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Today in Palestine

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Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Israeli forces raid village near Hebron, block construction
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Feb – Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the southern West Bank village of al-Karmil south of Hebron, stationed soldiers in a private house and prevented construction of a dirt road between the village and Khirbet Umm Nir which Israeli forces evacuated months ago. Ratib al-Jbour, coordinator of a committee against the wall and settlements in southern Hebron, said soldiers occupied the home of Ayman Muhammad Ali Abu Iram in al-Karmil and turned it into a military base. “The soldiers deployed on the roof after they locked the family inside the house,” he said, highlighting that Israeli forces erected checkpoints at the entrance to the village for inspections.
The local coordinator added that Israeli settlers from the nearby Suseya outpost occupied 3,000 square meters of land belonging to the al-Jbour family.

Tubas: Israel robs the Jordan Valley dry
ISM 8 Feb — …Called the breadbasket of Palestine, Tubas is a municipality about the size of the Gaza strip and includes several smaller villages and the northern parts of the Jordan Valley. The area is heavily dependent on agriculture, which has become increasingly difficult as somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the municipality is under Area C and thus controlled by the Israeli Occupational Forces … “This is not Israeli land,” said one of the farmers as we volunteers sat under the tallest tree in the village, sipping thyme tea that vaguely has reminders of cough syrup in its sweetness. From the hillside one can see the high tech farming facilities of the Israeli settlers on the other side of the road running along the bottom of the valley … “Our ancestors lived on this land long before it was occupied by Turkey,” the man stated. “We never went into Israel. What am I to do about the fact that my land is in Area C?” The village is surrounded by eight Zionist settlements, and at present 70 percent of the land has been confiscated for Israeli interests. Water is also being stolen to satisfy the water guzzling modern farms of the settlers. The stream in the valley next to the home of the Bedouins has been systematically drained over the last 50 years and is now only a dried out riverbed.

Stealing Palestine’s resources illegal despite Israeli court ruling / Charlotte Silver
EI 7 Feb — Pillage: for some the word conjures up lawless warfare, a time before the order of nation states or the rule of international law. Indeed, in its petition to the Israeli high court, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din argues that “pillage” belongs to “ancient times,” when justice was determined by might and the victors of war were entitled to the fruits of the conquered land. But in today’s world, pillage continues. Obscured in the thick mire of economic agreements or obfuscations of law, pillage remains part of the modern world. In March 2009, Yesh Din filed a petition demanding a termination to all Israeli mining activities in the West Bank. The petition was served against the commander of the Israeli military, the head of Israel’s Civil Administration (which oversees the occupation of the West Bank) and 11 Israeli companies that run quarries in the West Bank and illegally transfer their spoils into Israel. International law prohibits an occupying power from exploiting the resources of the territories it occupies. According to international law, an occupying authority may only use resources of the occupied territory if they serve the benefit of the occupied population.

Foundation: Israeli archaeologists dig cave under Palestinian homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — Israeli archaeologists are continuing to excavate an ancient cave that runs under Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said Tuesday. Foundation representatives visited the al-Kittan cave, also known as Zedkiah’s Cave or Solomon’s Quarries, and say archaeologists are digging under Jerusalem’s Old City in two directions to connect the cave to an ancient underground tunnel network. The cave, near Damascus Gate, is being extended towards the Haram al-Sharif compound housing the Dome of the Rock and towards Herod’s Gate to the east, the foundation said. It highlighted that the route runs under Palestinian homes.

Nablus allocates tractors for land near settlements
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — The governor of Nablus said Wednesday that his office allocated 300 tractors to be used for plowing Palestinian agricultural lands located near Israeli settlements in Nablus district. Jibreel al-Bakri says the step is an unprecedented action aimed at helping Palestinian farmers who exert huge efforts to cultivate their lands, especially in areas close to Israeli settlements and the separation wall. Al-Bakri highlighted that an agreement was reached with owners of 300 tractors to plough private lands for free as the Palestinian Authority will provide them with fuel for their vehicles. Every acre of land will be plowed, added the governor. “We decided to reach these lands and reclaim them without any exceptions, especially as these areas have been declared military zones by Israeli forces.”

Hamas men who hid out in J’lem Red Cross are indicted
JPost 8 Feb — The Jerusalem District Attorney indicted two Hamas members on Tuesday morning for membership in a military terrorist organization and illegally residing in Israel. Khaled Abu-Arafa and Muhammed Totah lived in the Red Cross compound in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for 18 months in order to resist arrest Abu-Arafa and Totah were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council as representatives of Hamas in 2006. Interior Minister Eli Yishai revoked the men’s residency cards last spring, after the politicians refused to renounce their ties to Hamas. Attoun, Abu-Arafa and Totah held blue identification cards, which gave them Israeli residency but not citizenship.

