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Bulldozers uproot Palestinian farmland in Salfit, as 23 settlements devour 18 villages

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Army uproots lands to build settlement units in Salfit
IMEMC 1 Sept — Local sources in Salfit district, in the central part of the West Bank, have reported that Israeli bulldozers uprooted Palestinian lands west of Salfit, in preparation for building new units in Leshim illegal settlement. The lands are located between Deir Ballout and Kufr Ad-Deek towns. Leshim was built last year on privately owned Palestinian lands.  Israeli Housing Minister, Uri Ariel, placed the corner stone of the illegal settlement. The Salfit district is one of the most impacted districts due to Israel’s illegal settlement activities as it contains 23 Israeli settlements swallowing more than half of Salfit’s farmlands.  It is worth mentioning that there are 18 Palestinian towns and villages in the Salfit District.
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Dozens protest against Hebron settler house
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Dozens of Palestinians on Sunday protested outside a home in Hebron occupied by settlers. People gathered outside of a property belonging to the al-Rajabi family and demanded that settlers leave the premises. The Israeli high court is due to hold a session on Monday to decide the fate of the property, which has been disputed for years. Settlers first occupied the property in 2007, claiming that they had bought the house legally, a claim rejected by local Palestinians. Representatives from national and political factions joined the demonstration, demanding that settlers vacate the premises. Settlers in the property have committed frequent acts of violence against local Palestinians since occupying the property, including arson attacks and physical assaults, according to Christian Peacemaker Teams.  CPT Hebron said last year that the “settlers’ intention to occupy the Al Rajabi building is motivated by this ideology which would create territorial continuity between the Kiryat Arba settlement and settlements in the center of the Old City.” A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
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Smoke and trash | | Palestinian town left reeking due to bureaucratic gap
Haaretz 31 Aug by Amira Hass — In an unusual display of environmental sensitivity, Israel’s Civil Administration shuts down El Bireh’s landfill; the city responds by emptying its garbage trucks around town — Garbage cans are overflowing and emitting a nauseatingly sweet smell, and in some of them there are flames at night that shoot off embers in all directions. There are piles of smoking refuse at the sides of the roads and in the various neighborhoods. That is the look and the odor of El Bireh these days, where a garbage war is being waged …  In the garbage war it is waging, the El Bireh municipality expects the Palestinian Authority and residents to understand that the closing of the site is not a municipal failure, but a reflection of the broader political reality of the relations between occupier and occupied. The Civil Administration decided that for reasons of environmental protection, the El Bireh waste-disposal site should be closed, even before the construction of a modern and safe alternative, which has been under discussion since 1999. [Sam Bahour suggests also reading this article from 2002: Settlers and Trash by Mayor Walid Hamad]
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German bank vows to bar settlers from West Bank landfill it’s planning
Haaretz 1 Sept by Chaim Levinson — Government-owned development bank says landfill will only take garbage from Ramallah and El Bireh — West Bank settlements will not be able to dispose of their trash at a new landfill the government-owned German development bank KfW is planning in the area, its representatives said last week. The landfill site, which the Civil Administration has proposed be built near the settlement of Rimonim and the Palestinian village of Kafr Ramun, will be an alternative to the landfilll at El Bireh near Ramallah, which the Civil Administration closed down on August 7 for reasons of severe environmental hazard. The closed site had served the El Bireh municipality as well as the Binyamin Regional Council and the city of Modi’in Ilit. The Civil Administration suggested they use alternative sites in the West Bank, at Abu Dis or near Jenin in its stead. The El Bireh municipality rejected this proposal, however, because of the high cost of trucking garbage to either of those sites.
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Israel looks poised to demolish its Bedouin villages
[good photographs] The Atlantic Cities 30 Aug by Mark Byrnes — For many years, 200,000 Arab Bedouins have lived in the Negev desert in southern Israel. Some reside in government-built towns, others in villages unrecognized by the Israeli government, built without water access, electricity or sanitation infrastructure. But now, the Israeli military is building new bases in the desert,  along with 10 new communities. The “unrecognized” villages will also be demolished.
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Demonstrators march in Tel Aviv against plan to uproot Bedouins
972mag 1 Sept by Haggai Matar — Some 1,000 people march through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday evening in protest of the Prawer-Begin Plan, which will see the demolition of several dozen ‘unrecognized’ Bedouin villages in the Negev and the uprooting of at least 30,000 residents of those villages. Alongside Tel Aviv residents, demonstrators were bused in from Arab villages and cities in the Galilee and the Negev to gather in Habima Square at sundown Saturday. The square was packed with local parents and their young children, who regularly play in the garden and who were drawn to the drums and the action of the protest. Many of the demonstrators were affiliated with Hadash, a few with Meretz and many more were politically unaligned. At 8 p.m. the procession started moving through some of central Tel Aviv’s main streets heading toward Likud’s headquarters on King George St. At one point eggs were thrown at protestors from a rooftop while other bystanders seemed supportive of the march.
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Israeli firm lying to Norway that it no longer builds settlements on Palestinian land
Electronic Intifada 31 Aug by Adri Nieuwhof — Last week, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance revoked the exclusion of the firm Africa Israel Investments Ltd. and its subsidiary Danya Cebus Ltd. from the Norway state pension fund based on Africa Israel’s claim that it is no longer involved in the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. However, The Electronic Intifada has obtained new evidence of Africa Israel’s ongoing involvement in the construction of housing units in the settlement of Gilo in occupied East Jerusalem.  In 2010, the Norway excluded Africa Israel Investments Ltd. and Danya Cebus Ltd. from the state pension fund due to the companies’ involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, in the occupied West Bank. The Council on Ethics, an advisory body to the Ministry of Finance, routinely reviews if the basis for the exclusion of a company is still present.
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Restriction of movement

