and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Apartheid / Restriction of movement / Threats to Palestinian culture and religion
The isolated corner
ISM 15 Mar by ‘Axel’ — In the outer part of Bethlehem very close to Rachel’s Tomb, Mariam (who wishes not to use her actual name) runs her small Palestinian souvenir shop … Before 2002 her husband had an auto mechanic shop in this building, perfectly located right next to the main road to Jerusalem. The business was good back then. Palestinians as well as Israelis came here to get their car fixed or buy parts, and just next door, Mariam had a shop for home accessories. All this changed radically in 2002 when the area became a ‘military zone’. Suddenly the road was closed and the family that lives on the floors above the shops became prisoners in their own home as soldiers turned their house into a military base. Sometimes they took a room or two, but other days the whole family of seven were forced to stay in one room without being able to go out. Both shops had to close and life became hard. The next year in 2003, the Israeli government built the apartheid wall that is now surrounding the house from three sides. The land around them that is owned by her uncle was confiscated and is now on the other side of the wall, out of reach for the family that no longer can travel outside the West Bank without permission, a permission that is rarely given.
Sheds demolished in Nablus area
NABLUS (WAFA) 15 Mar — Israeli bulldozers Thursday demolished a number of Palestinian sheds in an area east of Beit Forik, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlements activities in the northern parts of the West Bank. No reason was given for the demolition.
West Bank green energy project creating tension between Israel and Germany
14 Mar Joseph Dana — Germany has long been a leader in sustainable energy projects throughout the world. Last month, a German funded green energy project in the West Bank ran into some trouble when Israeli authorities ordered its demolition. Questions about the project’s future, which supplies various Palestinian communities with green energy, have started a spirited debate in the German press leading to a political row between Israel and Germany. For Monocle 24, I interview the director of the project and some representatives of the German government.
Group demands lifting restrictions on Palestinian mobility
GENEVA (WAFA) 15 Mar — Around 300 international non-governmental organizations signed an appeal on Wednesday demanding lifting of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian mobility in the occupied West Bank, Thursday said a statement by the Euromid Observer for Human Rights (Euro-Mid). The plea was submitted in a seminar on Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian Territory hosted by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Euro-Mid regional director, Amani al-Sinwar, gave a detailed presentation of Israel’s main violations under its last escalation in the Gaza Strip, and the unjustified Israeli restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the occupied territories. Sinwar also briefed the seminar on Euro-Mid’s report on the travel bans Israel issues against Palestinians, which amounted to 4,000 in 2011.
Jerusalem Awkaf director turns down invitation by Knesset to discuss Aqsa affair
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 15 Mar — Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, the director of the Jerusalem Awkaf (Endowment), has refused to attend a special Israeli parliamentary session allocated for discussing Aqsa mosque affairs. The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage quoted Khatib as rejecting the application of any Israeli law on the holy site. He said that the Israeli Knesset’s education and sports committee had invited him to speak about the ‘demolitions of relics’ in the Aqsa mosque, adding that the invitation was made by two far right members who do not respect holy shrines of other religions.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Occupation closes roads in Jerusalem for a marathon
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 16 Mar — IOF troops started Friday morning closing roads in the occupied city of Jerusalem for a marathon run organised by the Zionist municipality, which Palestinians view as part of the municipality’s Judaization efforts. Local sources said that IOF troops closed a number of roads and entrances to Palestinian neighbourhoods in al-Masharef mount and Tour mount and near the walls of the Aqsa Mosque. Thousands of IOF troops and occupation police were deployed on the roads.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
PCHR weekly report 8-14 March: ’24 Palestinians killed, 74 wounded’
The PCHR said that, after Israel started its most recent aggression against the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army carried out 36 air strikes and fired 43 missiles into the coastal region, killing 24 Palestinians, including one child, a woman and two elderly men … The PCHR further stated that 74 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire and shells in the reported period, and that 59 of the casualties, including 16 children and 7 women, were civilians. The arbitrary Israeli bombardment in Gaza led to the destruction of at least 32 Palestinians homes, in addition to a school, a workshop and a center that belong to the Red Crescent Society … Soldiers also kidnapped 11 Palestinians, including two children, in the West Bank, and carried out 56 invasions into Palestinian cities, villages, towns, and refugee camps. Three Palestinians, including a child, were kidnapped by the army at military roadblocks in the West Bank. Full Report
Video: Israeli soldiers sic attack dog on protesters in Qufer Qaddoum
Pop. Struggle 16 Mar — Soon after the demonstration began, clashes between Israeli Border Police officers who shot tear-gas projectiles and rubber-coated bullets and local youth who threw stones at the forces developed. Roughly 15 minutes later – in a scene that seemed as if it was taking place in the American South of the 1960s – Border Police officers decided to sic an army dog at a group of the demonstrators, standing several dozens of meters away. The dog chased after the protesters, biting and locking his jaws into the arm of one of them – Ahmad Shtawi. For long minutes, the dog would not release its hold of the bleeding arm, even as its handler arrived at the scene and tried to order it to do so. The Border Police officers then arrested Shtawi, despite the fact he was in obvious need of medical attention.
