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On eve of talks, two-thirds of Palestinians in occupied territories say they don’t trust US as honest broker

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(Video h/t Samidoun)

VIDEO: PA police attack and arrest demonstrators against negotiations with occupation
Samidoun 28 July — Palestinian Authority security forces attacked Palestinian protesters as they marched in Ramallah on Sunday, July 28, 2013, injuring dozens and arresting a number of protesters. The marchers were protesting the PA’s return to negotiations with Israel, warning that the negotiations represent threats to Palestinian rights and a path to dangerous concessions. The protest, organized by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was attacked as the approximately 200 demonstrators marched toward the Muqata‘, PA presidential headquarters. Security forces attacked the protesters with batons in order to prevent them from reaching the Muqata‘ … Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reported that among the dozens of injured was Khalida Jarrar, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, PFLP leader and longtime prisoner advocate. Injured demonstrators were arrested and taken away from Ramallah Hospital, where they were receiving treatment. Demonstrators said that the Sunday protest is just the beginning of a popular movement against negotiations, both inside and outside Palestine, including “ending the absurd negotiations and the entire path of Oslo, holding accountable those who normalize with the occupation, returning to international institutions, including the UN, to struggle for Palestinian rights, ending the division, and creating an alternative national strategy of resistance.”

Gallup poll: Majority of Palestinians doubt US able to broker peace deal with Israel
Haaretz 27 July —  According to survey conducted in June, three in four Palestinians disagree U.S. is more serious than ever about solving Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while two in three say they don’t trust the U.S. as a peace broker …Almost three in four (74%) of Palestinian adults interviewed by Gallup disagreed that the U.S. is currently more serious than it was in the past about brokering a peace deal  that would offer a solution acceptable by both Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, only 12% said they trust the Barack Obama administration’s ability to reach a viable agreement, while 14% refused or couldn’t answer the question.

More on the Gallup Poll here –

Israel OK’s prisoner release, step to peace talks
JERUSALEM (AP) 28 July by Karin Laub –  A divided Israeli Cabinet agreed Sunday to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners convicted of deadly attacks, clearing a hurdle toward resuming Mideast peace talks and giving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry his first concrete achievement after months of shuttle diplomacy …  Release of the prisoners is linked to progress in the talks, meaning many could well remain behind bars …  Next, Israeli and Palestinian teams meet in Washington on Monday, the State Department spokeswoman said, to prepare for six to nine months of negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

For Palestinians, release of prisoners who are Israeli citizens is key
Haaretz 28 July by Amira Hass — The release of Israeli Arabs jailed for over 20 years will prove the two sides are able to put the past behind them and ready the ground for a peace agreement — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had to show Fatah and the other PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) organizations an achievement in order to quiet the many voices who oppose the resumption of negotiations with Israel without securing a settlement freeze, according to Fatah and PLO members. For Palestinians, one of the biggest failures of the Fatah leadership -which signed on to the interim agreement almost 20 years ago, was not securing the release of Palestinian prisoners; specifically those with the heaviest prison terms, whose release was not stipulated as a condition for signing the agreement … [in the 1990s] Israeli negotiators insisted on making a distinction between Palestinians that killed other Palestinians accused of being collaborators with Israel, and Palestinians that killed Jews. The first large group to be released and the last were defined as those “with blood on their hands” that cannot be released. For Palestinians, all the security prisoners are in effect soldiers, that sacrificed themselves for the national good, following orders from senior military and political ranks. “The number of Israelis that Palestinian prisoners have killed is much smaller than the number of Palestinian civilians that senior Israeli soldiers and commanders have killed in the same period,” a relative of one of the prisoners told Haaretz. “This is something Israelis must understand.” The veteran prisoners are the oldest (over 50 years old). Some have been in jail for 30 years or more, and many are suffering from various diseases. .

