Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Israel starts construction on road linking settlements
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli authorities have begun construction work on a West Bank road which will link cities within Israel and illegal settlements and outposts, a Palestinian Authority official said Sunday. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Road 9 will link the coastal Israeli city of Hadera with illegal settlements in Jenin and the Jordan Valley. The project, due to be completed in 2014, will confiscate thousands of dunams of Palestinian land in the northern West Bank, Daghlas said. Road 9 will be around 183km when finished, the PA official said, calling on the United States to pressure Israel to halt the project.
Twilight Zone: A Palestinian village reaches the end of the road
Haaretz 12 July by Gideon Levy — Kafr Qaddum residents are marking two years since they first launched their weekly protest against closure of the main route leading past their village to neighboring locales — I have never seen such a road in my life − except in war zones. You drive between the houses of Kafr Qaddum eastward, and suddenly the landscape changes dramatically. A rural road becomes a no-man’s land; a teeming village becomes at once a godforsaken wilderness. A few abandoned homes, scorched olive trees, piles of stones, rock barriers and the remains of burned tires on the road. A smell of fire is in the air and a terrible silence encompasses all. A thick layer of black ash covers the deserted road, which no one dares approach … Kafr Qaddum is overlooked by the mega-settlement Kedumim at the end of this ghost-road, which begins in the village and ends at the iron gate and the settlement. The road, dating back to the days of the Turks, was once the village’s main route to Jit, the adjacent village, and from there to the larger city of Nablus. A kilometer and a half to Jit, 13 kilometers to Nablus. Now it’s 15 kilometers to Jit and 26 to Nablus on winding roads. Ten times and twice as far from the village, respectively. Why? Because Israel closed the road. Why? Because the neighboring settlement of Kedumim spread out to it and blocked it with its homes.
Israeli forces issue 4 eviction orders in Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 July — Israeli forces on Sunday issued eviction orders to four homes in the Nablus village of Aqraba, a PA official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli military forces issued eviction orders to Fawzi Abdullah Bani Jaber, Muhammad Abu Hadiyeh, and two home belonging to Sami Mustafa Bani Jaber. The orders were issued on the pretext that the properties lacked building permits. Sami Bani Jaber had paid over 800,000 shekels ($222,000) to build two homes after receiving verbal confirmation from the Israeli civil administration that he had permission to build.
Israeli court: Real estate transaction that evicted Palestinian family was forged
Haaretz 15 July by Chaim Levinson — The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that a real estate deal by a settler purchasing arm was faked – a forged transaction that led to the eviction of a Palestinian family in favor of a Torah institute. The Palestinian families will now ask the Israel Defense Forces to remove the institute from the home in the West Bank near Ramallah.”Ten years of legal struggle have proved that the purchase was fake and that, as far as [purchasing arm] Al-Watan is concerned, the end justifies the means,” said Attorney Muhammad Dahleh, representing the Palestinian side. “We hope the authorities, which so far have not helped the Shehadeh family return home and have worked hand in glove with the company, will do what they should without excuses and delays. They should evict the company’s people and help the Shehadeh family come home.”
Israeli rightists enter Aqsa compound under guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Over 100 Israeli rightists on Sunday entered the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City accompanied by dozens of Israeli police officers, witnesses said. At least 180 Israelis, including 18 rabbis, entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate and toured the area under Israeli police guard. Local Muslim worshipers and students protested the visit by shouting ‘Allah Akbar’, or ‘God is Great’, at the group. Sheikh Najih Ibkeirat, the director of the Al-Asqa Mosque Compound, denounced the entry of Jewish rightists to the area and urged the Islamic world to prepare “a practical plan to stop the daily raids on Al-Aqsa.” “Extremists are trying to provoke Muslims and make up trouble in order to provide an excuse for Israeli forces to deny West Bankers entry to the mosque during Ramadan,” Ibkeirat added. Visits to the Al-Aqsa compound by Jewish extremists are intended to show local Palestinian Muslims that they can enter the area at will, even during the holy month of Ramadan, Ibkeirat said.
Settlers from illegal colony of Itamar destroy 1,500 Palestinian olive trees
[photos] Awarta, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 12 July by Nablus Team — On the morning of Thursday 11th July, villagers from Awarta found that 1,500 of their olive trees had been cut down over the last month by settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar. When they attempted to highlight this crime with media coverage, the mayor and several journalists were detained for several hours by the Israeli military. Four villagers of Awarta, including the Mayor, went to visit their occupied farm lands, accompanied by soldiers on the 11th of July. They have been denied access to this land for years, and are required by the Israeli authorities to apply for permission because the land has been annexed by the nearby illegal settlement of Itamar. A month previously the villagers of Awarta had applied to see their lands because they could hear chainsaw noises and were concerned for their olive trees. However, they were left waiting for eight hours as no soldiers had arrived and they were concerned that they would be arrested if they went to their own land without the military. The liaison between Palestinians and the Israeli military, the District Coordination Office (DCO), called the mayor of Awarta at 11pm on Wednesday 10th, telling the villagers they would have to meet the soldiers at 5am the next day if they wanted to visit their land. This inconvenient time, especially as it is currently Ramadan, meant that only three farmers and the mayor could attend. When they reached the occupied farm lands, which are owned by 22 families of Awarta, they found that around 1,500 of their olive trees had been destroyed by residents of the illegal Itamar settlement. From seeing the trees the farmers could tell by the dry stumps that this violent destruction had been going on for over a month, with the most recent trees being cut only in the past few days.
