Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israeli rightists raise flag in Aqsa compound
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Oct — A group of Israeli right-wingers raised the Israeli flag while touring the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Monday, locals said. Witnesses said that a group of 14 Israeli rightists pulled out an Israeli flag while touring the religious site and began dancing and singing. The men were removed from the area by Israeli police and arrested. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director of Islamic endowment, said that he asked Israeli police to close the compound to visitors following the incident, and not to allow Israeli extremists to enter the area.
Rights group: Israel cancels Jordan Valley evacuation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Oct — Israeli forces have canceled a planned evacuation of 75 people from their homes in the Jordan Valley, an Israeli rights group said Monday. Representatives of the Civil Administration visited the Palestinian communities of al-Burj and al-Mita to inform residents that they will not be required to leave their homes on Tuesday, the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday, B’Tselem said. Earlier, an Israeli military officer visited the communities to inform them that 75 residents, including 35 children, would have to leave their homes on Tuesday between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. while Israeli forces conduct a military training exercise. Evicting Palestinian residents from their homes for military exercises is unlawful, B’Tselem said, adding that any evictions within occupied territory are only allowed when necessary for the welfare of the population or urgent military necessity.
Israel to build 1500 units for settlers in Occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC 12 Oct — Israeli sources have reported that bids for the construction of 793 new settlement units will be announced soon, as part of a plan to build 1500 new units in a number of Jewish settlements in the Jerusalem district, and around it … The bids are for the construction of 400 units in the Gilo settlement, 210 in Abu Ghneim (referred to as Har Homa), 183 in Pisgat Zeev, 149 in Efrat, 92 in Ma’ale Adumim, and 36 in Beitar Illit. Israeli weekly, Yerushaleim, stated that, until last August, Israel used what it called “Calm Freeze” of settlement activities and refrained from approving 2500 units in occupied Jerusalem, despite the fact that construction plans are ready. It said that the claimed freeze is meant to push direct peace talks with the Palestinians, but after the talks were resumed, Israel gradually approved hundreds of units in occupied Jerusalem. Those bids include 1500 new units in Ramat Shlomo settlement; one of the companies participating in the bid specializes in constructions meant for religious Jews.
West Bank village inhabited for 3,000 years faces eviction
Haaretz 13 Oct by Amira Hass — The High Court prepares to hand down a ruling that will seal the fate of the 130 residents of the village of Zanuta, an archaeological site in the West Bank — …Only the sheep and the goats in the village are unafraid these days, blissfully undisturbed as they go through their daily routine. However, their shepherds and the rest of the village – from children to adults – live each day in tension … If the story sounds familiar, that is no coincidence. As they did in other West Bank villages such as Susya, Jinba and Duqaiqa that are situated in Israeli-controlled Area C, the Civil Administration is demanding that the residents of Zanuta leave their homes and move elsewhere. They want them to pick up and move to the crowded enclaves in the West Bank’s Areas A and B, which are administered by the Palestinian Authority … Several hundred meters to the east of Zanuta lies the Meitarim industrial zone, established for the benefit of the settlers who live in the area. The same hand in the Civil Administration that approves the zoning plan for the Jews, fails to recognize the Palestinian village that has existed even before the establishment of the State of Israel. With nightfall, Zanuta is flooded with the harsh stench emitted by the fuel refinery in the industrial zone. The water and electric infrastructure that serves Meitarim does not reach the small Palestinian village. Instead, the village’s residents depend on two generators, cisterns that collect rainwater and water purchased from tankers at triple the normal rate because of the added cost of fuel.
Last minute move | | Hearing on demolition of Palestinian village postponed – again
Haaretz 14 Oct by Amira Hass — The State Prosecutor’s Office made a request Sunday to postpone a hearing at the High Court of Justice on the fate of a Palestinian village facing demolition, less than 24 hours before the judges were scheduled to convene. The High Court was slated to discuss Monday the state-ordered eviction of 130 residents of the village of Zanuta in the southern West Bank. The state was requested to provide a rebuttal for a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which is rallying against the order on the residents’ behalf. According to attorney Yitzhak Bart, the subcommittee supervising construction in the West Bank was unable to complete its response to the High Court due to an unspecified “error.” The judges had originally instructed the committee to submit its rebuttal as far back as in December 2012.
PHOTOS: A week in the demolished West Bank village of Khirbet al-Makhoul
Activestills 12 Oct — Israeli authorities razed the West Bank village of Khirbet al-Makhoul, located in the Jordan Valley, on September 16, 2013. The destruction caused nearly all of its 120 residents to relocate to the nearby village of Tannoun. Israeli authorities arrived two more times over the past month to destroy makeshift structures used to protect the herds from the beating sun. Many of the animals died of dehydration. Despite Israeli orders and unrelenting pressure, 20 villagers stayed behind to rebuild the village. Israeli activists arrived earlier this week for a solidarity visit.