Shin Bet chief: Prisoners’ release dangerous
Ynet 28 July by Elior Levy –  Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen expressed reservation regarding the release of 104 security prisoners, stating that “their release will damage security, both in terms of immediate threat to public safety and in terms of an erosion of deterrence.” Nonetheless, Cohen noted that resuming peace talks with the Palestinians will have a positive effect in “calming Judea and Samaria, especially in regards to activists affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, such as the Tanzim group.”,7340,L-4410877,00.html 

Group: List of prisoners expected to be freed
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 July — The Palestinian Prisoners Society on Sunday published a list of detainees expected to be freed as part of a release deal by Israel … The list details each prisoner’s name, year of arrest, and place of origin. 1. Karim Yousef Fadel Younis – 1983 – Israel  2. Maher Abed al-Latif Younis – 1983 – Israel 3. Issa Nemr Jebril Abed Rabu – 1984 – Bethlehem….

Indyk expected to be named new US Middle East envoy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 29 July by Yitshak Benhorin — Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel who heads foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution think tank, is expected to be named the new US envoy for Middle East peace, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the announcement could come as early as on Monday, when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators plan to resume direct peace talks in Washington for the first time in nearly three years …  In a Ynet interview held a year and a half ago, he defended the Oslo Accords saying it served Israel’s interests as much as it did the Palestinians’, and perhaps even more. According to Indyk, the agreement lifted responsibility for Palestinians in the West Bank from Israel’s shoulders and placed them on the international community and Palestinian Authority.,7340,L-4410941,00.html

Cabinet approves referendum bill
Ynet 28 July by Moran Azulay — The cabinet approved on Sunday a new Basic Law requiring a referendum on peace agreements that affect sovereign land … Basic Law: Referendum is expected to be brought to the Knesset for a first reading on Wednesday. Because the bill only relates to sovereign land, the government will not have to hold a referendum to sign a treaty giving parts of West Bank to the Palestinians. However, if a peace deal includes land swaps or parts of Jerusalem, it would require a popular vote. “It is important that in such fateful decisions every citizen will vote directly on an issue that determines the State’s future,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet ahead of the vote.,7340,L-4410653,00.html

Protests / Activism

VIDEO: Fifth Canaan protest village built on annexed Palestinian land in the middle of the illegal Gush Etzion colonial bloc
Canaan village, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 27 July by Khalil Team — The Canaan protest village was built for the fifth time today, the 27th July 2013, annexed Palestinian land in the middle of the illegal Gush Etzion Colonial block next to the illegal colony of Migdal Oz. The nonviolent protesters stayed in the tent on their land for around an hour and a half, before the Israeli occupation soldiers tore it down, violently repressing the demonstration. At 11.30am, around thirty Palestinian, international and Israeli activists entered Palestinian land which has been annexed by the illegal Israeli colony, Migdal Oz. They immediately erected a simple but symbolic tent, representing the Palestinian right to the land. Within five minutes, several soldiers had arrived on the scene, heavily armed with assault rifles. They were followed shortly afterwards by several jeeps, and the number of soldiers and police increased to over fifty within half an hour.

Army arrests farmers for demanding right to their land
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 July – Israeli soldiers arrested Saturday three farmers who stood up to them and to settlers who intruded on their land in Yatta, south of Hebron, according to an area farmer. Khaled Awad told WAFA that soldiers arrested his brother, Said, and two other relatives after they refused to allow them to reach their land and started, along with settlers from nearby Mizpe Yair, built illegally on Yatta land, to beat them.  He said the landowners and other activists, including internationals, tried to reach the land the army has declared a closed military area and which amounts to 266 dunums, attacking them as they reached their land. An Israeli court had previously ordered the military government to return the land in question to its Palestinian landowners. However, the military authority refused to enforce the ruling and has refused to allow the landowners to reach their land for over a year under the pretext it was a closed military zone.