Jewish settlers destroy dozens of olive trees
NABLUS (PIC) 13 July– Jewish settlers from Yitzhar settlement chopped down dozens of Palestinian olive trees south of Nablus on Friday. Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement activity north of the West Bank, said that the settlers destroyed around 70 olive trees in Khirbat Al-Teira in between Burin and Hawara villages. He said that the settlers used chainsaws to cut down the olive trees,
Another attack on the Jaber family by Israeli settlers
[with video] ICAHD 13 July — For three hours on Friday, July 12, from 11 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon, dozens of settlers from Kiryat Arba invaded the land and gardens of the Jaber family — Atta, Rudina and their three children — in al-Baqaa, near Hebron. Accompanied by the Israeli police and led by Malachi Levinger, the son of the violent settlement pioneer Moshe Levinger who himself has been implicated in many attacks on families in the al-Baqaa area, they uprooted his plants and replaced them with their own. This is not the first time the Jaber family has been terrorized by settlers from Kiryat Arba, who claim his land and that of his neighbors. The family, which had lived on its land for the past 600-700 years, had 400 dunams of agricultural land (100 acres) before the Israeli Occupation of 1967. Since then they have lost almost all of it, being left with just 60 dunams, and most of that within the Kiryat Arba settlement and thus off-limits to them. Over the year they have had their vineyards ripped out and their irrigation systems destroyed; indeed, the entire al-Baqaa, a rich grape- and olive-growing valley, is being dried up by Israel’s refusal to supply it with water or even allow the Palestinian farmers to dig wells or reservoirs for the collection of rainwater. (Kiryat Arba’s Olympic-size swimming pool is visible from the Jaber home.)
OCHA: 62 percent of segregation wall completed
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 July — Israel has completed approximately 62 percent of the segregation wall’s route, a further 10 percent is under construction and 28 percent is intended for construction, according to a report issued by the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs in the occupied Palestinian lands (OCHA). The wall’s total length (constructed and projected) is approximately 720 kilometers, more than twice the length of the 1949 armistice (green) line. The wall consists of concrete walls, fences, ditches, razor wire, sand paths, surveillance systems, patrol roads, and a buffer zone. The report affirmed that some 85 percent of the wall’s route runs inside the West Bank, rather than along the green line, and if it was to be completed as planned, the wall would isolate about nine percent of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.
New group of ‘Amazon Jews’ arrives in Israel
Haaretz 14 July by Zohar Blumenkranz & Judy Maltz — A total of 150 mixed-race Peruvians converts to Judaism are expected to arrive in Israel by the end of 2014 … There is a total of 284 Peruvians from Iquitos – the largest city in the rainforest located in northern Peru – who converted to Judaism by a Conservative rabbinical court in August 2011, after they engaged in Jewish studies for five years. They are the descendants of Moroccan Jews who arrived in the Amazon in the 19th century seeking employment in the rubber industry, and who married and had children with local women.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
Student apartments burnt during Israeli military invasion of Nablus
Nablus, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 12 July by Nablus Team — In the early hours of Wednesday the 10th of July, the Israeli army, arriving from the military camp near the settlement of Qedumim (8km west of Nablus) raided the Nablus neighbourhood of Al Junied, near the new Al Najjar university campus. The neighbourhood, which includes many student dormitories, was invaded by seven jeeps, who arrived between the hours of 1am and 3.30am, remaining until 5am. Seven jeeps full of soldiers entered the neighbourhood. Multiple tear gas canisters and sound bombs were fired directly inside three student apartments, setting fires which broke windows and burnt the walls, furniture, shoes, prayer mats and beds. Soldiers climbed the stairs of an empty building opposite the apartments and from there fired at close range into the student’s windows, severely burning two bedrooms and a balcony. Luckily nobody was still asleep when the shooting happened because it is clear from what is left of the beds after they were burnt that anybody there would have been seriously injured. However, as the soldiers were shooting blindly into the apartments, they could not have known if someone was still in the rooms where they were firing … This situation is not unusual in this neighbourhood; according to residents, the occupation forces generally raid the area at least twice a week. A man who works in the grocery shop near the student apartments explained that the commander of the Israeli army unit which invades the area regularly at the moment is quite new and must be ʺlooking for adventuresʺ. According to one of the students, the invasions all take the same formː gas, sound bombs, injuries and destruction. The Al Junied neighbourhood is nevertheless a part of the city of Nablus, which according to the Oslo agreements, is in Area A, which means that both security and civil administration should be the role of the Palestinian Authority.
