Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Arrests
2 arrested for suspicion of attacking 80-year-old Palestinian
Ynet 18 June by Itamar Fleishman – Two young men, 18 and 19, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attacking and causing severe injuries to Hassan Barhoush, an 80-year-old Palestinian shepherd. One of the suspects, Israel Naki, was remanded by three days, and the second suspect will face a remand hearing Wednesday at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. Both suspects deny the allegations. Barhoush, from Kafr al-Labad in the West Bank, was severely beaten by two masked men while herding his sheep at the end of March. The men hit him with sticks and fled the scene. Both of Barhoush’s hands were broken in the attack, and he was left bleeding and unconscious on the ground. Only later was he found by family members and evacuated to the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where he underwent a long rehabilitation process. Last week, the police received a tip that led to the arrest of Israel Naki. The second suspect was arrested the following day. According to police, the act was nationalistically motivated … According to the committee of the Avnei Hefetz settlement, the suspects are not residents of the settlement, but were rather “staying here for reason that could not be specified. The residents of Avnei Hefetz have clearly condemned the violent act in question.” The statement added that the settlement committee chairwoman Tikva Jan visited the victim in the hospital. “If it turns out that the suspect were indeed behind this, we intend to demand police bar them from the settlement.”
Settler dogs attack Palestinian villagers near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 June — A settler released his dogs on Palestinian villagers south of Hebron on Wednesday, a local committee said. Coordinator of the popular committee against settlements in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour, told Ma‘an that a settler from Susiya unleashed his dogs near al-Sumu‘ and Haribat al-Nabi to scare villagers. Settlers in the area often release their sheep onto Palestinian land to damage their agriculture, al-Jabour added. In March, Israeli Knesset member Ahmad Tibi alleged that settlers in the West Bank were training dogs to attack Palestinians.
B’Tselem condemns dog attacks
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — The Israeli rights group B’Tselem on Tuesday condemned Israel’s use of dogs to attack unarmed Palestinians. “The use of dogs to attack citizens in unacceptable and immoral,” B’Tselem’s executive director said in a letter to the legal consultant of the Israeli army in the West Bank. “This is a dangerous tool that cannot be controlled. It causes panic between people, and has led to serious injuries in certain cases.” The letter referred to an incident May 15 when three men from Beit Ula were trying to get into Israel to work. They were stopped by the Israeli army but tried to flee. One of them was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet, and two were attacked by dogs and seriously injured. They were taken to a hospital in Ashkelon.
Illegal settler colonisers attack workers in Asira
Asira al Qibliya (International Women’s Peace Service) 17 June — In the evening of Sunday 16 June, a gang of illegal settler colonisers, accompanied by some 30 Israeli soldiers, attacked the small group of Palestinian men who were working on a water project in the village of Asira, south of Nablus. The settlers threw stones while the army threw stun grenades and fired tear gas at the workers and the villagers who had gathered at the site to protect them. The attackers then told the workers that they “must leave the area.” Such criminal activities against the workers are committed almost daily in Asira. Even despite the fact that the project they are working on — building a water reservoir and a pipe to connect the surrounding villages of Madama, Burin, and Asira, to a water source — has a building permit, they are not allowed to do their work uninterrupted by violence from the illegal settler colonisers and the Israeli army, who have also destroyed some 100 pipes originally bought for the project … In mid-1980s, the illegal settler colony of Yitzhar was established on that very [sacred] hilltop. That was the end of the Palestinian spring celebrations, and the beginning of Asira’s land and, crucially, water theft. Before the colony, the area was the locals’ breadbasket, thanks largely to its generous water resources. The nearby natural spring used to be Asira’s main source of water; the illegal settler colony, backed up by the Israeli government and the army, has completely blocked Palestinian access to the spring. Since then, villagers are forced to rely on water tanks; one such tank costs NIS 130 (US $36) in a place where unemployment is high; it is enough for a family for only a week. In this context, water theft is yet another method intended to drive the indigenous population off their land.
Settlers attack village near Nablus [again]
IMEMC 19 June — A number of extremist Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday evening (June 18 2013] the village of Aseera [Asira] Al-Qibliyya, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and burnt the room of the guard of the local water storage facility. Local sources have reported that the settlers burnt the room of the guard who managed to escape unharmed. The settlers also tried to attack a number of homes in the village.
