Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Clashes continue in Bethlehem, ‘Aida refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Israeli soldiers violently suppressed protests in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem for the third day in a row on Saturday, firing tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets at locals. Dozens of people were treated for severe tear-gas inhalation while others were injured with sponge bullets. Clashes had broken out at around 8 a.m. near the Israeli separation wall at the northern end of the city, as Palestinians — mostly young men — continued protesting against Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Confrontations continued throughout the afternoon. Locals told Ma‘an around 4 p.m. that fierce clashes had erupted in the nearby ‘Aida refugee camp after some Palestinian youth set fire to an unmanned Israeli military watchtower in the camp. Soldiers responded by showering the camp with gas.
The events in ‘Aida tonight come a month after Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl delivered a speech saying that “health experts suggests residents of Bethlehem’s ‘Aida camp are exposed to more tear gas than any other population surveyed globally.”
Two Palestinians shot in Bethlehem as clashes continue over embassy move
MEE/Agencies 10 Dec — Two Palestinians were shot following clashes in the West Bank on Sunday as protesters continue to react to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The two men approached an Israeli military watchtower at the northern end of Bethlehem. As they approached the wall, Israeli soldiers from the tower fired live ammunition at them. Two eyewitnesses who work at a nearby restaurant told Middle East Eye they heard shots fired and saw one injured young man running away from the tower, through the al-‘Azza refugee camp towards the main road, where a civilian car picked him up and took him to the hospital. The eyewitnesses ran towards the second injured Palestinian, who was bleeding on the ground, and carried him to al-‘Azza camp, from where locals took him to hospital. MEE contributor Akram al-Wa’ra followed the second car to the hospital, and when he arrived he saw the two injured boys being taken into surgery. Sources from the hospital told MEE that one of the young men was shot once in the leg, while the other was shot four times in the legs.
Israeli army injures dozens of Palestinians in Nablus
IMEMC 11 Dec — The Emergency Services of the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) has reported that Israeli soldiers have injured, Sunday, dozens of Palestinians, including children, in several parts of the northern West Bank governorate of Nablus. It said that six Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and scores suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, near Huwwara roadblock, south of Nablus. One of them is an elderly man, who was hospitalized after suffering the severe effects of teargas inhalation. One child, 14 years of age, was also injured after Israeli soldiers assaulted him in Beit Forik town, southeast of Nablus. He was rushed to Rafidia hospital. At least 44 Palestinians, including women and children, suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation, after the army fired gas bombs at many homes.
In related news, dozens of extremist Israeli colonists from Yitzhar illegal colony, invaded ‘Orif village, south of Nablus, and clashed with dozens of residents who intercepted their attack. Israeli soldiers then invaded the village and fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinians, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Over 50 injured, 9 with live ammunition, in clashes across Palestinian territory
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — The number of injured Palestinians continued to climb on Thursday as clashes with Israeli forces continued to escalate across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
9 injured with live ammunition — According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent, there are upward of 50 injuries in total, nine of which are injuries with live ammunition. Of the live-bullet injuries, four were reported to be in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and five from the Gaza Strip. Also in Ramallah, eight Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Clashes erupt across West Bank — In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, medics told Ma‘an that at least three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets while two, including a young boy, were treated for severe tear-gas inhalation. In the Kafr Qaddum town of the Qalqiliya district in the northern West Bank, five injuries were reported, four of which are tear-gas related, and one with a rubber-coated steel bullet. In Hebron city, clashes erupted following a march in the city. Israeli forces raided the city, firing tear gas and chasing down dozens of Palestinian youths who were throwing stones.
Undercover Israeli soldiers raid rehabilitation center to arrest injured Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 8 Dec — Israeli soldiers dressed as civilians broke into the Arab Society for Rehabilitation in Beit Jala Friday evening, in search of Palestinian youths who were injured during the protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A security source told WAFA, the undercover unit broke into the center in search of injured youths in Friday’s clashes at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, but found no one.”
Youth shot in eye with rubber bullet during Ramallah protest
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Dec — Israeli army forces, Saturday night, shot a young Palestinian man in his eye with a rubber-coated steel bullet, during protests at the northern entrance of the city of al-Bireh. The Ministry of Health said, in a press release, that the man was transferred to the Palestine Medical complex in the city of Ramallah, describing his injury as critical.
Israeli violence against civilians, press continues through weekend in Hebron
Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine (International Solidarity Movement) 9 Dec by al-Khalil Team — …In Hebron, the violence from the Israeli army included the use of numerous rounds of tear gas, sound bombs, rubber coated steel bullets, and live ammunition against the press and civilians, including passing families and the elderly. Soldiers also entered shops and forced businesses to close, causing further disruption to daily civilian life. Some young Palestinians resisted the Israeli army’s invasion using stones, and also by throwing the Israeli army’s own tear gas canisters back towards the soldiers. On Friday alone, between 15 and 20 Palestinian minors were arrested, including at least five that weren’t involved in the clashes, one of which was taken straight from his home. Of the five boys that ISM activists witnessed being arrested, four of them were brutally beaten by large groups of soldiers after they were subdued and handcuffed and posed no threat to the soldiers. As of 5:00 PM on Saturday, two of the boys remained hospitalized due to their injuries.
Israeli forces shoot, injure young Palestinian woman in Ramallah area
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian woman late Friday night after shooting live ammunition at her near the entrance of the town of al-Bireh, adjacent to Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire at the young woman, whose name and age remained unknown, injuring her in the foot. Forces then detained her. It remained unclear why she was shot and detained.
Army vehicle runs over 5-year-old girl in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Dec — A five-year-old Palestinian girl was injured on Sunday, after she was run over by an Israeli military vehicle in the Old City of Hebron. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that a girl [Wafa: Razan Jaber] was hit by an Israeli military jeep, which led to bruises in her legs, adding that she is currently receiving treatment at Hebron Governmental Hospital.
