Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Bedouin relocation plan wins slim Knesset majority after stormy 1st reading
Haaretz 24 June by Yanir Yagna and Jonathan Lis — Plan which would see 20,000-30,000 Bedouin resettled in recognized towns has raised the ire of the local community, and prompted Arab MKs to rip up the draft. Vote passes 43-40. To become law, it must pass two more Knesset readings. But it could also be modified in committee prior to subsequent votes by the full Knesset. .
Bedouins against ‘racist’ Praver Bill: ‘We’ll perish on this land’
Ynet 26 June by Neri Brenner – The Praver Bill, aimed to evict Bedouin communities unrecognized in Israeli law, has provoked a storm not only amid the Arab MKs who voted against it, but mainly among those it is aimed against, the Bedouin residents of southern Israel. The residents of the village of Al-Araqeeb, which has been razed a number of times since Israel began implementing measures against illegal settlement, say they are aware the bill is intended to drive them off their land; yet even should it pass in the second and third readings, they have no intention of abiding by it. Aziz Abu Madijam, a 38-year-old father of six, told Ynet “two years ago there were almost 600 people in our village, but one day police arrived and demolished the village. From a nice village where everyone without exception is working and paying taxes we were back to being a small tent settlement. They try to represent the Bedouins as people who live in tents and drive luxury cars, but it’s only because they don’t let us build and develop our lands.”
Tibi: Bedouin evictions stand no chance
Ynet 25 June by Moran Azulay – Arab Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List – Ta’al) protested at the plenum Monday evening against the Praver Bill, which aims to evict illegal Bedouin communities in the Negev. Speaking to Ynet Tuesday Tibi said the ratification of the bill would incite riots among the Bedouins. “The people will meet the bulldozers with their bodies,” Tibi said. “They’ll block the bulldozers and not let them through. Unequivocally, this will not come to pass.”
Furious debate as Arab town gets Jewish land
Arutz Sheva 25 June by Maayana Miskin — A furious debate erupted Tuesday in the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee over a plan to transfer land from the Jewish town of Moshav Beit Hananya in the Haifa area to the nearby Arab town of Jisr a-Zarka … MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said, “There is no Arab town on Highway 6 that didn’t have lands expropriated. From what is left of their land, more was taken. It’s good that you feel what we’ve felt this whole time.” … MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) voiced strong opposition. “When a guest is in my home, I give him respect. As long as they understand who is the host, and who is the guest, everything is fine. This debate is about national rights, not individual rights,” he continued. “We have to speak the truth: this is our land, not yours. You are guests…”
Photos: New excavations in the vicinity of Al Aqsa
Team Palestina 24 June — The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) in cooperation with Jewish societies and companies started their excavations and construction projects concurrently in three areas around the Aqsa Mosque. In a report released on Monday, the Aqsa foundation stated that the first construction site is on the southern side of Al-Maghariba Gate ramp, the second site is on the eastern side of the Umayyad Palaces to the south of the Aqsa Mosque and the third site is on the southern side of the entrance to Wadi Hilwa neighborhood. The foundation underlined that these projects are part of an ongoing Judaization plan to change the Islamic identity and landscape of the whole area around the Aqsa Mosque.
Aqsa Foundation: The occupation seized an ancient Islamic fountain in J’lem
[photo] OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 June — The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage warned that the Israeli antiquities authority took over the historical public drinking fountain known as “Qattanin” in the old city of Jerusalem at the pretext of making repairs. The Aqsa foundation expressed its fear that the Israeli antiquities authority might destroy or Judaize this ancient fountain, which dates back to the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
ILA to confiscate 70 dunums of Sur Baher lands
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 24 June — The Israel Lands Administration (ILA) declared its intention to confiscate 70 dunums of Sur Baher lands in Duhr area in occupied Jerusalem in favor of settlement projects. One of the land owners stated that the Israeli authorities had confiscated in 1971 nearly 2240 dunums in the mentioned area in order to build Armon Hanatziv settlement.70 dunums have remained from the confiscated lands where construction work has been postponed on it due to the local residents’ appeals, he added. The Israeli authorities declared its intention to construct a new settlement neighborhood on the remaining 70 dunums including the establishment of a Jewish synagogue and public facilities.
Land confiscation continues in Awarta
[with video of confiscated land] Awarta, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 24 June by Nablus Team — Awarta, a small village south east of Nablus, faces constant intimidation from the Israeli army and nearby Itamar settlement. In the past month, the Israeli Civil Administration handed out two land confiscation orders to residents of Awarta. The first one, three weeks ago, stated that 360 dunums of the village’s land will be confiscated and the second one, issued last week, confiscated 63.4 more dunums. However, residents of Awarta affirm that the actual total amount of land confiscated raises up to 1,500 dunums … The illegal settlement of Itamar, constructed in 1984, has taken 30,000 dunums from the nearby Palestinian villages of Awarta, Beit Furik, Rujeib and Yannun. Awarta’s land comprises a total area of 22,000 dunums. However, Itamar has taken 12,000, leaving the residents of Awarta with only 10,000 dunums, most of it located in area C. [a dunum is 1000 m² or 1/4 acre]
Tawana village facing settlement expansion
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 25 June — Saber al-Hariny, member of Tawana village council, told PIC’s correspondent that the villagers have been exposed to settlers’ daily attempts to confiscate lands adjacent to the settlements that surround the village. Tawana village, east of Yatta town in the southern part of al-Khalil district, which has a population of about 400 people, is surrounded by four Israeli settlements; Fatah Sedro, Ma’on, Karmiel and Umm Arayes. Al-Hariny pointed out that the Zionist establishment has been trying to expel the residents of the village and force them to leave their properties, amid the absence of support from the Palestinian Authority. Tawana village has experienced since 1967 many attempts to Judaize it for its proximity to the Jordanian border.
