Video: East Jerusalem resident demolished a room in his house with his own hands
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 2 Apr — Jerusalem citizen Taysir Abu al Hawa demolished a room in his house in al Sawane, East Jerusalem after claims that it .was built without a permit. He says that he built it in 2005 and it helped to protect his family from leaking water. It cost him around 100,000 NIS plus the costs of the trying to get the permits. In 2006 the family were informed that they had to get a permit or face demolition. However, they have failed to recieve a permit and instead have continued to be fined over 30,000 NIS, about £5,000. Al Hawa said that his lawyer had managed to delay the demolition a few times but the family were faced with serious threats if they did not comply, such as a 2010 court ruling to arrest his wife. There will be a municipal hearing to make sure he has demolished the room.
82-year-old Hebron woman challenges Israeli settlers, troops alone
[with video] HEBRON (Ma’an) 27 Apr — In the heart of the old city of Hebron, an elderly woman insists on staying in her old house despite provocative practices by both settlers and Israeli troops. Um Salah, 82, told Ma‘an TV on Thursday she had been living in her house for 70 years, and that she would never leave it except for her grave. The house, in Khan Shahin neighborhood, next to Shuhada Street which Israeli forces closed to traffic in 2000, is almost like a prison. “A few days ago, I fell sick and my daughters begged me to go with them for a week only, but I refused and told them I would never leave my house. I want to die in my house,” said Um Salah.
“Since 12 years, this street in Khan Shahin has been isolated from the southern area including Abu Sneina neighborhood, Yatta road, and Bani Naim. The closure of this street has prevented contiguity with half of the Hebron area. There were about 500 shops in this farmers’ market, and they used to remain open until 10 in the evening. All the shops have been sealed off by a military order,” says Naji al-Batsh, one of the few residents who remained in the area. More than 1,000 families left the old city as a result of harassment and provocations by both Israeli settlers and soldiers, according to local statistics.
Settlers burn cars, home, trees in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Apr — A group of extremist settlers torched, late on Saturday at night April 27, nine cars that belong to the United Nations in its headquarters in Jabal Al-Mokabbir, south of occupied East Jerusalem. The settlers also burnt a Palestinian car, a home and trees in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the city, several injuries have been reported.
Resident Mahmoud Al-Maghrebi told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) that armed extremist settlers burnt his car in Sheikh Jarrah, and also burnt a home that belongs to one of his relatives leading to excessive damage, and three injuries. He added that a 65-year-old woman and two young men suffocated after inhaling smoke resulting from the fires, and were moved to a local hospital. Al-Maghrebi further stated that the settlers torched gardens that belong to the Al- Maghrebi, Ja’ouni and Al-Khatib families, and that the police did not open an investigation after claiming that they have to wait for the report of the Israeli Civil Defense teams “to determine the causes of the fires”, WAFA reported.
Maisa Abu Ghazala of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center quoted UN sources in Jerusalem stating nine of the UN cars have been burnt, and that the UN refrained from revealing any further information.
Jewish settlers poison water well in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Apr — Jewish settlers poured poisonous material in a Palestinian water well south of Al-Khalil [Hebron] on Friday night. Ratib Al-Jabour, the coordinator for the committee against settlement and the wall in southern Al-Khalil, said in a press release on Saturday that the water well is owned by Shehade Makhamre in Mighair Al-Abeed to the south of Al-Khalil city. He charged that the “herds of settlers” do such things to force citizens to desert their land and property.
Settlers burn Greek Orthodox Church land in Jerusalem
IMEMC 29 Apr — Sunday evening April 28, 2013, a group of extremist Israeli settlers burnt a land that belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church in Wadi Hilweh, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that dozens of extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers gathered in the area, and that the armed settlers went on to burn the church land.
