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New Jewish neighborhood to be built in heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Israel to begin construction on new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 6 Aug by Nir Hasson — Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat plan to attend a ceremony next week to lay the cornerstone for a new Jewish neighborhood near Jabal Mukkaber, a predominantly Arab neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem. The news of their attendance comes just a day after Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said construction in Jerusalem would resume in the near future. The new Jewish housing blocs are being built by the Bemuna construction company which, according to its website, has built neighborhoods across Israel for the national religious community since 1995. The company recently received a construction permit after a delay of about three years, which Bemuna officials say stemmed from political reasons. The neighborhood, designed to include 63 housing units, is planned for the area that connects Jabal Mukkaber and the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv (which Bemuna also helped build) … These planned housing units will not be the first Jewish community adjacent to Jabal Mukkaber.  Nof Zion, a large, gated apartment complex, where Jews live in the midst of a Palestinian village, is nearby as well.

Israel to build 230 units in an illegal settlement
IMEMC 6 Aug — The Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Hebron have reported that Israel approved the construction of 230 units in the Ma’on illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands east of Yatta town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Rateb Jabour, Coordinator of the Popular Committee, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that Israel plans to illegally confiscate nearly 4000 Dunams of Palestinian lands that belong to the families of Ash-Sha’abeen, Roomy, Abu Sabha, Ash-Shawaheen, al-Hathaleen, and Shinraan. The lands in question are located in the local communities of Um Al-Kheir, Um Hatba, and Khalayel Az-Zattoun.  Jabour added that Israel plans to start the construction in 60 days.

West Bank settlement population growing rapidly
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 Aug — The population in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements has grown twice as much as in Israel itself, military radio said on Tuesday, quoting official statistics. The figures released by the interior ministry are likely to add to Palestinian misgivings about resuming peace talks in Washington last week with the Israelis. The talks broke down three years ago over the settlement issue. According to the radio, the figures show an increase of 7,700 settlers in the occupied West Bank during the first six months of 2013 for a total settler population of 367,000 [not counting 300,000 settlers in East Jerusalem]. This represents a 2.1 percent increase in six months compared to an annual population growth of two percent registered in Israel.

Israeli calls to storm al-Aqsa mosque tomorrow
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 6 Aug — Jewish organizations have called for organizing a march and mass rally at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday, demanding free access to and prayer in the Muslim holy site. The rally is speculated to start from the Mughrabi Gate near Buraq Wall at 7:30 am, and to go around al-Aqsa doors to pressure the Israeli police to allow them to storm the mosque from all doors. Senior rabbis and politicians will participate in the rally including Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, paratrooper and founder of the Temple Institute, the extremist Rabbi Yehuda Glick, and Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Moshe Feiglin, in addition to journalists and members of the right-wing Likud party. This Israeli attempts to storm al-Aqsa mosque came in light of the Israeli calls to divide the mosque and impose a new status quo.

Restriction of movement

Video — Amena Abed AlFatah Abed Rabo: A life under occupation
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 6 Aug by Khalil Team — On the 2nd of August, Amena Abed AlFatah Abed Rabo passed away in Hebron. She was 71 years old and suffered a stroke. However, Amena might still have been with us, had the Israeli military let the ambulance through the many checkpoints. The journey to the hospital that should have taken three minutes was prolonged by more than one and a half hours due to restrictions and harassment by Israeli occupation forces. Amena died in the ambulance before reaching proper care. This incident was merely the last of many injustices that marked Amena’s life from the age of seven. Amena Abed AlFatah Abed Rabo was originally from the Khema neighbourhood of Ramle in current Israel. She was seven years old when the war broke out in 1948. Her family was forcibly driven from their home following the creation of the state of Israel. In the chaos that followed, Amena was parted from her family. At the time she was blind on one eye, causing her to be easily disoriented. In her distress she fell and lost sight in her good eye, leaving her completely blind. Amena spent a month on her own, before a friend of the family recognized her on the street and reunited her with her mother, father and three siblings. Reunited, the family fled to the West Bank city of Hebron in an attempt to start a new life. The family was never offered any compensation for neither the home nor the land taken from them and upon reaching Hebron they spent three years living under a tree. Hereby the family is one of many unrecognized refugees within Palestine. In 1951 Amena’s brother had managed to save enough money to buy the family a house, in which she lived the rest of her life. For a period Amena’s life was relatively calm in Hebron, but this changed following the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987. At this time, the Israeli occupying forces in the West Bank constructed roadblocks throughout the city of Hebron and made it impossible for Palestinians to drive within the city. To Amena this meant she could no longer leave her house. Due to her invalidity she needed a car get around and this was no longer permitted to Palestinians

