repeat of countless failed “reconciliations,” Haniyeh once again declared his movement’s readiness to go ahead with long delayed legislative and presidential elections in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas had formed the administrative committee earlier this year as a de facto government for Gaza, the coastal territory that has been under a devastating Israeli blockade for a decade. Hamas charged that the PA-run “national consensus government” was not doing its job. Dissolving the administrative committee has been one of Abbas’ demands in his ongoing campaign to wrest control of Gaza back from Hamas, which soundly defeated his Fatah faction in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections.
Whose coup? Abbas and his international backers consider Hamas’ rule in Gaza to be illegitimate, accusing it of a coup. There was a coup attempt, however it was not by Hamas, but against it. Following its 2006 election victory, Hamas was never allowed to fully exercise its mandate. Israel and its allies, principally the United States, worked to undermine the Hamas-led PA government in order to restore power exclusively to Abbas …
People in Gaza fervently hope that a reconciliation could relieve the suffocating siege … Yet there is little reason to believe that this reconciliation will prove any more successful than previous efforts. None of those agreements have dealt with a fundamental, structural contradiction: Abbas and his PA are committed to collaboration with the Israeli occupation, under the banner of “security coordination,” while Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. The PA prime minister who will now supposedly run Gaza from Ramallah, Rami Hamdallah, appears for friendly photo ops with senior officers of the Israeli occupation army. Meanwhile, Hamas’ military wing is undoubtedly preparing to defend Gaza against the next Israeli invasion. Under such circumstances, “unity” is impossible; it can only be achieved if one side definitively abandons collaboration, or the other definitively surrenders to the occupation and hands in its resistance weapons. Neither outcome is likely.
Palestinian president Abbas says peace closer with Trump engaged
NEW YORK (Reuters) 20 Sept by Jeff Mason, Yara Bayoumi — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed optimism on Wednesday about reaching a peace agreement with Israel this year and said U.S. President Donald Trump’s commitment to the issue would help create the “deal of the century” in the region. Abbas met Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders in New York and thanked him for his support. “If this is any proof to anything … it attests to the seriousness of your Excellency, Mr. President, to achieve the deal of the century in the Middle East during this year or in the coming months, God willing,” Abbas said through an interpreter. Trump said his team of advisers was working very hard on the issue, as were Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nations. “I think we have a very, very good chance, and I certainly will devote everything within my heart and within my soul to get that deal made,” Trump said.
Majority of Palestinians fear loss of liberty in PA, poll shows
Times of Israel/AP 19 Sept by Dov Lieber — Two-thirds of West Bank and Gaza residents want Abbas to resign; jailed Barghouti would win a presidential election against the current leader and Hamas’s Haniyeh — The vast majority of Palestinians are worried about the Palestinian Authority’s recent crackdown on freedom of speech, a poll published on Tuesday showed … According to the poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in light of an increase in the detention of journalists and activists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 80 percent of those surveyed said they are worried about the future of liberties in the Palestinian territories. The level of worry was higher in the PA-ruled West Bank, at 85%, than in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where it is 71% … The PA faced harsh pushback after its security forces arrested the prominent Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who largely works against the Israeli presence in the West Bank city of Hebron … The poll said 81% of Palestinians surveyed believe that the PA does not have the right to arrest activists such as Amro just because they criticize the behavior of the PA, while 14% believe the PA has the right to arrest its critics … Abbas’s popularity among Palestinians continues to plummet, the poll showed, with 67% of those surveyed saying they want him to resign — 60% of those in the West Bank and 80% in the Gaza Strip. The dip in Abbas’s popularity in Gaza, the poll’s authors said, was likely due to the series of punitive measures taken against the Strip to force Hamas to cede power, including cutting payments for electricity and salaries to government workers. If presidential elections were held today between Abbas, jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Abbas would receive 20%, Barghouti 43%, and Haniyeh 33%, according to the poll. The survey interviewed 1,270 adults face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. The margin of error is 3%.