Vatican under scrutiny as nuns, landowners lose Israel wall challenge
BEIT JALA, West Bank (Ma‘an) 28 Apr by Charlotte Alfred — After a seven-year legal battle, a group of Palestinian landowners and Catholic nuns this week lost an appeal against Israel building its separation barrier on their land. The ruling by an Israeli appeals committee places the lush Cremisan Valley, in a northern corner of Bethlehem, behind the Israeli wall. Running straight through Vatican-owned land, the route of this section of the wall also places the position of the Catholic hierarchy under uncomfortable scrutiny … Israeli officials insist the Vatican agreed to their initial route for the wall, which put both the monastery and convent of the Salesian order on the Israel-controlled side. The Vatican denies the church ever made a deal … When Israel started planning a barrier to surround the West Bank in the aftermath of the second intifada, Israeli military official Col. Danny Tirza was tasked with negotiating the route with church officials. Tirza insists he secured explicit Vatican agreement before drawing the route through the Cremisan Valley. He says that in 2003, he met Pietro Sambi, then the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and representative in Palestine, to discuss various church properties along the barrier route. Sambi personally asked them to put Vatican properties on the Israeli side, Tirza said. The Israeli official, who retired in 2007, said he also traveled to Vatican City to discuss the maps in detail with the deputy secretary of state at the Vatican.
Israeli coalition parties join forces to reduce land allocated to Bedouin
972mag 26 Apr bu Noam Sheizaf — Members of the four leading coalition parties have reached an agreement that would further cut the land designated for resettlement of the Bedouin population in the Negev (Naqeb), Israeli daily Maariv reports. Israeli governments have been working on a policy that would solve the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev for the past decade. Under the latest plan — commonly referred to as the Prawer plan — the government would forcibly expel between several thousand (according to the government) and up to 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin from their current villages, while several villages will be recognized and become eligible for government services and infrastructure. The Bedouin who are slated to be removed from their homes will receive monetary compensation and offered new houses in existing townships. Today, however, Maariv reports that prominent members of Knesset from all major coalition parties agreed to further limit the Prawer Plan.
Residents: Israel holding exercises in Jordan Valley
JENIN (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — The Israeli army prepared to conduct military exercises in the northern Jordan Valley on Sunday, preventing school children from attending classes, residents said. Soldiers prevented students from going to their schools, and demanded that other Palestinians evacuate their houses. Local residents quoted soldiers as saying the maneuvers will take place until Tuesday in the northern Jordan Valley, adding that it was designed to replicate a Lebanese town …
Muhanad al-Hrub, a student in the 10th grade, said he was on his way to class in Akaba village when soldiers prevented him from approaching the school. Al-Hrub said he missed an exam Sunday morning. “I woke up at Fajer (call to prayer) and I started studying for the exam before I headed to my school. On my way to school, an Israeli military patrol accompanied by a tank stopped us,” he said…
Aref Daraghmeh, the mayor of al-Malih and al-Madarib, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces were present in the area since early morning. They also prevented student from going to their and schools in the Waraba and Tayasir villages.
IOF prevents children from going to school
TOBAS (PIC) 28 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented schoolchildren in Wadi Bazik, Tobas province in the Jordan Valley, from heading to classes on Sunday. Local sources said that IOF soldiers were seen deployed in the area and blocked movement of citizens at the pretext of launching maneuvers. They said that the soldiers started military exercises since the early dawn hours using live ammunition threatening lives of citizens and their livestock.
Army demolishes three homes in Occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies — Monday morning, April 29, 2013, Israeli soldiers demolished three Palestinian homes in the At-Tour area, in occupied East Jerusalem, rendering at least 30 Palestinians homeless. Mohammad Abu Al-Hummus, coordinator of the At-Tour and Al-Esawiyya Follow-up Committee, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000, in Bethlehem, that two army bulldozers, accompanied by several military jeeps, invaded the area, and demolished three homes that belong to Gheith family. Abu Al-Hummus added that the army previously forced the residents out of their homes three times under the pretext that they were built without construction permits.
Israel delays eviction of illegal outpost
IMEMC & Agencies 29 Apr — Sunday April 28, 2013, the Israeli High Court accepted an appeal filed by the Israeli government regarding delaying the eviction of an illegal settlement outpost near the central West Bank city of Ramallah until July 2013. The court had initially decided that the Amona illegal outpost, installed by the settlers on privately owned Palestinian property, must be removed by this coming Tuesday April 30. The outpost was installed near the Ofra settlement, near Ramallah.
