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Egypt closes Rafah crossing to Gaza indefinitely

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Witnesses: Israeli navy fires at Gaza fishing boats
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israel’s navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the northern coast of Gaza on Tuesday, witnesses said. Israeli ships fired several shells at the boats, who were fishing near Gaza City, causing material damage. No injuries were reported. On Monday, Israeli naval forces confiscated three fishing boats, and a day earlier detained three men swimming in what was deemed a “suspicious” area.

Egypt closes Rafah crossing indefinitely
RAFAH (PIC) 19 Aug — The Egyptian authorities told Palestinian officials at the Rafah crossing that the terminal would be closed in both directions until further notice. Responsible sources in Gaza told the PIC reporter that the Egyptian authorities claimed that the closure was due to the security conditions and tensions in Egypt in general and in Sinai Peninsula in particular especially after 24 Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack on two buses in Egyptian Rafah on Monday morning. The Rafah crossing is experiencing its worst days since the end of last June after the Egyptian military ousted the elected president Mohammed Morsi. The Egyptian authorities close the crossing for several days then open it partially for a few hours for certain categories of people.

Haneyya: We understand Egyptian security concerns but crossing is vital for Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 19 Aug — Gaza premier Ismail Haneyya said that his government and Hamas movement understand Egyptian security concerns especially in Sinai but still demand reopening Rafah crossing. Haneyya told Al-Rai news agency on Monday that the Palestinian people hope all the best for Egypt and pray for an end to the bloodshed in that country. However, the premier underlined that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were harmed by the Egyptian closure of the Rafah border terminal and hoped for its permanent opening particularly when “we did not harm anyone and did not and will not threaten Egypt’s security.” Haneyya said that opening the Rafah crossing was a natural right for the Palestinians and it should not be closed before their movement.

Hamas strongly condemns attempts to incriminate it in Egyptian events
GAZA (PIC) 20 Aug — Hamas movement strongly condemned the ‘suspicious’ attempts to incriminate it and the Palestinian people in the events in Egypt. Hamas said in a statement on Tuesday that evidence proved innocence of the Palestinian people from all fabricated media campaigns that were meant to smear and incite against the Palestinians. The movement said that it denounced both crimes the murder of prisoners in Abu Zabel and the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai and other crimes and demanded a swift and just investigation to reveal the “sinful hands that perpetrated those crimes.” Hamas, in conclusion, prayed for Egypt’s stability and security and hoped it would be spared strife so as to remain the big supporter of Arab questions and the Palestinian cause.

Why is the Egyptian regime demonizing Palestinians? / Haidar Eid
Mondoweiss 19 Aug — …In short, Mubarak’s policy toward the Palestinian cause and especially toward Gaza was passed on to the Brotherhood, which did not dare challenge the crime against humanity taking place on Egypt’s border — a crime that human rights organizations and the United Nations have condemned as collective punishment with some saying it amounted to slow genocide. The victimized Palestinians were asked to be “understanding” of the transitional period that the Brotherhood needed and not to demand the impossible, as if opening the Rafah Crossing for the passage of people and goods was an impossibly heroic act. The Egyptian military regime in power since July 3, 2013 is now demonizing everything Palestinian … Once again, the Palestinians have become the target of the Egyptian authorities’ security complex: They are the weakest link in the Arab chain and have no strong government to represent them. They are regularly harassed at and deported from Egyptian airports and crossings, even if they are simply transiting to and from Gaza. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has issued no statement calling on the Egyptian government to alleviate the stifling blockade or ensure decent treatment of Palestinian passengers. On the contrary, the PLO and particularly Fatah are rejoicing over the Brotherhood’s downfall and the difficulties this will pose for Hamas. Meanwhile, the Gaza government now faces an impasse and has no idea how to respond. There is no doubt that this chauvinistic campaign to hold Gaza responsible for all of Egypt’s ills — from the fuel shortages to terrorism in Sinai — serves the feloul (remnants) of Mubarak’s regime, who are now in full resurgence.

Resheq slams Egyptian police and army for cold-blooded killing of civilians
BEIRUT (PIC) 19 Aug — Senior member of Hamas’s political bureau Ezzat Al-Resheq strongly denounced the Egyptian police and army for persisting in killing unarmed Egyptian civilians in cold blood. In remarks on his facebook page on Monday, Resheq said that the practices of the police and the army are crimes against humanity. He also criticized the Egyptian media for its suspicious role in supporting and covering up the crimes that are committed against Morsi supporters and described some notorious media figures as the “sorcerers of Pharaoh” who distort facts and embellish their malevolent words to deceive the audience.

