Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
How many settlers are there?
Settlement Watch E J’lem 24 July — In Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress in January, he quoted that 650,000 Israelis live beyond the 1967 lines. This probably refers to Israelis in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in addition to the West Bank. But where did this figure come from? Recently a member of the Knesset published the updated number of settlers in the West Bank as 350,000 – “not including the 330,000 Israelis in East Jerusalem”.
Israeli settlers confer honorary title on peace activist
Haaretz 25 July — In a cynical gesture, the Samaria Regional Council elected to bestow an honorary citizenship on Peace Now’s Secretary-General — The Samaria Regional Council has decided to confer honorary citizenship on Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer, for his contribution toward the development of Samaria. Peace Now’s court petitions led to regularization of the unlawful construction of settlements in Samaria, the biblical name for the northern section of the West Bank, according to the council.
Ariel as a showcase for Israel / Zeev Sternhell
Haaretz 25 July — Ariel, the new university town, is the symbol of Israel and its true showcase. The settlement, which lies some 20 kilometers east of the Green Line, was from the start intended to drive a wedge into the heart of the West Bank so that it would be impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state there. The way the college founded there was subsequently turned into a university is a direct continuation of this goal, and epitomizes the government’s warped modes of thought and action … But what Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar did should not be viewed as ordinary political corruption. They were not merely trying to buy the votes of Likud party activists in the territories; what they wanted was to do their bit toward annexing the West Bank.
Destruction of graves is yet another Israeli violation against Palestinians
MEMO 25 July — A Palestinian human rights group has condemned Israel’s policy of destroying Muslim graves in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself. The aim, claims Al-Tadamun Human Rights Organisation, is part of an attempt to change the Islamic history and identity of Palestine. Researcher Ahmed Tobasi said that his organisation has so far counted six acts of violations against Muslim graves in the West Bank and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 (Israel). According to Tobasi, the Israeli occupation forces bulldozed dozens of tombs in the Majdal Sadeq village cemetery. In January, he said, a group of Israeli settlers destroyed tombs and headstones in the cemetery in the town of Beesan; in March, another group of settlers destroyed two headstones in the cemetery adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque. When the Ashkelon Municipality needed land for a new car park, it simply destroyed a complete Muslim cemetery. And in a new kind of escalations against Islamic cemeteries, Mr Tobasi alleged, Israeli bulldozers destroyed the tomb of the martyr Izzedin Al-Qassam in Haifa….
Jerusalem municipality asks IDF to take responsibility for residents who live east of the separation fence
Haaretz 24 July — Better administration is needed for areas neglected by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority …The municipality wants the IDF to take responsibility for monitoring construction and providing sanitation services. The meeting concluded with a decision to form a committee that will present a plan to the government. Around 90,000 East Jerusalem residents live on the other side of the separation fence. After the fence started going up over a decade ago, a number of neighborhoods, including the Shoafat refugee camp and Kafr Aqab, morphed from Jerusalem neighborhoods into regions of anarchy lacking regular municipal services. Under agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian side, including its security services, is not allowed to operate in these areas, but the Israeli authorities also stay away due to security fears. Thus residents are ignored by Israel and the PA, and succumb to the whims and intimidation of local crime gangs. No police force operates in these areas, nor is there any monitoring of construction. Garbage is not collected and roads are not repaired. For many weeks, a maternity hospital in Kafr Aqab has operated without telephone service, and these neighborhoods suffer dangerously from uncertain water supplies.
Rights group: The Israeli army has no civil authority over J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 July — The association for civil rights in Israel said the civil administration of the Israeli army has no right to impose its civil authority over the neighborhoods of Jerusalem behind the segregation wall. This came following Israeli news reports saying that the Israeli municipal council in occupied Jerusalem made a proposal to transfer its civil service jurisdiction in the Jerusalemite neighborhoods behind the wall to the Israeli military administration. The association stressed that these neighborhoods are under occupation in accordance with the international law and the Israeli municipal council is the civil body representing this occupation in Jerusalem, so it has to provide the residents of these areas with all basic services and not to evade its responsibilities.
Israel expands apartheid wall
SALFIT, July 25 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities Wednesday began building a new section of its illegal Apartheid Wall in an area west of Mas’ha, a town west of Salfit governorate, according to a local resident. Hani Amir, one of the town’s farmers said that Israeli authorities began building a new section of the wall in the vicinity of an artesian water well,on which farmers in the area depend to irrigate their crops. They also destroyed large areas of agricultural land and uprooted a number of fruitful trees in the process, he said. He added forces closed the entrance of the area, preventing farmers from entering it to continue with their daily farming and from using the water well.
Urgent appeal from Al-Aqaba Village
[photos] ISM 25 July — The people of Al-Aqaba village call upon you to intervene to open Al-Salam Street, which was destroyed and then closed by the Israeli military on 18 April 2012. Israel knows that the people of this small village call for peace despite the injuries and the harassment inflicted upon them and despite the fact that they are deprived of vital services, particularly drinking water; they are denied the right to build; are isolated and blockaded; and they are frequently served with demolition orders for their homes, their roads, their agricultural land, and the entrances to their village.