Israel reopens entrance to Jenin village, PA officials say
JENIN (Ma‘an) 18 Apr — Israel reopened the western entrance to a Jenin village on Sunday after closing it six months earlier, Palestinian Authority officials said. Liaison officials told Ma‘an that the western entrance to Ya‘bad village was closed last October after Israel accused Palestinians of throwing stones at settler cars. The closure made it difficult for farmers to access their lands and several meetings were held with Israeli officials to reopen the gate, officials said. The closure also severely disrupted access to nearby areas such as Tulkarem and the village of Barta.
Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
Settlers attack a Palestinian man in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Apr — Sunday April 28, 2013, a number of extremist Israeli settlers violently attacked a Palestinian man, 60, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Israeli Soldiers also detained three Palestinian children in the city.
The Quds Press News Agency reported that the settlers attacked Fayez At-Tamimi, 60, and violently kicked and punched him causing various injures. The attack took place in Tal Romedia area, in the city. The man was moved to a local hospital suffering various cuts and bruises. The settlers also raided a number of neighborhoods in the city and played loud music near several Palestinian homes.
In related news, Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinian children, identified as Mohammad, Ahmad, and Abdul-Mo’ty Abu Mayyala, and released them several hours later. Local sources reported that dozens of Israeli military jeeps invaded several streets in the city, and interrogated dozens of residents while inspecting their ID cards.
In Bethlehem, soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian youth identified as Eyad Sheib Abu Sh’era, 21, after the army violently broke into his home [PIC: in ‘Azza refugee camp] and searched it, local sources reported.
Furthermore, dozens of Palestinians have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army invaded the Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and clashed with local youths. The Palestinian Red Crescent in Bethlehem reported that field medics provided medical treatment to dozens of local youths who suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army at them.
Army kidnaps a disabled Palestinian at the al-Karama crossing
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Apr — Sunday evening April 28, 2013, Israeli Soldiers kidnapped a disabled Palestinian young man from Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, as he was crossing the Al-Karama terminal [Allenby Bridge] into the West Bank following pilgrimage in Mecca – Saudi Arabia. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) reported that resident Ala’ Hasan Wishahi, 22, was initially detained and interrogated at the border crossing before he was kidnapped ,and sent to an interrogation facility. His family voiced an appeal to human rights and legal groups to intervene for the release of their son as he suffers various health issues and complications.
On Sunday at night, undercover forces of the Israeli army infiltrated into the Jaba‘ town, south of Jenin, and kidnapped one resident at a local coffee shop. Local sources reported that the soldiers kidnapped Abdul-Karim Awad Alawna, 30, from his own coffee shop, and took him to an unknown destination. Alwana was kidnapped by undercover force of the Israeli military driving a local Palestinian vehicle they took over and used to infiltrate into the town.
WATCH: IDF soldier screams at Israeli activists: ‘You are worse than the Arabs’
972mag 27 Apr by Mairav Zonszein — Israeli Ta’ayush activists who were accompanying Palestinian shepherds in the southern West Bank village Umm al Amad on Saturday were confronted by a soldier who lost his cool, to say the least. According to Guy, the Israeli activist who filmed the video below, this is private Palestinian land (the Otniel settlement is nearby) that the IDF and settlers routinely try and keep the Palestinian residents out of. In the video below, the soldier can be seen first approaching the Palestinian shepherd, screaming in his face in Arabic: “You better watch it!” Then Guy tells the soldier not to scream at him and to leave him alone, to which the soldier turns to Guy, screaming: “Get out of here you Israel haters, I’ll kick the crap out of you. You are worse than the Arabs.” He then turned to one of the female Israeli activists and said: “Shut up, Israel hater who goes to bed with Arabs.” In a statement responding to the incident in Hebrew media, the IDF Spokesperson said the matter would be investigated as this is not the “kind of behavior that security forces should be engaging in.”