More Palestinians seek Abbas resignation; skeptical of Trump
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 19 Sept — A poll indicates that 67 percent of Palestinians demand the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas, up 5 points from June, and that three-quarters believe the Trump administration isn’t serious about an Israel-Palestinian peace deal. The survey among 1,270 Palestinians was published Tuesday, a day ahead of a Trump-Abbas meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll had an error margin of 3 percentage points. President Donald Trump said this week that his administration is “working very hard” toward a deal, but hasn’t publicly supported establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel or offered another path forward. Tuesday’s poll says 52 percent of Palestinians still support a two-state solution, but 57 percent say it’s no longer feasible because of Israeli settlement expansion.
Abbas at UN calls for end to ‘apartheid’ for Palestinians
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 20 Sept by Carole Landry — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas called Wednesday for an end to the “apartheid” that he said Israel had imposed on the Palestinians. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Abbas pledged to give peace efforts undertaken by US President Donald Trump a chance, but warned the new US-led drive must not jettison the two-state solution. “If the two-state solution were to be destroyed due to the creation of a one-state reality with two systems – apartheid – … this would be failure,” Abbas said in a nearly 45-minute speech. “Can the world accept an apartheid regime in the 21st century?” he asked. Quoting Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and a staunch supporter of Palestinian statehood, Abbas told the assembly that the international community must do for the Palestinians what was achieved for South Africa. “We are entrusted and you are entrusted to end apartheid in Palestine,” he said. Taking the podium a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas slammed Israel over the construction of new settlements “everywhere,” saying they were putting the two-state solution in jeopardy. “There is no place left for the state of Palestine and this is not acceptable,” he said….
FULL TEXT: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ address to UN General Assembly
Haaretz 20 Sept — Abbas tells world leaders Israel continues to obstruct peace efforts, warns of an approaching one-state reality and of a Palestinian Authority ‘without any authority’ —Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, twenty-four years have passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords, an interim agreement that set a five-year period for bringing an end to the Israeli occupation, granting hope to the Palestinian people that they would soon achieve independence within their state and achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis. What is left of this hope today? We recognized the state of Israel on the 1967 borders. But Israel’s continuous refusal to recognize these borders has put into question the mutual recognition we signed in Oslo in 1993.…
Palestinian rights groups hand dossier on Israel to court
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) 20 Sept by Mike Corder — Palestinian human rights lawyers and activists on Wednesday handed a 700-page dossier to the International Criminal Court alleging that Israeli authorities are responsible for crimes including apartheid and persecution in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The documents are an attempt to provide evidence for an ongoing preliminary probe opened in 2015 by prosecutors at the global court into crimes committed on Palestinian territories. The so-called preliminary examination aims to establish if there are sufficient grounds for opening a full-scale investigation into alleged crimes by Israel, but also by Palestinians, during and since the 2014 Gaza conflict. Shawan Jabarin, director of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, said in a statement that the dossier includes evidence that Israel forcibly removes Palestinians from the territories and replaces them with Israeli settlers. “The communication to the International Criminal Court offers hope that anybody that commits crimes against Palestinians will be held to account,” Jabarin said. “We are convinced that there can be no lasting and genuine peace without justice.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry was studying the submission and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Egypt’s Sisi urges Palestinians to unite, co-exist with Israelis