IOF continues to close Azzun entrance for the 5th day
QALQILYA (PIC) 13 July — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed Saturday Azzun village in Qalqilya northern West Bank where they arrested a Palestinian, while they continued to close its entrance for the fifth consecutive day. Hasan Shubaita, an anti-occupation activist in the village, told Quds Press that an Israeli military force stormed at the early morning hours Azzun village where they raided and searched a number of houses. The source added that the Israeli forces arrested Usayd Salim, 23, after storming and searching his parents’ house. He pointed out that the Israeli authorities continued to close the entrance of the village for the fifth consecutive day, preventing the residents from leaving or entering the village under trivial pretexts. Shubaita considered the Israeli decision to close Azzun entrance as an unjustified, mass punishment
Committee: Settlers assault shepherd near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 July — A group of settlers assaulted a Palestinian shepherd in the south Hebron hills on Sunday, a local committee said. Coordinator of the popular committee against settlements in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers from the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair assaulted Omar Jibril Ahmad Hoshiya, 28, as he tended to his animals. Hoshiya several broken teeth and bruising all over his body and was transferred to a hospital in Yatta.
Settlers attack Palestinian home near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 14 July – Israeli settlers Sunday attacked a house belonging to a 65-year-old Palestinian and located in an area in central of ‘Gush Etzion’ settlement compound, south of Bethlehem, according to security sources. They told WAFA that a group of settlers from illegal ‘Gush Etzion’ settlement compound attacked at dawn the house of Salah Shaheen, 65, with stones and empty glass bottles, causing financial damage to the house and spreading panic and fear among the house residents
MP Abdel Jawad condemns escalation of political arrests in West Bank
SALFIT (PIC) 14 July — MP for the [Hamas-backed] Change and Reform Bloc Dr. Nasser Abdel Jawad, from the town of Salfit in the north of the West Bank, said that the Palestinian intelligence service in the city summoned his son Oways. Dr. Abdel Jawad said on Saturday on his Facebook page that the Palestinian police handed him a summons for his son ordering him to come to the Palestinian intelligence headquarters. The MP refused to receive the summons. He said that the political summonses are unethical and illegal because they are not accompanied by a judicial warrant as stipulated in Palestinian law. “After all, this is not the first time in which the security services arrest and summon my son Oways, also it is not the first time in which they target MPs’ sons and family members without reason. We are expecting that the intelligence will kidnap Oways at any moment.”
PA apparatuses arrest 4 Hamas affiliates and summons four others
WEST BANK (PIC) 13 July — In al-Khalil, elements of the General Intelligence at dawn Friday arrested liberated prisoner Musab Abu Sneineh, 25, after raiding his home in the area of Wadi al-Harya. Abu Sneineh had been released only two months ago from the Israeli jails, where he served about three years. He had previously been summoned several times by the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in al-Khalil. Musab’s father considered the arrest of his son a crime as he did not commit any offense against the Authority, and appealed to the human rights organizations to intervene rapidly to release him. The Palestinian Intelligence service has also arrested on Friday the liberated prisoner and former political detainee Muhannad Niroukh and his brother Musab after raiding their house and attacking their mother and two sisters. One of Muhannad’s sisters was transferred to hospital as she went into a coma after the intelligence elements severely assaulted her….
Premier Haneyya receives Egyptian pledge to intervene in Barghouthi’s issue
GAZA (PIC) 14 July — Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya discussed over the phone with the leadership of the Egyptian intelligence agency the issue of Jordanian hunger striker Abdullah Barghouthi and his deteriorating health condition. Spokesman for the government Ihab Al-Ghussein stated on his facebook that premier Haneyya urged the Egyptian intelligence to urgently move to pressure the Israeli regime to end the suffering of prisoner Barghouthi, who has been on hunger strike for 77 days. Ghussein added that premier Haneyya received an Egyptian pledge to intervene in this regard. Human rights groups had said that prisoner Abdullah Barghouthi was no longer able to have injections and his health status reached a life-threatening stage. In a related context, Mandela institute for human rights expressed its deep concern over the life of prisoner Abdullah Barghouthi, whose health condition seriously worsened.