Palestinians, Israeli forces clash in Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 18 June — A large Israeli force raided a village south of Nablus on Tuesday and closed a nearby army checkpoint, a local official said. Around 20 army vehicles entered Qabalan village and soldiers fired tear gas at residents and their homes, said Hisham Azar, head of the local municipality. Azar told Ma‘an that villagers clashed with the soldiers.
Soldiers invade Teqoua‘ near Bethlehem
IMEMC 19 June — Local sources have reported that several Israeli soldiers invaded, late on Tuesday at night [June 15 2013], the village of Teqoua‘, east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and clashed with local youths. The sources said that the army fired gas bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets and concussion grenades at local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at them; several residents have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
IOF soldiers raid Jenin, search homes
JENIN (PIC) 17 June — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided Jenin district at dawn Monday and searched citizens’ homes in a number of villages near the city. Local sources said that the soldiers entered five villages in a pre-dawn raid and used flare bombs in the process. They said that many homes were searched including one for a known Hamas activist in Sirees village.
Light sentence for officers who abused Palestinian
Ynet 17 June by Aviel Magnezi — Four Border Guard officers who were caught on tape abusing mentally challenged Palestinian get four months community service. Judge: Violence was not severe — …During the incident, the officers detained the 27-year-old Palestinian and then put him in their police jeep when he was unable to present an identification card. They asked him again where his ID card was, and warned they would sic their dog on him. At this point the Palestinian began to weep, and Ya’akobi hit him in the stomach while Farhan poured water over him.
Short video: Ten-year-old boy arrested in Hebron
Hebron 17 June (ISM) by Khalil Team — Around 8:30pm on June 16th, a ten-year-old local Palestinian named Amed was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the market of the old city of Hebron. He was held for around an hour in the military base on Shuhada Street and interrogated. He was then taken, handcuffed, by two soldiers on foot through the street to the checkpoint between the Israeli and Palestinian controlled areas — he was then released to the Palestinian Authority police. The alleged reason for this arrest was that the boy was throwing stones; his brother informed international observers that he had mimed throwing stones and the soldiers decided to arrest him for it. Amed was questioned by the Israeli military without a lawyer or family member present, illegal under international child protection laws.
Five Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
Israeli soldiers kidnapped late on [Monday at night and Tuesday at dawn] five Palestinians, including one child, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. Dozens of soldiers invaded Surif and Beit Ummar towns, the Al-‘Arroub refugee camp, and Beit Ar-Rosh At-Tihta village, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke into and violently searched several homes … Several armored military jeeps also invaded the Marah Rabah village, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped one resident identified as Ali Mahmoud Sheikh, 29, after invading his home. Two more Palestinians were kidnapped, late on Monday at night, at the Za’tara roadblock south of the northern West bank city of Nablus. The two, identified as Moayyad Yousef Omar, and his brother Hasan, were kidnapped while heading back home from work. They are from the Al-Jaroushiyya village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem.
PA security forces arrest 5 Hamas members
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 June — Palestinian Authority security forces arrested five Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Tuesday, according to the Islamist group. Five members were detained in Hebron, Hamas said in a statement, while five others were issued with summons orders to talk with security forces.
Islamist students vow to fight PA crackdown in West Bank
Times of Israel 18 June by Elhanan Miller — New campaign calls on Hamas-affiliated students to resist ‘political’ investigation summonses — A group of Hamas-affiliated students living in the West Bank has launched a campaign calling for civil disobedience against harassment by Palestinian Authority security forces. Titled”“It Makes No Difference To Me,” and organized by the Union of Islamic Students in the West Bank, the campaign aims to fight what members say is a PA crackdown on Hamas activists across the West Bank, including repeated summonses for investigations in PA security headquarters.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
IDF turns Palestinian land into security trail
Ynet 18 June by Elior Levy – Palestinian territory which was illegally seized by residents of the Itamar settlement was recently “converted” into a security trail by the IDF. An aerial view of the area makes it clear that the military area (marked in red) corresponds nearly entirely to a security trail which settlement residents illegally took over ten years ago. Since then it has been defined as an area forbidden to Palestinians. Two months ago, Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon signed an order for seizure of the land adjacent to the settlement, for security purposes, covering an area of 63 dunam around the settlement. The land belongs to residents of the villages Awarta and Rujayb, and now the owners cannot enter their agricultural fields without prior coordination with military officials … The rights organization B’tselem commented, “Instead of enforcing the law on settlers who illegally entered the trail, authorities cooperate and facilitate the robbery after-the-fact. The army must find a way to protect the settlers of Itamar in a way that will not critically harm the livelihood of the owners of the Palestinian land.”