Clashes between locals and IOF troops south of Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 16 Mar — Clashes between Palestinian residents of the town of Dura to the south of al-Khalil and IOF troops broke out at dawn Friday after IOF troops in military jeeps raided the town. Muhammad Jihad from Dura told PIC that two patrols crossed the Tabaqa crossroads connecting Dura and Kharsa to the south and started to fire teargas and rubber coated bullets towards local residents prompting local youth to respond with stones and empty bottles. Meanwhile, IOF troops raided the villages of al-Majd, Deir al-Asal and Beit al-Roush to the west of al-Khalil.
IOF troops were also deployed in large numbers into the alleyways of the old city of al-Khalil and near the Ibrahimi Mosque. Local sources told PIC correspondents that IOF troops on foot were present in large numbers from an early hour on Friday in the alleyways of the old city. They stopped and searched passersby. The Israeli occupation usually step up measures around the Ibrahimi Mosque on Fridays at the pretext of preventing clashes between local Palestinians and Jewish settlers.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Soldier with 188th Armored Brigade left behind – again
Ynet 15 Mar — Mere month after soldier was accidentally forgotten in Ramallah same brigade leaves another solder near Palestinian village of Rantis. IDF inquiry launched
Givati troops beat rookie comrades with rods
Ynet 16 Mar — Court extends remand of two combat soldiers suspected of physically, verbally abusing troops new to their battalion. ‘This deep-rooted practice must be uprooted,’ judge says
Casualties of the last attacks on Gaza: Visit to Shifa Hospital
[photos] ISM / il Blog di Oliva 15 Mar by Rosa Schiano — This morning we went to pay a visit to the wounded at the Shifa Hospital. Most of them have fractures and burns … Moath Nofal Abo El-Eash, 20: On Monday around 1:30AM two missiles hit Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza city. The first attack was carried out by a drone. The missile hit the Hammad family home. More than 30 people have been injured, including 21 children. The house has been completely destroyed and others have been damaged. Abo El- Eash’s house was close to the the Hammad’s family. Moath had heard the explosions, and his neighbors asked him to go out to try to save Hammad’s family. As soon when he got out of his home an F-16 launched another missile. Moath has injuries from burns all over his body, particularly on his face and splinters in several parts of his body. I asked him if he felt like telling a message to the world after what had happened to him. Moath replied, “My image is enough to tell the world.”
Dr. Maher Sukkar, vice president of the plastic surgery department at Shifa Hospital, told us that they will ask to analyze the splinters from the weapons used in order to determine if they are carcinogenic. Before saying goodbye, he told us that the weapons used are American.
Israeli aircraft open fire west of Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Mar 21:51 — Israeli helicopters opened fire toward farmland in the Sheikh Ajlen area west of Gaza City late Thursday, witnesses said. No injuries were reported. An Israeli military spokeswoman said aircraft fired warning shots in response to rocket fire.
Occupation sea and air forces break ceasefire in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 16 Mar — Israeli occupation forces on Thursday evening shelled the city of Gaza from the air and sea without reports of any casualties. Local sources told PIC correspondent that Israeli occupation gun boats opened machinegun fire towards Sheikh Ajleen neighbourhood of Gaza City … In the meantime, Israeli occupation helicopters opened machinegun fire at the eastern parts of Gaza City
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Two rockets hit Israel as Gaza truce firms up
AFP 16 Mar — Militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into southern Israel on Friday, officials said, as a fledgling truce in and around the Palestinian territory firmed up. “One rocket hit an empty field in the Eshkol region, causing no damage or injuries,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP. An additional rocket hit an uninhabited area of the northwestern Negev desert early on Friday morning, according to the Israeli military.
