65% of Hebron district land confiscated for settlements
AIC 9 Apr — Abdul Hadi Hantash, a member of the Land Defense Committee in Hebron, reports that Israeli settlements in the Hebron district expanded by 20% during 2011 and are expected to expand an additional 30% this year. Hantash claims that “the number of settlement units will be doubled”. He further adds that 65% of the district’s area, which exceeded 1103.5 square kilometers, has been confiscated since 1967 for settlements, military camps and bypass roads.
Parallel realities: Israel settlements and Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley
Ma‘an Development Center 7 Apr by Sam Bahour — MA’AN has recently completed its newest publication entitled “Parallel Realties: Israeli Settlements and Palestinian Communities in the Jordan Valley.” This factsheet describes in detail how and why Israeli settlers and Palestinians live in the Jordan Valley. It documents the incentives that Israeli settlers receive in order to move to the Jordan Valley settlements, while at the same time documenting how Israel is attempting to entice Jordan Valley Palestinians to leave the Jordan Valley through an oppression occupational regime. Furthermore, there are specific case studies involved where services and rights are put side by side to highlight the stark contrast that is a direct result of Israel’s policies in the Jordan Valley.
To download the PDF report and view stunning photos that contrast life in the Jordan Valley click here: http://www.maan-ctr.org/pdfs/FSReport/Settlement/content.pdf
Israelis turn Asqalan Muslim cemetery into parking lot
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 9 Apr – Israelis in the southern city of Asqalan turned the local Muslim cemetery into a makeshift parking lot in a move that is expected to stir anger among the Muslim community, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Monday. It said the municipality recently set up a market adjacent to the cemetery, which resulted in shopkeepers and customers parking their cars in the cemetery in complete disregard to the Muslim sacred place … Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi condemned the conversion of the cemetery into a parking lot and wondered what would have happened if the same had happened to a Jewish cemetery in France or Poland.
Israel closes a main entrance for al-Ram
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 9 Apr — The Israeli military authorities closed with cement blocks Sunday night the main entrance to the northern Jerusalem town of al-Ram under the pretext Palestinian youth throw stones at Israeli soldiers from that area, according to al-Ram mayor Sarhan Salayma. An al-Ram resident was recently shot and killed in that area during a demonstration against the Israeli occupation. Salaymah said closing the main northern entrance, which was completed only recently, will have serious effect on the mobility of 60,000 residents of the town, as well as on economic and trade activities and social life. “The town has become a big prison,” said Salaymah
Thousands of Christians gather in Jerusalem for Easter
IMEMC 8 Apr — On Sunday, Christians around the world celebrated the Easter holiday, and thousands of pilgrims gathered at the Church of the holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe that Jesus ascended into heaven two thousand years ago. The traditional procession of pilgrims from Bethlehem to Jerusalem was, however, prevented due to the Israeli Wall blocking the way … Shaath added, “Israel’s illegal Wall is an insult to the rich history of the Holy Land. Indeed, this colonial regime constitutes an assault on more than 2000 years of Christian history in the Holy Land for it disconnects, for the first time in history, the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.”
Avigail illegal outpost in the South Hebron Hills
RHR 9 Apr by Rabbi Arik Ascherman — In October of 2001 RHR wrote on behalf of Palestinians claiming land ownership to the Defense Ministry about the first prefab homes set down to create the Avigail outpost in the South Hebron Hills. On October 11th, we received a letter from the Minister’s office saying that this was an illegal outpost, and it had to be removed by the next day. There have been many defense ministers since then, but today huge signs in the Occupied Territories unabashedly proclaim the expansion of Avigail. Ta’ayush activists have been documenting the day and night building activities taking place AFTER a stop work order was issued on March 27th. DCO officials have registered complaints with the police, etc. However, when again work was reported on Sunday, the head of the Hebron DCO said that he hadn’t known that the stop work order was being violated. The settlers told the police that there was no stop work order, and claimed that they had been attacked by one of the Palestinians..