Small triumphs in a Sisyphean war / Amira Hass
Haaretz 8 Feb — News came this week of three individual battles against Israel’s discriminatory regime that have scored gains. Bedouin from the Jahalin tribe will not be expelled to a community next to the Abu Dis dump, and their school will not be demolished. A tender for a luxury development in Lifta, a Palestinian village on the western outskirts of Jerusalem, destroyed in 1948, was withdrawn by court order. And Munther Fahmi, the Jerusalem-born owner of the bookstore in East Jerusalem’s American Colony Hotel, will be allowed to remain in the city of his birth. Millions of hours of work and immeasurable amounts of endurance on the part of Palestinians has paid off … How tempting it is to think that these three examples contain some magic formula that could be copied to ensure the success of thousands of other battles. But they don’t. The awareness that these are exceptions to the rule tempers the already low-key celebrations.

Amnesty to Israel: Cancel plan to forcibly displace Jahalin Bedouin communities
Amnesty International 8 Feb – Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak should cancel military plans to forcibly displace around 2,300 Bedouin residents of the West Bank to an area beside the Jerusalem municipal garbage dump, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing paper.  In “Stop the Transfer: Israel about to expel Bedouin from homes to expand settlements”, AI called on the Israeli military to order an immediate halt to all demolitions in the 20 communities affected by the plan. Amnesty International said that verbal promises made by Israeli military officials last week not to implement pending demolition orders in Khan al-Ahmar, one of the Bedouin communities targeted for displacement in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank, are insufficient.

2600 Bedouins threatened with displacement as Israeli settlements expand / Sophie Crowe
EI 7 Feb — The “E1” area of the West Bank, comprising 12 square kilometers, lies between the Maale Adumim settlement and occupied East Jerusalem, curling around and separating the Palestinian towns of Anata and Abu Dis. While E1 is home to roughly 2,600 Bedouins, Israel has prevented any Palestinian development there so that Maale Adumim might expand and new settlements can go up. Though the settlement development project was temporarily postponed in 2008 due to disapproval from the United States, Israel has long planned on emptying the space of its Palestinian inhabitants in order to implement the plan. Many of these communities have been displaced several times since the 1970s to make way for Israel’s settlement enterprise. Two years ago, rumors began circulating among the Bedouins living in the EI area of Israel’s intentions to displace them once more.

The journey to the border / Sarah Ziyad
Mondoweiss 8 Feb — …I can’t describe the disgust, rage, and deep sadness that this cast upon me. To be prevented from going somewhere — the land of my father — simply because of the “stigma” of my Palestinian name…I think that was the moment I truly inherited my identity as a Palestinian … I called my father as I paced with burning eyes and heart, lips spilling my revelation—the terrible gravity and shock — that must have read like the back of his hand. He answered, “I know, daughter. I know. This is the story of your grandmother, of your dad, your uncles…It’s not fair, habibti, and I know the hardest thing in the world for you is to see injustice. But listen to me. You cannot lose hope. Listen. You are my world now. I have given my life to make sure you and your brother and sisters have the best world possible…every family is like a little sun, my girl, and my hope is that if we continue to shine as bright as we can, and if many others do the same, eventually we can overwhelm the darkness. Don’t let this turn into hatred. We have to always remember, Jews have been through lots of injustice in history, too, and in the end we trust God to be the judge. We’re all people, even though we sometimes treat each other like we’re less than that. I’m glad you’re feeling this pain, but you can’t let it crush you.

Coming home / Anan Abu-Taleb
7 Feb — During the height of the holiday season, my brother and I embarked on a journey to see my failing father in the Gaza Strip. After an entire day of travel, we stood in front of an Israeli military checkpoint, the gateway to Gaza, which is but a 15-minute drive from my parents’ home. After presenting our American passports and explaining the reason for our visit, we were denied entry. Despite countless efforts to present our case as humanitarian, the presiding officers remained steadfast on their decision. Our trip failed and we returned back to Chicago one day after arriving in Israel. On Dec. 24, upon arriving in Oak Park, it truly hit me. It became clear that I might not say goodbye to my father the way I wanted to. Anger, frustration, hopelessness, and deep sadness penetrated my soul


In Photos: Settlers and Israeli military violently steal land in Kufr Qaddoum
ISM posted 7 Feb — Early this morning over 20 Israeli soldiers and Zionist settlers descended up on Kufr Qaddoum’s lands, arresting local villager Abu Ashraf, and dragging him off. Settlers were seen plowing through the land with bulldozers and military present. [27 photos, including some of the manhandling of Abu Ashraf, and one of the female soldier who attacked a 60-year-old woman. Oddly, some of the settlers appear to be black.]