IOA blocks travel of 39 Palestinians in one week
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Aug — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) last week blocked the travel of 30 Palestinians at the Karame crossing, the only crossing linking the West Bank to the outside world. A statement for the PA police in Ramallah on Saturday said that the IOA returned 39 Palestinians at the Karame crossing without allowing them to travel on “security pretexts”.
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Israeli forces reopen Hebron road
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli forces on Sunday reopened a road south of Hebron, Palestinian liaison officials said.  Israel opened the al-Harayeq gate in July for eight hours daily, ending a 12-year-closure. It will open 24-hours a day from Sunday, Palestinian military liaison official Abdul-Kashif Tamimi told Ma‘an.
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Why I got banned from Israel
Daily Beast 27 Aug by Anna Lekas Miller — It is midnight and I’m staring at the Hebrew letters on the cappuccino machine in the between-interrogations waiting room at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. A young woman is sitting next to me. Her arms are wrapped around her legs as she nervously rocks back and forth. When she turns towards me, her eyes are red and I can tell she has been crying. “Where are you from?” I ask. “Denmark,” she replies, then adds in a whisper, “But I’m Arab. My parents are Palestinians from Lebanon.” “Me too,” I whisper. “I’m Lebanese. This happened to me last time I was here — stay strong and keep smiling, habibti.”  I will never forget the first time I was interrogated at Ben Gurion International Airport. I was caught lying at the border — as everyone is instructed to do when going to the West Bank. The reason for this is that the Israeli Border Control is notorious for turning away anyone who claims that they intend to visit the West Bank — or in their words,”the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.”
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Why does US government let Israel discriminate against Americans?
Electronic Intifada 29 Aug by Mike Coogan — …When it reconvenes after the August recess, Congress is set to consider a bill that would codify discrimination against many Americans, and bestow legitimacy on the Jim Crow-like policies practiced by Israel. Legislation proposed by Barbara Boxer and co-sponsored by 51 other senators would allow Israel to discriminate against US citizens — particularly Palestinian Americans  — as part of the Visa Waiver Program and set a precedent for US acquiescence in discrimination by foreign nations. The proposal to include Israel in the Visa Waiver Program is part of a set of bills called the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. The original iterations of this legislation, known as the Visa Waiver for Israel Act, proposed that Israel be allowed into the Visa Waiver Program while exempting it from the “reciprocity” requirement, which would require Israel to extend US citizens the same visa privileges it would enjoy under the program … The State Department refuses to release the exact number of US citizens denied entry into Israel, but Israel’s denial of entry and harassment of travelers is so common that the State Department warns “some US citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank.” The State Department’s unwillingness to hold Israel accountable has prompted civil society organizations like the Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee to document these cases themselves and follow up with lawmakers.
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Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Jenin man dies from injuries sustained in arrest raid
JENIN (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — A Palestinian man died on Saturday after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week in Jenin refugee camp.  Karim Abu Sbeih, 20, passed away in the Arab Hospital in Nablus. He was hospitalized after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces on Aug. 20 and had part of his kidneys, colon, lungs and liver removed. Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh, 22, was killed during the raid, after being shot in the heart [with a dumdum bullet, a war crime] by Israeli soldiers. Ala Abu Khalifa was critically wounded in the raid and is due to undergo spinal surgery, his mother said. He has lost all feeling in his lower body since the injury and has already undergone two operations on his colon and pelvis. Israeli forces raided the Jenin camp at 3 a.m. and broke into the home of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saedi.
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Thousands attend funeral for Jenin man
JENIN (Ma‘an) updated 1 Sept — Thousands of mourners on Saturday attended the funeral of a 20-year-old man who died after being shot by Israeli soldiers in a Jenin refugee camp. Karim Abu Sbeih, 20, died in the Arab Hospital in Nablus on Saturday … Masked gunmen from Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades joined the procession through the camp, before Abu Sbeih was buried in a camp cemetery. Mourners chanted for unity and an end to Israeli occupation.
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Several injured by army fire north of Jerusalem
IMEMC 31 Aug — The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that dozens of youths clashed with Israeli soldiers trying to invade Ar-Ram town, and that the soldiers fired concussion grenades, gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets causing dozens of injuries.  In Qalandia, the soldiers fired gas bombs at dozens of cars and residents heading to a wedding, causing dozens of residents to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The attack led to clashes between local youths and soldiers stationed at the Qalandia terminal.
