Video: Al-Quds / Jerusalem, Christian Ramadan drummer
PressTV — Only in Palestine: The ‘Mesaharaty’ [لمسحراتي] gets Muslims up for the sahour meal before fajr prayer, to eat and prepare themselves to fast. Micheal Ayoub acts as the Ramadan drummer, without pay. A Palestinian Christian from Acre, he says he is honored — this confirms that there is no difference between Christians and Muslims in the beloved land of Palestine, the cradle of monotheistic religions
Tens of thousands at Aqsa mosque on first Friday of Ramadan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Tens of thousands of Palestinians performed prayers in the al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. The number of worshipers was around 250,000, the head of Islamic endowments said. Sheikh Azzam al-Ahmad said that a huge number of people arrived at the al-Aqsa compound from the West Bank and “we hope the number increases in the next few days.” Israeli authorities relaxed usual restrictions on entry to Jerusalem by West Bankers but limited entry by men to the Al-Aqsa compound to those over 40 years of age … In a Ramadan concession, the military extended the opening hours of crossing points from the West Bank and allowed those aged 60 and over to pass without the usual mandatory entry permit. Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are usually barred from Israel and from east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day war and then unilaterally annexed.
Poster of ousted Egypt president sparks Aqsa controversy
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 July – Thousands of worshipers who flooded Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque Friday encountered a huge poster of ousted Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi. Worshipers were asking who raised the photo, why Palestinians were intervening in Egyptian affairs, and what Mursi has done for al-Aqsa that motivated them to raise his photo in the holy mosque … Separately, worshipers told Ma‘an that a preacher known as Abu Arafeh was expelled from the mosque in the afternoon because he took advantage of being in the mosque to deliver a speech defending Syrian President Bashar Assad. Palestinian minister of endowments Mahmoud al-Habbash rejected the use of the mosque as a forum to intervene in the internal affairs of Arab countries. Regardless of who was behind it, he told Ma‘an, both incidents were attempts to wedge Palestine into internal affairs of Arab nations, and this is completely unacceptable because it is against the policy of the Palestinian leadership … [Fatah spokesman Ahmad] Assaf criticized Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa satellite TV and Islamic Jihad-affiliated al-Quds station for broadcasting special Ramadan evening prayers from the Rabia al-Adawiyya Mosque in Cairo where supporters of Mursi usually hold their protests. “Why didn’t they broadcast prayers from al-Aqsa Mosque?” he wondered. “Has Rabia al-Adawiyya mosque become as important to Muslims as al-Aqsa Mosque? Muslims were asked at the beginning to face the direction of al-Aqsa Mosque during prayer, and the mosque is considered the third holiest place in the world for Muslims.”
Ramadan Kareen from the Israeli military
The Stream Al Jazeera 11 July — Brigadier-General’s holiday wishes turn sour — Ramadan wishes from the Israeli military spokesman received strong reactions online as many questioned the sincerity of a video message posted to the IDF YouTube account. Halfway through the address, Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai shifted the focus to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based militia group saying, “This year, it has become clear to everyone that Hezbollah is not protecting Lebanon, but destroying it.” Since being posted on July 9, the video has received nearly 250 comments and over 6,000 views. Initial responses on Twitter and YouTube were mostly skeptical, with several calling the well wishes a public relations move.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Minister: Israel must build 10,000 new settler homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 July — Israel is ready to “immediately” build 10,000 homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to lower housing costs, Housing Minister Uri Ariel was quoted as saying on Thursday. “To immediately alleviate the housing crisis we must massively build in (East) Jerusalem and the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria,” the Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted Ariel as telling a parliamentary committee. “Settlements like Beit Arye, Ofarim, Elkana are in the center of the land,” he said, “and we are prepared to launch 10,000 units there immediately.” On his Facebook page, pro-settler Ariel noted that “For an entire year there has been no state marketing in Judea and Samaria (the biblical term for the West Bank) and east Jerusalem.” “Not marketing these units is raising the costs of homes nationwide,” he wrote. In May, settlement watchdog Peace Now said that no new tenders had been issued for West Bank homes as newspapers suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to “rein in” construction to help US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to renew a peace process.
On land theft and violence: neither I nor you shall have it
972blog 12 July by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — Settler violence forced M. from his home and after his olives were stolen, his house was suddenly set on fire — Nowadays, M. lives in Nablus. Until about a decade ago, he used to live in his house in Burin, a house he was forced to leave due to unceasing settler violence. He had children, after all. They were young then. M. worried about their fate, and told himself that if he just left the house for a few months, the settlers would forget about him. Things did not turn out that way. Three months after M. settled down temporarily — or so he hoped — in Nablus, the settlers took over his Burin house. Because that’s how it goes in the West Bank: you can take over someone’s private property without showing ownership, assuming of course you’re a Jew. M. complained time and time again to the police, but nothing happened. And why should it? Seven years passed with the settlers loafing in the stolen house, and four years ago – for reasons beyond M.’s ken – the army decided to pull them out. M. hurried to see what was left of his house, and as soon as he got there he was met by an IDF jeep. The soldiers told him the area was declared a Closed Military Zone; he informed them it was his house. They were underwhelmed by the statement. M. went off to the IDF’s District Coordinating Office (DCO), holding the paperwork proving beyond any doubt that he is the owner of the house. The DCO told him that’s nice of him, but that the house is in Area C, and the fact that it is close to the settlement of Har Bracha causes ‘friction’ … About a year ago, M. went to harvest his olive trees, which are next to the house. He surprised a gang of people he described as settlers as they were picking his olives. In response, they attacked him. Nothing to see here, move along. Two weeks ago, M.’s house was set ablaze.
Extremist Israelis ‘taunt Muslim worshipers’ at al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 July — Jewish extremists taunted Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Thursday, witnesses said. Over 130 Israelis entered the compound from the the Moroccan Gate, escorted by Israeli police. They chanted “Al-Aqsa will be destroyed,” “The temple is coming soon,” and “Soon Al-Aqsa will be in our hands,” as they toured the compound, witnesses told Ma‘an. Palestinian worshipers confronted the visitors, leading to tense verbal confrontations, they added.
Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the PA Ministry of Endowment, said Wednesday that Israeli police had rejected a request to stop the visits during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began Wednesday. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an he was not aware of the request. Rosenfeld said Jewish and Christian visitors regularly entered the compound in coordinated visits and that the tours would continue.
Settlers cut [down] 1150 olive trees near Nablus
IMEMC 11 July — Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of Israeli Settlements File at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, has reported that a number of extremist Israeli settlers cut on Thursday [July 10 2013] 1150 Palestinian Olive trees east of the Nablus District. Daghlas told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that the settlers attacked Palestinian orchards that belong to villagers of Awarta, and used chainsaws to cut approximately 1150 trees. Daghlas added that the villagers found their trees cut after the army allowed them to enter their lands isolated behind the Annexation Wall. The orchards are close to the Itamar illegal Israeli settlement. He said that the residents heard sounds of chainsaws, over the last several days, but did not know what was happening, especially since they have no access to their lands without a permit from the Israeli military. The attacked orchards belong to 25 families in the town, and are their main sources of livelihood. The recent attack is one of dozens of similar attacks against the residents and their orchards, as extremist settlers repeatedly cut and uprooted Palestinian orchards and lands, and repeatedly torched Palestinian crops and farmlands.
Settlers bulldoze Palestinian lands near Hebron
IMEMC — [Wednesday July 10 2013] Local sources have reported that a number of extremist Israeli settlers bulldozed large areas of Palestinian lands, and loaded their sand onto trucks before taking it to their settlement. The sources said that the settlers came from the Susiyya illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands that belong to residents of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that bulldozers belonging to the settlers uprooted and bulldozed Palestinian lands in the Ar-Rakheem Valley, and loaded the sand onto trucks that drove into their settlement. Jabour added that the uprooted lands belong to members of the Al-Halees family.
Innovative mobile health clinic reaches patients in West Bank
Reuters 11 July — A mobile health clinic powered by solar energy has opened its doors in a West Bank village. The first facility of its kind, funded by foreign donors in co-ordination with the Palestinian ministry of health, was set up in Walajeh village near Bethlehem. The mobile clinic is the only health facility that the villagers are permitted as they live in the designated ‘C’ zone of the West Bank. Architect and Project Manager, Alberto Alcalde, told Reuters TV the project was initiated at the end of 2012 to get around the rigid building controls in Area ‘C’ … Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah officially opened the clinic on Monday. The mobile unit was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Italian Consulate and the Belgium Consulate in Jerusalem, in co-ordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister’s Office.
World water wars: In the West Bank, water is just another conflict issue for Israelis and Palestinians
GHUWEIN AL FAUQA, West Bank (Int’l Business Times) 12 July by Gabriele Barbati — Traveling along Road 60 as it winds south from Jerusalem into the heart of the West Bank, one sees the hurdles faced by Palestinians as they try to go about their daily lives. One day in June, as traffic whizzed past Hebron, dozens of schoolchildren were swarming the road’s narrow shoulders on their afternoon walk home from school. It is dangerous to walk on the edges of this busy road, but the Israeli Civil Administration, which is in charge here as it has been since the 1995 Oslo accords of all land included in the so-called Area C of the West Bank, has never approved a school bus service on this route. A few hundred meters ahead, firefighters were at work on a grove of recently burned olive trees. All that remained were ashes. Angry Palestinian bystanders claimed that Jewish settlers had set the field on fire … Difficult as it is for Jews and Palestinians to share land, it is even more difficult to share the area’s water resources. This became evident as we travelled a dirt track from the main road to Ghuwein Al Fauqa, a Palestinian village at the southernmost tip of the West Bank.
Settler sprays ‘slaughter Jews’ on own car
Ynet 12 July by Noam (Dabul) Dvir – A young Jewish man was arrested overnight Friday for staging an ‘Arab price tag’ act on his own vehicle. The 22 year old, who resides in a settlement near Jerusalem and was visiting family in the capital’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, called the police a little after midnight and told the dispatcher that someone had spray-painted the phrase “Itbah al-Yahud” (“slaughter the Jews” in Arabic) on his car and slashed its tires. He also claimed that a mixture of sugar and silicon was poured on the hood. Officers who arrived at the scene interrogated the young man, who eventually admitted that he had damaged his own vehicle to “raise awareness” to “price tag” acts committed by Arabs against Jews. He spent the night in a detention facility.
Israeli court postpones eviction of West Bank settlement again
JERUSALEM (Xinhua) 12 July — The Israeli Supreme Court has postponed the eviction of the illegal Israeli settlement of Amona to July 24, for the third time, to the state’s request. Israeli security forces had been set to evacuate the West Bank settlement by July 15. However, after the state filed another motion to deter proceedings, Judge Asher Grunis consented to the request and ordered the eviction to be carried out by July 24. According to the Supreme Court protocol, obtained by Xinhua, the reason for the postponement was the Jewish fast day, Tisha B’ av, which starts on July 15. Amona was established in 1995 on private Palestinian lands, between Jerusalem and Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank, an area annexed by Israel during the 1967 Mideast War. The outpost contains 50 houses, most of which are trailer and light structures. The court has repeatedly issued demolition orders for the illegal settlement.
Restriction of movement
Photo: Palestinians cross to Jerusalem by jumping over Israel’s Apartheid Wall in the West Bank city of Al-Ram on July 12, 2013
On their Way For Friday Prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque in the First Week of Ramadan / photo by Eyad Jadallah
Thousands stuck in Gaza without identity cards
Al-Monitor 12 July by Abeer Ayyoub — When Safaa Hasanat, 40, got married and moved from Saudi Arabia to the Gaza Strip in 1999, she didn’t realize she was putting herself in an open-air prison with almost a life sentence. As Hasanat does not have a Palestinian identity card, she has not been able to leave Gaza since. According to Riad al-Zeitouniya, the head of Gaza’s Civil Affairs Office, Hasanat is only one of up to 35,000 Palestinians who were born in other countries and now reside in Gaza with no identity cards issued by the Israeli-run Palestinian registration. Consequently, these people live in Gaza with few rights, most important of which is the right of movement to any other country, including even the West Bank. The origin of the problem stems back to the 1980s when hundreds of Palestinian families made it to Gaza without having received a reunion document, which entitles inhabitants to an identity card as sanctioned by the Israeli occupation … “I have nothing to prove that I’m Palestinian, or even a human being,” Hasanat remarked disappointingly.