PA security raid house of captive Abu Hija, arrest his two sons
WEST BANK (PIC) 28 Apr — Palestinian Authority security apparatuses arrested on Saturday two sons of the Hamas leader Sheikh Jamal Abu al-Hija, detained in Israeli jails, after storming his house in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Sources from the camp said that the PA security arrested the brothers Asim and Imad Abu Hija sons Sheikh Jamal, but failed to arrest their brother Hamza. An atmosphere of tension and anger has prevailed in the camp during the raid, as the residents have gathered around the house of Abu Hija while angry youths threw stones at the security elements, forcing them to withdraw from the place, accompanied by the two detained brothers …
Meanwhile, the Preventive Security Service arrested in al-Khalil, in the occupied West Bank, the liberated prisoner Mohammed Ghannam, aged 42.
Tadamun: Prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi still suffers from isolation
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — The international Tadamun society for human rights said that the Israeli regime still labels the case file of prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi as dangerous in order to justify his detention in solitary confinement. Lawyer of the society Mohamed Al-Abed stated that the Israeli prison authority unjustifiably transferred prisoner Abu Sisi from his isolation cell in Ashkelon prison to another one in Ohli Kedar jail about three months ago. Abu Sisi told the lawyer that his imprisonment conditions in Ohli Keder is much worse than what he suffered inside Ashkelon. “I do not see or talk to any human, and I feel some moments like I am in another planet because my isolation room is very small and it is like a grave with no air or light and full of bugs,” Abu Sisi said.
Occupation isolates Palestinian captive for the 66th day
JENIN, NABLUS (PIC) 28 Apr — Palestinian human rights sources reported that the Israeli occupation authorities have continued to isolate the Palestinian prisoner Ammar Abu Ghalion because of his persistent demands to transfer him to a jail close to his place of residence. Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a press statement on Sunday that “the Israeli Raymond prison administration has continued, for the 66th day, to isolate captive Ammar Abu Galion, aged 34 from the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, because he has been demanding to be transferred to the northern prisons, near the place of his residence, so that his mother (aged 78) will be able to visit him.”
Family of prisoners Amir and Mohamed appeals for saving their lives
NABLUS (PIC) 28 Apr — The family of Palestinian prisoners Amir and Mohamed Asa’ad, from Kafr Kanna town in the 1948 occupied lands, appealed to human rights groups to urgently intervene to save the lives of their ill sons. The families of the two imprisoned brother said that their sons are medically neglected by the prison administration and the health conditions reached a life-threatening stage. For his part, director of Ahrar center Fouad Al-Khafsh confirmed that Amir and Mohamed really suffer from serious health problems. Khafsh explained that Amir is paralyzed and Mohamed suffers from the elephant man disease that causes his hands and legs to keep swelling, adding that both of them uses wheelchairs. He noted that Amir and Mohamed were taken prisoners in 2011 and since then they have been serving their prison terms for about six years in the infirmary of the Ramla jail.
IOA transfers three Hamas leaders to interrogation centers
NABLUS (PIC) 27 Apr — Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights said that the Israeli occupation authorities have recently transferred three detained Hamas leaders to interrogation centers. Ahmed Beitawi, researcher at Tadamun Foundation, said that the intelligence service transferred the leaders Adnan Asfour, 50, and Raafat Nassif, 47, from the Negev prison to interrogation centers claiming the existence of new information proving their activities within Hamas movement. The leader from the city of Jenin Abdel Basset al-Hajj, 40, has been also transferred to Jalama interrogation center immediately after his arrest on March 14, 2013.
Jordanian captives ask for legal backing to their issue
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 Apr — The Palestine prisoners’ center for studies said that the Jordanian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails plan to start a hunger strike on 2nd May and have asked for support. The center’s spokesman Riyadh Al-Ashqar said that the prisoners wish to shed light on their issue and to ask for certain humanitarian demands. He said in a press release on Sunday that the prisoners had sent a message to his center asking for the formation of a legal committee that would call for their release based on the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. The prisoners said that the committee should also ask for their rights in accordance with principles of the international law, Ashqar said, adding that they ask for arranging visits for their fathers, mothers, wives, and children.
Detainee at PA security transferred to hospital
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 Apr — Mohammed Ghannam, a detainee at the PA preventive security apparatus, was transferred to hospital on Sunday after he was subjected to severe torture. Special sources told the PIC that preventive security elements had kidnapped Ghannam, a liberated prisoner, on Saturday and took him to their headquarters in Al-Khalil where he was interrogated and tortured.
