Gaza 2013: Snapshot
[with infographics] Gaza Gateway 2 June Gisha — Discourse about Gaza tends toward the extremes. If on one end of the spectrum you hear that Gaza is nothing but an “open-air prison”, others will claim that “there is no closure” and that all Israeli-imposed restrictions stem from security considerations. It will soon be six years since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and Israel tightened access restrictions on the Strip – a good opportunity to provide up-to-date information on the state of affairs . . .
While people can now travel more freely between Gaza and Egypt through the Rafah crossing, travel between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is still severely limited, even though Israel and the international community recognize the fact that the two areas constitute a single territorial unit with extensive economic, familial and social ties between them.
Officially, Israel allows people to travel only in “exceptional humanitarian cases, with an emphasis on urgent medical cases”. In practice, travel permits are also given to senior merchants and for limited family visits. Palestinians who wish to obtain a permit to exit the Gaza Strip must meet criteria determined by Israel. These criteria limit travel by people to certain “categories”, even when there are no security allegations against the individuals wishing to travel. So, for example, a Gaza resident whose brother passes away may travel to the West Bank to attend his funeral, but the same man will not be able to travel to console his brother if his brother’s wife passes away.
Another example is the restriction on travel by students. Since the year 2000, long before Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, students have been prohibited from traveling to the West Bank for the purpose of studying. The ban highlights an absurdity, such as in the case of the Gaza resident on whose behalf Gisha petitioned the court. She had received permits to travel to the West Bank to participate in seminars, but was denied a permit to travel to the West Bank to study at Birzeit University.
Read the rest at: http://www.gazagateway.org/2013/06/gaza-2013-snapshot/
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Plan to legalize West Bank settlement of Eli paves way for its expansion
Haaretz 1 June by Amira Hass — The approval of the urban plan for Eli, submitted thirty years after the settlement was founded, will legalize hundreds of illegal houses. Legalization of further outposts will soon follow — …The plan (no. 237) would not only legalize construction on the lands of Palestinian villages As-Sawiye and Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, already declared as state lands; by using unorthodox planning procedures and verbal acrobatics, the plan would also legalize houses and roads built illegally on private Palestinian lands, in the heart of Eli or on its borders — the “blue line.” The plan does not stop at legitimizing illegal structures within the settlement’s borders, but further signals that it intends to legitimize structures in Eli’s four illegal outposts, two of which are built on the land of the village of Quaryut. The present plan includes 1,000 dunams, but it contains planning elements that would allow the settlement to include, in the future, the outposts and other illegal constructions, thus expanding to 6,000 dunams, including both privately owned Palestinian as well as state lands…
Eli’s plan differs from its predecessors in one way. In other settlements, the condition for the urban plan’s approval was the demolition of all illegal construction in the private enclaves, and their rehabilitation as lots suitable for agriculture. This was the Civil Administration’s way of demonstrating that they respect the sanctity of Palestinian private property. In Eli, a new category was invented: “construction lots to be completed.” … There is no intention of demolishing these building constructed illegally on private Palestinian land: on the contrary, the plan offers to legitimize them, and, in fact, adapt the plan and its boundaries to fit reality.
Jerusalem municipality orders home demolitions in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — …Demolition orders were affixed to two homes in Silwan‘s al-Bustan neighborhood belonging to Mazin and Wael Udah and the al-Rajabi family, said Director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center Jawad Siyam. Locals told Ma’an Israeli police stormed the Beer Ayyub, Wadi Hilweh and al-Bustan neighborhoods in Silwan, taking several pictures. Siyam added that police and municipality staff also broke into a house belonging to Rweidi family to check for any work carried out without a building permit, which are notoriously difficult for Palestinians in East Jerusalem to obtain. The homes slated for demolition were built “long years ago,” says Siyam, and their owners have already paid fines and received several demolition orders before.
Some 88 homes are scheduled for demolition as part of the Israeli municipality’s plan for a “biblical park” in Silwan and around the “Holy Basin,” which includes many Christian and Muslim holy sites. According to the UN, nearly 1,000 Palestinians in Silwan are at risk of displacement as a result of home demolitions in the area.
Israel to evacuate land near Salfit
SALFIT (WAFA) 2 June – Israeli authorities Sunday notified Palestinians to evacuate their 100-dunums land in the town of Bruqin, northwest of Salfit, according to an activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern parts of the West Bank, told WAFA that Israeli authorities notified Palestinians to evacuate 100 dunums of their agricultural land in the village of Bruqin within 45 days. He pointed out that Israel aims to take over the land by evacuating it from its owners.
Israel issues confiscation orders for Nablus land
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli authorities issued military orders on Sunday to confiscate 60 dunams of land in Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said the orders will annex land from the villages of Awarta and Rujeib, located opposite the illegal settlement of Itamar.
Israeli forces shut down main road in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 May – Israeli forces shut down a main road connecting the southern West Bank villages of Idhna and Taffuh with Hebron on Thursday. The road, which was shut down with roadblocks and earth mounds, runs through thousands of acres of agricultural land. Several Bedouin families live in tents and mobile structures along the road. The closure of the route will deprive families of access to their fields and to nearby villages. Locals told Ma‘an that settlers from the nearby Telem settlement have recently been assaulting Palestinian farmers. They highlighted that Israeli forces protected settlers while they carried out attacks on farmers.