Khader Adnan expresses solidarity with 30,000 hunger strikers in California prisons
Electronic Intifada 11 July by Nora Barrows — Approximately 30,000 persons inside more than twenty prisons in California are on their fourth day of a mass hunger strike today, demanding an end to long-term solitary confinement along with other abusive conditions and policies. And they say they won’t end their strike until state officials sign a legally-binding agreement to end the draconian practices. As I wrote on Monday, Palestine activism groups are organizing in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners in California. While Israel continues to arrest, detain, imprison and torture Palestinian men, women and children, many parallels are made between the systems of mass incarceration there and in the US. Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, wrote in a solidarity statement with the California prisoner hunger strike: [UPDATE on California strike (Reuters 12 July): Participation falls in California prison hunger strike, officials say]
Minister: Stranded Gaza pilgrims to return home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 July — Over 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims stranded in Saudi Arabia will start returning home on Monday, a Gaza official said Saturday. Ismail Radwan, the minister of endowment in the Hamas-run Gaza government, told Ma‘an that the pilgrims will return in three groups on Monday via Cairo airport, and will then travel to the Rafah crossing into Gaza on Tuesday. It is hoped that all pilgrims will have returned by Thursday, he added … Some 1,600 Palestinian pilgrims have been stranded in Saudi Arabia while performing the Umrah pilgrimage as unrest in Egypt has prevented them from returning home.
Awqaf holds Palestine Airlines responsible for pilgrims’ crisis
GAZA (PIC) 13 July — The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs in Gaza held Palestine Airlines responsible for the continuing crisis of pilgrims after refusing to facilitate their return to Gaza Strip. More than 1,800 Palestinian pilgrims were scheduled to return to Gaza last week but they did not as PA Airlines failed to return them during the temporary opening of the Rafah crossing. The ministry pointed out that nearly 1,500 pilgrims’ residence permits in Hijaz have ended. They suffer difficult residence conditions especially that many of them ran out of money. Meanwhile, Awqaf minister Ismail Radwan said that financial assistance to the tune of fifty thousand Saudi Riyals had been distributed to the stranded Palestinian pilgrims.
UFree calls for better treatment of Palestinians in Egypt
BRUSSELS (PIC) 12 July — UFree Network to Defend the Rights of Palestinian Political Prisoners and Detainees expressed deep concern over the Egyptian authorities’ treatment of Palestinians since July 2 ,2013. In a press release issued on Friday, UFree stressed the need to respect the right of freedom of movement provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International covenants on civil and political rights. In this regard, the Network strongly condemned Palestinians’ arrest in Egypt illegally and the overuse of “deportation room” recently. UFree documented dozens of detention cases in Cairo airport for more than five days in inhuman conditions. Palestinians are being held in rooms allocated for suspects and criminals without the most basic amenities. Large numbers of Palestinians were deliberately held in very small rooms suffering from food and medicines shortage….
Egyptian army helicopter briefly enters Gaza airspace
GAZA (Reuters) 12 July – An Egyptian military helicopter briefly crossed into Israeli-controlled airspace over the Gaza Strip on Friday, in a possible sign of increased security jitters a week after Egypt’s army toppled President Mohamed Mursi. Security sources in Egypt and Israel both described the flyover as a navigational error, but it came shortly after militants killed an Egyptian policeman and wounded a second in an attack on checkpoints in the lawless Sinai Peninsula across the border from the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Separately, Egyptian authorities arrested three Palestinian gunmen on Friday during “an attempt to attack vital sites in Sinai”, Egyptian state media reported. “The helicopter mistakenly crossed into Gazan airspace and immediately returned to Egypt,” the Israeli security source said. Witnesses in Gaza said it stayed on their side of the border for about 10 minutes before returning. The militant Palestinian group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, declined comment on the helicopter incident.
Egypt: Govt demolishes 805 tunnels to smuggle fuel to Gaza
Aswat Masriya 14 July — The Egyptian army targeted on Sunday a number of tunnels on the Rafah border in the Sinai Peninsula which were used to smuggle fuel to Gaza. Army sources said that 80 percent of all tunnels have been demolished, amounting to about 805 tunnels. The sources added that bulldozers were used to remove several machines dedicated to pumping fuel into the Gaza Strip through the tunnels. They noted that the army’s efforts to demolish all smuggling tunnels are ongoing.
A glimpse into Gaza’s tunnels
Al-Ahram 9 July by Hayat Yehia — Palestinians, especially members of Hamas, the Islamist group now in charge of Gaza, have long been accused of meddling in Egyptian affairs. Such accusations took on a bitter note following the killings of Egyptian soldiers in Rafah nearly a year ago and the more recent abduction of soldiers in Sinai two months ago. Claims that Hamas members once broke into a prison in Wadi Al-Natroun to free Palestinian inmates and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, have given the controversy a political edge. Relations with Gaza also took a new turn recently when an Egyptian court passed a ruling ordering the government to close down the tunnels leading out of Gaza and into Egypt. A few weeks ago, the Egyptian army launched Operation Eagle, during which it apparently flooded most of the tunnels with water. News reports say that the army has already destroyed 75 per cent of the tunnels. What is the truth behind these allegations?
