Israeli forces ‘ambush youths’ in Palestinian village, shoot 16-year-old in neck

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Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teenager in the neck in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — A Palestinian teenager was injured in the neck on Wednesday evening when Israeli soldiers opened fire at him at the entrance of Burqa in northwestern Nablus. An official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, told Ma‘an that Muhyi al-Din Abed al-Rahman Salah, 16, was injured with a live bullet in the neck at the entrance of the village as Israeli soldiers “ambushed youths” in the area. Daghlas added that Salah was transferred to the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus City for treatment where his injuries were reported as moderate.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779782

Army shoots two Palestinians after alleged stabbing attempt near Nablus
IMEMC 23 Jan — Israeli soldiers shot, Tuesday, two Palestinians near Za‘tara military roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after they reportedly attempted to stab them, and refused to allow Red Crescent medics to provide them with the needed medical attention.
Update
:  The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the two injured Palestinians are children, identified as Mohammad Farhan Mohammad, 14, and Ahmad Sa‘id Zazouq, 14, from the al-Jadeeda village, south of Jenin. Both were shot with live rounds in their legs and remained bleeding on the ground after the soldiers prevented Palestinian Red Crescent medics from approaching them. The soldiers later called for an Israeli ambulance, and moved them to a hospital, while the extent of their injuries remained unknown.
Media sources in Nablus said the two Palestinians were shot in the lower extremities, and remained bleeding on the ground until an Israeli ambulance was called to the scene, even though Palestinian medics were there, but the soldiers refused to allow them to approach the wounded. Israeli sources claimed that the two Palestinians attempted to stab the soldiers at the military roadblock but were shot before reaching them. The soldiers then closed Za‘tara roadblock, while dozens of units were deployed in the area and around it. After the alleged stabbing attempt, the head of the so-called Regional Council of Settlements in northern West Bank, Yossi Dagan, said that “terrorism will not deter Israel – we will be and continue to expand,” and demanded Israel to respond to this incident by “boosting settlement constructions” in the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.
http://imemc.org/article/army-shoots-two-palestinians-after-alleged-stabbing-attempt-near-nablus/

Soldiers shoot and abduct a teenage boy near Hebron
IMEMC 25 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, Sa‘ir town, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and shot a Palestinian teen with a live round, before abducting him. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes and shops, in several neighborhoods in the town. The soldiers also invaded Beit Einoun area, shot Ahmad Issa Shalalda, 16, with a live round in his leg, and abducted him. The teen was shot after the soldiers attacked with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and gas bombs dozens of Palestinians who protested the invasion. In addition, the soldiers installed roadblocks on main roads leading to villages and towns near Road #60, used by colonialist settlers and the military. The soldiers also stopped and searched many cars and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
http://imemc.org/article/soldiers-shoot-and-abduct-a-teenage-boy-near-hebron/

Detainee dies from cancer after being denied specialized treatment
IMEMC 20 Jan — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that a detainee who was recently diagnosed with cancer and was not provided the essential urgently needed treatment in Israeli prisons has died Saturday. In a joint statement, the Detainees’ Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners Society said Hussein Hosni Atallah, 57, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, died at Assaf Harofeh Israeli medical center. They added that Atallah suffered from cancer in his lungs, spine, liver, pancreas and brain. He was diagnosed with the disease two years ago, but did not receive the advanced medical treatment he urgently needed, until he was recently moved to a hospital in Israel. Through its lawyer, the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, filed many appeals for his early release, so that he can receive specialized care, but the prison authority refused despite official reports by a medical team from the International Red Cross and the prison doctor, stressing on the seriousness of his condition. The Palestinian Detainees Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society held Israel responsible for his death, especially for failing to provide him with medical checkups and specialized treatment, and denounced the Israeli authorities for refusing to release him to spend his final days with his family, although he already served two-thirds of his sentence, and could have been released. It is worth mentioning that Atallah was serving a 32-year prison sentence, after being convicted of killing an Israeli policewoman, and spent 21 years in prisons prior to his death.
http://imemc.org/article/detainee-dies-from-cancer-after-being-denied-specialized-treatment/

Palestinian prisoner who died of cancer in Israeli custody laid to rest in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinians on Tuesday took part in the funeral of Hussein Atallah, 57, who died from cancer on Saturday inside Israeli prison, in what his family is calling a case of medical neglect. The funeral procession set off from the Rafidiya Governmental hospital in Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank. Attalah’s body had been transferred to the hospital from Israel’s Ramla prison late Monday. A military funeral was given to Atallah, whose body was carried by Palestinian Security Forces towards Nablus’ main mosque for prayers and then to the city’s cemetery for burial. Palestinian flags and flags of the Fatah movement, with which Atallah was affiliated, were waved. Atallah was sentenced to 35 years of jail of which he served 23. He was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Prisoners’ rights groups accused the Israeli Prison Services of medically neglecting Atallah and not providing him with necessary and adequate treatment, which they say led to his death.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779777

Undercover Israeli soldiers attack three schoolchildren near Ramallah
IMEMC 22 Jan — A group of undercover Israeli soldiers attacked, Monday, three schoolchildren in Kafr Malek village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and briefly detained them. Media sources said the undercover soldiers attacked the three children, identified as Ali Khalil Ka‘abna, 10, Anas Younis Abu Ein, 7, and Salem Khaled Abu Ghorra, and tried to abduct them. They added that the soldiers claimed that the children hurled stones at army vehicles driving on a nearby bypass road. The three children are from a nearby Bedouin area, and attend school in Kafr Malek; the undercover soldiers attacked them while waiting for the bus to go back home. Many women from the village managed to convince the soldiers to release the children.
http://imemc.org/article/undercover-israeli-soldiers-attack-three-schoolchildren-near-ramallah/

Israeli colonizers invade home, injure woman and her son
IMEMC 22 Jan — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Monday, that a woman and her son were injured after a group of fanatic Israeli colonists invaded their home in the al-Mo‘arrajat area, near Jericho, in the occupied West Bank. The sources added that dozens of colonizers invaded Bedouin dwellings, before many broke into the Palestinian home, and repeatedly assaulted the mother and her son, causing various cuts and bruises – including a rather severe injury to the back of the woman’s head. The Israeli assailants also caused excessive damage to furniture and belongings, before fleeing the area.
In related news, a Palestinian child, identified as Najma Arafat Odah, 13, was injured after an Israeli colonizer rammed her with his car in Huwwara town, south of Nablus, and fled the scene.
http://imemc.org/article/israeli-colonizers-invade-home-injure-woman-and-her-son/