‘All we want is to farm our land peacefully’: civilians in Gaza continue to suffer from Israel’s restrictive buffer zone
Mondoweiss 19 Aug by Ghada Snunu — …on 11 March 2013, an Israeli army spokesperson announced that it would allow free access up to 300 meters [from the border] and that some Palestinian farmers would be allowed to coordinate entry to areas that are located closer to the fence. However, the army has refused to provide information on how one might coordinate entry into the ARA [Access Restricted Areas]. Abu Te’mah, 60, a father of 8, is one of tens of thousands of farmers who have been prohibited from accessing their land in the ARA. Abu Te’mah owns 35 dunams located between 100 and 600 meters from the fence with Israel in the south of the Gaza Strip. “We were very happy to hear about the easing of the restrictions in the area and we rushed to see our land that we hadn’t been able to access for years,” Abu Te’mah said. Abu Te’mah’s land had been planted with olive, almond, fig and other trees, but the Israeli army repeatedly bulldozed his land, destroying them all as well as water wells in the area. The repeated destruction of his land forced him to grow rain-fed crops such as wheat and barley that don’t require much caring and attendance. ‘‘After the ceasefire I thought of investing in my land but who can guarantee that the Israeli army will not destroy them again, every few days there is an incursion. We even still have parts of our land that we cannot reach,’’ Abu Te’mah explains. Abu Te’mah has incurred major financial losses over the years, and now he is burdened with debts that he can’t meet. Entry into the ARA remains unsafe and precarious despite the current improvements in the ARA. Killings, injuries and incursions continue to be reported in the ARA.

Gaza valley faces environmental disaster
Al-Monitor 19 Aug by Rasha Abou Jalal — People driving through the municipalities of the Gaza Strip can easily tell when they have reached the Wadi Gaza Bridge. They are overcome with a bad smell that forces them to hold their nose to avoid inhaling the odor of waste and sewage coming from the valley, which has turned into an environmental disaster. Wadi Gaza is one of the main natural features of the Gaza Strip. It stems from the hills of the Negev and the southern highlands of the city of Hebron. It is about 105 kilometers [65 miles] in length, and it extends from the armistice line east of Gaza to the Mediterranean coast … Not many citizens live on the banks of the valley anymore due to municipal neglect. Furthermore, the Palestinian families there live in constant fear that Israel will open the dams it has set up on its borders with the Gaza Strip, which would cause a major humanitarian disaster. In January 2010, the Israeli authorities opened the dam of Wadi Gaza without prior warning. This led to the inundation of dozens of houses and the displacement of about 100 Palestinian families.

Families of Palestinian spies for Israel face stigma in Gaza
Al-Monitor 16 Aug by Abeer Ayyoub — In a narrow territory where almost everyone knows each other, nothing in the Israeli-controlled Gaza Strip is more scandalous than being detected as a collaborator with Israel. Like any occupying power, Israel has always done its best to employ more collaborators in Palestine. As it is no longer the direct occupier, Israel sees important value in recruiting collaborators in Gaza. Many patients and relatives of patients who regularly go to Israel to get medical treatment often complain of receiving collaboration offers from Israeli intelligence at the Erez crossing checkpoint while passing through.

Internet porn ban sticking in Gaza
Al-Monitor 20 Aug by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Human rights activists in Gaza are largely shying from voicing their opposition to Hamas’ Internet porn ban for fear of societal judgment — Visiting a pornographic website within the borders of the Gaza Strip is no easy task. The ban on these sites, called ‘filtering’, was issued by Osama al-Issawi, minister of communications and information technology in the Gaza government, and came into effect on Aug. 29, 2012. All Internet providers in the Gaza Strip abide by this decision. Ziad Sheikh Dib, director of the licensing department at the Ministry of Communications, told Al-Monitor in an interview at the ministry that these pornographic sites have been blocked at “the request of people from the Gaza Strip.”

New movement targets Hamas rule in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Aug  – A newly announced Palestinian youth movement, said to be based in the Gaza Strip, released a statement and a video Sunday calling on all residents of Gaza to protest on Nov. 11. They urged protests against rivalries, exclusion, single-handedness, injustice, oppression and the violation of the inalienable rights of the people of Gaza … Nov. 11, 2013 is the “desired day”, added the statement, which highlighted that on that day all “tyrannies and oppression practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza” will come to an end. “They have practiced fraud in the name of religion and resistance declaring themselves as believers while they labeled us as disbelievers.” The statement accused Hamas in Gaza of shedding Palestinian blood “for the sake of murder only” as well as torturing and humiliating people through their daily practices in Gaza … The statement pledged that Hamas would not rule Gaza any more after Nov. 11. But it said that Hamas’ people would not be asked to leave Gaza. “We will not ask you to leave because you are part of us even if you exterminate us. All options are open to us except arms because we are different from you. It is you not us who would point their guns at their brothers.”