Two people injured in Bil‘in weekly march
Bil’in, Occupied Palestine (Friends of Freedom and Justice) 26 July –  This afternoon the journalist Haitham al-Khatib 37 years old was hit by a tear gas canister in the back after being targeted by the Israeli soldiers, and 18 year old Mahmoud Samara also got injured by a rubber bullet in the leg, their conditions were described as minor, in addition to cases of suffocation after inhaling tear gas in Bil‘in weekly march. The march which called by the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in Bil‘in began after Friday prayers from the center of the village toward the apartheid wall. Participated along with the people of Bil‘in, an Italy’s parliamentary delegation led by Luisa Morgantini (former vice president of the European parliament), Israeli and foreigner peace activists.

Updated: ‘Shabbat Shalom’ — no peace for Palestinians in Hebron this Saturday
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 28 July by Khalil Team — Update 28th July: Abu Shamsiya was last night transferred to Ofer prison, to another prison near Jerusalem and then once more to another police station. He was released at 16.30 today after the 1000NIS bail was paid. He has been given a court date to face the false charges of spitting on a soldier on the 30th November. The family have video evidence showing that the attacks were instigated by settlers and there was no violence from Abu Shamsiya.
Stone and egg-throwing, beating and kicking, headscarves torn off and an arrest based on two soldiers lying. This sunny Saturday in Hebron (Al-Khalil) was all about settler youth attacking innocent Palestinians and internationals while soldiers looked the other way … At around 6.30pm, a group of about thirty settler youths entered the property of the Abu Shamsiya family in Tel Rumeida. They threw stones at the family who were outside on the veranda preparing food for the iftaar fast-breaking meal. They also beat the 11-year old son of the family, Muhammad. When his father, Abu Shamsiya, went to the soldier stationed at the checkpoint just outside his house to complain and ask for help, the soldier simply told the settlers to go ahead and continue attacking the family. A settler youth then ran up to Abu Shamsiya and violently kneed him in the stomach right in front of the soldier. Another soldier grabbed Abu Shamsiya’s wife Fayseh, who was filming the incident, by her hair and pulled her to the ground. The police, who happened to be parked in their car just up the road, finally decided to intervene. Abu Shamsiya complained against the two soldiers who had attacked him and his family and were complicit in the settler violence. In a rare turn of events, the police believed Abu Shamsiya’s story — although the soldiers denied it — and took these two soldiers to the police station for further questioning. However, they did not arrest any of the settlers, who escaped into the Tel Rumeida settlement and the police chose not to follow them … Abu Shamsiya himself was later taken to the police station in order to file an official complaint and so that the police could examine his video footage of the incident. The Abu Shamsiya family were initially hopeful that this might lead to some positive result, but two hours later they got a phone call that Abu Shamsiya was now being detained in the police station on the charge of spitting at soldiers. Clearly the two soldiers whom he complained against wanted revenge and made up this story to incriminate him….

‘In Budrus, no one will give us the rights — we have to struggle for them
Haaretz 27 July by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — A new wave of arrests by IDF soldiers is scaring away young residents of Budrus, a village that has been waging a protest against the separation fence since 2003 — At night the young people of Budrus escape into the hills, and even during daytime the streets of the village look like a ghost town. At night the youths flee from the threatening wave of arrests by the Israel Defense Forces; by day, during the long broiling-hot hours of the Ramadan fast, they try to pass the time by sleeping at home. The young men began slipping away at nights recently, after a fellow villager, Abdel Rahim Awad, 18, was arrested. On January 15, his younger brother, Samir, a boy of 16, was killed by three bullets fired by IDF soldiers. They had waited in ambush for him near the separation fence and shot him in the back at close range as he tried to flee; the army has promised to investigate this incident. Four months after Samir was killed, soldiers entered the family’s home, wreaked destruction there, lobbed stun grenades inside, beat up the women of the family — four of whom required hospitalization — and arrested Abdel Rahim, the older son, rolling him down the steps from the home’s top floor, and injuring him.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Israel cracks down on accused stone-throwers
Hares, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 28 July by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — Nema Shamlawi’s eyes swell up with tears every time she talks about her son, Ali. The 16-year-old has been held in an Israeli prison for the past four months for allegedly throwing stones at settlers. Ali Shamlawi now faces attempted murder charges and life imprisonment. “Everything I see in the house makes me think of Ali,” said the mother-of-six, biting her lower lip and averting her gaze towards the ceiling. “Our life is very hard because he left us,” she told Al Jazeera from her family’s home in the West Bank village of Hares, near Salfit. “Even now, after four months, we can’t live without him.” … After days of interrogation at Jalame, Ali was transferred to Megiddo prison in northern Israel and, on April 29, more than a month later, the teenager and four others from Hares – all aged 16 and 17 – were formally charged over a stone-throwing incident. The army alleges on the evening of March 14, the five boys threw stones at yellow-plated Israeli cars driving towards Tel Aviv along Route 5a highway to the Israeli mega-settlement of Ariel and other illegal settlements – for more than 30 minutes. The five Palestinian teenagers each face 20 charges of attempted murder and a potential sentence of life imprisonment. They deny the rock-throwing accusations.