Video: Israel blackmails Gazan patients at Erez crossing
PressTV 1 Aug — Israeli agents have blackmailed Palestinian patients into working as spies at the Israeli controlled Erez crossing in northern Gaza, Press TV reports — Husam Zaanin, from the town of Beth Hanoun, was the latest victim of the Tel Aviv regime’s spy network. The 28-year-old was detained on July 23. He was one of four Palestinians arrested at the crossing despite getting permission from Israeli authorities. Husam’s father told Press TV that his son was given permission to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing with his mother. “Later that day, we received a call from an Israeli intelligence officer telling us that my son was arrested… My son refused to cooperate with them and that is why he got arrested despite his illness,” he added. Husam’s wife said it was heartbreaking for her to be without her husband as their two daughters kept asking for their father.

Israeli checkpoint hinders return of worshipers from al-Aqsa mosque
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 5 Aug — The IOF erected a military checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Ummar village in al-Khalil, south of the occupied West Bank. Spokesperson of the Popular Committee to Resist Wall and Settlement in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, told Quds Press that the occupation forces set up at early hours of the morning a military checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Ummar and searched Palestinian vehicles. The Israeli forces declared the area as a closed military zone for hours and prevented all vehicles and buses from dropping off passengers coming from Jerusalem where they were performing prayers at al-Aqsa mosque to mark Lailatul Qadr.

IOF erects military checkpoint near Yatta
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 6 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday erected a checkpoint near the crossroads of Ziv in Yatta, south of al-Khalil. Activist Rateb Jabour told PIC that the occupation forces erected a checkpoint near the crossroads of Ziv in Yatta and that the soldiers searched the vehicles, checked the identities of passers-by and arrested a number of youths. He added that the checkpoint lasted for several hours and the soldiers were deployed in the main street in the area.
The IOF also arrested on Monday a citizen from ‘Aroub refugee camp north of al-Khalil and transferred him to an unknown destination, local sources said.

Israel lets Arab Idol Mohammad Assaf move to West Bank
RAMALLAH (AFP) 6 Aug — Israel has authorized the young winner of the Arab Idol talent competition to move from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank as a “humanitarian gesture,” an official said Tuesday … “This will allow him to travel abroad much more easily than from the Gaza Strip,” the official explained. Israel has maintained a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza since 2006, which was tightened further when Hamas seized control there the following year. And it rarely grants Gazans the right to live in the West Bank. The official said residency will also be allowed for Assaf’s sister and brother-in-law, who is his manager, as well as the couple’s three children.

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests

Israeli police beat, arrest minors in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 6 Aug — Israeli police assaulted late Monday two Palestinian minors and arrested a third following a raid of the East Jerusalem neighborhood Silwan, Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Tuesday. It said an undercover Israeli unit surprised the minors while they were on their way home attacking two before arresting a third. Members of the unit also attacked families who intervened on behalf of the children.

Suffocation cases in Israeli attack near Bethlehem’s stadium
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 5 Aug — Several Palestinians Monday suffered from suffocation due to gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters towards Palestinians in the vicinity of al-Khader football stadium in al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, according to local sources. They told WAFA that forces deliberately fired tear gas canisters towards Palestinians while they were leaving the stadium, causing several suffocation cases among them. They were all treated at the scene.

Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from the occupied West Bank early Tuesday and took them to unknown locations, locals said. Israeli military vehicles entered (Kfar) Bita village south of Nablus around 2 a.m. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces, and Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters while Palestinians threw stones. Israeli forces raided the house of the al-Qutni family in the village and detained Wadah Khalid Dweikat, 26, and took him to an unknown location.
East of Nablus, Israeli forces detained Loai Hamed, 26, after raiding his house. They also detained Abed al-Rahman Elawi, 25, and Bara Abu Aisheh, 23, from Zwarta village west of Nablus. Israeli forces detained Hisham Alan, 25, east of Nablus.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said nine Palestinians were detained in total. She said they included one in Tulkarem, two in the Nablus area, three in the Ramallah area, one in a village near Bethlehem and another inside the city as well as one in Hebron.

IOF kidnap six Palestinians in Nablus and Tulkarem
NABLUS (PIC) 6 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed at dawn Tuesday several towns and villages in the vicinity of Nablus and Tulkarem cities and kidnapped six Palestinian citizens, including a soccer player, from their homes. Palestinian local sources reported that the IOF stormed at dawn villages and towns nears Nablus and kidnapped five Palestinians.
In Tulkarem, a young man named Osama Sabah was taken prisoner after the IOF stormed and ransacked his house in the southern neighborhood. Sabah is a goalkeeper for Tulkarem cultural club.