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Four young boys arrested and beaten in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 1 Sept by Khalil Team — On Friday 30th August, Israeli soldiers arrested four Palestinian boys and held and abused them in a military base for around four hours. Ashaq (15), Ali (15), Anwar (14) and Ahmed (10) were walking down the Shilal Street in the Old City of Hebron at around 6.30pm, when soldiers near Bab Al-Baladia violently grabbed them and accused them of throwing stones. Anwar’s shirt was torn by a soldier as they arrested him. They took the four boys through the yellow gate into Beit Romano military base. All four were blindfolded, and Ashaq was slapped in the face by a soldier. The soldiers also ate seeds in front of the boys and then spat the shells at them. The boys were held in the military base for nearly four hours. International activists who went to the military base to demand information on whether the boys were being held inside and why they had been arrested, were told by soldiers “we don’t know”, and were asked to leave. As they were waiting outside the military base, they were insulted and threatened by a settler.
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IOF clash with Palestinian citizens in different areas of Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 31 Aug — Violent clashes broke out on Friday evening between dozens of Palestinian young men and Israeli troops in different areas of Al-Khalil [Hebron] city. Local sources reported that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Bab Azzawiya area and embarked on firing tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at a crowd of young men, which triggered clashes between the two sides. The sources added that similar clashes erupted in the southern area, the Karantina area, Al-Kassara street and Jabal Johar area. Several ambulances and military vehicles were seen near Kiryat Arba settlement to the east of Al-Khalil, according to eyewitnesses.
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IOF soldiers round up two young men in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 31 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided a village [which one?] to the south east of Nablus city and nabbed two young men after storming a number of suburbs on Friday night. Local sources said that the soldiers broke into a number of homes before taking away Jihad Jaghub and Nihad Siwan. Other soldiers raided the villages of Burin and Irak Burin to the south west of Nablus and clashed with young men protesting their raid, but no arrests were reported.
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Israeli forces detain 6 across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Saturday, locals and Israel’s army said. An Israeli force of 150 soldiers and 22 military vehicles raided Beit Ummar, witnesses said. Rashid Awad, 18, was detained after being blindfolded by Israeli troops together with his brother Issa, 23. Local villagers threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas canisters and sound bombs.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that six people were detained overnight, three in Qalqiliya, one in Ramallah, and two in Beit Ummar.
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5 injured in clashes near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Five Palestinians were injured Sunday in clashes with Israeli forces near Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah. Clashes erupted when young men and teenagers tried to stop Israeli settlers from Beit El settlement throwing stones at Palestinian cars near the camp, a Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli forces arrived and fired rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinians, the reporter said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 20 Palestinians and 20 Israeli civilians hurled rocks at Israeli security forces. She said forces used riot dispersal means but these did not include rubber bullets. It is the third consecutive day of clashes in the area.
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Ahrar: ‘Soldiers killed six, kidnapped 250 in August’
The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has published its monthly report on Israeli violations in the occupied territories revealing that six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military fire in August, while more than 250 Palestinians were kidnapped. Ahrar said that the Israeli army in the West Bank killed five of the slain Palestinians, while the sixth was killed in Gaza. … Hundreds of injuries have been reported since the beginning of the year, including dozens who have been shot and injured during the Israeli invasion into Qalandia.
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PA prevents Hamas march against talk’s resumption
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Aug — PA security forces prevented on Friday a march organized by Hamas movement in Ramallah protesting Israeli crimes and talks’ resumption, Palestinian sources said. PA security forces and anti-riot units surrounded the mosque in Bireh city in West Bank to prevent peaceful marches against the Israeli crime in Qalandia refugee camp where three Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire. Hamas members in Bireh and Ramallah had called for a march after Friday prayers in protest against talks’ resumption in light of the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinian people.
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Gaza under blockade

