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Today in Palestine

Israeli forces seize 5 relatives of Palestinian killed committing truck attack in occupied Jerusalem

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Israeli forces raided homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir on Sunday and detained at least five relatives of Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar, a Palestinian who was killed earlier in the day after carrying out a deadly vehicular attack. Israel is also withholding his body, denying family reunification requests, and planning demolition of his house.

Will the Azaria verdict shield Israel from the International Criminal Court?

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One possible consequence of the Azaria verdict is that will help protect Israel from international accountability. Yonah Jeremy Bob writes in the Jerusalem Post: “At the ICC, Hebron shooter Elor Azaria’s manslaughter conviction may affirm the credibility of Israel’s apparatus for prosecuting its own soldiers. This is important because it is the decisive issue affecting whether the ICC will dive deeper into the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.”

Waqf: 14,806 Israeli settler incursions on Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in 2016

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Ma‘an reports: 2016 saw the highest number of incursions on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by right-wing Israelis than previous recorded years, according to the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) that manages the holy site. The religious trust said in the statement that a total of 14,806 Israeli settler incursions occurred on the compound in 2016 via the Old City’s Moroccan Gate. These incursions included assaults on employees of the Islamic Waqf, with Israeli forces routinely banning them from entering the holy site.

Israeli forces killed 31 Palestinian youths in the occupied West Bank in 2016

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2016 has been deadliest year of the past decade for West Bank children, according to Defense for Children International–Palestine. In the past year Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP, says, “Intentional lethal force now appears to be routinely used by Israeli forces, even in unjustified situations, with no accountability, putting more and more children at risk.”

15-year-old Ahed Tamimi denied visa by State Dept for US speaking tour

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Richard Edmondson reports on his Fig Tree blog: Ahed Tamimi was slated to be part of the No Child Behind Bars/Living Resistance speaking tour that is to tour the US beginning on January 15, 2017, but according to an email sent out yesterday by the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), she has been denied a visa to enter the country.

Israeli settlers celebrating weekly Torah portion smash Hebron shop windows

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From the International Solidarity Movement: This weekend in al-Khalil brought thousands of extremist Jews and settlers from all over Israel and abroad to celebrate the week’s Torah study on Chayei Sara (Life of Sarah), where Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah (which they think is in al-Khalil) in order to bury his wife Sarah. On Friday evening, a group of settlers coming from the illegal settlement Kiryat Arba attacked one of the two remaining Palestinian shops on their way to the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The Israeli soldiers present did not prevent them from committing this crime.

Israeli settlements put on hold due to US pressure may be restarted

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Haaretz reports: “Jerusalem’s zoning board is set to discuss a plan on Wednesday to build 500 homes in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood located over the Green Line in East Jerusalem. The plan was approved two years ago by the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee, but was later suspended due to pressure from the U.S. In anticipation of the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president in January, city officials have begun to ‘thaw’ building projects in the capital that had been ‘frozen.'”

‘Welcome to the bi-national state’: Livni says Knesset bill to legalize settlement outposts sets stage for annexing West Bank

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Reuters reports: Israel’s parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a disputed bill that would retroactively legalize Jewish settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The far-right Jewish Home party and members of Netanyahu’s Likud faction have pushed for the law, in part to try to circumvent a Supreme Court order to destroy the settlement outpost of Amona, where 40 families live on Palestinian-owned land. The demolition is set for Dec. 25.

‘We will kill you!’: Israeli settlers attack Palestinians harvesting olives

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Gideon Levy & Alex Levac report for Haaretz: It was a pogrom. The survivors are five congenial Palestinian farmers who speak broken Hebrew and work in construction in Israel, with valid entry permits. They are convinced that they survived last Saturday’s attack only by a miracle. “We will kill you!” the assailants shouted, as they beat the men over the head and on their bodies with clubs and iron pipes, and brandished serrated knives. The only “crime” of the Palestinians, who were in the midst of harvesting their olives when the settlers swooped down on them, was that they were Palestinians who had the temerity to work their land.

Jerusalem mayor says he will demolish Palestinian homes if gov’t dismantles settlement outpost

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AFP reports: Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat has warned that Palestinian homes built without an Israeli permit in the city’s annexed east could be demolished if authorities dismantle a wildcat Jewish settlement. The threat was made following a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court ordering the evacuation and demolition of the Amona outpost, where around 40 families are living on private Palestinian-owned land near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinian families detained by Israeli forces over photo of imprisoned children

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From Samidoun: “A bus full of Palestinian families was detained for two hours by Israeli occupation forces after a visit with their loved ones on Wednesday, 26 October in the Negev desert prison, on the grounds that one of the mothers of the prisoners had with her a photograph of her imprisoned children.”

