Israel arrested 170 Jerusalemite children since the start of the year
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 July — A Palestinian human rights activist accused the occupation authorities of targeting Jerusalemite children as they have arrested since the beginning of the year 2013 more than 170 children. Professor of International Law Dr. Hanna Issa said in a press statement on Tuesday: “The detention of children and the house arrest imposed on them represents the first Israeli plans to kill childhood.” “The arrests of Jerusalemite children have turned the child who is looking for and defending his rights to a child completely deprived of his rights and homeland. The child starts to suffer from psychological problems, hair loss and psychological trauma caused by the circumstances of his arrest, amid his parents’ inability to protect him”, Issa explained. He noted that the neighborhoods of Tur, Issawiyya, Silwan and the Old City have witnessed many cases of child arrests, noting that the arrests are always carried out at night by the special forces, which deliberately break into the child’s house in a brutal way.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Jerusalem court orders state to reveal identities of Palestinian landowners, paving way for eased settlement expansion
Haaretz 9 July by Chaim Levinson — Forty-six years after the West Bank Land Registry was marked classified and closed off to the public, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered the state to give settlers information on the identities of Palestinians who own land near settlements. The dramatic June 26 decision will likely ease settlement expansion. Inside the Green Line, one can learn the identity of owners of housing units or land for a NIS 10 fee. But in the West Bank, outside the Green Line, this information has been secret and classified. Only a person with a “link to the land” could make a request from the Civil Administration in Beit El, and obtain the needed information from the Land Registry. Those without such a “link” had to get the information from people in the Palestinian villages or sources in the Civil Administration … This decision has a dramatic effect on the expansion of settlements, since currently the state enforces only the prohibition against building on privately-owned Palestinian land. In the area of Ramallah, the Jordan Valley and Tul Karm, most of the Palestinian-owned land is registered in the Land Registry. Without buying it, the settlements will have difficulty expanding. In settlements such as Psagot, Kochav Hashachar, Ofra, Beit El and Kochav Ya’akov, information may now be obtained that will enable the start of the process by which the land will be transferred to them. Knowing who owns the land will facilitate land purchases.
Two plans to build 500 new settlement units in West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 9 July — Israel’s Civil Administration submitted two new plans to build more than 500 new settlement units. According to the Hebrew Walla website, the first plan includes the construction of 255 units in the settlement of Kfar Adumim in the Benjamin region. The website explains that the second plan includes the construction of 230 new units in the settlement of Maon, south of the city of al-Khalil in the southern occupied West Bank. In the details of the two plans, the settlement of Kfar Adumim, which is inhabited by nearly 400 Israeli families, will be significantly expanded through the construction of these units.
Echoes of South Africa’s ‘District Six’ in the Negev
972blog 9 July by Amjad Iraqi — Photo: A memorial plaque commemorating the forced eviction of 60,000 non-white South Africans from District Six, Cape Town. Thousands of Arab Bedouin citizens in the Negev face the same fate today. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons) – Israel’s policy of forcibly displacing and ‘transferring the Palestinian Arab population is occurring both in the Occupied Territories and inside Israel itself. The problem is that despite knowledge of the practice, the public and centers of power do not grasp the severity of the policy or the racism behind it, both of which require harsh condemnation and immediate action in order to stop the displacement. A comparative case, albeit a controversial one, may help to put Israel’s policy into perspective. In apartheid-era South Africa, in addition to the ‘Bantustans’ that divided communities across the country, major cities were divided into municipal districts designated for particular races. In Cape Town, ‘“District Six’ gained particular infamy over a government plan to forcibly remove 60,000 non-white residents in order to develop the area solely for white South Africans (watch this clip).
Journalism students visit ‘neglected’ Arab neighborhoods
The Media Line 8 July — Dovish group Ir Amim takes 15 journalism students from five nations on tour of east Jerusalem. Student: I understand a little bit more about what Palestinians face on day-to-day basis — The minibus travels along a bumpy road through Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. The roads are narrow and poorly paved. “You are seeing Israel’s ongoing neglect of these Palestinian neighborhoods for more than four decades,” Yaniv Mazor tells the 15 journalism students from five nations. “Most of these neighborhoods have no sidewalks and no garbage collection. They pay taxes but do not get any municipal services.” … While most are American and Canadian, one participant is from Turkey and one is originally Nigerian.