Army to Duma: ‘Stop building!’ Duma to army: ‘We’ve built already’
Duma, Occupied Palestine (International Women’s Peace Service & ISM) 24 June — On Thursday 20th June, Israeli soldiers and border police handed out ‘stop building’ orders to 11 buildings in the village of Duma, southeast of Nablus. The papers state that owners of the targeted buildings, which include family houses and a furniture factory, must stop construction because “it is forbidden to build” in that area. Villagers are ordered to apply for building permits at the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet El (which is also the headquarters of the Israeli Civil Administration); they are given 30 days to do so … It took the owner of the factory two months of daily knocking on institutional doors to attain a document recognised by both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities stating that he is the legal owner of the land he’s built on (29 dunums in total). He received the ‘stop building’ order nevertheless, and is now ready to fight his case in courts … Duma experienced its latest demolitions some 20 years ago. Villagers speculate that Israel has not yet demolished new ‘forbidden’ buildings because of Duma’s geographical location: thanks to the rocky terrain, there are no nearby illegal settler colonies whose interests Duma would supposedly be threatening. [lovely photo of village land here]
Israeli authors campaign against eviction of West Bank villagers
Mufaqara (Guardian) 25 June by Harriet Sherwood — Some of the most celebrated figures in Israeli literature are campaigning to stop the forcible eviction of Palestinian communities in the barren hills of the southern West Bank to clear land for an Israeli military firing zone. Twenty four authors — including the acclaimed triumvirate of David Grossman, Amos Oz and AB Yehoshua — have put their names to an appeal to save the villages of the South Hebron hills. The population of around 1,000 lives “in constant fear, helplessly facing a ruthless power that does everything to displace them from the home they have inhabited for centuries”, according to the letter, which was written by Grossman.
Youth protest water shortages in Bethlehem camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 June — Palestinian youths burned tires and briefly stopped traffic on a main Bethlehem road Tuesday, as they protested against water shortages in the occupied West Bank. Several dozen residents of Bethlehem’s al-‘Azza refugee camp joined the demonstration in which participants set fire to tires and blocked traffic with a dumpster they dragged into the center of Manger Street. A Ma‘an reporter observed firefighters and police officers arriving at the scene. He said they did not interfere with the demonstration, which ended without injury or damage. Rights groups like Amnesty International say Israel appropriates Palestinian natural resources and provides an inordinately large water supply to its settler population.
A dozen Palestinian children ‘on big adventure of their lives’ are balked when teacher is stopped from traveling
Camden Abu Dis Friendship Assn 24 June contrib. by Tom Suarez — A Palestinian head teacher leading 12 children on their way to London for a Camden – Abu Dis youth exchange funded by Youth in Action was prevented by Israeli guards from crossing the border between the West Bank and Jordan yesterday, Sunday 23rd June. The group of 16 were travelling to join a UK group of the same size for a drama-based exchange during which they would be five days in Devon followed by six days in London. Held as he turned up at the ‘Israeli bridge’ with the children, Mazen Salahuddin had his passport removed and was not allowed to travel in any direction until the end of the day. Then he was returned his passport but not allowed to cross the border, with no reason given. The accompanying adults and the children (boys and girls, aged between 13 and 15) waited until they feared to miss their flight to London, then rushed to Amman airport but missed the flight by minutes.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Border police raid Palestinian towns after residents protest wall that cuts them off from Jerusalem
Mondoweiss 25 June by Allison Deger — Early Monday morning hundreds of Israeli border police raided cities across the West Bank, arresting at least 15 people. While local and regional media covered the story, Ma‘an News and the right-wing Arutz Sheva were the only organizations that published in English on these incursions. Both of the reports were lacking though; only partial accounts of the nighttime raids were printed and neither provided any context on a row over the wall’s expansion prompting the arrests. Ma‘an, reporting on raids in Nablus and Jenin in separate articles, missed the biggest event of Sunday night. A major operation took place outside of Jerusalem, which was picked up by Arutz Sheva (which in turn did not report on the Nablus and Jenin raids). Hundreds of border police storm Jerusalem area At dawn, 200 border police arrested 11 Palestinians in Abu Dis and Eizariya for suspicion of throwing Molotov cocktails at the separation barrier. The Palestinian outlet al-Quds reported that when the military failed to find some suspects at home, family members were taken into custody. Israeli courts have backed the practice of arresting family members as a legitimate form of coercion — so detaining a father and a brother of a wanted man (which happened Sunday night) is considered above reproach.
Family: Soldiers attacked disabled son in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 June – Israeli forces assaulted a disabled youth in al-‘Arrub refugee camp in Hebron early Thursday after raiding his house and detaining him for hours, his family says. The mother of Adam Ghazi, who suffers from cognitive impairment, says he was forced to walk over thorns with bare feet. “I asked the army to leave him alone and stop beating him. I told them my son is disabled, but they ignored his condition and beat him so bad,” she told Ma‘an TV. “He couldn’t stand and they forced him to but he fell on the floor. The troops held his legs and hands and held him in the street and he was screaming from pain. I swear the whole camp heard his voice,” she said. Adam’s brother Muhammad said the soldiers broke into the family’s house “and attacked my brother and my father for no reason.” His mother added that she asked the soldiers to stop, explaining Adam’s disabilities, but they refused. “I was screaming and asking for help,” she said. She said six soldiers were involved.
Soldiers invade Salfit
IMEMC — A number of Israeli military jeeps invaded on Tuesday at dawn [June 25 2013] the central West Bank city of Salfit, broke into homes and searched them. Local sources have reported that the soldiers handed a number of residents military warrants ordering them to head to a nearby military base for interrogation. Soldiers also fired several concussion grenades and gas bombs in a number of neighborhoods in Salfit.