Israeli forces arrest citizens in Ramallah including a journalist
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 July — Israeli military forces at dawn Sunday stormed the town of Arura, north of Ramallah, and raided citizens’ houses under the pretext of “searching for wanted people.” Local sources in Arura reported that the soldiers stormed and searched the houses of citizens Samir Aruri and Abdel-Rahman Khasib, and checked the identities of the inhabitants. They said that the occupation detained journalist and activist Ahmed Aruri and Hamza Khasib, and transferred them to an unknown destination.

Cabinet: ‘Price tag’ assailants belong to illegal organization
Haaretz 29 July by Gili Cohen — Defense ministry says series of measures will be used not only against perpetrators of ‘price tag’ attacks, but also against their ideological backers — The cabinet declared Sunday that groups carrying out ‘price tag’ attacks – acts of violence against Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, left-wingers and churches perpetrated by right-wing militants – are illegal organizations in the West Bank. Also, the Military Advocate General’s Office announced on Sunday that “a group of people, whether it is organized or not, including any group, cell, social cooperative or association, which calls itself ‘price tag’ is a forbidden association.” The declaration was signed last week by Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, head of the IDF’s Central Command. Alon’s move came in response to “price tag” assaults. The term was coined by settler radicals who warned that acts against their interests would carry a “price tag,”and is the assailants’ signature graffito at the sites of attacks…
Price tag now joins a list of 87 organizations outlawed in the West Bank. Out of this list, price tag is only the second that is not a Palestinian or Islamic group. In 1997, the Kach/Kahane Chai movement was declared illegal in the West Bank.

PA security forces launch summons campaign against Hamas cadres in Yatta
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 26 July — PA security forces launched Friday a summons campaign against Hamas’s cadres and supporters in Yatta south of al-Khalil targeting youths and liberated prisoners mainly. PA Preventive Security services have handed summonses to two Palestinians in Yatta town including a liberated prisoner who was released from Israeli jails two weeks ago. The PA forces also summoned three liberated prisoners including a father of a prisoner in Israeli jails, in addition to a doctor who was served 19 months in Israeli jails. Two preachers were also summoned by the PA forces.

Detainees / Court actions

East Jerusalem bagel vendor freed from prison
Haaretz 29 July by Nir Hasson — Zaki Sabah, the Jerusalem bagel vendor who was sentenced to ten years due to unpaid fines, was released on Sunday after the Jerusalem municipality prosecution decided to not to insist on imprisonment. Local Affairs Court Judge Tamar Nimrodi, who sentenced Sabah to ten years, called the sides for an urgent meeting which led to Sabah’s release. The municipality agreed to Nimrodi’s recommendations to cancel the arrest warrant, and, after his release, to negotiate the manner in which Sabah would pay his debts to the municipality … The Jerusalem municipality argued that Sabah did not exhaust his possibilities to obtain a license, while Sabah insists that his appeals were all rejected, time after time … Sabah spent seventeen days in prison. The reports of the sentence in Haaretz and on 103 FM radio caused an uproar. Several citizen groups organized to pay the sum needed for his release.