Officials: Israelis desecrate Al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 July – Around 100 Israelis desecrated Monday the Muslim holy site, al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem when they toured the compound dressed in shorts and improper clothes for a holy place, according to sources from the Muslim Waqf, which is in charge of the Mosque compound. They said the Israeli fanatics, who were escorted by police, held prayer rituals and destroyed olive branches in the yards in a clear provocative manner to the feelings of the hundreds of Muslims who were on the site and who reacted yelling Allah Akbar (God is most great) in Arabic. Israeli fanatics are increasing their provocative tours of the Muslim compound to create daily presence there with a goal to eventually take it over and build their temple on the ruins of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock
The agony of Job al-Theeb
PNN/ Exclusive 5 July — The village of Job Al-Theeb, located near Bethlehem in the West Bank, is home to 160 people living in substandard conditions, as it is located in “Area C” of the occupied Palestinian territories, under the military and administrative control of Israel … Job al-Theeb is no exception; its inhabitants are victims of cruel restrictions that deprive them of the basic services. The village lacks sufficient infrastructure to water source. Israeli regulations impede the construction of wells and pipelines, while pumping of water is only allowed one hour a week forcing the residents to pay for supplies by truck. Residents of Job Al-Theeb also not allowed access to electricity, where on a previous note, the German government had provided photo-voltaic panels, but the Israeli army seized them under “security reasons”. It is noteworthy that, in addition to facing severe shortages, Job Al-Theeb is besieged by Israeli settlements. Four years ago, a road was built through the village, exclusively for settlers who take advantage to harass Palestinian residents and damage their properties.
Israelis demolish facilities in Jordan Valley
TUBAS (WAFA) 8 July — An Israeli army forces Monday demolished agricultural facilities in addition to residential sheds and tents near Tubas in the Jordan Valley area, according to security sources. They told WAFA that a large force brought an army bulldozer and proceeded to demolish the facilities in two different areas in the Jordan Valley.
A tour in Wadi Kana
Israel Social TV 4 July — Residents of the lovely valley of Wadi Kana [Qana] belonging to the village of Deir Istiya talk about the demolition of Ali Jabar’s house in Kfar Haras although he had building permits, and the state-ordered uprooting of 1,500 olive trees because they were planted after Oslo. [Some of the opinions expressed are controversial, such as the idea that the Oslo division of land in the West Bank could have ‘worked’]
Nine years later, Israel still indifferent to ICJ opinion on Wall
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 July — Nine years later, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion that deemed Israel’s apartheid wall illegal and called for its removal has yet to be implemented, said the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Tuesday. According to the July 9, 2004 ICJ ruling, ‘Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law,’ and ‘to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated…’ It further affirms that Israel must ‘make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.’ Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that “pursuing Israel in the international judicial arena is long overdue
World soccer authorities to examine Palestinian players’ travel concerns
Reuters 10 July — FIFA president Sepp Blatter will establish a task force to address Palestinian concerns over travel restrictions for soccer players and officials through border crossings controlled by Israel, he said yesterday. After meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of world soccer’s governing body said he, Israeli and Palestinian soccer chiefs and the heads of the European and Asian soccer confederations would discuss the issue in September. Palestinians are angry that Israel’s security forces, who control movement between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, frequently prevent athletes traveling freely between the two separated territories.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
Settlers attack Palestinians in East Jerusalem home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 July- Two armed Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem on Monday, and assaulted the owner and his friend, the owner said. Sami al-Qalouni, 53, said he was at home in al-Tur village with his friend Jamal Abu Steif when the settlers raided in what al-Qalouni described as an attempt to take control of the building. The settlers beat al-Qalouni and Abu Steif with iron bars, al-Qalouni told Ma‘an. Al-Qalouni suffered serious head, back and hand wounds, and Abu Steif sustained several fractures to his hand, a Ma‘an reporter said. Settlers previously set up a tent on al-Qalouni’s land. Israeli police took the two wounded Palestinians to hospital and removed the tent, the reporter said.
