New report shows Palestinians own only 8% of historic Palestine

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Data shows that Palestinians now own just 8 per cent of historic Palestine
MEMO 28 May — New data published by the Lands Research Centre (LRC) shows that Palestinians own only eight per cent of historic Palestine. The LRC is affiliated to the Arabic Studies Association in Jerusalem. In a press conference held in Ramallah, it announced the publication of its latest Year Book, in which it documents Israeli violations of Palestinian rights concerning lands and houses. The book is published in English and Arabic.
LRC director Jamal Al-Emla described 2012 as “the year of settlements”, a reference to the massive increase in settlement expansion by the occupation authorities. He used photographs, charts and maps to demonstrate that the amount of historic Palestine owned by Palestinians has been in decline since the British Mandate era right up to last year. They now own just 8 per cent of their own country. The decline, claimed Al-Emla, is due to Israel’s ethnic cleansing, expulsion of Palestinians and confiscation of their land followed by its colonisation by Jewish settlers.

(Photo: Facebook)

Mass graves of Palestinians discovered
MEMO 28 May — Mass graves have been discovered in the historical cemetery of Al-Kazakhana in Jaffa, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage announced on Monday. The graves contain the remains of Palestinians killed by Jewish militias in 1948 during the Nakba (Catastrophe). According to the Foundation, they were discovered during routine maintenance and rehabilitation of the cemetery in one of the cities occupied by Israel since 1948. The Head of the cemetery rehabilitation project, Mohammed al-Ashqar, said that the remains indicate that they were of Palestinians of varied ages “killed by Zionist gangs” in Jaffa. Some of the graves also date back to the Palestinian Uprising of 1936 against British Mandate rule.

Photos — The discovery of mass graves in Jaffa — Team Palestina FB page

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

Study: Situation of Bedouin communities, including 150 families, ‘non-viable’
PNN 28 May — The first study of its kind about the transfer against their will of 150 Palestine refugee Bedouin families says that their situation has become socially and economically “non viable”, UNRWA said in a press statement. The joint UNRWA-Bimkom report analyses the consequences of the relocation which started in 1997 in order to expand the Ma’ale Adummim settlement, which, like all settlements is illegal under international law. The study highlights the deterioration of the social and economic conditions of the Bedouin refugees transferred to Al Jabal village. The move to one central urban location has deprived these mobile pastoralist communities of social cohesion and is destroying their social fabric and traditional economic base. According to UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness, “the Israeli authorities are currently considering plans to create a second centralised Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank”.

Israel to demolish 18 newly rebuilt homes in Negev village
IMEMC — Sunday May 26 2013, personnel of the Israeli Ministry of Interior placed official orders on 18 under-construction homes, being rebuilt after the army demolished them a week ago, in At-Teer village in the Negev, informing the villagers that their homes will be demolished again. Arab Member of Knesset, Talab Abu Arar, said that the villagers were rebuilding the demolished homes when the army came again, placed the new orders, and removed a protest tent that was installed in the village, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported. Arar stated that Israel insists on displacing and removing ‘unrecognized’ villages in the Negev, despite the fact that they have existed before Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine, and added that Israel aims at blocking any geographical contiguity between the Arabs in Israel and the West Bank. He also said that the village is located on the Green Line between the West Bank and the Israel.

Bedouins, MKs protest Negev displacement plan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — Dozens of Negev Bedouins joined a demonstration in front of Israel’s Knesset on Monday to protest the forced displacement of nearly 40,000 Bedouins. Palestinian Knesset members Ibrahim Sarsour, Ahmad Tibi, Masood Ghanayim and Talab Abu Arar took part in the protest. Abu Arar, who is leading a campaign to protect Negev Bedouins, appealed to “rational Israeli officials” to halt implementation of the Prawer-Begin plan, which he called a “racist, apartheid law.” Bedouins “are not immigrants from a foreign country, but indigenous owners of the land,” he added …
The plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says. Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people. The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.

IOA threatens to raze 150 installations in Jordan Valley
JENIN (PIC) 27 May — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Farsiya area in Wadi Al-Malih in the northern Jordan Valley afternoon Monday and delivered demolition notices. Local sources said that the threatened installations are more than 150 and are built on land owned by the inhabitants. They said that the new step fell in line with the Israeli occupation authorities’ scheme to evict inhabitants from their land in the Jordan Valley. The sources pointed out that the installations are tents and tin houses for the people, who work in rearing sheep, and for their livestock. Farsiya has been the target of constant harassment on the part of the IOA and many of its installations, which were threatened today, were knocked down by IOF soldiers three times before in a bid to drive the inhabitants out and seize their land.