5 Bedouins injured as Israeli police demolish houses in Negev
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma‘an) 30 May — Five Palestinians sustained injuries Thursday in clashes with Israeli police officers in the Bedouin village of Beer al-Mashash in the Negev. A Ma‘an reporter said the clashes erupted as Israeli forces demolished three houses in the village which is “unrecognized” by the Israeli authorities. The houses belong to the Abu Skeik family. As the owners tried to prevent the demolitions, Israeli officers fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and plastic-coated bullets. As a result, five were injured including children and a pregnant woman.
Settlers block main road near Salfit
IMEMC 2 June — Several Israeli settlers closed the main road leading to Yasouf village, east of the central West Bank city of Salfit, and attacked a number of cars and citizens. Local sources have reported that dozens of settlers gathered at the road, blocked it, and attacked several Palestinian vehicles and residents. The blockaded road is close to the Tapoah illegal Israeli settlement, and connects Za‘tara village with Salfit, it also leads to Eskaka and Yasouf towns. It is worth mentioning that the northern entrance of Salfit town has been blockaded and closed by the army since 2000…
In related news, several settlers uprooted and fenced Palestinian farmlands that belong to villagers of Khirbit Al-Fakhakheer near Salfit.
Furthermore, a number of settlers set ablaze Palestinian lands and trees that belong to residents of Betello [or Beitillu] village, west of Ramallah.
Settlers destroy olive trees near Salfit
PNN — On Monday 3rd June, settlers destroyed olive seedlings and trees in lands north of Salfit, near the two villages of Yasouf and Askaka. Palestinian farmers said that settlers always destroy the olive trees that are planted in the lands of Salfit, on which Israel has built the Apartheid wall on Palestinian-owned lands. The farmers call for a cease of the settler’s attacks on them and their properties, asking to be allowed to enter their lands anytime to cultivate them, especially those located near Za’tara checkpoint and the Apartheid wall.
Settlers install mobile homes on private land near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 May — Israeli settlers have installed mobile homes near the illegal outpost known as Sde Boaz in the Ein al-Qassis fields of al-Khader south of Bethlehem, an activist said Thursday. Ahmad Salah, spokesperson of a local popular committee against settlements and the separation wall, told Ma‘an that settlers brought the homes in response to a court decision to evacuate Sde Boaz. He highlighted that the settlers laid a 5-kilometer dirt road along the Wadi al-Ghawit area to serve the caravans. Separately, settlers built a monument and benches in the area known to al-Khader farmers as Dhahr al-Zayyah and raised Israeli flags in the area.
Israel’s state prosecutor: Perpetrators of ‘price tag’ attacks can’t be called terrorists
Haaretz 2 June by Chaim Levinson — The State Prosecutor’s Office has come out against a proposal to label the perpetrators of “price tag” attacks – generally carried out by extreme right-wing activists against Palestinians and leftists – as terrorists. The State Prosecutor believe that using such a definition is not an effective way of combating such acts, due to the fact that the perpetrators of the attack lack of a centralized office or chain of command. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is in favor of the proposal and soon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide which side he’s on. The initiative to declare the perpetrators of “price tag” attacks a terrorist organization was first discussed in December 2011 after the attack on the Ephraim Brigade. In that incident, a group of settlers broke into a military base at the entrance to the settlement of Kedumim and damaged several vehicles to prevent the evacuation of a nearby outpost.
IOF prevents 105 citizens from travel
WEST BANK, (PIC) 1 June — The Israeli occupation authorities prevented 105 Palestinian citizens from traveling through the Karama crossing [Allenby Bridge] under security pretexts during the month of May. Jericho Police Station said in a statement that among 46,194 citizens who traveled through the Karama crossing heading for Jordan and other countries during the month of May, the IOA sent 105 of them back to their homes and prevented them from traveling. The Israeli authorities have been also banning students and employees in other countries, as well as traders, from traveling through the Karama crossing, under flimsy pretexts.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Arrests
Several Palestinians injured by army fire in Jenin
IMEMC Monday at dawn, June 3 2013, Palestinian medical sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, reported that several Palestinians have been injured after Israeli soldiers invaded various neighborhoods in the city and clashed with local youths. Local sources reported that the army invaded Sabah El-Kheir and Al-Iskan areas in the city, and destroyed an electric pole in Kharrouba neighborhood. The sources added that the army fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. Several Palestinians have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation, while at least one resident was shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
Two men arrested and a woman hospitalized in Hebron house raid
Hebron (ISM) 3 June by Khalil Team — A 58 year-old Palestinian man and his 28 year-old son were arrested and his wife hospitalised after Israeli soldiers invaded their home, smashing furniture and breaking electronic goods over a three hour period. Four more houses within the same building were also ransacked. Yesterday at around 2.30pm, at least ten soldiers invaded the home of Mohammed Fathi Jabari (58) on the Western Prayer Road in the Israeli-controlled H2 area of Hebron. During the incident, the soldiers forced the residents all into one room and compelled them to give up their phones. Mohammed Fathi Jabari and his son were then arrested in their home. Despite numerous police and army personnel remaining in the area, the family was given no information regarding the whereabouts of their father and son or the reason for their arrest. Mohammed was released hours later but his son is still being held. Mahera Jabari (49), Mohammed’s wife, who already had heart problems, was hospitalized due to the stress of the situation. During the raid the soldiers kicked down the door to the building and ransacked the rooms of the five homes within. In the first home the soldiers invaded, they kicked down a door and threw a young boy of 10 years old against a wall, causing bruising to his shoulder. International observers interviewed family members from all the homes, who showed them the mayhem created: a broken laptop, a huge chest with the top torn clean off, rooms completely ransacked including one where six children slept, and many broken doors. Contents of drawers, wardrobes and cupboards were strewn across the floor, including clothes, bedding and children’s toys.