Egypt army plans buffer zone along Gaza border
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Egypt plans to impose a 500-meter buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip, a senior Egyptian military official said Sunday. Egyptian residents living in Saladin, al-Barahmeh, Canada, Brazil, al-Sarsouriya and other neighborhoods close to the Gaza border have received eviction notices. Homeowners who received eviction orders demonstrated against the decision and burned tires in protest. Army bulldozers have also uprooted trees in the border area. [At least Egypt, unlike Israel, puts the buffer zone on its own side of the border.]
The army has demolished 13 homes in the al-Sarsouriya neighborhood where tunnel entrances were found. An Egyptian military official told Ma‘an that most cross-border tunnels with entrances in fields or open areas had been destroyed in a security campaign to stop smuggling. He said it was more difficult to locate tunnels that opened into houses. Egypt’s army spokesman Ahmad Mohammad said that forces have destroyed 343 smuggling tunnels. He said the Egyptian military has also prohibited fishing near the border to prevent smuggling via the sea.
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Hamas slams Egyptian plan to create buffer zone with Gaza
Jerusalem Post 1 Sept by Khaled Abu Toameh — Egyptians protest after homes demolished to create buffer zone; Hamas official says Egyptian move could “solidify the blockade.”– The Hamas government said Sunday it was “surprised” to hear that Egypt is planning to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip. Ehab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas government, said that there should be no buffer zones “between brothers and friendly countries.” Ghissin expressed hope that the Egyptian move would not “solidify the blockade” and increase the suffering of the people in the Gaza Strip. He called for establishing a free trade area instead of a buffer zone along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Egyptian newspapers quoted Palestinian sources as saying that 90 percent of the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip have stopped functioning as a result of Egypt’s security measures. The sources said that the Egyptian army was waging an “unprecedented” campaign to destroy houses and tunnels.”
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Egypt army destroys 2 smuggling tunnels near Rafah
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Egypt’s army on Friday destroyed two smuggling tunnels under the border with Gaza, security officials said. The tunnels were used to smuggle cars and other goods. Egyptian army engineers demolished the tunnels using explosives. The Egyptian army said that the five tunnels were found in Salah Ed-Deen Gate area, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Local sources said that loud explosions were heard in the area. The Egyptian army has been acting on detonating all located tunnels in Gaza, and previous flooded tunnels with waste-water, and even gassed them in some incidents. Most of the tunnels are now either destroyed, or partially destroyed but cannot be used due to serious risks of collapse
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Egypt detonates five border tunnels
IMEMC 1 Sept — The Egyptian army detonated on Saturday evening [August 31 2013] five siege-busting tunnels across the Gaza-Egypt border area.
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Stocks of vital medicines hit zero as Egypt, Israel tighten Gaza siege