NGO reveals new ‘Grand Jerusalem’ plan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — Israel intends to appropriate land in Bethlehem to expand the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, a Palestinian NGO revealed Tuesday. The Grand Jerusalem plan would see the confiscation of 22.500 dunams (5.55 acres)[unclear how much this is], Jad Ishaq, the executive manager of the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem [ARIJ] told Ma‘an. The land is being seized under Israel’s Absentee Property Law, which converts land to the State of Israel if the original owner is deemed absent from the land. West Bank land is particularly vulnerable to appropriation under this law, as though residents remain on their land, not having a Jerusalem ID card places their status as “absent.” The land or property is then placed under the purview of Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Property, which Ishaq notes is in contravention of international law. Israel’s Supreme Court approved the confiscation in September. The lands were placed under the Jerusalem 2020 plan in 2005, earmarked as “green” for Israeli development. Ishaq says the plan will turn the area into a “human warehouse,” forcing residents into more confined spaces. The goal, he said, is further isolate Jerusalem from Bethlehem and create an expansive “settlement band” around the Holy City. ARIJ called on the Palestinian Authority to pressure the international community and the European Union into action against the plan. “Tell the world how dangerous this scheme is; it is the biggest land robbery,” Ishaq said. The areas where the land will be taken are Khirbet al-Mazmouriya, Khilet al-Ribway, Wad Saleh, Wad Luqa, Jabal Skhour, Wad Al-Jamal, Jroun al-Humus, Cremisan and all the land built on the nearby Gilo settlement
Israelis living in West Bank demand green laws apply on their side of Green Line
Haaretz 17 June by Zafrir Rinat — Israelis living in the West Bank are demanding that the Environmental Protection Ministry apply Israel’s environmental-protection laws to areas over the Green Line. The demand has drawn opposition from the left, with opponents claiming such a move could be interpreted as a step toward placing the settlements under Israeli sovereignty.
Israeli forces begin demolishing school in Azzun Atma
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — Israeli forces began demolishing a school on Tuesday in the village of Azzun Atmah in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, the school’s administration said. A day earlier Israeli forces entered the Azzun-Beit Amin School to take measurements as they prepare to enforce the further construction of Israel’s separation wall in the district. The village also receives children from the Beit Amin village. [Ma‘an: Azzun is located in an enclave of the wall, nearly completely surrounded by it.]
Settlers threaten to occupy Palestinian village
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 18 June — Extremist Israeli settlers posted a sign threatening to occupy the village of Azzun in the northern West Bank district of Qaliqiliya on Tuesday. Writing in Arabic at the village entrance, settlers hanged a banner reading “On Tuesday the village will become ours.” The banner was signed by “The Women of Samaria (the Jewish biblical term for the northern West Bank),” a far right settler organization. The threat follows on from an invitation through various Israeli media outlets by extremists on Monday to join a demonstration at the entrance of Azzun, which they said was to protest “the ongoing stone attacks” on settlers’ vehicles near the town. Earlier in June Israeli forces closed down the village by placing large cement blocks at its entrance after alleging young men from the village had been throwing stones at settlers’ cars.
The latest episode of endless settler violence in Qusra
Qusra, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 15 June by Nablus Team — The night of Saturday, 15 June, Israeli settlers continued a tradition of violence and harassment against the Palestinian village of Qusra. Late at night, settlers from Esh Kodesh, the nearby settlement, trespassed upon Palestinian private property, damaged five olive trees, destroyed part of a building and took two support poles from it. Several olive trees had trunks completely severed and some had branches cut off. Twenty such buildings, which serve agricultural purposes, were donated by a foreign European government to Qusra in May 2013. Because the houses are located in Area C (under complete Israeli military and civil control), they were declared illegal by Israeli authorities last week. A legal decision regarding their demolition is set to be decided in an Israeli court on an unknown date.
Arrests and demolition orders in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 18 June — The Israeli police and municipal crews have carried out raid campaign at dawn on Monday in Beit Hanina, Salam and Shu‘fat refugee camp near the city of Jerusalem. A number of arrests were reported. The Israeli police broke into a Palestinian building in Tel al-Foul and arrested 25 citizens living in it under the pretext of establishing a building without permit, an eyewitness confirmed. The sources added that a fine of 800 shekels ($225) was imposed against each one of the detainees, pointing out that 80 other citizens were also arrested for the same charge in Salam and Shu‘fat camps.
