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Illegal settlement count rose from 140 to 144 in 2012

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Israel built four new settlements in 2012
IMEMC 15 Aug — The Palestinian Census Bureau has reported that Israel built four new illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank in 2012, raising the number of Jewish settlements to 144 compared to 140 by the end of 2011.  The Bureau added that most of the settlements are concentrated in occupied Jerusalem, as there are 26 official settlements in the city, followed by the central West Bank district of Ramallah and Al-Biereh (24 settlements). Hebron comes in third with 19 illegal settlements, followed by 17 more settlements in the Palestinian Plains area. The northern West Bank district of Qalqilia has three settlements, the lowest number of settlements in all of the West Bank.
The Census Bureau added that, by the end of 2012, the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank reached approximately (563.546) settlers, comparing to (538.781) settlers in 2011. This shows a 4.6% increase in the number of settlers. It further stated that the number of settlers increased 40 fold between the years of 1972 and 2013.  In addition, the number of settlers increased by 2.8% since the beginning of this year until the end of July, due to the illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestine.

1,500 Bedouin awaiting home demolitions
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 14 Aug – Around 1,500 Bedouin residents of Sawah are awaiting the demolition of their homes after an Israeli court rejected their appeal. In July, an Israeli court in Beersheba rejected an appeal to delay the court-ordered demolitions, which are expected to take place in the Negev village on Thursday. “We are waiting for our houses to be demolished, leaving us in the open between earth and sky,” Nayif Khawatra, a resident of Sawah, told a Ma‘an reporter on Wednesday. “We requested that Israeli authorities give us a delay until we arrange to move into a neighborhood in the nearby village of Hurah which is being expanded, but they refused.”

Israel destroys Bedouin village for 54th time
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Israeli authorities on Thursday demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 54th time. Resident Aziz al-Turi said Israeli forces arrived carrying weapons and batons to intimidate villagers in Al-Araqib before bulldozers tore down all the homes in the Negev village. Israeli authorities also bulldozed homes and buildings on Thursday in the Negev village of Abu Qreinat, resident Maher Abu Qreinat told Ma‘an. The Israeli government in January approved the Prawer-Begin Bill, calling for the relocation of 30,000 – 40,000 Bedouin, the demolition of about 40 villages and the confiscation of more than 700,000 dunums of land in the Negev.

Between demolition orders, a Palestinian village hangs in a state of limbo
Haaretz 16 Aug by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac — Dakika, a village on the edge of the south Hebron hills, is being slated for demolition with no less than 53 orders from the Civil Administration — Mohammed Gurab sits on a shabby seat that was at some point torn out of a junked car … Gurab cannot hold a cigarette in his hand: His entire body, from his head down, is paralyzed by a degenerative disease that he came down with as a young man. Thus, he is abandoned on the car seat in the heat for most of the day. Gurab cannot move a muscle. Nothing … Gurab lives in Dakika, perhaps the most godforsaken and wretched village in all the West Bank, at the edge of the southern Hebron hills, on the border of the Judean desert. Here he was born 44 years ago. “I would have committed suicide a million times, but religion forbids this,” he says softly. His elderly mother, along with the flock of village children, try to help him, but how much help can be given to a person in his condition, in a village where there is no electricity and no running water? … Now something else has been added to his troubles: the fact that his village is slated for demolition. Hanging over the houses today are 40 demolition orders that the Civil Administration has issued in recent years against a total of 53 structures, including cisterns and even the wretched outdoor bathrooms.

Palestinians celebrate anniversary of return to destroyed village
972mag 15 Aug by Haggai Matar — The displaced members of the village of Iqrit marked one year since their groundbreaking direct action: the return of the village youth to the village, the revival of its traditions and the strengthening of their hold on the land. Although they are now celebrating with friends and supporters, they fear a potential response from authorities — Every year for the past 18 years, the displaced Palestinian community of Iqrit has organized a summer camp on the expropriated lands of their village so that the younger generations, born in cities and towns elsewhere in Israel, will remember their heritage and continue the longstanding struggle for return. Yet this year’s event, which continues until Sunday, is particularly joyful, and more festive than ever, as a group of third-generation Iqritians have been able to resettle on their lands and maintain a sort of settler-style outpost for exactly one year.

35 settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Aug — About 35 settlers and 6 Israeli intelligence elements stormed on Thursday morning the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate under the protection of the occupation police. Mahmoud Abu Atta, media coordinator for Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage, said in press statements that 20 settlers stormed in the early morning hours the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They started touring the Mosque’s courtyards when 15 other Israelis joined them later. Meanwhile, six intelligence elements raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Abu Atta added. He pointed out that Al-Aqsa Mosque has been witnessing a state of high alert by the Israeli police, as well as a state of extreme anger among the Palestinian students, worshipers and the mosque guards, especially as the raids have continued for the fifth day.
More than one 1440 settlers and soldiers stormed the mosque during the past month, according to data gathered by the Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH). AFEH said in a press statement that the Al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed last July raids by nearly 1109 settlers, in addition to 18981 foreign tourists, 195 intelligence elements and 132 soldiers. The foundation added that about 190 settlers have stormed the Mosque since the beginning of this week

PHOTO: Israel proudly displays separation fence to tourists
972mag 12 Aug by Mairav Zonszein — The very first thing visitors to Israel see when they walk through Ben-Gurion International Airport’s arrivals hall is an illuminated, panoramic landscape photo showing an area where the West Bank meets Israel. Right smack dab in the middle of it is none other than Israel’s separation barrier. (The road can be seen in the center, with two barbed-wire outer fences on either side and a lighter weight fence in the middle.) It is as if Israel is proudly saying to its visitors: Welcome to the land of milk and honey, segregation and oppression. As if the wall/fence/barrier has become such an integral part of the landscape that whoever installed this lovely photo montage didn’t even notice.