PA forces re-arrest two political detainees few moments after their release
RAMALLAH (PIC) 6 Aug — PA intelligence services have re-arrested Monday Islam Salah, 23, few moments after his release on bail. The Magistrates’ Court ordered to release Islam on bail estimated at 500 Jordanian dinars due to his mother’s critical health condition especially that she underwent surgery a few days ago, the family said. The family added that Islam was released to be re-arrested, where he was transferred to Jericho city to be released, however he was arrested again.
The Intelligence services also arrested Hani Mohammed Assi few moments after the military prosecutor ordered him released. The youths’ families called on concerned authorities to intervene for the release of their sons who are politically and illegally arrested. Islam and Mohammed were arrested in Ramallah since 13 days for being affiliated with  Hamas movement.
Meanwhile, Hamas movement stated that PA forces have arrested 48 members of the movement including 33 liberated prisoners and 10 engineers during July. The movement statement added that PA security services summoned 70 Palestinians affiliated with Hamas and renewed the arrest of other Palestinians although the court’s decision to release them.

Blockaded Gaza

Israeli military infiltrates Gaza borders
GAZA (WAFA) 6 Aug — Israeli forces Tuesday infiltrated Gaza borders and went nearly 300 meters into the eastern part of Bureij refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, according to witnesses. They told WAFA that four Israeli tanks and three army bulldozers raided and razed agricultural land while shooting in all directions. No injuries were reported. Israeli forces regularly raid and raze land in that area and prevent residents from reaching their land

Rafah border crossing to be closed for Eid vacation
Egypt Independent 6 Aug — An official security source has said that the Egyptian authorities have opened the Rafah border crossing for four hours Tuesday. The source pointed out that the crossing will be opened on Wednesday before being closed starting from Thursday for a four-day vacation during Eid al-Fitr. Work at the crossing will resume on Monday morning, he added.

Egyptian unrest rattles Rafah Palestinians
Al-Monitor 5 Aug by Khaled Kraizim — RAFAH, Gaza Strip — A few dozen meters from the Palestinian section of Rafah, clashes continue between the Egyptian army and police and unidentified gunmen. That small distance separating the two Rafahs is overwhelmed by the sound of bullets being exchanged between the two sides, causing fear and panic among the population of the town located on Gaza’s southern border. Ever since the Egyptian army dismissed President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, the Egyptian part of Rafah has seen clashes and explosions accompanied by military movements in the Sinai along the Egyptian border. That scene repeats itself daily. The constant low-flying Egyptian helicopters have reminded local Palestinians of the recent Israeli war on Gaza 2012, and of the Israeli bombing of houses near the border before Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 … Ahmed Afaneh fears for his five children due to the violent explosions rocking his house near the Rafah border crossing. Afaneh told Al-Monitor that he feels as if those clashes were happening in his neighborhood and inside his home, and he fears that shell fragments will hit his house. Ahmed Shaheen, a 30-year-old who lives on the border, said his youngest son is afraid to go to sleep at night when he hears the sound of clashes between insurgents on the border with Egypt. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Shaheen said, “Bullets are being shot over the rooftops of Palestinian houses, which causes fear and apprehension.”

Egypt officer shot dead, 2 injured in Sinai
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — An Egyptian officer was shot dead and two others were injured by Jihadists in Egypt’s el-Arish city, according to Egyptian security sources…
Separately, Egypt’s army launched a campaign looking for Palestinian infiltrators in el-Arish. They detained 12 Palestinians from Gaza and took them to a military site in the same city, security sources said. The Palestinians were taken via military airplane to Cairo for further interrogation, they said.

Gaza again falls victim to Egypt’s turmoil / Bill Corcoran (President, ANERA)
Huffington Post 5 Aug — …On my trip there in May, I was surprised to find the mood was markedly different from even a few months before. Traffic jams were common because of the prevalence of construction equipment at intersections. People were talking about a boom and you could see evidence of it in restaurants and stores. Optimism was rising that maybe now they had momentum and would recover. … But that has abruptly stopped, thanks to the political turmoil in Gaza’s neighbor. The impact has been dramatic: fresh vegetables, a staple of summer, have shot up 50 percent in price. The price of cement has skyrocketed from $100 per ton to $250 per ton. By some figures 90 percent of public projects have ceased entirely. That has put thousands of Gazans out of work. Even if they are working, they might not be able to commute. Gas supplies have evaporated, stalling family cars and practically shutting down Gaza’s power plant. Once again a vulnerable Gaza falls victim to instability in neighboring Egypt. After the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi, extra precautions have been taken, including the closure of nearly all the trade tunnels Gazans had built to bring in supplies that filled the gap caused by Israel’s six year closure of the area. The border crossing for civilians at Rafah has also been locked down, stranding hundreds of travelers on both sides. The shock of our 22 staff in Gaza is hard to express … But worst of all, Gazan families once again are despairing. The Irish poet W.B. Yeats had a poignant observation … “too long of a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart”.