Israeli violence and provocations
Fadi Ahu Zaytoun, killed as settlers attacked farmers
ISM 9 Apr by ‘Rana H.’ — …shortly after Fayad left the area, Israeli soldiers permitted a mob of settlers to converge upon the Palestinian farmers tending to their land. They began by throwing stones, causing the group to separate and begin descending the hill. The settlers then proceeded to fire M-16 assault rifles in the direction of the unarmed farmers before releasing dogs. In the ensuing chaos, and as Fadi desperately attempted to escape, his tractor flipped over and fell on him, mortally wounding the young man. Palestinians witnessing the incident ran back towards the scene to offer assistance. The settlers promptly dispersed as they rushed him down the hill to the road, unfortunately he was already dead. Fadi is of the village of Beita. With a population of only 12,000, this death resonates among all the residents. As Fadi’s father-in-law, Isam Bani Shams says, “This is not our first martyr nor our last, we have been in this situation for sixty-four years. Our village has lost some seventy martyrs.” On the same date, twenty-four years ago, two men from the village of Beita were also murdered by settlers from Itamar.
Day of the Child: Houses overturned [turned over], 20 arrested by ‘American-style’ Israeli military
ISM 8 Apr by ‘Lydia’ — April 5th marked a day to celebrate the children of Palestine. This year the Israeli military decided to contribute to the special day of the children of Kufr Qaddoum by invading the village and kidnapping 20 fathers and brothers. Boys and men were taken from their homes in a series of overly aggressive and destructive raids … The Israeli military has seen escalating its intimidation of members of the village, and the soldiers’ main goal is to stop the Friday demonstrations that the villagers host … Since June 2011, Kufr Qaddoum has been subjected to many night raids but nothing of this scale … Bashar Ishtawi, brother of Riad who was arrested, likened the raids to “a video game. Very aggressive and American style.”
Plowing with army protection on their own lands but not during the ‘Festival of Freedom’
Rabbis for Human Rights 9 Apr — In most places the plowing has progressed without serious hitches this past week (the week before Pesach [Passover]). Many villages were given four days to complete their plowing before the Jewish holiday and told there would not be security for them to continue plowing during the week of Pesach. Some contacts such as in El Genia, Awarta, complained that this is not enough time to plow adequately. In El Genia our intervention led to an army promise of more days after the festival, despite an initial threat of “no more days”. According to our local contact in Awarta there was an incident there last Thursday (5th April) in which three settlers, apparently from Itamar, came down, one with a fierce dog, shooting into the air and attempted to frighten the plowers away. The army was called and their intervention prevented the incident getting out of hand, but the farmers remain reluctant to plow there without any army protection, which as of this report is no longer scheduled in the area.
Settlers raid agricultural land near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 8 Apr — Tens of Israeli settlers Sunday raided an agricultural land south of Jenin, under the protection of the Israeli army, according to security sources. They added the settlers provoked and verbally assaulted the Palestinian residents in the area.
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided Zabouba, a village west of Jenin, and fired tear gas and stun grenades against the villagers.
Palestinian accuses Israel police of beating him, hiding evidence
Haaretz 9 Apr — A 26-year-old Palestinian man from Jenin was severely beaten by Israeli police officers in Daliat al-Carmel two weeks ago and dumped at a checkpoint, according to a complaint he filed with the internal affairs unit. Police say they believe the man was in Israel illegally. The internal affairs unit is investigating the man’s allegations, but said it could not divulge details of the investigation. Doctors removed Rami Washahi’s spleen to curtail his abdominal bleeding, and he was hospitalized for four days, Washahi said. According to Washahi and his lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, the police attempted to cover up the beating. “In releasing Washahi several hours after his arrest, the police tried to conceal the evidence of the violence that was used against him, and of his injuries,” said Abu Hussein. The police also ordered Washahi to state that he was not harmed while in custody, and they did not take him to the hospital even though they knew he was in pain, Washahi said … The incident comes less than two months after Haaretz reported that police took custody of another illegal Palestinian resident, Omar Abu Jariban, and left him to die on the side of the road.