Restriction of movement

You didn’t win Arab Idol? Kindly wait a few more years
972blog 12 Aug by Itamar Sha’altiel –Israel approves Arab Idol winner Muhammad Assaf’s request to change his residency to the West Bank without a hitch. Meanwhile, over 500 Palestinian residents of the West Bank are still waiting in fear — More than 500 Palestinian residents of the West Bank are waiting today, just like they were yesterday. Some are afraid to leave their homes, others avoid crossing Israel’s checkpoints. They know that if a soldier happens to check their ID card, they might be removed to Gaza. The fact that they have family or a job in the West Bank won’t matter. The fact that they’ve lived in the West Bank for many years also won’t matter. And the fact that no security related allegations have been made against them won’t matter. The only thing that will matter is that their ID card says they live in Gaza, so Gaza is where they will go. In 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced to the Quartet that as part of a ‘gesture’ to the Palestinian Authority, the addresses of 5,000 Palestinian residents would be updated from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Since Israel controls the Palestinian population registry, any change in these records requires Israel’s approval. And since Palestinians who reside in the West Bank but whose registered address is in Gaza may be removed to Gaza, this gesture, if fulfilled, promised to improve the lives of thousands of Palestinians, protecting their residency rights and their ability to move freely throughout the West Bank, if not also abroad and into Israel. The thing is, only 2,795 applications were approved between April 2011 and July 2012.

Palestinian football chief demands Israel expulsion
RAMALLAH (AFP) 15 Aug — The Palestinian Football Association on Thursday urged FIFA to expel Israel from the international federation, saying it had refused to allow several Arab youth teams into the Palestinian territories. “We ask (FIFA) for a red card, because the yellow card has been raised now for a long time,” PFA chief Jibril al-Rujub told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “We are clinging to the red card to take away the Israeli occupation’s legitimacy and we will not accept any compromise,” Rujub said. Rujub said Israel had denied representatives of the West Asian Football Federation, which includes 12 Arab national football associations, permits to enter the occupied Palestinian territories to play in the WAFF Under-17’s Championship, that was due to begin Thursday. Three managers of the Jordanian football union, two UAE representatives and 13 managers and players from Iraq were refused entry, he said.

Israel to let Arab youth teams into West Bank
AMMAN (AFP) 16 Aug — Israel has bowed to pressure from UEFA to allow Arab youth football teams into the Palestinian territories, having initially denied them entry, a Jordanian official said on Friday. Israel’s refusal to grant West Bank entry to players and coaching staff delayed the West Asia Football Federation’s Under-17’s Championship, which was to begin on Thursday. “WAFF President (Jordan’s) Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein and FIFA’s vice-president intervened with UEFA to settle this issue,” WAFF secretary-general Fadi Zureiqat told AFP. “Israel capitulated (to the pressure) and allowed entry permits for all the teams and officials,” he said. “The delegations have prepared to set off for the West Bank via the King Hussein crossing (with Jordan). WAFF will hold a meeting this evening to decide the official program, following the delay.” The Palestinian territories and their own team are to host the tournament, welcoming the Iraqi, Jordanian and Emirati under-17’s squads. … Several Arab countries refuse to play in Palestine, opposing the fact that Israel decides whether or not they can enter.

The battle for hearts and minds: entry permits during Ramadan
972mag 13 Aug by Fady Asleh — The Palestinian, in whose head is engraved an image of the lands that were torn away from him, now faces an entirely different picture that clashes with the narrative and imagery of his grandparents’ stories. Haifa of today is not the Haifa of Al-Shrak Cafe or the 1920s and 30s capital of Palestinian culture. An entry permit is a statement in and of itself: Here, you are permitted to enter once again, to have a good time, to pray. That is, as long as you behave yourself — One of the questions that came up during Ramadan last year, and it’s probably relevant again this year, is why the Israeli security establishment decided to allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into Israel? On the Palestinian side, you hear the claim that Israel is trying to get its hands on the money Palestinians save all year for shopping during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. According to that logic, the decision was made only considering economic factors. On the other side, the Israeli government claims there are no economic factors, and that its motivations are purely “humane.” In other words, it is simply easing restrictions for Ramadan … Either way, the most likely scenario is that the security establishment is using entry permits as part of an important and aggressive war, a war whose battle field takes place inside Palestinians’ minds.