Ghannam’s family held the PA and its security apparatuses responsible for the life of the young man, who was repeatedly kidnapped by those apparatuses.
Army bombards southern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Apr — Sunday at dawn, April 28, 2013, the Israeli Air Force bombarded two areas west of Khan Younis, and west of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; damage was reported but no injuries. Media sources in Gaza reported that the army fired at least three missiles into an area believed to be a training center for a resistance group west of Khan Younis, and a land west of Rafah. The sources added that several Israeli war jets were seen and heard flying over different parts of the coastal region throughout the night and during early dawn hours.
The attacks came shortly after the army claimed that a homemade shell was fired from Gaza into Nativot Israeli settlement, close to the border with Gaza, leading to no casualties or damage.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, reported that its training center, located west of Khan Younis, was targeted by Israeli missiles leading to excessive damage but no casualties.
A second air strike followed the first this time targeting a vacant area west of Rafah, also leading to no casualties.
Israeli warplanes intensify flights over Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — Israeli warplanes and Apache helicopter gunships continued to fly over Gaza Strip since the early morning hours on Sunday. A field observer said that F-16s have been flying at low altitudes all day long while the Apaches were seen flying along the eastern borders of the coastal enclave. He pointed out that Israeli occupation forces in armored vehicles were seen moving along the buffer zone.
Israel: ‘Escalation in Gaza likely to continue’
IMEMC & Agencies 28 Apr — Israeli TV reported that a number of senior Israeli military and security analysts believe that the escalation in the Gaza Strip will not stop and will likely lead to further Israeli military offensives “should armed groups continue to fire shells into southern Israel”. The report claimed that the latest Israeli air strikes targeting different parts of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday at dawn, pinpointed a Hamas-run military facility, and two weapons storage facilities. The Israeli army said that the targets were hit and destroyed, and that no clashes have been reported with any resistance group in Gaza. The army claimed that the attacks come in retaliation to the firing of homemade shells from Gaza into adjacent Israeli areas; Israeli reported no injuries or damage.
Israel also decided to close the Karem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing with Gaza until further notice.
Another rocket hits south; no injuries
Ynet 29 Apr — A rocket exploded in an open area at the Eshkol Regional Council overnight Monday. No injuries or damage were reported. It is the second rocket fired at Israel this week. On Sunday morning, a rocket exploded near the Sdot Negev Regional Council during Lag B’Omer festivities. No injuries or damage were reported.
Khudari: IOA closing of crossing mass punishment
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against siege, denounced the Israeli occupation authorities’ closure of the Karm Abu Salem commercial crossing with the Gaza Strip on Sunday. He said in a press release that the repeated closure of the sole commercial crossing for the coastal enclave was damaging Palestinian economy. The MP said that the crossing should be always open for being the only crossing through which goods and aid enter Gaza. Khudari said that many sectors suffered heavy losses especially the commercial sector due to the 50 days of closure of the crossing since the start of 2013. The independent MP described the closure as a kind of mass punishment, which is prohibited by the international law.
Israel navy gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats
GAZA (PIC) 27 Apr — Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the southern Gaza Strip coast of Khan Younis on Saturday morning. Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Palestinian fishing syndicate, told the PIC reporter that the Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at the fishing boats while working in the permissible area. He said that gunboats fire at Palestinian fishermen on daily basis even if they were fishing in the three nautical miles radius allowed by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Official: Gaza domestic-use gas crisis unresolved
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr – The Gaza Strip’s domestic-use gas crisis has been ongoing for about four months, a Gaza official said Saturday. During this period, the Gaza Strip has been receiving 120 tons of domestic-use gas every day five days a week, says Abdul-Nasser Muhanna, the director general of the petroleum department in Gaza. He highlighted that the coastal enclave needed 250 tons every day. Muhanna added that the Kerem Shalom crossing isn’t equipped to cope with bigger quantities of gas.