Israeli settlers ‘put new homes on Beit Ummar land’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Israeli settlers have set up two new homes on land owned by Palestinians in the Hebron district, a popular committee spokesman said on Tuesday. Under the protection of Israeli soldiers, they set up two caravans on land belonging to late Beit Ummar resident Muhammad al-Zaqiq, the local spokesman Yousef Abu Maria said. The settlement Karmi Zur is established on 600 dunams of Beit Ummar land, he added.
Also on Tuesday settlers uprooted more than 25 olive trees planted last week by solidarity campaigners in Beit Ummar, he told PA news agency Wafa.
On Monday, settlers razed newly-planted trees in Qaryut village north of Ramallah, aided by security guards, villagers said.

Settlers steal protest tent in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 Feb – Israeli settlers Wednesday stole a protest tent in Tel Rumeida, a neighborhood in the center of Hebron city, according to witnesses. Hana Abu Haikal told WAFA that Jewish settlers from Ramat Yishai settlement in the neighborhood removed the tent and took it. The tent, provided by the Palestinian Red Crescent, was previously vandalized by settlers. The tent was set up to increase Palestinian presence in the neighborhood, expose settlers and army attacks against Palestinian residents and their property, and to object restrictions on movement, including the recent closure of the neighborhood entrance with cement blocks, said Abu Haikal.

Settlers attack a gas station in Jenin
IMEMC 8 Feb — A number of armed Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday a Palestinian gas station in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, and forced the owners and the residents out.  The attacked gas station, Jar Station, is located on the Jenin-Nablus road; no injuries were reported.  Also, the settlers attacked a nearby former settlement outpost that was evacuated by the army. Soldiers were present during the two attacks and did not attempt to stop them, located sources reported.

Archbishop condemns monastery vandalism
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — Archbishop Atallah Hanna on Wednesday condemned an attack targeting a monastery in west Jerusalem, expressing anger after extremists defiled the holy site with anti-Christian messages. In a statement, the archbishop said that “what the settlers have done is rejected, and their racism is humiliating. … They didn’t harm us, they harmed only themselves,” he added during a visit to pray at the site.

Israeli forces

Israeli forces uproot olive trees north of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 7 Feb – Israeli forces Tuesday uprooted more than 25 olive trees planted a week ago during a solidarity campaign with Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, according to local activist. Media spokesman of the popular committee against the Wall and Settlements, Yoused Abu Maria told WAFA that Israeli soldiers uprooted olive trees that were planted last week in Khallet al-Kutli, an area north of Karmei Tzur.

AFP confirms veracity of debated Israeli abuse story
8 Feb — AFP (Agence France-Presse) agency responded to criticism over a Jan. 25 photo showing an Israeli Army soldier driving a truck over the leg of an injured Palestinian construction worker, saying both the story and photo were valid. A recent press release by the news agency said “after several days of thorough research […] AFP wishes to confirm the veracity of both the picture and the accompanying photo caption.” … Following the surfacing of the photos, the Israeli Embassy in Washington had asked all American newspapers “to consider ceasing to publish the photographs of Hazem Bader,” claiming both the caption and the photo of the injured worker were untrue and “perhaps staged.” AFP said the Jerusalem bureau of the agency went back and consulted other press agencies that were present in the area and also revisited footage filmed at the location.


Is 17-year-old girl Cast Lead’s latest victim? / Rami Almeghari
Text messages on a cell phone, some medicine and respiration equipment were all that remained after Haneen Abu Jalala, a 17-year-old girl from al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, died last month at an Israeli hospital. “Dad, please save me from this torture.” “Dad, you are the greatest dad on earth.” These were some of the texts that Haneen typed before she perished from respiratory complications she had sustained following, Israel’s war on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. Her family suspects that exposure to white phosphorous is the cause of her ailments and eventual death.