Settlers block Nablus road
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — Israeli settlers blocked a road in Nablus on Thursday evening for an hour and a half. The settlers blocked the road linking Yitzhar settlement to Nablus city after Israeli soldiers arrested a settler, a Ma‘an reporter said.
Meanwhile, settlers uprooted trees in Burin village in Nablus, leading to clashes between settlers and locals, said Ghassan Daghlas, a PA offficial who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests

PCHR Weekly Report: 1 killed, 2 wounded, 60 abducted by Israeli troops in last two weeks [1-14 August]
IMEMC 17 Aug — …Israeli forces killed a civilian in the east of al-Bureij refugee camp in an excessive use of force. In addition, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian farmer while working on his farmland, east of Gaza City. A Palestinian civilian was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet during an Israeli incursion into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. Israeli forces bombarded open land in the northern Gaza Strip. A child sustained scratches and bruises as window fragments scattered over him due to the bombing. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. Dozens of protestors suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises due to Israeli soldiers’ attacks … Israeli forces conducted 62 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, abducting at least 54 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 2 photojournalists … On 02 August 2013, an Israeli infantry unit moved into farmlands around Kherbet Um al-Khair, to the east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They denied members of al-Hatheleen family access to the lands and a water well used by the residents for them and their livestock. Israeli soldiers declared the area as a closed military zone. Besides, the residents were threatened to leave the area, otherwise, they would be abducted. An Israeli officer showed a detailed plan about schemes to build 60 settlement units in the above-mentioned area. Full Report

Three youths arrested in Kafr Qaddum night raid
Kafr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 15 Aug by Nablus Team — Shortly after the release of 26 prisoners by Israel on the evening of the 13th August, as part of the ‘peace’ negotiations, thirteen people were arrested in the West Bank during army night incursions including three youths from Kafr Qaddum. At 3am on the 14th of August, Israeli occupation forces raided three homes taking three youths away from their families, 22-year-old Bashar, 21-year-old Abraham and 17-year-old Omran. Although several people have been arrested during the demonstrations at Kafr Qaddum, this is the first time in a year that the army has arrested people from their homes. International activists visited two of the three families who had loved ones ripped away from them in the night to fill the spaces in prisons, still warm from Israel’s prisoner release. Bashar’s family hurried to get dressed when the army pounded on the door and shouted at three in the morning. When the family answered the door, the army released two dogs into the house as the children were still sleeping. Four soldiers then followed into the house and demanded the family wake the children and all wait in one room. The army proceeded to ‘check’ the house scaring the children who were distraught after their brother’s arrest, unable to sleep the rest of the night. The family were not allowed to leave the room as the army proceeded up stairs as the father who was weak, ill and disabled was still sleeping and unable to move. The soldiers demanded he be woken, something the family members tried to prevent, especially when the dogs were brought upstairs….

Palestinian injured by army fire near Ramallah
IMEMC 15 Aug — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian youth has been shot and injured, on Wednesday evening [August 14, 2013] during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the entrance of Silwad town, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Israeli Radio, Channel 2, stated that the youth was shot by a live round in his foot, and was moved by Israeli medics to the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.  The youth was injured during clashes that took place after the army invaded the area, and attacked several residents, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported.
Earlier on Wednesday at dawn, Israeli soldiers invaded several West Bank cities, towns and refugee camps, and kidnapped 16 Palestinians, including seven students of the Birzeit University, near the central West bank city of Ramallah. The seven are members of the “Shabiba” student’s bloc, of Fateh movement.
Furthermore, dozens of soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped four Palestinians.

Israeli forces disperse protesters at Bethlehem settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — Israeli forces on Friday dispersed demonstrators who set up a protest tent near the illegal Etzion settlement complex south of Bethlehem, activists said. The group of anti-wall and settlement activists set up the tent at around 11 a.m. Friday to show how Palestinians and settlers are treated differently in Area C of the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces suppressed the demonstration with tear gas, injuring two minors identified as Obada Barjiya, who suffered a chest wound, and Harith Barjiya, whose head was wounded. They also injured activist Bilal Jado. Israeli forces detained journalist Abed Younis and activists Mouath al-Laham, Mahmud Alaa al-Din as well as an Italian activist identified only as Baskal and a Spaniard identified only as Sergio. Hasan Barjiya, the coordinator of a national committee in Bethlehem, said the event was a message to the Israeli government and its settlers stationed in the Efrat and Etzion settlements. The message is that the settlements will be removed sooner or later, and the Palestinian people will live peacefully on their lands, Barjiya added.

Dozens lightly injured in demos across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — Dozens of protesters on Friday were lightly injured in demonstrations across the occupied West Bank in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In Bil‘in‘s weekly march, dozens of Palestinian and international activists suffered tear-gas inhalation as they marched to protest Israeli settlements, the wall, and in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.
Dozens suffered tear gas inhalation in clashes in Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya between Israeli forces and demonstrators who protested settlement building and demanded the opening of the main road in the village which was closed since 2003 … A spokesman for the demonstrators, Murad Eshtewi, said that the Israeli forces changed their way of dispersing protesters. He says they try to push protesters into narrow alleys between houses and target them with tear gas.
In al-Ma‘asara near Bethlehem dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation in clashes between Israeli forces and protesters. The coordinator for the popular committee against the wall, Hassan Brejia, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces attacked the demonstrators who marched to mark the anniversary of Tel al-Zaatar massacre. He added that they assaulted reporter Abdulrahman Younis Ubiat, and detained him for a short while before releasing him.  [different Ma‘an report: Abed al-Rahman Younis Ibedat, a reporter for the news site Al-Quds]
In Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, dozens of activists suffered tear-gas inhalation as they marched toward the confiscated land of the village and the guard tower to protest settlements and express their joy for the release of veteran Palestinian prisoners.