Israeli settler harasses Palestinian farmers in Jordan Valley
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Jan — An Israeli settler reportedly harassed Palestinian farmers in the northern Jordan Valley on Sunday, preventing them from grazing their livestock, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that an Israeli settler from the illegal Rutum settlement chased down Palestinian shepherds out of pastures in the northern Jordan Valley in order to prevent them from feeding their livestock. Wafa added that shepherds living in the area are subject to near-daily attacks by Israeli settlers residing in nearby illegal settlements … Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law. In March 2017, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779772

one night’s detentions:
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians, including husband and wife, during raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians during overnight raids between Tuesday and Wednesday across the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.
In a continued detention campaign in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli forces raided the Wadi Burqin area and the Jenin refugee camp, and detained a youth identified by locals as Uday Jabel Saleh Jarrar. Uday Jarrar is one of several members of the Jarrar family who has been detained over the past week, since Ahmed Jarrar was shot and killed during a predawn raid, allegedly in connection to the killing of an Israeli settler earlier this month.
In the central West Bank district of Salfit, Israeli soldiers detained one Palestinian from the town of Deir Istiya. He was identified by locals as 20-year-old Muhannad Tayel Fares.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that Israeli forces raided the Jerusalem-area town of al-Eizariya, also in the central West Bank, and detained five Palestinians, including a father and his son.
PPS added that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian in the Kafr Malik town in the Ramallah district, and detained another Palestinian in the Ramallah-area town of Ni‘lin.
Israeli forces detained six Palestinians during raids across the southern West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Hebron. Locals said that Israeli forces detained Youssef Yaqoub Hamamdeh, 40, from the al-Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. Sources added that clashes erupted during the raid. No injuries were reported. PPS added that another Palestinian, whose identity remained unknown, was detained in Bethlehem.
In Hebron City, Israeli forces detained brothers Khalil Hassan Abu Hussein, 32, and Hussam Abu Hussein, and his wife, whose name remained unknown. Hussam and his wife are the parents of two children. Israeli forces also raided the al-Arroub refugee camp in northern Hebron and detained 16-year-old Malek Abed al-Fattah Jawabreh, and Rifat al-Alami from Beit Ummar.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that 19 Palestinians were detained in overnight raids.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779778

Tamimi family

Israel secretly probed whether family members of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi are non-related ‘light-skinned’ actors
Haaretz 25 Jan by Yotam Berger & Jonathan Lis — The Tamimi family, whose imprisoned teenage daughter Ahed has become a Palestinian cause célèbre, was the subject two years ago of a classified investigation that included checking whether they were “a real family,” Michael Oren, an Israeli deputy minister and former ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday. The inquiry by a Knesset subcommittee “didn’t reach unequivocal conclusions,” and was prompted by suspicions that the family from the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh was “not genuine, and was specially put together for propaganda” purposes by the Palestinians, a statement issued by Oren’s office said. In wake of the Haaretz report, Arab lawmakers demanded Wednesday that the subcommittee’s minutes be made public…
“The incident with the Tamimi family is simply exploitation of children,” the statement added. The Tamimis have been involved in several high-profile confrontations with Israeli soldiers, including one in 2015 during which they tried to prevent a soldier from detaining a 12-year-old family member.  The final assessment was that it “apparently is a family, but slowly, [other] children who fit the profile they sought were ‘annexed’ to it,” a spokeswoman for Oren told Haaretz. Nevertheless, she added, “there was no unequivocal conclusion on the matter.” … He said the committee looked into whether “members of the family were chosen for their appearance” – blond, blue-eyed and light-skinned. “Also clothing. A real costume. American dress in every respect, not Palestinian, with backward baseball caps. Even Europeans don’t wear backward baseball caps. It was all ready; after a provocation or a brawl the posters would come out,” he said. “It was all prepared. It’s what’s known as Pallywood.”
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-investigated-whether-ahed-tamimi-s-family-was-real-1.5762887

‘How was such a fool your US ambassador?’ Tamimi family mocks Michael Oren’s secret probe into whether they’re real Palestinians
Haaretz 25 Jan by Yotam Berger — The four members of Ahed Tamimi’s family who are not in detention were amused to hear that the Knesset had conducted an investigation into whether the Tamimis are a real family. “No one ever asked us if we were a real family,” said Bassem Tamimi, the father of Ahed, who was arrested last month with her mother and cousin and charged with assaulting soldiers for slapping them on the grounds of their home while her mother filmed the scene. When he read that a secret Knesset subcommittee had looked into and discussed the issue, he burst out laughing. “I thought – how can this be?” he said. “Is this the level the occupation has reached? The proof of our existence here can be found way, way, way before the State of Israel.” The Tamimis say they’ve lived in Nabi Saleh for hundreds of years, and had lived in the Hebron area for hundreds of years before that…
Mahmoud, one of Ahed’s younger brothers, raised Deputy Minister Michael Oren’s suspicions over his identity because he appeared at some protests with a cast on his right hand, at others with a cast on his left hand. Mahmoud told Haaretz that he had broken both hands at different times, and seemed somewhat insulted by Oren’s suspicions.
But to the Tamimi family, the real insult was the questioning of the family’s history. Every family member asked about the possibility that they weren’t a “real family” launched into a lecture about the family history, which they say goes back 1,500 years all over the country, of which the last few hundred were in Nabi Saleh. According to Bassem, all the residents of Nabi Saleh are part of the Tamimi family. His wife, a native of Saudi Arabia, is also descended from the family, he says. Several family members, including Bassem, Faraj, Bassem’s second cousin, and Mahmoud, the son of Bassem’s sister who was killed, all say the family was originally Christian but became Muslim some 1,500 years ago…
Many Tamimis indeed have fair skin and hair, but certainly not all of them. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, laughed and said he didn’t want to be photographed because “I’m not blond.” When he finally agreed to identify himself as a Tamimi before the cameras he said, “Maybe I should buy blue contact lenses first.”….
https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-ahed-tamimi-s-family-ridicules-israel-s-secret-probe-of-their-identity-1.5765380