Israeli occupational force hands over Palestinian land to Roi’i settlement
JVS 24 July — Following the recent upsurge in settlement expansion across the Jordan Valley, the Israeli Occupational Forces have handed over land to the settlement of Roi’i near the Bedouin communities of Al Hadidiya and Mak-hul. The land, which belongs to Palestinians from the town of Tubas, was confiscated in 1997 and declared a closed military zone. Recently it has been the site of intense Israeli military exercises as the occupation flexes it’s muscles to try and intimidate Palestinians. In the 15-years since the military took control of the land, Palestinians have been prevented from planting crops or working the land in any way.
Restriction of movement
Despite Supreme Court recommendation: State upholds refusal to allow gender studies students to travel from Gaza to the West Bank
Gisha 25 July — …The state’s response was given in a petition filed by the human rights organizations Gisha and Al Mezan on behalf of five students from Gaza who are enrolled in gender studies, democracy and law programs at Birzeit University in the West Bank. In a hearing held in May, the state admitted that there were no individual security allegations against the five students, and that the refusal was part of a blanket ban on travel for all students from Gaza who wish to study in the West Bank. At that hearing, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the state to reconsider its refusal. Today, the state announced that General Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, decided not to allow the students to travel, citing “substantial political and security reasons”. Israel controls all access routes to the West Bank, which is why students from Gaza require Israel’s approval in order to reach universities in the West Bank.
Palestinian wedding: 3 countries, 2 ceremonies, 1 couple
Ma‘an 20 July by Daoud Kuttab — This week, family and friends crossed international borders, military checkpoints and overcame the usual political bureaucracies to attend my daughter’s two weddings. Why two weddings? Let me explain. Like me, my daughter Tamara is a Jerusalemite. The bridegroom, Alaa, lives in the Bethlehem area town of Beit Jala. It takes minutes to move between these adjacent towns, but they are kilometers away because of the 45-year-old political and military situation caused by Israel’s occupation of Arab lands. The situation is further complicated by the unilateral Israeli decision to annex Jerusalem …
As with any wedding, guests come from near and far. Visitors from the US made it after much grueling and unnecessary interrogation at borders. At Ben Gurion Airport, my sister and her Mennonite husband had to explain why one of her sons had the Arabic name of Jamil. My brother was detained for four hours, and called a liar because he accurately told Israelis that he was born in New Jersey.
While some family members were delayed and harassed, they did finally make it. Another group of family and friends living in Jordan escaped questioning at the border. Along with a church group of 28 Jordanians, they applied for a group visa to the holy land. The tour agency regularly conducts such tours and they insist that groups apply one month earlier. They did. However one day before the wedding (two days after their scheduled tour) the Israeli interior ministry answered by allowing only 18 out of the group of 28 to visit. Among those refused were the pastor of the Amman Christian Missionary Alliance Church and his wife (who used to come many times) a 70-year-old Jordanian, a retired woman and two of our nieces.
Violence / Raids / Arrests / Provocations
Relatives: Israeli forces detain 2 teens in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 July — Israeli forces detained two teenagers in Hebron at dawn on Tuesday, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said. Over 50 soldiers entered the southern West Bank city and detained Basel Matrabeh, 15, from his home. Meanwhile, Saker Suati, 13, was detained from his home in Beit Awa, south of Hebron, PPS said in a statement.
Matrabeh’s father said he was astonished that 50 soldiers were dispatched to arrest a teenager. Basel Matrabeh was accused of throwing stones at neighboring settlement Kiryat Arba, a charge his father said was fabricated by settlers who received substantial protection from the Israeli army.
Meanwhile Suati’s father said more than 10 military jeeps surrounded his home, and that soldiers broke down the door, opened fire and severely beat his son who tried to defend the family. Soldiers smashed furniture in the home, he added.
Israeli military raids Hebron area; settlers attack Palestinians
IMEMC 25 July — …In Beit Ummar, the Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against Settlements and the Apartheid Wall, Mohammad Awad reported that the Israeli military raided the town and arrested a teenager. Israel has detained 77 Palestinian civilians in military prisons from Beit Ummar to date, and more than 45 of them are children under 18 years old according to Awad. This is a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention which forbids placing civilians of any age in military prison as well as the detention of children along with adults.
dawn Tuesday: IOF soldiers nab four Palestinians including two children
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 24 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up four Palestinians in Al-Khalil province after storming their homes at dawn Tuesday, local sources said…
The sources said that the soldiers also nabbed a teenager from his family home in the Old City of Al-Khalil and a young man from his house in Tabaqa village, south of Dura town. IOF troops had intensified patrols in Al-Khalil city, Dura, and all entrances to Al-Khalil and roads leading from it to nearby villages.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers manning a military roadblock south of Jenin detained a Palestinian youth for a few hours and insulted him afternoon Monday. Local sources said that the 23-year-old youth was returning from his work when the soldiers detained him near Ya‘bad village.
Tuesday night: Violent confrontations south of Al-Khalil after IOF raid
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 25 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided Tabaqa village, south of Dura town in Al-Khalil province, on Tuesday night firing metal bullets and teargas at residential quarters, local sources said. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that violent confrontations between inhabitants and the invading IOF troops ensued, adding that young men threw stones at the soldiers.
Wednesday morning: Palestinian youth wounded in Dura confrontations with IOF soldiers
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) wounded a Palestinian young man in Dura town, south of Al-Khalil, on Wednesday morning during confrontations with locals. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that IOF soldiers broke into the town in large numbers and installed a number of road barriers sparking confrontations with young men in the town. They said that the soldiers fired bullets and teargas at the young men wounding Abdullah Al-Rajoub with a bullet in his shoulder. They said that many other citizens were treated on the field for breathing difficulty.