The Jerusalem municipality crews along with the Israeli police raided the village of Silwan on Monday morning, and handed out three administrative demolition orders for commercial facilities. The Israeli authorities have escalated recently its demolition policy against Palestinian properties and escalated settlement constructions in Palestinian neighborhoods within the so-called “Holy Basin”.
IOA forces Jerusalemite to raze his own home
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 17 June — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) forced Jerusalemite Hasan Abu Hidwan to raze part of his home in the Old City of Jerusalem with his own hands. The Israeli municipality said that the additional part of the building was built without permit and should be knocked down. Wahdan said two weeks ago that an Israeli court gave him until 30th May to remove the 25-square-meter section of his home or else pay 30,000 shekels fine. He told Wadi Hilwa information center that he built the additional room four years ago only to be slapped with a court ruling ordering its demolition. Wahdan said that the court imposed on him a ‘light’ fine of 2,500 shekels if he knocked down the room with his own hands.
Israeli plan to dig artesian well in Wadi Rebaba neighborhood in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 18 June — Israel’s national water company Mekorot and the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) declared a plan on Monday to dig an artesian well in Wadi Rababa neighborhood in Silwan district. The information center of Wadi Hilwa-Silwan said that the IOA plans to turn a public place (national park) in Wadi Rababa into a water facility under the administration of Mekorot, noting that the Palestinian residents of this neighborhood were allowed to raise their objections to the plan within 60 days as it was stated in the Israeli announcement. The information center also said that this project would be carried out on an area of 30 dunums of land owned by Palestinian citizens in Wadi Rababa. Wadi Rababa residents, according to Shadi Samreen who lives there, have always been banned from repairing, cultivating or building in their own lands at the pretext they are public places, although they possess deeds proving their ownership of these land … The center noted that the Israeli municipal council in Jerusalem placed one year ago water tanks in Wadi Rababa neighborhood and used water pumps to fill these tanks with water from Ayoub and Ein Loza wells, while the natives are prevented from taking water from these wells.
Israel denies Arab artists entry to West Bank
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 19 June — Three Arab singers were denied entry into the occupied West Bank on Tuesday by Israeli authorities, the PA governor of Jericho said. Egyptian singer and actor Midhat Salih, Jordanian singer Zein Awad and Qatari singer Ali Abd al-Sattar were scheduled to perform in Ramallah as part of a campaign to support Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, but were denied entry at the Allenby Bridge crossing. They were due to perform Wednesday in the “Appeal for Freedom” campaign organized by the PA ministry of prisoners. Renowned Tunisian singer Lutfi Bushnaq was allowed entry into the West Bank Tuesday and was welcomed by deputy governor of Jericho Jamal Rajoub.
Israel isn’t the only culprit:
Palestinian writers refused visas for travel to UK
Guardian 18 June by Mark Brown — Two Palestinian writers have been refused visas to travel to the UK and speak at a festival celebrating contemporary Arab art. The Gaza-based husband and wife writers, Ali Abukhattab and Samah al-Sheikh, were due to talk about their writing at London’s ICA on 28 June but have been barred from coming – to the disappointment and frustration of festival organisers. Omar al-Qattan, chairman of what is the second Shubbak festival, said two reasons were given for the visa refusal. One, that they did not qualify as having business reasons — “obviously they were coming for work, they were coming to do an evening in the festival” — and the other, that the authorities were not satisfied the couple would go back to Gaza.
‘Price Tag’ epidemic: 788 cases, 154 indictments
Ynet 18 June — From north to south, from Jaffa to Jerusalem, more places in Israel become scene for nationalistically motivated hate crimes of vandalism, destruction. ‘Price tag’ data released only days before cabinet decides not to deem such attacks as terror, despite recommendations — While politicians and legal experts attempt to define what exactly constitutes a ‘price tag’ attack and whether it can, or should, be labeled an act of terror, another such incident takes place, this time in the Arab village of Abu Ghosh. The latest incident, which took place Tuesday morning, and involved slashed car tires and graffiti reading “Arabs out,” was followed by the usual string of police decrials. However, data reveal that these detractions do not necessarily result in the apprehension of the vandals behind them, nor their being brought to justice. In the meantime, from a bird’s eye view perspective, it seems Israel has become a stage for nationalistically motivated hate crimes of vandalism, destruction and incitement – almost a “religious war” as some politicians have called it. As of June, 2013 saw 165 cases opened, 76 suspects arrested and 31 indictments filed. According to data presented by police earlier this week in the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, during 2012, 623 cases related to such attacks were opened, 200 arrests were made and 123 indictments were filed. In geographical terms, ‘price tag’ attacks were reported in a wide array of areas, from the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem, to Deir Istiya in the West Bank and even in the peace oriented community of Nave Shalom (literally Oasis of Peace), to name a few; mosques were reportedly torched near Ramallah, Hebron and Latrun; and hateful graffiti was reported in Jaffa as well as Safed and Afula in the north.