Prisoners / Court actions

Court rejects appeal to reduce sentence of Israa Jaabis
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Jan — Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem rejected, early on Thursday, the appeal presented by the severely burnt detainee Israa Jaabis, demanding to reduce her 11- year sentence, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. Earlier, on January 11, the Supreme Court postponed its response to the appeal of Jaabis and decided to send it to her lawyer, Lea Zimmel. In turn, Israa’s family prepared to file a plea to the Israeli court to allow the entry of a surgeon and a psychologist to examine her condition.
In October of 2015, Jaabis was detained in critical condition after a gas cylinder exploded in her car, near a military checkpoint to the east of Jerusalem. She was sentenced to 11 years in jail after being charged with attempting to carry out a terrorist operation. “There is no justification for my detention two years ago, without treatment or assistance,” Jaabis said during her appearance at the previous appeal hearing. In an urgent letter from inside the Hasharon prison, she appealed for urgent intervention to provide treatment for her, and to follow up on her health in the difficult living conditions she suffers from.
http://imemc.org/article/court-rejects-appeal-to-reduce-sentence-of-israa-jaabis/

Anas Hamarsheh, 17, losing ability to walk in Israeli prisons
Samidoun 17 Jan — Palestinian child prisoner Anas Hamarsheh, 17, has reportedly lost the ability to walk; his family have repeatedly warned of the severe dangers to his health in Israeli prison as he suffers from a rare condition that requires treatment. Asra Voice reported that Anas, 17, from the town of Ya‘bad near Jenin has lost the ability to walk for several days and that his health condition is dangerous. His family has urged his release; he is held in Megiddo prison awaiting a sentence from the military courts. Leila Hamarsheh, Anas’ sister, said that she had received the troubling news about his health situation and a sudden decline that has made him unable to stand. His family notes that he has not been provided with treatment and that when he was taken to the Ramle prison clinic, his foot was scanned but no treatment was provided. After three days in the Ramle prison clinic he was returned to Megiddo with no prescription or treatment plan. He suffers from osteonecrosis of the hip and requires treatment; he is in danger of losing his ability to walk. One leg is shorter than the other and he has difficulty running or playing sports; his leg is also at risk of infection.
http://samidoun.net/2018/01/anas-hamarsheh-17-losing-ability-to-walk-in-israeli-prisons/

French intellectuals’ statement on Palestinian child prisoners published in Le Monde
Samidoun 25 Jan — French academics and writers published a collective letter in Le Monde on 23 January, focusing on the case of Ahed Tamimi and the plight of the approximately 360 Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli prisons. The letter also highlights the case of Salah Hamouri, the French-Palestinian lawyer jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Public officials and municipalities across the country have adopted declarations demanding Hamouri’s release and even the French government has acceded to the popular call to demand his freedom. The statement follows below:….
http://samidoun.net/2018/01/french-intellectuals-statement-on-palestinian-child-prisoners-published-in-le-monde/

Israel won’t prosecute embassy guard over Jordan shootings: sources
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 21 Jan by Dan Williams — Israel will not prosecute a guard from its embassy in Amman who killed two Jordanians in July, as had long been demanded by the kingdom, two Israeli sources said on Sunday. Instead, the Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet security agency will review protocols surrounding the actions taken by the guard, and his conduct, “and share the results with the Jordanians”, a diplomatic source said. The killings led to a rift between the countries, which both said last week had been mended. Jordan said Israel had apologised for the embassy deaths, would compensate the victims’ next of kin and “implement and follow up legal measures” in the case … Amman had previously demanded a homicide trial for the guard, whose repatriation under diplomatic immunity and hero’s welcome by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angered Jordanians … Israel would not pay damages to the next of kin directly, but instead provide a $5 million lump sum for the Jordanian government to disburse as compensation, that source said. The money is also meant to cover the needs of the family of a Jordanian shot dead by an Israeli border guard in 2014….
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-jordan-diplomacy/israel-wont-prosecute-embassy-guard-over-jordan-shootings-sources-idUSKBN1FA0F3

Closures / Restrictions on movement

Israeli siege on Hizma continues
IMEMC 21 Jan — The Israeli siege on Hizma town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, continued for the third consecutive day, after the soldiers installed military roadblock, and placed concrete blocks on the town’s entrances. Media sources in Jerusalem said the soldiers are carrying out constant invasions, and violent searches of homes and property in the town. The latest invasion came on Saturday at night, when the soldiers also fired many live rounds, gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. Many local youngsters hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading armored military vehicles, and jeeps. It is worth mentioning that the army imposed a strict siege on the town as an act of illegal collective punishment, after some youngsters hurled stones at an Israeli colony’s bus, near Hizma.
http://imemc.org/article/israeli-siege-on-hizma-continues/

Foreigners linked to Palestinians face Israeli visa troubles
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 24 Jan by Karin Laub & Mohammed Daraghmeh — American Kate Hamad doesn’t dare leave Ramallah, fearing trouble, even deportation, if stopped at an Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of the autonomous Palestinian city in the West Bank. Israel rejected her request for a visa renewal three months ago, she said, even though her Palestinian husband and their three youngest children have West Bank residency. She appealed, but hasn’t heard back. “You really feel trapped and you really feel scared,” said the 32-year-old from Grimes, Iowa. Hamad is among a growing number of foreigners in the West Bank who are having Israeli visa problems, according to Palestinian officials and Israeli lawyers. They said that over the past year, Israel has made it harder for those with ties to Palestinians to stay in the West Bank on spouse or work visas, harming families, universities and even a school teaching Western classical music to Palestinian children. COGAT, a branch of the Israeli Defense Ministry, denied it has adopted tougher rules, saying visa applications are judged on a case-by-case basis. It did not respond to requests to provide statistics. The underlying problem for foreigners is that the Palestinian self-rule government, which administers 38 percent of the West Bank, does not have the authority to grant them residency without approval by Israel. As a result, thousands of people are in limbo, with residency applications often ignored or rejected, leaving them only with the option of seeking temporary visas from Israel. “You are always just a visitor, and you are left begging for your status,” said California native Morgan Cooper, 36, who recently had her spouse visa extended for six months … Over the years, residency permits for foreign spouses of Palestinians have become a bargaining chip, with Israel at times agreeing to certain quotas and freezing requests in periods of crisis. About 25,000 applications are still pending, out of a total of 65,000 submitted since the mid-1990s, said Walid Wahdan of the Palestinian Civil Affairs Department. He said his department has largely stopped submitting “family reunification” requests, arguing that Israel refuses to receive them … Palestinians and their foreign spouses are often presented with impossible choices — separation, emigration or life in the West Bank without legal status. Some of the foreigners said they were also told that on a spouse visa, they are not allowed to do paid work for Palestinian companies or organizations. “We believe the underlying reason is one of demographics, of ‘let’s create a situation where Palestinians are forced to leave,’” said Bechor….
https://www.apnews.com/cdedf2f696e84136a574c6aa89c87e00/Foreigners-linked-to-Palestinians-face-Israeli-visa-troubles