Two Christian Peace Makers denied entry by Israel
IMEMC 11 July— Israeli authorities denied entry to two members of the Christian Peace Makers Team (CPT) during the past week. A report from CPT explains the details — On two occasions in the past week, Israeli officials at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport refused entry to members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who traveled to Israel to join CPT’s team in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. On Tuesday July 2 a CPT reservist from the Netherlands was interrogated and held in the airport for 14 hours before being placed onto a flight home. Three days later a CPT reservist from the United States was also interrogated and held for 10 hours before being placed onto a flight home. Each CPTer had visited Israel-Palestine once or twice before. Both volunteers cooperated with the intensive questioning of Israeli security officials, who seemed most concerned with visas from the government of Iraqi Kurdistan that had been stamped in both CPTers’ passports in connection with their past CPT work. CPT’s sudden inability to get team members into the country is especially worrying given Israeli authorities’ recent ban on CPT activities near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil, apparently intended to halt international nonviolent protective presence in the most sensitive and volatile area of the city — one of the vital functions of CPT’s Palestine project.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Arrests
Soldiers invade the al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron
IMEMC 11 July — Local sources in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, have reported that clashes have been reported in the camp after Israeli soldiers invaded it, earlier on Thursday at dawn [July 11 2013]. The sources said that the clashes took place near Ein Ad-Dabla area, in the camp, and that the soldiers fired dozens of rubber-coated metal bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. Furthermore, the army installed a roadblock at the entrance of the camp, and violently attacked a number of children.
On Wednesday evening, soldiers also installed a roadblock near the Kharsa Junction, stopped and interrogated dozens of residents trying to return home before Iftar time, following their daylong fast on the first day of the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Details emerge of Palestinian photographer’s brutal arrest
Activestills 10 July — Palestinian photographer Mohammad Al-Azza was arrested earlier this week. He had spent months evading the same Israeli forces that had shot him in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet last April while he was covering an incursion into Aida Refugee Camp, where he lives. Journalist Amahl Bishara provides this detailed account of the ordeal Al-Azza and his family faced the night soldiers broke into their home: “On it went, for over an hour, until the soldiers decided to search one room for a third time. Nisreen was stunned to see soldiers throw up the bed and find Mohammad al-Azza. Immediately, they began kicking him and beating him with their fists and rifles. She saw him trying to shield his healing face, and then the soldiers slammed the door, as the pounding continued.
Video: Israeli military detains five-year-old Palestinian for allegedly throwing a stone
Mondoweiss 11 July by Adam Horowitz — From Haaretz: “Israel Defense Forces soldiers earlier this week were videotaped detaining a five-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron, after he allegedly threw a stone at an Israeli car on Tuesday. The video, shot by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, shows soldiers from the Givati Brigade stationed in the West Bank city detaining Wa’adi Maswada, aged five years and nine months. In the video, one of the soldiers is heard asking the boy, “Where is Daddy?” Several local residents try to speak to the soldiers and deter them from proceeding with the arrest. One of the soldiers then tells them [in English], “He’s a child, eh?… No, but he threw it.” Another soldier says to the boy and the crowd, “Get over here, don’t set me off.” A Palestinian teenager takes the child by his hand and leads him off to the side. The whole time the 5-year-old can be heard crying.
Israeli group decries juvenile’s detention
Al Jazeera 12 July — An Israeli rights group has called the detention of a five-year-old Palestinian boy “illegal” and has urged the Israeli army to “change tactics” when dealing with young stone throwers in the Occupied West Bank. Rights group B’Tselem’s plea came on Friday after it posted a video earlier this week showing Israeli soldiers detaining the boy for throwing a stone to a car in the city of Hebron. Wadi‘a Maswadeh was seen crying while being led into a military jeep by soldiers accompanied by a Palestinian adult. B’Tselem said the troops took the child to his home and told his mother they intended to hand him over to Palestinian police. When the child’s father Karam arrived home he was advised that he would himself be arrested if he did not bring the child, B’Tselem said. The same B’Tselem video showed Wadi‘a later with his blindfolded father at a Israeli military base. “The footage clearly shows that this was not a mistake made by an individual soldier, but rather conduct that, to our alarm, was considered reasonable by all the military personnel involved, including senior officers,” B’Tselem said.
Five Palestinians injured in Nablus
IMEMC — [Wednesday at dawn July 10 2013] Palestinian medical sources have reported that five Palestinians were injured by Israeli military fire in the Al-Jneid area, west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. One resident was kidnapped … Local sources have reported that clashes took place between local residents and the invaded soldiers. The army fired several gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets leading to five injuries. The five wounded Palestinians have been identified as Ahmad Mohammad Abu Aisha, 20, (injured by rubber-coated bullets), Hassan Sabe’ Abu Ahmad, 21, (hit by a gas bomb), Mo’men Abdullah Ateeq, 20, (suffocated after inhaling gas), Dia’ Sweity, 20, (suffocated after inhaling gas), and Rashed Salah Manasra, 19, (suffocated after inhaling gas). Furthermore, soldiers fired gas bombs at dorms inhabited by female students of a local college near Rafidia area, causing fire while one student received treatment after inhaling smoke resulting from the fire. Eyewitnesses said that several Israeli military vehicles repeatedly drove around the new building of the An-Najah University in Rafidia, and near Tunis Street.