Gaza rockets hit Israel after drone attack
AFP 8 Apr — Three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel on Sunday, without causing casualties or damage, police said. “A rocket fired from Gaza fell into an uninhabited area near the city of Sderot this evening. There were no injuries or damage,” police spokeswoman Lea Samri told AFP. She said two other rockets were fired into southern Israel near the city of Netivot early on Sunday, hitting open ground without causing casualties or property damage. On Saturday night, a rocket fired from an Israeli drone wounded two Palestinians riding a motorcycle in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The military said they had been on their way to fire rockets at Israel.
Medics: Israeli forces shoot, injure man east of Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — Israeli soldiers on Monday shot and injured a Palestinian construction worker in eastern Gaza, medics said. The 23-year-old man was taken to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, medical officials told Ma‘an. [from WAFA: The worker, who gathers gravel for living, was shot in the foot and transferred to hospital for treatment. His condition was reported moderate.]
Also Monday, witnesses said that dozens of military vehicles, including bulldozers, ventured 250 meters into the southern Gaza Strip east of Khan Younis and began digging up agricultural land. Army vehicles were also seen entering the Nahda neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza and patrolling the area.
IOF artillery shells Juhr al-Deek
GAZA (PIC) 9 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired two artillery shells at Juhr Al-Deek area to the south east of Gaza city at a late Sunday night hour. Eyewitnesses said that IOF armored vehicles stationed to the east of Juhr Al-Deek then opened heavy machinegun fire at residential quarters but no casualties were reported. Locals noted irregular moves for the IOF troops at the borders of the Gaza Strip.
Israel navy ‘opens fire at Gaza fishing boat’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — Israel’s navy fired live ammunition at a fishing boat in the Gaza Strip on Monday, witnesses said. Several shells were fired into open areas off the Gaza coast, locals told Ma‘an. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that a fishing boat had deviated from the [Israeli-]designated fishing area, and after failing to respond to orders to return, warning shots were fired. No hits were identified and the boat returned to the designated fishing area, she added.
Gaza power plant to be refitted by May
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — The rehabilitation of the sole power plant in the Gaza Strip will be complete next month, the head of the PA power authority said on Friday. The $3 million project funded by the Islamic Development Bank will help alleviate the power crisis in the Gaza Strip, Omar Kittaneh said in a statement. Re-fitting the power station is one tenet of a deal agreed in late February to end the widespread power outages after Egypt cut fuel supplies via underground tunnels weeks earlier. Officials have also agreed to link the Gazan electricity grid to Egypt’s, as well as converting the coastal enclave’s sole power plant from diesel to gas.
UN sends four electrical transformers to Gaza
AFP 9 Apr — The United Nations Development Programme on Monday transferred four electrical transformers to Gaza in a bid to upgrade the territory’s struggling sole power plant. The UNDP, in a statement from its Gaza office, said it brought four transformers and other electrical equipment into the territory as part of a project valued at $3.3 million dollars. “Installation will take around two months,” it said. “After it is completed, the capacity of the power station will be raised from 80 megawatts (MW) to 120 MW and will be able to handle the full productive output of the Gaza power station,” it said.
Bank of Palestine donates $200,000 to rehabilitate Gaza homes
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Apr — Bank of Palestine (BOP) donated $200, 000 for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 40 houses in the Gaza Strip to be done in cooperation with CHF International, according to a BOP press release on Saturday … Based on the agreement, CHF will start a project which aims to reconstruct and rehabilitate houses that were destroyed during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-2009.
Fatah: Female member humiliated by Hamas security
GAZA CITY/BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — A female member of Fatah’s central committee in Gaza canceled a visit to Ramallah on Sunday after Hamas police officers insisted on carrying out a physical inspection at Beit Hanoun crossing. “I headed to Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint where police stopped me and inspected my luggage and my hand bag. Then they asked to inspect me physically and I refused,” Amal Hamad told Ma‘an. She was heading to Ramallah to participate in an internal Fatah meeting … The Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza described the remarks by Fatah’s spokesperson as “false and fabricated.”