Family of missing man urges Jawwal to turn over call history
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Aug – Hundreds of Palestinians rallied Monday in front of offices of the Palestinian mobile service provider Jawwal in Gaza City after the company refused to help the a family which has been trying to collect information about a relative who went missing in June … “Since my brother was kidnapped, we have been trying to convince Jawwal executives, but in vain,” said Samir al-Aloul, a brother of the missing man. He appealed to the attorney general in the Hamas-run government in Gaza to give orders to Jawwal to reveal details of his brother’s phone calls.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

In West Bank, the logic of annexation supersedes the rule of law
972blog 20 Aug by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz – Israeli authorities aren’t merely incompetent when it comes to defending the rights of Palestinians in Area C — they are part and parcel of a process dedicated to the area’s annexation — Last week, IDF forces removed, with hardly any noise, settlers from the lands of Muhammad Ibrahim ‘Ali Shabana, a resident of the village of Sinjil in the West Bank. The removal took place after the invasion by settlers Yonathan Rothschild and Yehuda Elitzur. Thus ended a long legal saga which proves, yet again, the incompetence of the Israeli authorities when it comes to defending the rights of Palestinians in Area C.

Israel expanding settlements in Bethlehem area
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Aug – Israeli lorries were seen Monday unloading new mobile homes at Israeli settlements in east Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an that at least five new movable houses were unloaded Monday in Noqedim settlement near Herodium east of Bethlehem. Noqedim is home of the right-wing former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liberman the leader of the right wing Yesrael Beitenu political party. Witnesses noted construction in Bethlehem-area settlements, which has been ongoing for five years, increased noticeably in recent weeks.

WATCH: Settler group pushes for demolition of Palestinian village
Israeli Social TV 19 Aug — Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills, is once again facing the threat of demolition by Israeli authorities. In 2010, the right-wing settler organization Regavim, along with the adjacent settlement of Susya, petitioned an Israeli court for an order to demolish homes in the village. Regavim argues that Palestinians stole the land, that they are violent toward the settlers of Jewish Susya, and that the settlers’ freedom of movement is hindered, among other things.

Jewish settlers … seize Palestinian land
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 Aug — …Jewish settlers in Bethlehem seized Palestinian land in Al-Khader village and cultivated it. Ahmed Salah, the coordinator of the national anti-settlement committee in the village, told Quds Press that the settlers from Ein Kassis settlement outpost took control of two thousand square meters of Palestinian land. He said that the settlers planted olive and citrus trees in the land owned by Adnan Saleh. Salah pointed out that the Israeli occupation authorities had reportedly delivered to settlers information and maps of land not planted by Palestinians for years especially in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Photos: Citizen Ziad Amira self-demolishes his house
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 Aug — Citizen Ziad Amira was forced to self-demolish his house which is located in the village of Sur-Baher as ordered by the municipality because of building without a permit. Ziad explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the house is 100 square meters and has 3 bedrooms, a living room and its facilities and 9 people live in the house (Ziad’s mother 85, Ziad and his wife, their children where the oldest is 24 years old and the youngest is 15).

Israeli forces demolish part of Silwan house
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli forces demolished part of a residential property in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Tuesday, a local center said. An Israeli police unit raided Silwan at dawn and closed off several streets before bulldozers demolished a room in a property belonging to Khalid al-Zeir, the Wadi Hilweh information center said. Al-Zeir, his wife, and their seven children slept in the room, which is 60 square meters. Bulldozers also destroyed a tract of land and uprooted several olive trees, claiming that Jewish antiquities are buried under the land, al-Zeir said. The room was built seven years ago by al-Zeir. Israeli forces also destroyed a wall and an iron gate belonging to the al-Abbasi family, the Wadi Hilweh center said.

Israeli forces confiscate contents of Tulkarem shop
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli forces raided a Tulkarem village on Tuesday and confiscated the contents of a shop and plant nursery, locals said. Israeli soldiers removed pottery, antiques and other items from a shop in the village of Jabara. The owner of the shop, Hakim Suliman, told Ma‘an that three Israeli military vehicles raided the village and confiscated items valued at around one million shekels ($270,000). Israeli authorities had warned him not display any items in front of the shop on the street, so he placed all of his products inside.

Israel razes Bedouin homes in Beit Hanina for military purposes
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 Aug — Israeli military bulldozers demolished on Monday the shacks of Al-Ka‘abna Bedouins in Beit Hanina, north of occupied Jerusalem, at the pretext of unlicensed construction. Mohamed Kaabna, one of the affected Bedouins, said that bulldozers escorted by Israeli soldiers and policemen encircled their area at around six o’clock in the morning and embarked on evacuating 11 shacks before knocking all of them down. He added that the demolition of their homes led to the displacement of 53 individuals, including children. He said that the raid on their residential area caused panic among his family members and relatives, and made some of them fleeto the mountains … Al-Kaabna Bedouins have been living in this area since before 1967 and the Palestinian owners of this area, who are expatriates in the US, allowed them to reside in it. However, the Israeli army claim ownership of this mountainous area according to the absentee property law, which is a relic of the British mandate period, and declared its intent to establish a military base on it.

