and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Big number of demolition orders given to a Palestinian community
JVS 28 July — Today, new demolitions orders were given by the occupation forces to a Palestinian community of the Northern Jordan Valley. This morning, 20 demolitions orders were given to Samra community, which represents the demolition of a all neighborhood within Samra. The Israeli Civil Administration ordered the demolition of 10 homes and 10 animal shelters, which would leave 8 families homeless. 60 people have lived in this neighborhood for many years on a land owned by a Palestinian owner from Tubas.
Demolition orders and a tractor confiscated in Arab II Kaabneh
JVS 28 July — Yesterday, the Israeli Civil Administration gave 7 demolition orders to Palestinian families of Arab Il Kaabneh community. Arab Il Kaabneh is located between Jericho and Al Awja, and is considered as Area C by Israeli forces. Musa Isliman Musa Imlihait’s family has been ordered demolitions for 4 animal shelters and 3 fences. He has been given until Sunday then after the Occupation Forces will destroy all those structures. His tractor has also been confiscated by the army and sent to Tulkarem military base. That means they have no tractor to pull their mobile water tank and thus no access to water.
Summer camp in West Bank village more than just fun and games
Wadi Abu Hindi, Central West Bank (PNN) 27 July – Residents gathered on Wednesday outside the school in the Bedouin village of Wadi Abu Hindi to watch performances by local kids on the last day of a summer camp run by a UN agency. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency coordinates services for 5 million Palestinian refugees. They put on the camp in the village near Jericho to give the kids a chance for recreation, but also to assert their presence in the area, which is threatened by Israeli settlement expansion, said a UNRWA organizer … Wadi Abu Hindi is one of many Bedouin villages scattered across the West Bank and the Negev that are under demolition order by the Israeli government.
IOA delivers demolition warning to inhabitants of a building in OJ
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 July — The Israeli occupation authority-controlled Jerusalem municipality handed a demolition warning to inhabitants of a building in Beit Hanina. One of the inhabitants Mohammed Asfour said that municipality staffers escorted by Israeli policemen handed them evacuation orders in preparation for demolishing the five-story building at the pretext that it was built without permit 13 years ago!.The building is inhabited by seven Palestinian families composed of 45 individuals and has a number of shops on its first floor.
Israeli court approves petition to halt illegal construction
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 July — Palestinian residents from the village of Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah have successfully petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to rule against the construction of a waste facility built illegally on their land. The court issued an injunction against the operation of a waste purification facility which was built illegally on Palestinian land for the use of the nearby settlement of Ofra. The Palestinian petitioners were supported by Israeli rights group Yesh Din.
Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah won’t be evicted by settlers, Israeli court rules
Haaretz 28 July — Both the Farhan and Harisha families who live in Jewish-owned homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood are staying put for now. Settlers twice attempted to evict them but were denied by the Jerusalem courts. About a month and a half ago, the Jerusalem District Court rejected a petition by Jewish activists to evict the Farhan family, ruling that the suit had various legal faults. Then, two weeks ago, Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Irit Cohen ruled that the Harisha family, who live adjacent to the Farhans, had proved that although the home is Jewish-owned, they have the status of protected tenants and cannot be evicted. The latter suit was filed by Debril, a company registered in Delaware, which serves as a front for right-wing groups to buy real estate in Jerusalem.
Settlers / Settlements
Hundreds of Jewish settlers storm Nabi Yusuf tomb
NABLUS (PIC) 18 July — Hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed the Nabi Yusuf tomb east of Nablus before dawn Thursday under heavy Israeli troop protection and offered rituals. Eyewitnesses said that the settlers arrived in 16 buses and left after dawn after clashing with Palestinian youths from nearby Askar and Balata refugee camps. The young men closed roads in the area, burnt tires, and threw stones at the intruders while the Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at the youth.