Official: Israel detains Palestinian at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli forces on Thursday detained a 54-year-old man returning to Gaza at the Erez crossing on the Israeli border, Palestinian officials said. Israel closes the Erez crossing to most Palestinians, but Mohammad Abu Harbid, 54, had been granted permission to enter Israel to accompany his sick brother. Abu Harbid’s brother had sought medical treatment in Israel but died in hospital. Israeli forces detained Abu Harbid on his return to Gaza but allowed his brother’s body to be returned, Palestinian liaison officials told Ma‘an.
Israeli army says weapons seized in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 July — Israeli forces seized ammunition in a raid on Nablus early Thursday, the army said. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that soldiers found a rifle and two pipe-bombs in the northern West Bank city. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces accompanied by police dogs raided university dorms in the al-Juneid area of Nablus and inspected students’ rooms. Witnesses said the soldiers brought 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdul-Halim Talahmah to the raid and took him back with them. He was arrested a day earlier in a raid on the same dorms. Talahmah, from Bethlehem, is a student at the An-Najah National University in Nablus. An Israeli military spokeswoman said no arrests were made in Nablus on Thursday.
PCHR weekly report: 4 Palestinians wounded, 74 abducted by Israeli forces this week
IMEMC 12 July — … In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued the systematic use of excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 civilians were wounded during peaceful protests in Ramallah and Qalqilia on 05 July 2013. On 07 July 2013, a fourth civilian was wounded during a peaceful protest in Ramallah against attacks by settlers in Deir Qeddis and Shabtin villages, northwest of the Ramallah. During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 58 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted at least 62 Palestinians, including 3 children. Full Report
Detention / Court actions
Israeli court sentences Palestinian MPs
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 July — An Israeli court on Thursday sentenced two Palestinian MPs to 30 months, a committee official said. PLC deputy Mohammad Tawtah and former Jerusalem affairs’ minister Khalid Abu Arafa were sentenced to 30 months plus a one-year suspended sentence for conducting “Hamas activities,” said Amjad Abu Asab, the director of the Jerusalem prisoners’ families committee. The judge ruled that the MPs must serve an additional six months if they enter Jerusalem, their hometown, Abu Asab told Ma‘an. The MPs have been in Israeli custody since Israeli police detained them in a raid on the Jerusalem headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in January 2012.
PCHR warns of Israeli intention to force-feed hunger striking captives
GAZA (PIC) 7 July — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) warned of occupation authorities’ intention to apply a law that will allow the authorities force-feed prisoners on hunger strike, which forms a real danger on the lives of captives. The center said in a press statement on Thursday “The imposition of force-feeding on the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails is a ready recipe to kill because it is really dangerous to the lives of the prisoners.” The statement pointed out that the Israeli government, in the coming weeks, plans to approve the law proposed by the ministries of justice and internal security in cooperation with the Shin Bet and the prison administration. It added that resorting to such law clearly shows the occupation’s inability in dealing with prisoners on hunger strike, and the failure of policy of pressure and intimidation to force the hunger strikers to stop their strike.
Israel sends 2 prisoners to house arrest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli authorities on Tuesday released two prisoners from Jerusalem to house arrest outside the city, a prisoners committee said. An Israeli court released 43-year-old Kifah Sarhan to house arrest in the village of Kafr Manda in northern Israel. Fuad Ahram Hamdiyya, 44, was sent to house arrest in Abu Ghush, on the outskirts of the Jerusalem. Both prisoners must wear ankle monitors to track their movements. Sarhan and Hamdiyeh were both arrested on Nov. 23, 2011, and have appeared in Israeli courts several times without being sentenced. Sarhan, a married father of five, is from Silwan in East Jerusalem. Hamdiyya, a school teacher from Wadi al-Jouz in Jerusalem, is married with three children.
Freed prisoner to receive treatment in Austria
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 July — A medical center in Austria has agreed to treat freed prisoner Mohamad al-Taj. Al-Taj, whose medical records were sent to Europe in May, was hoping a country would offer him a lung transplant. He told Ma‘an that the minister of detainees received approval for him to be treated in a Veinna medical center. The freed prisoner, who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and heart hypertrophy, says he will be initially treated with medication then according to his body’s response the doctors will determine if a transplant is needed. His treatment will be funded by the Palestinian Authority, which will transfer the expenses to the medical center, he added. Al-Taj was released in April on health grounds, after carrying out two long-term hunger strikes.
After pressure from Israeli high court, state to re-open investigation into IDF shooting of American peace activist Tristan Anderson
Mondoweiss 11 July by Allison Deger — The three-judge panel sat before two teams of attorneys with the whole of room waiting for state’s lawyers answer. Everyone including the four row deep audience and a representative from the American Embassey were wondering, will they, or won’t they? Will the Israeli government re-open an investigation into the 2009 near-fatal shooting of American peace activist Tristan Anderson? Will the state finally interview the border police unit that witnesses and video evidence indicated as the responsible? Will officials ever visit Ni‘lin, the site of Anderson’s critical wounding, which left him partially paralyzed with significant brain damage? Such devastation at bare minimum warrants an inquiry into the military’s criminal negligence. That is precisely what was being debated in the highest court of the land yesterday. To investigate or not? Extended range gas cans are required to be fired from a distance of at least 200 meters, but Anderson was hit from around 80 meters, allegedly. Yet only three days after the near-fatal firing, the state closed its probe without indicting anyone. Back in the Jerusalem High Court, after about an hour of dodging question as to why the Israeli military had failed to investigate all of border police units, the state’s attorneys are fumbling.
Rafah crossing opens for 2 days
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 July — Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday after a five-day closure, allowing stranded Palestinians to return to the Gaza Strip. The terminal will reopen in both directions for two days, the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in Gaza said Tuesday. For those leaving the Gaza Strip, priority will be given to those with visas for foreign countries, Egyptian citizens and patients who require medical treatment abroad, said Mahir Abu Sabha, Palestinian director of borders and crossings.
Egypt’s army closed the terminal on Friday amid unrest in Sinai following the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing for 1 day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on the Gaza border on Friday, but will partially reopen the terminal Saturday. When operating on its regular schedule, the Rafah terminal closes on Friday for the local weekend. Palestinian officials had hoped that Egypt would open the crossing on Friday due to the large volume of passengers who are still stranded after the terminal closed for five days. Rafah crossing will reopen on Saturday for humanitarian cases and for those who live abroad, officials in Gaza told Ma‘an.