Gaza

Gaza under commercial strike amid worsening conditions
Al Jazeera 22 Jan — A general strike has been called for by the private sector in the Gaza Strip to protest worsening living conditions amid the ongoing blockade, which is threatening to collapse the enclave’s economy. In a statement published last week, the Gaza Businessmen Association (Arabic) announced that the strike in commercial and economic institutions would start from 8am (06:00 GMT) and last for six hours on Monday. “This urgent appeal comes as a last resort, after the catastrophic economic and living conditions of the Gaza Strip reached the point of zero,” the statement said. The statement pointed out the economy has reached an “unprecedented level of decline”. “Most notably, the unemployment rate is at 46 percent, the rates of poverty have exceeded 65 percent, and the rate of food insecurity for households in the Gaza Strip has reached 50 percent.” Furthermore, rising unemployment rates among graduates have reached 67 percent, and a growing number of commercial traders who have been imprisoned as a result of their inability to pay their debts is a “reflection of the general economic deficit,” the statement added. “We wish through this strike to send a message to our leaders – Arab leaders, international leaders, and to the United Nations,” Maher al-Taba, a member of Gaza’s chamber of commerce told Al Jazeera. “The Gaza Strip will collapse soon, and we need immediate help. If the economy collapses, it will have impact everywhere – health, education and all services.”….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/gaza-commercial-strike-worsening-conditions-180122080213978.html

Poor Gazans protest WFP aid suspension
Anadolu Agency 24 Jan — In October, WFP suspended its food aid due to lack of finance — Dozens of poor families in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday protested recent aid cuts by the World Food Program (WFP). Gathering outside the headquarters of the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Gaza City, protesters waved banners calling for the resumption of aid to Palestinian families in the strip. “We have come here to demand the resumption of food aid,” Samir al-Laham, one of the protestors, told Anadolu Agency. “We don’t have any other source to feed our families except the aid,” added al-Laham, the breadwinner of a 10-member family. Adnan Meshaal, one of the beneficiaries of the WFP aid, said his family was “totally dependent on food aid” provided by the program. In October, 35 institutions benefiting from WFP in Gaza said the program has suspended its food aid due to lack of finance.
https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/poor-gazans-protest-wfp-aid-suspension-3023197

Israeli navy opens fire on fisher boats in Gaza
IMEMC 21 Jan — Israeli navy ships opened fire on Sunday morning on several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters in the northern part of the coastal region. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, and chased the boats, forcing the fishermen back to shore, without being able to fish to provide for their families. The attack is part of ongoing Israeli violations against the fishermen, and their boats, in addition to attacks against farmers and workers, on their lands, in several border areas, in the besieged Gaza Strip.
http://imemc.org/article/israeli-navy-opens-fire-on-fisher-boats-in-gaza/

Photos: As the frost subsides, Gaza’s fishermen catch sardines
MEMO 23 Jan — After several days of hail, frost, and turbulent seas which prevented Gaza’s fishermen from catching anything today they were able to catch a substantial quantity of sardines. This is a result of the crashing waves, which brought many schools of sardines closer to the shore. Sardines migrate to Palestine’s coast during the month of January every year. Each boat is operated by several people and is estimated to have caught between 70 and 200 kg of fish. The average cost per kilogram is $4, which make them affordable for medium and low income families.
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180123-as-the-frost-subsides-gazas-fishermen-catch-sardines/

Shortage of medicines in Gaza harms psychiatric patients
MEMO 22 Jan — The severe medicine shortage in the Gaza Strip’s hospitals is negatively affecting patients with chronic illnesses, mainly psychiatric patients, an official in the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza told Quds Press on Sunday. According to Yahya Khader, head of General Administration of Psychiatric Health in Gaza, “the medicine crisis affects all sides in the ministry of health in Gaza,” stressing that this is leading to a deterioration in mental health for the patients with psychological problems. For example, Khader said, “when the patients with depression do not take their medications regularly” they can “start thinking of committing suicide.” Therefore, Khader said, “they must be admitted to hospital and be placed under intensive monitoring because the deterioration of their health affects other members of their families.” The statement by the Ministry of Health warned of a deficit of 50 per cent in the 39 medicines needed by psychiatric patients. The statement noted that there are at least 5,500 psychiatric patients in Gaza….
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180122-shortage-of-medicines-in-gaza-harms-psychiatric-patients/

Video: Gaza rebuilding efforts continue nearly four years after Israeli offensive
20 Jan — The Al Khaldi family in Gaza City are returning home after nearly four years. An Israeli air strike in 2014 brought down the building where they used to live. There was widespread destruction of homes and schools as Israel carried out air strikes and shelling on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in what it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge”. The 50-day-violence damaged 130,000 homes and displaced 500,000 Gazans, according to the United Nations. Samir al Khaldi says the entire building was reduced to rubble in 10 minutes. His wife, Sahar, says she hopes the family will not have to relive the experience. According to UN statistics, around 70 percent of the 126,000 Gaza homes that were damaged or destroyed in the 2014 war have been rebuilt. TRT World‘s Suheil Damouny reports.
https://www.trtworld.com/mea/gaza-rebuilding-efforts-continue-nearly-four-years-after-israeli-offensive-14426