Security forces disperse Hebron pro-Morsi demo
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — Palestinian security forces on Friday dispersed a demonstration in solidarity with ousted Egyptian president Mohamad Morsi in Hebron. Security forces arrested three demonstrators and caused bruises to several people as they used batons to disperse them. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abdulaleem Dana condemned the actions of the security forces, saying that everyone has the basic right to express themselves. The demonstration was called by Hamas.

Seven Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC — [Thursday August 15, 2013] Israeli soldiers invaded various areas in the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped seven Palestinians. Clashes and injuries have been reported in Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp. The invasions took place during early dawn hours, Thursday, while the invading soldiers fired dozens of flares and concussion grenades. Local sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the city and its refugee camp, broke into and violently searched several homes and kidnapped two Palestinians. The two have been identified as Ahmad Hasan Shabrawy and Fadi Kamal As-Sabbagh. Soldiers also forced several families out of their homes, and violently searched them while interrogating the residents; excessive damage was reported. Local youths hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading soldiers who fired flares, gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rounds of live ammunition, especially in Haifa Street and Al-Jabriyyat area.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and kidnapped four Palestinians after violently searching their homes. Local sources have reported that residents Khaled Salah, 45, and Mohammad Al-Hreimy, 28, have been kidnapped in Al-Khader town, while resident Hashem Abu Mahameed was kidnapped in Za‘tara village, east of Bethlehem, and resident Mohammad Nimir Ash-Sheikh, 18, was kidnapped in Batteer town.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded Doura town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped one resident identified as Hatem Naji Amro [PIC: Hamas leader] after violently searching his home. Soldiers also broke into the Islamic Charitable Society in the town, and searched it.
Furthermore, a number of Israeli military vehicles invaded Ithna town, west of Hebron, and searched one home after breaking into it.

IOF arrests 3 Palestinian women
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Aug — Israeli authorities arrested three Palestinian women while they were visiting liberated captive Wourud al-Qassem in the town of Kafr Kassem in the 1948 occupied territories on Thursday evening. Activist in the Popular Front Shaher Shashtari said the occupation forces arrested the three activists from the house of the freed prisoner Wourud, as they were visiting her. Israeli authorities directly transferred the activists to Hasharon prison for women without informing them about the charge against them.

Israeli forces arrest 5 in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an ) 16 Aug — Israeli forces on Friday arrested five young Palestinians from Beta [Beita] village south of Nablus, locals said. Ammar Hamayel, 21, Mazen Dweikat, 19, Zahran Hamayel, 17, Mansour Hamayel, 22, and Azouz Hamayel, 17, were arrested from the village. Israeli forces searched several houses and fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters as they raided the village, locals added. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers informed them they arrested the youngsters for allegedly throwing firebombs at an army vehicle near Beta junction.

PA security forces arrest three citizens in WB
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The PA security forces have escalated the arrest campaign against members of Hamas movement where they arrested three of them in the West Bank including coordinator of the Islamic bloc in the Palestine Polytechnic University in al-Khalil. PA Intelligence services arrested the liberated prisoner Mahmoud Ehmeidat, the coordinator of the Islamic bloc in the Palestine Polytechnic University, the liberated prisoner Mohammed Jamal Saya’rah, a student at al-Khalil University.
In a related matter, the PA Intelligence services released Firas Wael Abu Sharkh, a few hours after his arrest, where they raided his workplace in al-Khalil.
In Nablus, the PA Preventive Security Service arrested a liberated prisoner after raiding his home and summoned a local activist Samir Abu Shoaib from Awarta.
In Salfit, PA forces arrested Ayman Atef Ryan, 30, while returning from work. Ryan, a former political detainee, is a father of three daughters, and the brother of a liberated prisoner released in Wafa al-Ahrar deal.

Arab bus driver beaten at wheel by passengers in Israel’s north
Haaretz 15 Aug by Eli Ashkenazi — Arab Israeli Shahdi Hadar says none of the other 40 passengers came to his aid; five suspects arrested — Shahdi Hadar, an Arab Israeli citizen, was hospitalized on Monday after a number of passengers assaulted him during the route from Tiberias to Yavniel. Hadar, 27, from the village of Wadi Hamam near Tiberias, is suffering from head injuries, and two of his teeth were broken. He was admitted to the nearby Poriya Medical center and released on Wednesday.The police have arrested five suspects, two are 17-year-olds, two are 18 and one is 25. Two of the suspects were remanded on Wednesday in the Nazareth Magistrates Court until Thursday. The court will hear the police’s request Thursday to extend the remand of the other three suspects.