Israeli forces demolish 10 structures in the Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli forces demolished several agricultural buildings in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday, locals said. Military vehicles and bulldozers arrived in the area of Furush Beit Dajan and al-Jiftlik and destroyed 10 agricultural buildings constructed before 1967, local activist Azzam al-Haj told Ma‘an. The structures were demolished on the pretext that they were built without a license. The buildings belonged to Ahmad Muhammad Abdullah Bsharat, Abed Mohammad Mahmoud Bani Oudeh and Mahmoud Bani Oudeh.

Restriction of movement

IDF removes roadblock to Palestinian villages – twice
Haaretz 19 Aug by Amira Hass — Vandals, believed to be settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Mitzpeh Yair, use rocks and tires to block access road, throw animal carcass into Palestinian water cistern — Israel Defense Forces troops were dispatched twice on Sunday to remove roadblocks that were set up in an attempt to thwart access to four Palestinian villages in the southern Hebron Hills. Residents of the villages discovered the roadblock around 10 A.M. Sunday, between a dirt path leading to the villages and an asphalt road leading to the illegal Israeli outpost of Mitzpeh Yair. At 6 P.M., roughly three hours after an army bulldozer removed the barrier, a group of Israeli men wearing skullcaps replaced the roadblock using rocks and tires, as soldiers and police officers looked on. At around 8 P.M., the soldiers once again removed the roadblock — this time with their bare hands.

As an Arab in Israel: Reflections on being interrogated, jailed, and deported
by Carina Caligiuri Kurban. [An Arab-American, that is. Born in the U.S.  Not that that was any use to her.]  Before this trip, I had never felt discriminated against as an Arab-American. I knew my father and especially my grandfather had experienced hostility, but it was never a problem for me. Sure, there was the occasional 9/11 joke or ignorant questions about bomb threats in high school, but nothing came close to this. My account of what happened to me in Tel Aviv may seem dramatic, but that’s just what happened. An absolutely humiliating and demoralizing experience …
“You know that you are banned from Israel for ten years. But this really means forever.” I couldn’t even say anything after that, I was sobbing so hard. I would never get to go back to ‘Aida camp in Bethlehem and see all of my friends there. I’d never again get to see the neighborhood in Haifa where my grandfather grew up, never be able to set foot on the Haifa beach where he used to spend his afternoons. I would never be able to pay a visit to my great-grandmother’s grave. Never be able to go back to Palestine.

Violence / Attacks / Raids / Illegal arrests

Israeli soldiers shoot, kill man in Jenin Camp
[with photos] JENIN (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — A man was killed and two others injured in clashes early Tuesday between locals and Israeli forces in Jenin refugee camp. Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh, 22, was shot directly in the heart by Israeli soldiers, witnesses said. Karim Sbeih and Alah Abu Khalifa, both in their twenties, were critically wounded. One was shot in the bladder and the other was hit by a dumdum bullet in the chest. Israeli forces raided the Jenin camp at 3 a.m. and broke into the home of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saedi. Clashes broke out with camp residents, who threw empty bottles and stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. The body of Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh was transferred to Jenin hospital. Israeli forces deployed in large numbers around the camp following the shootings, locals said.

Settlers assault the family of Sub Laban in the Old City of Jerusalem
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 20 Aug — Sub Laban family members were injured with bruises and wounds after being attacked by dozens of settlers while being near their home in Al-Qirmi neighborhood in the old city of Jerusalem. Amal Sub Laban (Um Louai) explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center what happened with the family saying: “while I was on my way home in Al-Qirmi neighborhood along with some family members, one settler who follows my son Adam on a daily basis was staring at us and suddenly he disappeared. We kept on walking, and while I was helping my husband walk since he is paralyzed as a result of a stroke and we were only a few meters away from our home, I heard my son Adam screaming. I rushed to him only to find 20-30 settlers attacking him and then they attacked me using sticks and iron chains as well as randomly spraying us with gas. My son Louai heard us scream and upon his arrival, the settlers surrounded him and attacked him as well.” … She explained that she tried to appeal for a group of Jews and the synagogue security next to her house to call the police, noting that the police arrived and moved the settlers away. Ambulances arrived at the scene as well and all family members were transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedek hospitals for treatment as they were all injured with bruises, wounds and burns; Oday had 4 stitches in his head. She also explained that a group of settlers attacked Oday the next morning and the police detained him for a few hours at Al-Maskobyeh and was then released on condition of house arrest for 5 days.

Clashes in Nablus area village, dozens hurt by tear gas
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 Aug – Dozens of Palestinians were hurt by tear gas fired heavily by Israeli troops during confrontations with young Palestinian men in the northern West Bank village of ‘Iraq Burin Monday afternoon, according to a Palestinian official. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official based in Nablus who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at demonstrators and inside the village’s alleys.