Why is the Israeli army finally worried about Gaza? / Jonathan Cook
Redress 22 Jan — Last week Israeli military officials for the first time echoed what human rights groups and the United Nations have been saying for some time: that Gaza’s economy and infrastructure stand on the brink of collapse. They should know. More than 10 years ago the Israeli army tightened its grip on Gaza, enforcing a blockade on goods coming in and out of the tiny coastal enclave that left much of the 2-million-strong population there unemployed, impoverished and hopeless. Since then, Israel has launched three separate major military assaults that have destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, killed many thousands and left tens of thousands more homeless and traumatised. Gaza is effectively an open-air prison, an extremely overcrowded one, with only a few hours of electricity a day and its ground water polluted by seawater and sewage.
–Self-interest– After a decade of this horrifying experiment in human endurance, the Israeli army finally appears to be concerned about whether Gaza can cope much longer…
According to the local media, the army is in part responding to practical concerns. It is reportedly worried that, if epidemics break out, the diseases will quickly spread into Israel. And if Gaza’s economy collapses too, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians could be banging on Israel’s door – or rather storming its hi-tech incarceration fence – to be allowed in. The army has no realistic contingency plans for either scenario. It may be considering too its image – and defence case – if its commanders ever find themselves in the dock at the International Criminal Court in the Hague accused of war crimes….
http://www.redressonline.com/2018/01/why-is-the-israeli-army-finally-worried-about-gaza/

Opinion: An independent Israeli policy vis-à-vis Gaza / Giora Eiland
Ynet 22 Jan — Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland is a former head of Israel’s National Security Council — ….The economic reality in the strip could lead to one of the two following scenarios: To a military conflict similar to the one that took place in 2014, or worse — to a combination between governmental chaos and a serious humanitarian crisis, which will drive thousands of desperate Gazans to trample the fence and start moving into Israel. This dangerous reality is also the result of five mistakes made by Israel…
We must make an immediate, fundamental change in our approach and adopt a seven-principle strategy: One, promote the recognition that Gaza is a state; two, recognize that the Gaza government will be determined by its residents (at this stage, Hamas is the legitimate ruler); three, insist that the donations for Gaza’s reconstruction are handed over to the Gaza government; four, stipulate that most of the donations will be used to build electricity, water and sewage infrastructures; five, agree on the construction of a seaport in Gaza; six, double Israel’s electricity and water supply to the strip until the infrastrctures are created; and seven, press the Egyptians to allow thousands of Gaza residents to cross through Egypt on their way to work in Arab countries.
Gaza is an enemy state. We should respond to every rocket and mortar fire and destroy the tunnels, but we can’t base our policy entirely on sticks without carrots, and we can’t rely on Abbas to provide Gaza with the carrots. Abbas’ announcement that he plans to cancel the PA’s agreements with Israel is an opportunity to shape an independent Israeli policy vis-à-vis Gaza and stop taking into account the Palestinian desire that Gaza and the West Bank will remain one political entity.
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5074485,00.html

Video: Gaza’s weavers: Sales slowing for handmade carpets
14 Jan — Weavers of traditional handmade carpets in Gaza say they’re struggling to keep their craft alive. Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the territory has badly affected business. Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb reports from Gaza.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/gazas-weavers-sales-slowing-handmade-carpets-180114111311888.html

Gazan artists, intellectuals seek to revive culture cafes
Al-Monitor 24 Jan by Tamam Mohsen — Despite the Israeli siege, poverty and unemployment, cultural centers are emerging in the Gaza Strip. Inside El-Khodr Shrine, an ancient monastery in Deir al-Balah that dates back to the third century, a group of young writers and poets have started meeting regularly to discuss art, literature and other aspects of culture, providing a break from the everyday woes in the Gaza Strip. Writer Nabil al-Areeny founded the Toukan Literary Salon in May 2017, specifically choosing Deir al-Balah, a small, impoverished city in central Gaza with few job opportunities, a handful of recreational centers and a large refugee camp….
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/01/gazan-cultural-salons-bring-color.html

New female security unit graduates in Gaza
MEMO 24 Jan — Members of a female security unit in Gaza graduated on Tuesday in a celebration attended by senior security officials, media reports said. The Director of Palestinian Security Services in Gaza General Tawfiq abu-N‘eem, along many other senior security officials, attended the graduation. Reports said that this is the 29th unit of women security staff in Gaza and these women immediately took up their responsibilities in the different security departments. Security officials said that this came as part of the effort to involve women in the operations of the security services in Gaza. Abu-N’eem said: “We are working hard to train enough numbers of women needed for the security operations and we still need more women to be recruited.”
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180124-new-women-security-unit-graduates-in-gaza/

Palestinian refugees – Syria, Palestine

US UNRWA aid cut to harm Palestinian refugees in Syria
Al Jazeera 25 Jan by Patrick Strickland — As US President Donald Trump pulls back funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, Palestinians in Syria are facing “life-threatening” conditions, the agency’s spokesperson said. “Palestinians are among those worst affected by the [Syrian] conflict,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness, explaining that 95 percent of 438,000 Palestinians in the war-torn country are “in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance”. “The war in Syria has devastated lives with incalculable cruelty. In this situation, many of the services UNRWA provides are often literally life-saving,” Gunness told Al Jazeera, referring to UNRWA’s makeshift clinics, emergency assistance and teaching staff that educates 45,000 students a day. Nearly 58 percent of Palestinians in Syria are internally displaced, with upwards of 56,600 trapped in hard-to-reach or inaccessible parts of the war-ravaged country, he added. Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that the US will indefinitely withhold $65m of its planned $125m in financial contributions to UNRWA, prompting outrage from Palestinians and humanitarian groups. Salim Salamah, director of the Palestinian League for Human Rights – Syria, argued that Palestinian refugees in Syria and those who have been doubly displaced to neighbouring countries will suffer as a result of the decision. “The impact is going to be really massive and tragic,” he told Al Jazeera. “For Palestinians of Syria, it’s life-saving aid, especially in the context that many Palestinians lack access to many basic services, even [those who fled] in Lebanon or Jordan.” Salamah added: “It falls within the long-standing tradition of eroding the existence of Palestinians … and it is tragic.”….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/unrwa-aid-cut-harm-palestinian-refugees-syria-180125105408496.html