Detainees / Court actions

MADA demands release of all detained journalists
IMEMC 15 Aug — The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) demanded Israel to stop all of its violations against Palestinians journalists, and to release all detained reporters in compliance with International Law. MADA said that, on August 7, Israeli soldiers kidnapped Mohammad Mona, a reporter working for the Al-Quds Press Media Agency, after breaking into his home, and violently searching it, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.  The Center added that, on August 8, another journalist, identified as Mohammad Awad, a cameraman working for Wattan TV, from Bodrus village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, was also kidnapped by the army after the dozens of soldiers broke into his home and searched it.

‘West Bank military courts systematically deny Palestinians the right to a fair trial’
Haaretz 15 Aug by Chaim Levinson — The president of the military courts in the territories, Col. Netanel Benishu, has determined that the military prosecution does not meet its legal requirements to provide Palestinian defendants with the evidence against them in a “system-wide and systematic” way. This damages their right to a fair trial, said Benishu. Benishu, the new president of the military courts, heard the case of three Palestinians charged with attempted murder. They allegedly threw rocks at an Israeli car near the village of Hussan during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, and as a result seriously injured Ziona Kala. The indictment against the three was filed in December 2012, but in May it turned out that part of the investigative material in the case, such as films, were not given to the defense.

Hunger strikers Ayman Atbish and Adel Hureibat in serious health condition
RAMALLAH (PIC) 14 Au g– An Israeli doctor at Kaplan medical center warned Palestinian prisoners Ayman Atbish and Adel Hureibat, on hunger strike for about 83 days, that they would go into a coma and then die if they kept refraining from taking vitamins, especially B1. According to Muhjat Al-Quds foundation, the health status of the two detainees has become extremely serious as result of their long hunger strike in protest at their administrative detention without any guilt … Israeli intelligence officers had offered the two prisoners a deal to break their hunger strike in exchange for not extending their administrative detention, but their demand that this offer be put in writing in the presence of their lawyers was refused by the officers.

PA intelligence breaks its pledge to release three university students
RAMALLAH (PIC) 15 Aug — The Palestinian Authority intelligence agency refused on Wednesday to release three students from the Islamic bloc at Birzeit university after they ended their hunger strike two days ago following pledges to set them free. A senior member of the Islamic bloc at the university told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the PA intelligence refused the request filed by the lawyer of the three students to release them according to previous pledges in this regard. He stated that three students are Mohamed Qaddoumi, Suhaib Rabei and Al-Mutasim Billah Omar and all of them started on the first day of their detention, the sixth of August, a hunger strike that lasted for one week.

Prisoner release / Body repatriation

From prisoner releases to West Bank protests: A week in photos August 8-14
Activestills 15 Aug  [includes link to more prisoner release photos]

Ex-detainees ‘can’t move freely’
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 Aug – Israeli authorities have given veteran Palestinian prisoners released Tuesday maps showing the places and streets they can go to within their own cities, says a freed prisoner. Samir Naneesh from Nablus in the northern West Bank had been detained in May 1989 and was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was convicted of killing an Israeli soldier by throwing a stone at him. He told Ma‘an Thursday that the Israelis warned him and all freed prisoners that they would be detained again if they do not adhere with certain instructions the Israelis gave them. According to Naneesh, freed prisoners shouldn’t leave their cities or participate in any demonstrations or activities against Israel’s security. Violators will be taken back to prison, he added.

‘We were young.  We and the Israelis must now think about the future’
Haaretz 17 Aug by Amira Hass — The release this week of two members of the Sawalha family – who killed an Israeli in 1990, when they were both 17 – offers a chance to recall the losses on both sides during the first intifada

Photos: Right-wing Israelis protest Palestinian prisoner release
Activestills 13 Aug — Hours ahead of the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners Tuesday evening, right-wing Israelis protested outside the Ayalon Prison demanding that their relatives, murderers of Palestinians, be released as well.

Israel’s prisoner release doesn’t legitimize ‘negotiations’
Electronic Intifada 15 Aug by Shahd Abusalama — …As part of the deal to resume these talks, Israel agreed to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners, in phases, as a so-called “confidence-building” measure and to encourage progress. Most of the prisoners have nearly completed their sentences. The first 26 were freed on 13 August, 11 to the West Bank and 15 to Gaza. Confidence? Progress? The same buzzwords were used about the Oslo accords two decades ago. Has no lesson been learned? As Addameer notes, “over 23,000 Palestinians have been released since 1993 as ‘goodwill measures’ during various negotiations and peace talks. However, in that same period, at least 86,000 Palestinians have been arrested, including children, women, disabled persons and university students.” Currently Israel holds more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners.

PA to demand DNA tests before Israel returns bodies
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The Palestinian Authority has refused to receive the remains of Palestinian fighters held by Israel because its request for DNA testing was denied, a PA minister said Wednesday. Since the 1960s, Israel has withheld the bodies of hundreds of Palestinians, interred in numbered, rather than named, graves in a cemetery in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley. The Israeli news site Ynet reported Wednesday that Israel had agreed to return the bodies as part of a deal to secure the resumption of negotiations. Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA minister for civil affairs, said the PA would not accept the bodies unless Israel carried out DNA testing to confirm their identities … In 2012, Israel transferred the bodies of 91 Palestinians who were interred in numbered graves in Israel as a “gesture” to President Mahmoud Abbas. The family of Nasser al-Buz received what was alleged to be his body, but they demanded a DNA test to verify the identity. A sample of the remains was sent to a DNA laboratory in Jordan, which found it was not al-Buz’s body.