Health ministry: 360 patients at risk due to the closure of the Rafah crossing
GAZA (PIC) 11 July — The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza warned that the lives of 360 patients who has been prescribed medical treatment in hospitals outside the Gaza Strip are at risk as a result of the closure of the Rafah border crossing. In a press release on Thursday, the ministry stated that 26 cancer patients must receive their regular therapeutic sessions in hospitals outside Gaza and there are 22 critical cases that need to travel urgently. The ministry noted that 206 patients were unable to travel for medical treatment during the past few days because of the closure of the crossing.
Egypt’s strife reaching Gaza hospitals with lack of fuel
Bloomberg 11 July by Saud Abu Ramadan and David Wainer — The violence flaring in Egypt following the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi by the military may have unintended consequences for Walid al-Khawaja’s kidneys. For the last two years, al-Khawaja has needed to come to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for kidney failure treatment three times a week. Now he frets that the hospital could run out of the electricity needed to power his dialysis machine because the Egyptian military has destroyed dozens of tunnels that serve to smuggle supplies of fuel and other consumer goods into Gaza. Smuggled fuel is critical to keep Gaza’s 27 hospitals running. Although Israel provides about one-third of the strip’s electricity needs, demand is about 100 megawatts greater than current production capacity, according to a 2012 United Nations report. Since the Islamic militant Hamas group took control in 2007, the single functioning power plant in Gaza enforces daily black-outs to cope with its deficit. That’s forced hospitals to use generators that rely on diesel-fuel, much of it from Egypt.
Gaza gov’t says 90 pct of infrastructure projects at standstill
GAZA (KUNA) 11 July — Minister of Local Government in Gaza Strip Mohamed Al-Fara said Thursday the recent events in Egypt and the closure of Rafah border crossing brought to a standstill 90 percent of the infrastructure projects in the Strip. “The recent developments, coupled with the embargo imposed on enclave since Hamas assumed power in 2006 elections, exacerbated the shortage of construction materials, fuel and raw materials,” Al-Fara said in a press release here. He noted that most of the affected construction projects are financed by the State of Qatar, the Islamic Development Bank and international relief agencies. The Minister added that his government would announced the total number of the projects affected by the regrettable events in Egypt as well as the losses incurred by the municipalities across the Strip.
Activists to launch flotilla from Gaza to Europe in defiance of illegal Israeli-imposed blockade
IMEMC 10 July — Canadian, European, and Palestinian activists plan to launch a flotilla — dubbed “Gaza’s Ark” — from Gaza to Europe carrying produce and textiles, with the goal of raising awareness of the strife caused by Israel’s illegal blockade of the territory. Charlie Anderson, a Swedish activist in Gaza, said that a fishing boat would be converted to a cargo vessel, and that it would depart for Europe in September carrying Gazan agricultural produce and textiles in the hope of raising awareness of how the illegal blockade has severely reduced the quality of life in Gaza.
Sewage pours onto Gaza beaches
Al-Monitor 12 July by Rasha Abou Jalel — The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have no other refuge than the Mediterranean coast to escape the summer heat and enjoy some leisure time amid the electricity crisis. However, even in their escape, the sewage problem chases them. There are three sewage drains that dump their water in the Mediterranean, causing massive pollution along the coast. These sewage drains have been dumping thousands of liters of sewage water into the sea for years. The first drain is located in the Shalehat resort, considered the best in Gaza, while the second faces the basin of Gaza’s main port. The third drain faces the Beach refugee camp … Abdel Rahim Abu al-Komboz, general director of health and environment in the Gaza municipality, stated that the reasons behind the environmental damage inflicted on his municipality and the disposal of sewage in the sea of Gaza are related to the constant electricity cuts that prevent the government from solving the issue.
Gaza rocket hits southern Israel: Police
AFP 11 July — Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a projectile at southern Israel on Thursday without causing casualties or damage, a police spokesman told AFP. “Earlier today, a rocket was fired out of Gaza Strip, it landed in the Negev region,” Micky Rosenfeld said. “As of now, no injuries or damages were reported, and police units were searching the different areas.”
Seven days in Gaza: in Photos
True Stories via Team Palestina 8 July — photo essay; All photos: Hannah White
How northern Gaza suffers
True Stories 9 July — The al-Louh family live in Beit Lahiya in the north of the Gaza Strip. Next to their newly built home, funded by charity and the government, stands the remains of the old house where ten family members lived until the full-scale Israeli ground incursion of winter 2008-09. From the roof of a hollowed out home, son Zaid points to the Israeli border, describing how quickly the tanks crossed into Gaza, reaching their home in roughly ten minutes. Living so close to the Israeli border meant the al-Louh family were among the first to suffer from the terror of the Operation Cast Lead ground invasion. Their home was shelled from both sides by Israeli tanks, while all ten family members hid in a corner inside. Although it was the tank shelling that caused the most lasting physical damage to the property, Zaid told us that they first saw the white phosphorus bombs … The north of Gaza suffered horrifically during Operation Cast Lead. Zaid counts on his fingers: nine close family members and friends of his were killed, most by white phosphorus. One non-combatant was killed by a sniper while sitting alone. Another was fourteen. Two of Zaid’s cousins, as they were trying to escape in their car, were stopped by the Israelis, ordered to get out of the vehicle and subsequently shot. Their bodies were then crushed by a tank.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Palestinian refugee killed in Yarmouk camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — A Palestinian was killed Tuesday in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus as clashes between Syrian regime forces and rebels continued, a Palestinian group said. Mahmoud Shibabi was killed by shrapnel from a shell that hit the camp
Russia sends 70 tons of aid to Palestinian refugees in Syria
RIA Novosti 11 July — Two Russian heavy-lift transport planes on Thursday delivered a total of 70 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees in Syria, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said. “This morning, two Il-76 planes landed in Syria, and on board of each plane was 70 metric tons of humanitarian aid meant for Palestinian refugees located in Syria, ministry spokesman Oleg Voronov said. “The aid was provided by the Russian government as part of humanitarian support for the Palestinian refugees living on the territory of Syria.” According to Voronov, there were also food products among the aid delivered.