NGOs urge US to immediately restore UN funding
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Jan — In a letter penned by 21 international NGOs and advocacy groups, senior members of the U.S. Administration have been urged to immediately restore $65 million in frozen funds intended for the UNRWA. Agencies to have signed the letter include a variety of NGOs and advocacy groups, including Oxfam America and Amnesty International America, as well as religious charity groups Islamic Relief US and the Jesuit Refugee Service USA. Recipients of the letter included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis, and U.S. Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley. The move to severely cut financial contributions to the UNRWA is described as unprecedented and deeply alarming and breaks with decades of U.S. foreign policy and political sentiment. “It is deeply troubling to witness such a casual disregard of principles that have been crucial to U.S. policy deliberations over many decades,” the letter reads, according to the PNN. The letter recalls earlier commitments under the Reagan and Bush administrations to supply much needed aid to refugees and vulnerable people globally. Such peoples have included those in famine-stricken Ethiopia and those part of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative, under then-President Reagan and Bush, respectively. It was then-President Reagan who declared, as the letter recalls, “a hungry child knows no politics.” Political interference in the decision to cut funding has raised much concern within the NGO community internationally. “We are particularly alarmed that this decision impacting humanitarian aid to civilians is not based on any assessment of need, but rather designed both to punish Palestinian political leaders and to force political concessions from them,” the letter reads….
http://imemc.org/article/ngos-urge-u-s-to-immediately-restore-un-funding/

Video: US withholds another $45m for Palestine
20 Jan — The US is withholding another payment to the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees. Forty-five million dollars pledged for food aid is now frozen. That’s in addition to $65m, which was cut back earlier this week. Al Jazeera went to the occupied West Bank, where we spoke to people who rely on this money to survive. Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Jalzone refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/withholds-45m-palestinian-food-aid-180120094000470.html

Other news

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (18-24 January)
PCHR-GAZA 25 Jan — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt —  A Palestinian was killed, 4 others were wounded, and 3 houses were levelled in a military operation in Jenin. 25 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, 2 women, a journalist and paramedic, were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 13 of them were hit with live bullets, 5 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets, and 7 were hit with sound bomb shrapnel. A Palestinian ill prisoner died of cancer in the Israeli jails. Israeli forces conducted 74 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 8 similar ones into Jerusalem. 79 civilians, including 16 children, a woman and PLC Member, were arrested. 24 of them, including 9 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem. Seven shooting incidents targeting the Palestinian fishing boats occurred in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities continued their settlement activities in the West Bank. Israeli settlers started to establish a settlement road between Nablus and Qalqiliya. Shooting was reported towards the border areas of the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 11th consecutive year. Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were arrested at the checkpoints in the West Bank. [details follow]
http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=10344

US Embassy in Israel to move to Jerusalem by end of 2009: Pence
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 22 Jan by Jeff Mason & Jeffrey Heller — The U.S. Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech to the Israeli parliament on Monday that highlighted a policy shift that has stoked Palestinian anger and international concern. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem – and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year,” Pence said. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital – and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” The speech was briefly disrupted, at the outset, by Israeli Arab parliament members who held up protest signs in Arabic and English, reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”, and were ejected by ushers. Pence responded to the fracas by saying with a smile: “It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy.” Though shunned by the Palestinians, the Trump administration says it remains committed to helping them and Israel negotiate a peace deal. Those talks have been stalled for almost four years.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel-pence/u-s-embassy-in-israel-to-move-to-jerusalem-by-end-of-2019-pence-idUSKBN1FB0TC

Arab MKs ejected after protesting Pence Knesset speech
Al Jazeera 22 Jan — Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament have been forcibly removed from the chamber after staging a protest at the start of US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech … On Monday, he became the first US vice president to speak at the Israeli Knesset, but his speech was initially interrupted by a group of politicians with the Joint Arab List alliance who voiced their anger over Washington’s controversial move They shouted “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” and held up posters of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound before being thrown out by security. “We oppose the policies of Mr Trump. He is not only the enemy of Palestinians, he is the enemy of peace,” Jamal Zahalka, a protesting MP, told Al Jazeera. “We stood up today to protest Pence’s speech. He is an unwanted visitor to the region. We raised the slogan that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine in response to Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said the Palestinian members of the Knesset had warned that they would protest against Pence’s speech. “They wanted to do something big, something demonstrable in public,” said Fawcett, adding that “they provided a very clear message of defiance and opposition towards the US position on Jerusalem”.
Despite being ejected, Zahalka said he considered the Knesset members’ action a success.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/arab-mps-ejected-protesting-pence-knesset-speech-180122160854881.html

In Photos: Palestinians observe general strike in protest of Pence visit to Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Palestinians observed a general strike on Tuesday, shuttering businesses and institutions en masse in protest of US Vice President Mike Pence’s ongoing visit to Israel. Palestinian national factions called for a general strike “in rejection of the US stances against the rights of the Palestinian people.” All shops, stores, institutions and schools closed their gates on Tuesday in commitment to the strike. Meanwhile, groups of Palestinian youth across the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah closed off several roads with rocks and burning tires in order to force Palestinians using the roads to travel to work to commit to the strike.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779774

King Abdullah reiterates support for two-state solution
Al Jazeera 21 Jan — A two-state solution is the only possible answer to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Jordan’s King Abdullah II has told US Vice President Mike Pence in a meeting in Amman. The king said on Sunday he hoped Pence’s visit, the second leg of his regional visit, would “rebuild trust and confidence” after the US decision last month to name Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “For us, Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews,” said King Abdullah II, calling for a two-state solution along 1967 lines that would name “East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state” that exists “side by side with a secure, recognised Israel.  “It [Jerusalem] is key to peace in the region, and key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of the root causes of radicalisation.” King Abdullah II, a staunch US ally, also said the decision by Washington to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. For his part, Pence acknowledged the king’s role as the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem. He also defended US President Donald Trump‘s Jerusalem decision, but stated that Washington still supports a two-state solution “if the parties agree” to it…
Palestinians also made clear that they did not wish to meet Pence during his trip to the Middle East, reiterating that the US could no longer be involved in the peace process following Trump’s decision. For many Palestinians, Pence himself is part of the problem.  The shift in US policy with which he was closely associated was welcomed by his evangelical Christian base, many of whom believe the return of the Jews to the Holy Land is a precursor to Jesus’ second coming. “Pence has an agenda that is extremist, fundamentalist, literalist – [a] Christian absolutist ideology which goes against all the beliefs and commitments of the Arab and Palestinian Christians in particular, and they feel that they have been betrayed by somebody who has been dealing them a tremendous injustice using religion as a justification,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/king-abdullah-reiterates-support-state-solution-180121151528472.html