In related news, several Palestinians have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation during clashes that took place after dozens of soldiers invaded Al-Ezariyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem.
Also on Tuesday at dawn, a number of military jeeps invaded Beit Sahour city, near Bethlehem, broke into the home of Khaled Shahin, and violently searched it; no arrests were reported.
Army kidnaps two children in Jerusalem
IMEMC — Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Monday evening [June 24 2013] two Palestinian children in the Al-Ram town, north of occupied East Jerusalem. Local sources have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and clashed with local youths who hurled stones at them. The sources added that the army kidnapped two children identified as Tareq Dweik and Yazan Az-Zaro. The army claimed that the invasion was carried out after Molotov cocktails were thrown at a military jeep parked near the entrance of the town. Soldiers then invaded the area and fired dozens of concussion grenades, gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets.
Journal: Witness to a child arrest in occupied Hebron
Hebron (ISM) 24 June by Khalil Team — Since coming to the West Bank I had heard a lot about the Israeli army detaining and arresting children. Despite this, the first time I saw it myself, I was amazed. Amazed that people — young soldiers — could intimidate, harass and arrest kids. And all done with smiles on their faces. We were called to the army base on Shuhada Street with a report of two children being detained … When we got close to one of the illegal settlements in Hebron, we saw a mob of about ten soldiers down a side road — when we approached they disbanded. As they moved apart we saw that they had been crowded around two young children, around ten years old, who were backed up against a wall. On our arrival a group of soldiers came over to us, laughing and joking with each other, trying to talk to us in broken English. According to them the children had been caught throwing stones in the old souq. It seems laughable to think they’d be so concerned, being covered head to toe in military gear and holding guns. The children were forced to stand apart, in the dark, in an alley full of soldiers for over an hour.
Journal: Saturdays under the settlements
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 25 June by Khalil Team — Saturday is supposed to be a holy day for the Jewish settlers of the illegal colonies in the West Bank; many don’t work, they don’t turn on electrical appliances, they don’t drive cars. But some of the violent and Zionist among them still allow themselves one activity — attacking and harassing Palestinians. This Saturday, four international volunteers accompanied a farmer and his family from the town of Beit Ummar to their land, which is in the valley directly underneath the settlement of Bet Ayin, notorious for violent attacks against Palestinians, especially on Saturdays. The family had asked for an international presence to act as a deterrent for the settlers and also to speed the farming, as the quicker we could bring in the [plum] harvest, the less time the family would be at risk on their land … The farmer walked us through, pointing out each and every plant which had been killed over the last couple of years. Each had been sown with love, hope and resistance — and each had been torn down by the settlers … He also showed us the river running through the valley and how it was polluted, poisoning some of the trees and causing weeds to grow wild, blocking access across the river to the land on the other side. The pollution comes from the looming settlement of Bet Ayin. When his English was limited, the farmer acted out the attacks to which he had been subjected — showing us marks on his head where the settlers had beaten him.
Israel police creates unit to fight ‘price tag’ attacks — but only in West Bank
Haaretz 26 June by Chaim Levinson — Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered police to establish centralized unit 18 months ago with goal of creating intelligence database and cracking down on extremist attacks across country – but plan has already gotten off to rocky start … The original plan was for the unit to operate as a department within the West Bank’s Central Police Unit, as that is the region where most of these “price tag” attacks – 80 percent – are perpetrated. The centralized unit would then be charged with carrying out investigations of similar incidents across the country – an arrangement similar to the one used to fight organized crime. Roughly 10 to 15 percent of price tag attacks are reported in the Jerusalem district and a few percent more have been recorded elsewhere in Israel. But the decision to base the unit in one district angered the commanders of the other districts, as it meant that their officers would in effect be subordinate to the centralized West Bank unit in each of these investigations.
Settlers attack Palestinians in Hebron
IMEMC 25 June — Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped [Monday June 24] two Palestinians near Yatta town, after clashing with settlers who attacked a number of local shepherds. Jabour said that a number of extremist settlers attacked local shepherds in Ein Al-Baida area, close to Karmiel illegal settlement, and added that the settlers tried to push the Palestinian shepherds out of a gazing area. He added that dozens of soldiers arrived at the scene, attacked the shepherds, kidnapped two identified as Ahmad Mohammad Abu Hmeid, 18, and Nassar Ali Abu Hmeid, 17, and took them to an unknown destination.
Settlers attack Israeli peace activists near Qalqilia
IMEMC 26 June — The Yesh Din independent Israeli human rights group reported that some of its activists have been injured, Tuesday, after being attacked by extremist Israeli settlers near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. The incident took place when extremist settlers of the Givat Gilad illegal settlement, and a few nearby settlement outposts, attacked a car that belongs to Yesh Din and assaulted the passengers. Yesh Din activists were visiting the Far‘ata Palestinian village, near Qalqilia, subject to frequent attacks by extremist settlers.
In related news, a number of extremist settlers closed the Huwwara roadblock, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and prevented Palestinian cars from crossing. Soldiers manning the roadblock did not attempt to stop the settlers, local sources have reported.
On Tuesday evening, clashes took place between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths near Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Local sources have reported that the army installed a roadblock near the Fruits Market, stopped and searched dozens of vehicles and interrogated the residents, an issue that pushed several Palestinian youths to throw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers.
Settlers assault Israeli activists near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 25 June — Settlers on Tuesday assaulted members of the Yesh Din Israeli human rights organization near Qalqiliya, a local official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the north of the West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from Havat Gilad attacked a car for the organization and its passengers. Yesh Din members were visiting the village of Far‘ata to see the suffering of Palestinians there, Daghlas said. Palestinians managed to move the settlers away, but one activist was injured and taken to an Israeli hospital.