Israeli forces storm Hebron town overnight
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli forces stormed the southern West Bank town of Idhna west of Hebron late Saturday night, ransacking six homes, locals told Ma‘an Sunday. Raed Ismail Tmeizi, whose home was ransacked during the raid, said a large number of Israeli military vehicles broke into the town’s Wadi Aziz area, which is near the separation wall. Tmeizi said Israeli soldiers raided the homes for inspection and took several photographs of the homes, he told Ma‘an.
IOF soldiers storm Jenin village, take shots of houses near monastery
Jenin (PIC) 2 June — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Zababde village, south of Jenin, and took shots of a number of suburbs and houses before noon Sunday. Sources in the village said that IOF soldiers in five armored vehicles burst into downtown and took shots of suburbs and houses in the vicinity of the Latin Monastery without giving any reasons. They said that the soldiers detained a number of passersby, who were subjected to field interrogation at the hands of an intelligence officer, and searched passing vehicles.
In another incident, IOF troops stormed villages of Daheriya and Samu‘, south of Al-Khalil province, eyewitnesses told the PIC. They said that the soldiers patrolled a number of suburbs and alleys in the villages, but no arrests were reported.
Weekly settler tour invades old Hebron, disrupting lives of Palestinians
Hebron (ISM) 2 June by Khalil Team — On Saturday the 1st June, another group of illegal settlers of Hebron and other settler tourists invaded the old city of Hebron, a Palestinian area which is tightly controlled by the Israeli military. Palestinian homes were invaded by the soldiers and several incidents of violence and harassment were reported. The afternoon was unusually hot and the area was quiet until around four in the afternoon at which point two groups of three soldiers appeared in the old Souq and invaded Palestinian houses, purportedly to use their roofs for surveillance. One of the homes invaded was that of a sixteen-year-old boy who was arrested last week on false charges of injuring a settler — he was in a different city at the time of the injury — and released shortly thereafter. There also was a report of a soldier beating a Palestinian man, kicking him on the head … At one point, three soldiers broke from the main group and ran through the old city, intimidating people by pointing guns at passers-by. They then stormed into a Palestinian house, occupying the roof which oversees a Palestinian playground. They pointed their guns down at children playing and also trampled all over a rooftop vegetable garden, destroying a number of plants.
Army kidnaps three Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 2 June — Israeli soldiers invaded several areas in the occupied West Bank, broke into and searched several homes, and kidnapped three Palestinians. Local sources have reported that the army kidnapped one Palestinian at the Container roadblock, north of Bethlehem … Furthermore, dozens of soldiers invaded Dar Salah village, east of Bethlehem, broke into and searched the home of resident Mohammad Salah, 32, and handed him a warrant ordering him to head to the Gush Eztion military base, south of Bethlehem, for interrogation. Army also invaded the Al-Mavra [al-Mazra‘a?] Ash-Sharqiyya village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, searched several homes and kidnapped two Palestinians.
Ten Palestinians kidnapped in Qalqilia, Bethlehem and Hebron
IMEMC Monday at dawn, June 3 2013; dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank districts of Qalqilia, Bethlehem and Hebron, and kidnapped ten Palestinians after breaking into their homes and searching them … Local sources in Azzoun town, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, stated that the army invaded the town and kidnapped five Palestinians … Soldiers also handed five residents military warrants ordering them to head to a nearby military base for interrogation. Army also invaded the Al-Khader town, and the Deheisha refugee camp, in Bethlehem, and kidnapped two Palestinians … Furthermore, soldiers invaded Arab Al-Hathalin village, east of Yatta, south of the southern West bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped three teenagers.
Committee: Israeli forces arrest 3 teens near Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli forces arrested three teenagers south of Hebron on Sunday, a local committee said. Ratib Jabour, spokesman of Yatta‘s popular resistance committee, said that Awda al-Hathaleen, 17, Akram al-Hathaleen, 15, and Ammar al-Hathaleen, 17, were detained near Karmel settlement. The teenagers’ parents were informed that they had been taken to Ofer detention center, allegedly because they had entered a fenced area near the illegal settlement.
370 Palestinians kidnapped in May
IMEMC 1 June — The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies issued its monthly report on the Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel, and stated that Israeli soldiers carried out more than 280 invasions, in May, and kidnapped 370 Palestinians. The center said that the some of the detained Palestinians were released later on, while the rest are still imprisoned and facing ongoing interrogation and abuse. It added that most of the arrests in May were carried out in Jerusalem, as the soldiers kidnapped 105 Palestinians from their homes and from the streets and alley of the occupied city … Palestinian researcher, head of the Media Department at the Palestinian Prisoners Center, Riyadh Al-Ashqar, stated that the army also kidnapped more than 85 children in May, including Khaled Dweik, 9, and Amro Dweik, 7. Al-Ashqar added that, in one incident, soldiers kidnapped 45 children near school in Hebron, and interrogated them for several hours before releasing 34 children and the rest remained under interrogation.