Israeli forces arrest five Palestinians in West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 8 Apr – Israeli forces Sunday arrested five Palestinians from the West Bank cities of Hebron and Qalqilia, according to local sources. They said Israeli forces at dawn arrested four Palestinians from the village of Azzoun, east of Qalqilia after storming the village and raiding several homes. Forces arrested a Palestinian from Beit Kahel, a town west of Hebron, after storming it. The arrested was taken to an unknown destination. Israeli soldiers stormed Al-Oroub refugee camp and the town of Ithna in Hebron governorate, searched several houses and tampered with their contents.
IOF soldiers arrest 9 Palestinians including 9-year-old
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested nine Palestinian citizens in Al-Khalil and Jenin at dawn Monday including a 12-year-old child, local sources said. The sources said that IOF soldiers detained four Palestinians at a roadblock near Halhoul town to the north of Al-Khalil. IOF soldiers also arrested a young man and a 12-year-old child in the Old City of Al-Khalil, claiming that the boy was carrying a knife. Mufid Al-Shirbati, a citizen in the Old City, said that IOF soldiers and officers of the civil administration came to his house at a late night hour on Sunday and broke cameras installed around the house that were recording those soldiers and Jewish settlers’ attacks on his house. He said that the soldiers also wreaked havoc inside his house and terrorized the women and children, adding that his family could not stay the night in it. Locals in Jenin city said that IOF soldiers rounded up two citizens after storming the eastern suburb of the city before dawn Monday including a 16-year-old boy. They said that the soldiers arrested a young man in Ya‘bad village to the south west of Jenin and broke into two other villages but no arrests were made.
Prisoner refuses blood transfusion, protesting administrative detention
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Apr — A Palestinian prisoner suffering from Thalassemia announced he will refrain from receiving required blood transfusion to protest the extension of his administrative detention for the third time in a row, Sunday said a statement by the Thalassemia Patients’ Friends Society (TPFS). Mohammad Sulaiman, 27, was arrested in April 2012 and served two six-month administrative detention orders. He was sentenced to a third order few days ago despite his acute medical condition. PFS coordinator Bara’ al-Muheisry told WAFA that Sulaiman needs blood transfusion every 20 to 30 days to maintain appropriate iron levels in his blood.
IOF soldiers tear down solidarity tent in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 9 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed a tent in the Old City of Nablus pitched in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Hassan Safadi who has been on hunger strike for 36 days in Israeli jails. Sources close to the Safadi family said that the soldiers broke into the tent, which is near to their home, and tore photos of the detainee and placards expressing solidarity with him. Safadi, 34, has been on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention. Safadi had previously spent 105 months in Israeli occupation jails mostly in administrative detention, without trial or charge.
Israeli forces ‘detain activist in Hebron’, close mosque
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli forces detained an American-Palestinian activist in Hebron on Sunday amid closures in the city during the Jewish holidays, a local activist said. Forces evacuated Beersheba road in the center of the southern West Bank city to allow Jewish worshipers to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Knaz, Hebron defense committee coordinator Mohammad Al-Jibrini told Ma‘an. During the removal of shop-keepers and pedestrians, an American with Palestinian heritage, 25, was seized by forces, al-Jibrani said, without releasing the activist’s name. A 30-year-old Italian and another British woman, also 30, were lightly injured, he said. Coordinator of the International Solidarity Movement in Hebron Sami Al-Natsheh said the three were part of the movement and working to document Israeli violations of Palestinian rights in the city.
PA: Detainees injured in prison raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Several Palestinian detainees were lightly injured when Israeli forces carried out room raids in Eshel prison on Saturday, a Palestinian Authority report said. The ministry of prisoners affairs said an elite Israeli unit raided several sections of the Beersheba prison.
Ex-hunger striker Hana al-Shalabi wants mystery Gaza banishment deal clarified / Rami Almeghari
EI 8 Apr — A week after her banishment to Gaza, Hana al-Shalabi spoke exclusively to The Electronic Intifada. She is currently at al-Quds hospital in Gaza, receiving treatment following her 43-day hunger strike against her detention without charge or trial by Israel that ended with her 1 April banishment to Gaza for three years. In her comments to The Electronic Intifada, al-Shalabi demanded that her lawyer clarify to her and to the public the controversial circumstances surrounding the deal to send her to Gaza. Al-Shalabi’s account casts doubt on the claims that it was her “choice” and confirm that she may have received misleading information in order to induce her to accept the deal.