Palestinians: Donald Trump’s threats ‘will not work’
Al Jazeera 25 Jan — The Palestinian leadership has rebuked threats by US President Donald Trump to withhold aid if it refuses to negotiate with Israel. “This policy of threats … will not work with the Palestinian people,” spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said in a press conference on Thursday. “The issue of Jerusalem is a holy issue – it is the key to war and peace in the region. It cannot be bought or sold with all the world’s money,” said Abu Rudeineh, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa. “If Jerusalem is off the negotiating table, so is the US.” Trump threatened to withhold funds on Thursday after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland…
Trump did not specify which aid money he was referring to. Since 2008, the US has donated about $400m annually in economic aid to the Palestinian Authority – the governmental body that governs the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Last week, the US decided to cut more than half of its funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) – an aid agency that has been the lifeline to the more than five million registered Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories, as well as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. In Davos, Trump also accused the Palestinian leadership of “disrespecting” the US by refusing to meet Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Israel and the region earlier this week. Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi responded by saying, “not meeting your oppressor is not a sign of disrespect, it is a sign of self-respect” …
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/palestinians-donald-trump-threats-work-180125165024084.html

Palestinian Christians slam Pence’s pro-Israel faith
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) 22 Jan by Karin Laub  — Palestinian Christians say U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s brand of evangelical Christianity, with its fervent embrace of modern-day Israel as fulfilment of biblical prophecy, lacks their faith’s compassion and justice, including for those who have endured half a century of Israeli occupation … The vice president — by his own definition “a Christian, a conservative, a Republican, in that order” — has cited his religious beliefs as the source of his unwavering support of Israel. He has been embraced by so-called Christian Zionists who believe the establishment of the state of Israel is proof of God keeping his promises and a step toward the second coming of Christ. In a 2017 speech to Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, an influential organization run by Texas pastor John Hagee, Pence signaled similar views, saying that “though Israel was built by human hands, it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history lies the hand of heaven.” Critics say Jewish supporters of Christian Zionists and their pro-Israel fundraising juggernaut conveniently overlook violent end-time prophecies that are espoused by some and are based on the belief that only those who embrace Jesus will be saved … Palestinian Christians, many with deep roots in the Holy Land, consider Christian Zionist views as a negation of the teachings of Jesus on justice and compassion for all of humanity. They argue that such streams of evangelical Christianity have used religion to whitewash Israel’s harsh policies during its half-century-old rule over millions of Palestinians. “For me, it’s a sick ideology,” said Munib Younan, the recently retired bishop of the small Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and former president of the Lutheran World Federation, an umbrella for churches with millions of believers….
https://www.fresnobee.com/news/nation-world/world/article195942854.html

Mahmoud Abbas urges EU to ‘swiftly recognise’ Palestine
Al Jazeera 22 Jan — Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has urged European Union (EU) countries to “swiftly recognise” the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. His comments from Brussels on Monday came on the same day as Mike Pence, the US vice president, told Israel’s parliament that the US would move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019. At a meeting with the EU’s foreign ministers, Abbas called the 28-nation bloc a “true partner and friend” and urged it to step up “political” efforts in the Middle East. EU recognition of Palestine would not disrupt the “the resumption of negotiations” with Israel on a peace settlement, he said. Instead, it “would encourage the Palestinian people to keep hoping for peace and to wait until peace is brought about”. Later on Monday, Abbas said, “The Europeans agreed with us about the issue of Jerusalem … they understand it but they have not made a decision about the recognition yet because it needs another meeting.”
Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Brussels, said Abbas’ decision to visit the EU headquarters rather than holding talks with Pence was “a snub” to the US. Palestinian officials no longer see Washington as an honest broker in the stalled peace process, and want to place the EU, in “the driving seat” of the peace effort, he added…
Nine EU governments already recognise Palestine. The EU parliament, in 2014, overwhelming backed the recognition of a Palestinian state “in principle”, but said such a move “should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks”.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/mahmoud-abbas-urges-eu-swiftly-recognise-palestine-180122181903323.html

Israel gets flak over human rights record in Geneva
GENEVA (Al Jazeera) 24 Jan by Barbara Bibbo — UN member states have criticised Israel for failing to abide by human rights laws and UN resolutions during a heated Human Rights Council (HRC) session; some labelled it an “apartheid state”. The scolding in the Swiss city on Tuesday came as Israel was undergoing its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN-led process meant to assess the human rights record of each state and make recommendations for improvement. “Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state,” the South African delegate told the Israeli delegation and UN members convened at the Palais des Nations. “We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed.” The delegate was echoing the recommendations of several member states that called, above all, for an end of the 50-year-long occupation of Palestinian territory. A number of UN member states expressed concern over what they saw as the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied territories and Israel’s blatant violations of UN resolutions…
–Israeli arguments— In her opening remarks, Aviva Raz Shechter, Israeli ambassador to the UN in Geneva, laid out bluntly how Israel was going to receive the recommendations of fellow members. “The continuous discrimination against Israel in the HRC and the unparalleled number of one-sided biased and political resolutions adopted regularly by the automatic majority of its members testify not only to the unfair treatment of Israel but also to the deficiencies of the council itself and its agenda,” she said. Shechter said Israel would submit to the review process despite what she called the HRC’s bias, and demanded its overhaul….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/israel-flak-human-rights-record-geneva-180123180839181.html