Gaza court issues death sentence for murder suspect
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 July — A court in the Gaza Strip on Sunday sentenced a man to death for killing two people, Gaza’s public prosecutor said. The unidentified man was recently arrested for the murder of a man, and during his trial it emerged that he had sexually assaulted and killed a relative ten years earlier, public prosecutor Ismail Jaber said. In June, Jaber promised to implement death sentences against the perpetrators of high-profile homicides in the Gaza Strip. Gaza courts have handed out over 30 death sentences since 2007, many of them to people convicted of helping Israeli security forces.
Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions
Electronic Intifada podcast — BDS campaigner: ‘Israel no longer the attractive investment that it once was’
[with transcript] 12 July by Nora Barrows — his week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: Palestinians caught between two fires in Syria, says a refugee; News updates from the Rafah crossing at the Gaza-Egypt border following the closure by Egyptian authorities, including a report from our correspondent Rami Almeghari in Gaza; The New York Jets’ Oday Aboushi faces anti-Palestinian smears; Prisoner solidarity from Palestine to Pelican Bay as Khader Adnan expresses solidarity with the 30,000 persons incarcerated in California on hunger strike to protest abuse and torture, including solitary confinement; A report on the eight years of global victories since the launch of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement
Haaretz editorial: Danger ahead: an Israel boycott
14 July — Concern over a possible international economic boycott of Israel has been growing. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians. At the beginning of the month she warned that if there was no progress in diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, the European boycott of Israeli products would not be limited to goods produced in West Bank settlements, but that it would be applied to Israel proper as well. At a speech in Eilat, Livni said that when it comes to economic issues, the discourse in Europe had also taken on an ideological turn, spawning increasing calls for a boycott of Israel. “It’s true,” she stated, “that it will begin with the settlements. But their problem is with Israel, which is perceived as a colonialist country, so it won’t stop with the settlements and will reach all of Israel.” In Friday’s Haaretz, Yossi Verter reported that the relevant government ministries had recently received disturbing news. Major banks in Europe with operations around the world have been exploring the possibility of barring loans to Israeli companies that have a business or economic link with the occupied territories.
The Israeli patriot’s final refuge: boycott / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 14 July –With Israel entering into another round of diplomatic inaction, the call for an economic boycott has become a patriotic requirement — Anyone who really fears for the future of the country needs to be in favor at this point of boycotting it economically. A contradiction in terms? We have considered the alternatives. A boycott is the least of all evils, and it could produce historic benefits. It is the least violent of the options and the one least likely to result in bloodshed. It would be painful like the others, but the others would be worse. On the assumption that the current status quo cannot continue forever, it is the most reasonable option to convince Israel to change. Its effectiveness has already been proven. More and more Israelis have become concerned recently about the threat of the boycott. When Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warns about it spreading and calls as a result for the diplomatic deadlock to be broken, she provides proof of the need for a boycott. She and others are therefore joining the boycott, divestment and sanction movement. Welcome to the club.
Political, international, other news
Netanyahu phones PA’s Abbas, says he wants to renew peace talks ‘soon’
Haaretz 14 July by Barak Ravid — The prime minister called the Palestinian president on the occasion of Ramadan; the conversation was the first between the two leaders since Israel’s government was sworn in … “I phoned to convey my best wishes on the month of Ramadan, but I hope that we will have the opportunity to talk with each other not only during the holidays,” Netanyahu told Abbas, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Bureau. “I hope that we start negotiations. Its important. I hope that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts will see results.”
Palestinian economic plan ‘taking shape’
WASHINGTON (AFP) updated 13 July — Behind the scenes, a team of international experts have for months been working on a plan to boost the stagnant Palestinian economy, set to be launched if peace talks with the Israelis resume. US Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled the broad contours of the scheme to attract some $4 billion in private-sector investment over the next three years at a World Economic Forum in Jordan in late May. But decades of frustrations and disappointments mean the concrete details are being kept under wraps until there is an agreement to resume the talks, stalled since September 2010. The hope is that, hand in hand with movement on the political front, the scheme could sew tangible economic benefits on the ground to alleviate dire unemployment and poverty for the Palestinians.
Abbas phones interim Egypt president Mansour
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 July – President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned his Egyptian counterpart Adli Mansour on Friday to congratulate him on the occasion of Ramadan. Abbas reiterated that the Palestinian leadership would continue to respect the Egyptian people’s will and abstain from intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs.