Longest mural in Palestine unveiled in Gaza
MEMO 5 Aug — EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS The Palestinian Culture Ministry has unveiled the longest mural in the country, which is painted on the walls of the Palestinian Legislative Council headquarters in the Gaza Strip. At 84 metres in length, said the ministry, the mural has two objectives. The first is to reflect the spirit of persistence and steadfastness by being painted on the PLC walls. The council building is an important Palestinian symbol that was bombed during the Israelis’ war against Gaza and its institutions. The second aim is to reflect the varied aspects of Palestinian identity. The mural contains scenes of farmers, the struggle against Israel’s occupation and scenes of old mosques and churches. It also contains scenes that symbolise the refugees’ right of return.

Gaza residents rush to shop before Eid festivities
MEMO 6 Aug —EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS  On the eve of the Eid ul-Fitr feast, Gaza’s markets are full of produce. The Gazan residents go shopping at these markets to stock up, but the economic situation in Gaza extends its grip on the life of its inhabitants. Those that do not have enough, borrow money in order to go shopping. For the shoppers that do go, everything on the shelves is offered at reasonable prices, but shoppers report that they can only find last year’s fashions on offer in the shops. The closure of the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza has stopped the flow of goods to the Strip which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006.

Detainees / Court actions

Palestinians hold demo in West Bank to demand release of prisoners
PressTV 6 Aug — Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have held a demonstration, demanding the release of their loved ones from Israeli jails, Press TV reports. The protest took place on Tuesday in front of the Red Cross office where protesters showed their support for the prisoners. Earlier this week, the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoner Affairs warned about the deteriorating health condition of the hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails, saying the hunger strikers are at risk of death. The ministry said that Israel is still holding 5,100 Palestinian detainees, including 250 children and 14 women, in 17 prisons

IOA sentences Hamas leader to 14 months’ imprisonment
NABLUS (PIC) 6 Aug — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) sentenced Hamas leader Bakr Bilal to 14 months behind bars on charges of participation in Hamas activities. Ahmed Beitawi, a researcher with Tadamun foundation for human rights, said on Tuesday that Salem military court passed the sentence against the Nablus-based leader. He noted that Israeli occupation forces arrested Bilal, 48, on 4/2/2013 from his home west of Nablus city. He added that Bilal’s son Saeed was also detained since 18/11/2012 and is serving an 11-month sentence. Beitawi recalled that Bilal was previously held by the IOA and served seven years in Israeli jails en aggregate. The researcher said that two of Bilal’s brothers, Muadh and Othman, were serving life sentences in Israeli jails while a third brother, Obada, was released and deported to Gaza within the Shalit prisoners’ exchange deal.

Ministry: 2 sick prisoners attempt suicide
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an)  6 Aug — Two sick Palestinian prisoners have attempted to commit suicide, a lawyer from the Palestinian Authority’s ministry of prisoners affairs said Tuesday. Hanan al-Khatib said in a ministry statement that Mansour Muqada from Salfit in the central West Bank and Nahidh al-Aqra from the Gaza Strip swallowed more than 40 unspecified pills at Ramle prison clinic. The patients were immediately transferred to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv where their stomachs were pumped, according to the lawyer.  Al-Khatib said the prisoners were disappointed after their cases were not included in the ongoing negotiations with the Israeli government seeking to free detainees ahead of resuming peace talks. She explained that Mansour Muqada suffered from hemiplegia and was serving a life term. The other prisoner, Nahidh al-Aqra, is serving three life sentences and has lost his feet. Eighteen seriously ill Palestinian prisoners have been hospitalized at Ramle prison clinic, according to the lawyer. She said they expected the PA to include their cases in any possible future attempts to get Israel to release Palestinian prisoners. They sent a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to prioritize their cases in any talks to release prisoners. The letter highlighted that sick prisoners were excluded from the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. “We were ignored in the Shalit deal, and we don’t want current talks to ignore us too. Death has become easier than living with sickness aggravated in our bodies,” the letter read.

PA minister: Deaths possible amid hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — The Palestinian minister of prisoners’ affairs on Tuesday warned of possible deaths among hunger-striking prisoners and highlighted that their health had seriously deteriorated. Issa Qaraqe said any tragic results at this stage would result in serious escalation amid prisoners and lead to negative consequences which could affect US efforts to restart peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. Hanan al-Khatib, a lawyer from the ministry of prisoners’ affairs, who visited the Jordanian hunger striker Abdullah Barghouthi in hospital, confirmed he was in real danger after 95 days on hunger strike. According to al-Khatib, Barghouthi “can’t feel his left hand and can’t stand up.”