Political, other news
Maariv: ‘Israel offers release of 104 detainees’
IMEMC 11 July — Israeli daily, Maariv, has reported that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, allegedly presented an “offer” to release around 104 Palestinian detainees before the resumption of peace talks, and without a Palestinian commitment to resume direct talks with Tel Aviv. The paper said that approximately 40 of those detainees are what Israel labels as “prisoners with blood on their hands,” referring to detainees accused to killing Israelis, or believed to be behind attacks that led to casualties.
Maariv said that the new stance of Netanyahu is considered a fundamental change, as he always refused “to pay the price of convincing the Palestinian side to return to the negotiations table”, according to the paper … The Israeli ‘offer’ states that Israel would release the 104 detainees on stages in the future, after the resumption of peace talks. According to Maariv, the detainees could be released soon, during the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan that started a day ago.
PA: ‘All detainees held before Oslo must be released’
IMEMC 11 July — Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe‘, stated that President Mahmoud Abbas insists on the release of all 104 detainees who have been held by Israel since before the first Oslo Agreement in 1993, without any discrimination, or conditions. Qaraqe‘ said that Abbas affirmed, during a meeting between the two, that all old detainees, and all ailing detainees, must be released, and that this stance is nonnegotiable, and was presented to U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his visit to the region.
Tamarod comes to Palestine
Al-Monitor 11 July by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Unlike the government, which remained silent, the Palestinian people — in particular the residents of Gaza — have been debating the Egyptian crisis on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Some support deposed President Mohammed Morsi, while others are opposed to him. A Palestinian movement called Tamarod, meaning rebellion, opened a page on Facebook on July 1 that now has 18,000 followers. The movement was named after the Egyptian movement that called for the June 30 revolution. In its first statement, Tamarod said, “We are an independent initiative that is not related to any party, movement, faction or authority. We are a youth initiative that aims at making the voice of the youth heard and enabling its political participation.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad unfazed by Egypt crisis
Al-Monitor 10 July by Abeer Ayyoub — While Hamas is said to be the first victim of the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, its Islamist counterpart in Palestinian Islamic Jihad remains undeterred by events across the border. Senior Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib said that what is happening in Egypt is an internal crisis that his faction does not want to meddle in, yet he wished Egypt a “speedy recovery” from its current state of chaos. “We understand the ultimate connection between Egypt and Gaza, this is why we wish Egypt nothing but the best as we are affected by all what happens there,” Habib told Al-Monitor. The Islamic Jihad leader dismissed speculation that his movement will benefit from the current crisis, which is undoubtedly going to have adverse effects on its rival Hamas.
Israel urged Canada not to cut aid to Palestinians over UN recognition
OTTAWA (Postmedia News) 9 July by Lee Berthiaume — Israeli officials encouraged Canada not to cut its foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for the Palestinians seeking upgraded status at the United Nations last year, new documents show … briefing notes prepared for International Development Minister Julian Fantino in advance of the vote, and obtained by Postmedia News, show Israeli officials highlighted the importance of Canadian aid to the Palestinians, and urged Canada to continue its assistance … “The Israelis have noted the importance of Canada’s contribution to the relative stability achieved through extensive security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” The note is heavily censored, but does goes on to state that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”
Palestinian population in W. Bank, Gaza, about 4.5 million
JPost 11 July by Khaled Abu Toameh — Percentage of Palestinian population under the age of 14 constituted 40% of the total population — The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is now estimated at approximately 4 million, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. On the eve of International Population Day, the bureau published a statistical review that showed that the “total population of Palestine at mid- 2013 was about 4.42 million; 2.24 million males and 2.18 million females.” The estimated population of the West Bank was 2.72 million, while the estimated population of the Gaza Strip totaled 1.7 million, according to the review.
New Christian Arab party calls for IDF enlistment
Times of Israel 10 July by Lazar Berman and Elhanan Miller — ‘Sons of the New Testament’ movement is latest expression of growing desire among country’s Christians to assert their Israeli identity — Christian Arab citizens of Israel are forming a new political party that calls for Arab enlistment into the IDF. The party’s Hebrew name — B’nei Brit Hahadasha — means ‘Sons of the New Testament,’ although the word ‘allies’ is hidden in the title as well. The effort is part of a growing assertiveness on the part of Christian Arabs in the wake of the Arab Spring, as they increasingly sound calls for an identity distinct from Israel’s broader Arab society, which is around 90% Muslim … Israel Hayom reported Tuesday that the new movement is led by Bishara Shilyan, a 58-year-old sea captain from the mixed Christian-Muslim city of Nazareth … A similar process has taken place among Druze on the Golan Heights. According to government figures, 2012 showed a sharp several-hundredfold increase in requests by young Golan Druze for Israeli citizenship, as they come to the understanding that Israel offers them a future much brighter and safer than neighboring states.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Demonstrations across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Dozens of protesters on Friday were lightly wounded in demonstrations across the occupied West Bank. In al-Ma‘asara village south of Bethlehem, dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest against water shortages in the village for over 50 days and in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails … In Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sprayed demonstrators with skunk water as protesters retreated during a weekly demonstration. The protest began with around 60 demonstrators marching down from the top of the mount, toward the natural spring that was illegally annexed by Israeli settlers in 2009. Demonstrators silently stood on the slope of the mount facing a line of Israeli soldiers guarding the spring. The standoff lasted for around an hour before demonstrators began to retreat back up the mount. As demonstrators retreated Israelis soldiers fired tear gas and sprayed skunk water at close range.