Return of Palestinian bodies essential to peace process
Al-Monitor 16 Aug by Daoud Kuttab — As the second round of face-to-face peace talks got underway, another emotional issue has arisen. The return of the bodies of Palestinians killed in the decadeslong conflict with Israel. Simultaneously with the resumption of peace talks, the Israeli high court has been hearing a petition by families of 15 Palestinians killed years ago, and whose bodies have been kept by the Israelis since. At least four cemeteries have recently been exposed as being the “cemeteries of numbers,” where dead Arabs have been buried, rather than having been returned to their families or countries of origin. It is unclear how many bodies continue to be held by Israel. One of the recently exposed cemeteries has more than 500 plates with numbers. The names of 23 missing Jordanian citizens were published by the weekly newspaper Al-Majd on Aug. 5. A campaign launched in Palestine in the last few years has sought to document the missing individuals … The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) has spearheaded the campaign, and in a paper submitted to the United Nations, JLAC quoted Israeli high court judges, who have taken a strong position against this immoral act of retaining Arab corpses …  The Israeli high court, however, has yet to make a ruling on the topic. Each time a strong case has been submitted, the Israeli army prevents a decision by agreeing to the release of the bodies …  An investigative report by France 24 reveals the locations of some of the secret Israeli cemeteries and discusses the legal loopholes that Israel uses to avoid carrying out the humanitarian and respectful act of returning the corpses for proper burial. Some of the hidden reasons behind the Israeli policy include preventing Palestinians and Arabs from celebrating the “martyrdom” of fighters as well as the attempts to use these bodies as bargaining chips in direct or indirect negotiations, as has happened between Israel and Hezbollah….


Egypt closes Gaza crossing due to unrest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Egypt on Thursday closed its border crossing with the Gaza Strip in both directions indefinitely due to the ongoing unrest in the country, Palestinian officials said. Mahir Abu Sabha, director of border crossings in the Hamas-run government in Gaza, confirmed in a statement that Egypt officially informed his department that the Rafah crossing would be closed in both directions “due to bad security conditions in North Sinai district.”  The Gaza ministry of interior had announced Wednesday that all passenger registration offices were closed and all previous passenger lists were cancelled. Since July 3, the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only exit to the outside world, has been operating at a reduced capacity for emergency cases only. Only holders of visas and passports from foreign countries, Egyptian citizens and Gaza patients have been allowed to leave Gaza via Rafah crossing.

Egyptian troops ‘fired at’ from Gaza Strip
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 17 Aug — Egyptian troops stationed along the border with the Gaza Strip came under heavy fire from the Palestinian enclave early Saturday, a Egyptian military intelligence official said.  The official, who spoke to Ma’an on condition of anonymity, said no injuries were reported. Palestinian sources in Rafah, a town straddling the Gaza-Egypt border, said smugglers had opened fire at the Egyptian forces. A network of tunnels runs under the border to smuggle goods into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Owaida: Closure of tunnels would lead to disaster in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 15 Aug — The Palestinian government in Gaza stressed that the economic indicators threaten a disaster in the Strip during the third quarter of this year, due to the tightening of the siege and the closure of the tunnels. Hatem Owaida, Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Economy in Gaza, indicated that tightening the security measures on the Egyptian tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip and Egypt would lead to “a real catastrophe”, adding that “closing the tunnels will directly affect the lives of citizens.” Owaida pointed out that the residents of Gaza resorted to the tunnels to bring their needs in light of the Israeli tightened procedures on the official crossings.

UN rights chief tells Hamas to halt Gaza executions
GENEVA (AFP) 14 Aug — UN rights chief Navi Pillay on Wednesday urged the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas to halt a string of executions planned after the end of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday. “I am deeply concerned at the possibility that executions might be carried out over the course of the next weeks in Gaza and urgently appeal to the de facto authorities there not to implement any death sentences,” Pillay said in a statement.

Gaza official: Closure of Ma‘an, al-Arabiya temporary
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Aug – The attorney general of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip says the closures of Ma’an Network and al-Arabiya are temporary. But he accused both outlets of disseminating information “unprofessionally.”
In a statement released by his office Thursday, Ismail Jabir also confirmed that a prisoner held over criminal charges would be executed in a few days in public. He asserted that the execution in public would deter other criminals and reduce murders.


Pro-Israel efforts on US campuses have failed, Jewish Agency fundraiser says
Mondoweiss 16 Aug by Philip Weiss — This is an important measure of the desperation of Israel supporters in the face of the next generation’s attitudes. Josh Nathan-Kazis has a report in the Forward that with the blessing of Netanyahu the Jewish Agency for Israel plans to spend up to $300 million a year on a new p.r. campaign for Israel, principally in the United States, basically because the current efforts aren’t working. Note that the campuses are the crux of this– “The bottom line is, it’s clear it hasn’t worked,” says the Jewish Agency fundraiser– and that the Hillel director seems to think students will be won over by a program funded in part by the Israeli government.