IOF arrests Palestinian released by PA, sets up checkpoints in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 25 July –The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested early on Wednesday Motasem Taysir Natsheh, 25, from Al-Khalil [Hebron] after his release from PA prisons. Sources told the PIC that Natsheh was arrested two days after his release from PA prisons where he spent 30 months in Preventive Security and General Intelligence prisons in Al-Khalil and Jericho. Natsheh had gone on hunger strike with a number of political prisoners in PA prisons, noting that he is an ex-detainee in Israeli occupation prisons.
Meanwhile, IOF imposed strict military measures at the entrances to the city of Al-Khalil on Tuesday night and set up dozens of checkpoints at its entrances.
Jewish girls desecrate Koran in Hebron
Ynet 24 July — Two teenage girls caught on security cameras tearing Koran books inside the Cave of Patriarchs have yet to be questioned by police who have failed to track them down, four months after the incident. The incident occurred four months ago when the Cave of Patriarchs was open to Jewish worshippers. The girls entered the cenotaph of Isaac, which is used for Muslim prayers, took two Koran books from a nearby stand and proceeded to tear the pages. Later on, they hurled the books, which are sacred to Islam, at the wall. Midway through the desecration, they were noticed by an Israel Border Guard officer who did not intervene. Another officer who was at the scene approached the girls and stalled them. And yet, since the event the girls have not been summoned by the police for further investigation..
Sleepless nights in Burin
ISM 25 July by ‘Alma Reventós’ — “I have not slept all night.” The words of a young man from the Bilal Al-Najjar youth cultural center in Burin, after a night of raids by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the town. On Monday 23 July at 9:30 p.m., some 20 IOF military jeeps entered Burin, a village of 3,000 inhabitants located southwest of the city of Nablus. The Israeli military closed all entrances to the town, isolating it during the invasion. Burin’s residents are accustomed to such raids on a weekly basis, but usually they occur much later at night. This time, as the military entered Burin, many residents of the town were still outdoors and encountered the IOF jeeps on their streets. During the invasion, soldiers repeatedly fired tear gas in the center of Burin, even inside of residents’ homes. A woman of 65 had to be evacuated by ambulance to hospital in Nablus after suffering suffocation from the gas.
Accompanying the military were 5 Israeli settlers from a nearby illegal settlement. According to Palestinian witnesses, the settlers at first were hesitant to leave the military jeep that they arrived in, but the back-up of the Israeli military encouraged them. The settlers took photos of the new Bilal Al-Najjar cultural centre, still under construction, and the old original center. Israeli occupation forces left the village at 11:30 p.m., after two hours in the village. The residents of Burin suffer such raids on a weekly basis, and the presence of Israeli military jeeps in their village is constant….
Witnesses: Israeli forces storm Nablus village overnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 July — Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank village Burin overnight Monday and fired gunshots and tear gas, locals said. Around 15 army jeeps entered the village, south of Nablus, and ransacked several homes, witnesses told Ma’an. An elderly woman, Um Ibrahim al-Dibs, was hospitalized after inhaling large amounts of tear gas. Locals said Israeli forces raided Burin under the pretext that young Palestinians had hurled Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on a bypass road near the village earlier Monday.
Settlers put up military tower on agricultural land
BETHELEHEM, July 24 (WAFA) – A group of Jewish settlers Tuesday put up a military tower on agricultural land in the town of al-Khader, a town south of Bethlehem, according to a local activist. Ahmad Salah, the coordinator of the popular committee against settlements in al-Khader, told WAFA that settlers protected by Israeli soldiers put up a 10-meter military tower in an agricultural area to the west of the town. A moving home was also placed there by Israeli soldiers a week ago. Salah said this tower will be used as a military outpost to watch and control farmers’ movements, which farmers consider a nightmare as the grape harvest season is approaching. He stressed that this Israeli measure aims to seize the land for the benefit of establishing a settlement outpost.
Settlers cut down 100 olive trees near Hebron
HEBRON, July 24 (WAFA) – Jewish settlers from Maon and Susiya illegal settlements Tuesday cut down olive trees in the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, said activists. The Popular Committee coordinator in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour, told WAFA that settlers cut down around 100 olive trees in Wad Ma‘in area that belongs to Palestinian
Medics: 3 farmers injured in settler attack near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 July — Three farmers were injured Wednesday morning in an attack by settlers near Ramallah, medics said. Farmers from Sinjil, north of Ramallah, were heading to their land when a group of settlers waiting at the town’s entrance attacked them, medical officials told Ma‘an. They said Israeli soldiers arrived in the area but did not stop the attack. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that soldiers fired in the air to disperse clashes between settlers and Palestinians in Sinjil.
WATCH: IDF uses live fire to disperse clash between settlers and Palestinians
25 July — Confrontation takes place after settlers from the Givat Harel outpost begin praying at the entrance to the town of Sinjil, northeast of Ramallah.
IOF soldiers arrest 7 Palestinians, storm Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinian citizens in various West Bank areas at dawn Wednesday, local sources said. They said that five citizens were nabbed in Ramallah while two others were detained in Al-Khalil.
They pointed out that the soldiers arrested two citizens in Tal Al-Rumaila suburb in Al-Khalil shortly after dozens of Jewish settlers stormed the suburb and threw stones at its inhabitants.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers broke into Silwan suburb in occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday evening and closed a road in Wadi Halawa in the town.Residents said that the soldiers closed the street to protect Jewish settlers who had seized citizens’ lands in the town.