Children of Beit Ommar Popular Committee are targeted again
Mondoweiss 8 July by Annie Robbins — The activist community in the little West Bank village of Beit Ommar has been targeted again by Israeli forces. Fifteen military jeeps descended on the town in the middle of the night and burst into the room of a new mother hours after she’d given birth to her first child. Ahmed Abu Hashem, activist member of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee, and his son Mohammed were beaten, arrested and hauled off during the 2 am raid … Abu Hashem’s daughter-in-law Yasmin Abu Maria had just given birth to Abu Hashem’s grandchild. And soldiers burst into the room of a baby girl on the first night of her life, not even a day old. Is this what it means to be Palestinian? Not one sacred day of life with her child without interruption from soldiers with guns drawn? And the humiliation of a man not being able to protect his family. And why? Because this family has exercised its universal right to speak out against the government that rules their lives…
Last year’s Campaign for the Release of Ahmed Abu Hashem and His Sons provides the context for the threat the people of Beit Ommar endure on a daily basis. Their cherished land is coveted:
Ten homes invaded, three arrested in night invasion of Talfit
Talfit, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 8 July by Nablus Team — In the early hours of Wednesday 3rd of July, the Israeli army conducted a large scale incursion into the northern West Bank village of Talfit, invading and trashing ten houses and arresting three men. The families of these prisoners have not heard from them in the five days since they have been in Israeli custody and their current whereabouts and legal status are unknown. In a sustained invasion from around 1am to 5am, around one hundred soldiers entered the village of Talfit in a number of jeeps, heavily armed and with police dogs. At least ten families, many with young children, were forced by the military to wait in the street for many hours whilst soldiers ransacked their homes. Twenty-six year old Abdallah Mohammed Najeeb, who works as a nurse in a Nablus hospital, was one of the three men arrested during this night invasion. He was sleeping in his home at 1am when thirty soldiers came to the door, breaking it down with an air pump and flooding into the house with dogs. According to Abdallah’s father, the soldiers ordered all ten family members, including three children under the age of four, to stand on the road for several hours; during this time, some soldiers questioned the family, whilst others were inside overturning furniture and pulling the house apart … The father of another family had his identity card and driving license confiscated by a military commander, who stated as he took them: “you have no ID.” These will cost at least 800 shekels to replace and in the meantime he will not be able to continue his work as a driver because now he does not have the required documents to legally do so. “The soldiers shouted at them and let the dogs come very near the children — they were so afraid,” said the mother of the family about her two children aged three and five, who had been ordered outside for several hours.
Israel arrests 13 in overnight raids across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli forces raided villages across the West Bank before dawn Monday, detaining at least 13 Palestinians including a popular resistance leader in Hebron, officials said. Mousa Abu Maria, a member of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in Beit Ummar, said Israeli forces detained Ahmad Abu Hashem, 43, and his son Muhammad, 17, in the same village. .He said the soldiers raided the house and assaulted the detainees.
Also near Hebron, the Israeli military raided al-‘Arrub refugee camp and detained three people. They were identified as Alaa Hilmi Abu Ghazi, Rabah Bilal Fdeilat, and Yousef Mohammad Abu Afia. They were taken to an undisclosed location. Clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces during the raid. Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
In Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces detained two young men in raids. Witnesses told Ma‘an that military jeeps stormed Tulkarem and detained 25-year-old Hasib al-Ali. The soldiers also assaulted al-Ali’s younger brother Dhirgham causing serious bruises, the witnesses added.
Separately, troops raided Qaffin village north of Tulkarem and detained 21-year-old Abdullah Asaad Aqil. During the raid, soldiers assaulted 31-year-old Nabil Abu Tahoun, a former prisoner.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed 13 arrests overall. She said the other Palestinians were detained in the Nablus, Qalqiliya and Ramallah areas. Two Palestinians were also detained in al-Khader, near Bethlehem, she said.
Witness: Israeli forces detain Palestinian in raid
JENIN (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli forces raided the Barta‘a al-Sharqiya village early Tuesday and detained a Palestinian, witnesses said. Abed al-Wahab Hassan Qabha, in his 40s, was taken from the village, said youth activist Baha Qabha. He said soldiers also raided commercial shops and confiscated some of the goods. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces. An Israeli soldier was lightly wounded during the clashes and was transferred to hospital via military ambulance.
An army spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the Jenin raid but confirmed one arrest in Hebron.