Captive Rimawi continues his hunger strike for the 97th day
RAMALLAH (PIC) 6 Aug — Captive Mohammad Rimawi has continued his open-ended hunger strike for the 97th consecutive day. Rimawi’s family told PIC that Mohammad, held in Ramle prison in the 1948 occupied territories, has continued his hunger strike in rejection of his detention in the Israeli jails and demands to be transferred to Jordan as he holds Jordanian citizenship. Five prisoners from Jordan have been on open hunger strike for more than three months in the occupation prisons.
Meanwhile, the family of captive Tayyip Houshiya, 19,  from the town of Yamoun near Jenin, expressed concern about the health status of Tayyip. His father Ammar told PIC’s correspondent that his son suffers from several health issues and that the Israeli occupation forces did not allow him to take his medication with him during his arrest several days ago.

IOA extends the arrest of 11 prisoners, released university lecturer
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 Aug — Israeli military courts have extended Sunday the arrest of 11 Palestinian prisoners pending investigation, Tadamun Foundation for human rights said.
Moreover, the occupation authorities released the lecturer at An-Najah National University Dr. Bashir Radhi Rajbeh after being held for 2 weeks.

47 Gazans visit relatives detained in Israeli desert prison
GAZA (PIC) 5 Aug — The Red Cross organized the travel of 47 Gazans to 1948 occupied Palestine on Monday to visit relatives detained in the Israeli Nafha desert jail. Nasser Annajar, Red Cross media official, told the PIC that the 47 relatives, including 12 children, headed in buses to Erez crossing then to the Nafha jail to visit 23 prisoners. The Israeli occupation authority allowed visits to Gaza prisoners after six years of ban following an agreement with Palestinian prisoners who went on hunger strike en masse to ask for a number of demands including allowing visits to Gaza prisoners.

Political news

Massive rally in support of Haneyya, Morsi and Erdogan at Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 6 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians rallied last night in the courtyard of the Aqsa Mosque chanting slogans in support of Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya, the kidnapped Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and Turkish premier Recep Erdogan. The participants chanted slogans hailing Hamas and its armed wing, and condemning the Palestinian authority for arresting its cadres and supporters in the West Bank. During the night prayers, the Aqsa Mosque imams, in turn, supplicated God for helping Gaza people overcome the blockade imposed on them. They also prayed for the Syrian and Egyptian peoples and asked God to help them against their oppressors.

Hamas presents docs ‘revealing Fatah incitement’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Hamas leader Salah Bardawil presented four documents allegedly incriminating Fatah in a campaign of incitement against Hamas, in a TV interview broadcast Tuesday. Bardawil said Hamas possessed hundreds of documents revealing incitement by Fatah, in an hour-long program aired by the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV channel.  The documents were obtained from Palestinians detained in the Gaza Strip, Bardawil said. Most of them are addressed to Majid Faraj, the head of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service, he added. Some documents relate to fabricated claims of Hamas activities in Sinai, Bardawil said. The Hamas leader presented four documents accusing Hamas of smuggling weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and of having weapons arsenals in Gaza.  Bardawil denied the accusations and accused Fatah of “abusing” Palestinians. …  Bardawil said further documents would be released at a news conference. The broadcast also featured people accused in the documents, all of whom denied the claims against them.

Political situation in Egypt ‘has not affected Hamas’
MEMO 6 Aug — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said on Monday that his movement has not been much affected by the political changes in Egypt. In fact, he claimed, Hamas has political channels open with all parties in Cairo. “Hamas was formed in difficult times which peaked during the rule of Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat who persecuted Islamists,” said Al-Zahar. “On that basis alone, Hamas does not have any fears about its future.” When Hamas faced half-a-dozen fierce challenges and confrontations between 2006 and 2012, he pointed out, it won all of them without any support from anyone. “Most neighbouring countries stood against the movement.”

PA: Settlement plans impede negotiations
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman on Sunday criticized Israel’s decision to add 20 settlements to a list for government spending, saying the move impedes peace talks. “We condemn this Israeli decision and the continuing Israeli policy to place obstacles in front of the US administration’s efforts to advance the peace process,” Nabil Abu Rudeinah said.
The settlements added to the priority list include communities outside the main blocs over which Israel aims to keep control under any peace settlement.