Head of Israel’s ‘covert’ social media program suspended over anti-Japanese Facebook posts
Electronic Intifada 15 Aug by Abraham Greenhouse — Following Israeli media reports on a “covert” government program to pay students for spreading pro-Israel messages on social media, the program director Daniel Seaman’s own social media posts became the subject of unwanted scrutiny — and may end up costing him his job. His offensive postings have also created a diplomatic incident between Israel and Japan … Following these initial reports, Haaretz columnist Barak Ravid posted an article questioning the choice of Seaman, outgoing deputy director of the prime minister’s office, to lead the program. Ravid denounced Seaman as an “abusive racist” whose personal Facebook postings revealed a lack of good judgment. Among the posts cited by Ravid: “Does the commencement of the fast of the Ramadan mean that Muslims will stop eating each other during the daytime?” and “I am sick of the Japanese, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Peace’ groups the world over holding their annual self righteous commemorations for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims.”

Israeli army publishes fake image of huge ‘Gaza shopping mall’
Electronic Intifada 14 Aug by Ali Abunimah — In one of its periodic efforts to deny the devastating effects of its siege of Gaza, the Israeli occupation army published a blog post on 12 August claiming that Palestinians in Gaza are “out in force, enjoying themselves in sparkling new malls, beautiful beaches and hotels, and doing their shopping in pristine grocery stores and markets heaving with fresh produce.” The “IDF blog” includes the impressive photo above of a shopping mall where Palestinians in Gaza are supposedly shopping for the latest imported fashions. I showed the photo to The Electronic Intifada’s correspondent in Gaza, Rami Almeghari. His reaction: “I can assure you that there is no such mall in Gaza.” Rami is quite right …But the “Gaza mall” photo published by the Israeli army is actually an image of the Suria KLCC Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as numerous user-generated photographs on the travel review site attest. You can also see many people shopping at the mall — in Malaysia — in this video:… Before publishing it on 12 August on its English-language website, the Israeli army published the same post in French on 4 August. It was then published by the anti-Palestinian website Tribune Juive the same day. But some of the material had already circulated on many other Islamophobic websites long before. For example, the same Kuala Lumpur mall photo, purportedly in Gaza, appeared on a virulently Islamophobic blog called “Barenaked Islam” in April 2012, and was disseminated on Facebook by “Geert Wilders supporters,” a page dedicated to the Islamophobic Dutch politician. It also appeared on “Religion of Peace,” another anti-Muslim hate site. It would appear that the Israeli army gets its information about Gaza from Islamophobic hate sites.

Lavish ‘Gaza’ mall is actually in Malaysis, Israeli military admits
Haaretz 15 Aug by Oded Yaron — The Israel Defense Forces apologized Thursday for publishing an image of a mall in Malaysia with a caption falsely describing it as being located in the Gaza Strip.  The incorrect caption, which was posted alongside a photo on its English-language blog, was described by the IDF as an honest mistake.

ISM statement: Hoax video designed to harm the Palestinian popular struggle
15 Aug — A video has been put online on a website claiming to be a human right organization with a woman impersonating an ISM volunteer. In the video a woman who claims to have volunteered with the ISM in Palestine says that she was sexually harassed by a prominent Palestinian activist. The ISM want to make clear that this video is a hoax: the woman is not an ISM volunteer and the Facebook and Twitter pages are not of any human rights organization.
We believe this video is designed to harm the Palestinian popular struggle and the international solidarity movement in Palestine.

Political, other news

Abbas: No state without Jericho, Jordan Valley
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Friday his position that there cannot be a Palestinian state without including Jericho and the Jordan Valley. “We are committed to that. We have said that more than once,” Abbas said while opening a mosque in Jericho. His religious affairs minister, Mahmoud Habbash, said that “we were blessed by god with the release of 26 veteran prisoners days ago. This is the first step to be followed by many others.” He added: “There will be no peace with settlements, and without releasing all prisoners from the jails of the occupation. There will be no state without Jerusalem as its capital.”

Stormy round of talks held amidst escalating Israeli violations
IMEMC 16 Aug — Palestinian officials involved in the direct talks with Tel Aviv have reported that the latest round of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, held late on Wednesday at night, was very stormy due to Israel’s decision to build hundreds of units in illegal West Bank settlements. The officials warned that the Israeli violations, topped by its illegal settlement activities would kill any chances of successful peace talks, and added that the American Mediator, Secretary of State John Kerry, vowed before the talks started that Israel would stop all constructions in West Bank and Jerusalem settlements, and to decrease settlement construction activities in West Bank settlement blocs. Following the stormy four-hour long session, the two sides decided to hold another round of talks in the West Bank city of Jericho.

Abbas says ‘all issues’ raised in talks with Israel
RAMALLAH (AFP) 15 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday all key issues were discussed at a new round of peace talks with Israel, but he declined to elaborate because of an agreed news blackout … At the request of Washington, Israel and the Palestinians have so far maintained a strict news blackout on the US-brokered talks. “We discussed the issues which are always on the table: borders, Jerusalem, settlements,” Abbas said.