Two Palestinians injured, one kidnapped near Hebron
IMEMC — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded on Monday at dawn [June 24 2013] Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, kidnapped one resident, and shot two more during clashes that took place after the army invaded the town. Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, stated that the army invaded the town and kidnapped Ahmad Rashid Sabarna, 19, after breaking into his family’s home and violently searching it.
Sabarna is a former political prisoner who spent 14 months in Israeli prison. His arrest brings the number of Palestinians, kidnapped in the town since the beginning of the year to 61, most of them are children.
In related news, soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians in ‘Anabta and Qouseen [or Qusin] villages, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. The two have been identified as Zeid Abdul-Dayem, 20, from ‘Anabta, and Osama Jouda Ta’ma, 27, from Qouseen.
Israel reopens Nablus checkpoints after shooting
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 June — The Israeli army reopened all checkpoints in Nablus Tuesday morning after a 30-minute closure in response to gunfire at an Israeli settler bus. The Israeli army said shots were fired toward a bus near the Huwara checkpoint in southern Nablus, and that bullet shells had been recovered at the scene. The army is searching for the suspect, a spokeswoman said. Caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy was stopped during the closure at the Za‘tara checkpoint for 30 minutes, a source told Ma‘an.The army neither confirmed nor denied that Hamdallah’s convoy was stopped, saying “we have no way of knowing.” A Ma‘an correspondent said the closure caused a severe backlog of traffic from Nablus and Zat‘ara to Ramallah. Residents are being investigated in the search for the suspect, the correspondent said.
PPP denounces political arrests in Qalqilia
IMEMC — [Monday June 24 2013] The leftist Palestinian People’s Party issued a statement strongly denouncing the Palestinian [PA] security forces for arresting members of leftist parties, members of the Popular Resistance Movement, by Palestinian military intelligence officers, this past Sunday in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The PPP said that the security forces arrested several PPP comrades, and members of other leftist parties, in Jayyous town, north of Qalqilia. It added that the arrests targeted activists of the Popular Struggle against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the town.
Families of detainees rebut claims about absence of political arrests in W. Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 June — The committee representing families of political detainees in the West Bank refuted claims made by the Palestinian authority security agencies that all the arrests they had conducted were not politically motivated. In a press release, the committee stated that the politically-motivated arrests and summonses are still ongoing in the West Bank. It said that it had documented since the beginning of the current year 440 incidents of political arrests and 920 summonses for political reasons in different West Bank areas. The committee underlined that the Israeli-backed PA security agencies target during their detention campaigns relatives of martyrs and prisoners, ex-detainees released from Israeli jails, university students, journalists, Mosque imams, teachers and dignitaries.
Detainees / Court actions
2 killed as prisoner relatives’ bus collides with truck
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) updated 15 June — Two people were killed and 20 others were wounded on Monday when a bus transporting prisoners’ children collided with a truck near the Israeli Civil Administration office in the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses said. The Al-Asra Center for Prisoners identified one of the victims as 11-year-old Tariq Sakini, from the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. His father, Ahmad Sakani, is serving a 27-year sentence in Israel. Tariq was born after his father was imprisoned and had only been able to visit him twice, the center said. Gaza civil defense spokesman Mohammad al-Maydana said the bus was transporting around 25 to 30 relatives of prisoners. The injured were transferred to hospital for treatment. Road works were being carried out at the time of the accident, al-Maydana said. The children were participating in a summer camp.
Prisoner awaits birth of son after ‘smuggling sperm to wife’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — A prisoner from Jerusalem is awaiting the birth of a son after smuggling his sperm to his wife, a prisoners group said Monday. Fahmi Mashahra, 33, was detained on 4 Sept. 2002 and was sentenced to 20 years, the director of the Ahrar Centre for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights Fouad al-Khafsh said. Mashahra’s wife said they decided on smuggling the sperm after her husband was first detained when she was eight months pregnant, adding that her husband has never seen his first child Obeideh. The wife said she had seen many women get pregnant by their husbands in jail through smuggled semen, the center said. She is now three months pregnant, the center said.
Bethlehem prisoner on hunger strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 June– A Palestinian prisoner from Bethlehem announced Monday that he was on hunger strike, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said. Ahmad Hamdan, 23, will be joining his brother Ayman on the hunger strike, which he began on 28 April. Ahmad is currently being held under administrative detention. There are 24 prisoners on hunger strike, the society said.
IOA renews administrative detention of Suwaiti for third time
NABLUS (PIC) 25 June — The Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention, without trial or charge, of Ibrahim Suwaiti, 35, for six months. Fuad Al-Khuffash, the director of Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights, said that Suwaiti, from Al-Khalil, was held in administrative custody as soon as he was arrested on 8/6/2012. He said that the IOA always claim that there is a secret file against him to justify his continued incarceration … He added that Suwaiti suffers from chest pain and difficulty in breathing and is frequently transferred to hospital. Suwaiti, a father of two children, was previously held in Israeli occupation jails for three consecutive years and in administrative detention for 27 months.
Israel breaks pledge to allow imprisoned Gaza engineer family visits
Gaza Strip (Electronic Intifada) 24 June b Rami Almeghari — One year after Israel promised to allow Palestinian prisoners to receive visits from their families, it is still denying Dirar Abu Sisi the right to see his loved ones. Abu Sisi, the deputy engineer of Gaza’s only power plant, was abducted in Ukraine, the country of his wife’s birth, in early 2011. He has been held in an Israeli prison since then. Throughout that time, his wife Veronika has only been able to have three telephone chats with him. “The last call, which took ten minutes, was in January 2012,” she said. “When my mother died back in Ukraine, they refused to let us have a phone conversation.” Tal Linoy, an Israeli attorney who is representing Abu Sisi, accused Israel of reneging on commitments that it made to Palestinian prisoners last year following a mass hunger strike. As well as agreeing to allow family visits, Israel pledged to end solitary confinement. Yet Abu Sisi is still held in isolation. Although Abu Sisi has not yet been tried for any offense, the Israeli legal system has approved the extension of his solitary confinement on four separate occasions. The latest extension — for a six-month period — was authorized in April this year.