Jewish settlers confiscate hundreds of dunums in Sa‘ir area
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 July– Jewish settlers have released hounds on Palestinians who stepped foot on land that was taken from them to build the Asfar settlement on the Sa‘ir area east of Al-Khalil city, Palestinian sources have said. The settlers have been carrying out excavations there on farmlands owned by the Shalalida and Halayka families, the sources added. In two years, the settlers managed to usurp more than 200 dunums (49.4 acres ) of land under the nose of the media and Palestinian officials. The Shalalidas and Halaykas say they have deeds registered at the Palestinian property department proving their ownership of the land. The same sources said the landowners have been visiting the confiscated land daily in a bid to foil the excavations, but they have been exposed to attacks and expulsion by the settlers under protection of Israeli military forces.
Israeli NGO to invest $2 million to bring Israeli tourists to West Bank settlements
Haaretz 28 July — A new non-profit organization, started by Israeli settlers, plans on investing $2 million to pay for subsidized tours of the West Bank for the Israeli public. The target audience of Mishkefet, which calls itself a “national acquaintance project,” is secular Israelis who do not venture out to the West Bank settlements often, and the tours are due to explore historical and national Jewish heritage sites, as well as farms and other agricultural projects.
Security forces’ September weapons
Ynet 28 July — Defense Ministry invests NIS 75 million in purchase of non-lethal crowd dispersal means in preparation for riots surrounding UN debate on Palestinian recognition bid. New weapons include gas grenades, taser guns and substance with pungent odor … IDF and police forces have already began training with the new weapons. The Defense Ministry has also invested NIS 50 million in the construction of a 12-km fence in the Golan Heights.
Camp attack will not deter world record attempt by Gaza’s children – UN
UN 28 July – The United Nations has condemned an attack on its summer camp facility in Gaza and vowed that an attempt by thousands of Palestinian children to break a world record for kite flying will go on as planned today. According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 10 men attacked and vandalized the facility in north-west Gaza early Thursday. The attackers damaged a large billboard, burnt a UN flag and torched part of the stage. None of the UN security personnel at the venue was harmed, the agency added. “We condemn this attack, which is an attack on the children of Gaza as much as on the United Nations,” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in a statement.
Gaza kids claim kite-flying record
AP 28 July — Over 13,000 children attending UN summer camp is Strip fly kites, break previous record set by China
Fuel shortage threatens Gaza hospitals
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — The director of public medical supplies in the Gaza Strip warned Thursday of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza hospitals due to fuel shortages. Bassam Barhum, who oversees ministry of health supplies in Gaza, said electricity generators would stop within a day or two if fuel was not delivered. Every hospital in the coastal strip was vulnerable, Barhum said, adding that operation rooms had already closed in Gaza City’s Ash-Shifa hospital and the European hospital in Khan Younis due to the chronic energy supply shortage. In 2011, the Ministry of Health in Gaza received less than 400 thousand liters of fuel, but the hospitals need 1.5 to 2 million liters, he said.
Gaza-bound land convoy reaches Sudan
By Isma‘il Kushkush Port Sudan, Sudan (CNN) 28 July– A humanitarian land convoy heading to Gaza from South Africa reached Port Sudan, Sudan on the Red Sea Wednesday and is destined to become the first relief mission to Gaza from Africa. “I was inspired last year by the convoys that went to Gaza from Europe, so we asked ourselves; why not from Africa?” said Sheikh Walid al-Saadi of the South African Relief Agency (SARA). After eight months of preparation, the land convoy which consists of ten trucks, explained al-Saadi, departed Durban, South Africa on June 26 and has passed through seven countries thus far including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. It is to unload its shipment of humanitarian aid in Port Sudan on ships that will head to Suez, Egypt where members of the convoy will receive their trucks after flying to Egypt from Sudan.