Israeli army raids houses in central Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 July — Israeli forces raided two houses in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, a local activist group said Wednesday. The group, Youth Against Settlements, said around 70 Israeli soldiers carrying weapons raided and broke into the home of Khalid Abu Ainsheh, which was empty. They also fired stun grenades inside and destroyed the door of a home belonging to Nour Abu Aisheh while his wife and children were inside, according to the group. During the raid, the group said, soldiers attacked a photographer with the B’Tselem organization, Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, and confiscated his camera, the Youth Against Settlements statement said.
Activist Issa Amr says the settlers are attempting to build a new settlement in the Al-Ain area near the Islamic cemetery. He says the coalition is trying to prevent them from attaching an electric line which would serve as a first step toward building in the area. Youths have so far prevented settlers from the illegal Ramat Yishai settlement to attach the line.
Israel returns body of Palestinian killed at border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 July — Israel has returned a Palestinian’s body two weeks after he was shot trying to enter Israel by traveling through Egypt, medical officials said Wednesday. Jihad Abu Shaluf, 22, was shot in the thigh and left bleeding after soldiers opened fire on a group of four workers trying to sneak into Israel, according to medics. He later died. In addition to Abu Shalif, one of the four was shot and died immediately while two others were arrested. Israeli army representatives at the time said the men were found to be unarmed.
Israeli court turns down appeal for release of Palestinian journalist
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 24 July — The Israeli higher court in Tel Aviv has turned down an appeal by lawyer of journalist Amer Abu Arafa from Al-Khalil for his release. The lawyer, Mahmoud Jabarin, said that the court rejected the appeal on Monday without giving any reason except presence of secret files against Abu Arafa. Abu Arafa, a correspondent for Shihab press agency, was arrested a year ago in an Israeli arrest campaign in Al-Khalil. He was then held in administrative detention without trial or charge.
Two isolated prisoners ask for Egyptian intervention
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 July — Two Palestinian prisoners held in solitary confinement in Israeli jails have appealed to the Egyptian president to intervene and demand an end to their solitary confinement.
Dhirar Abu Sisi, held in Askalan prison, and Awad Al-Saeedi, held in Rimon jail, said that the Israeli government had violated the Egyptian-brokered agreement with Palestinian prisoners in mid-May that stipulated among other articles ending the policy of solitary confinement.
Israeli soldiers attack administrative detainees in Ofer
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 July — Israeli soldiers of the Nahshon unit attacked on Tuesday a group of Palestinian administrative prisoners for refusing to leave the prison towards the court dressed in prison uniform. The lawyer Jawad Boulos said he saw soldiers assaulting a number of his clients after they refused to go out dressed in prison uniform, which was a decision adopted by the captive movement in Ofer prison several days ago. He pointed out that the prisoners had agreed to start refusing the uniform on August 20. However, as a result of the prison administration’s disavowal of its promises regarding the administrative prisoners’ issue, they have begun applying their decision four days ago.
Sharawna refuses Israeli deportation offer
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 July — Palestinian prisoner Ayman Ismail Sharawna, from Dura southern Al-Khalil city, has gone on an open hunger strike for twenty days in a row protesting against his re-arrest without any legal justification. Sharawna was an ex-detainee sentenced to 38 years in occupation prisons. He was liberated under Wafa Al-Ahrar exchange deal, and then re-arrested late January 2012. Since the first day of his arrest, the occupation authorities offered him exile to the Gaza Strip or Jordan or any other country, but he refused, the prisoner said to his lawyer during his visit in Rimon prison.
Al-Rekhawi: Strike aimed to highlight sick detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 July — Palestinian prisoner Akram al-Rekhawi, who ended a 102 day hunger strike on Sunday, says he aimed to drew attention to the plight of seriously ill detainees … He said he did not fear death during his hunger strike but wanted to end the suffering of Palestinian prisoners whose medical needs were neglected without regard for international humanitarian law … Al-Rekhawi suffers from diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis and has been held in Ramle prison clinic since his arrest in 2004.
Lawyer: Israel to allow Palestinian doctor to visit detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 July — Israel’s prison service agreed Monday to allow a Palestinian doctor to visit two detainees in an Israeli jail, a lawyer for the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainee Affairs said Tuesday. Fadi Ubeidat said PA Minister of Health Hani Abdeen, who is a cardiologist, will visit Riyad al-Umour and Alaa Hassoura in Israel’s Ramle prison. Al-Umour and Hassoura suffer from heart problems.
Meanwhile, the health of a 32-year-old prisoner in Israel’s Ashkelon prison has seriously deteriorated, lawyer Karim Ajwah said. Muhammad Khamis Barash, from al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, is serving a life sentence. He lost his eyesight and his left foot in Israeli shelling before he was detained.
IOF soldiers raid southern Gaza, resistance fires at them
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 25 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided southern Gaza Strip areas on Wednesday and damaged cultivated land, an inhabitant said. He told Quds Press that IOF soldiers mounting three tanks and four armored vehicles advanced into eastern Khan Younis, south of the Strip, and commenced in a large-scale bulldozing of cultivated land lots. The source said that Palestinian resistance fighters fired a number of mortar shells on the invading force.