Israeli military court acquits Palestinian who failed to stop at temporary West Bank checkpoint\
Haaretz 25 June by Chaim Levinson – WATCH: IDF troops raided Palestinian’s home after he refused to halt on way to Ramadan prayer; Judge rules in favor of defendant, saying people tend to get cranky during month-long fast … Alamour, a resident of the village of Munzar, was making his way to a mosque for an afternoon prayer. That was when a soldier ordered him — in Hebrew — to halt. “I’m going,” Alamour replied in Hebrew, and continued in Arabic: “to pray.” The soldier blocked his way, but Alamour went around him. The soldier then asked Alamour whether he had an ID and threatened to arrest him. The exchange lasted no more than a minute and concluded when Alamour was joined by several other Palestinians with whom he continued his walk to the mosque, unimpeded by the soldier. After the prayer, the Palestinian was arrested by a group of IDF troops and spent two days in jail before being released. Capt. Mezi Mekonnen of the Military Advocate General’s office filed an indictment against Alamour for disturbing a soldier. According to the indictment, Alamour pushed the soldier, but video footage from the incident indicated that this was not the case.
Israeli navy gunboats open fire at Palestinian fishermen
GAZA (PIC) 24 June — Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis to the south of Gaza Strip on Monday morning. Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that the gunboats targeted Palestinian fishing boats at sea but no casualties or damage were reported.
Gaza crossings closed for 2nd day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — Israel continued its closure of all crossings into Gaza on Tuesday for the second day, a Palestinian Authority official told Ma‘an. Raed Fattouh said Israeli authorities informed the liaison office that the goods crossing in southern Gaza, Kerem Shalom, was closed for the import and export of goods for “security reasons.” The passenger crossing in northern Gaza, Erez, will also remain closed, except for “humanitarian cases only,” Fattouh said. Israel announced Monday morning it had shut down the crossings following rocket fire. Israel responded by launching a series of air strikes on the coastal enclave.
It remains unclear which military wing launched the rockets. Islamic Jihad denied Monday that its military wing was responsible, a day after severing ties with the ruling Hamas movement in Gaza over the fatal shooting of an affiliate by Hamas police.
Lieberman: Israel needs to conquer and thoroughly cleanse Gaza Strip
JERUSALEM (Independent) 24 June by Ben Lynfield — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest political ally has called for Israel to carry out a “thorough cleansing” of the Gaza Strip as a tenuous ceasefire between its Hamas rulers and the Jewish state frayed. Speaking on Israel Radio, the far-right former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman called for Israel to reconquer the crowded coastal enclave to avoid “finding ourselves in two years with Hamas having aircraft and hundreds of missiles that will reach beyond Tel Aviv”. His comments came as the Israeli Air Force attacked targets in the Gaza Strip after six rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel into the early hours of Monday morning. No one was injured. It was the first ceasefire breach [by Gaza] since April.
Fighter dies in Gaza of wounds suffered three years ago
IMEMC 26 June — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian fighter died Monday [June 24], of wounds suffered three years ago when the Israeli army attempted to assassinate him. The sources said that Mohammad Al-Azraq, 27, member of a group calling itself the “Army of Islam” was hit by shrapnel in the head, while another fighter identified as Mohammad An-Namnam, was immediately killed. Al-Namnam is from the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Family of Gaza man who has been missing for a week says Israel has snatched him
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 25 June — The family of a Gaza man who disappeared in Egypt says he has been kidnapped by Israel. Wael Abu Reda, a 34-year-old from southern Gaza, was in Egypt seeking medical treatment for his son last week when he left his family at a Cairo hotel. He hasn’t been seen since. The man’s brother, Mansour, said Tuesday the family received a phone call from someone claiming to be an Israeli official who said Abu Reda was being held in an Israeli prison. Mansour said his brother has never had any affiliation with militant groups in Gaza. Israel had no immediate comment. More than two years ago, a Palestinian engineer from Gaza was nabbed on a sleeper train in Ukraine and resurfaced days later in an Israeli prison. He’s still being held.
Jihad official tells Hamas inquiry must be fair
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 June — Islamic Jihad leader Ahmad al-Mdlal said Monday that Hamas police made a mistake in killing one of its members during a gunfight and called for a fair inquiry into the death. Hamas’ interior ministry commissioned the inquiry Monday following the death of Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad’s militant wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, who died on Sunday after being shot a day earlier by Hamas police officers. Al-Mdlal told Ma‘an that his movement’s relationship with Hamas “is still the same and has not changed,” despite Islamic Jihad saying Sunday that it was temporarily suspending ties with the Gaza government. Jundeyeih’s family said the pathologist’s report confirmed he had died of wounds caused by Hamas police bullets … One of the Jundeyeih relatives is on the panel investigating the death.
Hamas government in Gaza prevents Zahar from traveling
IMEMC 25 June — Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip have reported that the Hamas government in the coastal region prevented Mahmoud Zahar, one of the political leaders of Hamas, from travelling, as he and a delegation he heads were trying to cross into Egypt on their way to Lebanon and Iran … Last week, the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement issued a statement “demanding the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party to withdraw its fighters from Syria.” Zahar said that the statement was not issued by the Hamas movement in Gaza, and added that the Hamas leadership in exile, led by Khaled Mashal, was behind it.
Hamas denies internal differences
PIC 25 June — Hamas movement denied Fatah claims of alleged internal differences inside the Islamic movement, saying that it targets the movement credibility and unity. In a press release, Hamas denied the allegations published by Palestine Press Website, affiliated to Fatah movement, claiming that Hamas has prevented Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar from traveling due to internal differences within the movement.