Israeli security guard stabbed and wounded at Jerusalem bus station
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Dec — A Palestinian man allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli security guard at the entrance to the Jerusalem central bus station Sunday, although the motivation behind the attack remains unclear. According to the Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the alleged attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed the security guard before attempting to flee. Security camera footage from the bus station shows a young man removing his jacket, then pulling out an object, presumed to be a knife, and stabbing the guard in the chest, then running off. Israeli police detained 24-year old Yassin Abu al-Qar‘a, from Wadi al-Far‘a area, north of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and charged him with the crime. The injured security guard, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem with a stab wound to his upper body, Magen David Adom (MDA), head of Israel’s national medical emergency service, said on Twitter. Prior to the attack, Abu al-Qar’a had posted something on social media, which Israeli news sources pointed to as a sign that he planned to carry out an attack. The post read, “For the sake of God, for the victory of our country, our Jerusalem, our al-Aqsa”. It did not give any specific indication that he planned to carry out any sort of attack.
Army abducts three young Palestinians in Bil‘in
IMEMC 11 Dec — Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the village of Bil‘in, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted three young Palestinian men. Iyad Burnat, of a senior nonviolent leader of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Bil‘in, said the soldiers abducted his son Abdul-Khaleq, and two of his friends, identified as Hamza Khatib and Malik Radhi. Bil’‘n is a leading village in the popular nonviolent struggle against the Israeli Annexation Wall and colonies, and holds weekly processions in participation with Israeli and international peace activists. The village has been a target of ongoing Israeli military invasions and violations, as the army has been trying to suppress its nonviolent struggle. Besides ongoing invasions and abductions of Palestinians in the village, the army have killed and injured many in the nonviolent protests.
In Photos: Israeli forces violently disperse Palestinians at Damascus Gate
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem were violently dispersed by Israeli forces as they attempted to perform afternoon and sunset prayers outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City on Friday.
Palestinians expel Bahraini delegation from al-Aqsa
MEMO 11 Dec — Al-Aqsa guards expelled today a Bahraini delegation from the mosque’s holy site, local sources reported. The sources added that the move came as the Bahraini delegation was reported to have visited the Jewish state to “normalise and strengthen ties with Israel” and to deliver “message of peace and brotherhood to Israel.” The Bahraini delegation, which arrived in Israel today in a four-day visit for talks with Israeli officials, was sent upon orders from the Bahraini King, Hamad in Isa Al Khalifa. The 24-official delegation includes Bahraini religious figures as well as activists from the “This is Bahrain” party. The visit, which was the first by a Gulf country, came days after the US President Donald Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital.
Israeli organization calls for raids on al-Aqsa
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Dec — Members of the so-called “Temple Mount” movement are publicly calling its followers to participate in wide scale mass raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque, on Sunday, after the US president Donald Trump announced occupied Jerusalem the capital of Israel. According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, followers and settlers were called to participate in mass rallies organized in Jerusalem, Sunday evening, in front of Al-Asbat gate. The aim of the rallies is to legitimize the entry of Israelis into the mosque via all gates and increase the hours of visits to the holy site. Settlers and Israelis used to enter the compound via Moroccan gate, to which the Israeli occupation seized the keys after the 1967 war. Al-Aqsa Mosque is subjected to a series of extremist storm-ins during morning hours and afternoon periods in an attempt to impose the temporal and spatial division plan of the mosque.
4 killed in Gaza after ‘Day of Rage’ against Trump’s Jerusalem announcement
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — As of the predawn hours on Saturday morning, four Palestinians had been declared dead in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian medical sources. The Palestinian Ministry of Health released a statement saying that between Friday afternoon — when large clashes erupted along the border areas with Israel — and early Saturday morning — when Israeli airstrikes targeted alleged Hamas military posts — two Palestinian civilians, and two fighters had been killed.
In the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis, 30-year-old Mahmoud al-Masri was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes along the border. Hundreds of Palestinians had taken to the “buffer zone” near the border with Israel on the so-called “Day of Rage,” following calls by Hamas and other Palestinian factions to protest against and clash with Israeli forces in response to US President Donald Trump’s Wednesday announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Meanwhile, 54-year-old Maher Atallah succumbed to his wounds on Friday evening, after he was shot by Israeli forces near protests in northern Gaza.
Early Saturday morning, before dawn, two Palestinian fighters of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were killed in Israeli strikes targeting an al-Qassam military site. Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health said that ambulance crews were able to find the bodies at the Badr al-Qassam site in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip. Locals identified the two as Mahmoud al-Attal, 28, from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood and Muhammad al-Safadi, 30, from the al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City. Israeli warplanes had targeted three al-Qassam sites in Khan Younis, southern Gaza City and eastern Jabaliya.A six-month-old child was also seriously injured in the airstrike.
Israeli jets attack Gaza amid Jerusalem unrest
Al Jazeera 8 Dec — At least 25 Palestinians, including six children, have been wounded in an Israeli air raid on the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Friday night’s air raid by Israel followed the alleged launching of rockets from inside the Gaza Strip. One was reportedly intercepted by Israel’s US-built Iron Dome missile defence system over the southern Israeli city of Sderot, while the second did not reach Israeli territory. A third rocket, allegedly fired from Gaza, exploded in Sderot, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. No casualties were reported. Palestinian political party Hamas tweeted that Israeli “jet planes target parts of north Gaza”. Israeli media said the targets were Hamas military installations … Images circulating on Twitter appeared to show some of the victims of Friday’s bombing in Gaza, including an infant and an older man. Al Jazeera was unable to confirm if any group in Gaza had claimed responsibility for the rockets.
Hamas vows retaliation to Israeli attacks amid tension
MEMO 10 Dec — The armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas has vowed to respond to recent Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, amid tension over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israel “will pay the price of breaking rules of engagement with the resistance in Gaza,” the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement released on Sunday. Two Palestinians were killed on Saturday when Israeli warplanes carried out raids in the Gaza Strip. Earlier today, Israel announced to have also destroyed a ‘significant’ tunnel coming into Israel from the Gaza Strip. “The coming days will prove to the enemy that it has made a big mistake and miscalculated the resolve of the resistance,” the Brigades said.
