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Today in Palestine

Israel advances bill to conceal its overseas partners in suppressing BDS

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Israel advances a law that will make secret its operations to suppress the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the law would exempt government agencies from complying with FOIA requests that could reveal its fight against BDS, and its overseas civilian partners that seek to hide their relationship with the Israeli government.

Haim Saban pushes Democrats to support bill that would slash funding to Palestinian Authority

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Ron Kampeas reports for the JTA: “Haim Saban, a major donor to the Democratic Party, is backing a bill that would slash funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis. The participation of the Israeli-American entertainment mogul in the initiative of the lobbying affiliate of the Israeli-American Council is significant because Democrats until now have been reluctant to back the bill as it stands.”

Clashes erupt as Mike Huckabee leads 2 a.m. rush of 4,000 right-wing Israelis to pray in West Bank

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Former governor Mike Huckabee is filmed leading thousands of right-wing Israelis in prayer at Joseph’s Tomb outside of Nablus in the early morning hours, prompting clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians. Ma’an News Agency reports, “Clashes erupted between local Palestinians and Israeli soldiers who escorted some 4,000 right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank overnight Sunday, when at least two Palestinians were detained and several others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Among the group of Israelis who arrived to the site under armed protection was Mike Huckabee, former US governor of the state of Arkansas.”

West Bank election results: Fatah wins as many Palestinians stayed away from the polls

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Ma’an News Agency reports, “The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) reported that Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), maintained a majority of local council seats, despite independent lists having scored a higher number of votes. While approximately 65 percents of seats up for grabs during Saturday’s election went to registered or independent lists in 145 municipalities, another 181 villages and towns mainly saw Fatah lists run unopposed. As anti-PA sentiment has continued to grow over the past year, a number of political factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), decided to boycott the elections.”

Netanyahu gov’t advances bill to remove Arabic as an ‘official language’ of Israel

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Al Jazeera reports Israeli lawmakers will soon vote on a bill that strikes Arabic from the list of official languages, “Israeli ministers have approved a controversial bill that will downgrade Arabic as an official language and define the country as the ‘national home of the Jewish people.’ Ayman Odeh, a parliament member who heads the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, said approving the bill would mean trampling on minority rights, adding it would ‘legally transform us into second-class citizens’.”

No shooter will be charged with killing Palestinian activist Bassem Abu Rahma because Israeli court lost evidence

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IMEMC reports: “The Israeli court admits that Bassem was killed, and that it was the soldier’s fault. Despite having one officer and three soldiers called for questioning, the court claims that it had done what it could. But the court has said there is nothing it can do, because they allegedly don’t know the name of the soldier who shot Bassem, or even the name of the officer. Court officials told the family’s lawyer that the file of Bassem Abu Rahma was stolen from the court, and that for that reason, they have an incomplete file on the case.”

Israeli police kill 17-year-old suspect rather than arrest him

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Ahmad Zahir Fathi Ghazal, 17, from Nablus was shot and killed by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday, after he carried out a stab attack that left three Israelis lightly injured, with witnesses asserting Israeli police could have easily detained the boy without killing him.

Palestinian college student on hunger strike after 22 days of interrogation in an Israeli prison

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Palestinian university student Kifah Quzmar, in his final year studying business administration at Bir Zeit University, launched a hunger strike on Sunday, March 26 in Ashkelon prison, where he is held shackled and remains under interrogation after 22 days of imprisonment. Quzmar, a popular, well-known student, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on March 7 at the Karameh/Allenby crossing from Jordan as he returned from travel. After denying that he was in their custody for several days, he was then denied access to a lawyer for 19 days.