Under Israeli blockade of Gaza, books are a cherished commodity
CSM 24 July by Ruqaya Izzidien — The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has been blamed for a multitude of problems facing the population there: malnutrition, unemployment, limited access to electricity and potable water. Gazan students and educators say that under the Israeli-imposed siege, education is suffering too. The blockade makes it so difficult to bring in books that they are forced to resort to bootlegging and smuggling, they say. The limited supply of original books has driven up costs, making them difficult for most Gazans to afford … Gazan education officials assert that the tunnels are key to the education of Gaza’s 500,000 students. Awni Maqayyid, head of the Hamas-run Islamic University’s Central Library, says that “the education system would collapse” without the tunnel industry. Despite smugglers’ attempts to stock Gaza’s libraries and bookstores — around 5 million textbooks are required per year — Palestinians are still frustrated by the lack of books in Gaza. They hold Israel responsible, arguing that the restrictions on book imports amount to a censoring of their education.
Gaza, get an airport or get a life / Fida Abu Assi
Scoop 24 July — And thereby hangs a tale. And therein lies my pain. What worsens the situation and doubles the pain is that all moves around, oblivious to every fact on the ground. I seem destined to suffer each time I have to cross the Rafah border into Egypt. My story is not worth mentioning as compared to other ghastly stories whose ending is shaped by the Palestinian-Egyptian mood by which the conflict is once eased and million times further complicated. Unluckily, the latter has always been my case whenever I need to travel. And this makes the odyssey of crossing the Rafah-border worth telling. “Why don’t Palestinians have an airport?” it’s the joke that kills me the most. The difficulty of going out and in Gaza makes each story has its own special taste of pain. The last I traveled, I wished Gaza were located next to Cairo’s International Airport, so we wouldn’t have to withstand the humiliation of being allowed to cross the desert on a six-hour car ride from Gaza to Cairo. “Why couldn’t we transfer Gaza there, so we wouldn’t bother the Egyptians ever again?” this is the joke I want to hear and weep at.
Video: What fuel crisis? Gaza’s electric car
Algemeiner 24 July — Gaza may still be reeling from a several-month long fuel crisis, but that doesn’t concern Munzer Al-Kasas, a taxi driver and resident of the Gaza Strip who has managed to create an electric car from spare parts, including electric cables, metals, and a small battery. Propped on wheels slightly thicker than bike tires, the vehicle is likened to a modern rickshaw by Israel’s Mako News, and can run up to 20 kph (about 12 mph) with a load of more than 300 lbs. Al-Kasas says he made the vehicle in his front yard, from parts he is proud to report were locally found, not smuggled through the Gaza border. After obtaining parts, the construction of the car took only three days, which al-Kasas says is proof that it is easy to make cars in Gaza. Well, maybe not cars specifically — the vehicle is more akin to a golf cart or GEM vehicle in capacity and build.
Gaza Paralympian dreams of glory while Palestinians athletes seek first medal in London
GAZA CITY (IBTimes) 25 July by Gabriele Barbati — Everybody here calls him “The Champion.” But Mahmoud Abu Ghanima, a soft-spoken 21-year-old from Gaza, looks away when he’s complimented. Despite his nickname, the Palestinian youth, who is a disabled athlete, will not be competing in London at the end of August, when the Paralympic Games open, following the Olympics set to begin Friday. “I needed nine meters to qualify in the shot put, but did five. I will keep working hard,” he said. That can-do attitude in the face of long odds exemplifies the approach of his fellow Palestinian athletes, whether disabled or not, to the Olympics, where they have competed since 1996. This year, five of them are going. In 2000 and 2004, two Paralympians from the Palestinian territories, which compete as Palestine, even managed to bring medals home, including in the shot put, the specialty where Ghanima hopes to compete one day. That’s a remarkable result for an unofficial “country” split into two parts and without proper facilities for training.
Gaza court sentences drug dealer to 10 years
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 July — A court in Gaza on Tuesday sentenced a man convicted of dealing marijuana to 10 years. Judge Ziauddin Madhoun, who presided over the case, said the punishment for drug dealing must be severe to act as a deterrent to others, a court statement said. In Gaza, the death penalty can be issued for a second conviction for drug dealing. “Possession of drugs and trafficking it is considered one of the serious crimes as it constitutes danger to youth, limits their effectiveness, and breaks their bonds with family and society which leads afterward to social destruction,” the judge said.
Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Ashkelon
Ynet 24 July — The second rocket hit open territory in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
Israel: Explosive device targets soldiers near Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 July — An explosive device planted near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip detonated Wednesday morning, the Israeli military said. An army spokeswoman told Ma‘an there were no reports of injury.
Refugees and other Palestinians in Syria
Over 100 Gaza families flee Syria
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 July — More than 100 Palestinian families have fled Syria due to the deterioration in safety and security resulting from the uprising against President Bashar Assad, an official said Tuesday. Hamza Abu Shanab of the Gaza-based Palestinian Coalition for the Syrian Revolution told Ma‘an that 105 families originally from the Gaza Strip have returned safely through Egypt’s Rafah crossing in recent days. The families had business ties in Syria or were students studying at Syrian universities, Abu Shanab said.
He says about 300 Palestinians were killed and 900 injured since the beginning of the turmoil in Syria. Some 10,000 Palestinians have been detained by Assad’s forces, but not all of them remain in detention.
Meanwhile Palestinian resistance leaders and fighters living in Syria have arrived in Gaza. One of them, he said, is Nidal Abu Kamil who was deported 20 years earlier. Islamic Jihad’s Ibrahim Shehada has also returned.