Islamic Jihad says committed to truce
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) updated 16 Mar — Islamic Jihad remains committed to a truce with Israel but will retaliate to any attacks on the Palestinian people, leader Ahmad al-Mudallal said Thursday. The Egypt-brokered ceasefire took hold at 1 a.m. Tuesday … Within 24 hours of the truce, Israel bombed northern Gaza and on Wednesday night Israeli warplanes again shelled the northern and southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli army said the strikes were in response to rockets fired from Gaza. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that nine projectiles have landed in Israel since the truce began. No faction has claimed responsibility for firing any projectiles since the ceasefire.
Arab parliamentary convoy arrives in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — An Arab parliamentary convoy arrived Thursday in Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Abdul Qader Samary, chairman of the Arab committee to lift the siege on Gaza, said, “we will continue struggling to liberate Palestine from the enemy who acts outside any laws.” … An Egyptian security source in Rafah told Ma’an that the convoy consists of 28 tons of medicines and medical equipment and seven truckloads of clothes.
1 killed, another hurt by gunfire at memorial
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Mar 20:55 — A Palestinian was killed and another injured by gunfire during a memorial service for a victim of the escalation between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, a medical official said Thursday. Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma‘an that the young man was pronounced dead at Shifa Hospital and another person was determined to be seriously injured after the accidental shooting in eastern Gaza City.
Activism / Solidarity
Eight injured, one seriously, as Israeli troops attack West Bank anti-wall protests
IMEMC 16 Mar — Protests were organized in the central West Bank villages of Bil‘in, Ni‘lin and al Nabi Saleh. Eight protesters including one international supporter were injured by Israeli fire at a protest in the village of al Nabi Saleh. The international activist was seriously injured when she was hit with many rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli troops. al Nabi Saleh villagers and their international and Israeli supporters marched after the midday prayers on Friday to protest Israel’s confiscation of their lands to build a settlement. Troops attacked the march before they even left the village. Soldiers invaded the villages and fired tear gas into people’s homes; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Soldiers also sprayed residents homes with chemical water. Also on Friday, soldiers used tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets to suppress the anti wall protests at the villages of Bil‘in and Ni‘lin. Many there were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Image: Israeli shot in head with rubber bullets in Nabi Saleh / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 16 Mar — The Israeli army used rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas against protesters in the village of Nabi Saleh today (Friday). Naomi Laet, An Israeli protester aged 22, seen below, was hit with a rubber bullet in her head. According to reports, another Palestinian was injured from a rubber bullet. The injured protesters were taken to a hospital. Protests in Nabi Saleh have been going on for more than two years, following the confiscation of the village’s land by the nearby settlement of Halamish. One protester has been killed from a tear gas canister shot directly at his head, and dozens have been in injured.
When teargas and rubber bullets aren’t enough, Israeli soldiers release the hounds on unarmed Palestinian protesters
Ni‘lin Sons 16 Mar — In Kufur Qaddoum, clashes between Israeli Border Police officers who shot tear-gas projectiles and rubber-coated bullets and local youth who threw stones at the forces developed. Roughly 15 minutes later … Border Police officers decided to sic an army dog at a group of the demonstrators, standing several dozens of meters away. The dog chased after the protesters, biting and locking his jaws into the arm of one of them … Two other residents of the village were injured during the demonstration, after being hit by tear-gas projectiles shot directly at them. One was hit in the leg and another in the shoulder. The weekly protest in Kufer Qaddoum, west of Nablus, was dedicated to the memory of Rachel Corrie – an American protester who was killed after an Israeli D9 bulldozer drove over her in Rafah exactly nine years ago, on March 16, 2003.
In Nabi Saleh, at least three protesters were injured during the demonstration, including an Israeli woman who was hit in the head by a rubber-coated bullet. The two others hit were lightly injured, one by a rubber-coated bullet and the other by a tear-gas projectile. The woman was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital. Earlier today, large forces entered the village and sprayed a foul-smelling liquid known as the Skunk from a water cannon. During the night, the army staged yet another raid on the village, the fifth in a week’s time.