Palestinian woman and school student shot, injured in southern Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — At least two Palestinians, one woman and one minor, were shot and injured by Israeli forces in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis on Saturday morning, as Palestinians continued to demonstrate along the border with Israel in protest of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian school students in the eastern area of the town of Khuzaa — along the border with Israel — in southern Gaza. The students had reportedly marched to the border in protest around 9 a.m., and were met with live fire from Israeli forces. One school student was injured and transferred to the Nasser Hospital where his injuries were reported as moderate. His identity remained unknown. Several other students were reportedly treated on the scene for severe tear-gas inhalation.
Around 11:30 a.m., the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that a Palestinian woman had been shot, also in the Khuzaa area, with live ammunition by Israeli forces in the shoulder, and was transferred to the hospital where she was reported to be in moderate condition. Her identity remained unknown.
Palestinian reconciliation hits ‘obstacles’ on deadline, says Fatah
MEE/Agencies 10 Dec — A planned handover of power in Gaza from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority under a landmark reconciliation accord hit “obstacles” on Sunday’s deadline to do so, a top official said. Islamist movement Hamas was originally due to transfer power in the enclave on 1 December under the reconciliation agreement with rival faction Fatah, but that deadline was initially put back by 10 days. Hamas said at the weekend that it was handing over all government ministries to the Palestinian Authority, but Fatah’s top negotiator said that was not yet the case. “There have been obstacles today,” Azzam al-Ahmad said in a statement on Sunday published on official news agency WAFA. “I hope they will be resolved before this evening so our people will feel that their national factions are honest with what they agreed on and pledged.” Ahmad said that, after the handover takes place, a meeting would be held in Cairo – Egypt mediated the reconciliation deal – to discuss next steps.
Hamas warns West Bank arrests could derail reconciliation
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 6 Dec by Ahmad Melhem — Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas moved Nov. 27 to delay the final transfer of power over the Gaza Strip from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority (PA) by 10 days. Under the reconciliation agreement signed in Egypt on Oct. 12, the PA was to take over the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1. On Dec. 2, Egyptian intelligence services urgently summoned to Cairo Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar and Fatah reconciliation official Azzam al-Ahmad to discuss the obstacles hindering the reconciliation. On Nov. 18, Hamas had accused the Palestinian Preventive Security (PPS) in the West Bank of ongoing politically motivated arrests of its members. A committee of families of political prisoners in the West Bank documents on Facebook all of the Hamas members and political activists from other parties arrested or summoned for investigations by the PA on a daily basis. On Oct. 25, following the Oct. 24 rearrest of six Hamas ex-prisoners, the committee denounced the continuing arrests and warned that they may hinder the reconciliation. The committee posted on its Facebook page that on Dec. 4 the PPS arrested Ahmed Shaltaf in Nablus. Shaltaf, a student at the Kadoorie Technical University in the city of Tulkarm, was arrested after being summoned for investigation. It also reported that Palestinian intelligence in Hebron kidnapped two liberated prisoners Mustafa Bastanjani and Samih Bastanji….
Will Palestinian Authority revamp PLO?
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 10 Dec by Ismail Abdel Hadi — On Nov. 27, the two rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas delayed to Dec. 10 the final transfer of power over the Gaza Strip from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority (PA) — which was set for Dec. 1 under the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo Oct. 12. This comes as Fatah argued that Hamas is not empowering the national consensus government from taking over its missions in the enclave. Moreover, the Palestinian reconciliation round of talks held in Cairo Nov. 21 had also failed to resolve important points of disagreement, which include the reform of the PLO. Palestinian factions have been calling on Fatah to overcome all organizational and political disputes in the Palestinian arena and to reform and rehabilitate the PLO on a common democratic basis, under a comprehensive Palestinian political framework. Ever since its establishment on May 28, 1964, the PLO has been facing numerous stumbling blocks amid a state of Palestinian disintegration and the lack of national political partnership, in addition to the division between the West Bank and Gaza and the feud among Fatah’s ranks that further crippled the PLO. Fatah’s popular base seems to be torn between those who support President Mahmoud Abbas and those loyal to dismissed Fatah-leader Mohammed Dahlan. The PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinian people and is currently headed by Abbas. It was established in 1964 through a resolution issued by the Arab League in Cairo as a paramilitary political organization aimed to represent Palestine in international forums….
Islamic Jihad comes under fire for allegedly undermining reconciliation
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 10 Dec by Ahmad Abu Amer — In late November, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and the head of Fatah’s delegation at the inter-Palestinian talks, pointed an accusing finger at Iran and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, blaming them for undermining the reconciliation. The Palestinian factions — the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People’s Party — rejected the accusations, which prompted a number of Fatah leaders to issue media statements Dec. 2 to ease the tension between Fatah and the Islamic Jihad sparked by Ahmad’s remarks. In a television interview on An-Najah channel Nov. 30, Ahmad said, “Some of the Islamic Jihad leaders sought to undermine the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian reconciliation. … All factions coming from Gaza stressed during the talks in Cairo that there are obstacles to empowering the government, except for the Islamic Jihad delegation, because it views the reconciliation negatively.” Islamic Jihad leader Ahmad al-Mudallal told Al-Monitor that the accusations are invalid and unfounded. He said that the reason behind Ahmad’s accusations is the Islamic Jihad’s explicit demand in the Nov. 22 Cairo talks that Fatah should pressure President Mahmoud Abbas to immediately lift the sanctions on the Gaza Strip. He added that the factions — a total of nine Palestinian factions participating in the talks — expressed in a joint statement their rejection that the Rafah crossing be operated under the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, which allows Israel to monitor passengers on both sides of the crossing….