Gaza border authority shuts down 3 tunnels
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — The crossings and border authority in Gaza on Saturday took control of three smuggling tunnels on the Palestinian side of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. The authority said the three tunnels were for smuggling prohibited materials … Border officials raided the neighborhood after receiving information indicating that there was a tunnel in a plant nursery. The statement identified the landowner by his initials, A.I. Authorities seized cigarettes from two tunnels in the area, the statement added.
Egypt arrests 8 Palestinian tunnel smugglers
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Egyptian security forces detained eight Palestinian smugglers on Saturday in a border area near the Gaza Strip, security sources said. Security forces raided a smuggling tunnel in the Rafah area, arresting the men and seizing a truck carrying 22 liters of fuel, a fuel pump, and a hose, security sources told Ma‘an. The smugglers were transferred to the custody of Egyptian security forces for investigation. Earlier, Egyptian forces arrested Yousef Omran Abu Eid, 20, after he entered Egypt illegally from the Gaza Strip through smuggling tunnels.
PCHR concerned by ISS ban on travel by 2 civilians via Rafah International Crossing Point
PNN — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned by the recent Internal Security Service (ISS) [of the Hamas interior ministry] decision to prevent two civilians from travelling through Rafah International Crossing Point. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to put an end to the use of such measures and ensure respect for the right to freedom of movement, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law, as well as the relevant international human rights standards.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday, 15 April 2013, ISS staff stationed at Rafah International Crossing Point prevented Abdul Ra’ouf Shreiqi Barbakh (40) and Khaled Ahmed Mousa (43), both from Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, from travelling to Egypt. Abdul Ra’ouf Shreiqi Barbakh informed a PCHR fieldworker that he had submitted his passport to border police at the crossing earlier that morning; however, the police handed the passport over to ISS. Barbakh was questioned for approximately one hour about his activities with the Fatah movement and his reasons for travelling to Egypt. He was eventually informed of the decision that he was being prevented from travelling. His passport was returned to him, along with a notice instructing him to refer to the ISS office on 22 April 2013. In a similar incident, Khaled Ahmed Mousa informed a PCHR fieldworker that he was also prevented from travelling through Rafah International Crossing Point on the same day; he was attempting to travel to Egypt in order to resume his postgraduate studies. It should be noted that, in recent months, ISS has prevented a number of individuals from travelling via Rafah International Crossing Point or Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing under various pretexts.
Gaza parliament to approve new penal code on drugs
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Gaza-based members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are to hold a series of sessions to ratify a new penal code on drugs, says lawmaker Faraj al-Ghoul. “It is a necessity to intervene legislatively in order to counter this dangerous plague, especially after the current anti-drug legislation has become inappropriate given the rapid development of new types of drugs and outbreak of these drugs as a result of the multiple smuggling tools.” He highlighted that the penal code in use had been too lenient.
UNRWA says no plans to close Gaza office
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has no plans to shut down its Gaza office, spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said Sunday. In early April, UNRWA closed its Gaza office after an escalation in protests against the reduction in financial assistance to vulnerable refugees. Speaking to Ma‘an via telephone, Abu Hasna said that only UNRWA’s general commissioner could make a decision about closing UNRWA offices, and there are no such plans to do so. Twelve security guards have been transferred to the UN agency’s Gaza office as a security measure, he added. UNRWA started distributing food aid to refugees this week after suspending the service on April 4 after protestors stormed a UN depot.
Radwan: Qardawi to visit Gaza next month
GAZA (PIC) 27 Apr — The chairman of the international union for Muslim scholars Dr. Yousef Al-Qardawi is to visit the Gaza Strip on 8th May, Dr. Ismail Radwan, the Awkaf and religious affairs minister in Gaza, said … Radwan hoped that Muslim scholars and leaders would adopt urgent positions to defend occupied Jerusalem and the holy Aqsa mosque.