In Ni’lin, demonstration was held despite the rainy weather, the demonstration was dedicated to the American activist Tristan Anderson who was shot by high velocity tear gas projectile in his head by the Israeli soldiers in 13.03.2009 in the middle of Ni’lin village … Israeli soldiers fired massive tear gas canister at protester, rubber coated bullets and skunk water, one demonstrator was hit with a rubber bullet in his hand and was treated directly
In Photos: Bethlehem met with rain of Israeli violence
Al Ma‘sara Popular Committee –Today the weekly demo of Al-Ma‘sara, near Bethlehem, was underway as dozens of Palestinians and Israelis demonstrated in the heavy rain against the wall in solidarity with Hana Shalabi . Israeli Occupartion Forces first attacked Mahmoud Zawahre, the coordinator Of Al-Ma‘sara Popular Committee, tearing his clothes before he managed to escape them. After that they started attacking people with their batons and arrested four Israeli activists. They were later released. They also broke the camera of journalist, Musa Alshaer. After that they broke the glass of one Palestinian car.
In memory of a hero: Rachel speaks truth
ISM 16 Mar — On the anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s martyrdom today, the rain fell in quiet tears that watered Palestine in a confusing emotion of remorse and yet optimism — the same optimism we hear in the voice of Rachel’s diaries and actions … While Palestine is indeed special, it is obvious that it shares much with what the world has struggled for, and International Solidarity Movement threads the humanization of the world as the fabric of solidarity work with Palestinians. Today Palestine and earth, the earth that has inherited the great sacrifices of Rachel Corrie, quietly wept and yet persisted with her memory for the very ideals she died for: freedom and justice.
PSP activists plant 50 trees in south Hebron Hills
15 Mar — On Wednesday, March 14th, 2012, activists from Palestine Solidarity Project planted 50 olive and almond trees in Jabal Al-Sandab, in the south Hebron hills. The land belongs to Yusri Al-Jamal, and the planting of olive and almond trees allows him to protect his land from settlers and soldiers by laying claim to it. When land is not being cultivated, it is easier for Israeli occupation forces to confiscate it. Jabal Al-Sandab is near the Hagai settlement. Some of the people who live in this settlement moved directly there from Gaza when the settlements there were dismantled in 2005. We fully expected our farming activity to be interrupted by settlers or soldiers, but fortunately our planting continued in peace and with a lot of national and international press.
Hanaa’ al-Shalabi / Other hunger strikers
Serious deterioration in the health of Palestinian detainee
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Mar – Palestinian captive, Hana’ al-Shalabi enters today her 30th day of hunger strike. She informed her lawyer that she stopped taking salt and is only taking water and that she will continue until her release. According to her lawyer, Raed Mahameed, that Shalabi was examined by a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights and the doctor said that she suffers from law heart beat rate, law blood sugar, loss of weight, weakness in muscles, yellowing of the eyes and high levels of salt in the blood which affected her kidneys causing her pain in her sides specially the left side as well as pain in chest bones.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Shalabi’s hunger strike tests Israeli jailing policy
RAMALLAH (Reuters) 15 Mar — The deteriorating health of a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for the past month is focusing international attention on Israel’s decades-old use of detention without trial … In many instances, Israeli military authorities explain detentions in terms of their security concerns, and base cases on evidence from local informants or members of its own security services whose identities are not revealed. “Evidence isn’t revealed and the way decisions against defendants are met is kept secret. Accusations and evidence are kept from the defendant and their lawyer, and the judge is made to act in the capacity of the defense,” Naama Baumgarten-Sharon of the Israeli rights group B’Tselem said of the procedure. Israel’s High Court has upheld the procedure for decades, siding with the government’s argument that detention without trial is a necessary security measure.
Rally in support of striking prisoner Shalabi suppressed
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Mar — Israeli soldiers Thursday suppressed a rally near Ofer military camp and prison, west of Ramallah, held in support of Hana Shalabi, who is on hunger strike for 29 straight days. Soldiers fired tear gas at the protesters who were calling for an end to the occupation and the liberation of all prisoners. Many suffered from gas inhalation and suffocation.
Prisoner joins Shalabi’s hunger strike
JENIN (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — A Palestinian detainee entered his sixth day on hunger strike on Friday in solidarity with prisoner Hana Shalabi, a detainees’ center said. Jafar Abu Salah, 45, was detained by Israeli forces from his home in Arraba village in the northern West Bank. Israeli courts have postponed his hearing 11 times, the center said. Abu Salah has been detained by Israel four times. The prisoner started the hunger strike, despite suffering health and stomach problems, in solidarity with Shalabi, a 29-year-old detainee who has refused food for 30 days.