Qaraqe: PA not involved in Shalabi deportation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — The Palestinian Authority was not involved in the decision to deport Hana Shalabi to the Gaza Strip, Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said Monday. “We have been always against deporting any detainee away from his home and we refuse to legalize it and it is indeed a war crime but Hana Shalabi’s deportation to Gaza was a personal choice,” the PA minister said during a UN sponsored conference in Geneva to discuss Palestinian detainees.
IOF soldiers arrest 86 Palestinians in one week including 20 children
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 86 Palestinian citizens in the past week including 20 children and six ex-prisoners, who were held in PA jails. Hamas movement said in a weekly report said that the children are 14 to 18 years old; adding that among the detainees was Qud Press correspondent Mohammed Mona. It said that most of those detainees were rounded up in Qalqilia (25) while 13 were detained in occupied Jerusalem.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Welcome to Palestine 2012 campaign launched
AIC 9 Apr — Over 25 Palestinian organizations proudly announce the impending arrival of hundreds of visitors for the Welcome to Palestine 2012 campaign and we invite you to a press conference to detail our program and goals on Tuesday April 10th at 5 PM in the Bethlehem Peace Center. We proceeded with our preparations despite the fact that several volunteers were harassed by Israeli occupation authorities. In one case, a peace activist home was raided at 2 AM by occupation forces who took his computer and his cell phone. Other peace activists were delayed or questioned for hours as they exited or entered the country. The dozens of volunteers working with us were only encouraged because with these actions Israel itself shed a light on its own policies of siege and isolation of the West Bank.
Israel security forces gear up to deflect pro-Palestinian fly-in protest
Haaretz 9 Apr — Israel Police are preparing to send reinforcements to Ben-Gurion Airport next Sunday to prevent the entry of a large group of pro Palestinian activists planning to journey to the West Bank. Their effort is part of a campaign entitled “Welcome to Palestine.” Last July, a similar ‘fly-in’ took place, with over 300 international activists arriving in Israel, and 120 detained. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-security-forces-gear-up-to-deflect-pro-palestinian-fly-in-protest-1.423446
7th International Bil‘in Conference on Palestinian Popular Struggle
Bil‘in Popular Committee 8 Apr — On April 10-13, 2012, Palestinians, Israelis and activists from around the world will converge in the village of Bil‘in to discuss the Palestinian popular struggle, vision, tactics, strategies and international support under the auspices of the 7th Bil‘in Conference on Popular Struggle. Unlike in previous years, the 2012 Bil’in Conference will be held in several venues across the West Bank, including Jerusalem. Join us on Facebook Accommodation with Bil’in families: €20/night. For more information: [email protected] Or contact your country’s representative directly:
Three injured near Hebron
IMEMC 8 Apr — Palestinian medical sources reported, Saturday, that one Palestinian child, in addition to an Israeli and an international peace activist, were injured after Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlement in Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Yousef Abu Maria, spokesperson of the National Committee Against the wall, stated that Ahmad Khalil Abu Hashem, 14, was injured after a number of soldiers attacked him with batons and rifle-butts while kicking and punching him.
Spring time in Ni‘lin: Photos of the demonstration
posted 9 Apr by by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta — 6 Apri; 2012 — I’m a bit slow at writing things up, so in the meanwhile, here are some photos of this past Friday’s action in Ni‘lin. To me the the most vivid pictures were the shebab, including boys who looked as young as 12 , symbolically lobbing stones at and over the gate and wall (probably not visible in my photos), amid clouds of stinging teargas and stinking “skunk water,” and Mohammed Amira calmly standing with his megaphone addressing the soldiers in Hebrew (telling them to go home to their families, and basically trying to get them to reflect on what they’re doing),
Israeli citizens to Red Hot Chili Peppers: Cancel Tel Aviv gigs!
AIC 9 Apr — BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within — We are citizens of Israel who support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s policies of racism, apartheid and occupation towards the Palestinian people. As we have recently learned about your planned gigs in Tel Aviv in September of 2012, we write in order to ask you not to come.