Settlers setting up tent and planning road on Palestinian-owned land in Al-Khalil
[with photos] This morning, 27th May, settlers from Kiryat Arba, an illegal Israeli settlement in the city of Al Khalil (Hebron), started to place road markers for the construction of a road through the Palestinian olive groves of Wadi al-Hussein. They were accompanied by Israeli military and police. Palestinians, including the owners of the land, gathered in the area to stop any attempt of illegal construction in their land and were confronted by armed Israeli settlers, police and army. A number of international observers were there to monitor the situation. The settlers claimed that they had a court order for road construction. However, they were unable to bring any official papers to back this claim. A while later, some settlers who remained in the area started putting up a tent in the olive groves, unhindered by the police who have the legal duty to prevent them from land theft. They equipped the tent with chairs and surrounded it with Israeli flags.

Israel builds road for its settlers in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 May — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) started on Monday morning to build a road for the settlers aimed at connecting Kiryat Arba settlement with the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil [Hebron] city. Local sources told Quds Press that an Israeli bulldozer heavily guarded by soldiers embarked on leveling the area where the road is going to be paved later in order to facilitate the arrival of the Jewish settlers at the Ibrahimi Mosque. They warned that in addition to the main road of Kiryat Arba settlement and its wall, the creation of this road would make the homes of Da’nna family, where 30 Palestinians live, besieged from three sides. They also added that the IOA would seize dozens of dunums of land belonging to Jaber family in order to establish this road. [Ma‘an: also al-Safain family land]

Settlers take over two commercial stores in the old city of Jerusalem
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 27 May — Under protection from the Israeli Police, settlers [Ma‘an: from the religious Zionist Ateret Cohanim organization] took over two commercial stores on Monday morning in Alhakari neighbourhood in the old city of Jerusalem. The Israeli Supreme Court has issued a decision to confiscate a home for Zaloom family and the two commercial stores, on the pretext that these properties are “Absentee Property” even before 1948. The 35-square meters stores belong to the family of Wazwaz, and they have been closed for several years. Dozens of settlers emptied the property and changed the locks; they closed the doors using a welding machine and then left the area after confiscating everything that was inside the stores.

Israeli forces escort rightists at Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — Israeli security forces and right-wing Jews toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday accompanied by intelligence officials, a local group said. The al-Aqsa Foundation said in a statement that the female officers led the group through the Moroccan Gate, before splitting into separate groups. Muslim worshipers shouted “Allahu Akbar” at the group, the statement said, adding that such visits have increased recently.

Israeli forces ‘detain Aqsa guard’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Two Israeli officers raided the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday in an attempt to disrupt restorations inside the mosque, onlookers said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the officers tried to access the al-Aqsa mosque but a guard opposed them. They then left their shoes outside and pushed him aside before entering. The officers checked the renovation area and stepped over the workers’ scaffolding. The officers tried to access the site a day earlier, the witnesses added. One of the officers gave the guard Muhammad Alqam a notice to visit a police station today, confiscating his ID. Islamic Waqf officials intervened to bring back his identity card. Israeli forces also detained another guard, Samer Qweider, and accused him of banning rightists from approaching the mosque for prayers. The guard was accused of verbally abusing the settlers. The Al-Aqsa Foundation reported that after the detention a group of Israelis raided the mosque.

Settlers deface cars, puncture tires in Jerusalem
IMEMC — Monday at dawn, [May] 27 2013, local sources have reported that extremist Israeli settlers defaced 15 Palestinian cars, and punctured their tires, in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem. Saleh Diab, local resident and activist, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that the settlers conducted their act, apparently during early dawn hours, and left the scene. Similar to dozens of similar attacks, the settlers wrote racist anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian graffiti.
On Friday, May 24, extremist settlers punctured tires of five vehicles near the Gilo Israeli settlement, illegally built on Palestinian lands near Beit Jala city, in the West Bank district of Bethlehem. The Israeli Police said that three of the cars belong to the Palestinians, and two cars are actually owned by Israelis, but the settlers apparently thought Palestinians own the two cars.

Locals: Settlers torch wheat fields in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 May — Settlers on Tuesday set fire to wheat fields in a village east of Yatta, locals said. The blaze destroyed 5,000 square meters of crops, director of Hebron’s fire service Amjad Uweiwi said, before crews managed to extinguish the fire. Ibrahim Abdul-Hamid, one of the landowners, told Ma‘an that settlers started the fire. “What happened today is an episode in a sequence of attacks targeting our farmers, especially in the fields adjacent to Route 60,” he said.