Egypt allows medical aid into Gaza via the Rafah crossing
EL-ARISH (Ma‘an) 28 July — Three truckloads of medications were received by the Palestinian Red Crescent. They were donated by the Justice for Palestine Center in the UK “Egyptian authorities have allowed food aid and children’s milk into Gaza on the occasion of the month of Ramadan, the aid includes 1,200 boxes of five tons of children’s milk that were donated by an Egyptian food company and were received by the Egyptian Red Crescent and transferred to Gaza via the Rafah crossing,” Al-Arabi told Ma‘an. Egypt had allowed large amounts of medications and medical goods into Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Wednesday.
Gaza filmmakers decry Hamas censorship
Reuters 28 July — “Cinema in Gaza is like writing on rocks with your fingers,” says Palestinian writer-director Sweilem Al-Absi. It’s not just the dearth of funds, equipment and studio facilities that prompts such laments from film-makers in the Gaza Strip. Four years into Islamist Hamas rule, cultural censors are fraying the already threadbare local movie industry. Locked in conflict with Israel and vying against secular Palestinian rivals in the occupied West Bank, Hamas has long invested in television- and Internet-based news, educational shows and even animated clips that advance its political views. But independent artists say Gaza’s Culture Ministry, where projects must be approved before public screening, is quick to crack down on content that does not conform to Hamas edicts.
Rocket lands in Ashkelon
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an)28 July — A Qassam rocket landed in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon Thursday morning, Israel’s Channel 10 TV reported. Israeli news site Ynet said the rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip. No injuries or damage were reported.
PFLP armed wing claims responsibility for firing at soldiers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, have claimed responsibility for firing at Israeli soldiers on Thursday in the Ash Shujaiyeh neighborhood near Gaza City. The group targeted an engineering unit of Israeli soldiers with sniper fire. [no acknowledgment of this from the Israeli army]
Egyptian forces discover 5 smuggling tunnels at Gaza border
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 28 July — Egyptian security forces uncovered 5 smuggling tunnels on Thursday morning and confiscated large amounts of junk metal destined to be smuggled into Gaza. “Egyptian border guards in Rafah had received information about a group of Palestinians and Egyptians smuggling large amounts of junk metal into Gaza via a tunnel in the Al-Barahmeh neighborhood on the Egypt-Gaza border,” a Ma‘an correspondent said. “A large number of Egyptian security forces rushed to the scene and found an entrance to a tunnel with around 150 large bags of around a ton and a half of junk metal that were to be smuggled into Gaza via the tunnel.” Egyptian security forces have tightened security at the tunnel while they prepare to detonate a charge to collapse it.
Israeli forces detain 5 in Jenin area
JENIN (Ma‘an) 28 July — Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in Arraba village and one in Illar early Thursday. Palestinian security officials told Ma‘an Malik Abu Salah, Jawaad Abu A’baid, Yusuf A’rda, and Jihad A’rda were taken from Arraba, southwest of Jenin, in the raid. Israeli forces issued detention notices for four others
Israeli troops and police arrest 27 Palestinians on Thursday
Ramallah/Jerusalem (PNN) 28 July – Palestinian sources announced that Israeli troops and police arrested 27 Palestinian civilians on Thursday. During pre-dawn raids targeting a number of West Bank communities, Israeli troops arrested nine Palestinian civilians; sources announced that the nine were from the Jordan valley village of Arraba and Hurawa in the north of the West Bank.
Israeli sources reported that Israeli police forces arrested 18 Palestinian workers who had entered Israel without permission. According to Israeli TV those arrested varied in age, between 13 and 26, and were arrested near the Kriyat Shmoneh settlement in northern Israel.
Israeli police detain 150 Palestinian workers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 July — Israeli police forces arrested 150 Palestinian workers in cultivated lands in the Galilee north of Palestine occupied in 1948 on Thursday morning. The Israeli radio claimed that the workers were working in the fields without permit. The Israeli security forces daily storm areas where those workers usually work, and detain them after beating them up then expel them back to the West Bank after imposing heavy fines on them.