Entering the deadly zone, demonstration in front of Erez
[photos] Chroniques de Palestine 7 Feb — …We met as last time near the destroyed building of the agricultural college of Beit Hanoun and walked into the direction of Erez, together with flags from different countries and footballs. One noticeable sad difference with last year was the absence of women in the demonstration; apparently it has become too sensitive now for them to participate. When we reached the open field we continue further and further until a distance of about 50 meters from the concrete Wall and Erez crossing … After a few launch in the air of the footballs, we retreated a bit to enjoy a football game between a team made up of internationals and a team of Palestinians. Beit Hanoun is currently the only place in the Gaza Strip where such regular demonstrations are held

Geeks in Gaza / Kyla Springer
8 Feb — What do you get when you combine geeks from Gaza, tech startup wizards from Seattle, app nerds from Google, economic development specialists from Mercy Corps and a little seed funding from generous donors? The first ever Startup Weekend in Gaza. Watch the video and get nerdy. What they’re saying at the Gaza Startup Weekend: The one common thing that I think unites everyone here is that they really, really see a lot of opportunity her to kind of prove that even in Gaza… people are really skilled, really passionate, really powerful.

Arab doctors union holds session in Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — Doctors from 16 Arab countries joined the annual meeting of the Arab doctors union which was held in Gaza City Tuesday evening. Minister of health in the Hamas-run government Basim Naeim inaugurated the session and welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Hamas-run government. “Being able to hold this session proves that political and economic blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 5 years is being broken. Furthermore, you will bring to your homelands true testimonies about the destructive impacts of the war and the siege on Gaza on all aspects of life,” he added.

Gaza municipal officials conclude visit to Istanbul
GAZA (PIC) 8 Feb — A high-level delegation from Gaza municipality left Turkey yesterday after participating actively in an intensive workshop organized by the municipal council of Istanbul about the recycling of solid waste … The delegation also took field trips throughout the city of Istanbul during which its members visited wasteyards where they were briefed on the ways to extract methane gas from solid waste to generate economic electric power.
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Israel allows 220 truckloads of goods into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Feb — Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday to allow 220 truckloads of goods into the Gaza Strip. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattuh told Ma‘an that one truck of flowers was also exported from the coastal enclave.

Luxmbourg grants UNRWA €15 million
JERUSALEM (WAFA8 Feb — Luxembourg announced a multi-year financial commitment of €15 million to UNRWA, increasing its annual contribution to the Agency’s core work through the general fund to €3.75 million until 2015, which represents an annual progression of some 36%, Wednesday said a press release by UNRWA … As one of the Agency’s most consistent donors, Luxembourg supports UNRWA’s core human development activities, especially in the field of health.

Detention / Court actions

Hunger striker Khader Adnan, held by Israel, in ‘shocking’ condition as solidarity grows / Ali Abunimah
EI 8 Feb — Randa Adnan told Ma’an News Agency:  “Adnan is being targeted for a slow process of assassination” she said. She says she was “shocked” at her husband’s condition, and that he told her he feels he’s living the last moments of his life, she said.A lot of the hair on his face and head has fallen off. He has not been allowed to shower or wash during all his time in detention, nor is he allowed to wear warm clothes in this cold weather.” She added that “during my visit, my husband’s heart swelled up and a medical crew neglected him for half an hour.” The Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer added through its Twitter account: …When they saw their father, #KhaderAdnan’s young daughters asked, “Why does he look like this? Why can’t we take him home?” #Dying2Live … Meanwhile, according to Addameer, Israel continues to obstruct legal challenges to Adnan’s “administrative detention”:

PHR: Khader Adnan 53rd day of hunger strike : cause for grave concern
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel — Family Visit: Following PHR Israel’s insistence, a family visit was granted to the hunger striker, Khader Adnan Mousa. His wife, Randa, and two daughters visited him today ataround 09:30 AM. The visit lasted 45 minutes.This family reunion was shadowed by Khader Adnan’s condition at the meeting. He was shackled two legs and right hand to his hospital bed, so during this important family visit he could not hug his daughters and wife.

Group holds sit-in in solidarity with prisoner on hunger strike
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Feb – The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) Wednesday held a sit-in in front of Israeli Ofer Prison in solidarity with detained Islamic Jehad leader Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for 53 days, protesting his arrest … PYM is holding a series of solidarity events which will continue until February 14, including sit-ins in front of the headquarters of the United Nations in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jordon, and Beirut (Lebanon) as well as making Friday an international solidarity day with Adnan

Israeli intelligence summons Palestinian minor
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Feb – Israeli intelligence summoned Basel Tamimi, 13, from Nabil Saleh, a village north of Ramallah, to report to the Israeli military headquarters in Beit El settlement on Wednesday, according to Tamimi. He said Israeli intelligence called his father on Tuesday and threatened to arrest the Palestinian minor from his house if he did not report to Beit El  Tamimi said Israeli undercover forces arrested him for few hours on Thursday after he warned residents of the presence of undercover Israeli soldiers in the village. The soldiers arrested Tamimi and took him to the nearby Halamish settlement, where Israeli soldiers beat him with a whip for half an hour, he said.