NAD-PLO Palestine Monitoring Group monthly summary of Israeli violations – 1-30 June 2013
Summary table of events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – June 2013 Killing: West Bank 1 Gaza Strip 0; Injuries: WB 54, GS 3; Attacks: WB 159, GS 37; Raids WB 544, GS 6; Arrests: WB 366, GS 6 … Settler violence: WB 77 GS 0 etc. – followed by many good infographics, plus details of violations
Palestinians smash holes in Israel’s wall
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — Palestinian youths smashed holes in Israel’s separation wall in East Jerusalem on Tuesday. The protest marked the ninth anniversary of an International Court of Justice advisory opinion that ruled the wall illegal and called for its removal. Activists declared the anniversary a national day for the destruction of the wall. In Eizariya, dozens of youths tore two holes in the wall before Israeli forces arrived and dispersed them with stun grenades and plastic-coated steel bullets, Fatah official Mohamed Amin said. “The destruction of a portion of the wall is a protest to the daily raids at Al-Aqsa holy mosque. The Palestinians have a right to break the barriers and the wall to reach Jerusalem and protect its holy sites from the Israeli violations,” Amin told Ma‘an. [Video posted by Fadi Arouri]
Masked demonstrators call for 3rd intifada in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July — Masked demonstrators affiliated to a new group calling itself “Tamarod” marched through Ramallah on Monday calling for a third intifada. Male and female protesters rallied through Ramallah’s streets, chanting that a third intifada, or uprising, would restore the dignity of the Palestinian cause. They called on Palestinian factions to resume military activities and to unite in resistance against Israel’s occupation. “Military action is the shortest route to end occupation,” they chanted. The protesters say they are part of a group “Tamarod,” Arabic for rebellion. “If you want a third intifada to break, you have to rebel against the Palestinian reality which the current leadership brought due to their disputes and different trends,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. It is not clear if the group has any affiliation to the Egyptian Tamarod movement, a grassroots campaign which called the protests leading to the army’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday.
Detainees / Court actions
When non-violence is criminal: Palestinian women stand trial for West Bank protest
972mag 8 July by Mairav Zonszein — The IDF did not charge the two protesters with stone throwing, violent conduct or illegal gathering – but rather for violating a ‘closed military zone order,’ a highly unusual indictment. If the pair are convicted in court, it could set a precedent that demonstrates Palestinians are forbidden by Israel to oppose the occupation in any way.
Israel charges Palestinian women over non-violent protest
OFER MILITARY COURT (AFP) 9 July — An Israeli military court formally charged two Palestinian women on Tuesday for their involvement in a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank last month. In a hearing at Ofer military court near Ramallah, Nariman Tamimi, 37, and Rana Hamadah, 21, who also holds Canadian nationality, were charged with “entering a closed military zone” during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, where villagers have been protesting since 2009 over the seizure of their lands by a nearby settlement … a judge ruled that Tamimi, a mother of four who is married to veteran Nabi Saleh activist Bassem Tamimi, would be placed under house arrest every Friday [the usual protest day]. She is next due in court on September 3. Hamadah, who is studying in Canada and is also facing obstruction charges after trying to prevent the forces from handcuffing her, was also barred from entering the village on a Friday. Her next hearing is on July 17. Almost all demonstrations in Palestine are defined as “illegal” under Israeli military law, which states that any gathering of 10 or more people requires a permit.
Seeking justice for Tristran Anderson: Who watches the watchmen?
972blog 9 July by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — Israel’s High Court of Justice will hear a petition demanding simply that an investigation into the wounding of a foreign citizen also investigate the real suspects. On March 13, 2009, Tristan Anderson was standing in the forecourt of the mosque in the village of Ni’lin. Anderson, an American citizen, came to Ni’lin to document the weekly protests there. The demonstration was winding down, and the Border Police were conducting their usual chase after stone throwers on a nearby hill, nicknamed “Antenna Hill.” Without any warning, a tear gas canister smashed into Anderson’s brow. He collapsed, his skull shattered. As a video taken there shows, tear gas canisters kept dropping around him. A team of the Palestinian Red Crescent tried to remove him to a hospital, but our brave troops held them for a long while at a checkpoint. After a series of long treatments in Israel, Anderson’s life was saved but he remains handicapped and suffered severe brain damage. He needs constant supervision by his parents. Everyone agrees that Anderson was not involved in any violent activity or any other provocation during the demonstration. [see graphic video]
Three days after the incident, the Samaria and Judea (West Bank) Police District began an investigation. On September 30, 2009, the prosecution announced it had closed the case without any explanation as to why. About five months later, attorneys for the families were allowed to view and photocopy the investigation file – at which point a massive hole in the investigation was discovered. The police did not bother interrogating the policemen who shot Anderson…
Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, at 9 a.m., the High Court of Justice will hear Yesh Din’s petition demanding that the police hold a real investigation of the Anderson case. Updates will follow.