A handful of weekly Friday demonstrations were canceled in observance of the first Friday of Ramadan
Video: Palestinian students call on US students to recognize their conditions — and divest
Mondoweiss 12 July by Joshua Tartakovsky — I produced this film “Palestinian Students Call to Divest for Justice” along with two friends from al Ma‘’sara, near Bethlehem, Mahmoud Elddin and Moath al Lahham. We wanted to bring the difficult reality of life under occupation as Palestinian students experience it to the gaze of the wider public as the debate at the University of California Berkeley was heating up on a student senate resolution calling on the school to divest from companies profiting off the occupation, a resolution that passed three months ago.
Canadian writers urge Israel to halt evictions of thousands of Palestinians and Negev Bedouins
IMEMC 12 July — Seventy prominent Canadian writers, including Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), Lorna Crozier, and Lisa Moore (Open), wrote an open letter to Canadian and Israeli officials urging Israel to cease its plans to evict Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, and to reject the Begin-Prawer Plan that would forcibly relocate 20,000-70,000 Bedouins from their homes in the Negev … The letter penned by the Canadian writers came on the heels of one written by 25 of Israel’s most prominent writers, including David Grossman, that denounced Israel’s planned eviction of the Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills.
In midst of Ramadan, Chicago-area Muslims urged to boycott dates linked to Israel
Chicago Tribune 11 July by Manya Brachear — Just as the Prophet Muhammad broke his daily fasts 1,400 years ago with the taste of a date, Muslims today end their daily abstention during Ramadan by biting into the flesh of the same sweet golden fruit. But this year, many Chicago-area Muslims have added a present-day geopolitical purpose to that ritual by making sure the fruit did not grow on an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The worldwide campaign organized by American Muslims for Palestine, a national group based in Palos Hills, is a seasonal offshoot of a movement that has encouraged boycotts of Israeli products and divestment from companies that do business with the Jewish state. The group asks shoppers to boycott Israeli fruit companies and any brands distributed by an Israeli date consortium — business that represents about 35 percent of the world’s date market.
Opinion / Analysis / Human interest
Israel’s indigenous invaders / Neve Gordon & Nicola Perugini
Al Jazeera 10 July —On June 24th the “Prawer Plan for the Arrangement of Bedouin-Palestinian Settlement in the Negev” passed its first reading in the Israeli parliament. If implemented, the Plan will constitute “the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s”, expelling an estimated forty thousand Palestinian Bedouin from their current dwellings. The Plan’s ultimate objective is to Judaize the Israeli Negev … The logic informing the plan is actually best expressed in There is a Solution, a 2010 report published by a settler NGO called Regavim (The National Land Protection Trust), which has been working in conjunction with several government agencies. The report maintains that the Negev’s Bedouin inhabitants “rob” the Jewish people “of the Land of Israel…ever so quietly, without the roar of battle and clamour of war.” “On this battlefield”, the organisation continues, cement mixers have replaced tanks, ploughs replace cannons and innocent-looking civilians replace uniformed soldiers…. Acre after acre, house after house, buying, squatting, illegally cultivating the soil that is not theirs, sometimes with guile, other times with violence, with huge sums of money and firmly backed by anti-Zionist organisations in Israel and abroad – Israel is losing its hold on the Jewish people’s lands … This transformation of the indigenous into an invader or a “Palestinian settler” – to borrow the phrase recently used by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon - is key to understanding not only the Prawer Plan, but also the very logic of the State of Israel.
‘Creating a Feeling of Persecution’: an IDF manual
Palestine Chronicle 8 July by Tamar Fleishman — “Creating a feeling of persecution” is the code name for the IDF’s activity intended to make the lives of the Palestinians a living hell, while using mental and physical terror that condemn an entire population to a life of fear. Soldiers that “Break the Silence” speak of this in their testimonies that are documented in the organization’s archive: One testifies that: “Part of the idea of getting those that are wanted to feel constantly persecuted, is that you have to be on site, to show up from unexpected places, to cause the population to feel discomfort. It’s all part of the deal, it’s necessary for operational reasons.” The means to create a feeling of persecution include violent patrols inside villages and towns during all hours at whatever time the patrollers see fit, and bursting into homes at the dead of night and performing false arrests of adults and minors. They are all brutal, they all erase the individual and their goal is to spread fear in the community without there being an operational or defensive need for it, not even the army claims there to be one. Nineteen year old Ahmed Haled Abed Alrauf is one of the many that had become victims of false arrests
Palestinian children work Israel settlements
Al Jazeera Features 6 July by Dalia Hatuqa — Some children reportedly earn just 25 per cent of the wage they are entitled to — Jordan Valley, occupied Palestinian territories – Small, frail bodies move systematically in the orchards, picking and cleaning fruit and vegetables, placing them into containers, before finally loading them onto trucks. Like clockwork, every day between 5am and 2pm, these Palestinian children work inside illegal settlements in the Jordan Valley to help their families, having left the idea of school far behind. Isma‘il is just 16, but dropped out of high school and turned to work in the settlement of Argaman to provide for his 12-member family, and to help his older brother pay for his university tuition. He works in the fields for up to eight hours, sometimes seven days a week, depending on the season. “I want to continue going to school in the future but hopefully… before I become too old to finish,” said Isma‘il, who hails from the Jordan Valley village of Al Zubeidat. “Now I cannot go back because money for the family is our necessity and this is what needs to be done.” The number of Palestinians working inside Jordan Valley settlements varies between 10,000 and 20,000 depending on the season, according to Ma‘an Development Centre, a Ramallah-based capacity-building organisation. Children make up between five and ten percent of these workers. These child labourers either live in Jordan Valley villages such as Al Fasayil, Al Jiftlik and Al Zubeidat, or hail from the rest of the West Bank, notably the south Hebron Hills, where living conditions are dire, unemployment is high and water is scarce. Most often, the children follow in the footsteps of family members in the same line of work.