EU’s border assistance, EU BAM Rafah, has a new head of mission
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Dec -– The European Union’s Political and Security Committee has appointed Günther Freisleben, a high-ranking police official serving in the Baden-Wuerttemberg police, as new Head of the European Union border assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point, EU BAM Rafah, a press release said on Friday. EU BAM Rafah is mandated to provide a third party presence at the Rafah crossing point with Egypt to contribute to building confidence between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including through building up the Palestinian capacity on all aspects of border management at Rafah, said the release by the EUPOL COPPS, an EU group that provides assistance to the Palestinian police. The mission maintains readiness to redeploy to the Rafah Crossing Point once the political and security situation allows, it said….
Women carve niche in Gaza’s small theater world
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 8 Dec by Ibrahim Abdelhadi — Three Palestinian women who came together last year to establish an all-female theater troupe have taken Gaza’s top issues such as immigration and family ties to the stage with a play called “Hashtag.” Wissam Dirawi, Alaa Salem and Manal Barakat founded Bozour for Culture and Arts (“bozour” is Arabic for seeds) on July 1, 2016. They brought to the project 15 years of experience in local theaters as well as training abroad in Poland, Egypt and Jerusalem. Dirawi is the director, Salem is responsible for the cartoons and animations programs, and Barakat is the scriptwriter and production designer. The all-female drama group marks a first in Gaza’s male-dominated theater scene, where men and men’s issues dominate the stage. Social customs have long prevented Palestinian women from appearing alongside men in theatrical productions. In many plays, female roles are played by men. Dirawi, the director of the group, told Al-Monitor that all the scriptwriting, directing, photography, decoration and lighting are performed by women….
Israel says it destroyed Hamas tunnel using new techniques
JERUSALEM (AP) 10 Dec by Josef Federman — The Israeli military on Sunday said it has destroyed a tunnel built by the Hamas militant group that stretched from the Gaza Strip several hundred meters (yards) into Israeli territory, declaring a breakthrough in its war against underground threats from the Palestinian enclave. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, told reporters that Israel had used a new set of “tools” developed since a 2014 war with Hamas in order to destroy the tunnel. He said forces had detected the tunnel months ago and continued to monitor construction efforts by Hamas militants before demolishing it. Israel has made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority since that war, when Hamas militants on several occasions made their way into Israel. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations caught Israel off guard, killing five soldiers in one attack, and terrified the local population. Conricus said a new system involving combat units, military intelligence, logistics and research had been used to destroy the tunnel. The system was first used to detect a tunnel that was destroyed on Oct. 30, but other aspects of the system were used this time around, he said … Conricus said the tunnel began in the central Gazan town of Khan Younis and stretched for over a kilometer (half a mile) across the border and into Israel. Although not complete, he said the tunnel was “very substantial,” equipped with electricity, communications equipment and a ventilation system. It was located about a kilometer from an Israeli community.
UN fund releases $2.2 million to alleviate urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza Strip
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 9 Dec — The United Nations Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, released on Friday $2.2 million from the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) to cover urgent additional needs in the Gaza Strip in the areas of health and food security, according to a press release … With this support from the oPt HF, humanitarian agencies will enable essential and life-saving child and maternal health interventions in Gaza, through provision of incubators and phototherapy equipment to neonatal intensive care units and intensive care units in Gaza hospitals as well as essential lifesaving medical and non-medical supplies, in order to reduce avoidable deaths and illness. It will also enable the most vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip to immediately access fresh and nutritious local food through the provision of six-month fresh food vouchers for families falling below the deep poverty line, with insufficient or no access to means of assistance and with ed capacity to meet their households’ basic food needs.
Release of two Palestinian youth activists after lengthy imprisonment without charge or trial
Samidoun 7 Dec –Two Palestinian youth organizers and human rights defenders were released on Thursday, 7 December after being held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons for lengthy periods. Hasan Safadi, the Arabic-language media coordinator for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was released after 19 months of imprisonment without charge or trial.
Yassin Sbeih, Jerusalemite activist, was also released on Thursday after over eight months imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. Sbeih was seized from occupied Jerusalem during a demonstration in April and ordered to administrative detention, said his wife Lama Ghosheh upon his release. Safadi was seized on 1 May 2016 at the Karameh crossing as he returned from an Arab youth conference in Tunisia. His administrative detention was extended on multiple occasions; in June his detention was extended for the third time in a row for six months.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel planning to expand illegal settlements in Jerusalem after Trump’s decision
Daily Sabah 8 Dec — Israel is planning to expand its illegal settlements in Jerusalem with 14,000 new housing units following U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. According to Israel’s Maariv daily, Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant said the government would promote the construction of 5,000 housing units in Atarot, and 5,000 units would be built in Reches Lavan. In addition, 1,000 housing units will be constructed in Pisgat Ze’ev and the ministry is waiting for the approval of 3,000 units to be built in Katamon, Galant said. Galant asserted that after Trump’s move, there were no more reasons not to build in the city as “it was the undisputed capital of Israel.”
Visiting EU, Netanyahu will be ‘billed’ 1M euros for razed West Bank projects
Haaretz 7 Dec by Netta Ahituv — Next Monday, December 11, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay what is being called an “unofficial visit” to the European Parliament. The visit to Brussels will include a breakfast, which is also classified as unofficial. On top of this, Netanyahu can also expect an unofficial reception: A group of European Parliament members have prepared posters welcoming the prime minister upon his arrival in Europe (“Dear Bibi, Welcome to Europe”), but they also want to ensure that he doesn’t forget to pay a certain invoice before he leaves the continent. The bill, according to the dozens of EP members who have signed a petition accompanying the posters (and are planning to take out a full-page ad in Haaretz), amounts to 1.2 million euros. That’s how much Israel ostensibly owes the European Union for humanitarian projects the EU built for the Palestinians and which Israel demolished. The projects, all in Area C in the West Bank (that is, under full Israeli civilian and security control), were razed by the Israel Defense Forces by order of the government. Among them were dwellings for homeless Bedouin, structures used for schools and kindergartens, and various infrastructural projects such as water pipes, cisterns and electrical power systems. The invoice that Netanyahu is being asked to pay is being presented to him “on behalf of millions of EU taxpayers,” as posters in the corridors of the EP declare … A note at the bottom of the “invoice” states: “This invoice only covers the EU contribution to the humanitarian structures, not their full cost. It also does not cover the damage to the Palestinian families displaced by demolitions and the harm to the prospect of a peaceful future.”