Security forces fail to protect Palestinians from settler attacks in incidents documented by B’Tselem over last three months
B’Tselem 29 May — In recent months, B’Tselem staff and volunteers have captured on video several incidents in which settlers attacked Palestinians or damaged their property in the presence of security forces. Most of the incidents described here occurred following the stabbing to death of Yitzhar resident Evyatar Borovsky at Tapuach junction, on 30 April 2013. The other two incidents occurred at other times and in different areas in the West Bank. Description of incidents [with videos]:
Al-Khalil reflection: Trapping children
CPTnet (Christian Peacemaker Teams) 27 May — Because of the dire economic situation in the Old City in Hebron every day children go to the Ibrahimi Mosque soup-kitchen to get food. Walking out through the mosque checkpoint shortly after noon on Sunday 26 May, I was surprised by the number of people standing at the other end of the checkpoint. Upon passing out through the checkpoint I realized that the turnstile to enter the mosque area was closed and nobody was being allowed through. A dozen young boys held plastic tubs of soup they had collected at the soup kitchen. They told us they had been waiting for around half an hour. As the queue of people wanting to get through increased, so did the boys’ frustration. They started ramming the turnstile and shouting to be let through. The Border Police ignored them. Women with babies lengthened the queue. A man said the turnstiles had lost electricity. This seemed highly unlikely to me, though, as the lights were still on in the tunnel above the turnstile and I am sure there must be a backup in case of fire or other emergency. My suspicion was confirmed when Border Police allowed some of the young boys through only to turn the turnstiles off again and trap the boys in the middle between the two turnstiles. The Border Police repeated this twice, trapping young boys and women in a fenced corridor between the two turnstiles.
The cherry on top of the IDF
Haaretz 2 June by Gideon Levy — There isn’t a single Israeli who can imagine what it must be like to wake up in the middle of the night to see dozens of armed, violent soldiers as well as dogs and grenades in his home — The Israel Defense Forces’ Duvdevan unit is just about the very best, albeit with slightly less luster than the Shayetet, the Tayeset and “The Unit” … Duvdevan veterans are well thought-of in Israeli society … On the night of May 25, these soldiers set out on yet another cross-border operation, in the West Bank Palestinian village of Budrus. Their commanders must have gathered them together for a final pre-mission briefing before sunset. Surely they were told about the dangerous terrorist whom they must capture; doubtful they heard that his teenage brother had been killed just four months earlier in a reprehensible manner — shot from close range while trying to escape, after throwing rocks at the separation barrier. At 2 A.M. the raid began. Someone heard the commander tell his soldiers, “There’s to be no mercy in this house.” In this house of mourning, unworthy of Duvdevan’s mercy, slept eight teenage girls and young women, their parents and their youngest brother − members of the Awad family. On the roof slept the dangerous wanted man — a waiter in the nearby village of Na‘alin suspected of throwing rocks and of disorderly conduct. Such serious offenses. What happened after that was no less than a mini-pogrom…
This weekend the IDF Spokesperson took the trouble to send me a video clip as evidence of the family violent resistance: 50 seconds, carefully edited and without sound, in which the women of the house cry out desperately, facing innumerable armed soldiers in the tiny house; the wanted man, Abed, hiding behind them, terrified, moaning in pain. On the clip the IDF spokesperson’s Office has circled a tiny fruit knife in the hand of one of the women and a miniature sickle held by another, which they wave in the air. I have never seen such a ridiculous video in my life. Any slightest doubt I might have still harbored about what went down in Budrus that night was wiped out by that clip, which proved to me unequivocally that this was a criminally depraved operation.
Mass graves in Jaffa said to be from War of Independence
Haaretz 3 June by Nir Hasson — Graves uncovered by Islamic Movement activists during renovation work in Jaffa cemetery hold remains of hundreds of people … The first grave was uncovered a week and a half ago during work to renovate and rehabilitate the Kazkhana Cemetery on Kedem Street, near the Peres Center for Peace. That grave is an underground room with a pile of skeletons and skulls. According to Mahmoud Obeid, an Islamic Movement member and editor of the yaffa48 website, who revealed the story, the remains of between 80 and 100 people were inside the grave. Five similar graves were found later with a like number of skeletons. The graves are about two meters by four meters and are built with cinderblocks. “Our first thought was that this was connected to the plague that happened once in Jaffa,” said Obeid. “But we talked with older people who remembered the period and we even tested them to see if they remember where the graves were, and they remembered. One of the elderly women said the military governor of Jaffa, after it was conquered, would ask her father to gather the dead from the streets and bury them there.” It is also possible to see signs of shooting and injuries on the skeletons, said Obeid. More evidence for the dating of the burials to the War of Independence period, according to the Islamic Movement activists, is the cinderblocks the graves were made from, which are suited to such burial.
PA forces arrest prisoners’ rights activist
RAMALLAH (PIC) 1 June — Hamas movement has accused PA security forces of arresting the university student and prisoners’ rights activist Anas Radad, from Tulkarem in northern West Bank … Radad is a liberated prisoner in addition of being arrested six times by PA forces where he was subjected to severe torture, the statement added. The student’s arrest came few hours after his participation in a sit-in in solidarity with his cousin Mo‘tassem Raddad, held in Israeli jails and suffers health problems, the movement quoted Anas’ father as saying.