Destroyed Gaza airport a shattered dream
[photos courtesy of Ma‘an] World Bulletin 27 Apr — The debris of the airport destroyed by Israel in 2001 now stands as a symbol of Gaza’s broken connection to the world, and Palestinian statehood — Once able to handle 700,000 passengers per year, the Yasser Arafat International Airport now lies in ruins. “For us, Palestinians from Gaza, it was a dream, a gate to the world. And this gate was beautiful,” Gaza journalist Ibrahim told Ma‘an News. Inaugurated in 1998, the Yasser Arafat International Airport had a short lifespan. Despite formerly having the capacity to handle 700,000 passengers per year, most of the airport was destroyed by Israel in 2001 during the second intifada. Once boasting former US President Bill Clinton as a guest, the debris of the airport now stands as a symbol of Gaza’s broken connection to the world, and Palestinian statehood.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Israeli friends of Palestinian village
[with video] NTD Television 28 Apr — Volunteers from Jerusalem help residents of al-Walaja create a better life for themselves. Resident: It helps our children distinguish between our oppressors and allies – The Palestinian village of al-Walaja was re-established after the War of Independence in 1948 on a mountain ridge overlooking the remnants of the original village abandoned in Israel. As attacks on Israel increased, a military embargo followed, making life harder for the villagers. The Israeli West Bank security barrier being built will isolate the village from Jerusalem and separate the residents from their farmland. Al-Walaja resident Ahmad Sallah Barghout said, “Most lands remain behind the barrier. We cannot access them. They also uproot trees, and it feels as if living in a cage, being surrounded with a fence. It destroys our livelihood, ruins the landscape, and destroys our future.”[‘Abandoned’? ‘security barrier’? This article/video is problematic in some ways, but is interesting nevertheless]
BDS takes Arab and Western worlds by storm
Al-Ahram 28 Apr by Nadeen Shaker — Scoring one victory after another since 2005, the global campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement continues to play a vital role in exposing Israeli human rights abuses and campaigning for the rights of Palestinians. Rising up from the grassroots, the BDS movement is led by the largest coalition of Palestinian rights and civil society groups worldwide. Often compared with South Africa’s campaign against apartheid, the movement appeals to “people of conscience” to call for an end to Israel’s multi-tiered system of “ethnic cleansing, colonisation, racial discrimination, and military occupation,” the BDS website states. Supporters of BDS worldwide have persuaded millions to join their boycott of Israel academically, culturally, and economically, causing companies to lose some of their biggest contracts and for some countries to impose sanctions. In recent weeks, the BDS movement has moved to challenge Israel once again, pressuring large corporations to end their complicity with its crimes and leading academic groups and institutions to endorse the movement.
Political, other news
Abbas threatens to appeal Israeli building to ICC
RAMALLAH (The Media Line) 28 Apr — Senior Palestinian officials warned that if Israel begins construction in the area designated ‘E-1’ by the Oslo peace process, a sensitive piece of land Israel acquired in 1967 that is adjacent to eastern Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and seek indictments of Israeli military officials on war crimes charges. The ability to join the ICC comes after ‘Palestine’ became a non-member observer state in the United Nations last November. The Media Line has learned that Abbas promised US Secretary of State John Kerry the PA would not to attempt to join any United Nations organizations before the end of May as a sign of good will as Kerry seeks to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have sat idle for more than four years.
Abbas wants prisoners released
RAMALLAH, West Bank (UPI) 28 Apr — The release of Palestinians jailed in Israel will reflect Jerusalem’s commitment to peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said. Israel must be held accountable for its crimes, Abbas was quoted as saying by the Ma‘an News Agency. The Palestinians have “the freedom to take legal action [against Israel] at any international forum,” Abbas said in a a prerecorded speech at the opening of the Freedom and Dignity Conference Saturday in Ramallah. Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe told the forum peace cannot be accomplished as long as Israel incarcerates Palestinians. European Parliament Vice President Isabella Durant said Israel must be held accountable for holding prisoners under administrative detention, the agency said.
Haneyya: The reconciliation files must be treated en bloc
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya reiterated the need for ending the national division and dealing with the reconciliation agreement as a one package deal. Haneyya made his remarks in a meeting on Saturday with a delegation from the democratic front for the liberation of Palestine (DFLP) led by deputy secretary-general of the front Fahed Suleiman. The premier highlighted that all parties must respect what had been agreed upon and implanting it as a whole without selecting certain files [= issues?]. Haneyya also called for necessarily working together to confront the occupation and focusing on the major national issues.