One child’s arrest in Hebron embodies the sickness of an entire regime / Ami Kaufman
972mag 11 July — I urge readers to look closely at the pictures and videos posted today by Mairav Zonszein, which show the detention of a five-year-old in Hebron. As Mairav correctly points out, the whole process is very calm. Very routine. I’d add one more adjective: very racist. Look at those smug soldiers, not even flinching once or thinking twice about detaining a five-year-old. As if there’s no other way for the most powerful army in the region to handle a child who threw a stone. Look at them, surrounding him, four or five soldiers armed to their teeth with shiny black assault weapons, his parents nowhere in sight. (Here’s where the hasbara folks go: “Well what kind of parents let a kid bla bla bla bla?” Go on, do it. Let’s just get it out of the way early.) One of my kids is the exact same age. I’m trying to think what this kind of event would do to her, and I shudder. (Hasbara: “Ami, it wouldn’t happen because you’re more responsible than typical Palestinian parents.” Shut up, racists — who aren’t under occupation, by the way.) It takes a racist regime to produce specimens of masculinity such as these — to not care one bit about the huge stress this child is in. One has to be in an extreme state of apathy toward that child in order to treat him like that. And apathy like that can only be the product of racism. The nerve, to put a child so young in an army jeep. To handcuff and blindfold his father, right in front of his eyes.
This summer’s blockbuster hit: The IDF assassins / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 11 July — Viral clip is meant to tempt young Israelis to be snipers. But an army that brags like that about its assassins is a sick army, just like the society that accepts this and is even impressed by it — The Israel Defense Forces is proud to present: assassinations − the film version. “The Snipers,” a propaganda clip produced by a snipers’ unit about four years ago and now available on the Internet − about a quarter of a million people have already seen it on YouTube − is the big hit of the summer, the blockbuster of the ground forces’ “department of developing, training and learning.” The film is meant to tempt young Israelis to become snipers. It is nauseating. Dammit. It’s interrupted in the middle by a commercial for a baby product: “From the very first day you did everything possible to protect your baby.” You will protect your baby, and the IDF will corrupt him when the boy turns 18.
Welcome to Tuscany, just 10 minutes east of the Green Line
Haaretz 2 July by Moshe Gilad — Settler leaders are engaged in a large public relations effort to sell the northern West Bank as a beautiful and safe tourist destination. They have a lot to show, but also to hide –…Yisraeli is the tourism coordinator of the Samaria Regional Council, and his use of the word “our” refers to Jews who live in settlements in the northern West Bank. His use of the word “ignorance,” refers to one thing alone: the lack of knowledge Israelis who live within the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 borders ) have of what goes on in the territories. Yisraeli’s job is to bring visitors to the area where he lives. He’s been doing it for three years. “Our strategy has changed during this period,” he said. “Once we would organize demonstrations. Today it’s the exact opposite. We simply want people to come and get to know us; to like us. That’s why we’ve invited you.” “Look,” he said, spreading his arms to indicate the view. “This is Tuscany, and it’s 10 minutes away from your house in Petah Tikva. Tourist agents get a shock when they come here and see just how close it is to discover an unknown land. For many years, we’ve been perceived as madmen on a hill. We’re not like that – and we don’t have horns, either.” Yisraeli’s favorite comparison is the Golan Heights. “Why them and not us?” he asked me several times during the long day we spent together.
On Fatah, Hamas and the squandered years / Ramzy Baroud
Counterpunch 5-7 July — When ‘Unity’ Loses Its Meaning – When Hamas and Fatah representatives met in Gaza on June 04, there was little media fanfare. In fact, neither party expected much attention to their ‘unity talks’ aside from the occasional references to ‘national reconciliation’, ‘building bridges’ and the ‘obstacles’ along the way. And since then, there was yet more proof that the Gaza talks were another futile exercise to breathe unity between political factions that were never united to begin with, nor possess the minimal requirement of a shared political platform, let alone vision … Unity talks between two factions with track records that give greater priority to the faction over the collective interest of a nation will not succeed, even if they seemingly succeed. Fatah has historically been the dominant faction, and over the years has morphed into a culture that can only accept dominance over all the others. Hamas was formed to counteract the Fatah culture and to offer an equally overriding narrative. Their problem is too deep to disentangle with simple terminology and overcome with wishful thinking.
The name of the game: Israel’s ethnic cleansing zones / Jonathan Cook
Counterpunch 10 July – Were it not for the razor wire, giant concrete blocks, steel gates, watchtower and standard-issue surly teenage soldier, it would be impossible to tell at what point the barren uplands of Israel’s eastern Negev give way to the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank. The military checkpoint of Shani vaguely marks the formal demarcation between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, but in practical terms the distinction is meaningless. On either side of the Green Line, Israel is in charge. In recent weeks it has been intensifying a campaign to summarily evict Palestinian farming communities from their ancestral lands to replace them with Jewish newcomers. Israeli human rights lawyers, tired of the international community’s formulaic criticisms, say it is time to be more forthright. They call these “ethnic cleansing” zones — intended to drive off Palestinians irrespective of the provisions of international law and whether or not the Palestinians in question hold Israeli citizenship.
Israeli government shuts down Palestinian puppet fest and attempts to censor Israeli theater / Saed Bannoura
IMEMC 9 July — Israeli authorities have taken action to shut down and censor two theaters — one Palestinian-run, and one Israeli — for performing cultural theater performances that Israel considers to be critical of its political agenda and policies. The affected theaters are the El-Hakawati Puppet Theater in East Jerusalem, and the Khan Theater in West Jerusalem … Although the performances faced censorship for different reasons and using different means, the actors and other artistic staff have connected the two events, saying that they indicate a pattern by Israeli authorities to stifle artistic expression that is critical of the regime. Some critics have also connected these events with the unsolved murder of the director of the Jenin Freedom Theater in 2011. The Jenin Freedom Theater, the most famous theater in Palestine, is located in a refugee camp in the northern West Bank. It was founded by an Israeli and a Palestinian with a focus on using theater as a means of resisting the daily realities of life under military occupation. The directors encouraged children in the refugee camp to get involved in theater in order to express themselves and their frustrations through art. In 2011, the theater’s co-founder, Israeli Juliano Mer-Khamis, was gunned down in Jenin, and his killers have not yet been found. Two months after his murder, Israeli forces raided the theater, and abducted and interrogated his co-workers.