Seeking refuge across the border: Syria’s Palestinian population
MEMO 24 July by Amelia Smith — Cyber City in the border town of Al-Ramtha, Jordan was once an industrial complex, but since May has become a transit camp for refugees fleeing the terror in Syria. According to footage obtained by Al Jazeera, families of up to eight people share a single room there and are given one meal a day. There is no glass in the windows; curtains are used for doors and the communal bathrooms serve to wash clothes and dishes. Police guard the immediate area to prevent movement beyond a close inner radius.
As Syria spirals further and further into turmoil, thousands of refugees are escaping across the border to Jordan in hope of a more peaceful life. However, the reality on the Jordanian side is bleak, at least for Palestinians. Of those who have not been returned forcibly to Syria, many face deportation. Whilst Syrian asylum seekers can move freely within Jordan, for Palestinians the chance to move beyond Cyber City on the road to a better life in Jordan, for the moment at least, is slim. Until recently all refugees, whether Syrian or Palestinian, were detained temporarily until their identity was established, they passed a security screening and found a Jordanian guarantor who would take care of them and mediate with the establishment if anything happened. But in the middle of April 2012 this system stopped being applied to Palestinians and now they are stranded at the border.
According to Dr. Al-Manaseer, General Secretary of the Jordanian Interior Ministry, Palestinians are exempt from the violence in Syria and so do not need to seek refuge. This kind of political rhetoric represents a worrying gap between truth and reality.
Analysis: The myth of Palestinian neutrality in Syria / Budour Hassan
Ma‘an 22 July — On July 14, thousands of Palestinian refugees marched in a funeral procession for 11 unarmed protesters shot dead by Syrian security forces in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp. Raucous and seething with rage, mourners chanted for Syria and Palestine, called for the downfall of Bashar Assad’s regime, and sang for freedom. Whether this burgeoning civil disobedience movement will grow into an open, durable rebellion remains to be seen, but the significance and the potential influence of the latest wave of protests that has swept Syria’s largest Palestinian camp cannot be overlooked. As the Syrian uprising gathered momentum and the Syrian regime escalated its repression against what started out as a peaceful revolt, concerns have emerged about the impact of the uprising on Palestinian refugees in Syria, who make up just over 2 percent of Syria’s total population.
The Palestinian political elite in Syria have been divided.
Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
AOHR calls for int’l action against HP for human rights violations
LONDON (PIC) 25 July — The London-based Arab organization for human rights called on the international community to take action against the American company Hewlett-Packard (HP) for its complicity in serious Israeli violations against human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Arab organization for human rights (AOHR) accused HP of providing under contract different Israeli ministries with the latest software and hardware technology for military and security purposes in settlements and at checkpoints.
National action committee calls for canceling concert to be held in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 July — The national action committee in occupied Jerusalem appealed to UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry to cancel the West-Eastern Divan orchestra slated to be held at the end of the current month in the holy city. “We, in the national action committee in Jerusalem, were surprised to hear about your intention to host a musical evening by the West-Eastern Divan orchestra led by conductor Daniel Barenboim on July 31, 2012 in Augusta Victoria Church, the Mount of Zeitoun (olives),” the committee said in a letter sent on Tuesday to Serry. “As we are fully aware of the sensitive situation in the occupied city of Jerusalem, we hope you can work on terminating this concert,” it added.
Why I work with Christians to divest from Israel / Rabbi Alissa Wise
HuffPost 23 July — At first glance, my work as a rabbi may look untraditional. Instead of serving a congregation, I do my rabbinic work by organizing for justice and equality for all the people of Israel and Palestine. This work includes supporting the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s efforts in Pittsburgh this past week to pass an overture calling for selective divestment from companies that profit from human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories … My work alongside Christians is one way I live my commitment to interrupting today’s violence and hatred. I no longer believe Jews are inevitably alone in the world, but in fact quite the opposite.
Palestine’s investments require divestment / Sam Bahour
Huff Post 25 July — Nearly two decades ago, I had a dream. I thought the historic tragedy that befell the Palestinian people was about to end. As such, I refused to be an observer to the historic events that were unfolding; instead, I chose to employ my U.S. education and work experience to contribute to building a new reality on the ground — to build an economy that could serve the new and emerging state of Palestine. My dream has become a nightmare, one that is being sustained, and financially underwritten, by many people around the world who should know better…
As a Palestinian-American businessman, I can confidently proclaim that any serious investment in Palestine will need a parallel effort to hold Israel accountable if “positive investment” is to have any chance of success. I do not belittle “positive investment.” On the contrary, my staff and I work unstintingly to create and support businesses in Palestine. However, I’ve been here long enough to understand that Israel will not let us build a real economy, so every job we create is really a means to nonviolently resist this occupation and give hope to a Palestinian family in order for that family to remain in Palestine and not emigrate. A Palestinian with no other options will try to build something here, but an outside businessperson with other options is going to look at the risks and give very serious consideration to investing elsewhere. Investment is threatened as the Israeli military, directed by the Israeli government, micro-manages every aspect of the Palestinian economy. That micro-management applies to the telecommunications sector as much as it applies to newly-created private equity funds. The extremely polished bluff of establishing “economic peace” is simply unrealistic for people living under military occupation. It’s also impossible.