Mohammed ‘Assaf, Arab Idol
Picture Gallery: Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf returns to the Gaza Strip
Telegraph 26 June
Assaf: I am a son of the camp
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — Mohammad Assaf declared himself a “son of the camp” on Tuesday as he returned to the Gaza Strip, where thousands of jubilant fans awaited the arrival of the Arab Idol star. Flag-waving crowds waited for several hours at the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border for 23-year-old Assaf, three days after he was crowned the winner of the popular regional singing contest. Assaf bent over and kissed the ground as he crossed the border, an AFP correspondent reported, before holding a news conference alongside Hamas officials. “I thank you for your wonderful welcome and hope the celebrations won’t feature gunfire,” Assaf said, alluding to the shots in the air that sometimes accompany celebrations in the Middle East. Assaf said he was the son of Palestine and “son of the (refugee) camp,” and told reporters he would continue to sing nationalistic songs and raise the Palestinian flag. “We want our freedom,” he added. “I hope I have united the two parts of our country through my participation and I wish the media would concentrate on the Palestinian people.” Recordings of Assaf’s songs blasted out from loudspeakers as crowds thronged his motorcade as it made its way up the Gaza Strip. Assaf was forced to head to a hotel as he could not reach his home in Khan Younis refugee camp, where thousands of fans flooded the streets
Mohammed Assaf, Arab Idol winner, draws thousands on return to Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (AP) 25 June — Palestinians have a new voice: a 23-year-old wedding singer from a Gaza refugee camp touted as a rare symbol of national unity after he won the Arab world’s top TV contest. But Mohammed Assaf’s homecoming Tuesday highlighted the harsh reality of political divisions between the Islamic militants who rule Gaza and the Palestinian president in the West Bank. Even as thousands thronged the streets in a frenzied welcome for the newly crowned winner of “Arab Idol,” Hamas supporters stayed away, unable to reconcile the young crooner’s triumph in the world of glitzy entertainment with their religious beliefs … In a compromise, the Hamas government dispatched a senior official in its Culture Ministry to be among those receiving the singer at the border crossing … However, Assaf will not perform in Gaza, instead traveling to the West Bank for a concert in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’ government, on July 4. He will also visit Dubai. He received a one-year contract from Platinum Records, the Dubai-based label owned by MBC, which broadcast the Arab Idol competition.
Political, other news
Hamdallah: No dispute with Abbas
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 June — Caretaker premier Rami Hamdallah said there was no difference of opinions with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, hours after Abbas accepted his resignation on Sunday. “President Abbas is our choice, the people’s choice, and there is no dispute with him,” he told a Ma‘an reporter during a tour of West Bank hospitals with newly-appointed Health Minister Jawad Awwad. Hamdallah said he would still be fulfilling his duties until a successor is appointed and that he remains in regular contact with PA ministries … The former head of Al-Najah University tendered his resignation last week over what commentators have said was a dispute over the roles of his deputy premiers, who were appointed when the new government was formed … It was the second time in 10 weeks that a Palestinian Authority prime minister had tendered his resignation over a power dispute, and Abbas now has 35 days to find a replacement.
Haniyeh: Palestinians will not recognize Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that Palestinians would not recognize Israel, despite the siege on Gaza and two wars. “We had two wars in which hundreds of people died, and thousands of acres of land were destroyed, but Palestinians did not and will not recognize Israel,” the Gaza premier said as he welcomed international activists to the enclave. Haniyeh said Israel’s blockade aimed to limit the influence of the Islamic model outside the Gaza Strip, and to isolate Palestine in an attempt to force Palestinians to recognize Israel and accept the conditions of the Mideast Quartet.
The premier thanked activists who came to Palestine, describing solidarity visits as a holy duty, and he urged more supporters to come. Haniyeh said aid groups who visited Gaza in solidarity had a political and a humanitarian message, showing that Gaza did not stand alone. “These groups, along with the help of God and the Palestinian steadfastness, eased the siege,” he added.
Abbas may give up 1967 border demand – paper
Ramallah (GulfNews) 25 June by Nasouh Nazzal — Ramallah: An Israeli daily revealed on Tuesday a US plan to jumpstart the stalled peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Maariv paper claimed that Palestinian prisoners will be released and Israel will freeze construction of Jews-only colonies outside the major colony blocks in return for a Palestinian concession on the 1967 border. Maariv reported that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has positively responded to demands of the US Secretary of State John Kerry to offer the Palestinians goodwill gestures, freeze colony construction outside the main colony blocks and release Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails before the Oslo Accords were signed. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has, on the other hand, agreed to give up the Palestinian demand that the peace talks with Israel should be based on the 1967 border.
Before Kerry visit, Netanyahu goes to West Bank
BARKAN, West Bank (NYTimes) 24 June by Jodi Rudoren — Highlighting the obstacles to Washington’s push to revive the Mideast peace process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday made a rare appearance in the West Bank to dedicate an elementary school in a Jewish settlement. Mr. Netanyahu visited the school, named for his father, three days before Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to return to the region for the fifth time in three months, and after two weeks in which right-wing ministers in Israel’s government said the idea of a Palestinian state had reached ‘a dead end’ and promised to block efforts to establish one. While the prime minister ducked questions about the future of West Bank settlements, his presence in the contested territory was itself seized on as an important sign. “Every time Kerry comes,” Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said in an interview, Mr. Netanyahu “does something to undermine the possibility of a Palestinian state. It’s more than provocative, it’s devastating.”