Settlers set fire to four cars in Tubas
TUBAS, May 29, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday set fire to Palestinian-owned cars in an area in Tubas governorate, according to security sources. They told WAFA that settlers, under Israeli soldiers’ protection, set fire to four cars in al-Zbidate village belonging to four Palestinians of Zbidat family. They added that forces detained the civil defense fire truck for a while at al-Hamra military checkpoint, delaying it from reaching the scene to extinguish the burning cars.

Constructive resistance in Al Aqaba
ISM 28 May — Al-Aqaba, a village with the smallest local council in the West Bank, continually rises above its size and situation by demonstrating community strength through non-violent resistance and proactive development. Since 1967 the village has suffered greatly under the Israeli occupation and faces constant military encroachment and the threat of building demolition. As a result, the original population of 1000 has decreased to the current size of 300 as people left fearing for their safety and livelihoods. The remaining villagers though, led by mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, remain steadfast in their desire to stay and make the village a viable place for people to return to and live. Together they have created a development strategy resulting in new homes and businesses with the help of international involvement and funding. Located in the northeast of the West Bank, on the edge of the Jordan Valley, the village and surrounding land is classified as Area C and, therefore, under complete Israeli military control and civil jurisdiction. The Israeli army have been a constant presence in the area since 1967, when the village was declared a closed military zone and has been subsequently used as a firing zone. A mock village of empty buildings within a kilometre of the village was constructed and is utilised for this express purpose. The military exercises conducted in and around the village at times include the use of live ammunition and, as a consequence, 8 villagers have been killed and 38 wounded.

Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Arrests

Gantz: We won’t ease West Bank rules of engagement
Times of Israel 28 May by Aaron Kalman — Brushing aside criticism from some soldiers, settlers and politicians on the right, who say the army imposes undue constraints on soldiers’ right to open fire, IDF Chief of Staff Gantz on Tuesday said existing strict instructions limiting the use of live fire by troops in the West Bank would remain in place. “We won’t ease the rules of engagement,” he said at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “If we let go of the reins, there will be an escalation and we’ll lose control.” If anything, soldiers might need additional instruction on how to comply with these rules, Gantz said.

WATCH: Soldiers caught on tape assaulting a Palestinian youth
IMEMC 29 May — The Young Man Was Imprisoned For A Month Under False Allegations — After a video documenting the attack surfaced more than a month after the assault took place, the Israeli Military Police has decided to investigate a violent attack carried out by Israeli soldiers against a Palestinian youth who was kidnapped near the Ofra settlement, near Ramallah. The attack, which took place on April 26, was caught on tape by a surveillance camera operated by settlement security guards who distorted the recording and obstructed the investigation. The Palestinian youth, Mohammad Dar Sa’ad, from the Al-Mazra‘a Ash-Sharqiyya village, was kidnapped, and was imprisoned for a month after the army claimed that he hurled stones at them. On Monday, May 27, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) filed an urgent appeal to the Israeli military demanding a thorough investigation into the assault. B’Tselem said that camera operators in Ofra settlement apparently tried to avoid documenting the attack by diverting the camera from the scene, and added that the footage of the violent assault was not sent to the defense attorney, and the Palestinian never saw it. On Tuesday, the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) informed B’Tselem that it will open an investigation into the assault.

Soldiers beat family members, damage home while arresting Palestinian teen
972mag 28 May by Noam Sheizaf — Israeli soldiers violently arrested 19-year-old Abed al-Rahem Awad yesterday (Monday) morning, Palestinians from the village of Budrus reported. According to the reports, several soldiers entered the family home in the early morning, breaking through the doors with a compressed air device. Family members said they were awakened by Abed al-Rahem’s cries as soldiers were dragging him down the stairs. His sisters tried to prevent the arrest and soldiers beat and pepper sprayed them. The two sisters were taken to a hospital, one with a broken arm. The soldiers also broke two of the house’s windows in order to throw several stun grenades (sound bombs) inside. Photos of where they exploded inside the home can be seen above. Soldiers did not give the family a reason for the arrest during the raid or in the day after. In January, Israeli soldiers shot to death Abed al-Rahem’s 16-year-old brother, Samir Awad, near the village. Samir was hit once as he was trying to cross the separation fence some 200 meters from Budrus, and a couple more times from close range – one shot to in the back of his head and one in his back – after he tried to escape from the soldiers by running back toward the village.