IOA renews adminstrative detention of Hamas leader
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 July — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) renewed the administrative detention of Hamas leader Dr. Amjad Al-Hammuri for four months for the second time. Dr. Hammuri’s wife said that the prison administration told her husband on Saturday that he would not be released at completion of his detention period and that the decision was taken four days earlier. The IOA arrested Dr. Hammuri, who is a liberated prisoner and a detainee at the PA jails, by the end of March. He was among the list of candidates for Hamas change and reform bloc in 2006 parliamentary elections.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Israel decides to build 40 settlement units north of Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 July — Israeli occupation authorities issued on Thursday evening building permits for 40 new settlement units to expand the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, north of occupied Jerusalem. Researcher in settlement Affairs Ahmed Sub Laban said in a press statement on Friday that these units are part of the settlement project which was approved in 2007, pointing out that it will expand Pisgat Zeev settlement towards the town of Enata, which is separated from the settlement by the Israeli segregation wall.

Fact sheet [and photo essay]: The village of Qaryut and the surrounding Gul settlement
Stop the Wall 25 July — …Qaryut is 26 km from the city of Nablus and about the same distance from the city of Ramallah, i.e. half way between the two cities. It has a population of nearly 3,000 people, working mainly in agriculture, the most important crops being peaches, grapes, figs and olives, along with vegetables and pulses. Qaryut is the village’s original name, dating from the Roman era when it was first built, and according to the book History of Palestine the name means “compound of villages” In 1948 the village had a population of about 920 citizens; by 1995 this number had reached 5022 citizens (1621 residents and 3442 in diaspora outside the city). The estimated area of the village is 20,000 dunams (1 dunam = 1000sq m); 14,000 of which are located within area “C” according to the Oslo agreement. However the area that villagers can actually build on and expand is only 360 acres. Qaryut is one of the Palestinian villages systematically targeted by the occupation army and settlers. For years thousands of acres of land have been confiscated for the construction and expansion of settlements. The following settlements currently stand on village land: the settlement of Eli which stretches across 9 hills and was built in 1984 to the western side of the; Shvut Rachel, built in 1995; Shilo, built in 1979 in the southern region of the village; and 4 other outposts “Hioval“, “Givat Ariel“, “Kida” and “Aad Aad“. These settlements have seized more than 14 thousand dunams which equates to 65% of the territory of the village (total area of the village is 20 thousand dunams).s Settlements now surround the village on all sides, stifling it and killing any possibility for the natural expansion of the population – a most basic human right.

IOA serves demolition notices in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 July — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) served five demolition notices in Yatta in Al-Khalil province on Saturday. Local sources told Quds Press that the IOA ordered the demolition of four houses and a water well at the pretext of lack of construction permits. They said that two are mobile homes and two others are used to accommodate sheep in addition to the water well, adding that they are located in Mafkara hamlet near Yatta and owned by two citizens of the same family.

Barghouthi: Railway plan the ultimate Israeli attempt to annex WB
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 July — Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), said that Israel’s railway plan is its ultimate attempt to annex the West Bank. The Israeli Civil Administration’s approval to go ahead with the railway plan in the West Bank targets foiling any Palestinian attempt to establish a Palestinian state on West Bank territories, Barghouthi said. He stressed that the Civil Administration’s decision came in total disregard to the PA and the peace process and negotiations …   MP Barghouthi stressed the need to address this Israeli racist plan through heading to the International Criminal Court, and not to negotiations.