Palestinian hospitals face closure amid debt crisis
RAMALLAH (GulfNews) 24 June by Nasouh Nazzal — Private and charitable hospitals in the Palestinian territories have threatened to close down due to the accumulating debts of the Ministry of Health of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The ministry has failed to settle its debts to the hospitals for seven months leaving those hospitals unable to pay the salaries of employees, leaving pharmaceutical companies refusing to provide those hospitals with their necessary supplies of drugs and medical needs.
Father Hanna slams Israeli attempts to recruit Palestinian Christians
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 June — Father Atallah Hanna, the archbishop of the orthodox church of Jerusalem, reiterated his rejection of Israeli attempts to recruit Palestinian Christian youths to work for its military, civil and security institutions. “We reject such calls to recruit our sons as it goes against our principles, both spiritual and national,” Hanna stated on Monday … “The Christians in this land have no identity crisis as some may think. They are Palestinian Arabs of authentic eastern descent and in need for proper awareness and guidance in order to safeguard their identity and their true national affiliation,” Hanna underscored.
Israeli-Arabs feel left out of national anthem
The Media Line 26 June — Lyrics of Hatikva form focal point for argument over identity as Arab MKs claim symbols of state must connect with whole of country, not just one part of it – The scene in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, was not typical on Tuesday. Dozens of Arab women, most of them from villages in northern Israel wearing traditional dress, packed into the Galil Hall for a discussion about Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, (The Hope). They came alone, without their husbands, and participated frequently in the discussion. Many of the speakers, which included several Arab members of Knesset, said the lyrics of the anthem are alien to them.
Israel ranks as the world’s sixth largest arms exporter in 2012
Haaretz 25 June by Gili Cohen — Israel’s weapons sales jumped 74% since 2008, largely thanks to deals with India, according to IHS Jane’s; U.S. tops the defense intelligence company’s list of arms exporters, with more than $28 billion in defense deals in 2012 … While Israel did not make it into IHS Jane’s top five this year, the company’s analysts noted that it came in second in the world in sales of unmanned aerial vehicles, behind just the U.S.
A-G: Jenin Jenin bill unconstitutional, violates free speech
JPost 25 June by Lahav Harkov, Yonah Jeremy Bob — Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday declared the proposed “Jenin, Jenin” bill unconstitutional, stating that it violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech. The bill — which allows class-action lawsuits against anyone who defames IDF soldiers’ operational activities — was inspired partly by the 2002 film Jenin, Jenin, which claimed that the IDF committed a massacre in the West Bank refugee camp. The same year, five reserve soldiers filed suit for defamation, but the judge dismissed their case because they were not personally slandered in the film..
PHOTOS: Tel Aviv marks World Refugee Day with music, theater
Activestills 24 June — Last Thursday, refugees and Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to mark World Refugee Day, in an event initiated by different organizations of the refugee community and Israeli human rights organizations. Taking place in Gan Ha’Hashmal, where neglected south Tel Aviv meets the richer and more fashionable parts of the city, the event featured three different musical bands formed by refugees, and both Israeli and African speakers.
Court: Israeli guard shot Jew at Western Wall after spat
JERUSALEM (AFP) 25 June — An Israeli security guard who shot dead a Jewish man at Jerusalem’s Western Wall is suspected of murdering him after “a verbal confrontation”, a court protocol revealed on Tuesday. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court also allowed to publish the name of the suspect of the Friday shooting — Hadi Qabalan, a resident of the Druze village Beit Jann in northern Israel, who before becoming a security guard had served as a border police officer. Qabalan had initially told police he shot Doron Ben Shloush dead in an act of self-defense after the latter yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) and tried to pull something out of his pocket, presumably an object that could be used to attack him. This, Qabalan said, led to him suspecting that Ben Shloush was a Palestinian militant.
But in a turn of events, the court protocol showed that Qabalan was being held “on suspicion of murder”, having shot Ben Shloush after “a verbal confrontation between the two.” According to the NRG-Maariv news website, Qabalan shot Ben Shloush — a 46-year-old homeless man who frequented Jerusalem’s Old City and was subject to rage attacks — after on Friday the latter called him a “son of a bitch Druze”, following weeks of confrontations between them.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
The Palestinians’ last option: a struggle for equal rights / Ghada Karmi
Palestine Chronicle 23 June — Once upon a time, Palestine was the Arab world’s unifying cause. Justice for the Palestinians was considered a basic pre-requisite for regional stability and peace, and it was an idea that had global resonance. Today, the picture is different and the Palestinian cause has been falling off the political agenda ever since the onset of the Arab Spring, the Syrian conflict, and Israel’s success in placing Iran’s nuclear program at the center stage. This month, a study by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies confirms this slide. A survey of over 20,000 respondents in 14 Arab countries revealed a widespread engagement, not with Palestine, but with the Arab revolutions and their future, with Syria and the need for democratic systems of government. Only a third cited Israel as the greatest regional threat, about the same percentage as Iran amongst those living in Iraq and the Gulf. This change comes on top of a gradual loss of Palestinian unity due to the fragmentation of Palestinian society into those under occupation, divided between the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, those in Israel, those in refugee camps and the rest in exile. The result has been increasingly to replace the national cause with local causes.
Big racists vs. little racists: how Israeli apartheid is becoming unstuck / Jonathan Cook
Palestine Chronicle 22 June – One incident of racism, though small in relation to the decades of massive, institutionalized discrimination exercised by Israel against its Palestinian Arab citizens, has triggered an uncharacteristic bout of Israeli soul-searching. Superland, a large amusement park near Tel Aviv, refused to accept a booking from an Arab school on its preferred date in late May. When a staff member called back impersonating a Jew, Superland approved the booking immediately. As the story went viral on social media, the park’s managers hurriedly offered an excuse: they provided separate days for Jewish and Arab children to keep them apart and prevent friction. Government ministers led an outpouring of revulsion … While Netanyahu and his allies on the far right were castigating Superland for its racism, they were busy backing a grossly discriminatory piece of legislation the Haaretz newspaper called “one of the most dangerous” measures ever to come before the parliament. The bill will give Israelis who have served in the army a whole raft of extra rights in land and housing, employment, salaries, and the provision of public and private services. The catch is that almost all of the country’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens are excluded from military service. In practice, the benefits will be reserved for Jews only.