BDS Action: Derrick May — It’s not cool to play in Tel Aviv!
AIC 8 Apr — Electronic music legend Derrick May (Detroit) is scheduled to play in Tel Aviv on 12 April 2012. Please tell him that Tel Aviv is NOT a cool place to play, when millions of Palestinians living under Israel’s apartheid and occupation are not allowed to come to the city and enjoy his music.
AICafe 10.4: Short films by Palestinians about Palestine
Please join us at the AICafe on Tuesday 10 April at 8.00 p.m. for a screening of six short films produced by Palestinian youths telling the story of their land … The AIC is a joint Palestinian-Israeli activist organization engaged in dissemination of information, political advocacy and grassroots activism. The AICafè is a political and cultural café open on Tuesday and Saturday night from 7pm until 10.30 pm … The AIC is located in the Alternative Information Center in Beit Sahour, close to Suq Sha’ab
BBC proposal could block complaints of occupation coverage
AIC 8 Apr — The BBC has put forward proposals which could, potentially, block supporters of Palestine from making complaints about its coverage of the occupation. In a document currently out for consultation, the BBC proposes to:
–Blacklist any complainant based on subjective and ill-defined criteria. This criteria includes ‘misconceived’, ‘repetitious’ or ‘otherwise vexatious’ complaints.
–It also includes complainants who complain regularly but are judged by the BBC to ‘have no reasonable prospect of success’. As the BBC acts as judge and jury on any complaints made against it, this is a particularly contradictory situation
–Anyone whom the BBC deems to fit the above criteria could find themselves locked out of the complaints process for a period of up to two years, with the BBC ignoring all complaints from this person.
This is a profoundly undemocratic move and will give the organisation total control over whose opinions it is willing to listen to and whose concerns it chooses to ignore. It is a huge step towards the total censorship of voices the BBC does not want to hear, and further removes it from the scrutiny and accountability of licence-fee payers.
Scottish government helps Israeli company deal with BDS
AIC 8 Apr — Documents obtained by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign show how a subsidiary of an Israeli company operating in Britain turned successfully for help from the Scottish Government to deal with what the Israeli company called “a wave of protests…that is threatening the future of Eden Springs UK”. The contract cancellations had created a “pressing situation” for the subsidiary of the giant Israeli multinational water cooler company. The letter we have obtained,under Freedom of Information legislation, is from the Eden Springs’ Business Development Director to the Director of Scottish enterprise, and reveals a fear of the growing boycott of Eden Springs.
Racism / Discrimination
Jewish soldiers refuse to share table with Druze comrades
972mag by Yossi Gurvitz — Druze soldiers used to think their uniform will exempt them from the racism prevalent in Jewish Israeli society. They ought to seriously rethink this assumption.During Seder night last week, a group of Jewish soldiers refused to share the same table with Druze soldiers in training base Camp 80. An officer ordered the soldiers to eat at the same table, and one of the Jewish soldiers said he has no intention of dining with Arabs. Instead handcuffing the fanatic and throwing him into the brig until his court-martial, the other officers gave in to the Jewish fanatic, ordering the Druze soldiers to move to a dirty side-table (Hebrew).
Politics / Diplomacy
Arab League: Israel aims to bring down PA
CAIRO (WAFA) 9 Apr — The Arab League Monday stressed in a press release that the Israeli government’s practices and measures aim to bring down the Palestinian Authority and reinstate the civic administration in the West Bank. The Arab League published the statement marking the 64th anniversary of Deir Yassin Massacre on April 9, 1948, when Jewish forces and attacked the village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem and killed more than 250 Palestinians, including women and children, and injuring 300.
Fatah: Govt reshuffle talks delayed until Abbas tour ends
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — Consultations over an expected reshuffle in the Palestinian Authority are to be delayed until President Abbas finishes as international tour due to start Monday, a senior Fatah official said. Azzam al-Ahmad told Voice of Palestine radio that rumors about a disagreement between Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad over a reshuffle were baseless.