Twenty-four Palestinians are on hunger strike
MEMO 16 Mar — Officials within the Israeli prison authority have expressed concern about the increasing phenomenon of Palestinian prisoners, especially administrative detainees, going on hunger strike. The numbers have risen after Khader Adnan went on hunger strike for 66 days resulting in a decision not to extend his detention and for him to be released next month. According to sources with the authority, 23 Palestinian prisoners, not including Hana Al-Shalabi who has been on a hunger strike for about a month, started a hunger strike in the past few days. Most are administrative detainees being held without charge or trial.
Administrative detention: Israel’s way of bypassing justice
Al-Akhbar 16 Mar By: Fadi Abu Saada — Tens of thousands of Palestinians and their families have suffered from the humiliation brought on by a single law, one that Israel uses to jail people without charges — British Origins — The British were not content with the calamitous Balfour Declaration which led to the Palestinian catastrophe. They went further with their injustice with a set of unfair laws in Palestine which live on today. The Israeli occupation forces found such measures to be perfectly suited for their needs, so they began to implement them immediately. One of these is “administrative detention,” which allows for the detention of Palestinians for up to 6 months without a charge. Worse yet, the period can be repeatedly renewed, completely circumventing due process.
Mother with baby arrested while crossing checkpoint in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 15 Mar — Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint at Shuhada street, in the old city of Hebron, Thursday arrested a 28-year-old Palestinian woman when she tried to cross the checkpoint with her three-year-old child, claiming she tried to attack the soldiers, according to local sources. They said the mother, Inas Ghanim, had to give her baby to one of her neighbors who happened to be passing by the checkpoint at the time. She was taken to a police station in a nearby settlement.
Violent raid on Ofer jail, injuries reported
RAMALLAH (PIC) 15 Mar — Special forces from Metsada and Nahshun units violently stormed on Wednesday evening Ofer prison west of Ramallah amid intensive firing of tear gas grenades and embarked on assaulting the prisoners and damaging their belongings.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Captive Abbas al-Sayyed refuses to give DNA samples
TULKAREM (PIC) 16 Mar – Abbas al-Sayyed, a detained Hamas leader, refused to give a saliva sample to the Jalbu’ prison administration which is collecting prisoner data to keep in a database, according to a letter he sent to his wife with his lawyer informing her of what happened…
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Palestinians ask Israeli court to halt DNA tests
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 16 Mar — The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel’s highest court to halt the taking of DNA samples from Palestinian prisoners against their will, a PA minister said on Thursday. “We petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court yesterday against the humiliating treatment of our prisoners,” prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqaa told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He said that at Shita prison in northern Israel, which holds mainly Palestinian security prisoners, inmates were forcibly restrained while samples of hair were taken and their mouths swabbed.
Palestinian suspected of stabbing soldier arrested
JERUSALEM (WAFA)15 Mar – Israeli forces Thursday arrested a Palestinian at Qalandia checkpoint, halfway between Jerusalem and Ramallah, suspected of stabbing a female Israeli soldier at a train station in the colony of Pisgat Zeev, east of Jerusalem, according to Israeli reports
Syrian security forces ‘warn Palestinian camp‘
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Sources in Damascus say Syrian security forces threatened to raid the Yarmuk refugee camp due to Fatah’s alleged support of demonstrations against Syrian leader Bashar Assad … Syrian security forces have detained a number of Fatah members: Ayman Juda Abu Ala, public action official in Yarmuk, Jihad Abu Yousef, Abdul Wahed Kherma, Firas Tahmaz, and Amjad Sadya. The claims could not be independently verified from outside the country, but Syrian forces have at times harshly attacked Palestinians over the course of an uprising against Assad’s regime. In August, a bloody campaign against the coastal town of Latakia killed dozens of Palestinians.
Stop humiliating Palestinian refugees
Daily Star 16 Mar by By Sari Hanafi — …While listening to Bachelet, I felt bitter about how Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have also been the victims of unjust laws, supported by the bureaucracy and politicians. At the same time, just laws that might improve the situation of those refugees have not been implemented. Let’s take two examples. On Aug. 7, 2010, after much hesitation and heated debate, Lebanon’s Parliament ratified a law to facilitate the employment of Palestinian refugees. The law represented something new in the uneasy Palestinian-Lebanese relationship. It also effectively continued to legalize discrimination, to use the term employed by the journalist Talal Salman, prohibiting Palestinians from working in more than 30 professions, while allowing other foreigners to do so.