Soldiers invade Al-Khader, four injured
IMEMC 28 May — Tuesday morning May 28, Palestinian medical sources have reported that four Palestinians have been treated for the effects of teargas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers invaded the Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and clashed with local youths … the wounded received treatment by field medics, and did not require hospitalization.
In related news, the army invaded several towns in the southern West Bank district of Hebron broke into and searched dozens of homes, and occupied some rooftops. The invasions targeted As-Samoua’ [or al-Samu‘] town, Ath-Thaheriyya [or al-Dhahiriya], Yatta, Ithna [or Edhna, Idna], and various neighborhoods in Hebron city.

Military presence at Hebron schools – regular updates
ISM 28th May: As the morning began and children were arriving at school for the last of their exams, there was a large military presence awaiting them at the checkpoint. At 7:20am there were three jeeps and twelve soldiers. As children yelled at them from a distance for their constant provocation every morning, the soldiers readied themselves with helmets and weaponry. At 7:25am three soldiers went through the checkpoint, one armed and ready to shoot tear gas and another holding a sound bomb. They stood directly outside the first primary school on the road. Within minutes they were joined by three other soldiers, positioning themselves on the garage roof just opposite the primary school. As the three soldiers on the ground advanced to the front of the second school, the jeeps came through the checkpoint. Two of the jeeps blocked a road just before the schools, turning traffic around, while the soldiers around these jeeps kept threatening, pushing and shouting at children who passed them. Six soldiers kept aggressively advancing, ready to shoot gas and sound grenades at the children, who responded to their flagrant intimidation with rocks

Israel sets up patrol towers in Hebron
HEBRON, May 28, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday set up a number of patrol towers in the center of the city of Hebron, said witnesses. One resident from the city said that Israeli forces accompanied by heavy vehicles set up few patrol towers in lands owned by two Palestinian families. He said that this move will enable Israeli soldiers to monitor most of Hebron neighborhoods

Sixteen-year-old boy blindfolded and arrested late at night without evidence
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 27 May by Team Al Khalil — Following the events of the settler tour during yesterday afternoon Fuad Asem al Batsh, a sixteen-year-old minor, was arrested in Hebron without any evidence or court decision. He was released after about an hour. It was at 10 pm in the old city that a group of around 15 heavily-armed Israeli soldiers invaded a family house stating they were looking for a boy who earlier the same day had thrown an object at a settler. In the presence of four international activists the soldiers forced themselves into three family houses before arresting Fuad Asem al Batsh in the fourth home, without any evidence against him. After fifteen minutes discussion between the boy and the soldiers, they removed him from the house. Despite objections from the internationals present, as well as the family, he was put in a military van and driven away. The activists were threatened with arrest if they took any pictures and the family’s cries and logical arguments didn’t change the situation. Fuad’s younger sisters were witnesses to the event and were clearly afraid and shocked. During the hour of detention the sixteen-year-old boy was blindfolded, brought to a police station and questioned over and over again about the events during the day, when he in reality was visiting his uncle in a village nearby Jerusalem. The photos and videos that the military claimed existed were never shown and no further suspicion is claimed by Israeli forces..

Seven Jerusalemites are arrested … and the raid on a restaurant, an internet cafe, and several houses in Bab Hutta
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 27 May — Clashes broke out in Bab Hutta neighborhood which is very close to Al-Aqsa mosque between the Israeli forces and youths from Jerusalem … The Israeli forces randomly fired rubber bullets and sound bombs in Bab Hutta injuring several young men. Witnesses said that the clashes began after stopping one of the passers-by and provoking him resulting into verbal altercations, and then the forces beat him severely; and when the other young men stepped in to help him, they were also attacked and assaulted. They attacked Ra‘fat Ajloni injuring him in his head. After arresting him, he was transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, while Husam Sider was taken to Al-Esawyeh Hospital for treatment after being arrested. The forces also attacked Nabil Abu Khroub who is in his sixties and sprayed him with pepper gas, he was then transported to hospital for treatment; his son Jihad was also attacked and arrested. The Israeli forces raided an internet café and attacked the boys who were inside and forced them to get out and stand outside the shop where they were beaten by batons, hands and legs, knowing that they were between 7-12 years of age. The 58-year old Jihad Muhtaseb got wounded with a rubber bullet while working inside Hutta Gate and was transferred to the hospital; the police then closed Hutta Gate “one of Al-Aqsa gates” and prevented the prayers from entering to perform the night prayer. They also raided several houses in Bab Hutta and damaged their doors and broke the windows … The police completely closed Lions’ Gate which is one of the main gates of the Old City and prevented the residents from going through, knowing that their houses are inside the Old City.