Electronic Intifada 1 Sept by Ali Abunimah — …Since the coup in Egypt, OCHA reports, “the Ministry of Health in Gaza began restricting X-rays and limiting certain drugs to emergency use only, due to low supplies and the unreliable flow of medical supplies via the Rafah Crossing.” At the end of July, “27 per cent (128 items) of essential medicines were at zero stock in the Central Drug Store in Gaza and 16 per cent (78 items) were at low stock (between 1-3 months’ supply).” OCHA adds: “Twenty-five per cent of [Gaza’s] drug supplies are normally received from, or through, Egypt via this crossing. Two principal Egyptian donors, the Arab Physicians Union and the Physicians Syndicate, are expected to halt donations to Gaza in view of current urgent needs in Egypt. These groups have played a crucial role as a source for rapid supply of critical items, such as dialysis solutions, common chemotherapy drugs, Factor VIII for haemophilia, immunosuppressants for kidney transplant patients and treatments for other chronic blood disease conditions. Any sustained gap in the supply of these items would have immediate negative impact on patients. The Human Appeal International (United Arab Emirates) and Qatar Red Crescent also provide donations to the MoH in Gaza via Rafah, but according to the MoH, only one drug shipment has been received via that route since 30 June, from an Italian NGO.”
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Hamas forces raid Egyptian community center in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Hamas security forces raided the offices of an Egyptian community center in Gaza City on Saturday.
An Egyptian official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Ma‘an that Hamas forces detained all those present at the center and confiscated documents and computers. The Egyptian community in Gaza released a statement several days ago expressing support for the Egyptian army’s ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. The statement is likely the motive behind the raid, the Egyptian official said.
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Egypt denounces Hamas ‘arrests of Egyptians in Gaza’
CAIRO (AFP) 31 Aug — Egypt’s foreign ministry denounced Hamas on Saturday for raiding an Egyptian cultural center in Gaza and detaining several Egyptians. “The foreign ministry strongly condemns and denounces this irresponsible act and demands their release,” it said of the Egyptians it claimed Hamas arrested on Saturday morning. Questioned about the incident, Hamas said a security investigation was taking place into a Palestinian from Gaza who has Egyptian citizenship. “At this stage no decision to arrest him has been made,” Hamas spokesman Ehab al-Ghossein told AFP.  Palestinian sources said the man in question, Adel Abdel Rahman El-Kahlout, is the head of Gaza’s Egyptian cultural center … A source close to the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah said the Hamas security services had interrogated the man about a statement circulating among Egyptians in Gaza in support of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s military chief.
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Explosive device blown up at military vehicle southeast of Khan Younis
GAZA (PIC) 31 Aug — An explosive device was detonated on Friday evening at an Israeli military vehicle near Sofa crossing to the southeast of Khan Younis. According to the Palestinian information center (PIC) reporter in Khan Younis, billows of smoke were seen rising in the vicinity of Sofa crossing following the explosion. The reporter confirmed that an explosive device exploded at an armored vehicle stationed to the north of Sofa crossing, specifically near Al-Fakhari area. He said that no one of the Palestinian resistance factions has yet claimed responsibility for the incident. Immediately after the explosion, large military reinforcements under aerial cover arrived at the targeted area amid intensive gunfire. It is still unknown if the Israeli vehicle had triggered a planted bomb during a limited incursion into the area.
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Detainees / Court actions