Mayor: Abu Ghosh hate crime attack ‘act of cowardice’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — The mayor of the Palestinian Abu Ghosh village in West Jerusalem denounced Tuesday’s “price tag” attack in the area as an “act of cowardice.” “They think they can scare us … but the villagers endured artillery shelling and never left their village. We will live in Abu Ghosh — which is a symbol of peace and coexistence — until the end,” Mayor Salim Jibril told Ma‘an. The tires of 28 cars were slashed in the village and racist graffiti was sprayed across buildings including “Arabs out” and “Discrimination or Assimilation,” Israeli news site Ynet reported.
Deri: ‘Arabs out’ is the same as ‘Jews out’
Ynet 18 June by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — Shas chairman Knesset Member Aryeh Deri arrived at Abu Ghosh on Tuesday after vandals slashed car tires and sprayed graffiti reading “Arabs out” in the village. “The hands that spelled out this sentence ‘Arabs out’ needs to remember that the hands of our greatest haters wrote ‘Jews out’. It’s the same thing.” “We need to take responsibility; there are Jews all over the world. We can’t be shocked to see this in Europe and cry ‘anti-Semitism‘ while not condemning it here at home. It’s not Judaism, it’s the opposite of Judaism and Torah. Whoever did this, has hurt the Torah.”
100 protest in Abu Ghosh in wake of ‘price tag’ acts
Ynet 19 June by Omri Efraim — Some 100 Jews and Arabs protested Tuesday in Abu Ghosh, where a ‘price tag’ act was perpetrated earlier Tuesday. The protesters cried out against the recent prevalence of “price tag” acts … Protesters carried signs reading “light instead of terror,” and cried out “no to racism, yes to neighborliness.” Among the protesters were MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud-Beiteinu) and MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnua). ” ‘Price tag’ is an act of terror and should be treated as such,” said MK Rivlin, adding that “terror is terror whether it’s nationalistically, racially or religiously motivated. We can’t keep paying lip service and address these incidents as marginal cases. Every time we keep silent in the face of ‘price tags’ we enable the next ‘price tag’.” The MK urged the Israeli government to address the issue, insisting that otherwise “we will all pay the price.”
Detainees / Court actions
Setting a dangerous precedent: 16-year-old Ali Shamlawi faces 25 counts of attempted murder for alleged stone throwing
Mondoweiss 17 June by Katherine Flynn — Three months ago today, in the early hours of March, 17 2013, Israeli soldiers appeared at 16-year- old Ali Shamlawi’s house in the West Bank village of Hares. They blindfolded him, handcuffed him and took him away. His arrest was one of a spate of arrests in March of this year which saw 19 boys, aged 16 and 17 years old, arrested for throwing stones which were alleged to have caused a traffic accident on Route 5, a large road which cuts through the West Bank to service illegal Israeli settlements … The traffic accident in question occurred on March 14 when a car carrying a mother and her three daughters from Ariel crashed into the back of a truck on Route 5 near Hares, after the truck had braked suddenly. The youngest daughter was critically injured in the crash. The driver of the truck initially attributed the sudden breaking to a flat tire but later claimed he braked suddenly when stones hit his truck. Locals who were at the scene of the accident moments after it occurred were interviewed by the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) and reported that they did not see any youth in the vicinity. However in the weeks since the accident, 61 witnesses from surrounding illegal settlements have come forward claiming their cars were also damaged by stones thrown by Palestinian youth from the side of the road. These settlers claim that Palestinian boys were 5-10 metres from the side of the road but these allegations have never been verified by the extensive CCTV footage in the area. Since the initial arrests, 14 of the Palestinian boys have been released. However, five boys, including Ali Shamlawi, remain in prison three months later. Along with the other boys, Ali is being charged with 25 separate counts of attempted murder (one for each individual stone he allegedly threw) and is facing 25 years to life imprisonment. Last Thursday on June 13th, Ali was in court again for his sixth hearing.