IOA holds journalist in administrative detention
NABLUS (PIC) 8 Feb — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has ordered the administrative custody of Palestinian journalist Amin Abu Warda for five months starting today Wednesday without counting the previous period of detention. The Tadamun foundation for human rights said that the detention was at the request of the Israeli intelligence and the military commander. Tadamun said in a press release that Abu Warda, 46, was taken from his home in Nablus on 28/12/2011 and is now held in Megiddo jail … The foundation said that Abu Warda, who has an MA in media, was questioned by Israeli interrogators on events that happened 30 years ago when he was still a minor. Abu Warda worked as a correspondent for a number of media outlets and was preparing a doctorate in his field in Malaysia.
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Israeli forces detain 2 in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — Israeli forces detained two young Palestinian men early Wednesday after ransacking their homes in Beit Ummar north of Hebron in the southern West Bank. Muhammad Awad, a spokesman of a local popular committee against the separation wall and settlements, identified the detainees as 18-year-old Nadim Rasim Aziz Ikhlayyil and 22-year-old Raafat Muhammad Ali al-Allami … Separately, Israeli soldiers stormed the home of Muhammad Younis al-Allami overnight. The soldiers, according to Awad, handcuffed Muhammad’s son Isam, 19. He was forced to wait in the cold for half an hour while they inspected the house.
Wednesday’s arrests brought the number of detainees from Beit Ummar since the beginning of 2012 to 23 including 13 detainees below 18.

Israeli forces arrest 12 Palestinians across West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 8 Feb – Israeli forces Wednesday arrested 12 Palestinian from across the West Bank, according to local and security sources … Soldiers also arrested a Palestinian youth, 22, from Yamoun, a town west of Jenin after raidng his house, tampering with its contents. Soldiers also stormed the village of Galboun, setting up checkpoints, and the town of Yaboud, southwest of Jenin, setting up ambushes and patrolling its military vehicles in its streets and alleys.

Shabak tortures and ill-treats Palestinian detainees with impunity / Adri Nieuwhof
EI 7 Feb — The Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) has released a paper on its efforts to hold the Israel Security Agency (ISA) – or Shabak – to account for its practices of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees. In Accountability Still Denied, PCATI reveals how Israel has evaded criminal investigations into all 701 complaints of torture and ill-treatment. In October 1991, Israel ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Israel should therefore prevent acts of torture. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture, according to the Convention.

Israel High Court accepts journalist Ilana Dayan’s appeal against libel verdict
Haaretz 8 Feb — Israel’s High Court accepted on Wednesday the appeal of veteran journalist Ilana Dayan, and partially accepted the appeal of former Channel 2 franchisee Telad, against the 2009 Jerusalem District Court finding that Dayan libeled an Israel Defense Forces officer. Dayan and Telad were ordered to pay the officer, known as Captain R., NIS 300,000 for showing footage and airing audio tapes that suggested he had “confirmed the kill” of 13-year-old Iman al-Hams near an IDF fortification in Rafah in the Gaza Strip in 2004 on her program “Fact.”  On the program, which was aired a month after her death, it was understood that the officer performed and confirmed the killing of a girl, and he was heard on the program ordering his soldiers to kill “anyone who moves, who moves in the area, even if they are three years-old.”

Racism / Discrimination

‘Come learn with us’ says coexistence principal to vandals
JPost 8 Feb — Executive-director of Hand in Hand bilingual school in J’lem says cooperation between Jews, Arabs bothers vandals’ perspective on life. “Kahane was not right, Kahane was wrong. Arabs will live and they will live with Jews. That’s what we do here, we live together.” That is what Shalom Dichter, the executive-director of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Bilingual Education in Israel, wants his students to take away from a vandalism attack against their unique school.

Political developments

Full text of the Doha Declaration signed between Hamas and Fatah
MEMO 8 Feb — The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas, represented by its political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal, and the Fatah Movement, represented by its head and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, signed the Doha Agreement on Monday, 6 February 2012. The agreement is sponsored by Qatar and the Emir of Qatar, and is intended to achieve the formation of a Palestinian unity government headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas’s Gaza-based leadership challenges Palestinian unity deal
Reuters 8 Feb — Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar come out against key clause in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal in which Abbas would serve as both president and prime minister of future Palestinian government … “We call upon the parties who signed and those who sponsored Palestinian reconciliation to reconsider and … not to bypass Palestinian law,” the parliamentary bloc said in a statement, arguing that a dual presidential-prime ministerial role for Abbas would be illegal.