Detainees / Hunger strikers / Court actions
Health condition of prisoner Samer al-Issawi deteriorates
NABLUS (PIC) 2 June — Health condition of prisoner Samer al-Issawi has been deteriorating after the prison administration moved him from the Ramle prison clinic to Shata Prison, his lawyer revealed. PPS lawyer has recently visited Issawi and affirmed that he needs a special diet, after he went on hunger strike for 9 months during which his body has become very weak and he has started having problems in some of his vital organs. Prison conditions in Shata are very bad
Detained hunger striker vomiting blood
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 2 June — The health condition of detained hunger striker Ayman Hamdan is very difficult, his lawyer Hanan Al-Khatib said on Sunday. She said that Hamdan, 30, has started to vomit blood in the Ramle prison hospital after 35 days of hunger strike. The lawyer said that Hamdan, from Shawawra village in Bethlehem, was suffering from leanness, fatigue, and dizziness and could not stand by himself. She said that Hamdan, who is protesting his administrative detention without trial or charge, refuses to take any medical additives.
Hunger striking detainee forced into solitary confinement
IMEMC Sunday June 2 2013, The Israeli Prison Authority forced a hunger striking detainee into solitary confinement as he stopped drinking water after two weeks on ongoing hunger strike. The Waed Society for Detainees and Ex-Detainees has reported that the army placed Eyad Abu Khdeir, 38, in solitary confinement at the Negev prison after he decided to stop drinking water, or any sort of liquid. Abdullah Qandeel, spokesperson of the Waed society, stated that the detainee started his hunger strike after Israeli refused to release him despite the fact he was supposed to be released nearly two months ago. Qandeel added that Israel ‘offered’ to release him and force him into exile, but he rejected the offer and said that his continued imprisonment is illegal, and that should be released without preconditions.
Israel charges Palestinian with spying for Hezbollah
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — An Israeli court on Sunday charged a Palestinian with spying for Hezbollah while undertaking a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Israeli media reported. Zaher Omar Yusfin, 45, was found guilty of making contact with a foreign agent, passing information that could aid the enemy, cooperating with an illegal organization, and other security crimes. Yusfin, from the Haifa town of Shefaram, allegedly passed information to a Hezbollah agent while in Saudi Arabia five years ago.
Israeli police release 12 Palestinians on bail
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli police on Sunday released 12 Palestinians from jail, a Ma‘an reporter said … The detainees, who are all from Jerusalem, were told not to return home for two weeks. Mahran Rajabi, 12, was also released after his family paid 500 shekels ($135) in bail, and is now under house arrest. Another man, Shadi al-Awar, was also released to house arrest after paying 3,000 shekels ($812) in bail.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Gaza farmer
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 June — A Palestinian farmer was shot and injured by Israeli fire Sunday while he was picking watermelons in Abu Safiyeh neighborhood east of Jabalia, northern Gaza, medics told Ma‘an. Ahmad Hamdin, 21, sustained an injury to his thigh and was evacuated to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabalia, northern Gaza, medics said.
Soldiers open fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
IMEMC Saturday June 1 2013, A number of Israeli Navy boats fired rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses have reported that the soldiers fired bursts of live ammunition at the fishing boats near the coasts of As-Sudaniya and Beit Lahia. The Israeli attack led to property damage but no casualties.
Egypt allows more Palestinians to leave Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Egyptian authorities announced Saturday it would be increasing the number of Palestinians allowed to travel to Egypt via the Rafah crossing from 800 to 1,100 travelers a day, a Hamas government official said. Mahir Abu Sabha, the general manager of crossings for the Gaza Interior Ministry, said the number of registered passengers allowed to travel through the crossing had doubled over the summer. The official added that Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the year-round Umrah pilgrimage would be allowed to cross on Wednesdays.
Egypt police seize fuel en route to Gaza tunnels
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 31 May — Egyptian police on Friday seized half a ton of diesel headed to the Gaza Strip. Police stopped a truck carrying 20 containers of subsidized fuel at the al-Salam bridge in al-Qantara city. They detained the driver, who admitted he planned to smuggle the fuel to the Gaza Strip via tunnels at Rafah.
Gaza interior ministry to release 51 prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 June — The interior ministry in the Gaza Strip announced Monday it would release 51 detainees who have served two-thirds of their sentences. In a statement, the ministry said the detainees would be freed at 9:30 p.m. Monday. The gesture is meant to coincide with Ramadan, which begins in early July.
Gaza gov’t to enforce death sentence for homicides
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Gaza’s public prosecutor on Sunday promised to implement death sentences against the perpetrators of recent high-profile homicides in the Gaza Strip. Ismail Jaber told Ma‘an that there had been an increase in homicides in the past month, including the killing of a pregnant women in Khan Younis and the fatal stabbing of a store-owner … It is vital that officials implement a campaign to seize weapons, Jaber said, stressing that firearms should not be available to the public.