The arrest of Wael Mahmoud from Esawyeh after raiding and searching his home
[photos show trashing of house by soldiers, common occurrence] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 20 Aug — The Israeli Special Forces raided on Monday afternoon the house of Wael Mahmoud in the Schools neighborhood in the village of Esawyeh [‘Issawiyeh]. Witnesses told Wadi Hilweh Information Center that Israeli forces raided the house of 43-year old Wael Mahmoud and arrested him after completely searching his house and damaging its contents.

Israeli forces wound Palestinian, nab nine others
NABLUS (PIC) 18 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian citizens in Balata refugee camp near Nablus on Sunday wounding one of them in the foot. Local sources said that IOF soldiers stormed Nablus city, Beita village, and Balata refugee camp and nabbed eight Palestinians. They said that clashes erupted in Balata as citizens confronted the invading soldiers, adding that a number of citizens fainted as a result of the IOF extensive use of teargas bombs while one of them was wounded with a rubber bullet in his foot.
Other IOF soldiers raided Beit Fajjar village in Bethlehem and arrested a young man in his twenties after searching his family home. The soldiers served summonses for three other citizens in the village.

Israeli forces raid Jenin village, clash with locals
JENIN (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — Israeli forces raided several homes in a Jenin village overnight Sunday, locals said. Israeli soldiers raided the homes of Azzam Fahim Abu Aoun, Aref al-Fakhouri, Farahat al-Fakhouri, Hassan Ahmad Khaliliya, and Jawdat Abu Aoun in the village of Jaba‘, witnesses told Ma‘an. No detentions were reported. Clashes broke out with villagers and Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Dozens suffered smoke inhalation.

Israeli forces detain 7 in overnight arrest raids
NABLUS (Ma’an) 20 Aug — Israeli forces detained seven people overnight Monday, locals and Israel’s army said. Muhammad Maysar Ayyub, 20, Naji Mustafa Tabouq, 22, and Imad Fathi Satami, 23, were arrested after Israeli forces raided the Ras el-Ein neighborhood in Nablus, locals said. Dozens of young men hurled stones and empty bottles at soldiers during the arrest raid. Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and stun grenades. No injuries were reported.
Yasser Mohammad Banat, 28, and Mohammad Izhaq Banat, 28, were detained in al-‘Arrub refugee camp and Anwar Muhammad Khamis, 21, was arrested in Beit Ummar, locals told Ma‘an.
An Israeli army spokesman said seven people were detained overnight, three in Nablus, two in al-‘Arrub, one in Qalandia, and one in Jenin.

IOF wounds youth, interrogates Hamas MP in WB sweep
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed various areas in north and central West Bank at dawn Monday and broke into civilian homes and searched them. The Hebrew radio said that IOF soldiers rounded up more than ten Palestinians in the West Bank at the pretext they were wanted for interrogation. Hamas MP Fatehi Qarawi relatives told Quds Press that IOF soldiers broke into the lawmaker’s home in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem and interrogated him and his liberated son Hazem before dawn Monday and left without arresting anyone…
Other confrontations were reported in Seelat Al-Harithiya village and in Jenin refugee camp in which IOF soldiers used live bullets and teargas bombs but no arrests were reported.


IOF kidnap two brothers of hunger strikers in Israel jails
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Monday brothers of Palestinian administrative detainees to pressure them to end their hunger strike. Local sources said that the IOF raided the houses of hunger strikers Adel Hureibat and Ayman Atbish in Dura town, south of Al-Khalil city, and kidnapped two of their brothers. They added that the IOF also stormed the house of prisoner Imad Batran in Idna town, south of Al-Khalil, to kidnap his brother, but he was not at home.

Abu Sisi goes on open hunger strike
GAZA (PIC) 19 Aug — Isolated Palestinian captive Dirar Abu Sisi has gone on an open hunger strike three days ago protesting his continued solitary confinement. Prisoners told an international society called “Breaking the Shackles” in a statement on Sunday that the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails were planning to support Abu Sisi’s position by going on a similar open hunger strike. Abu Sisi was kidnapped by Israeli Mossad (foreign intelligence) agents in the Ukraine in 2011 and was subjected to cruel investigation in Israeli captivity. He was held in complete isolation since then. Abu Sisi, a holder of PhD in electric engineering, and his Ukrainian wife have six children who live in Gaza.

Birzeit university student transferred to hospital after days of hunger strike
RAMALLAH (PIC) 20 Aug — The Islamic student bloc at Birzeit university said that one of its members was transferred to the hospital after his health condition worsened as a result of his hunger strike for nine days. The Islamic bloc stated on Monday that a number of its member students at the university had already started an open-ended hunger strike and 130 others decided to go on hunger strike for three days only as of Tuesday…
A number of Islamic bloc students are still persistent in their sit-in on campus, which they had started about 10 days ago in protest at the kidnapping of three of their senior fellow members by the Palestinian Authority intelligence agency.