Report: “Detaintee Abu Hamdiyya died of advanced stage of carcinoma’
IMEMC 17 June — Sunday [June 16] Head of the Palestinian Forensics Center, Dr. Saber Al-‘Aloul, stated that the final findings of the forensic report regarding the cause of death of detainee Maisara Abu Hamdiyya, revealed that he suffered from a fourth stage carcinoma. Abu Hamdiyya died more than 2 months ago … Despite the seriousness of his condition, the Israeli Prison Administration did not grant Abu Hamdiyya the needed specialized and urgent medical treatment, until it was too late. During a press conference in Ramallah, Al-’Aloul stated that Abu Hamdiyya did not receive any treatment, not even one chemotherapy session, an issue that led to spread of cancer to various vital organs. He held Israeli directly responsible for the death of Abu Hamdiyya, and said that Israel deprives the Palestinian detainees from adequate medical treatment, and imprisons them under very harsh inhumane conditions.
Israel renews administrative detention of 50-year-old prisoner
PNN 19 June – Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention, for six months, after two years of administrative detention respectively against Nazih Abu Aoun, 50, of Jab’a village in Jenin, Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said in a press release. Director of Ahrar Center, Fuad Al-Khuffash, said that Abu Aoun is one of the prisoner movement symbols who was arrested on 5/7/2011 and held in Hadarim, to spend in occupation strongholds 16 years collectively. He was freed in March 2010, after three years of administrative detention.
Israeli prison guards detain prisoner’s mother
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — Israeli prison guards on Tuesday detained a woman visiting her son at Hasharon prison, a committee for prisoners’ parents said. Committee head Amjad Abu Asab said prison guards detained the woman because she was carrying a mobile phone, which is banned in prison visits. She said she forgot to take it out of her handbag before visiting the jail, Abu Asab told Ma‘an. The woman, who was visiting her son Shadad al-Awar, was held her for two and a half hours at the prison and then taken to Kfar Saba police station. Al-Awar was detained on May 5 and is now banned from family visits.
PA to increase prisoner allowances during Ramadan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 June — The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday that it will increase allowances for prisoners jailed in Israel during the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan [which begins about 9 July]. Issa Qaraqe, the PA minister for prisoner affairs, told Ma’an that the PA will provide an extra 100 shekels ($27) to prisoners in Israeli jails. The PA provides around 400 shekels ($111) each month to prisoners for minor expenditures and to buy food, spending around 2 million shekels ($556,000) each year.
Right-wing MK sues West Bank watchdog for libel
Times of Israel 17 June by Asher Zeiger — Machsom Watch song lyrics say that Jewish Home’s Orit Strock told her son to beat an Arab; organization claims ‘artistic satire’ — MK Orit Strock of the hawkish Jewish Home party has filed a lawsuit against the left-wing women’s group Machsom Watch, alleging malicious accusations, incitement and libel, Maariv reported on Monday. The lawsuit refers to song lyrics penned by members of the West Bank watchdog organization about Strock and her son Zvi, who in 2007 was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and sentenced to 18 months in prison. http://www.timesofisrael.com/right-wing-mk-sues-west-bank-watchdog-for-libel/
Hamas formed special unit to counter shell fire from Gaza, report claims
IMEMC 17 June — Israeli sources have reported that the Hamas movement in Gaza formed a special unit to prevent resistance groups from firing shells into adjacent Israeli areas. Israeli Wallah News stated that Egyptian mediators managed to keep the truce holding between Hamas in Gaza and Israel, and claimed that Hamas formed a special unit to stop the firing of shells. It added that the unit contains 600 Hamas fighters deployed on border areas with Israel, and operating 24/7. According to the report, Hamas is determined to prevent all armed groups in Gaza from firing shells, even of this means clashing with certain “extremist Islamist groups.” According to Wallah News, senior Israeli army sources confirmed the report, and said that this unit was formed before the latest war on Gaza took place, and increased its activities after the war.