Hamas denies news reports about being divided over Doha declaration
GAZA (PIC) 7 Feb — Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum categorically denied claims spread by Al-Arabiya channel that there were disputes within the Movement over the Doha declaration. Spokesman Barhoum told the Palestinian information center (PIC) such news reports were untrue and stressed that the Doha declaration is a package deal that would be implemented as a whole and simultaneously in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip … Khareisha noted, however, that the designation of Abbas as a premier was against the Palestinian basic law and set the clock back because he would hold two posts, the Palestinian authority presidency and the premiership, as happened before with late president Yasser Arafat. He emphasized that there could be a solution to this unconstitutional matter by convening the legislative council to amend the basic law
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Even with Doha, agreement, political arrests and purges ongoing in West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 8 Feb — All inter-Palestinian reconciliation agreements especially the last one known as the Doha declaration seem to have not curbed the Fatah-controlled Palestinian authority and its forces from carrying out political arrests and job purges against Hamas cadres and supporters. In Qalqiliya city north of the West Bank, the PA security forces kidnapped one of Al-Da‘wa college’s students called Abdullah Nofal and detained one of his college mates for several hours inside the campus. A PA military court also extended the detention of student Muthana Ashtiya, from Palestine technical college, for more 15 days for the second consecutive time after his trial was postponed several times. The de facto PA government also axed teacher Yazid Tanbour because of his political affiliation….
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Elections commission says work in Gaza not yet permitted
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Feb – Central Elections Commission (CEC) chairman Hanna Nasser Tuesday said work to update the voter registry in the Gaza Strip has not yet been allowed, according to a CEC statement … Hamas and Fatah have agreed to hold elections by May. However, the CEC said it needs at least six weeks to update its voter registration list in Gaza and three more months required by law to prepare for national elections.

Abbas tells US envoy reconciliation in line with peace process
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Feb – President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday told US special envoy to the Middle East, David Hale, that the Palestinian reconciliation does not contradict with the peace process. Abbas told Hale during their meeting in Ramallah that peace is his strategic choice and reconciliation is a national need. Abbas said the Palestine Liberation Organization is committed to all its obligations that came in the signed agreements, the road map and relevant international resolutions.

Ashrawi: Europe’s understanding of Palestinians’ suffering must be met with action
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Feb — PLO Executive Committee member and Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, Wednesday said in a statement, that the US-Israel strategic alliance is undermining the role of the Quartet.  “Thus, Europe’s understanding of the suffering of the Palestinians and their struggle for freedom and justice must be met with action.”

France supports Doha agreement
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Feb — Spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Valero, said Tuesday that France supported the Palestinian reconciliation process initiated by President Mahmoud Abbas

PLO delegation to US dismayed at New York police spying on Palestinians
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 7 Feb — The General Delegation Of the PLO to the US is dismayed at the recent New York police document that called for spying on the Palestinian community, Tuesday said a statement by PLO office in Washington. According to the statement, the Associated Press obtained a secret document from the New York Police Department (NYPD), calling for increased surveillance of the Muslim community and their mosques. In particular, the document singled out the Palestinian community. “The Palestinian community, although not Shi‘a, should also be assessed due to presence of Hamas members and sympathizers and the group’s relationship with the Iranian government,” the document said.

Other news

‘Unprecedented’ internet attacks strike West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Feb — President Abbas’ communications adviser said Wednesday that Palestine is facing unprecedented internet interruptions by hackers. Sabri Saidam told Ma‘an that huge quantities of emails are being sent in order to disable Palestinian servers. The campaign reached a peak on Wednesday at 6 p.m., he said, calling on people to be patient while it is resolved … Hackers temporarily shut down two Palestinian news websites in the occupied West Bank last Tuesday. There was no immediate indication of who was behind the attacks on Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, and several websites affiliated with Ma‘an Network, including its news page.

PA: Write only nice things about your leaders on Facebook
JPost 7 Feb — Palestinian Authority security forces monitor social media giant; say criticism should be directed against Israel …The Palestinian leadership’s clampdown on Facebook users is seen as a pre-emptive measure to prevent the “Arab Spring” from infiltrating into the West Bank. Rami Samara, a Palestinian journalist from Ramallah, last week found himself under interrogation by two different security agencies in the West Bank: Military Intelligence and General Intelligence. Samara was detained while at work in the offices of the PLO’s official news agency, Wafa. His crime: a comment he posted on his Facebook page … Samara is the second Palestinian journalist to be targeted by security forces loyal to Abbas and Fayyad because of Facebook.