Captive Batran ends his hunger strike in return for his release
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Aug — Administrative detainee Emad Al-Batran ended his hunger strike on Tuesday after Israeli promises to release him. Minister of prisoners in Ramallah government Issa Qaraqea and Batran’s lawyer said that Batran decided to end his hunger strike on Monday night after 104 days of strike in return for an Israeli decision not to extend his administrative detention. They said that the Israeli prison service said it would release Batran on 15/11/2013 and the date could be brought forward. Batran, who is held in the Israeli Kaplan hospital due to his ill health, ends his second year in administrative custody, without trial or charge, on 15/11/2013. Batran’s health condition gravely deteriorated which led to heart muscle weakness.

IOA holds civil engineer in administrative detention
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Aug — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) ordered the administrative detention of a civil engineer from Doura town, south of Al-Khalil, for four months. Osama, son of the detainee Hatem Amr, told the PIC reporter that Ofer military court ordered the administrative custody, without charge or trial, of his father without revealing reasons for his incarceration under the usual pretext of a secret file against him. Israeli occupation forces arrested Amr after storming his home in Doura last Thursday. Amr, who was repeatedly detained by the IOA, is a former board member of the charitable society in Al-Khalil and was previously detained by the Palestinian Authority’s security agencies.

Political, other news

Israel, Palestinians meet in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (AFP) 20 Aug – Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met secretly in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a senior Palestinian official said, a week after US-brokered peace talks were relaunched in the Holy City. “A meeting was held today between the Palestinian delegation, headed by Saeb Erakat and Mohammad Shtayyeh, and the Israeli delegation of (Justice Minister) Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Details of the discussions were not revealed, apparently consistent with a request from Washington last week for a strict news blackout. The official added that US Secretary of State Kerry’s special envoy Martin Indyk met President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to keep up pressure to continue negotiations “despite continued settlement building, which is the biggest obstacle to talks carrying on.”

Haneyya calls for forming a national coalition to reject negotiations
GAZA (PIC) 20 Aug — Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya warned of the return to the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation. This came in a speech Haneyya delivered during the special session of the Palestinian Legislative Council held on Tuesday at its headquarters in Gaza City, about the seriousness of the negotiations. The Prime Minister urged Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah movement to stop the negotiations with the Israeli occupation and called for establishing “a national coalition to announce rejection of negotiations and adherence to the Palestinian national constants.” “The return to negotiations reflects the status of failure and frustration experienced by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah,” Haneyya said, stressing that “the political choices should not be built on concessions.” Gaza Premier described the return to negotiations as “a catastrophic choice” that lasted twenty years and served only the Israeli occupation.

Official: Hamas rejects call to hold general elections
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — A meeting held late Sunday to discuss political reconciliation failed to make progress as the Hamas movement rejected the idea of holding general elections, a Fatah official said. Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of Fatah’s revolutionary council, told Ma‘an that Hamas rejected a proposal presented by Fatah to hold legislative, presidential and general elections. Hamas said they wanted to implement all reconciliation issues at the same time. Fatah proposed elections to maintain the legitimacy of political institutions as both sides failed to agree on other primary reconciliation issues, Maqboul added. Both factions discussed politically motivated arrests and are cooperating to relieve the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. President Abbas has been in contact with the Egyptian side to open Egypt’s Rafah crossing, the Fatah official added.

Abu Marzouk champions implementation of reconciliation agreements as one package
CAIRO (PIC) 20 Aug — Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, political bureau member of Hamas, has said that his movement demands the implementation of all reconciliation agreements as one package. He said in a statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday that Hamas did not refuse presidential and parliamentary elections, but rather asked for implementation of all reconciliation agreements. Abu Marzouk echoed what Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, had said on Monday that the meeting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza earlier Monday was “a protocol meeting.” For his part, Dr. Jamal Muhaisen, a Fatah central committee member, said in Ramallah that elections would take place in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip regardless of Hamas’s rejection.

Supporters crowdfund a reward for the Palestinian developer who hacked Facebook
Wamda 20 Aug by Nina Curley — A Palestinian white hat hacker became a hero in his village yesterday for hacking Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page to reveal a critical bug. Today, the news about Khalil Shreateh continues to circle the globe, revealing that the hacker, from Yatta, a town south of Hebron in the West Bank, was initially rebuffed by Facebook’s security team … To demonstrate the bug, Shreateh then posted on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall: “First, sorry for breaking your privacy and post to your wall, I has no other choice to make after all the reports I sent to the Facebook team.” (Read Khalil’s blog post in English and Arabic for the full story) A security team member contacted him with minutes, disabling his account. Shreateh’s account is now re-enabled, but he has not been awarded the bounty typically awarded to white hat hackers who demonstrate code vulnerabilities to Facebook. … In Yatta, where Khalil lives, receiving the $500 to few thousand dollar payout that Facebook’s Bug Bounty program typically offers would have been life-changing; unemployment is above 22% in Yatta, and he hasn’t found a job in two years. While he’s now received job offers from hackers who want to exploit the bug, he’s turned down those offers, he told CNN. Now, members of the online community are taking the situation into their own hands. Marc Maiffret, the Chief Technology Officer at BeyondTrust, a leading security and compliance management company, has launched a page to support Shreateh on crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