Jerusalem prisoner ends hunger strike, family says
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — A Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for over three months ended his protest action this week. Hussam Matar, 30, ended his strike action on Thursday, having refused food since June 1. Matar’s wife told Ma’an that Israel’s prison authority had responded to some of the Jerusalem prisoner’s demands, including reviewing his sentence and allowing private visits. Matar, sentenced to life imprisonment, suffers from kidney and liver problems and has lost 33 kilograms since launching strike action.
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Detainees on hunger strike to end confinement of Abu Sisi
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Eight Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody have launched hunger strike action to end the solitary confinement of jailed Gaza engineer Dirar Abu Sisi … All eight hunger strikers have been moved to Ashkelon prison, where they are now in isolation cells, Ajwah said. They have also been denied access to meet with prisoner representatives. Abu Sisi, an engineer who was former technical director at Gaza’s sole electricity plant, disappeared from a train in Ukraine in February 2011. Israel later announced it was holding him. According to the PA ministry, Abu Sisi has spent his entire detention in solitary confinement.
[Abu Sisi ended his own hunger strike last Wednesday, having apparently been promised release from solitary confinement – which hasn’t happened.]
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IOA extends the arrest of a disabled Palestinian
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Aug — The Israeli Magistrate’s Court has extended the arrest of a disabled Palestinian for 15 additional days despite his difficult health status. Ahmed Dawoud Obaid’s arrest was extended for 15 days although his father has provided the court with medical reports proving his mental disability. The Israeli prosecutor presented an indictment against Obaid accusing him of throwing stones at Israeli cars. Obaid was arrested after being beaten severely by Israeli forces despite being [deaf and] dumb and mentally ill.
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IOA adds 3 years to Atef Abu Alya’s sentence
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Aug — An Israeli military court added three years to the prison term of the leader in Qassam Brigades Atef Abu Alya, sentenced to 13 years, after the prosecution’s appeal. The Israeli prosecution has appealed against the Ofer Military Court’s ruling to sentence Abu Alya to 13 years. The Israeli judge agreed to add 3 years to his sentence to be 16 years in prison, the captive’s family said, noting that they will appeal to cancel the latest court’s order. Atef Abu Alya, a father of 4 children, was arrested in 2009 on charges of firing against Israeli settlers. His brother Jaber Hussein Abu Alya was also sentenced for 19 years under the same charges.
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Hamdallah expects 2nd release of veteran prisoners in September
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday that Israel may release more veteran Palestinian prisoners by the end of September. “It is possible that the second batch of pre-Oslo prisoners will be released before the end of this month,” Hamdallah said during a tour of Salfit. Israel has agreed to release a total of 104 prisoners, most of who were jailed before the 1993 Oslo peace accords, in stages depending on progress in the new peace talks. The first batch of 26 prisoners was released on Aug. 14.
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Since September 2000, the Israeli military courts have convicted just six soldiers for offenses involving the death of Palestinians
Yesh Din 27 Aug — Ziv Stahl, director of Yesh Din’s Research Department, commented on the findings: “In practice, the updated statistics show that the likelihood that a soldier who unjustifiably killed a Palestinian civilian will be investigated, let alone penalized, is slight to non-existent. This reality encourages the unlawful use of weapons by soldiers, even in clearly civilian situations such as demonstrations.” The human rights organization Yesh Din today published updated statistics regarding investigations by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Department (MPCID) into the circumstances surrounding the death of Palestinians since September 2000, as well as figures for convictions and penalization relating to these incidents. According to B’Tselem figures, some 5,000 Palestinians have been killed to date by the Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000. Figures forwarded to Yesh Din by the IDF Spokesperson show that the MPCID opened over 179 criminal investigations in the period 2003-2013 concerning the suspected killing of Palestinian civilians by IDF soldiers, but only 16 of these files led to indictments.
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Palestinian refugees elsewhere