Delta removes ‘Occupied’ Territories from list
JTA 8 Feb — Delta Airlines removed the phrase “Occupied Palestinian Territories” from its list of Middle East destinations. The destination “Palestinian Territories” remained Wednesday after the airline reportedly received e-mailed and tweeted complaints. Links to the site were quickly spread Tuesday via Jewish bloggers … There are no operational airports in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

Students, faculty speak out against Middle East violence
Purdue [Univ.] Exponent 8 Feb — Palestinian boycotters have been making efforts to lessen the brutality imposed upon the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel is appealing to artists and academic professors hoping to persuade them to stay out of Palestine until conditions get better. Famous musicians such as Roger Waters of Pink Floyd have chosen to stay out of the country in support of the campaign. Many Purdue professors have complied and allied with the boycott, including Bill Mullen, the faculty adviser of the Students for Justice in Palestine at Purdue. Mullen is a professor of English and American studies at Purdue. Tuesday night, he spoke to an attentive audience about what the group does and gave a vivid description of the ethnic cleansing among the Palestinians.

EU, Sweden contribute €24.7 million to January salaries
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Feb – The European Union and Sweden Tuesday contributed €24.7 million to the payment of the January salaries and pensions of around 84,300 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to an EU press release.

EU helps olive farmers with €2.2 million program
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Feb — The European Union (EU) has launched a €2.2 million program to support farmers dealing with olive and olive oil production in the occupied Palestinian territory including the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank, an EU press release said Tuesday

Foreign press rents Tel Aviv rooftops to cover Iran war / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 7 Feb — [Remember] the Israelis in southern Israel who took lawn chairs out to watch the IDF smash Gaza to smithereens in 2009?  Here’s a picture of another group of expectant, thrilled Israelis watching the action. That’s what the foreign press corps appears to be doing now in Tel Aviv in preparation for an attack on Iran.  They’re renting the right to put film crews and reporters on the city’s rooftops (Hebrew) during the upcoming war in order to cover the anticipated Iranian counterattack.  That way they can get great photo ops and pictures of missiles wreaking havoc on the city. What a story!  What a feast for the eyes!

IDF submarine fleet bars dual citizenship
Ynet 8 Feb – The IDF now demands that new candidates for service in Israel’s submarine fleet waive their foreign citizenship in order to join the elite unit. The demand to concede one’s dual citizenship is made at certain IDF combat units and for posts requiring high security clearance. Submarine fleet recruits receive a notification stating they must renounce their foreign citizenships in order to qualify for the prolonged training, as part of their security screenings. Submarine fleet recruits who fail to complete the year-long training lose their foreign citizenships nonetheless.,7340,L-4187233,00.html

Dagan: Israel faces no existential threat
Ynet 8 Feb — Former Mossad chief presents plan to change Israel’s form of government, aiming to repair current situation where minority groups hold excessive power over decision makers; claims Israel’s government should be no bigger than that of US, China,7340,L-4187110,00.html

Opinion / Analysis

The only Israel boycott that’s actually working / Bradley Burston
6 Feb — …If we’re lucky, the threat (no more than the threat) of an Iran attack (Bibi and Barak’s Glory Days Redux fantasy) will be just one more dodge to keep settlers and their opponents at bay: long enough to make it to elections, long enough to get another fix of power, long enough to decide not to decide about the Palestinians, the settlements, the refugees, the haredim.

A Tu Bishvat reflection on Jewish-Palestinian tree wars / Rabbi Gideon D Sylvester
Haaretz 8 Feb — An entire halakhic literature has developed around trees. Stealing produce from a Jew or a gentile is absolutely forbidden by the Torah, and wanton destruction of trees is prohibited by the Bible. But there are grey areas While traditionally, trees are symbols of life, peace and tranquility, in recent years, they have taken on controversial and sometimes sinister connotations. Israelis and Palestinians both claim that the other side plants olive groves in order to expand it borders and encroach on the other’s land.

Jews who are malicious to those who help us / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 7 Feb — Testimony from Yitzhak Navon and Ariel Sharon was not enough to prompt the state to give back the land it seized from an Arab man who helped Israel in 1948 — The former Stern Gang member and right-wing politician Geula Cohen writes in her 2008 book “I Have No Strength to Be Tired” that she never visits the Israeli Arab town of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, “without experiencing a strong urge to visit Yusuf’s grave on behalf of my ungrateful people – whose leadership includes people who know how to love those who hate us and hate those who love us – and ask for his forgiveness.”