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 19 Sept – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged Palestinians to overcome their differences and be ready to co-exist with each other and with Israelis in safety and security. “I tell the Palestinian people it’s extremely important … to overcome the differences and not to lose opportunities and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis in safety and security,” Sisi told the annual U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders in New York. Following Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Western-backed Fatah faction, Islamist Hamas said on Sunday it would dissolve its “administrative committee” to enable Abbas’ administration to retake control in the Gaza Strip. Hamas urged Abbas on Tuesday to respond by ending his sanctions on the impoverished enclave. Addressing the Israelis, Sisi said: “We have an excellent experience in Egypt in peace with you for longer than 40 years.” “We can repeat this experience and this excellent step once again – the peace and security of the Israeli citizens together with the peace and security of the Palestinian citizens,” Sisi told the 193-member General Assembly to a round of applause. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani also appealed on Tuesday, during his speech to the General Assembly, for the Palestinians “to complete national reconciliation and unify positions and words in confronting the dangers and challenges facing the Palestinian cause and the future of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian search and rescue team arrives in hurricane-devastated Cuba
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — An urban search and rescue team from the Palestinian Civil Defense arrived in Cuba on Monday as a part of a humanitarian mission, according to a statement from the group. The statement said that the team was dispatched upon orders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister and Interior Minister Rami Hamdallah in response to Hurricane Irma, which left the island of Cuba devastated in its wake. The rescue team is comprised of ten Civil Defense officers, who specialize in different forms of search and rescue. [WAFA” The team alsol also includes ambulance and emergency staff and specialized physicians and surgeons, particularly in pediatrics, chest and vascular surgery, and orthopedics ] The duration of the team’s mission in Cuba has not been determined due to the immense amount of damaged caused by the hurricane. The Civil Defense highlighted that they are currently building a permanent rescue team to aid members of the international community in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Israel’s population reaches 8.7 million ahead of Rosh Hashanah
Israel Hayom 19 Sept — On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s population stands at 8.743 million, of which 6.523 million, or 74.6%, are Jews and 1.824 million, or 20.9%, are Arabs, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday. Permanent residents who, according to the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry, are neither Jewish nor Arab – including most non-Jewish immigrants, many of whom are non-Arab Christians or have no religious affiliation – comprise some 396,000 people (4.5%). According to new CBS data, 25,977 immigrants made aliyah in 2016, 57% of whom moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Another 17% came from France and 11% emigrated from the United States. Some 181,405 babies were born over the past year. The overall fertility rate is Israel stood at 3.11% – the highest among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. While 53,579 couples wed, 14,487 divorced that same year. According to the data, 44% of Israelis defined themselves as secular, 22% said they were “somewhat observant,” 13% said they were observant, 11% defined themselves as religious and 10% identified as ultra-Orthodox….
Your Call: Storytellers confront Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza
KALW Public Radio (San Francisco) 18 Sept by Rose Aguilar & Malihe Razazan — June marked the 50th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. After visiting the occupied territories, renowned novelists and essayists Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman marked the anniversary by inviting international writers to bear witness to the human cost of the occupation and share their experiences. We’ll speak with Ayelet Waldman and Palestinian writer Fida Jiryis about the new book Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation. Guests: Fida Jiryis, Palestinian writer and business consultant based in Ramallah; Ayelet Waldman, essayist and co-editor of Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation
Jewish Agency pulls funding from Israel Experience program over West Bank activism
Haaretz 19 Sept by Judy Maltz — The Jewish Agency will cut funding to an educational program for Jewish young adults from North America after its participants were discovered spending time this summer at an anti-occupation protest camp in the West Bank, where activists would occasionally clash with Israeli troops. Hashomer Hatzair, the left-wing Zionist youth movement that supervised the program, was informed of the decision several days ago. A formal letter of notification was expected on Monday.
The program in question, Achvat Amim (“Solidarity of Nations”), recruits international volunteers to work with Israeli organizations dedicated to human rights and Jewish-Arab coexistence. Last month, Ad Kan, a right-wing Israeli organization that targets human rights and anti-occupation activists, published a report accusing Achvat Amim participants of provoking Israeli soldiers during visits they paid to the Sumud Freedom Camp in the South Hebron Hills this summer….