Teens who assaulted Arabs get jail time
Ynet 8 July by Aviel Magnezi — Three teens who assaulted Arabs last year were handed prison sentences on Monday morning. The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court sentenced one youth to eight months imprisonment for his part in the assault of Jamal Julani in the capital’s Zion Square and his involvement in a separate attack on Arabs earlier that night. Another defendant involved in one of incidents received three months in prison. A third defendant who took part in the event but was involved in the physical assault was sent to one month in prison. “The attack on Julani was nothing short of a lynch,” the judge said. “The rioters decided he was not a person but an object they could play with as they pleased.” The indictments filed in the case distinguish between two events which took place in August 2012: the assault of unknown Arab victims in Jerusalem’s Nahalat Shiva neighborhood and the assault of Julani by 10 youths.
Israel reduces sentence of 60-year-old prisoner by 2 weeks
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israel’s supreme court has agreed to reduce the administrative detention of Omar Barghouthi by two weeks, his lawyer said Monday. Barghouthi, 60, has been imprisoned without charge or trial for over two years. An Israeli court previously reduced Barghouthi’s latest 6-month administrative detention order to four months following a prior appeal. On Monday, the sentence was reduced to three-and-a-half months so Barghouthi could spend the Eid al-Fitr holiday with his family, Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer Jawad Boulos told Ma‘an.
IOA holds Hamas leader in administrative detention one day after his arrest
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 July — The Israeli occupation authorities held Sheikh Falah Nada, a Hamas leader, in administrative detention on Tuesday one day after his arrest from his village Qarawat Bani Hassan to the west of Ramallah. Ahmed Al-Beitawi, a researcher with the Tadamun foundation for human rights, said that Nada, 54, was released from IOA jails on 4/12/2012 after 24 months of administrative detention.
A report on the 23 hunger strikers in Israeli prisons
Mondoweiss 7 July by Malaka Mohammed — …Prisoners’ Club reports that 23 detainees are currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. As of May, Abdullah Al-Barghouti is striking with four other Palestinians holding Jordanian citizenship. Having been detained since March 5th, 2003, he is suffering from many health problems including “potassium deficiency and several wounds in his feet and hands due to shackles”. His lawyer Hanan Al-Khatib says that since launching their strike, Al-Barghouti and other hunger strikers have been isolated in several jails. Amani Srahani, spokesperson for the Prisoners’ Club, informed me that two weeks ago “Al-Barghouthi was transferred from Al Ramleh prison hospital to Afola, an isolated prison hospital. This is indeed a sign of his critical condition.” The prisoners are refusing food and are not taking any supplements, depending only on salt and water. When a hunger strike commences, the Israeli Prison Service starts randomly storming the hunger strikers’ cells. They use attack dogs to scare them and intimidate them into halting their strikes. They also grill food and eat it in front of them.
Health condition of isolated prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi deteriorates
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 July — Human rights sources warned of the seriousness of health condition of isolated prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi, aged 42, deputy director of the power plant in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said in a press statement on Tuesday that the health status of captive Abu Sisi, held in Eichel jail, has been continuously deteriorating as a result of the policy of medical neglect and the poor living conditions inside Israeli jails. It added that the prison administration has been isolating him in section with criminal prisoners, which increased his suffering … Dirar Abu Sisi was kidnapped by the Mossad in Ukraine on 18 February 2011, under the claim that he poses a threat to the security of the State of Israel. He has been held under the solitary confinement since his arrest.
Israeli docs to consult US govt on force feeding Gitmo hunger strikers
Mondoweiss 9 July by Adam Horowitz — Here’s a perfect story to illustrate the U.S.-Israeli collaboration in the “War on Terror.” Haaretz reports officials from the Israeli Medical Association are on their way to the United States to “present policy makers there with their methods of handling hunger strikers.” Of course, Israel has plenty of experience dealing with Palestinian hunger strikers, and the U.S. has been facing an ongoing hunger strike at its Guantánamo detention facility. Haaretz picks up the story: “The invitation followed the officials remarks on the matter at a convention at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the most prestigious medical faculties. Israeli policies regarding hunger strikers were formulated in a position paper of the IMA in February 2005. The guidelines were written following hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons a year earlier, and are based on the 1975 Tokyo Declaration of the World Medical Association, and the WMA’s Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers. The policy determines that hunger strikers will not be force-fed with liquids or food against their will. In recent weeks, photos taken in the U.S.’ detention center in Guantánamo depicting Muslim prisoners being force-fed during Ramadan have embarrassed the administration. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.