Why I have two brothers called Omar
Nuseirat Refugee Camp 30 May by Yousef M. Aljamal — When Israel kills a Palestinian, it not only abruptly ends his or her life, it leaves deep wounds with the family that time cannot heal. And it pushes the family to threaten Israel demographically by having one more child — perhaps even more. The years of the first and second Palestinian intifadas — not to mention the preceding years of Naksa (setback) in 1967 and Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948 — witnessed the birth of thousands of children who were named after Palestinians shot dead by Israel. Israel’s attempts to reduce Palestinians’ numbers have never proven successful. The possibility that the “demographic time-bomb” will explode only becomes increasingly likely as Israel kills more Palestinians … Had he lived, my elder brother Omar would have turned 27 this week. His birthday is 30 May. At some point in his life, my younger brother will start asking questions: Why was I named after my brother? Why do both of us have the same name? Why did I think for a long time that his friends were mine? Why did Israel invade the “den of wasps” and kill 14 Palestinians, including Omar, in March 2004? How will we answer these questions?
Female construction worker seeks to build better future in Gaza
Gaza (Reuters) 2 June — At the Abu Eida cement factory in the West Bank, Jamila Abu Oushiba shovels cement into bags and lift them onto a neat pile. This is usually a job reserved for men, but for Palestinian woman Jamila, it’s a way to generate income and support her family. Born in Beit Hanoun, Jamila is helping her family financially after her four brothers were killed during various years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza strip. “Really, what made me do this hard work is the difficult economic situation. There is no [income] provider in our home. My four brothers were martyred. There’s nobody to provide for us and that’s what made me to this job,” she said. The 39 year-old single woman, who is one of the very few women working in cement factory in the besieged territory, says she started working at the Abu Eida factory three years ago and now works twice a week for ten hours each day.
VIDEO: On 3rd anniversary of ‘Mavi Marmara’ attack, witnesses return to the boat
Mondoweiss 2 June by Annie Robbins — A powerful 20-minute video published yesterday, on the 3rd anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara: crew-members, passengers, journalists, humanitarians of the Freedom Flotilla, returned to the ship to recount what they witnessed and experienced. Some of their recollections, their voices, interspersed with live footage for that fateful night–even feelings of guilt for not doing more — are heartbreaking. While others, relating riveting events, are very precise and matter of fact. Each with their own voice, voices that convince the viewer more than ever, there needs to be a real investigation.
Gaza commemorates third anniversary of Freedom Flotilla incident
GAZA (PIC) 1 June — Palestinian and Turkish citizens participated in a rally on Friday to commemorate the third anniversary of Israel’s deadly attack on Freedom Flotilla aid convoy in international waters off the coast of Gaza. May 31 marks the third anniversary of the Mavi Marmara incident, an Israeli military raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla to Gaza that resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists who were aboard Mavi Marmara ship. Palestinian and Turkish national figures and activists as well as an Egyptian delegation attended the event that was staged at the Fishermen port in Gaza by the Turkish relief group IHH and the Palestinian interior ministry.
Images of Gaza: A few places that caught my eye
EI 2 June by Ali Abunimah — Before I went to the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestine Festival of Literature (palfest.org), I had only ever experienced that part of Palestine through words, images and videos. I had imagined Gaza City would feel much more intensely crowded and dense, and there are of course areas that feel that way. But my impression of the old city was that it had the laid-back feeling of a smaller coastal town, one whose history extends to ancient times. Destruction due to Israeli bombing is visible in many places around the city and up and down the Gaza Strip — sometimes a particular building on a street has been taken out leaving a mass of oddly angled concrete slabs and steel reinforcement bars, sometimes a whole city block. It is terrifying to imagine what it must have been like when Israel was wreaking such devastation. But destruction was not my overwhelming impression of Gaza City and not what I chose to focus on in these images.
New Israeli plan calls for more ‘intelligence’ gathering to disrupt BDS movement
EI 1 June by Ben White — This week in Jerusalem, the Israeli foreign ministry hosted the fourth international conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism. As I previously blogged, this is “a gathering that has served as an important focus for efforts to fight Palestine solidarity activism and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.” The pre-conference agenda and working group mission statements made it clear that hasbara — propaganda — was once again going to be high on the agenda. Reproduced below is the “Action Plan” presented to delegates by the working group tasked with examining “delegitimization” and BDS. This is transcribed from slides shown to the conference, and the video can be viewed above. This document needs to be read, shared, and taken into account by activists when planning campaigns and strategies.
Take action! Send Alicia Keys your BDS photos
End the Occupation 30 May — Alicia Keys is set to perform in Tel Aviv on July 4 as part of her Set the World on Fire tour. Both Alice Walker and Roger Waters have written her open letters (here and here) urging her to heed the Palestinian BDS call and cancel her show. You can do your part by taking the following actions! 1. Submit a photo. Alicia is running a competition for her fans to get featured in a video that will be shown while she is on tour. Fans are asked to submit a photo with the hope of being chosen. This is an opportunity for some culture jamming asking activists to submit pictures with messages urging her to not play in Israel. To submit a photo:
Germany may soon restrict ‘Made in Israel’ labels
The Media Line 2 June — Document issued in response to German opposition members states products should be labeled ‘made in Israel’ only if they are manufactured within 1967 borders. EU ambassador: Efforts reflect growing impatience with settlements
Dutch settlement profiteers listed in new report
EI 31 May by Adri Nieuwhof — A recent report by the economic research and corporate responsibility group Profundo on Dutch economic links with the Israeli occupation lists Dutch companies profiting from Israel’s settlement enterprise. Produndo identified 18 Israeli settlement companies — including Agrexco/Carmel, Edom Fruits, Hadiklaim, Mehadrin Group, Shamir Salads, Golan Heights Winery, SodaStream, Ahava Cosmetics, Keter Group plastics and Tip Top Toys — which trade with 38 Dutch companies. Some of the Dutch companies distribute agricultural produce and Ahava cosmetics from the settlements mislabeled as “Made in Israel,” and which are sold to Dutch chains such C1000, Jumbo and Kring Pharmacies. EU consumer law requires the correct labeling of the place of origin, especially food imports.