Union: Palestinian universities facing crippling financial crisis
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — All Palestinian universities are facing a crippling financial crisis and some have not been able to pay salaries regularly over the past two years, a union leader said Monday. Amjad Barham, who heads a union of university professors and staff, told Ma‘an that most Palestinian universities have accumulated unpaid salaries and other expenses. Thus, he added, universities will not be able to afford the basic preparations to provide a decent education if the situation remains unchanged. He highlighted that the crippling financial crisis was a result of failure by consecutive Palestinian governments to pay even a minimum of the financial aid they were supposed to provide to universities.

Israeli closure of Al-Bireh waste disposal site causes concern
AL-BIREH (WAFA) 19 Aug — A decision by the Israeli military to close the waste disposal site the municipality of al-Bireh, Ramallah’s twin city, has been using for over 30 years, has caused serious concern among city and state officials who spoke on this subject on Monday. The military ordered the site located near the Israeli settlement of Psagot to the east of al-Bireh closed on August 7 leaving the city of al-Bireh and its 80,000 residents without a waste disposal site and forcing garbage trucks to empty their load at various areas of the city before burning them causing serious health and environmental issues

Only 11% of Palestinians traveled abroad in 2012, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 19 Aug – Only 11% of Palestinian households with at least one member in the family traveled outside Palestine during 2012, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Monday. It said 13% were from the West Bank and only 6% were from the Gaza Strip. According to the statistics, the majority, around 40%, travelled to Jordan and other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, 30%, for the Hajj or Umra, or Egypt, 12%, for Gaza residents, and 2% made a trip to Turkey for leisure. The survey results revealed that 46% of households visited relatives and friends, 29% travelled for religious purposes, 20% for leisure and 6% for business or work purposes….

PA police detain settler after entering Nablus by mistake
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Palestinian Authority police forces detained a settler on Tuesday after he entered the city of Nablus by mistake. The settler mistakenly drove into Nablus city center and was detained by PA police while they contacted Israeli authorities. He was later transferred to the custody of Israeli police.

Israel must support Egypt’s army, official says
JERUSALEM (AFP) 19 Aug — Israel and the West must support Egypt’s army, an Israeli official said Monday, after 25 Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack in the Sinai bordering Israel. The unnamed official’s comments in an Israeli daily came a day after a New York Times report that Israel would press Western powers to support the military in unrest-swept Egypt. By “not taking things away from them (the army), not harming or threatening them,” the US and EU could help Egypt “get back on track,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the official as saying. “The name of the game right now is not democracy,” he added. “The name of the game is that there needs to be a functioning state. After you put Egypt back on track, then (you can) talk about restarting the democratic process there.”


Settlement guidelines nix Ahava participation in EU-funded research project
Mondoweiss 20 Aug by Alex Kane — European Union (EU) guidelines on Israeli settlements have nixed the cosmetics company Ahava’s participation in a research project. The profitable Israeli firm will no longer receive EU funding because its main factory is located in an settlement near the Dead Sea. Ahava won’t obtain $8.25 million in EU cash it was expecting for a skin care project because of new rules on settlements scheduled to go into effect in 2014, according to a report by Bloomberg’s Jonathan Ferziger & David Wainer. The SuperFlex project was meant to create skin care products for the elderly, and two-thirds of the funding for the project came from the EU. It was set to begin next month.

Analysis / Opinion

Casket 5056: The unidentified Palestinian
Ramallah, West Bank (Aljazeera) 18 Aug — – Exhumed from an Israeli-numbered grave to be handed over to his family for proper burial, the man in “Casket 5056” lies in a Palestinian morgue a year on – unidentified and unclaimed. Since 1967, Israel has been withholding the bodies of an unknown number of Palestinians interred in numbered instead of named graves. The  Palestinian Campaign to retrieve the bodies of Palestinian and Arab war victims and determine the fate of the missing has documented more than 60 cases of missing Palestinians and about 370 others buried in numbered graves in Israeli-controlled cemeteries. In May 2012, Israel handed the Palestinian Authority (PA) 91 bodies it had been holding for decades. They were all buried except the man in Casket 5056, whom Israel said was Nasser al-Bouz … The family said Israel never acknowledged detaining or killing Nasser. When his brothers learned his name was on the list of bodies Israel was handing over to the PA last year, they were shocked. The wrong person Although they were to receive Nasser in a coffin, his brothers thought they would finally get closure. But it wasn’t long before their wound was reopened. “When we opened the casket, we knew the remains were not for Nasser,” Wael said.