63% of Israeli Jews oppose major West Bank pullout, poll finds
Times of Israel 6 Aug by Asher Zeiger — One in two Jews in Israel thinks Arab citizens should not have a say if government declares a national referendum on peace — Most Israeli Jews would oppose a peace agreement with the Palestinians if it included a full West Bank pullout with land swaps to let Israel retain major settlement population centers, according to a new poll that appears to contradict the conclusions of other recent surveys. The poll, released Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, found that 63 percent of Jews in Israel oppose a withdrawal to the 1967 lines with land swaps as part of any peace arrangement with the Palestinian Authority, even if it meant Israel would hold onto the Etzion Bloc, directly south of Jerusalem; Ma’aleh Adumim, east of the capital; and Ariel in the central West Bank about 34 kilometers (21 miles) east of Tel Aviv … According to the survey, 50% of Jewish Israelis also oppose the transfer of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem to Palestinian Authority control with a special arrangement for Jewish holy sites.

Palestinian FM meets with Iran’s Vice President
TEHRAN (Ma‘an) 5 Aug – Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki met Monday with Iran’s vice president Issac Jahangiri in Tehran and delivered congratulations on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas to the newly sworn-in president of Iran Hassan Rohani. According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, al-Maliki told the Iranian official that Abbas was looking forward to developing relations between Palestine and Iran and making relations more open so as to serve interests of both nations.

Israeli Arab Knesset members protest change in electoral law
Al-Monitor 4 Aug by Mazal MualemOn July 31, the Knesset approved the first reading of a bill to raise the electoral threshold in the general elections from 2% of the total votes cast to 4%. Several Knesset members argued vociferously that the change, instigated by the Yisrael Beitenu Party, was intended to harm the Arab parties and make them disappear from the Knesset. However, this reading of the law can be attributed to no small measure of populism … Under the new rules, small parties with just three or four seats would not be able to get elected to the Knesset. If, during the last elections, the electoral threshold was 4%, the three Arab parties — Balad (three seats), Ra’am-Ta’al (four seats) and Hadash (four seats) –  would not have entered the Knesset. But they are not the only parties that would have failed to pass the threshold. A similar fate would have awaited former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima Party, which only won two seats in the Knesset. Meretz, the hot new trend among the Israeli left, would have vanished from the political map if the law had passed before the 2009 elections, when it won just three seats. In other words, these changes could also impact the Zionist parties, and the claim that only the Arab parties would be hurt is inaccurate.

Other news

The month in pictures: July 2013
Electronic Intifada 5 Aug — At least 28 Palestinian refugees were killed in Syria during July as refugee camps in the country continue to be dragged into the country’s civil war. The UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, estimates that the homes of 44,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria have been damaged by conflict, and that half of the approximately 500,000 Palestinian refugees in the country are now displaced either in Syria or in neighboring countries. According to UNRWA statistics, there are more than 8,300 Palestinian refugees who have fled Syria to Jordan and 92,000 who have fled to Lebanon, where UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees lack basic civil rights and suffer poor living conditions. An UNRWA staff member was killed in Syria in July, the seventh to have been killed in the conflict; 13 of the agency’s staff are detained or have been reported missing.

A man from Rahat dies after falling from the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 Aug — The 40-year old resident of the city of Rahat, Hasan Suleiman Salman Abu Mid’em, passed away on Monday early morning hours after falling from the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Witnesses said that Abu Mid’em went up the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque which is 30-40 meters high from the southern side after spending Laylat Al-Qader in Al-Aqsa and praying the Morning Prayer (Fajer) and taking pictures of himself in Al-Aqsa. He gave his phone to one of his friends to take the pictures and while standing on the edge of the wall he fell down on the Umayyad Palaces. Witnesses added that ambulances rushed to the area to provide first aid to Abu Mid’em but he immediately passed away and his body was taken to Al-Maqased hospital in Al-Tur.

Dexia: a sleazy bank aiding Israeli settlers
Electronic Intifada 5 Aug by David Cronin — The 137-meter-tall building Rogier Tower in Brussels is home to the bank Dexia. Since 2009, representatives of Dexia have repeatedly promised not to issue loans for work undertaken by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. The promises have been broken. Intal, a Belgian campaign group, has documented how Dexia has kept on financing the theft of Palestinian land. In November last year, for example, the bank went guarantor along with the Israeli defense ministry for a project in the settlement of Kedumim. The previous year Dexia agreed to provide another settlement, Ariel, with a loan of 2.5 million shekels ($700,000).

Police: Israeli intelligence is implicated in an ugly murder in Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 6 Aug — Palestinian police investigations have revealed that the killer of his brother’s family, who is known locally as Salfit butcher, was working as a spy for the Israeli intelligence. Last month, a brutal murder of a young pregnant housewife named Lina Fattouni and her kids Majd and Jana rocked Salfit city. The police investigations found out that the killer, Abdul-Muneim Fattouni, murdered his sister-in-law (Lina) and her kids by direct strangulation and used the gas cylinder in the house to cover his crime and make others believe that the victims died of gas suffocation. The police affirmed that the real reason for the murder was that his sister-in-law had discovered that he was working for the Israeli intelligence, so he hastened to get rid of her at the instigation of his Israeli employer.