West Bank colleges to be included under Israeli law in new bill
Haaretz 10 Dec by Jonathan Lis & Yarden Zur — Critics of the bill sponsored by Habayit Hayehudi an attempt at creeping annexation of West Bank settlements. The bill was approved for vote by Knesset committee Sunday — A bill that would impose Israeli law on Israeli institutions of higher education in West Bank settlements received the backing of the government on Sunday.
The bill, sponsored by the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, would eliminate the Council for Higher Education in the West Bank and subsume institutions of higher education in settlements into the Council for Higher Education in Israel. After receiving a green light from the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the bill is sent for three rounds of voting in the Knesset. Figures in the centrist coalition party Kulanu, speaking off the record, said they didn’t think their party would oppose the bill. A senior figure in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, thought the bill would probably be shelved, as was a draft law on Jerusalem that was scheduled for a vote Monday. Both bills come amid increasing tension with the Palestinians after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday.
They don’t belong here’: Defense minister calls on Israelis to boycott Arab citizens
Daily Sabah/AFP 10 Dec — Israel’s defense minister called Sunday for an economic boycott of Arab citizens in an area where unrest erupted over U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, saying they “don’t belong” in the country. Avigdor Lieberman’s comments about Arabs living in Israel, who account for some 17.5 percent of the country’s population, drew condemnation over racism and blunt discrimination. “Those who demonstrate in Israel holding Hezbollah, Hamas and PLO flags are not part of the state of Israel,” Lieberman said, a figure who often makes headlines over racism remarks against Palestinians and Arabs. “They are acting to harm us and destroy us from within,” he said in a statement. “I therefore call on Israeli citizens to impose an economic boycott on Wadi Ara — don’t shop there, don’t eat in the restaurants and don’t buy services from them. They need to feel that they are not wanted.” Speaking on army radio, Lieberman reiterated his stance on land-swaps in a peace deal that would see Arab areas of Israel handed over to the Palestinians. “These people don’t belong to Israel,” the minister said of Wadi Ara residents….
Rage, neglect and transfer: the Israeli Arab region Lieberman wants to ‘give’ to the Palestinians
Haaretz 11 Dec by David B. Green — Wadi Ara is home to some 200,000 Israeli Arabs and has often been the scene of civil unrest, leading politicians to propose a population transfer – even if the residents themselves aren’t interested — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s call Sunday morning for a “boycott” of a group of Arab towns in northern Israel is a less drastic version of a plan he’s been hawking for years. Ever since he founded his Yisrael Beiteinu party in 1999, Lieberman has been the prophet of a policy he calls “transfer” – by which he means handing over the so-called “Little Triangle” of Arab towns bordering the West Bank, and home to more than 200,000 of Israel’s approximately 1.7 million Arab citizens, to a future Palestinian state…. The 15 villages in the region were ceded to Israeli forces by the Arab Legion in the 1948-49 War of Independence, in exchange for territory south of Hebron that was turned over to Jordan. Ironically, Lieberman – and reportedly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, too – want to give it back. Lieberman was reacting to a demonstration late Saturday night at Route 65’s Arara junction, west of Umm al-Fahm, which drew some 200 people protesting last Wednesday’s announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Some of the demonstrators threw stones at police and at passing cars on the busy thoroughfare. Three passengers on an Egged bus traveling south to Tel Aviv were injured, as well as the bus driver….
Israeli forces confiscate equipment near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 10 Dec – Israeli forces Sunday confiscated agricultural equipment, including a tractor, in the village of Nasareya, to the northeast of Nablus, according to local sources. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli violations in the area, told WAFA that the Israeli army confiscated a tractor and metalwork equipment that were used by local villagers for the construction of a water pipe in the area. The village is located in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, a territory which Israel seeks to annex de facto, preventing the development of Palestinian communities and destroying homes in Palestinian Bedouin communities.
Impact of US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Tense scenes as unrest over US Jerusalem move continues
EAST JERUSALEM 10 Dec — …The demonstrations on Saturday came as Palestinian leaders were to meet in Ramallah to firm up a response to US President Donald Trump‘s controversial move. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear gas as they charged – some on horseback – through a crowd of at least 100 peaceful demonstrators in Salah Eddin, one of the city’s busiest shopping streets. At least 13 Palestinians were detained and 12 injured as Israeli troops pushed and beat demonstrators at the scene. Among those held was Jihad Abu Zneid, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Counci … Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from the protest in Occupied East Jerusalem, said a series of running confrontations erupted after Israeli security forces blocked a small group of protesters from marching … As crowds gathered by the side of the street, police sent in officers on horseback to break up the crowds, creating widespread anger and panic. “The riders even used their whips. It really was quite frightening for the people standing here, watching these horses racing towards them,” said Fisher. Israeli forces also closed down most shops on Salah Eddin and confiscated Palestinian flags and posters from demonstrators. “One police officer didn’t like a poster that a woman was holding. He went to take it, the woman objected so he punched her full in the face,” said Fisher….
Video: Israeli crackdown brings protests in Jerusalem to standstill
10 Dec — Protests over the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel‘s capital have largely stopped in the city, after a heavy Israeli crackdown. Israeli authorities carried out extensive ID checks and cracked down on any use of the Palestinian flag. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from occupied East Jerusalem.
Egypt’s Coptic Pope and Palestinian president Abbas refuse to meet Pence over Jerusalem
Daily Sabah 9 Dec — Egypt’s Coptic Church head Pope Tawadros II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence later this month in protest at Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the church said Saturday. US President Donald Trump’s decision “did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people,” the Coptic church said in a statement, adding it decided not to receive Pence when his visits Egypt. “The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church declines to receive American Vice President Mike Pence,” it said, adding it would pray for “wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East”.