Five-year-old Palestinian boy banned from visiting father in Israeli prison

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Ma‘an reports: “Israeli authorities have banned 5-year-old Ibrahim from visiting his father, Palestinian Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fatah Abu Fanunah, in prison, Abu Fanunah’s wife said to Voice of Prisoners (Sawt al-Asra) radio on Sunday. Umm Mahmoud told the radio station that she has also been banned from visiting her husband ever since he was detained on Oct. 22, 2015, calling the Israeli policy of preventing family visits a means to pressure Palestinian prisoners.”

‘Lack of evidence,’ ‘lack of guilt’ –no charges for Israeli guards who killed Palestinian siblings

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No charges to be filed against civilian guards who shot and killed a Palestinian woman and her brother at the Qalandiya crossing in occupied West Bank in April, Times of Israel reports. Maram Hassan Abu Ismail, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16 — both of occupied Beit Surrif — were killed by guards in April after Abu Ismail allegedly threw a knife at the guards.

Israeli border police hold ‘stun grenade’ training in middle of Palestinian neighborhood

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Al Jazeera reports: “Israeli border police carried out stun grenade training in the Palestinian neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, a new video purports to show. In the recording, the neighbourhood, home to around 16,000 people, is quiet, raising questions as to why border police decided to practise there with the risk of provoking tensions. One officer is seen teaching another how to operate the grenade. “Throw lower,” he tells him. The trainee officer detonates the grenade between the homes and is praised for a “good job” before he walks away with the rest of the officers.”

Israel detains 10 high school students in Jerusalem’s Old City

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Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem overnight and during the day Monday, including 10 teenagers at Dar al-Aytam school in Jerusalem’s Old City that Israeli police accused of throwing rocks. Locals told Ma‘an they were detained as they left school and were chased by Israeli forces through the alleys of the Old City. Samir Jibril, the director of the Palestinian Ministry of Education department, had told Ma‘an that the Israeli soldiers’ accusations of rock throwing were “bogus” due to the fact that there were “security bars” secured over all the school’s windows, making it nearly impossible for students to throw anything out of them.

Gaza’s population hits 2 million

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“There are now more than two million residents in the Gaza Strip after baby Waleed Shaath was born last night in Rafah in southern Gaza,” interior ministry spokesman Iyad Bezm told AFP on Wednesday. Gaza, a tiny enclave squeezed between Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea and just 12 kilometres across at its widest point, has one of the highest population densities in the world, according to the United Nations. The territory could be “unliveable” by 2020, the UN said last year, due in large part to “high population density and overcrowding.”

Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces buried two hours later due to fear Israel would detain body

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On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers fatally shot Ali Shyoukhi, 20, during a protest in Silwan just south of Jerusalem’s Old City. Shyoukhi was shot with a live round in his pelvis and bled to death as medics were unable to move him to the hospital due to the extensive military siege on the town. Hundreds of Jerusalemites participated in his funeral, which was held just two hours after he was killed out of fear that his body would be detained by Israel.

‘An attack on local democracy’: UK gov’t and Spanish High Court issue decisions against BDS

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A Spanish High Court of the Asturias region upheld a decision last week declaring a Langreo City Council agreement to boycott Israel illegal. And last month the UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government published guidance for local authorities stating that “using pension policies to pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate”.

Report: Israel has detained more than 1,000 Palestinian minors since beginning of 2016

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Ma’an reports: “More than 1,000 Palestinian minors have been detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Saturday, in a reported increase from 2015. The Committee said that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since January, including around 70 children from occupied East Jerusalem who were placed under house arrest.”

In response to new aid deal, Israeli military firms to bid directly for defense contracts through US subsidiaries

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Ha’aretz reports: “The key to Israeli defense firms not losing business under the new U.S. military aid deal will be to follow Elbit Systems and set up subsidiaries in the United States to bid for defense orders, industry officials said over the weekend. They were speaking days after the United States and Israel signed a 10-year memorandum of understanding that will provide Israel with $3.8 billion in annual grants. In the deal, Israel will no longer be entitled to spend 26.3% of the money – equal to around $815 million annually in recent years – in Israel.”