Join Mohammad Assaf in supporting Palestine refugees!
UNRWA USA 6 Aug — My name is Mohammad Assaf, some of you may know me as the 2013 Arab Idol and I’m proud to be UNRWA’s first Youth Goodwill Ambassador for Palestine refugees. This Ramadan, I write to you simply as a Palestine refugee from Gaza. Every day, the people who work for UNRWA are doing their best to protect and assist refugees like my family and me. I went to an UNRWA school in Khan Yunis and I can say that UNRWA gave me the chance to become who I am today. UNRWA needs your support to continue taking care of the most vulnerable, whether they are living in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, or in conflict-torn Syria. I urge you to donate to UNRWA to help ensure we can deliver emergency relief to those who need it most. Join me and American Friends of UNRWA in our campaign to give other Palestine refugees a chance to build a better future. Please share this video with your family, friends and colleagues. Together we can make a difference: the more we reach, the greater our contribution in support of what UNRWA does for Palestine refugees.

Israel’s AG defends detention of migrants for minor crimes
Haaretz 6 Aug by Ilan Lior — During a tour of south Tel Aviv, Yehuda Weinstein says new regulations, under which migrants can face prolonged incarceration for relatively minor offenses, are meant to fight illegal immigration … Referring to two recent cases in which Sudanese migrants were imprisoned without being brought before a court, Weinstein said that it was right that both suspects had been subsequently released. “I don’t regret it for a moment… It says nothing about future cases. Each case will be examined individually,” he said, during a discussion with members of a grass-roots neighborhood action group. Neither of the suspects, one of whom was held on suspicion of stealing a bicycle and the other on suspicion of rape, was ever charged.

Analysis / Opinion / Reviews

Many readers will no doubt have had their own adverse reactions to the New York Times article on Palestinian stone-throwers listed in Sunday’s Today in Palestine. Here are a couple of others:
‘The New York Times’ investigates a Palestinian hobby / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 7 Aug — You thought Palestinians throw stones because of the occupation? Think again — The New York Times on Sunday published one of its most out-of-context items from the West Bank in recent years – and it has published many of them. The piece consists of a study of “the culture of stone-throwing,” which apparently has become part of Palestinian life, in the same way that Friday dinners are part of Jewish life or Sunday walks in Central Park are part of New York life. The head of the paper’s Jerusalem bureau, Jodi Rudoren (who has written decent pieces in the past), traveled to the village of Beit Ommar (north of Hebron), where soldiers and settlers are being repeatedly attacked by stones for some unknown reason. After talking to some locals, the author manages to get to the heart of the matter: “The youths, and their parents, say they are provoked by the situation: soldiers stationed at the village entrance, settlers tending trees beyond. They throw because there is little else to do in Beit Ommar — no pool or cinema, no music lessons after school, no part-time jobs other than peddling produce along the road. They do it because their brothers and fathers did.”

‘NYT’ never mentions military occupation in piece calling Palestinian stonethrowing a cultural practice / Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss 5 Aug — In a long front-page piece on Palestinian youths who throw stones at Israeli soldiers, The New York Times characterizes stone-throwing as a “rite of passage” handed down from fathers to sons. “In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand” the piece is headlined, on-line. The headline in the print edition is shocking: ‘My Hobby Is Throwing Stones’. Authored by Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, the piece says that stone-throwing is a form of “pushback against Israel”–as if no military occupation and colonization program exists. And it’s a “rite of passage,” ala Claude Levi-Strauss: “They do it because their brothers and fathers did.” Rudoren quotes a young stone-thrower expressing a belief about settlement land: “land he sees as stolen from his people.” “He sees as?” writes Nancy Kanwisher, who alerted me to this piece. “What is the real story? Are you serving up hearsay or are you a journalist, Rudoren? Who took the land from whom?” The piece seeks to obliterate the understanding established by Ben Ehrenreich’s landmark cover story in the Times earlier this year on Nabi Saleh, that stones were aimed at occupation: “The stones were … symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support.” The piece also elides the brilliance of Amira Hass in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule.”