Israel staves off threat of soccer sanctions
Haaretz 1 June by Moshe Boker & Reuters — Anyone in Israel concerned that FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, was about to acquiesce to the demands of the Palestinian soccer federation and impose sanctions against Israel, can rest easy. On Friday afternoon, Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon managed to convince FIFA’s all-powerful president, Sepp Blatter, to seek a less aggressive solution to the long-running problem of limited freedom of movement for Palestinian players in Gaza and the West Bank. Over the course of the past week, Palestinian soccer chief Jibril Rajoub, the former commander of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank, has been lobbying for FIFA to impose sanctions against Israel for not allowing members of the various Palestinian national teams to move freely between Gaza and the West Bank, and preventing them from representing their country in international matches.
Political, other news
Abbas names new prime minister
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 June — President Abbas is set to appoint Rami Hamdallah as the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, officials told Ma‘n Sunday. Hamdallah, who is president of An-Najah University, will replace outgoing prime minister Salam Fayyad, who resigned on April 13 after months of tension with Abbas … Hamdallah, born in 1958, is a political independent who received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom.
Fatah officials arrive in Gaza for unity talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Two senior Fatah leaders arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday for reconciliation talks. Nabil Shaath and Othman Abu Gharbieh arrived in Gaza to take part in talks with members from nationalist and Islamic political factions … Last month, Fatah and Hamas agreed to set a three-month timetable for forming a unity government.
Hamas denies Mishaal statement on leaving Lebanon
BEIRUT (PIC) 2 June– Ra’fat Murra, the Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, has denied press reports alleging that Hamas bureau chairman Khaled Mishaal had asked Hamas officials to leave Lebanon. Murra said in a press release that Mishaal’s alleged statement was voiced more than two weeks ago and did not touch on the situation in Lebanon or mention the presence of Hamas in Beirut. He charged parties well known to Hamas with deliberately waging such smear and distortion campaign.
Tear between Hezbollah, Hamas: ‘Leave Lebanon’
Ynet 30 May — Syrian opposition sources claim Hezbollah, fighting alongside Syrian army, demands Hamas, training rebels, to leave country ‘within hours’. Hamas representative denies report … [Hamas’ representative in the country, Ali] Baraka himself denied the report to Lebanese newspaper Al-Liwaa. “We contacted Hezbollah officials who were surprised from this report,” the Hamas representative claimed. “Hamas is staying in Lebanon and nothing has changed so far,” he clarified.
PA: 2,000 Palestinians in Syria jails
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 June — About 2,000 Palestinians are in the custody of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime, the Palestinian Authority labor minister estimated Monday. Ahmad Majdalani, who returned Friday from a brief visit to Syria, told Ma‘an that about 1,300 of the 2,000 Palestinians in Syrian custody were thought to have taken part in the fighting there.
But he said the others had no involvement and should be released. Majdalani was in Syria for talks with the leadership but he said the Palestinian delegation did not visit refugee camps for security reasons.
Lebanon to take airspace violations to UN
Al Jazeera 2 June — Lebanon’s foreign minister is set to file a complaint with the UN over Israeli violations of his country’s airspace. The Israeli air force has intensified low-flying sorties over Lebanese airspace including Beirut, Lebanese security officials said on Sunday. Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that warplanes flew over southern Lebanon, Beirut, the eastern Bekaa Valley and the city of Baalbek. Last month the UN called on Israel to stop increased military air patrols over Lebanon after two Israeli air attacks on Syria. Israeli warplanes regularly enter Lebanese airspace, but a Lebanese security official told the AP news agency that the Sunday overflights were among the most intense recently.
Podcast: Mass demolition as Israel ethnically cleanses Naqab desert
EI 31 May — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: “This time, they destroyed everything:” Uprooted Bedouins face more evictions; an interview with reporter Jillian Kestler-D’Amours on Israel’s accelerated plans to forcibly displace Bedouin communities from the Naqab; Mubarak-era cruelty continues at the Rafah crossing; Sexuality and gender taboos challenged by Haifa arts project ;Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar” awarded at the Cannes film festival; A report by Gretchen King in Amman, Jordan, on protests against the World Economic Forum; News from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement including Alice Walker and Roger Waters reach out to singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, urging her to cancel her scheduled performance in Tel Aviv
UN confirms settlement activity illegal
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 June — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday affirmed that the UN doesn’t recognize annexing East Jerusalem to Israel and legalizing settlement activity. Ki-moon, in a letter sent to Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, expressed concern and dismissal of the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinians especially in Jerusalem, namely; homes demolition, forced eviction and movement restrictions. Ki-moon said that he phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called for an immediate halt to these violations as well as for Israel’s adherence to international law. He particularly expressed concern over the latest events in Jerusalem, which “undermine international efforts towards the resumption of peace talks.” He stressed that Jerusalem must be a capital for Palestine and Israel.