Egypt to reopen Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 July — Egypt will reopen its border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after a five-day closure, a border official said Tuesday. The Rafah crossing will reopen Wednesday, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, Egyptian director of the Rafah terminal Sami Mitwali told Ma‘an. Egypt closed the crossing on Friday due to a series of militant attacks in North Sinai following the Egyptian army’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. Although clashes are ongoing, the crossing will reopen Wednesday to ease the suffering of Palestinians stuck at the border, Mitwali told Ma‘an.
Gaza’s future music stars face a discordant journey to summer camp
Haaretz 9 July by Tania Hary — When you’re a child musician from Gaza, not a rock star like recent Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, the Israeli army labels you a security risk, and getting to Ramallah is a far more arduous journey — …A day before [Assaf’s visit] the first eleven youngsters of a group totaling 47 musicians from the Gaza Strip, aged 8-16, also performed near Ramallah, albeit with much less fanfare. The children were taking part in a five-day summer camp for young musicians run by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, a 20-year old institution advancing the study of music through its five branches in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Their request to travel to the West Bank from Gaza was initially rejected by the Israeli army. The official reason for the rejection had been that the request did not meet the army’s definition of “humanitarian,” which is the only circumstance under which a resident of Gaza is allowed to travel to the West Bank. Well, unless you’re Mohammed Assaf. At the eleventh hour and under pressure from various directions, especially from Gisha, the human rights organization I work for, the army decided to let the children travel.
Children make up a staggering 53% of the population of the Gaza Strip. With the population now standing at around 1.7 million, that makes for 901,000 girls and boys under the age of 18. I begin many of talks I give to various audiences with this statistic. The surprise and concern are usually visible on people’s faces immediately. Sometimes I have to repeat myself, often even more than once. I believe the surprise comes from a deep and intuitive place within many people which has come to equate Gaza with terror and rockets.
Limited Israeli incursion into southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli military vehicles crossed into Absan village east of Khan Younis early Tuesday in a limited incursion, a Ma‘an reporter said. Two military vehicles and six bulldozers were seen crossing the area. There were no reports of injury or damage.
Construction of 39 schools in Gaza halted
GAZA (PIC) 9 July — The ministry of education in Gaza said on Tuesday that construction work in 39 schools in the Strip came to a halt due to the renewal of the blockade and closure of tunnels. It said in a report that the halt to the construction of those schools would negatively affect the educational process in the coastal enclave. The ministry pointed out that the closure led to shortage in construction material such as cement, iron, gravel, tiles, wood, paint, aluminum, and electric appliances.
Gaza pilgrim dies in Saudi Arabia
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 July – A Palestinian pilgrim from Gaza died late Monday in Saudi Arabia, said the minister of endowment in the Hamas-run Gaza government Ismail Radwan. Radwan said in a statement that 65-year-old Atiyeh Shehada Dughmah died of a sudden illness while he was stuck in Saudi Arabia along with hundreds of pilgrims after they performed Umrah pilgrimage. They have been stranded in Saudi Arabia after the Egyptian authorities closed its borders with the Gaza Strip.
The Hague weighs criminal probe of Israel over 2010 Marmara raid
Haaretz 9 July by Revital Hovel — The International Criminal Court has never before considered opening an investigation against Israel. Since its establishment in 2002, the ICC has dealt only with cases involving hundreds or thousands of victims … According to attorney Nick Kaufman, a defense attorney at the ICC, the court could have rejected the case without a hearing had it considered it obviously beyond its jurisdiction. Therefore, he noted, “even if this is a procedural process, this is the first time a decision of this sort has been made — one that says there is a judicial address at an international court for criminal complaints against Israel.” Prof. Aeyal Gross, an expert in international law from Tel Aviv University who occasionally contributes legal commentary to Haaretz, noted that while the ICC deals with criminal cases against individuals rather than countries, this case potentially involves several different levels of Israeli officials.
Palestinian refugees outside Palestine
Video: ‘We have become refugees again,’ say Palestinians from Syria now in Gaza
Electronic Intifada 9 July by Ali Abunimah — As Palestine refugees face an increasingly dire situation in Syria, some have made their way to the Gaza Strip, as Yousef Al-Helou finds in this video report [Refugees from Syria in Gaza Divided Over Assad] for The Real News. This route to safety is closed off, at least for now, amid the turmoil in Egypt … The number of Palestinians who have made it to Gaza is unknown, but Al-Helou cites estimates of around 800 persons. “We Palestinian refugees have become refugees another time,” Muhammad al-Sheikh, a Palestinian who lived in Syria for 41 years, told Al-Helou. “We were forced to leave our homes due to the destruction and killing in Syria.” “We know that Gaza often comes under Israeli attacks, so we know that for us the danger is not yet over. But at least we are in our homeland,” al-Sheikh added.