Egypt’s rulers have a new friend in DC: the Israel lobby / John Hudson
Foreign Policy 19 Aug — As pressure mounts on Washington to cut off U.S. military aid to Egypt, Cairo has found an awkward ally in the form of AIPAC, the influential pro-Israel lobby firm that is actively pushing for continued U.S. aid to Egypt. Long considered an incentive for Cairo to maintain peaceful ties with Israel, America’s $1.3 billion package in annual U.S. military assistance to Egypt has come under global criticism as Egypt’s military continues its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters with U.S.-funded tanks and tear gas. AIPAC, which was credited with helping kill an amendment to cut Egyptian aid in July, is now operating behind the scenes in private meetings with lawmakers to keep alive Cairo’s funding, congressional aides from both political parties said.

Jewish Agency plans most exorbitant ‘pro-Israel’ campaign ever
972mag 18 Aug by Mairav Zonszein — A new initiative to market Israel to American Jews is expected to cost up to $300 million annually, three times the Birthright budget. But a cheaper project for both Americans and Israelis that could bolster Israel’s image much more effectively is not on the table: Ending the occupation The Jewish Agency is reportedly developing its priciest campaign ever to connect Jews and Israel and it’s going to cost a lot of money. The budget is expected to reach $300 million per year in the next five years, The Forward reported. The massive operation is expected to launch in 2014 and concentrate on four main elements: “Israel Education,” “Israel Experiences,” “Israel Engagement on College Campus” and “Aliyah (immigration) of Young Adults” (all these have already being pursued heavily by “pro-Israel” groups for decades). (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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6 Responses

  1. Les
    August 21, 2013, 3:02 pm

    Egypt closes Rafah crossing to Gaza indefinitely

    As expected, now that the US has restored Mubarak’s generals to their previce position.

  2. asherpat
    August 22, 2013, 9:51 am

    “Egypt closes Rafah crossing indefinitely” – doesn’t it mean that Egypt is occupying Gaza? And where are the humanitarian aid naval flotillas, flytillas to Cairo airport to protest? Where is the pro-Palestinian organisations community when one needs it?

  3. August 22, 2013, 10:44 am


    Ariyai Halevi, X-ray technician at Western Galilee Hospital, posted a short status update to his Facebook page Sunday that speaks volumes, some would say, about the Middle East situation:

    “So there’s a 12 year old girl from Syria in the pediatric ICU for some time,” he wrote. “I had the opportunity to do several X-rays on her. One night, I arrive and the security guard (a guard or soldier is posted by each Syrian patient) tells me that the father has been brought in by the Shabak to be with the daughter.

    “I walk up to the bed and the father greets me with a smile and a handshake. He then proceeds to speak to me in Arabic. Apparently, he’s never seen a religious Jew before, and with my head cover and beard assumed I was some sort of Muslim. When I didn’t respond fluently his smile turned into a puzzled look.

    “The guard (a Druze who spoke Arabic) brought him to the side so I could do my job. Believe it or not, I have a very good bedside manner, especially with kids. After I was done, the guard came and told me that when he brought the guy to the side that he asked what I was with the getup and all. When he explained that I’m a very religious Jew and that’s how we look, the dad got nervous. However, when he saw how nicely and kindly I treated his kid, he started crying and said that he can’t believe that none of Syria’s Arab neighbors like Lebanon or Jordan will take them in, but the religious Jew from Israel treats his kid like his own daughter.

    “If only he would pass on his revelation to the rest of his country,” concludes Halevi.

    On August 7, Halevi had written:

    “I find it very ironic. Every week in my hospital we get several seriously wounded patients from Syria. This is besides the ones that go to Ziv, Poria, and Rambam. These patients are taken care of for free and brought to us by the U.N. since no one else will take care of them. So the U.N. knows Jews are the only ones who will help anyone no matter what background, yet they continue to bash us as Arab hating oppressors.”

  4. August 22, 2013, 10:47 am


    When the history of the decades-old Green Revolution in Asia and Africa is written, Israel’s Netafim — the company that brought drip irrigation to the world — will be prominently featured. Numerous studies name drip irrigation as a key ingredient “to have a significant impact on resources saving, cost of cultivation, yield of crops and farm profitability” in India and elsewhere, according to a 2010 article by Indian academics. As the world’s largest drip irrigation technology manufacturer, Netafim can take much of the credit for those results.

    “It’s a great source of pride for our workers, but also for all Israelis, I think. How many companies can say that their products help make sure that tens of millions have enough to eat every day”, says Rachel Shaul, Head of Corporate Marketing at Netafim.

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