Palestine to introduce biometric information system
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 July — Palestine is expected to introduce the biometric information system and database and which will include all the personal data on its citizens, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Hasan Allawi said Wednesday. He said in an interview with WAFA that as of next year, the Palestinian passport will include a barcode that will include all the information needed on the holder of the passport, including fingerprints, blood type, the eye cornea and other facial features, and which is expected to facilitate their movement through airports. He said the new system will follow international standards and the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The ministry, said Allawi, plans to send staff to various countries that have introduced this system in order to learn from their experience. He said his ministry issues an average of 500 passports a day for Gaza residents, particularly for those who want to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and also issues passport as an exceptional step for Palestinians living in exile and who are unable to renew the travel document they carry from their host country due to the conflict in some countries such as Syria, Libya and Iraq. These passports, he said, allows Palestinians to travel easier but does not facilitate their entry into the Palestinian Territory because Israel does not allow them entry.
Hebron hospital workers to strike over salary delays
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 July – Workers at a Hebron hospital announced Saturday that they will suspend health services for a week in protest over salary delays, an official said. Dr. Yousef al-Takruri, chairman of the Al-Ahli Hospital workers’ union, told Ma’an that employees have not been paid for the last three months, with some workers not even able to afford the cost of transportation to get to work. The strike action will begin on Sunday and workers will only treat emergency cases, al-Takruri added.
Massive protest in support of Morsi in 1948 occupied lands
UMM AL-FAHM [Israel] (PIC) 14 July — The Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands organized a massive rally on Saturday afternoon in support of the legitimate Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and in solidarity with the protesters in Rabaa Adaweya square. Thousands of Palestinian citizens led by prominent figures, including Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, participated in the march, which started from Othman Ibn Affan Mosque in Kafr Kana village to the east of Nazareth city. The participants carried banners condemning the military coup against president Mohamed Morsi and chanted slogans calling for protecting democracy in Egypt. In his speech during the rally, Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement, called on the protesters in all Egyptian cities to stay steadfast against the conspiracy that was hatched by internal and external parties against their president.
Ilan Halevy, Jewish member of Fatah, dead at 70
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 July – President Mahmoud Abbas mourned Wednesday the passing away of Ilan Halevy, a Jewish member of Fatah Revolutionary Council, who died in Paris at age 70. Halevy, born to a Jewish family from Leon, France, in 1943, joined the Palestinian resistance movement and Fatah in particular after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. He represented Fatah in several international forums, such as Socialist International, and served in the foreign ministry following the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. Halevy was critical of the Zionist movement and thoughts and wrote several books criticizing it. He used to describe himself as “100 percent Jewish and 100 percent Palestinian.” President Abbas awarded him the Medal of Distinction for his role in support of the Palestinian struggle.
Palestinian arrested in connection with Sinai blast
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 13 July — Egyptian security officials arrested a Palestinian man late Friday in relation to a bomb blast which targeted a gas pipeline in Sinai last week, security officials said. Mohamed Abu Hashem, 30, was detained in the Sinai peninsula while trying to return to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials said, and faces charges of blowing up a gas pipeline in north Sinai last Sunday. Saboteurs blew up the pipeline, which supplied natural gas to Jordan, in two places. One explosion shook the city of El-Arish, causing flames which could be seen from the distance, witnesses and security officials said. A Jordanian government official confirmed that gas supplies to the energy-poor kingdom were cut.
Hamas denies any involvement in Sinai events
GAZA (PIC) 14 July — The Hamas Movement denied Egyptian allegations about its involvement in what is happening in the Sinai Peninsula and described them as unfounded. In a press release, its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri pointed out to the recent remarks made by head of the Sinai tribes Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Mane’ie, in which he denied any Hamas presence in the Sinai and confirmed that such allegations were aimed at serving the Israeli occupation and driving a wedge between the Palestinians and Egyptians. Abu Zuhri underlined that these remarks by Sheikh Mane’ie confirmed that all allegations accusing Hamas of being involved in the Sinai were lies.
Palestinians navigate Lebanon strife
BEIRUT (Aljazeera) 12 July by Moe Ali Nayel — In a country riven by ethnic, religious, and political tensions since its founding, staying neutral in Lebanon can be a challenging feat. Palestinian refugee camps here are isolated communities, alienated from their surroundings. In the collective memory of the refugees, the camps’ history consists of nothing but sieges, destruction, and massacres. Life for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon means to be deprived of basic human rights, and discriminated against by political parties and government policies. The support of the roughly 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon has long been sought after – and exploited – by Lebanese groups seeking to further their own ends. But although Lebanon has become increasingly unstable and divided in recent months, the vast majority of Lebanon’s Palestinians have remained neutral. Throughout their 65 years of exile, Palestinian refugees have become champions of survival. For Palestinians in Lebanon, though, that does not just mean food and shelter, but also staying away from the toxic potion that is Lebanese politics.