Ambulance driver wounded in confrontations in Al-Khalil village
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 May — Confrontations were reported in Edhna village, west of Al-Khalil, on Monday after Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the village. An eyewitness told the PIC that IOF soldiers in four patrols stormed the village coming from the nearby village of Deir Samet and clashed with young men. He said that an ambulance car driver was wounded in the clashes and taken to hospital while a young man was arrested and taken to an unknown detention center. The witness said that young men threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers who left the village after one hour of confrontations.

Borders Police kidnaps 8-year-old Seif Ghaleb Rweidi
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 May — The Israeli Borders Police [Magav] kidnapped a short while ago the 8-year-old Seif Ghaleb Rweidi while walking along with his brother in the neighbourhood of Bi’er Ayoub in Silwan. Witnesses informed Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the boy was walking with his brother close by a brick factory in the neighbourhood of Bi’er Ayoub, and suddenly a Borders Police vehicle appeared where three individuals stepped out of the vehicle and kidnapped the boy and fled, note that there were no events going on in Silwan.

IOF storms Jenin, arrests 6 Palestinians
JENIN, RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 May — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed several villages in Jenin and carried out raid and arrest campaigns, where 5 Palestinians were detained. More than 20 military vehicles stormed the city of Jenin after midnight yesterday until dawn and arrested four youths and assaulted their relatives, local sources said. Eyewitnesses confirmed that IOF accompanied with police dogs brutally stormed 32-year-old Shadi Ali al-Darbi’s house where they arrested him and assaulted his family members including his elderly parents. IOF also arrested 3 youths in different parts in the city of Jenin after storming and searching their houses.
The Israeli soldiers also arrested 2 young men from ‘Arraba and Ya‘bad villages and took them to an unknown destination.
Meanwhile, Hamas movement revealed that the IOF arrested during the past week 94 Palestinians throughout the West Bank. The movement reported that 25 citizens were arrested in Jerusalem, 17 others from al-Khalil and Nablus, in addition to 11 detainees in Jenin, 8 arrest cases in Ramallah, 6 other in Bethlehem, while IOF arrested 4 Palestinians in Tulkarem, 2 citizens in Qalqilya and another one in Salfit. The report confirmed that among the detainees were liberated prisoners from Israeli and PA prisons, 3 female prisoners and several minors.

Israel raids Jenin, detains 14 across West Bank
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 May …Meanwhile locals said Israeli forces detained a woman and a teenager from Tulkarem. Israeli forces raided the city and detained Dunia Haroun, 35, and Ali Issam, 18, from a western neighborhood in Tulkarem. Both were taken to an unknown location.

Concern over fate of two boys arrested in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 27 May — Families of two Palestinian boys in Burqin town in Jenin district have expressed concern over the fate of the two boys who were detained by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) four days ago. IOF soldiers manning Jalama roadblock chased and arrested the two 13-year-old children at the Jalama valley and took them to Jalama detention center where their custody was extended. Families of both children, Osama Subuh and Mufid Khalaf, appealed to international human rights groups and organizations concerned with children to pressure the IOF to release them … Yasser Subuh, the father of Osama, appealed to Doctors without Borders to call on his son in jail as he suffers from Asthma and is need of constant care.

PA security forces arrest 4 Hamas members
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 May  – Palestinian Authority security forces arrested four Hamas members in the West Bank on Tuesday, the Islamist group said in a statement. The Hamas affiliates were detained in Nablus and Ramallah, the party said.

Report: 200 Palestinians injured during Nakba commemorations
PNN — A UN report has said on Sunday 26th May, that around 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli occupation forces over three days in which the Palestinians were commemorating the Nakba. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Palestinians marked the Nakba (catastrophe) anniversary with three days of activities in the period May 14 – 17. It also registered nine attacks by illegal Jewish settlers against Palestinians and their property in addition to three stone throwing incidents that damaged six Palestinian vehicles.

Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions

Prisoner Iyad Kudair to start hunger strike to protest prison extensions
GAZA (PIC) 27 May — Palestinian prisoner Iyad Abu Khudair, who has been in jail since April 2005, finished the second extension to his prison term without any indication that the Israeli prison authority would release him or extend his detention, according to the prisoners’ center for studies. Director of the center Ra‘fat Hamdouna said that prisoner Abu Khudair had ended his eight-year prison sentence 44 days ago before the Israeli prison authority extended it for one month and then 14 days at the pretext that he does not hold any Palestinian identity card and no country accepts to take him in. Umm Baha, the wife of the prisoner, told the center that her husband would abstain on Monday, May 27, from having food and water in protest at the extension of his detention.

Prisoner Ayman Hamdan enters his 2nd month of hunger strike
BETHLEHEM, (PIC) 28 May — Palestinian prisoner in the occupation jails Ayman Hamdan, from Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank, enters his 31st day of hunger strike. Hamdan told the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) lawyer, who visited him at the Ofer detention center, that he has lost sixteen kg of weight and that he suffers from a difficult health condition and needs urgent treatment. He added that the prison administration has been exercising great pressure against him to thwart his hunger strike. Captive Hamdan, held in administrative detention since the 22nd of last August, confirmed that he will continue his hunger strike until his release.

Free Sireen Sawafteh – arrested by Israel on the 14th May 2013
Tubas (ISM) 27 May — UPDATE 28th May 2013: Israeli court prolonged the arrest of Sireen until Thursday in which she will see a judge. To this day she is banned from seeing a lawyer — Last Tuesday Sireen, a 24 year old woman from Tubas, was detained by Israeli forces. She is currently being held in Al Jalameh, an Israeli prison. Her family and friends fear for her safety. She has been denied access to a lawyer and she has not been allowed to make any contact with her loved ones since her arrest …In the early hours on Wednesday, Israeli forces raided Sireen’s family home whilst her father Khalid Sawafteh, her mother, three brothers, sisters in law and their two young children were sleeping. Twenty-five army jeeps entered the town of Tubas. Twenty officers entered the home and over one hundred remained in the street cornering off the house. The family and young children were all taken into one room whilst their home was ransacked. Israeli soldiers took all the computers in the house leaving Sireen’s relatives in shock … Since her detention, Sireen has been forcibly transferred out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories to an Israeli prison in Haifa located in the north of Israel, a practice illegal under international law.

Occupation releases journalist Tariq Abu Zaid
PNN 27 May — The Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights has said in a press release that Israeli authorities have released journalist Tariq Abu Zaid, yesterday, Sunday, from Negev desert prison after spending three months in jails. Tariq Abu Zaid, a reporter for Al-Aqsa television, was arrested on 8/3/2013, during clashes during the weekly protest against the Jewish settlement of Qadomem, near Nablus, West Bank.

Israel allows 81 Palestinians to visit jailed relatives
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 May – Some 81 relatives of prisoners at Israel’s Ramon jail crossed the Erez terminal along the border with Gaza to visit their loved ones on Monday, the Red Cross said. A spokesman said the relatives including 12 children visited the prison.

Gaza blockade

Israeli soldiers open fire at Palestinian farmers
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 27 May — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers tending their fields east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Monday morning. A field observer said that IOF soldiers positioned at watchtowers east of Khan Younis opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers there. He added that the farmers abandoned their fields to avoid being shot at.

Israeli military vehicles, bulldozers enter Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 May — Israeli military vehicles escorted bulldozers into a border area in central Gaza on Wednesday, locals said. Seven bulldozers flanked by four military vehicles crossed into a border area near al-Bureij refugee camp at around 6 a.m., penetrating 300 meters into fields and leveling agricultural lands, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli drones were hovering at a low distance during the incident, locals added, with Israeli forces firing smoke bombs. An Israeli army spokesman said there was “routine activity along the fence,” without providing further details.

Journal: Two Palestinian fishermen arrested in Gaza waters and their boat confiscated
Gaza (ISM) 28 May by Gaza Team — Mahmoud Mohammed Zayed, 25, and his brother Khaled, 24, are two young fishermen of Gaza. At about 9pm on Sunday, May 19th 2013, they were fishing on their small rowing boat in the waters north of the Gaza Strip, in front of the beach of Beit Lahiya. They were arrested after Israeli naval forces attacked fishermen with gunfire, and were taken to the port of Ashdod in Israel. Israeli soldiers confiscated their boat and nets, and released the two fishermen in the morning of the following day, on Monday, May 20th … Mahmoud started to tell us what happened on Sunday: “We went fishing around 5:30pm, with our small rowing boat. We were about half a mile away from the beach of Beit Lahiya, along with other boats. At 9pm two speedboats started attacking us and the other fishermen with shots fired. The attack lasted almost an hour … Mahmoud explained that usually fishermen are asked to undress, to jump into the water and swim to the Israeli ship. This time the two fishermen were arrested directly from their boat. Once taken to the Israeli ship, the two fishermen were blindfolded, handcuffed, stripped and were given a yellow shirt and blue pants. “The strange thing — he told Mahmoud — is that the soldiers have asked me why my brother Khaled was with me on the boat. Khaled usually fishes on another boat. But when he finished his work he came with me to help me.” The actions of soldiers help us to understand how they maintain control of the people of Gaza and what excuses they use to arrest fishermen. Soldiers then asked them their name, identity card, the number of boat…