Our ‘price tag’ / Jawdat Ibrahim
Ynet 24 June –Op-ed: Abu Ghosh resident says recent acts of vandalism in town result of anti-Arab atmosphere in Israel — It is difficult to express in words how insulted and shocked we were after a group of hooligan terrorists slashed tires and spray-painted anti-Arab graffiti in our town of Abu Ghosh. As a local, I cannot recall an incident that angered us more; that hurt us so much. And I understand why. After all, the residents of Abu Ghosh have been a symbol of co-existence and hope since the country’s inception. And now these hooligans try to damage this co-existence with their despicable acts. The temptation to fall into the nationalist terrorists’ trap is great. It is so easy to take on the role of the victim; to blame and destroy. But this is not our way. It never has been, and it never will be. Here in Abu Ghosh, we implement a “price tag” policy of a different kind: Wherever the hooligans destroy, we will build; whatever filth they leave behind, we will clean up. We will not let them destroy the co-existence we have worked so hard to maintain for so many years.
Israel’s many ways to hate Arabs / Moshe Arens
Haaretz 24 June — Unfortunately, there is a broad spectrum of hostility toward Arabs throughout Israeli society. It is not limited to the ‘price-tag’ gangs … You may have noticed that in the current debate over ultra-Orthodox Jews sharing the burden of citizenship and serving in the Israel Defense Forces, the subject of military service by Israeli Arabs is being consistently evaded. It is argued that their place is national service, not military service. The more outspoken in this debate say clearly that the Arabs cannot be trusted with guns … After 65 years during which Arabic alongside Hebrew has been one of Israel’s official languages, there are Knesset members who would lift that status. What’s that if not a hostile act toward Israel’s Arab citizens? Then there’s the inane insistence that Israel is not and should not be “a state of all its citizens.” Are they trying to tell Israel’s Arab citizens that Israel is not their state? That it belongs only to Israel’s Jewish citizens? Not to the Druze, not to the Christians and not to the Muslims? Try telling that to those serving in the IDF and to the families whose sons have given their lives for Israel’s defense. It is not only absurd, it is shameful.
Consensus wisdom: The boycott of Israel is working / Larry Derfner
972mag 24 June — From reading my digital mail, I see that a lot of people who say they oppose the occupation also oppose the boycott against Israel, and not only on moral grounds, but for practical reasons as well. It won’t work, they say, it won’t convince anyone, it’ll have a boomerang effect by making Israel even more intransigent. I’ve made my arguments against the moral objections to the boycott (here, here and here), but now I want to yield the floor to much more prominent speakers – all of whom oppose the occupation and, explicitly or presumably, the boycott too – who have been warning lately that the world is gradually turning its back on Israel, and the only way it can avoid eventual isolation is by freeing the Palestinians. In other words, they’re saying the boycott is having an impact, and it’s growing. The catalyst for this gathering concern was Stephen Hawking’s decision in early May to boycott last week’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
Israel’s quiet strategy of conquest / Paul R. Pillar
Consortiumnews 24 June — While paying lip service to a two-state solution, some Israeli officials bluntly acknowledge that their goal is to repress the Palestinians and eventually absorb most of the West Bank into a Greater Israel. This strategy anticipates the continued acquiescence of the U.S., says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar — The two and a half years of uprisings in the Middle East known collectively as the Arab Spring have had an apparent hole in the middle; there has not been a new full-blown uprising during this time by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This fact is testimony to the ruthlessly effective control measures of Israel, with a security apparatus that outclasses any mukhabaratin the Arab world. The Palestinian outlook in the face of these control measures is a combination of despair and being deterred … Outside powers, and especially the United States, need to be prepared for a new Palestinian uprising whenever it finally occurs. They also need to be prepared for the Israeli government’s response … The path of greater political resistance would be the right path, which would be to address squarely what underlies the unrest. That path would recognize explicitly that following the Israeli lead means that no time would ever be right for moving meaningfully toward a Palestinian state. It would recognize that if there is a crisis of legitimacy with Palestinian political entities (manifested most recently in serial resignations by prime ministers of the Palestinian Authority), this is largely because even when the Palestinians have had capable leaders their role has been limited mostly to assisting in carrying out Israel’s security and administrative responsibilities as an occupying power. And it would recognize that if the Palestinians are divided between the competing political factions of Fatah and Hamas this is in large part because Israel has done everything possible to keep them from reconciling.
Book review: Outspoken rabbi urges American Jews to ‘look oppression in the face’
Electronic Intifada 21 June by Rod Such — Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity by Brant Rosen — …Rosen is the rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston, Illinois, the co-founder with Rabbi Brian Walt of the Jewish Fast for Gaza, and the co-chairman of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council. The bulk of this book is drawn from Rosen’s Shalom Rav blog (Hebrew for “abundant peace”), dating from entries written between December 2008 and December 2010 and including the comments which readers left on the blog site … On his blog, Rosen engages largely with a religious US Jewish readership, and as a result, much of the questioning tone appears to be meant to encourage dialogue without bludgeoning defenders of Zionism over the head. Still, he pulls no punches. Writing a year after Operation Cast Lead, Rosen states, “at the end of the day, there is nothing complicated about persecution … oppression is oppression.” Unlike liberal Zionists, Rosen unequivocally condemns the Nakba, the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. “By any other name,” he writes, “this would be called ‘ethnic cleansing,’ and I have no trouble saying so.”