Palestinian detainees mark 27 years in Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Palestinian detainees Huza Al-Saadi and Othman Bani Hasan, both from Jenin, marked 27 years in Israeli prisons on Thursday. The Palestinian detainees center applauded the stamina of both men to withstand so many years of Israeli mistreatment. They are both serving life sentences in prison. It is unknown what charges they are being held on.
Israeli court rejects appeal over murder of tourism minister in 2001
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 July — Israel’s Supreme Court rejected on Thursday the appeal of Palestinian Ahid Ghulma against his life sentence for the murder of a right-wing Israeli tourism minister. Ghulma says the Israeli police and security services framed him for the 2001 assassination in order to protect the guilty parties. The court rejected his position, standing by the credibility of the witnesses. Ghulma was one of a group of Palestinians convicted of Rehavam Zeevi’s killing. Zeevi was the founder of the far-right Israeli party Moledet, which advocates the forced transfer of the Palestinian population from Israel.
Rights group outlines torture in Israeli detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 July — Palestinian detainees face torture and inhumane treatment in Israeli jails, a report by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said Thursday. In a publication documenting violations of human rights against Palestinians by the Israeli army over two years, the Gaza-based rights group outlined 85 cases of Palestinians tortured in Israeli prison. One detainee told Al-Mezan he was prevented from sleeping for more than a few hours, bound in stress positions, spat at and bombarded with loud music, during a 42-day interrogation. Nadedh Ali Abed-Rabbo, from Jabalia in north-east Gaza, passed out four times and lost 12 kilograms during the questioning, the report said. Upon his release in July 2010, he received medical treatment in Gaza City for loss of hearing, nerve spasms and ongoing head pain.
Racism / Discrimination
Arab-Israeli lawyers file lawsuit against Israel’s airport authorities and Shin Bet
Tel Aviv (PNN) 28 July — Three Arab-Israeli lawyers, Yamin Masalha, Shakieb Kubti and Daniel Drabkin, filed a law suit at Nazareth court against the three Israeli airline companies El Al, Yesral, and Erkia and also against the Airports Authority in Israel and the General Security Service , Shin Bet, because of the “unacceptable” searches and policies towards Arab residents of Israel in the Israeli airport … The three lawyers are asking the court to make them the representatives of all the Arab community in Israel in this case. There are 1.5 million Palestinians living in Israel and holding Israel citizenship.
Medic refuses to treat Sudanese refugee injured in traffic accident
Haaretz 28 July — A medic working at Bank Hapoalim refused on Thursday to treat a Sudanese refugee who was injured in a traffic accident near the central Tel Aviv branch. The refugee was struck by a taxi while he was riding his bicycle along Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard with a friend. The refugee was was thrown from his bicycle and began bleeding from his head … A guard at the entranceway witnessed the accident, and immediately called for an ambulance, as well as another guard who was trained as a medic. Upon arriving at the scene of the accident, the medic looked at the injured man and refused to treat him, stating that doing so would go against “standard procedure.”
Activists urge end to law banning Palestinians owning real estate in Lebanon
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 28 July — Activists and representatives of Palestinians in Lebanon stressed Thursday the need to abolish a Lebanese law that prohibits Palestinian refugees from owning property in the country … In August of last year, Parliament amended the Labor Law to lift some restrictions imposed on the employment of Palestinians, who are estimated to be over 600,000. In a report released in June, the European Union criticized Lebanon’s treatment of Palestinian refugees, saying Lebanon continued to enforce “dire” living conditions on most displaced people due largely to its refusal to ratify the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees.
Israel PR video irks Arabs
Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon discusses Palestinian narrative regarding occupied territories in PR video to be screened in 100 US schools … Meanwhile, Ayalon is already planning more videos, one of which will discuss the “truth about Palestinian refugees.”
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Abbas: UN bid even if talks restart
Ynet 27 July — Palestinian leader presents tougher position, says will seek UN recognition of Palestine even if negotiations with Israel resume; so far, 122 countries recognized Palestinian state, he says
Norway’s ambassador: Palestinian appeal to UN legitimate in lieu of treaty with Israel
Haaretz 28 July — Norway’s ambassador to Israel told Haaretz Wednesday that in lieu of a negotiated peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, it is legitimate for the Palestinians to appeal to the United Nations, but that his country supports Israel, and has always supported it.