Palestinians fire rocket towards southern Israel
Times of Israel 19 June — No injuries or damage reported as projectile falls short of the border; attack attempt follows weeks of calm in the south … It was the first rocket attack since April 29, while Israelis were celebrating the holiday of Lag B’Omer. In response, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories ordered the closure to commercial traffic of the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Gaza government: ‘We never prevented Muslim students from attending Christian schools’
IMEMC 18 June — The Palestinian Ministry of Education, under the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, denied reports claiming that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and its government ever prevented Muslim students from attending Christian schools in the coastal region. The Ministry issued a press release [Monday June 17 2013] stating that such a claimed decision was never made, and that students have the right to choose any school they deem fit. The statement came after an Israeli news agency claimed that Hamas is preventing Muslim students from attending Christian school in Gaza. An official at the Ministry of Education in Gaza stated that the government supports all schools, including Christian schools, and does not differentiate between them.
Gaza women raise voices online
Al-Monitor 18 June by Lena Odgaard — Female activists in Gaza have turned to social media to air their thoughts, but on-the-ground activism is still constrained by a largely male-dominated society — Sitting in an armchair with her feet tugged up under her and a laptop in front of her, blogger Malaka Mohammed typed 140 characters and clicked “tweet.“ She scrolled through the most recent tweets, then went to her blog where she reviewed a post she is working on before moving on to her Facebook page, checking recent comments from her more than 5,000 followers. The 22-year-old recent English literature graduate is one of Gaza’s most prominent online activists. “I started with Facebook, because there is no house here without Facebook. Then, a teacher told me I should start a blog because I’m a good writer. I now have thousands of readers,” Mohammed told Al-Monitor at her home in Al-Shejaia in Gaza. “Whenever I write, reply or share I always think of the result and effect. The Palestinian issue is important. When you write something as a Palestinian, the entire world will think of you as representing Palestinian women.”
Gaza’s gypsies face daily racism
Al-Monitor 14 June by Asmaa al-Ghoul — …”In the eyes of society we are religious and social degenerates, although in the past we used to be seen as an example of creativity and ethics,” Asmahan, 22, confided to Al-Monitor. Asmahan agreed with Zoohoor and Dina that Gaza has changed. People from different social classes no longer wish to marry them, although it was a common occurrence in the past. Moral and religious prejudices have become even more rigid. The Dom are not represented in parliament or in any of the political factions or institutions. They do not benefit from the international aid sent to the Palestinian people of Gaza. It is as if where they live is invisible to the broader community and the government. Some Dom women have, therefore, begun begging in the streets, while the men find work in “fadous,” popular male-only groups who play drums and march during wedding processions … According to unconfirmed figures and the Dom interviewed, there are about 900 Dom people living in Gaza Strip, and 7,000 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, most of whom are Sunni Muslims.
Video: 21-year-old Gaza woman mothers 11
Al-Arabiya 17 June by Hanan al-Masry — A 21-year-old woman in Gaza has given birth to quintuplets, making her a mother of 11 after previously giving birth to sextuplets. “I really don’t want to keep on giving birth, but this is what happened to me,” Naima al-Batash told Al Arabiya. “After one course of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, I put one child to sleep, but then the second child will wake up, so I start breastfeeding, and the same thing happens again… My head is spinning,” she said. “Crying won’t help. If God gave me these children, he’ll help me raise them,” Batash added. Naima’s husband Raad is feeling the financial strain, as the salary from his government job is less than $500 a month, and half of it goes to paying debt. “I feel what’s demanded from me is more than I can give as a 25-year-old, a lot of money every day to buy milk and Pampers,” he said.
From Gaza to the USA — culture shock
MWC News 17 June by Fidaa Abu Assi — …Speaking of food, I was “culturally” shocked to say the least. I have so many hilarious food stories to share that I could be a good raconteur, I think … [Americans] wanted to know what is like for Palestinians, perceived as needy, destitute, uneducated, unenlightened, to be in the United States of America, living a civilized life! Only then did I realize that this is the culture shock they were talking about. I came to this conclusion based on questions such as: “Are there universities in Gaza?”, “is Internet available there?”, “are there stores, restaurants, parks,..etc.?”, “do people in Gaza listen to music?”, “do they play sport?” “what?! You have a beach over there?! I thought you came from a place mostly desert!”, or “today is unbearably hot, but — lucky you — you are used to this, how did you survive the winter?””, and here’s the killer: during one of the events I spoke at, a woman asked me if we are willing to build playgrounds for children instead of teaching them violence and asked me whether they go to school.