Group: 4 killed in Syria’s Yarmouk camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Three Palestinian refugees and a Syrian resident of the Yarmouk refugee camp were killed as clashes between the Syrian regime and rebels of the Free Syrian Army continued Monday, says a Palestinian group based in Syria … A statement from the group highlighted that Syrian troops stationed at a checkpoint near the camp continued to harass Palestinian refugees and verbally insult men, women and elderly people every day as they cross the checkpoint. According to the group, the troops force the residents to stand in a queue then ask a veiled collaborator to look at them and tell if some of them participate in political activities or cooperate with the rebels. The checkpoint is open and closed depending on the soldiers’ mood, added the group. Meanwhile, residents complained about misbehavior by rebels of the Free Syrian Army who, according to the Taskforce, rob houses and stores at gunpoint.
Political, other news
Report: Netanyahu denies meeting with PA officials
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday denied meeting senior Palestinian Authority officials for secret talks in Jerusalem. The former PA prisoner affairs minister, Ashraf al-Ajrami, had said Netanyahu met PLO Executive Committee secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo recently at the Israeli premier’s home in Jerusalem.
Shaath confirms Ramallah meeting with Israeli delegation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — PLO officials met with an Israeli delegation representing the Likud and Shas parties in Ramallah on Monday, Fatah official Nabil Shaath said. Shaath, who attended the meeting, said Palestinian officials told the Israelis that the two-state solution is necessary and that the Israeli government must stop settlement activities and land confiscation in the West Bank. The Palestinian officials also told their Israeli guests at the presidential compound that Israel should recognize an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, Shaath told Ma‘an. He said the Palestinians told the Israelis that the PLO would seek alternatives in the absence of a two-state solution
Hamas denounces meeting between Fatah and Israeli officials
GAZA (PIC) 9 July — Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has denounced the meeting in Ramallah between Fatah and PA leaders and representatives of the Israeli Likud and Shas parties over a dinner banquet. Abu Zuhri said in a statement on Tuesday that the “amicable meeting” represented a kind of normalization of relations at a time the Israeli occupation authorities were escalating attacks on the Palestinian land and holy shrines. After the meeting, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Fatah central committee member, declared that the PA is ready to take unprecedented steps to resume the peace process with the Israeli authorities.
Hamas condemns claim it interferes in Egypt
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Hamas on Tuesday condemned accusations by PLO factions that it interferes in domestic Egyptian affairs as “incitement.” Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil said PLO faction leaders were inciting the Egyptian army and the Egyptian people against Hamas and the Gaza Strip. He added that such incitement was “a departure from all national and moral values.” Bardawil reiterated that Hamas does not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab country, and is only concerned with the well-being of Arab and Islamic nations. Several PLO faction leaders have accused Hamas of interfering in events in Egypt, where the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last week.
Statistics bureau: Rise in unemployment among new graduates
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 July — There was a rise in unemployment among new graduates aged 20-29 years in 2012 compared to the previous year, said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Monday. It said in a special press release on new university graduates that there are around 30,000 graduates annually from Palestinian higher education institutions.
It said in the 2012/2013 academic year, around 87,000 high school students took the general matriculation exam that allows them to enter college. According to the PCBS, unemployment rate in 2012 rose to 50.6% among graduates aged 20-29 years with a bachelor degree or an intermediate diploma – 40.9% in the West Bank and 63.2% in the Gaza Strip. In 2011, the unemployment rate for this group was 46.5%
WATCH: Palestinian workers attempt to unionize
Israeli Social TV 7 July — Many Palestinians from the Occupied Teritories work under dangerous, unfair and illegal employment conditions. Workers at one Israeli-owned factory, however, grew tired of the conditions and decided to fight for their rights and to try and unionize. This is their story.
Israeli Arab youth more likely than Jewish counterparts to drop out of school
Haaretz 9 July by Yarden Skop — Drop-out rates and incidents of violence in Israeli schools are lower than in previous years, but persistent gaps remain between Arab and Jewish students, a report released by the Knesset Research and Information Center has found. The Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee will discuss the findings on Wednesday. Recent years have seen a general dip in the percentage of students leaving school before graduating. The figure was 2.9 percent in 2011, 2.8 percent in 2010 and 2.7 percent in 2009. Despite the gradual climb, the attrition rate remains well below the 4% recorded in 2006.