In photos: Gaza’s Khan Younis refugee camp
[11 photos] Ma‘an 28 May –  North of Rafah and east of the Mediterranean coast, life in Khan Younis refugee camp imposes more than one challenge on its population of 70,000 registered refugees.  Known for its high unemployment rate, even within Gaza, overcrowding and inadequate access to water and electricity are among the most critical issues. But the camp has more to it than poverty and hardship. Its proximity to the coast means couples can walk on the sand, restaurants can open for sunset argileh, kids can play football and parents can take pictures of their children by the sea. The Mediterranean provides a welcome distraction and relief away from the poverty and war of Gaza.

Political and other news

Poll: Most Israelis back Arab Peace Initiative
JPost 28 May — Study indicates that 69% of Israelis would back Netanyahu if he reached deal with all Arab states — If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative and reach a a final status agreement with the Arab states, the majority of Israelis would support the move, according to a poll whose findings were partially published on the Al-Monitor news website Monday. The Israel Peace Initiative-commissioned opinion poll found that, after having the Arab initiative explained to them, 55 percent of respondents said they would support the initiative to some degree, with 27% “strongly opposing” and 17.5% unsure how to answer. In a scenario where the prime minister backs the initiative, however, the number of proponents jumped to 69% and those who “strongly oppose” dropped to 18%. The poll was conducted on May 20 by Israeli polling company New Wave Research, interviewing a sample of 500 Jewish, Hebrew-speaking Israelis over the age of 18, Al-Monitor specified. The sample margin of error was 4.4% …
Perhaps the most surprising result was that 73.5% of Hebrew-speaking Israelis had never heard of the Arab initiative, or knew of its existence but were unfamiliar with its details.

Marwan Barghouti: Arab peace plan damages Palestinian cause
Al-Monitor 28 May by Adnan Abu Amer — Marwan Barghouti, who is one of the most prominent Fatah leaders in the West Bank and is currently detained in an Israeli prison, says the time is right for the US administration to take a bold decision and make peace in the Middle East as soon as possible. Barghouti, who responded to written questions, warned that the alternative to a two-state solution is a “persistent conflict” that knows no middle ground. The jailed leader said Israel was not interested in peace, adding that “no methods of resistance should be abandoned” so long as it is in line with international law. Barghouti also noted that the “peace process inflicted serious damage on Fatah,” while urging Palestinian factions to reconcile. He also criticized the recent Arab Peace Initiative headed by Qatar as “the lowest the Arabs have gone in terms of a historical settlement with Israel.” Below is the full interview transcript.

Tutu urges UEFA to strip Israel of Under-21 championship
London (Reuters) 28 May — South African anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu has joined calls for UEFA to move the Under-21 European championship from Israel because of the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinian sport. UEFA has resisted the requests but Tutu’s letter, to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which was also signed by ex-Mali striker Frederic Kanoute and a number of prominent sympathisers of the Palestinian cause, is aimed at increasing the pressure. Last week UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, speaking after the UEFA Congress in London, refused to condemn Israel or accept that the competition, which runs from June 5-18, should be moved.

Fatah veteran dies after lengthy illness
MEMO 28 May — Veteran Fatah politician Abdul Aziz Shahin, known by his kunya of Abu Ali, has passed away, aged 80. He died on Tuesday morning after spending weeks in Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip suffering from liver disease. His funeral will be held in Rafah on Tuesday afternoon. Abu Ali returned to the Gaza Strip at the beginning of this year, when Fatah celebrated its anniversary, and refused to be moved to a hospital abroad, insisting that he wanted to die in Gaza. He was visited in hospital by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, an act of reconciliation which pleased both men. Abdul Aziz Shahin was expelled with his family from his village of Basheet by the nascent Israeli state in 1948. His father was killed by the Israelis as he fought alongside other villagers to defend their homes. The survivors of the Shahin family sought refuge in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, where five uncles of Abdul Aziz were also killed by the Israelis between 1956 and 1967.Abu Ali joined the Palestinian resistance under the umbrella of Fatah. He was arrested by the Israelis after the 1967 war and spent 15 years in prison. After his release in the early eighties, he founded the Fatah Youth group in Palestinian universities as a political bloc to compete against the Islamic groups in student council elections. Politically, Abu Ali was on the extreme left-wing, despite being a prominent leader of Fatah…