Opinion: Israel’s message to US Jews: If you’re against the occupation, you’re not welcome / Libby Lenkinski
Haaretz 20 Sept — …This week the Jewish Agency for Israel withdrew its funding for Achvat Amim, a Masa-funded program overseen by Hashomer Hatzair based on spurious allegations by a shadowy group called Ad Kan. Ad Kan is an arm of the most extreme elements of Israel’s settler movement. It has been called “Israel’s volunteer thought police,” a group that recruits Israelis to become citizen-spies, reporting on their fellow Israelis in a two-bit McCarthyist attempt to weed out anyone who doesn’t fit their vision of an Israel for Jews only. Armed with hidden cameras and microphones, Ad Kan members lie about their identities, join left-wing organizations and try to capture “gotcha” moments with members. Other times they scrutinize and “investigate” individual activists and then offer their deceptive material to Israel’s mainstream news. In this case, Ad Kan was incensed that Jews would participate in nonviolent activism alongside Palestinians in the West Bank. So they got to work identifying individual activists to name, shame, and blame. This is the settler-Right’s tried and true tactic: guilt by association….
First permanent US military base established inside IAF base
Israel Hayom 19 Sept by Lilach Shoval — The U.S. Army on Monday dedicated a new military base inside the Israeli Air Force’s Aerial Defense School base near Kibbutz Mashabei Sade in the Negev. The base will serve dozens of U.S. Army personnel serving in Israel and is the first permanent American base on Israeli soil. A decade ago, the U.S. military built a communications facility for the coordinated defense of Israel. In the past, the facility was run by both American military personnel and contractors, but the contractors were eventually replaced by soldiers as part of a larger process the U.S. military underwent. The IDF said that the new base was established thanks to specialized infrastructure and coordination between officials from the IAF and the U.S. Army … Air Defense Commander Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich said that this is the first time the U.S. Army has had a closed base with a U.S. Army flag flying inside an IDF base, which represents years of military collaboration and strategic commitment between the countries. “This is a historic, exciting and important moment that adds another pillar to the defense of the State of Israel,” he said.
White House to help Israel and Palestine in joint effort on water contamination
CBS News 19 Sept by Katiana Krawchenko — The Trump administration says the U.S. will join Israel and the Palestinian Authority on an issue seen as a rare place of common ground in the area: water contamination. “Contaminated water is the single largest cause of illness and disease among infants in Gaza – think about that for a moment,” Jason Greenblatt, the White House Middle East envoy, said in a speech Monday in New York City. Parents in Gaza cannot even give their children a drink of water without exposing them to significant risks.” “Israel and the Palestinian Authority have both identified wastewater treatment and reuse in the West Bank and Gaza as a priority issue,” he added. “I am pleased to announce that the United States will join them in this endeavor by working to advance a plan that transforms the wastewater treatment and reuse sector in the West Bank and Gaza.” Water has been one inroad in the Trump administration’s efforts to help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and an issue Greenblatt has been involved with for months. In July, Greenblatt facilitated a water-sharing agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to help provide additional water to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in addition to Jordan. But this is an entirely separate move, according to a White House official, which involves developing a comprehensive wastewater treatment and reuse strategy, as well as a mechanism to fast-track the identified projects…
A journey through West Bank’s best produce: #usaidwbg storytelling series
Medium 12 Sept by Sahar Kalifa — A compilation of visual narratives from the field. The fertile soil of the West Bank provides an ideal landscape for dozens of crops. Recognizing its potential, USAID invests in the Palestinian agriculture sector and partners with farmers to boost the local economy. For several years, USAID has helped Palestinian people grow more and better food: partnering with farmers who are innovators and entrepreneurs; providing the knowledge, tools and skills to compete in a global economy; introducing innovative technologies to reduce water use; raising the quality and quantity of produce; and bringing Palestinian exports to the world … Parsley, thyme and basil: USAID started investing in the herb sector in 2008 with five farmers. Within three years, the number of herbs farmers in the West Bank rose to 23. When pests threatened to halt exports of fresh Palestinian herbs in 2010, USAID helped integrate modern technologies to reduce pest infestation and production costs, while raising the quality of the herbs to internationally recognized standards. While the Palestinian fresh herb industry was almost nonexistent in 2008, today it employs more than 1,200 people. USAID has helped Palestinian herbs reach new markets. USAID works with 90 percent of the herb farmers in the West Bank, whose exports nearly tripled in two years….