Watch: Palestinian UN envoy breaks down at Security Council / Noam Sheizaf
A vivid example of the high emotions felt by Palestinian leadership as the September showdown at the UN draws closer was evident on Tuesday, when during a Security Council meeting, Palestinian observer, Riyad H. Mansour, broke down as he was reading the last sentences in his prepared remarks: “Why should the Palestinian people be forced to languish yet another year — or even one more day — under foreign occupation? They should not and they must not. This is the time to end the Israeli occupation. This is the time for Palestine’s independence. This is the time for Palestine and Israel to live side by side in peace and security, and this is the time for a new Middle East. We believe that the international community is ready for that, and we trust that the appropriate actions will be undertaken soon to make this a reality.” [ ‘breaks down’ is a wild exaggeration]
Palestinian security forces seize weapons in Dahlan house raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Palestinian security forces raided the Ramallah home of ousted Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan early Thursday morning, after his appeal against being expelled from the party was rejected on Wednesday. At around 7 a.m. police, preventive security and national security forces encircled the home of the former Gaza security chief. Forces raided the house on motorbikes and gunshots were heard as Dahlan’s security guards tried to escape, a Ma‘an correspondent said. Twelve security men were held, and communications equipment, computers, 16 weapons and 2 of Dahlan’s personal cars were seized. Official spokesman of the Palestinian security forces Major General Adnan Ad-Dhamiry told Ma‘an that only the guards’ room beside Dahlan’s house was raided, and the home of Dahlan itself was not touched. Dahlan has parliamentary immunity and was not the target of the raid … Leaked reports also said that the former Fatah strongman in Gaza was building a private armed militia in the West Bank. Dahlan denies the allegations.
Israeli announces full diplomatic ties with South Sudan
Haaretz 28 July — Delegation from Foreign Ministry visits South Sudan capital of Juba; Interior Minister Yishai calls on Israel to immediately begin negotiations to return thousands of Sudanese refugees who crossed into Israel illegally.
Report: Shot Iranian said to be nuke expert
Ynet 28 July — A man shot dead on a Tehran street by motorcycle-riding gunmen last weekend was a scientist involved in suspected Iranian attempts to make nuclear weapons and not a student as officially claimed, a foreign government official and a former UN nuclear inspector said Thursday. The man was shot Saturday by a pair of gunmen firing from motorcycles in an attack similar to other recent assassinations of nuclear scientists that Iran blames on the United States and Israel.
Thailand through, Palestinian team out of World Cup
AL-RAM, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian hopes of a World Cup place were dashed on Thursday when its team could only draw 2-2 with Thailand, who reached the third round of the Asian qualifiers with a 3-2 aggregate victory. For the Palestinians, the highest-profile match to be played on home soil put a disappointing end to a World Cup qualifying campaign that had become a symbol of nation building. The team was always a long shot to make it all the way to the finals in Brazil in 2014. But a victory over Afghanistan in the first round and their first-ever hosting of a World Cup qualifier had locals dreaming. Palestine is the only one of FIFA’s 208 members which is not a U.N. recognized state. Its athletes often need Israeli permits to travel — either to cross Israel from Gaza or to enter or leave the West Bank.
Palestine dreams of the World Cup / Grant Wahl
Sports Illustrated 28 July — RAMALLAH, West Bank — You might be surprised to see the terms hipster vibe and Palestinian territories in the same sentence, but perhaps it’s time to reconsider. The New York Times travel section featured a recent piece on the emerging scene in Ramallah, and on Tuesday night I met up for drinks in a fancy new hotel here with Abdel Rahman Hamed, a cosmopolitan 22-year-old who created an excellent English-language blog devoted to the Palestine national soccer team.