UN criticizes Bedouin reorganization bill
AP 25 July –  The UN human rights chief on Thursday criticized Israel’s plan to demolish dozens of Bedouin villages and move up to 40,000 Arab residents to Israeli-built communities. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the Prawer Bill working its way through the Knesset would wipe out legitimate land claims for the Bedouins in the Negev. Her office said the bill, introduced Wednesday, could pass by the end of July …  “If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development,” Pillay said.,7340,L-4410653,00.html

Protesters in Israel rally against Prawer Plan
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma‘an) 28 July — Palestinian youth groups in Israel on Saturday demonstrated against Israel’s Prawer Plan, which will displace thousands of Bedouin families in the Negev desert. Dozens of people gathered in Kafr Kanna, north of Nazareth, to protest the plan. Israeli police detained Majd Dahamsheh and Ibrahim Ammara, witnesses said. Head of Kafr Kanna’s popular committee, Baker Awawdeh, was summoned by Israeli police, together with Abed al-Hakim Dahamsheh and Muhammad Ali Taha. Demonstrations also took place in the Galilee villages of Rayna and Tarshiha, northeast of Acre. Dozens of protesters shouted slogans against the displacement plan and urged people to join an upcoming ‘Day of Anger’ planned on Aug. 1 … Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people. The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.

Political and other news

Ministers discuss Jericho industrial area
JERICHO (WAFA) 25 July – The Four Party Consultative Unit for the initiative of the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity held its fourth ministerial meeting in Jericho Thursday to discuss the establishment of the Jericho agro-industrial zone. Attending the meeting was Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Palestinian Minister of Planning Muhammad Abu Ramadan, Jordan’s Minister of Interior and Municipal Affairs Hussein Majali and Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom. Kishida said the project is going to enhance peace efforts in the region, expressing hope that it will help develop the Palestinian economy to make it viable and strong.  He said the project “aims at creating a prosperous region through regional cooperation in the Jordan Valley” and “will bring about tangible improvement” to lives of the Palestinian people. Funded by the Japanese government, the Jericho Agricultural Industrial Park (JAIP) is a flagship project that opens the way for further investments from other countries.

Workers on Israel’s illegal railway robbed of half their pay
Beit Iksa (Electronic Intifada) 25 July by Jessica Purkiss — Palestinians hired to work on a high-speed train link between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have half their wages taken from them by recruiting agents, an Electronic Intifada investigation has found. An estimated 200 Palestinians are employed on boring tunnels in the West Bank, as part of the so-called A1 railway, Israel’s largest infrastructure project in a decade. Speaking on condition of anonymity, some of these men have confirmed that they are working under highly exploitative conditions in Beit Iksa, a village near Jerusalem where two tunnels are being dug.

Palestinian journalists seek to impose limitations on their Israeli peers
Haaretz 28 July by Amira Hass –  The vast majority of Palestinian journalists are denied entry to Israel and Gaza and their movement in West Bank is restricted. To protest unequal conditions, they are boycotting press conferences where Israelis are present, unless they sign a manifesto supporting their freedom of movement — “We roundly condemn the resort to violence on the part of soldiers and policemen against Palestinian journalists in Kfar Kadum on Friday, June 21, 2013.” That is the first condemnation of its kind by the “occupied territories cell,” whose members are 13 Israeli journalists specializing in Palestinian affairs in the major Hebrew-language media outlets – newspapers, radio, television and websites – which after years of inactivity, started to function again in March 2012. The condemnation was also published by the Palestinian news agency Ma‘an. It referred to the attack against a journalist and a photographer from Palestinian television and their detention at a demonstration by the residents of Kfar Kadum, who for the past two years have been protesting the blocking of their direct route to Nablus due to the “spillover” of the settlement of Kedumim onto the road. This is not the first instance in which the Israel Defense Forces and the police have attacked Palestinian journalists. To the onlooker from the sidelines (the undersigned is not a member of the “occupied territories cell”) it seems that the condemnation and the timing are related to the fact that in recent months Palestinian journalists have been protesting in various ways against the inequality between themselves and the Israelis (manifestos, a demand for boycotts and removal of Israelis from press conferences).