In a separate development, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said Saturday Abbas will not meet Pence during his visit to the region and there will be no communication between U.S. and Palestinian officials. The decision comes a day after Egypt’s top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar, also declined to meet Pence.
Israeli minister sees Trump ‘hint’ at Jerusalem partition with Palestinians
JERUSALEM (Reuters) by Dan Williams — An Israeli cabinet minister said on Friday the phrasing of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital suggested an openness to eventual Palestinian control of part of the city, though he predicted Israel would oppose this. Trump’s announcement reversed decades of U.S. policy, angering the Arab world and alarming Western allies. But he also said Washington was not laying down a position on “final-status” issues including boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, which the two parties would have to decide in negotiations. In his speech on Wednesday, Trump did not include words echoing Israel’s traditional description of Jerusalem. Asked about this, minister Zeev Elkin said: ”I think that his leaving this out of the speech was premeditated. “He even hinted that borders in Jerusalem will also be set as a result of negotiations, which presupposes an option of partition,” said Elkin, who holds the Jerusalem Affairs portfolio in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government….
US Jerusalem move: Fury spreads from Jakarta to Rabat
[with video] Al Jazeera 10 Dec — A wave of anger against a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has spread from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce the controversial move. Protesters filled central avenues and squares in a number of major international cities on Sunday, waving the flag of Palestine and shouting slogans to express their solidarity with the Palestinians….
Israel, Turkey leaders trade insults over US Jerusalem decision
i24NEWS/AFP 10 Dec –Relations between Israel and Turkey took a bitter turn Sunday as their leaders traded accusations of involvement in terrorism, days after the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ripped in to his Turkish counterpart for branding Israel a “terror state”, accusing Recep Tayyip Erdogan of bombing Kurds, jailing journalists and lending a hand to terrorists who “kill innocent people”. Earlier on Sunday, President Erdogan had said in a speech that “Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” the latest in a string of condemnations of Israel following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital … In his speech in the central city of Sivas, Erdogan had also vowed to use “all means to fight” against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children,” he said.
Security Council holds emergency session on US decision on Jerusalem
NEW YORK (WAFA) 8 Dec — The United Nations Security Council Friday convened an emergency session at the invitation of eight countries to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognize occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During the meeting, it expressed “grave concern over the dangers of escalating violence” following President Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel … The emergency meeting of the Security Council was held under the request of Egypt, Senegal, Uruguay, Bolivia, Sweden, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog said resolution 2334 adopted on December 23, 2016, affirms that the Security Council “will not recognize any changes in the borders of June 4, 1967, including Jerusalem, unless the two sides agree through negotiations.” Egypt’s UN ambassador, Omar Abu al-Atta, said the US decision has alarmed the world and spiked fear of the consequences of unilateral decisions that violate international law and threaten the system of political relations … They affirmed that their countries oppose the US step and will keep their embassies in Tel Aviv, and that there is no need for such decisions that would affect the security in the region and the world. They stressed that everyone should work to the effects of this decision and return the parties to the table of negotiations.
Jordan parliament’s legal committee to revisit agreements with Israel
AMMAN (WAFA) 12 Dec – The Jordanian House of Representatives approved on Sunday a proposal empowering the legal committee of the House to revisit the agreements signed between the kingdom and Israel, including the Wadi Araba Treaty. During an extraordinary session on the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, which was attended by Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki, speaker of the Jordanian parliament Atef Tarawneh denounced the US’ decision saying it violates international conventions and treaties. Head of the foreign affairs committee at the House, Raed Khaza’aleh, said there ought to be a unified Arab effort to push towards achieving the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on Jerusalem. Jordan was the second Arab country, after Egypt, to sign a peace accord with Israel. The Wadi Araba Treaty was signed with Israel in 1994. It settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade….
Despite furor over Jerusalem move, Saudis seen on board with US peace efforts
BEIRUT/RIYADH/AMMAN (Reuters) 8 Dec by Samia Nakhoul, Stephen Kalin, Suleiman Al-Khalidi — Saudi Arabia pulled no punches when it condemned President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But Palestinian officials say Riyadh has also been working for weeks behind the scenes to press them to support a nascent U.S. peace plan … Four Palestinian officials, who spoke on condition they not be named, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed in detail a grand bargain that Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, are expected to unveil in the first half of 2018. One official said Prince Mohammed asked Abbas to show support for the U.S. administration’s peace efforts when the two met in Riyadh in November. Another Palestinian official said Prince Mohammed told Abbas: “Be patient, you will hear good news. This peace process will go ahead.” The U.S.-Saudi relationship has improved dramatically under Trump, partly because the leaders share a vision of confronting Riyadh’s arch-rival Iran more aggressively in the region….
Macron asks Netanyahu to make gestures to break peace impasse
PARIS (Reuters) 10 Dec by John Irish — French President Emmanuel Macron told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that he needed to make gestures to the Palestinians to enable to break the impasse between the two sides. Netanyayu was in Paris ahead of a meeting with EU foreign ministers on Monday when they will try present a unified front after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While condemning all acts of terrorism against Israel, Macron said that he told Netanyahu that he was against Trump’s decision, which was a “dangerous threat to peace.” “I asked Prime Minister Netanyuhu to make some courageous gestures toward the Palestinians to get out of the current impasse,” he said, suggesting that a freeze of settlement construction could be s first step. He reaffirmed that France believed that a two-state solution was the only viable option to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict … Netanyahu responded to Macron by saying that once the Palestinians recognized the “reality” that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, it would enable peace efforts sooner….
Arab states urge US to abandon Jerusalem move
CAIRO (Reuters) 9 Dec — Arab foreign ministers late on Saturday urged the United States to abandon its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying the move would increase violence throughout the region. The announcement by President Donald Trump on Wednesday was a “dangerous violation of international law”, had no legal impact and was “void”, the Arab League said in a statement after a session attended by all its members in Cairo … “The decision has no legal effect … it deepens tension, ignites anger and threatens to plunge region into more violence and chaos,” the Arab League said at 3 a.m. local time after hours of meetings that began on Saturday evening. It said it would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution rejecting the U.S. move. Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said during the emergency meeting that Arab nations should consider imposing economic sanctions against the United States to prevent it moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv …The Arab League statement made no mention of economic sanctions. Arab criticism of Trump’s plan contrasted sharply with the praise Washington’s traditional Arab allies heaped on him at the beginning of his administration in January.