EU demands immediate halt to Israeli settlement activities
BRUSSELS (WAFA) 1 June — The European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Friday called on Israel to bring to a total halt all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, which she said threaten the two-state solution. Ashton reiterated in a statement on renewed plans for Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem the long-standing EU position on settlements.
France to upgrade West Bank water supply network
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 June — The Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Frédéric Desagneaux, will inaugurate on Sunday the upgrading of the drinking water service in the northern West Bank as well as its bond to Maythaloun network for a total cost of 9.5 million euros, a consulate press statement said Saturday. This project allowed this year to equip and to launch the operations of the well drilling in Tammoun and Tubas and to achieve the long-awaited connection of Tammoun municipality to the drinking water network, it said. [and how long before the Israelis destroy this, France or no France?]
Children with cancer barred from Israeli swimming pool for being Arab
EI 1 June by Ali Abunimah — An Israeli public swimming pool has refused entry to a group of children with cancer because the children are Arab. The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar, wanted to surprise a group of 20 Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabu’im village in the south of the country. Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.” Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies. The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.”
Palestinians from East Jerusalem seek safety in Israeli citizenship
JERUSALEM (IRIN) 30 May — Braving social stigma, many Palestinians in East Jerusalem have in recent years applied for Israeli citizenship to escape insecurity and the endangered status of their residency under Israeli occupation. But citizenship alone does not always save them from inequality and uncertainty. “Look around you, this city will remain under Israeli control as long as I live,” said 40-year-old Anwar*, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem who acquired Israeli citizenship. “As Palestinians in Jerusalem, we are facing discrimination in all fields. Israeli citizenship is the only chance available.” … The major reasons behind the citizenship applications are fears of losing residency or access to Jerusalem, the wish to travel more easily and the desire to grant a better future for one’s children, according to Palestinians interviewed, a community activist and the ICG report.
Netanyanu: Racism against Israeli Arabs and acts of hooliganism against Palestinians must end
Haaretz 2 June by Barak Ravid — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced as “racist” an act of segregation between Jewish and Arab school children at the Superland amusement park near Tel Aviv. He also condemned recent vandalism against Palestinian property in the West Bank, apparently carried out by right-wing activists. In the latest of such incidents, police on Friday found Palestinian-owned vehicles vandalized and graffiti sprayed on walls in various areas of the West Bank and at The Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem.“I wish to condemn two phenomena that we have witnessed recently: Racism against Israeli Arabs and acts of hooliganism against Palestinians, without any provocation or justification,” Netanyahutold his cabinet in Jerusalem. “We strongly reject these phenomena and will act with all legal means at our disposal to stop them,” he said
Analysis / Opinion
Imagining Palestine through PalFest / Rana Baker
EI 2 June — There is something inherently unsettling about literature. Or, perhaps, it is this exquisite blend of poetry, music, and the natural presence of an ancient minaret peering into the sky behind a limestone wall that got me. But there also was an unnatural, longed-for component. I stood at some distance, my shirt ruffled, hair sticking to my forehead, and gazed over the crowds that had gathered in the courtyard of an 800-year-old Ottoman-style structure in Gaza’s Old City now known as Dar al-Basha for the closing night’s festivities of the Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest). I had done this at various times for four days; the distance; the gaze. For I had to bring myself to the realization that, in fact, Ali Abunimah, Susan Abulhawa, Lina Atallah, and Nora Younis, were really in Gaza. They did not seem to realize this either. They all were too overwhelmed by the fact that they were actually here to also grasp the significance of their very presence.
Of malignant hatred and a law of theft / Adam Keller
Crazy Country 25 May — …The outpourings of hatred against the Negev Bedouins don’t stop even for a day. You find them not only in the talk backs but also in some of the commentaries on the opinion pages themselves, and in the slant of supposedly objective news items, and also in daily conversations one overhears on a bus or at street corners. The Bedouin are thieves, The Bedouins are violent, The Bedouins build new mosques all over the Negev, The Bedouins take over state lands, The Bedouins are a demographic threat, their camels cause road accidents, Hit the Bedouin and Save Israel!. How did such a malignant and vociferous hatred spring up in the Israeli society? It was not always so. From my Tel Aviv childhood in the 1950s and 1960s I can’t recall anyone expressing hatred towards Bedouins.
Rami Hamdallah is a good man on a suicide mission / Barak Ravid
Haaretz 3 June — No one envies Rami Hamdallah. The 54-year-old linguistics professor and president of An-Najah National University was appointed on Sunday as the new Palestinian prime minister, and in doing so assumed overnight the most ungrateful job in the West Bank. His chances of success are so low that some would say agreeing to take the post is akin to taking a suicide mission. The headaches and troubles will start haunting Hamdallah immediately. He will quickly discover that he is more or less alone in his mission; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t interested in the daily business of running the Palestinian Authority. While Hamdallah will be forced to handle a new crisis every morning, the Palestinian president will continue flying to all corners of the earth, walking on red carpets and shaking hands with world leaders. Hamdallah is receiving a Palestinian Authority in the midst of a severe economic crisis. It will be impossibly hard for him to follow Salam Fayyad‘s act.