March salary payment delayed further
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Apr – March salary payment for 180,000 Palestinian public civil and military employees will be further delayed, possibly until the middle of this month, Minister of Labor Ahmad Majdalani said Monday. He said the Palestinian Authority is still waiting for an Algerian fund to be transferred to the PA’s account, which might take some time … He urged Arab countries to fulfill their financial obligations to the PA to help it overcome its budget deficit.
Haniyeh: Reconciliation obligatory, not optional
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday the stalled reconciliation deal between his Hamas faction and rivals Fatah is not optional, but an obligation. The agreement, signed in May 2011, came unstuck as parties sparred for months over its implementation. President Mahmoud Abbas described the deal as “frozen” in late March.
Islamic Jihad: Abbas should quit talks with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Nafeth Azzam on Monday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to give up on negotiations with Israel. Addressing relatives of detainees at a demonstration outside Red Crescent headquarters in Gaza City, Azzam said there was “no point” in a letter Abbas is sending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas to pursue statehood at UN Assembly if no talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he will ask the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood if Israel does not respond to his demands for the resumption of negotiations. After Palestine’s inconclusive bid for recognition by the United Nations Security Council in September 2011, officials in recent months revised their opposition to a lesser upgrade with the larger assembly. The PLO — currently listed as an observer “entity” with no voting rights — applied for full membership of the UN on Sept. 23. An admissions committee said on Nov. 11 it had failed to reach an agreement on the bid. It had been previously suggested that Palestine could instead seek upgraded observer status via the General Assembly to make it a non-member observer state, like the Vatican.
2012 to witness Consulate of Kazakhstan in Palestine
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Apr – The non-resident Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Palestinian Authority, Bulat Sugurbayev, told WAFA on Sunday that in 2012 a Consulate of Kazakhstan will be opened in Ramallah
Italian premier ‘affirms support in Abbas meeting’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas met Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Ramallah on Sunday, as both leaders affirmed their strong bilateral relations, official media reported. Abbas thanked Italy for its political and financial support to the Palestinian cause, and agreed to form a joint Palestinian-Italian committee, PA news agency Wafa reported. Monti affirmed Italy’s support of a Palestinian state based on borders prior to a 1967 war, and commended the president’s state-building program, the report said. He invited Abbas to Italy for further talks, Wafa said.
Security official says there is no control over media
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Apr — The Palestinian security forces Monday denied claims that there was any control over Palestinian social media, newspapers, TV or radio. The denial came following claims by Palestinian journalists that the security forces were monitoring what they write and then prosecute them if they do not like what was said … A number of Palestinian journalists were recently arrested in the West Bank, some of them on charges of slander for exposing corruption among Palestinian officials or for criticizing top leaders.
Knesset speaker backs bill to overturn [reinstate] laws struck down by Israel’s Supreme Court
Haaretz 8 Apr — Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced Sunday that he intends on promoting a new basic law, proposed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, which would allow the Knesset to reinstate a law that was struck down by Israel’s Supreme Court … The proposed law allows for the Knesset, with a majority vote of at least 65 MKs, to overturn a Supreme Court decision declaring a law unconstitutional. During the weekend a first draft of the law was published, after previous versions had been rejected.
Special IDF units preparing for mass Lebanon invasion if war breaks out with Hezbollah
Haaretz 8 Apr — Ground forces are expected to contribute much more than in 2006, when Israel relied mainly on the IAF, which would entail much more intense urban warfare.
Report shows widening gap between Ethiopian pupils and other Israelis
Haaretz 9 Apr — The large academic gap between pupils from the Ethiopian community and other Israelis only widens as the children get older, according to a new Education Ministry report … The results of the Meitzav tests indicate that the more years the pupils spend in the educational system, the larger the gaps become.
World Bank approves $55 million for Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — The World Bank agreed on Friday to approve $55 million to the Palestinian territories for development projects over two years, a press statement said. The Bank’s 2012 – 2014 strategy will continue to support “strengthening the institutions of a future Palestinian state,” and try to stimulate economic growth by supporting the private sector, the statement said. Palestinian growth has slowed as donor contributions have decreased, and the PA government struggles to fill a $1.1 billion projected budgetary shortfall, the World Bank said in a March report.