Trump’s Jerusalem decision could help militants: UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed
DUBAI (Reuters) 10 Dec — U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could provide a lifeline to militants after the setbacks they suffered this year, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan also said that the UAE hopes that Washington would reconsider its decision. Trump’s announcement has sparked widespread opposition across the Middle East, with many warning it could affect Washington’s role as a Middle East peace broker. “The U.S. move could throw a lifebuoy to terrorist and armed groups, which have begun to lose ground in the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed, speaking to a delegation from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy….
Malaysian army ‘ready to perform its duty’ toward Palestinians
MEMO 10 Dec — Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is ready to perform its duty towards the issue facing Jerusalem, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Saturday. “We have to be prepared for any possibilities. The ATM has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership,” the Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted Hussein. “Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos,” Hussein added. On Wednesday, Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said the US Embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and across the world
Analysis — Armageddon? Bring it on: the Evangelical force behind Trump’s Jerusalem speech
Haaretz 11 Dec by Allison Kaplan Sommer — The U.S. evangelical community is in raptures over Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, believing it moves the world closer to Armageddon — … Trump is showing love to Israel because evangelical voters form the crucial linchpin in his relatively small but solid support base. Evangelical voters threw their support behind Trump in 2016 at a higher rate than any previous presidential candidate – giving him 81 percent of their vote, even more than they gave to fellow evangelical George W. Bush. It was these Christian evangelicals – and Pence, an evangelical himself and a prominent touchstone of their influence in the Trump administration – that were clearly the driving force behind the Jerusalem declaration. Furthermore, the fact the evangelical community’s desire to see Jerusalem being irrevocably in Israeli hands is based on religious beliefs rather than practical political concerns means that a fear of the anticipated violent reaction from Palestinians and the Arab world was easily dismissed as irrelevant by Trump and the decision-makers around him … In order to truly understand the centrality of this “theological dog-whistle” to Trump’s evangelical base, you must take their religious beliefs seriously, argued progressive Christian commentator and pundit Diana Butler Bass, in a widely circulated thread on Twitter. Bass said the Jerusalem issue was so important to evangelicals because it is necessary to regain Judeo-Christian control of the Temple Mount. This is vital, she explained, because rebuilding the Temple would initiate the “end-time” laid out in the Book of Revelation. End-time is a fundamentalist Christian belief in a prophecy that the living and the resurrected will one day be delivered from the Earth by God, their bodies transformed and protected in heaven, as he pours out his wrath on the sinners left behind. Butler Bass asserted that “of all the possible theological dog-whistles to his evangelical base,” the Jerusalem declaration “is the biggest. Trump is reminding them that he is carrying out God’s will to these Last Days….
Jerusalem is Palestine — Celtic FC fans
MEMO 10 Dec — Despite the fines levied on the Scottish club last year by UEFA for political statements, Celtic FC fans are at it again. During a match at Edinburgh’s Easter Road stadium, Celtic football clubs’ supporters showed their displeasure with Trump’s announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, by raising a pair of banners before kick-off. The banners read: “Jerusalem is Palestine. F** Trump.” Last year, the fans’ display of the Palestinian flag during a UEFA match against an Israeli team got the club fined £82,000. In response, the fans decided to raise an amount equal to the fine, not for the club, but for Palestinian refugees. So with a target of £82,000, the fans raised over £160,000 for Palestine. Palestinian refugees at a camp in Bethlehem, in response to the solidarity shown by the Celtic fans, decided to raise money to pay the fine imposed on the club.
Abbas to meet Egypt’s Sissi in Cairo to discuss Trump’s Jerusalem announcement
Haaretz 10 Dec by Jack Khoury — Following the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to meet him and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Cairo on Monday, a Palestinian source told Haaretz. The meeting is aimed at coordinating positions before the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation summit takes place on Wednesday in Turkey. The summit, too, has been called in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement. Earlier, the royal palace in Amman confirmed that King Abdullah and al-Sissi had spoken about the Trump declaration and agreed to work to preserve the rights of the Palestinian people, including in Jerusalem. At the same time, Palestinian sources said that there is heavy pressure being exerted on Abbas to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who plans to visit the West Bank in two weeks. Abbas’ associates said Sunday, however, that there was no pressure being applied and clarified that there is no way such a meeting will take place after Trump’s declaration. Senior PA official Jibril Rajoub also said the meeting wouldn’t take place, adding, “Pence is not wanted in Palestine.”….
‘My aim is not to resolve the conflict’ — former top Israeli negotiator
Mondoweiss 10 Dec by Roland Nikles — “My aim is not to resolve the conflict. My aim is to secure a Jewish democratic Israel . . . the Zionist vision that came true 70 years ago,” Gilead Sher tells Gilad Halpern and Dahlia Scheindlin at the Tel Aviv Review. If you ever wonder, why is there no peace with the Palestinians, you need look no further than this. Gilead Sher is an attorney who served as Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians under Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001) for the Sharm el Sheik Agreement, the Camp David Accord, and the Taba Agreement. Today Sher heads the Center for Applied Negotiations at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. The program discussed Sher’s co-edited book Negotiating in Times of Conflict, which offers a panorama of perspectives on how to overcome obstacles in peace negotiations, looking at examples from around the world. The Institute does good and valuable work and Sher has helpful insights to offer. But when it comes to Israel, Sher’s focus appears to be all tactics and manipulating advantage. Based on this interview, justice is not the focus….