Opinion / Analysis / Diaries

Did Hamas really help the Muslim Brotherhood break open Egypt’s prisons? / Ali Abunimah
Electronic Intifada 29 July — Contrary to current accusations, a judicial report found that it was Mubarak’s Minister of Interior who ordered the prisons to be opened — The Egyptian military regime has charged President Muhammad Morsi, who was overthrown in a military coup on 3 July, of ‘espionage’ and ‘collaborating’ with the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas. As the Los Angeles Times reported, ‘the charges stem from a prison escape by Morsi and other political prisoners, including members of the [Muslim] Brotherhood, during the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak‘ in January-February 2011. ‘The accusations have been discussed in judiciary circles for months and have recently gained traction as the army seeks to impose order, marginalize the [Muslim] Brotherhood and move beyond more than two years of unrest,’ the Los Angeles Times said. Lurid claims that Hamas has assisted Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have been disseminated by the Egyptian media, along with incitement against Palestinians, leading to a climate of fear for Palestinians in Egypt. The rumors have been used to justify Egypt imposing travel restrictions on Palestinians, tightening the siege of Gaza as well as a renewed campaign to destroy tunnels that are lifeline for the Palestinian population there. Hamas has consistently denied the accusations. But is there any basis to them?

Diaries: Live from Palestine — Deported by Egypt for being Palestinian / Yousef M. Aljamal
Nuseirat refugee camp (Electronic Intifada) 23 July — In June 2013 … I traveled to Egypt for the second time in my life. But I was sent back to Gaza by the Egyptian authorities, along with 200 other passengers. “That’s enough for today,” we were told. Two days later, I managed to enter Egypt. I had to change my flights for the second time. I flew out from Cairo to Malaysia and then New Zealand. It took me more than three months to obtain a visa to visit New Zealand to participate in a conference on Palestine in Auckland and to conduct a speaking tour all over the country. My visa application was declined at first — thanks to the “balanced approach” New Zealand is trying to maintain “when it comes to Palestine/Israel,” as the Palestine/Israel desk officer told me when I eventually visited the foreign ministry in Wellington … [on the return trip:] Once I got my visa from the Egyptian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, I traveled to Egypt via Doha. Rafah was shut down on my way to the airport. I thought I would be able to stay in Egypt, according to the visa I got, for two weeks. Or in the worst scenario, I would be deported to Gaza, my home and destination. However, a worse scenario, one that I had not expected, was awaiting me, along with dozens of Palestinians who arrived in the two days after Muhammad Morsi was removed from office on 3 July: deportation. Humiliated A new description was given to us: “the deported.” We were put on flights back to the countries we had visited. We even had to pay the airfare. Some Palestinians had no re-entry visas to the countries they arrived in Cairo from. I felt powerless, oppressed and humiliated. I saw people of all nationalities getting into Cairo easily. I was a six-hour drive from home. Yet my visa meant nothing.

Negotiate, but don’t forget us Israeli Arabs / Ala Hlehel
Haaretz 25 July — If the peace talks are indeed on (again), we Arab citizens of Israel have a duty to relate to them this time as full partners, or opponents, rather than as viewers in the bleachers. These negotiations affect us no less than the rest of the Palestinian people. If they succeed, we will be facing a new reality requiring a sea change. And if they fail, we will have to bear the consequences. There are two issues that touch upon our very existence in the Galilee, in the so-called Triangle of Arab communities in central Israel and in the Negev: international recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and the evacuation of the settlements. The two issues are intrinsically connected. In the event a peace agreement is indeed signed between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel, and the state’s Jewish identity becomes a fact, we will face the start of a difficult and perhaps fraught process between us and that re-promised Jewish state. It is a near-certainty that the immediate response to any collective complaint by Israel’s Arab citizens would be, Go realize your national identity in your new state. The public tolerance for the demands and rights of the Arabs who live here will be lower than everc… The “End of the conflict” with the PA is the beginning of the conflict with us … There are already nongovernmental organizations working to transplant messianic religious settlements in Israel’s mixed cities and other areas where Jewish and Arab populations mingle, such as Acre, Lod and Ramle. If and when the settlements in the West Bank are dismantled, we will have tens of thousands of evacuees wanting to Judaize the Jewish state from within.