Presidency praises Israeli scholar’s visit to Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Apr — The Palestinian presidency Sunday praised the Islamic Yemeni scholar Ali Al-Jifri’s visit to East Jerusalem despite previous religious rulings prohibiting non-Palestinians from visiting Jerusalem as long as it is occupied by Israel.
Egyptians to perform Easter pilgrimage in Jerusalem
CAIRO (WAFA) 8 Apr – Two hundred Egyptian Christians Sunday flew to Israel to perform the Easter pilgrimage in East Jerusalem, reported the Cairo-based Middle East News Agency. It said the Egyptian Christians heading to Jerusalem are Catholic and not part of the Coptic Orthodox Church, which bans pilgrimage to the occupied Jerusalem due to its occupation by Israel. Egyptian Christian and Muslim high-profile religious figures, including the late Pope Shenouda III and the Islamic scholar and theologian Yusuf Qaradawi, previously issued rulings prohibiting non-Palestinians, whether Christians and Muslims, from visiting Jerusalem as long as it is occupied by Israel.
Analysis / Opinion
Günter Grass, persona non grata in Israel
972mag 8 Apr by Larry Derfner — Now Interior Minister Eli Yishai has declared Grass to be persona non grata while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused the German author of being “willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition.” Yishai and Lieberman are the two most outspoken racists in the Israeli government, so if one of the ways to know a person is by his enemies, I’d say Grass is looking pretty good.
Israelis can be angry with Günter Grass, but they must listen to him / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 8 Apr — …Grass’ “What Must Be Said” does contain things that must be said. It can and should be said that Israel’s policy is endangering world peace. His position against Israeli nuclear power is also legitimate. He can also oppose supplying submarines to Israel without his past immediately being pulled out as a counterclaim. But Grass exaggerated, unnecessarily and in a way that damaged his own position. Perhaps it is his advanced age and his ambition to attract a last round of attention, and perhaps the words came forth all at once like a cascade, after decades during which it was almost impossible to criticize Israel in Germany.
Poem sparks debate about whether Germany should absolve Israel’s crimes / Raymond Deane
EI 9 Apr — …Whatever the literary qualities of Grass’s poem, it testifies to his lingering literary eminence that it has engendered such a colossal backlash, to the point that he has now been banned from Israel. Israel’s response Even the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has waded in, claiming that Israel and Iran cannot be compared because ““in Iran there is a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel” (“Netanyahu slams Güenter Grass for controversial Israel poem,” Haaretz, 5 April 2012). While the first part of this assertion is partly true, the second has long since been exposed as a lie — which does nothing to prevent its repeated dissemination. Netanyahu added: “It is Iran, not Israel, which threatens to destroy other countries.”
Don’t burst the bubble / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 Apr — Everyone from American investors to individual house-hunters in Ramallah wants to perpetuate the illusion of stability in the West Bank.
Obama is turning his back on Zionism / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 9 Apr — Presidential election season in the United States is obviously an especially good time to enlarge settlements in the West Bank and strike new roots in the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem … Obama is not blind, and nor is he deaf or dumb. He is just another politician who has turned his back on the values with which he grew up and the people who believed in him, in order to remain in office. In his new book, “The Crisis of Zionism,” Prof. Peter Beinart tells the story of the black president who grew up in the heart of the Jewish community and betrayed the heroes of his moral values – Abraham Heschel and Stephen Wise, two liberal Zionist rabbis who dared to condemn the settlement enterprise and were pushed to the sidelines. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/obama-is-turning-his-back-on-zionism-1.423313?localLinksEnabled=false
Court victory for Raed Salah deals blow to UK anti-terror policy / Asa Winstanley
Ramallah (EI) 9 Apr — Upper tribunal judge Mark Ockelton ruled that Sheikh Salah’s appeal succeeded “on all grounds.” In a big blow to the government’s controversial and politicized “anti-terrorism” strategy, Ockelton also ruled that “there is no lawful basis” for Home Secretary Theresa May to “implement the exclusion order that was based on exactly the same material” as the deportation order. Salah had been banned from the country only two days before he entered legally in June 2011. Neither he nor the groups that invited him to the UK had been informed.