West does not have monopoly on veto morality / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 8 Feb — How can we compare an American veto on an issue as just and moral as an occupation to a veto that helps an oppressive regime massacre its citizens? — “At the end of last week we received a reminder about the environment we’re living in. We heard Iran’s ruler talk about Israel’s destruction, we saw the Syrian army massacring its own people. Some leaders have no compunctions about harming their people or their neighbors,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the cabinet meeting. True, it’s a lousy environment. Only one sentence is needed to complete the picture: “And there are governments that don’t mind continuing to occupy other nations for nearly 50 years.” (listserv) (archive)


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

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11 Responses

  1. W.Jones on February 9, 2012, 12:09 pm

    In the article posted above, The only Israel boycott that’s actually working / Bradley Burston, Bradley Burston writes: the government and its hard-line adherents abroad have done everything they could to demonize and boycott NGOs, the New Israel Fund, J Street, Peace Now and other groups and individuals who strongly support Israel but take issue with its policies and its current direction.

    The irony is that in a period in which the BDS campaign against Israel is faltering, leading to internal debates over its usefulness as a tactic, the official Israeli campaign to boycott and delegitimize progressive and liberal Zionists rolls on.

    The irony is also that many progressive Zionists have played key roles in defeating BDS efforts. No matter. As it turns off and repels moderate Jews from Boston to Berkeley, the “pro-Israel” Inquisition has become the only Israel boycott that is actually having an effect.

    What is the faltering he is talking about? I don’t think BDS was ever massive to begin with, so in what way is it faltering, leading to debates about its usefulness?

    • annie on February 9, 2012, 12:37 pm

      bds is not faltering, it’s marching along…to their dismay. bradley just can’t see it because he lives in israel and the pushback noise is so loud he believes it represents the masses. the masses in israel perhaps but bds is the little engine that’s marching along and you can tell it is effective by the loud roar opposing it.

      this reminds me of the reaction to pennbds, the way dershowitz mobilized the troops. they have the power of the media to scream their dissent to the far reaches of the media but the truth keeps marching on. more and more people are aware of israels intransigence that they were last year or the year before. there’s nothing faltering with us.

      i can’t recall ever talking to one person who’s ever said to me, ‘i used to be pro palestinian but after learning more and more i realize israel is the victim here, once i was blind but now i see’, whereas all the time i hear people say ‘i wasn’t even aware of what was going on and used to be pro israel but this has become untenable’. show me one activist for palestine who has turned? one. they do not exist.

      • W.Jones on February 9, 2012, 5:49 pm

        I think you are right. He says:

        “in a period in which the BDS campaign against Israel is faltering, leading to internal debates over its usefulness as a tactic… many progressive Zionists have played key roles in defeating BDS efforts.”

        So when he talks about internal debates it sounds like he means internal within what he sees as the progressive community. He sees “progressive” Zionists as part of the “progressive” community, and sees them as making a strong reaction inside the progressive community against BDS.

      • W.Jones on February 10, 2012, 9:07 am

        Why don’t my comments above appear in my Commenter profile?

      • annie on February 10, 2012, 9:31 am

        i see them W.Jones. sometimes you have to scroll to find the thread grouping. right now they are on top, possibly because this was the last comment you made.

  2. seafoid on February 9, 2012, 1:00 pm

    i saw someone in Haaretz last week write BDS was faltering but it must have come from the shin bet.

  3. tombishop on February 9, 2012, 1:00 pm

    Two important columns on Salon:

    “Israel’s real target: Obama
    Prime Minister Netanyahu’s threats have more to do with challenging Washington than with actually attacking Iran”

    “Adelson’s other pet project: The Israeli right
    Newt’s billionaire backer poured tens of millions into a media campaign to get Netanyahu elected prime minister”

    • on February 9, 2012, 2:09 pm

      there was a comment the other day — ah, yes — emanresu — who said, for every taunt, he would buy Sabra hummus.

      what a freier.
      knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
      for your efforts you pay $5 buck, Sabra makes $2 bucks profit.
      but your nastiness causes 10 people to dig their heels in and make a pro-Palestinian poster, make a donation to a BDS campaign, write an anti-Israel letter, call a congressman and urge him to vote for American interests, not Israel’s tantrums.

      so keep it up.
      BDS is lovin’ it

  4. riyadh on February 9, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Holy S***!: Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

    • lysias on February 9, 2012, 1:58 pm

      And those neocons want the MEK to be delisted as a terrorist group.

      • Chaos4700 on February 9, 2012, 10:56 pm

        Well of course! They work for Israel now, they’re “legitimate.”

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