Group slams ‘slanderous attacks’ on Palestinian football star
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — A civil rights group in the United States has denounced what it called ‘slanderous attacks’ on a Palestinian-American football star by Yahoo! Sports and Major League Baseball. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on Friday expressed “serious concern” about a tweet written on July 10 by Jonathan Mael, the media coordinator for MLB, which compared New York Jets football star Oday Aboushi to a convicted murderer, seemingly based solely on his Palestinian heritage. In the tweet Mael wrote: “The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.” Football player Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in June in connection with the death of another football player. ADC slammed the tweet as “extremely biased” and called for the immediate termination of Jonathan Mael and an official apology from MLB to the Arab-American community. “It goes beyond attacking only Oday Aboushi; it is another piece of the continuous unjustified attacks waged each day on Arab and Muslim Americans,” the group said. Mael later issued an apology.
American Arab group calls on MLB to fire Jonathan Mael for smearing Jets’ Oday Aboushi
Mondoweiss 14 July by Annie Robbins –Thankfully, the backlash against the racist hit job on Oday Aboushi has gone viral, it’s all over sports media. (ESPN (over 5000 comments), SportingNews.com, Jerusalem Post, FanSided, the Jets blog Gang Green Nation, Sports Media 101 , NBCSports.) For me, and I imagine for many Americans, the most amazing part of this fiasco is reading the overwhelming support for Aboushi in the mainstream media comments sections, and the strong stance of the Jets organization. It feels like a valve has been released and a space has been created for regular people (like sports fans!) who might not usually engage in political discussions or more specifically discussions about Israel/Palestine, to speak their mind about the slandering.
White House unsure plan to waive visas for Israelis will fly
WASHINGTON (AP) 15 July — Some lawmakers and administration officials concerned that Arab-Americans would still be barred from entering Israel — Legislation that would let Israelis visit the United States without visas but not demand full reciprocal treatment for all Americans wishing to travel to the Jewish state could put Congress and the Obama administration on a collision course in coming weeks .Israel’s entry into the 37-nation US Visa Waiver Program is the most controversial element in a pair of broader US-Israel bills dealing with everything from improving cybersecurity to enhancing economic cooperation. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is hoping to get the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval before Congress’ August recess. A version by Senator Barbara Boxer is picking up support in the Senate. Both would create a new category of US ally — “major strategic partner” — designating Israel as the only such nation.
Arab Bank mounts legal challenge against claims of aiding terror
SAN FRANCISCO (Electronic Intifada) 9 July by Charlotte Silver — Lawyers representing the Arab Bank have petitioned the US Supreme Court to dismiss the claims of 6,500 plaintiffs who argue the Jordanian bank is liable for acts of terror perpetrated during the second Palestinian intifada. The nearly decade-long legal battle tests the limits of US law barring material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations. In April, presiding Judge Nina Gershon ordered the case — known as Linde vs. Arab Bank — to proceed to trial in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In its current state, Linde vs. Arab Bank is a consolidation of 11 separate civil complaints, filed under a provision within the Anti-Terrorism Act that allows victims of terrorism to seek damages in US federal courts. The majority of plaintiffs are Israeli nationals whose family members were killed or injured in suicide bombings or other attacks and are filing their claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a statute which allows non-US nationals to sue in a US federal court for violations of international law
State comptroller to probe whether Ethiopian birthrate was deliberately lowered
Haaretz 14 July by Yarden Skop — State Comptroller Yosef Shapira to investigate allegations that women who immigrated to Israel were administered the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera with the intent of restricting birthrate in the Ethiopian community … The comptroller went on to explain that the decision to examine the use of Depo-Provera came in response to “appeals by female Knesset members, headed by chairman of the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child Orly Levi-Abekasis.”
Launch at Palmachim: ‘Test of Jericho missile’
[with video] Ynet 14 July – Foreign sources claim the Israeli military test-fired a new long-range ballistic missile reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear, chemical or biological warhead. The military described Friday’s launch from a base on the Mediterranean coast as the test of the propulsion system of a missile on which it declined to elaborate.
Israel launches information war against Hezbollah
The Media Line 14 July — IDF’s new media unit launches website offering in-depth information, analysis on Hezbollah, in bid to push additional countries to add group to terror list. ‘Just a compilation of anti-Hezbollah propaganda,’ Lebanese media say
IDF builds marine obstacle in Red Sea
[photos] Ynet 11 July by Yoav Zitun — Military speeds up Hourglass project to boost Israel-Egypt border amid rising concerns from Sinai chaos. Obstacle to foil breach attempts by divers, jet skis — Against the backdrop of the unrest in Egypt and growing chaos in the Sinai Peninsula, the IDF is planning to erect a several-dozen-meter tall obstruction on the Red Sea naval border between Eilat and Taba. The obstruction, the final stage of the Hourglass project to boost the border, will be built in the coming year with Egyptian coordination … At the same time, construction of the new border fence between Israel and Egypt is on its last and most complicated stage – breaking through 15 kilometers of cliffs, valleys and crevices in the Eilat Mountains.