Smuggling from Israeli plagues Palestinian poultry farmers
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 5 Dec by Ahmad Melhem — Poultry farmers in the West Bank are suffering heavy financial losses as chickens smuggled in from Israel and Israeli settlements have sent prices plummeting far below what it costs West Bank farmers to raise the birds. On Nov. 19, customs officials in Hebron in the southern West Bank seized 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of live chickens and 660 kilograms (1,455 pounds) of slaughtered chickens unsuitable for human consumption. On Nov. 15, the administration confiscated 1.5 metric tons (about 3,300 pounds) of live chickens in the city. The thriving black market has pushed Palestinian authorities to take action. The Central Committee Against Smuggling of Poultry and Agricultural Products — a government body headed by the Ministry of Agriculture — decided Nov. 16 to form a joint operations team to prosecute smugglers in different provinces. The members of this body include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of National Economy, the Customs Administration and various state security services….
Israel bars 22 Palestinian researchers from EU event with anti-occupation group
Haaretz 7 Dec by Yotam Berger — Israel has denied entry to 22 West Bank Palestinians who were invited to attend the closing event on Thurday in Jaffa of a photo exhibition in which they were involved. The exhibition, at the Jaffa Port, was organized by the B’Tselem together with the European Union and marks the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation. The Palestinians who were denied include B’Tselem researchers as well as some of the photographers and subjects of the 50 portraits of Palestinians who were born in 1967 who were featured in the exhibition. B’Tselem says its people were told their entry was denied on account of the “sensitivity” of the event, which Italy’s EU ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, was expected to attend … Taysir Abdelhalim of Tul Karm, whose portrait was included in the exhibition, was barred from entering Israel to attend Thursday’s event. He has never been involved in any security-related events, Abdelhalim told Haaretz. “I have never been arrested and I never had anything to do with the Shin Bet. They didn’t explain why I didn’t get the permit.”
In article on Jerusalem, New York Times falsifies history of 1948, 1967
EI 6 Dec by Michael F. Brown — A New York Times article published Tuesday about the history of Jerusalem maintains, “It is perhaps fitting that President Trump appears to have chosen this week to announce that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” The writers, Sewell Chan, Irit Pazner Garshowitz, Mona Boshnaq and Gaia Tripoli, base this outlook on the fact that in “December 1917 – 100 years ago this month – the British general Edmund Allenby seized control of Jerusalem from its Ottoman Turkish defenders.” President Donald Trump likely knows little to nothing of this history. He was not thinking about the past century, but about continuing his disruptive track record and enmity toward Muslims. The authors then make clear their own tenuous grasp of the region’s history. They write: “The Arabs rejected the partition plan, and a day after Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, the Arab countries attacked the new state. They were defeated. Amid violence by militias and mobs on both sides, huge numbers of Jews and Arabs were displaced.”
This is a gross whitewashing of history, clearly aimed at erasing from the record Israel’s well-documented and systematic ethnic cleansing of the majority Palestinian population whose presence on the land stood in the way of the Zionist goal of creating a “Jewish state.” In fact, in the months before Israel’s “independence” was declared on 15 May, and before any Arab armies had intervened, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was already well under way. The Zionist leadership finalized its “Plan Dalet” to expel Palestinians in March 1948. Palestinians from the cities of Haifa and Jaffa, and dozens of villages, had already been expelled before 15 May. The notorious massacre by Zionist forces in the village of Deir Yassin took place on 9 April, and by early May it is estimated that up to 250,000 Palestinians had already fled or been forced from their homes….
The First Intifada – 30 years ago
‘Children of the stones'” the day Palestine was reborn / Ramzy Baroud
Al Jazeera 8 Dec — When the first Intifada commenced in December 1987, I had just turned 15. At the cusp of manhood, I had entered my first year at the famed Khaled Ibn Al-Walid High School in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp. Though future opportunities in a refugee camp under military occupation were restricted, my imagination had soared further than the confines of my family’s impoverished existence. Life, of course, had other plans. My father’s rebellious past was overpowered by the daily degradation of life of want under a merciless occupation. My grandfather had recently died, along with the dream of ever going back to his village in Beit Daras, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948. For me, and many of my generation, the Intifada was not a political event. It was an act of personal – as much as collective – liberation: the ability to articulate who we were at a time when all seemed lost. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) languished in Tunisia after being forced to leave Lebanon in 1982. Arab governments seemed to have lost interest in Palestine altogether. Israel emerged triumphant and invincible. And we – those living under protracted military occupation – felt completely abandoned. I will never forget the day when I resolved my personal conflict and reclaimed my identity, along with my family’s honour. It was on the morning of December 9, 1987. Israeli soldiers poured into our refugee camp, some on foot and others in small jeeps and large military vehicles. A battle was about to commence….
Stories from the first Intifada: ‘They broke my bones’
Al Jazeera 10 Dec by Shatha Hammad — It has been 30 years since the first Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, exploded onto the scene in the occupied territories. The prevailing images of unarmed Palestinians throwing rocks at fully armed Israeli troops and military vehicles, which clearly showed the occupied and the occupier, were covered with unprecedented interest by international media … According to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, 1,070 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the Intifada years, including 237 children. Jewish settlers also killed 54 Palestinians. More than 175,000 Palestinians were also arrested in the same period, and 2,000 homes were demolished in Israel’s systematic method of collective punishment. Under Israel’s then-defence minister Yitzhak Rabin’s orders, Israeli army commanders were instructed to break the bones of Palestinian protesters. Today, this policy has evolved to specifically target the knees and legs of Palestinian youth to disable them. Below, three Palestinians who lived through the Intifada share their experiences.
Wael Joudeh, 46, Iraq al-Tayeh village, Nablus: On February 26, 1988, 17-year-old Wael Joudeh and his cousin Osamah were returning home from grazing their sheep when they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers following them back to their village, east of Nablus. As the soldiers caught up with them, they began beating them and for a period of 30 minutes, Israeli forces used stones to break their bones. The incident was caught on video, and was the first documented incident that brought to light Israel’s “breaking the bones” policy. Today, Wael sits on the same rock he was pushed down on before he was beaten. As he sits there silently, he recalls the painful moments he thought were his last….