Palestinians fight Facebook, YouTube censorship
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 20 Jan by Ylenia Gostoli — Amid an ever-shrinking space for dissenting Palestinian voices, a new initiative sets out to recover some of the ground lost online. Sada Social, a group launched in September by three Palestinian journalists, aims to document “violations against Palestinian content” on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, and to liaise with its executives to restore some of the pages and accounts that have been shut down. While social media platforms do not take down content for overtly political reasons, they do strike down what is considered “hate speech” or incitement to violence, as well as other forms of online abuse that anyone can report. But Palestinian journalists, activists and those behind Sada Social say there is a double standard regarding the enforcement of platforms’ policies. “There is a very big gap between Palestinians and Israelis,” Sada Social cofounder Iyad Alrefaie told Al Jazeera, explaining that the idea for such an initiative stems from what he sees as an imbalance in the way social networks deal with censorship in the Israeli-Palestinian context. “[Nothing happens] to Israelis who publish a status calling for killing Palestinians,” he said. “But if Palestinians post any news about something happening on the ground or done by an Israeli soldier, Facebook [may] close the account or the page, or delete the post.” According to 7amleh, the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, Israel has more than 200 criminal files against Arab and Palestinian activists charging them with incitement on the internet, while “almost not a single case” has been opened against Israeli instigators….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/palestinians-fight-facebook-youtube-censorship-180119095053943.html

Palestinian mobile firms offer 3G after Israeli ban ends
25 Jan — Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have finally gained access to 3G mobile phone services, after Israel lifted a ban on the technology. But the infrastructure upgrade wasn’t permitted in Gaza, where users are stuck with slower networks. Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/palestinian-mobile-firms-offer-3g-israeli-ban-ends-180125110905532.html

EU delivers €11 million in support of Palestinian families
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Jan — The European Union (EU) said, on Wednesday, that it delivered to the Palestinian Authority the quarterly payment of a €50-million to support poor and vulnerable Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to the press release, the contribution is funded by the European Union, which provided 10 million euros, the Spanish government, which contributed 1 million euros, and Ireland, which contributed 0.28 million euros. The pledge will contribute to support some 67,500 families, about 80% of them in the Gaza Strip.The release further stated, according to Al Ray,that  the EU funds will cover the social allowances for more than 115,000 families. This quarterly payment is channeled in times of heightened tensions in Gaza. and a difficult situation for the people living there. Toman Niklasson, Deputy EU Representative said that “The fight against poverty is at the heart of the EU’s political, economic, and social agenda.” “Through contributing to the payment of social allowances, the EU is supporting the Palestinian Authority in providing social protection to those in need. This is particularly crucial in Gaza where we are facing alarming and increasing poverty rates.” he said.
http://imemc.org/article/eu-delivers-e11-million-in-support-of-palestinian-families/

46-minute film: Lebanon: Living on the Blue Line
Al Jazeera 24 Jan – Filmmaker: Bilal Khreis — The personal stories of villagers in southern Lebanon about living close to the border with neighbouring Israel.
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2018/01/lebanon-living-blue-line-180122073148967.html

Video: Palestinian immigrant arrested in US despite political opposition
25 Jan — From members of his family to local and national politicians, there is bemusement at the deportation proceedings under way for a Palestinian businessman in Youngstown, Ohio. The Republican Chair of the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington even went so far as to order Amer Othman Adi’s release. But immigration authorities are holding firm, making some think a message is being sent. Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi reports from Youngstown.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/palestinian-immigrant-detained-political-opposition-180125144454429.html

L’Oréal hijab model steps down over anti-Israel tweets posted during 2014 Gaza war
RT 22 Jan — The face of L’Oréal’s new hijab-friendly hair campaign has stepped down after anti-Israel tweets she posted during the 2014 Gaza war resurfaced. Model and blogger Amena Khan, from Leicester in England, was part of the new ‘inclusive’ hair care campaign by the French beauty brand which made history last week by featuring a woman wearing a hijab. But Khan’s newfound success was short lived after a string tweets she posted four years ago revealed her anti-Israeli sentiment. In the posts penned during Operation Protective Edge – the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza – Khan accused Israel of being an “illegal” and “terrorist” genocide state that murders children and Palestinians….
https://www.rt.com/news/416684-loreal-hijab-israel-gaza-war/

Support up among Israelis, Palestinians for violent solution to conflict – poll
Times of Israel 245 Jan by Michael Bachner — Support for armed struggle has almost doubled among Palestinians in the last six months, while Israeli backing for a decisive military offensive to end the conflict increased during the same period by almost 60 percent, according to a poll published Thursday that said the rise was most likely linked to  US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The survey also found that most Israeli Jews and most Palestinians no longer believe the two-state solution is a possible way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The findings are detailed in Palestinian-Israeli Pulse, a joint poll published by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC), Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. The poll, published every six months, was conducted in December 2017, after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem.
When asked what should happen next, just 26% percent of Palestinians chose the option of a peace deal, a staggering decline from 45% last June. Thirty-eight percent supported armed struggle, up from just 21% in the previous survey. A similar but less extreme trend was seen among Israeli Jews. Thirty-eight percent said a peace deal should be sought, down from 45% six months ago, and the percentage of supporters for a “decisive military offensive” to end the conflict increased from 12% to 19% …
Large majorities on both sides deem the other side untrustworthy. Perceived lack of feasibility and trust were significantly correlated to opposition to the two-state solution. Findings also show a decline in the percentage of Israeli Jews and Palestinians who think the other side wants peace….
https://www.timesofisrael.com/poll-finds-increased-support-for-violent-solution-to-israel-palestinian-conflict/

Opinion: What is next for Palestine? / Ramzy Baroud
Al Jazeera 18 Jan — It is time for a new beginning. US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital came as no surprise to most Palestinians, for, after all the US’ political backing and military funding of Israel is older than the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Trump’s decision, however, has exposed the “peace process” for the last time as a complete charade. It also exposed the Palestinian leadership as corrupt, subservient and politically bankrupt. If the Palestinian leadership had a minimal degree of accountability, it would immediately undertake a total overhaul within its ranks and activate all Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) institutions, bring all factions together under the umbrella of the PLO and declare a unified strategy inspired by the aspirations and sacrifices of the Palestinian people. And if Palestinians are to start anew, they have to commence their journey with fresh political discourse, with new political blood, and a new future outlook that is based on unity, credibility and competence. None of this can ever take place with the same old faces, the same tired language and the same dead-end politics …
In this article, I sought the opinion of 14 independent Palestinian intellectuals from across Palestine and the diaspora. Although they subscribe to different ideological schools of thought and come from different generations and locations, they shared a lot of ideas. Palestinians are demanding change, or, in the words of renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta – interviewed below – they want to “go back to the roots”….
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/palestine-180116110352197.html

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About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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