Abbas to begin consultations on unity government
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 Apr – President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he has decided to begin on Saturday consultations to form the national unity government. He said that this will be held in accordance with the Doha Declaration and in implementation of the timetable approved by Palestinian leadership in the meetings held in Cairo on February 8 regarding activating and developing the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as the agreement on a date for holding presidential, legislative and National Council elections. It is also in implementation of the decisions of the Executive Committee in its last meeting held in Ramallah on April 18. President Abbas called on all forces and factions throughout the country to cooperate in order to speed up this work so that he will be able to issue two decrees – one to form a unity government of independent technocrats and the other to set a date for holding elections since the Central Elections Commission has completed its voter registry.
Israel for 4-way summit on talks with Palestinians: official
Ramallah (IANS) 27 Apr — A senior Palestinian official said Saturday that Israel has proposed holding a four-way summit to sponsor the resumption of the stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians. US Secretary of State John Kerry had briefed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Turkey last week on details of the proposal, in which US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordanian King Abdullah II along with Abbas will participate, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Abbas informed Kerry that he welcomes the idea but before joining any summit, Israel has to implement its commitments, he added.
Action group: Ten Palestinian refugees detained in Ukraine
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Apr — Ten Palestinian refugees who fled from war-torn Syria were detained in the Ukrainian city of Lutsk as they were trying to apply for asylum. These refugees, including two pregnant women and two children, are being locked up until now in miserable incarceration conditions in a jail located about 500 kilometers away from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, according to the action group for the Palestinians in Syria. The action group said that the women along with the children are locked up inside filthy and smelly rooms separately from their men and all of them are provided inedible food except for one piece of boiled potato served in the evening. [not surprising, since Ukraine let Israel kidnap Abu Sisi off a Ukrainian train]
Brazil donates 11.500 tons of rice stocks to UNRWA
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Apr — Brazil’s major rice producing state, Rio Grande do Sul, through the Federal Government of Brazil, donated 11.500 metric tons of rice stocks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said an UNRWA press release on Sunday. Rio Grande do Sul Governor, Tarso Genro said in Shufa’at refugee camp, in Jerusalem, “I am delighted to be here among the Palestinian refugees who will benefit from this food produced in my state.” Genro said that it was important for him to come and see for himself the conditions the refugees face in this divided city, under occupation and annexation. He said, “I bring with me the support — financial and political — of the people I represent, in the hope that this forgotten refugee population will find justice.” The supplies, which represent all of UNRWA’s rice needs for this year, will be distributed across the areas where the Agency works: the occupied Palestinian territory ( Gaza and the West Bank), Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Friends of Israel Defense Forces raise $27 million under NY media’s radar
CP 23 Apr by Jeff Blankfort — Support the Israeli Occupation; It’s Tax Deductible! — It isn’t every day or night that a tax-exempt non-profit American charity rakes in $27 million in the space of a few hours. When it happens in New York at such a well known landmark as the Waldorf-Astoria, arguably the city’s most famous hotel, it should be news, right? Wrong, apparently, since not a single TV station nor any New York newspaper, all of which are known for their attention to events in the city’s Jewish community as well as their devotion to Israel, saw fit to cover the annual dinner of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) this past March 12 which raised that enormous sum. Nor, it turns out, did they cover last year’s FIDF fundraiser at the Waldorf which took in almost as much, $26 million, nor the one in 2011, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the organization that featured the presence of six former Israel Defense Forces Chiefs of Staff and collected $23 million.
British officials predicted war – and Arab defeat – in Palestine in 1948
Guardian 25 Apr by Richard Norton-Taylor — The British government knew from the moment it planned to withdraw its forces from Palestine more than 60 years ago that partition of the territory and the founding of the state of Israel would lead to war and defeat for the Arabs, secret documents released make clear. The documents, which have a remarkable contemporary resonance, reveal how British officials looked on as Jewish settlers took over more and more Arab land. In the weeks leading up to the partition of Palestine in 1948, when Britain gave up its UN mandate, Jewish terrorist groups were mounting increasing attacks on UK forces and Arab fighters, the Colonial Office papers show. And they reveal how senior British officials were occupied in deciding how to allocate between them two Rolls-Royces and a Daimler.