Ahmad, Palestinian refugee from Syria: ‘I feel we are double refugees’
MASNA‘A (LEBANON-SYRIA BORDER CROSSING), (IRIN) 28 Aug — Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in Syria have been refused entry into Lebanon for three weeks now. Since 6 August, according to Human Rights Watch, the Lebanese government has turned back Palestinians who had originally sought refuge in Syria when they were forced from their homes in 1948 and 1967, and are now fleeing once more with their descendants, this time from the conflict in Syria. A source at the Lebanese General Security confirmed to IRIN the government is no longer letting Palestinians from Syria into Lebanon. Makram Malaeb, programme manager for the Syrian response at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said exceptions would be made for “humanitarian cases”. According to the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, more than 92,000 Palestinians from Syria have already sought refuge in Lebanon, joining the 455,000 Palestinian refugees hosted in Lebanon before the Syrian crisis, largely in overcrowded slums that have often been hotbeds of unrest. Ahmed, 28, was living in Syria’s Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees with his wife and three children when the conflict in Syria broke out. He told IRIN his story.
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Other news

Palestinian meeting with Israeli lawmakers delayed
JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 1 Sept — Israeli and Palestinian officials say a planned meeting between lawmakers and the Palestinian president has been postponed. The Israeli lawmakers had planned on traveling to President Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank headquarters on Tuesday. The lawmakers belong to a new caucus formed to support recently relaunched peace talks.Officials on both sides said Sunday that the meeting had been delayed. An Israeli spokeswoman cited the crisis in nearby Syria and high-level Palestinian meetings Abbas is holding this week. She says the meeting is expected to take place in the coming weeks.Palestinian officials said the chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held a new round of talks on Saturday and are to meet again on Tuesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the sides are not supposed to discuss the negotiations.
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Hamdallah: PA to pay salaries by Tuesday
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — The Palestinian Authority will pay August salaries to government employees by Tuesday, caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday. Hamdallah said public sector wages would be paid within 48 hours during a visit to Salfit in the northern West Bank.
Hamdallah and Health Minister Jawad Awad were welcomed by Salfit governor Issam Abu Baker.  The health minister announced that an intensive care unit would be opened at the Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit within days.  Awad added that the health ministry would appoint a specialist in internal diseases to the hospital.
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Teachers’ union threatens strike action
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — The teachers’ union on Sunday threatened to take “unprecedented action” unless the Palestinian Authority responded to its demands. Ahmad Suhweil, secretary-general of the union, told Ma‘an that the union has given the PA until Wednesday to implement their demands. “In the case that this doesn’t happen the union will escalate its actions to include all options, including full strikes in schools and administrations,” Suhweil said. The teachers’ union organized regular strike action in the first half of 2013 to protest unpaid salaries.
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Palestinian factions oppose military action in Syria
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Palestinian political factions said Saturday that they oppose foreign intervention in Syria. “Whatever the circumstances or reasons, we reject any external aggression on Syria and any other Arab country,” PA minister of endowment and religious affairs Mahmoud al-Habash said. “Any foreign interference in Arab countries is a new colonization, and will not solve problems but make it more difficult and complicated.” Islamic Jihad official Sheikh Nafith Azzam told Ma‘an that the group rejects any “foreign intervention in any Arab or Muslim country.”
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Palestinian-American college graduates its first class, with diplomas and dabka dances
ABU DIS, West Bank (Haaretz)  2 Sept by Danna Harman — One day at the end of May, Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, a liberal arts college in upstate New York, donned his commencement cap, draped on his gown, straightened out his signature bow tie and stood up to confer degrees on the members of the class of 2013 … And then, on Thursday evening, he did it all over again: …There were graduates throwing caps jubilantly in the air. There was hugging and chanting and whooping, and a little impromptu celebratory dabka too. Dabka? Yes, that too. For this late-August graduation featured some surprising variations on a theme, even for the old hand.  There was the opening medley of “Arab Idol” season-two winner Mohammad Assaf songs, which had the graduates clapping and tapping … And indeed, all this handshaking, diploma giving, picture taking and whooping was taking place in East Jerusalem, in the village of Abu Dis, as the sun went down over the outdoor amphitheater at Al Quds University … It was just four years ago that the plan leading to this day was hatched, said the Harvard- and Oxford-educated philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, a scion of one of the most distinguished Palestinian Jerusalem families, who has served as president of Al Quds since 1995. It all started, continued Nusseibeh, when a mutual friend – an Israeli, as it happens – brought Botstein to his office … The joint venture between Bard and Al Quds, which began soon after that initial meeting, offers graduates a dual U.S. and Palestinian degree – either at the Bachelor’s or the Master’s level – and is the first U.S.-Palestinian collaboration of its kind.
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Analysis / Opinion / Interviews