Israeli Arabs face extensive barriers to getting college education, report says
Haaretz 19 June by Yarden Skop — Israeli Arabs face 14 barriers to obtaining a college education, ranging from financial difficulties to inadequate public transportation, according to a new report by Hirak — The Center for Advancement of Higher Education in Arab Society. The report says that only 11 percent of Arabs are accepted to college, and that Arabs constitute only 10 percent of all those who obtain bachelor’s degrees … Hirak proposes 10 ideas for improving the situation, including tuition discounts for poor students, investing more money in the Arab education system, opening preparatory courses in Arab towns, developing academic guidance programs for Arabs, eliminating minimum age requirements, setting up an alternative admission process that doesn’t rely on the psychometric exam, giving Arabs preferential admission to dorms, and introducing more Arabic on campus.
Arabs: Preferential treatment bill ‘discriminatory’
Ynet 17 June The Media Line — A new law being proposed by an Israeli parliamentarian would give preferential treatment in housing, employment and higher education to anyone who served in the army or did alternative national civilian service. The bill, which has been approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, has sparked controversy over whether it discriminates against groups such as Arab citizens of Israel and ultra-Orthodox Jews, neither of whom do military service.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Feature: Palestinians flee fighting in Syria, hit wall of poverty in Gaza
GAZA (Xinhua) 16 June by Fares Akram — Akram Abdul-Kareem used to running a pan-Syria business that imported and distributed smart phones and their accessories from China, developing a fortune over the years. But as fighting escalated in the city of Homs, a commercial hub where he lived, Abdul-Kareem fled the violence-torn country to join his Palestinian wife, who had left Syria with their four children and settled with her family in the Gaza Strip a year ago. “Sometimes, we cannot find bread to eat for dinner,” said the 45-year-old man at the apartment he rented in a small building in Rafah, a town bordering Egypt. He arrived here less than two months ago.
Grandi: Seven Palestinian refugee camps in Syria are theaters of war
AMMAN (PIC) 17 June — UNRWA commissioner-general Filippo Grandi said that seven out of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Syria have become “theaters of war” which are often inaccessible to UNRWA. “Killings, kidnappings, poverty, destruction and fear have become part of the daily life in these camps,” he said. Speaking in Amman at the bi-annual meeting of UNRWA’s advisory commission, Grandi said that more than half of the 530, 000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria are believed to be displaced. 15 percent of all refugees have fled abroad
6 Palestinians killed in Syria refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — Six Palestinians were killed at dawn on Tuesday in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria after a bomb exploded near the local hospital, a statement issued by local group said … The statement said the Husseiniyeh and Khan Danon refugee camps were being “showered with missiles,” leaving residents without electricity, food and gas. The group also said Syrian security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad detained local Fatah leader Abu Nasser Qablawi in the Husseiniyeh camp for “helping the injured and taking them to nearby clinics,” the statement read. One Palestinian is also missing from the Yarmouk refugee camp after not returning from work, the statement said, concerned he may possibly have been detained by Syrian forces.
Political, other news
Bennett: Apply Israeli sovereignty over Area C of the West Bank
JPost 17 June by Tovah Lazaroff — Annex Area C of the West Bank now because the idea of creating a Palestinian state there is over, said Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) on Monday. “This our home. We are the tenants here, not occupiers. The story of establishing a Palestinian state within our country, that story is over,” Bennett said at a public relations conference in Jerusalem sponsored by the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
PA: Israel declared death of 2-state solution
Ynet 17 June by Elior Levy, Moran Azulay — Addressing Minister Bennett’s claim that two-state concept reached ‘dead end,’ Erekat says Israel ‘determined to make Kerry’s efforts fail’; Yesh Atid, Livni also criticize Bennett
Hamas official demands Hezbollah withdraw fighters from Syria
IMEMC 17 June — The Hamas movement called on the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party to withdraw its fighters from Syria [supporting President Bashar Assad], and to focus on the struggle against Israel. Dr. Mousa Abumarzook, member of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, posted a statement by Hamas on his Facebook page, and stated that “the current developments in Syria, the challenges the Syrian people, the Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic Nations face require stressing essential issues.” “We demand Hezbollah with withdraw his fighters from Syria, to keep his weapons only directed against the Zionist occupation”, the Hamas official said, “The existence of Hezbollah fighters in Syria increases sectarian conflicts”.
Hamas chief Mashaal to meet with Turkey’s Erdogan
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — A Hamas delegation led by party chief Khalid Mashaal arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The visit to Turkey follows a four-day trip to Egypt and is part of a regional tour by Hamas delegates to discuss security and political developments in Palestine. The group has also visited Bahrain and Kuwait, and is expected to visit Jordan and Oman.