The bane of Israel’s existence / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 28 July — Few Israelis have friends in the settlements or have ever visited them, yet a lot of what happens to Israel, for the better but particularly for the worse are the product of the settlements — Is all this really worth it? If it hadn’t been for the West Bank Jewish settlements, the occupation would have ended long ago. If not for the occupation, Israel’s situation would have been a lot better. One can, of course, take exception with both assumptions, particularly the second one. The first requires no further proof. But anyone who does accept these propositions has to do some real soul-searching. A lot of what happens to Israel, for the better but particularly for the worse — both in the international arena and on the domestic front, the country’s image and its likeness — are the product of the settlements. They have determined its fate: The ostracism, denunciations, boycotts in the offing, and the apartheid state that has already existed here for some time. They are because of the settlements, as are some of the country’s economic ills — in addition, of course, to the blood that has been shed. That’s a lot for such an out-of-the-way piece of land that most Israelis avoid.

Israel looted millions in Mavi Marmara booty, yet punishes 1 soldier for stealing a laptop / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 24 July — One thing you’ve got to hand Israel: it has chutzpah in spades.  Those who participated in the Mavi Marmara expedition to break the Gaza siege were kidnapped by Israeli commandos.  Nine Turks were murdered, many with bullets fired at close range or in the back.  The surviving victims were imprisoned by Israel for days in Ashkelon.  All of their personal belongings were confiscated, which resulted in the looting of at least $2-million (some estimates are as high as $3.5-million) worth of cameras, video camcorders, laptops, cell phones, credit cards, wallets, purses, etc.  One prisoner described her witnessing the murders of her fellow passengers only to find Israeli soldiers were buying beer with her stolen credit card.  Here’s one Israeli report on the matter. Now, years after the massacre, Israeli military “justice” is finally getting around to punishing the looters (Hebrew)–or I should say looter.  For only one poor schlimazel faces discipline for his handiwork.  This poor guy earned 200 days in jail for the crime of stealing a laptop and video console.  What the hell did Israel do with the rest of the gear?  Sell it?  Give it to the Mossad?  Distribute it to the guards?  Where did it go? (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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4 Responses

  1. Les
    July 29, 2013, 11:43 am

    “On eve of talks, two-thirds of Palestinians in occupied territories say they don’t trust US as honest broker” The other third drink US taxpayer financed Kool Aid with something special in the water.

    • piotr
      July 29, 2013, 12:00 pm

      It reminds me an article in which a teacher in Minnesota was asked how he can explained that 95% of highschool students in that state are fishing. “I do not know what is wrong with those 5%.” I can think about a variety of reasons. The question is a bit difficult to understand: what does it mean “honest broker”? Skimming no more profit for himself than other brokers in the same trade? Conceiling no more hidden defects than usual for used car salesmen? When we read about brokers it is usually because of some financial scandals.

      For example, recently I read about some top American investment banks skimming billions of dollars from the raw aluminum market in North America.

  2. Denis
    July 29, 2013, 12:21 pm

    How can anyone NOT agree with the PFLP?

    You’ve got right wing MK’s like Hotovely and Elkin talking about “giving up” West Bank lands, as if any land in the West Bank does, or ever has, belonged to the i-Jews.

    You’ve got Obama and every single administration going back to 1968 either standing by silently while the Israeli cancer grows in the West Bank, or affirmatively promoting that cancer.

    You’ve got Palestinian loser-leaders like Arafat and Abbas who have been effective only in becoming personally powerful and rich while selling out their own people at “negotiations” like the one coming up.

    If the USG wanted to resolve the I/P crisis, it would insist on negotiations in Geneva under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. The US is not a neutral player in this game, never has been, never will be, and holding these talks in the US under the control of the USG is like the spider asking the fly to come for dinner.

  3. James Canning
    James Canning
    July 29, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Of course the US is not an “honest broker”. Aipac will not allow the US to act that way.

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