My father, Edward Said: First the show, then the book — and now the interview / Nirit Ben-Ari
Haaretz 31 Aug — Najla Said talks about her relationship with her father, her privileged upbringing and the guilt she feels toward the Palestinian people — More than 100 people came to the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the corner of 82nd Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan earlier this month for a book reading by Najla Said. The daughter of Edward Said, one of the most important thinkers of the last century, Najla Said was reading from her newly published memoir, “Looking for Palestine,” which is subtitled, “Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family” (Riverhead Press). She chose to read two passages from the book. The first was about Edward Said; not the intellectual, the father … Among this crowd, one woman raised her hand and blurted out provocatively, “You titled your book ‘Looking for Palestine,’ so I would like to know: What do you mean when you say ‘Palestine’? Because, according to the maps, there is no such place as Palestine. Not according to the United Nations, either.” Everyone in the room seemed to shift uneasily in his chair at the insensitive, violent and impolite comment.
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Passing bill on women’s rights in West Bank could be seen as annexation, AG warns / Jonathan Lis & Revital Hovel
Haaretz 1 Sept — Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein opposes a proposed bill that would extend the country’s labor laws to Israeli women working in the occupied territories, saying its approval would have “far-reaching” legal consequences for the state … The proposed bill by MK Orit Strock (Habayit Hayehudi) calls for the extension of Israel’s labor laws to women working in the settlements … Weinstein believes Israeli labor laws should not be extended to the territories and that the protection of women working in the settlements can be secured through an order signed by the major general in charge of the GOC Central Command of the Israel Defense Forces, or through military legislation (the current method). In his letter to Mendelblit, Weinstein writes: “From the legal standpoint, the extension of Israeli legislation of a territorial nature to the [territories] could have ramifications at the level of international law.
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Israeli soldiers Gangnam Style with Palestinians — and the world goes wild / Allison Kaplan Sommer
Haaretz 1 Sept — The video of this event was so bizarre and unexpected that once it hit the Internet, through a Palestinian website, it swept the world news scene — Israeli soldiers walk into a nightclub in Hebron, armed with assault rifles in full battle gear. The club, known to be frequented with a clan associated with Hamas, is full of young Palestinians dancing and celebrating a wedding.  The spectrum of reactions to the incident in Israel and internationally was incredibly diverse. Overall, they broke down into three clear-cut categories. 1. The “Bad, Bad soldiers!” reaction … “On one hand, the idea of IDF soldiers dancing with Palestinians gives me the warm fuzzies. On the other hand, dancing in a room full of possibly pro-Hamas Palestinians sounds dangerous and stupid. All we need now is another Gilad Shalit or two,” wrote blogger ‘Aussie Dave’ on his ‘Israellycool’ blog. 2. The sunshine and rainbows “imagine there’s no countries” reaction Ah, those warm fuzzies. Even the most hardened observer has to admit – if you took away the danger and recklessness, it was sort of lovely how the incident revealed that underneath the animosity and the history, the labels of “Israeli soldier” and “occupied Palestinian” are simply young people who just want to have fun. Watching them dance together instead of confronting each other offers a glimpse of a Middle East that while doesn’t seem possible in our lifetime, is lovely to contemplate, only for those isolated few minutes … 3. The “Putting a False Pretty Face on Occupation” reaction We knew this one was coming. Gangnam Style-washing! The left reminded us that the Israeli soldiers weren’t exactly welcome guests with engraved invitations — they were gatecrashers, and the Palestinians probably let them join in the party because they didn’t have a choice. After all, what club bouncer is going to turn away a guy holding an M-16?
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About Kate

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

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2 Responses

  1. seafoid
    September 2, 2013, 1:15 pm

    No sign of the AIPAC humanitarians.

  2. K Renner
    K Renner
    September 2, 2013, 3:43 pm

    Could be titled “Israel obviously does not want peace in any sense of the word” but that’s a bit too clunky.

    Useful information and updates.

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