Political / Economic / Diplomatic News
World Bank says Palestinian economy unsustainable
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian economy’s recent growth is unsustainable because of its heavy reliance on foreign aid, a World Bank report said Wednesday. For the past two decades, donor countries have propped the Palestinian economy by giving billions of dollars. The report said such aid has led to 7.7 percent gross domestic product growth between 2007 and 2011. The growth has been primarily in government services, real estate and other non-tradable sectors. In contrast, the report said manufacturing and agriculture have dropped significantly. The report said sustainable growth will come only through an emphasis on trade, integration and creating a dynamic private sector.
the PA take on the report:
World Bank: Palestinian business can be improved despite Israeli restrictions
RAMALLAH, July 25 (WAFA) – A report by the World Bank Wednesday argued that much can be done now to improve the business environment in the Palestinian Territory in order to support a future Palestinian state despite the Israeli restrictions on access to markets and natural resources. “While Israeli restrictions remain the biggest impediment to investing, and most growth comes from donor-funded government spending, there are still positive actions that the PA can take now that will both lay the ground work for a sustainable economy and contribute to growth today and in the future,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director.
PA suspends payments to released prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 July — The Palestinian Authority has suspended payments to former prisoners due to the financial crisis, the minister for detainee affairs said Tuesday.
Haniyeh heads to Egypt to meet Mursi
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 July — The prime minister in the Gaza Strip is to depart Wednesday for Cairo where he will meet Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi, a Palestinian official said. Maher Abu Sbaiha, the general director of the crossings authority in Gaza, told Ma‘an that Ismail Haniyeh was crossing with 17 officials. Haniyeh’s meeting follows two sets of talks between Mursi and President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal earlier this month.
Ashrawi calls on EU to review economic relations with Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 July — Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday called on the European Union to review its relations with Israel in light of its persistent violations of international law. The EU-Israeli Association’s annual meeting, held in Brussels on Tuesday, is an opportunity for the EU to ensure any economic relations with Israel are contingent on its compliance with international obligations, Ashrawi said in a statement … She urged the EU to revoke any preferential treatment Israel receives in view of its “willful and persistent violations of its agreements and obligations.” Article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean agreement conditions Israel’s membership on respect for human rights and democratic principles, she noted, while Article 83 precludes applicability to all the occupied territories and so excludes settlement produce.
PA says moving forward with October election date
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 July — The Palestinian Authority cabinet said Tuesday it was moving forward with plans to hold local elections on Oct. 20 despite the Hamas’ government’s refusal to participate. The cabinet “renewed its call to the Hamas Movement to reconsider its decision and allow the Elections Committee to commence its work in order to set another date,” a statement issued after the meeting said.
The cabinet also thanked Iraq for providing $25 million to the Palestinian Authority’s treasury and called upon other Arab states to speed up the implementation of financial commitments.
Dweik: Reconciliation must come before elections
PIC 25 July by Khalid Amayreh — The elected speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Prof. Aziz Dweik has criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) for rushing to hold elections without guaranteeing minimal standards of freedom of speech, equal opportunity, transparency and fairness. Speaking during a televised interview Tuesday, Dweik said the wise thing to do was to reconcile Palestinian differences before holding elections. “Elections can only be the outcome of reconciliation, elections can’t be a substitution for reconciliation.” Dweik, just released from a six-month captivity from Israeli jails, said elections themselves were not a goal per se.
Ramallah violence ‘unjustified’, inquiry concludes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 July — A committee to probe violence against protesters in Ramallah last month has concluded that attacks on civilians, including journalists, were unjustified, an official said Tuesday. Wasel Abu Yousif told Ma‘an that President Mahmoud Abbas has received the report from the committee, which was formed by Munib al-Musri and included Abu Yousif, a PLO leader, and Ahmad Harb of the Independent Commission for Human Rights. The findings are based on interviews with victims of assault as police cracked down on protesters who opposed a visit by Israel’s vice premier to Ramallah for talks with the president.
Israel bans ‘Islamic representatives’ bloc
MEMO 25 July — The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (ISFHR) has revealed that the Israeli military authorities have decreed that the Islamic Representatives bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council is a “banned organisation”. The bloc used to be called “Change and Reform” before that too was “banned” in 2006 by the Israelis. According to a press release from the ISFHR, the order was given by the “Commander of the Israeli occupation forces, Major General Avi Mizrahi” who used a 1945 British Mandate law to ban the elected representatives. Ahmed Al-Betawi, an ISFHR researcher, said: “This order entitles the Israeli occupation forces to break into the offices of Islamic PLC members in the West Bank, close them, confiscate the contents and detain employees, including the representatives themselves.” Basically, he added, the order gives Israel the power to convict the representatives for being members of or cooperating with a banned organisation, Hamas.
CRB: IOA decision outlawing our representatives in WB insignificant
GAZA (PIC) 25 July — The Change and Reform Bloc (CRB) has considered the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision outlawing the bloc’s representatives in the West Bank “a political offence reflecting the IOA ugly image.” The Hamas-affiliated CRB described the decision in a statement on Tuesday as extremely dangerous, pointing out that “it confirms the Zionist racist view which does not recognize the existence of the Palestinian people, and believes that the only solutions in dealing with the Palestinian people, on its territory, are oppression, exclusion and deportation”.