The original ‘No’: why the Arabs rejected Zionisn, and why it matters / Natasha Gill
MIPS 19 June — A viable peace process does not require either party to embrace or even recognize the legitimacy of the other’s narrative. It requires that both have an informed and non-reductionist understanding of what this narrative consists of, come to terms with the fact that it cannot be wished away, and recognize that elements of it will make their way to the negotiating table and have to be addressed … When it comes to the pro-Israel camp, the key issue that needs to be addressed is the blind spot regarding the pre-1948 origins of the Israel/Palestine conflict. A remarkable number of Israel’s supporters from across the political spectrum share a common and unshakable article of faith: that the Israel/Palestine conflict was avoidable and unnecessary. If the Arabs of Palestine had accepted Zionism 130 years ago, there would never have been, and would not now be, any cause for bloodshed. .Arab rejectionism has thus served as the equivalent of a cosmological argument: “In the Beginning There Was the No.”…
The Arabs of Palestine Said No to the Jewish Right of Return — The Palestinian Arabs said No to the idea that in the 20th century a people who last lived in Palestine in large numbers over 2000 years ago could claim, on the basis of a religious text, rights to the land where the current inhabitants had been living for a millennium and a half. They did not base their rejection on a denial of Jewish historical and religious ties to the Holy Land. Rather, they said No to the idea that highly secularized Jews arriving from Europe, who seemed to abjure religious life, manners and practices, could use the Bible to support a political project of a Jewish state in an already populated and settled land. Nor did they deny the suffering of the Jews, or the pogroms and persecution they were experiencing in Western and Eastern Europe at the time. On the contrary, many of the most vocal critics of Zionism were extremely aware of Jewish suffering, as they were unsettled by the impact it was having on the British support for the project of the Jewish National Home. What they said no to was the idea that the Jews’ humanitarian plight granted them special political and national rights in Palestine, and that those Jewish rights should trump Arab rights. The Arabs said No to the idea that they should pay the price for longstanding Christian persecution of the Jews, and they expressed deep resentment at the hypocrisy of the Europeans, who were promoting a home for the Jews in Palestine as they closed their own doors to the victims of Christian/European anti-Semitism.

Why does the BBC plead ignorance on Palestine? / Amena Saleem
Electronic Intifada 6 Aug — In my monitoring of the BBC’s frequent inaccuracies, misleading statements, and more or less complete lack of balance in covering Israel-Palestine, I often find myself wondering if the BBC is genuinely biased as an institution against the Palestinians or simply incompetent

Haaretz editorial: The dark margins of Israel’s health system
6 Aug — Recent spread of polio virus underlines Israeli policy of neglecting the health of the Bedouin population; in a place where there is no regular water supply, garbage collection or sewage system, there can be no immunity to disease — The mass campaign to immunize Israel’s children against polio has pushed aside the question of the reasons for the renewed outbreak of the disease, which has returned Israel to the 1950s. Though the burning debate today is over the vaccine’s efficacy and risks, we mustn’t forget that until not long ago, an accusing racist finger was being pointed at Bedouin inhabitants of the south. “The polio virus is an attack on Jews by Israeli Bedouin and Arabs,” one website wrote. It seems the Health Ministry, too, initially treated the discovery of the virus in the sewers of the Bedouin town of Rahat as an “endemic problem” that was ostensibly connected to the flawed hygiene habits of the town’s population, and thus of no interest to the general public. It was only when the virus was found in additional sewage samples, in particular from Jewish communities, that the health system was call to action.

Commemorating the legacy of Arab-Jewish actor Juliano Mer-Khamis / Michael Handelzalts
Haaretz 6 Aug — Art/Violence, a film about the late Mer-Khamis who was murdered in 2011, portrays how a dream can keep on living if its bearer succeeded in planting it in the right hearts –  Juliano Mer-Khamis, actor, director, teacher and political activist, was murdered on April 4, 2011. A masked man shot him five times at close range near the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, which Mer-Jhamis had founded in 2006. The murderer was never captured and the motives for the killing remain unknown … The first one to speak in the film is Mer-Khamis’s 12-year-old daughter, Milay, who lives with her mother in Tel Aviv. She tells how, when she visited her father at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, nobody could tell which side she came from. The film moves to the two student actresses, Abu Khaled and Taleb, who are following in his footsteps. If anyone thought that the Freedom Theatre would die with Mer-Khamis, Abu Khaled and Taleb have proven that they are capable of holding the torch high and carrying it on.

Being a Palestinian intellectual’s daughter in post-9/11 New York / Taly Krupkin
Haaretz 6 Aug — Najla Said, daughter of the late Palestinian intellectual and leading post-Modernist Edward Said, tried to ignore the Palestinian culture and heritage handed down to her by her parents in their Manhattan home when she was young. But the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the subsequent souring of attitudes towards Arab-Americans, caused her to think again. After staging a one-woman show called Palestine in New York in 2003, Said decided to describe her childhood in her debut memoir, Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family. Excerpts from the book were published on Sunday on the Salon cultural affairs website. (listserv) (archive)


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

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