Analysis / Opinion
When Zionism is racism: Ron Dermer and Bibi Netanyahu on the record / Larry Derfner
972mag 10 July — Imagine if a politician in another country had bragged about lowering a minority group’s birthrate – like Netanyahu and his new ambassador to the U.S. did — Ron Dermer, who was named by Netanyahu yesterday to be Israel’s new ambassador to the United States, is known as an even more right-wing Republican version of his boss … It gets worse, though. Dermer is also a proud champion of about the ugliest possible anti-Arab views, having defended Bibi publicly when his mentor made the single most offensively racist remark of his career, which is going some … From Yedioth Ahronoth: “In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the cuts in child pensions, saying that since they were implemented “two positive things happened: members of the Haredi public seriously joined the workforce. And on the national level, the unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”
‘When I look at the Prawer Plan, I see another Nakba’ / Matt Surrusco
972mag 14 July — +972 speaks with Suhad Bishara, of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, about the challenges of fighting for Palestinian rights in Israel and deciding when not to take legal action in Israeli courts – if doing so would undermine the Palestinian narrative … Sitting down with +972 in her Haifa office last week, Bishara discussed the intricacies of running a Palestinian human rights organization in Israel, and how in each case she must weigh how taking it to court might inadvertently undermine Palestinian rights … Are the land and planning rights of Arabs in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories more or less protected today compared to 2001 when you joined Adalah? Generally speaking, they’re less protected….
Europe’s leaders speak out on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children / Galit Saporta
972mag 13 July — It seems that yet another report, this time from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), regarding abuses that occur during arrest, interrogation and detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli army, has failed to generate any public attention in Israel. Only one article in Haaretz (“It’s only Palestinian children,” June 27, 2013) has referred to this issue. In some European countries, however, it is high on public and government agendas. In the Netherlands and the U.K., both politicians and the public are increasingly losing patience with Israeli violations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel ratified in 1991. Less than a week after the CRC report was released on June 25, the Dutch parliament held a lively debate on the detention and arrest of Palestinian children by the IDF. At the end of the debate, even Han ten Broeke of the right-wing coalition party VVD – traditionally a staunch supporter of Israel and its government – joined the critics and quoted from a 2011 B’Tselem report.
Eyes wide open: IDF soldiers detain five-year-olds; what have we become? / Uri Misgav
Haaretz 13 July — The prophet Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right: Military occupation and controlling another people has turned us into Judeo-Nazis — I’ve got a son who’s four-years-and-eight-months-old, soon to be five. Since the day he was born, he’s become very close to me. His name is Liri and he is the love of my life … Today, while traveling with him and his sister on the train, I took the plunge and watched the B’Tselem video of IDF soldiers detaining a 5-year-old. When it was over, I shed tears. It’s a good thing my kids were busy with something else, and didn’t see … During my officer training course, I was assigned to operational duty in Hebron. I will never forgot how one of my fellow soldiers, who had served for slightly longer than I, suddenly stopped a young Palestinian kid in the street, and began thoroughly checking his documents, just for show. All at once, I saw how the look in his eyes changed. I saw how he became someone else, how he lost all humanity. I was reminded of that today while watching this terrible video. You all should too. The devil did not create little boy’s tears. If someone were to frighten my Liri that way, and then humiliate me, tied and blindfolded in front of him, I believe that I would devote the rest of my life trying to redeem myself in his eyes. Perhaps I would even educate him and train him to one day get his revenge. This clip is the Israeli version of the picture of the frightened child raising his hand at the Wehrmacht soldiers in the Warsaw ghetto. Former Shin Bet chief Avraham Shalom said in “The Gatekeepers,” and he was right. The prophet Yeshayahu Leibowitz also said it before him, years ago: military occupation and controlling another people has turned us into Judeo-Nazis.
In Israel’s trade catalog, arms and asylum seekers are equal commodities / Natasha Roth
972mag 10 July — With arbitrary arrest and detention, forcible transfer, withholding of basic human rights, the imposition of birth control measures and now an arms-for-asylum-seekers deal which amounts to little more than human trafficking, Israel has become a theater of horrors for Africans — A report in yesterday’s Yedioth Aharonoth (originally in Hebrew, and translated into English for their website) revealed that the Israeli government is on the verge of closing a deal with several African countries which would see them furnished with arms and military expertise, in exchange for accepting thousands of asylum seekers currently residing in Israel. Once again, the government has shrugged off any pretence of honoring its commitments under the UN Refugee Conventions. Once again, it is making a mockery of the concept that it needs to abide by international law. That this is a war on asylum seekers and human rights is self-evident. But it is also a war on dignity and an assault on human memory and conscience. Whether or not the deal goes through, the fact remains that the Israeli government has seriously considered forcibly dispatching thousands of Africans, to a country not of their choosing, as part of a trade agreement. This brings up a historical recollection of such offensiveness that it is difficult to address it directly.