Parliament speaker says to meet with Abbas soon
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 July — Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik says he will meet with the president soon to discuss ways to push forward the paralyzed reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah … Dweik neither confirmed nor affirmed if Hamas would run in municipal elections in the West Bank. “It is too early to talk about these issues, but they will be discussed during our meeting with Abbas.”…
Commenting on Israel’s decision to consider Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank members of a banned organization, Dweik said, “The parliamentarians who represent the Palestinian people are not an organization. We are affiliated neither to Hamas nor to Fatah, and there is nothing called an organization of lawmakers.” He added, “When they were sworn in, our lawmakers pledged to be loyal to the Palestinian people and their cause.” Further, he added, Israel has detained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since the beginning of occupation, “so are those supposed to be considered a terrorist organization? Or is the truth that Israel rejects both the Palestinian people and their representatives?”
Erekat: UN bid does not oppose peace process, 2-state solution
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 25 July — Elevating the status of Palestine in the UN to non-member state observer of the UN General Assembly does not oppose the peace process or the one-state solution, but rather provides real protection to the two-state solution, says PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Resheq: Report alleging Hamas offered to give info on Syrian army ‘ridiculous’
CAIRO (PIC) 25 July — Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq described as ‘ridiculous’ an Egyptian press report alleging that Hamas had offered to supply the US with information on the Syrian army in return for releasing its prisoners from Israeli jails. The report was published by Egyptian weekly Ruz Al-Yousef alleging that the offer was tabled by political bureau chairman of Hamas Khaled Mishaal in a recent meeting with Dr. Mohammed Badie, the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Netanyahu urges better Turkey ties, cites regional turmoil
Reuters 24 July — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Jewish state and its former ally Turkey must repair their relationship because of the instability in their region. Turkey cut its once extensive ties with Israel after Israeli marines killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists in May 2010 on a vessel trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave run by Hamas Islamists.
Turkish PM, Hamas leader meet
ANKARA (AP) 25 July — State-run television says Turkey’s prime minister has met exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to break the daily fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. TRT television says Wednesday that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted Mashaal at his residence in Ankara on Tuesday evening. Ties between Turkey, NATO’s biggest Muslim member, and the Islamic militant Hamas, which rules Gaza, have been developing since Turkey’s alliance with Israel collapsed over a deadly raid by Israeli troops on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010.
Israel was responsible for assassination of Hezbollah commander
MEMO 20 July — The former head of Israeli National Security, Uzi Arad, has confirmed for the first time his country’s responsibility for the assassination of the Lebanese Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh four years ago. He was speaking in the wake of the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The Israeli government blames Hezbollah and Iran for the attack. Arad remarked that “Israel is the attacking party as it targeted the terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, and Iran is the defending party.” This is the first time that an Israeli official has confirmed Israeli responsibility for the car bomb which killed the Hezbollah leader in Damascus in February 2008. Hezbollah has always accused the Israeli spy agency Mossad of the killing.
Israeli journalist convicted for revealing Palestinian assassinations
Al Akhbar 24 July — Uri Blau, a reporter with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, was convicted on Tuesday under a plea bargain of possessing classified military documents that revealed deliberate targeted assassinations of Palestinian figures, an AFP correspondent said. Blau was convicted at Tel Aviv District Court for possessing secret army papers that he received from a former soldier who was subsequently jailed on charges of spying. As part of the plea bargain, which was agreed with the State Prosecutor’s office on July 5, Blau agreed to admit to the charge of possessing secret information without intending to harm state security. Sentencing will not take place until September.
Israel to use advanced early warning system on Lebanese border
Ynet 25 July – Over the next few months the IDF will begin taking an Multi-Sensor System (MSS) on operational activities. The early warning system is one of the most advanced technologies available in the defense establishment and is based on integrating a variety of cameras and radars. The systems will be activated by specially trained intelligence gathering officers at IDF posts along the border with Lebanon.
Palestinian-American among theater shooting victims
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 July — A young Palestinian-American woman is among the dead after a gunman opened fire in a US theater last Friday, killing 12 people and injuring 70, her family confirmed on Tuesday. Jessica Ghawi, 24, was an aspiring journalist who had moved to Aurora, Colorado to pursue a broadcast career, according to her brother Jordan, 26, who lives in Texas. Jordan told Ma‘an that Ghawi was a Palestinian-American. “My father is a Christian Arab from Palestine,” he said Tuesday.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Holocaust survivors to protest against migrant deportation
Ynet 25 July — Holocaust survivors are joining the struggle against the deportation of migrants from Israel. Survivors, their families, artists and teenagers will hold a protest march in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest Israel’s policy on migrants.
S. Tel Aviv residents protest against African asylum seekers
972mag 25 July by Mya Guarnieri — Approximately 50 south Tel Aviv residents protested last night against the presence of African asylum seekers in their neighborhoods … Some of the demonstrators wore surgical masks. Protesters explained that they were meant to symbolize that Africans carry contagious diseases, a claim Yishai made in 2009 … The protest was smaller than previous demonstrations of its kind, giving the impression, perhaps, that things have quieted down.
Knesset approves first reading of bill penalizing employers of African migrants
Haaretz 25 July — Law would impose a sentence of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to NIS five million on Israelis employing illegal migrant.
Israel continues weekly flights of deportees to South Sudan
Haaretz 25 July — Israel continues to keep a low media profile regarding the weekly flights of deportees to South Sudan. The next flight will take place on Wednesday from Ben-Gurion International Airport, aboard an aircraft operated by Corendon, a Turkish charter airline. Approximately 150 unlawful migrants are expected to be on board. Last week’s flight of deportees to South Sudan was operated by Ethiopian Airlines. The Population and Immigration Authority has been holding a new tender offering each week for the special flight to South Sudan.