Fatah: No new national consensus government
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Aug – A new Palestinian government will be sworn in within two or three weeks but it will not be a national consensus government, a Fatah official said Wednesday.  Azzam al-Ahmad, the speaker of Fatah in the Palestinian parliament, told Ma‘an that caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah would not introduce major changes to his new government. President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday asked Hamdallah to form a new government to be sworn in as a regular government. The new government, according al-Ahmad, will not be a national consensus government nor a caretaker government. “It will be a regular government due to failure to implement a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas which was due on Aug. 14.”

Abbas meets Ban, reflects on peace talks
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Aug – President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday welcomed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his first visit to Palestine following the UN General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as an a non-member observer state. Abbas said during the press conference following his meeting with Ban that he had promised in 2012 to return to negotiation’s table and achieve peace with Israel because diplomatic work is the best way to achieve peace. He stated that peace negotiations have commenced on Wednesday expressing hope that they will be successful.

Unemployment rate exceeds 20% in Q2, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Aug — Unemployment among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip reached 20.6% in the second quarter of this year based on International Labor Organization standards, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Thursday. The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip was 27.9% compared with 16.8% in the West Bank, it said, adding that the unemployment rate for males in Palestine was 17.6% compared with 33.6% for females. The highest unemployment rate in the second quarter was 37.2% among youth aged 20 to 24 years and the unemployment rate among females with 13 years of schooling or more was 45.2%

Israel’s deadly drones have origins in Sinai occupation
Electronic Intifada 15 Aug by Jimmy Johnson — Reports last week attributed the killing of five suspected militants to an Israeli drone strike. The 9 August executions mark increased cooperation between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries and a return of Israeli drones the place to where they were first conceived — the Sinai peninsula.

U.S. and Canada

Jenin’s Freedom Theater to tour US
Electronic Intifada 13 Aug by Sarah Irving — The Jenin-based Freedom Theater has announced that it will be touring an English-language version of The Island in the USA this autumn. According to a Freedom Theater press release, nine performances are scheduled for September dates at the University of Connecticut, Brown University, Washington DC and New York. There will also be a single performance of the Arabic production of the play, in New York. Full information on dates and ticketing available on the Freedom Theater’s own website. This video is a trailer for the Arabic version of the play …The Island, written during the apartheid era by South African playwright Athol Fugard in collaboration with two African actors who went on to star in the play, is – in the words of the Freedom Theater: “set in a prison and revolves around two cellmates: one who is soon to be released while the other is serving a life sentence” …The Freedom Theater production of the play, originally staged in Jenin in Arabic, shifts the setting to Palestine, and uses the work to highlight and discuss the plight of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

Alice Walker disinvited from University of Michigan over ‘Israel comments’
Electronic Intifada 15 Aug by Ali Abunimah — World-renowned American author Alice Walker has been disinvited from giving a speech at the University of Michigan because a donor objects to her views on Israel, the agent negotiating the contract was told. Walker, the Pultizer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, posted on her blog an excerpt of a letter from the agent informing her that the invitation to keynote the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan had been withdrawn.

Fraudulent, Islamophobic ‘terrorism expert’ hired to train Chicago-area police
Electronic Intifada 16 Aug by Charlotte Silver — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced last year that it had terminated known-Islamophobe Sam Kharoba from his post as instructor of counterterrorism training programs for local police officers. Since then Kharoba has maintained a low profile. But last week, Kharoba’s name popped up again, this time in Illinois. In the coming weeks, Kharoba is scheduled to conduct at least two Islamic terrorism courses for Elmhurst and Highland Park police departments in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois … In a 2011 The Washington Monthly expose of Kharoba and his nefarious teachings conducted throughout Florida, he is documented as telling his class: “When I look at the life of Muhammad, I get a very nasty image,” going on to describe Muhammad as “a pedophile, a serial killer, a rapist”. And this: “Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace…is either ignorant or flat-out lying.”

Canada’s double standards on Middle East sink to new low
Electronic Intifada 14 Aug by Yves Engler — The extremism of Canada’s support for Israel just keeps growing. The latest example is the Conservative government in Ottawa helping convince the European Union to list Hizballah’s military wing as a “terrorist” organization. After that decision was taken, Foreign Minister John Baird declared, “We are thrilled that the European Union unanimously has agreed to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization. We’ve been pushing for this.” The National Post detailed Canada’s behind-the-scenes effort to get the EU to list Hizballah as a “terrorist”organization. Despite opposition from the Lebanese government, a foreign ministry official told the paper that this was “a clear priority that was set out by the minister.”

Palestine solidarity coalition challenges institutional racism in US
Electronic Intifada 15 Aug by Nora Barrows-Friedman — …Outraged by the acquittal of George Zimmerman, as many in the US and around the world are, the US Northwest Campus Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Coalition has drafted a letter demanding that those involved in Palestine solidarity work continue to challenge racism in our local communities and organizing circles … Wael Elasady, co-founder of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights at Portland State University in Oregon, told me via email that the coalition members were “outraged by the verdict and felt it was important to take a stand against this injustice … We wanted this statement to be a call to action to all those involved in Palestine Solidarity work to participate in whatever ways they can in the fight for racial justice.” He added, We know that US support for Israel which is justified through racist stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs cannot be challenged if we do not at the same time challenge the festering anti-black racism here at home. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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One Response

  1. seafoid
    August 17, 2013, 1:38 pm

    all the settlements are illegal.

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