Political, diplomatic, economic news
A year on, unity activists ponder next steps
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — The anniversary of the March 15 movement to restore unity to the occupied territories passed quietly Thursday, with no major rallies in Palestinian cities. The principal demands of the masses who demonstrated in the West Bank and Gaza have yet to be met, but the leaders of Fatah and Hamas technically agreed to reconcile in May 2011. Progress has stalled ever since. The Palestinian National Council has not held elections, as promised, nor have the Fatah and Hamas factions formed a unity government. Parliament elections planned for this year seem unlikely anytime soon.
World Bank: Economic slowdown in Palestinian Authority endangers state-building efforts
Haaretz 15 Mar — Slower growth and drop in international aid, combined with Israeli restrictions, have led to a worsening economic situation in the West Bank, according to a new report by the World Bank.
Mashaal to Erdogan: Israeli aggression unjustified
Ynet 16 Mar — Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday and briefed the him over the latest round of violence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. During the two-hour meeting, Mashaal accused the Jewish state of “fabricating excuses” to attack the Palestinians. He also claimed that Israel has turned Gaza into a testing field for its weapons and the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Zahhar thanks Iran for supporting Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar on Thursday thanked Iran for its “unlimited” support to Palestinians. Speaking at a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, Zahhar said Iran supported Palestine without expecting anything in return, reports said … Zahhar has made conflicting statements about the role Hamas would play if Israel attacked Iran.
Britain condemns Israeli settlement relocation
LONDON (WAFA) 16 Mar — British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt Friday called on the Israeli government to rescind its decision to move settlers from the illegal West Bank outpost Migron to a new nearby location … “We are deeply concerned that this agreement sets a dangerous precedent for other outposts that are illegal under both international and Israeli law. It is also directly contrary to the commitments Israel made to the international community under the Quartet Roadmap to evacuate all outposts,” said the British minister.
European Parliament calls on Israel to respect signed agreements
STRASBOURG (WAFA) 16 Mar — The European Parliament (EP) Thursday expressed deep concern about Israeli army raids on two Palestinian television stations in Ramallah late last month and called on Israel to return equipment it seized at the two stations, according to an EP resolution. It also said that Israeli raids on Palestinian-controlled areas are a breach of the Oslo accords signed in 1993.
Racism / Discrimination
UN body ‘appalled’ by Israel’s racial segregation policies
EI 16 Mar by Adri Nieuwhof and Mireille Fanon Mendès-France — Israel is criticized for violating the right to equality in a new report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). An advance version of the CERD report indicates that racial prejudice can be found in almost every facet of Israeli life (“Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,” 9 March 2012 [PDF]). CERD is a body of legal specialists who monitor the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which states that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous.
Israeli budget reinforces discrimination against 1948 Palestinians
Al-Akhbar 16 Mar by Charlotte Silver — … In 2007, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office established the Authority for the Economic Development of the Minority Sector with the goal to improve minorities’ economic activity. In 2010, on the eve of Israel’s admittance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israeli politicians ramped up their lip service to close the gap between the Arab and Jewish sectors. Citing the negative impact a low-performing minority sector has on the overall Israeli economy, politicians promised to make economic equality a priority. Yet nearly two years later, the Palestinian community within the 1948 borders – 20 percent of the national population – is still only allotted 6.25 percent of the 2012 state budget.
In meeting with Jewish Ethiopian community, Netanyahu vows to tackle racism
Haaretz 15 Mar — Activists cite segregation at schools as an urgent problem and demanded sanctions be imposed on schools that refuse to enroll students of Ethiopian origin.
Treasure trove of rare plants found in Israel’s Hebron Hills
Haaretz 15 Mar — …A new survey shows that the agricultural practices followed for centuries around Palestinian villages in the southern Hebron Hills have managed to sustain a rich variety of rare plants. Without this agriculture it is not certain these species would have survived … In extensive parts of the area where the survey was conducted, traditional Palestinian agriculture is practiced. This is based on harvesting by hand, shallow plowing and limited use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Many of the rare species are annuals that accompany the sown fields. The life cycle of these plants is identical to the cycle of agricultural cultivation.