PCHR followed up on the measures taken by ISS against Dr. Ibrahim Abrash
PNN 28 May — Over the past four days, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) followed up on the measures taken by the Internal Security Service (ISS) against Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a lecturer and the former Minister of Culture, over his recently published opinion editorial. PCHR expresses deep concern for Dr. Abrash, and believes that such measures, which include summoning him for questioning, constitute a serious violation of the constitutional right to freedom of opinion and expression. PCHR calls upon the government in Gaza to take the necessary steps to ensure respect for this right and to stop ISS’s interventions that violate the freedom of public … The article in question is titled, “Gaza Does Not Give Indulgence to Anyone” in which he criticized Sheikh al-Qaradawi’s visit to Gaza.

120,000 guests spent 280,000 nights in the West Bank during the first quarter 2013, says statistics bureau
PNN — During the first quarter of 2013, 120 thousand guests stayed in hotels in the West Bank: 43% were from European Union countries and 10% were Palestinian, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a press release on Monday 27th May. It said, the number of hotel guests was 21% lower than in the previous quarter and 3% lower than in the first quarter of 2012.
According to PCBS, during the first quarter of 2013, the number of guest nights in West Bank hotels was 280.000: of these 11% were Palestinian, 48% were from European Union countries and 8% were from the United States and Canada. During the first quarter of 2013, there were 2,635 hotel workers, of whom 2,010 were male and 625 were female. The room occupancy rate in the West Bank was 22% in the first quarter of 2013 … In March 2013, there were 101 hotels operating in the West Bank offering 5,592 rooms with a total of 12,786 beds available.

Israel re-arms settlers in the occupied Golan Heights
MEMO 27 May — Israel has decided to re-arm and train teams of illegal settlers in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Hebrew media sources claim that the decision was made in the context of tension between Syria and Israel, which has occupied the strategically important territory since 1967. A UN force monitors the ceasefire agreement. Settlers, it is reported, have asked for extra training to cope with any possible scenario arising out of events in Syria. In response, the Israeli army will resume military exercises to prepare teams of settlers able to react to attacks.

Jerusalem to withhold funds if school doesn’t accept four Mizrahi girls
Haaretz 27 May by Nir Hasson — Finance committee says the seminary must stop discriminating against Jews with roots in the Middle East and North Africa.


The Israeli-Palestinian balance of brutality
Haaretz 26 May by Amira Hass — Neither side wants to know how many children from the other side it has killed since 2000. The following is a reminder From the beginning of the second intifada, which broke out on September 29, 2000, through April 30, 2013, Israel, the occupying power in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, killed 1,373 Palestinian children up to age 18. How many soldiers, commanders, pilots, drone operators, high-tech geniuses, Shin Bet agents and makers and sellers of weapons — government and private — were needed to kill 1,373 children? Human rights group B’Tselem doesn’t provide this figure. But all the figures and analyses below are taken from the meticulous website of B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. First a comment on the word ‘children’. I’m not talking about the somewhat clinical definition of a minor , and certainly not about the distinction the Israeli language makes between child and youth when tallying the Palestinian dead and wounded. Here the inspiration is the Israeli discourse that sees a child as a child until the day he or she passes through the gates of the IDF Induction Center, and even after … In the last 13 years, armed Palestinians have killed 129 Israeli children up to the age of 18 – in suicide bombings, shootings, rocket fire and stabbings. Fifty-one of the children were under 13. The collective Palestinian memory avoids writing down the large number of unarmed Israeli civilians and Palestinian child militants killed by various means. (listserv) (archive)

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“Mass graves of Palestinians discovered……The graves contain the remains of Palestinians killed by Jewish militias in 1948 during the Nakba (Catastrophe). ”

i’m surpised that didn’t make the headline. chilling.

The “8%” figure is ironic due to the following question: Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s land was owned by Jews at the time of the 1947 UN Partition Plan? -Answer: 7 percent. -The unrelenting settlement growth will continue until the US sees its interests sufficiently harmed by Israeli… Read more »