Gas stations to turn away PA security vehicles
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — Gas stations across the West Bank will stop allowing Palestinian security vehicles to fill their tanks, after the PA’s finance ministry failed to pay their bills, Ma‘an has learned. The PA Finance Ministry has not reimbursed fuel vouchers for five months, and on Tuesday a network of fuel distributors announced it would stop letting the security forces fill up for free.
Arab Israeli woman aims to be next Miss Israel
Forward < Haaretz 9 July by Khaled Diab — Titi Aynaw’s victory in the Miss Israel pageant has not just inspired members of her own Ethiopian ethnic group. Mimas Abdelhai, a Palestinian-Israeli, has been mulling the idea of taking part in Miss Israel since last year. “I have been so scared to make this decision and to even talk to the people closest to me about it,” admits Abdelhai, who is a student of government at a top private Israeli college. “But this year’s winner gave me strength and encouraged me to make this decision.” Unlike Aynaw, who entered the Miss Israel pageant to pursue her modeling aspirations, Abdelhai’s motives are largely political and cultural.
Israel to trade arms for migrants with African countries
Ynet 9 July by Itamar Eichner — Senior official says deal nearly sealed with African countries to take tens of thousands of migrants in exchange for arms, military training, knowledge — …Such deals are close to being finalized with at least three African countries, the official said. Israel’s chief negotiator in the talks was Hagai Hadas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special advisor. Another Israeli official added that Israel continues to explore the possibility of returning North Sudanese and Eritrean migrants to their home countries.
Israel names ‘pro-Republican’ hawk as new envoy to US
JERUSALEM (AFP) 9 July — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named as Israel’s new ambassador to Washington Tuesday a peace process hawk seen as close to President Barack Obama’s Republican opponents. Ron Dermer, who already served a stint in Washington as economic attaché from 2005 to 2008, is on the record as voicing skepticism about the wisdom of a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem.
Analysis / Opinion
Hamas and the Likud – can you spot the difference? (a self-test) / Bradley Burston
Haaretz 9 July — Two of the groups who have most closely watched the recent upheaval in Egypt, are the leaders of Israel and the Gaza Strip. Although bitter enemies, Likud and Hamas have been observing a de facto truce of late. They have also been uncharacteristically mum on the events unfolding in Cairo and across their largest neighbor. This may be as good a time as any, then, to take a closer look at these two powerful forces. (For each question, choose the one answer that seems closest to the truth, as you see it) Question 1 – History of The Movement The Movement was founded by terror chieftains, the masterminds and commanders of bombings and armed attacks which killed large numbers of innocent people.They were unrepentant. Moreover, to this day, their acts of violence are extolled and venerated by their political heirs, who have taken pains to incorporate them into school lesson plans and public monuments. The Movement is: A. Hamas B. The Likud C. Both A and B
When ‘buying time’ means one thing: More occupation / Noam Chayat
972blog 6 July — The lie about an alleged peace process does not end in Israeli schools or in the minds of Israeli soldiers in the occupation’s army; it is the pillar of international diplomacy, especially that of the United States. That is its true greatness. — On June 6, exactly 46 years after Israel conquered the Palestinian territories, I came to talk to 50 high school students in a Waldorf school in the Galilee, on behalf of Breaking the Silence … In Israel, the quality of a given school is determined – among other parameters – by the percentage of its students who go on to become combat soldiers. The larger the percentage, the happier it makes the Education Ministry and the school is rewarded with increased funding. However, this school being a private Waldorf school, it does not usually meet the government’s combat soldier-production expectations. And yet, only two months from now, these young people will be drafted into the IDF. Several of them will serve as occupiers, while many will indirectly serve the occupation. The first student to enter the classroom was a young woman about to be drafted into the Border Police, notorious for its routine use of violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. She asked me whether I was going to scare her. Envisioning this innocent girl disdainfully glaring at a handcuffed Palestinian while her comrades beat him up was enough to bring me to tears. “No,” I replied. “I’m going to tell you a true story that has been kept a secret from you.” I screened a film full of arbitrary violence directed at Palestinians at checkpoints in the West Bank. I read a soldier’s testimony to them, a young man who had previously believed it wouldn’t happen to him, yet realized he had become inhumane and as he described how he became “addicted to controlling others.” I told them my story, how as an IDF officer in the Occupied Territories I went about terrifying the civilian population there.