Controversial bill struck down | | Netanyahu buries bill that would apply Israeli law to occupied West Bank
Haaretz 13 Oct by Barak Ravid — Bill that would have applied Israeli labor law protecting pregnant women to Palestinians as well as settlers could have been interpreted as annexation, critics warned; military order issued instead — The military order was issued within the existing framework of a military occupation and thus does not alter the status quo. Passing a law in the Knesset that would have applied to the territories could have been interpreted as annexation and would have “ramifications in the international realm,” Weinstein said in explaining his opposition to such a move.
link to www.haaretz.com
Restriction of movement
Video: Gazans protest for right of visiting Jerusalem
GAZA (Press TV) 12 Oct by Halla Alsafadi — “I am a Palestinian from Gaza, and I demand my right of praying in Al-Quds” is the name Gazan youth chose for their campaign … The main goals of the campaign are to stop the Israeli violations of the rights of Gazans to pray in Jerusalem Al Quds and to remind the international community of the continuous Israeli law violations despite the daily crises Gazans go through. Gazans protested today in front of the Israeli controlled Erez crossing, as it is the closest point that stands between them and their homelands. it is the only crossing that prevents them from praying in Jerusalem. Many Gazans say praying in Jerusalem and in Al- Aqsa has always remained a dream despite the short distance between them and the other occupied parts of their country.
A decade on, a boy, a ball, and a West Bank wall
NPR 13 Oct by Emily Harris — Ishaq Amer’s home was cut off from his Palestinian village when Israel erected a separation barrier around the West Bank. More important to the 13-year-old at the time was that he was cut off from his soccer buddies. An American boy saw a documentary about Ishaq’s family and wanted to know what happened to them — The movie, Offside, shows Ishaq Amer, who was then 13, kicking a soccer ball around by himself and waiting a lot — mostly for Israeli soldiers. At first the family could leave or come home only if soldiers unlocked a gate. Seeing the film almost a decade after it was shot, Simon wanted the rest of the story. “I’d like to know if his situation has gotten any better and I’d like to know if he is able to play soccer with his friends, and I’d like to know how his life is able to go on with a wall built on all sides of his house,” he told me. We found Ishaq, who is now 19 and recently became a dad. He lives in the village and works in construction. “I grew up, got married, I come and go,” he says. He visits his mother, father and younger brother regularly. They still live in the house on the Israeli side of the barrier. But now the family has a key to the gate. A road from the village dead ends at the yellow metal gate. On the left, concrete barriers rise more than 20 feet toward the sky. On the right is a mesh fence with electronic sensors. Barbed wire is strung above. Just inside, there is a paved road for Israeli military use only. Across that road is Ishaq’s family home. Behind the house, a double fence separates this Palestinian family from an Israeli settlement. Ishaq says he’s only partly glad he doesn’t live here anymore. “It’s true that where I’m living now, I’m freer. There’s no wall and no settlement,” he says. “But I’m separated from my family and I don’t like that. My feelings toward the wall are the same. It must go.”
‘The bra is a security threat’: Harassment and interrogation at Ben Gurion Airport
Mondoweiss 13 Oct — Anonymous is 21 years old and lives in Berkeley, California. Her father is a Jordanian Palestinian and her mother is a British Jew. The following trip took place in September, 2013.– …“You have friends and family here?” she asked. “Yes.” “Ok where are they?” “Tel Aviv and Jaffa” I said. She paused and cocked her eyebrows. “That’s the same place.” “No no, I said Tel Aviv and Jaffa” I told her, thinking she had not heard me correctly. “Yes that’s the same place.” What she was implying hit me. Here I was being told by a girl in uniform, very close to my age, that my town had no existence in the present, even as I had just left from it hours before arriving at the airport. The whole morning’s exchange culminated at this moment as a burning ember in my stomach. It was emblematic of the constant reminder that we Palestinians are being systematically forgotten and erased from public consciousness in every sphere of life, delegitimizing every root that we are attached to inside and outside of the Israeli state. Tel Aviv, some of it built on two prominent neighborhoods of my town, much of the rest built upon the orange groves that sustained it, was swallowing up my very presence, right there in the middle of the airport.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Witnesses: Israeli forces raid Jenin village, injure dozens
JENIN (Ma‘an) 13 Oct — Seven Israeli military vehicles entered the Palestinian village of Jaba‘ in the northern West Bank district of Jenin on Sunday, eyewitnesses said. During the raid, clashes broke out between local Palestinians and Israeli forces in the Ein al-Sharqiya neighborhood. Palestinians threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces who responded by firing tear gas grenades and sound bombs toward Palestinians and their properties, witnesses said … No detentions were reported. Asked why the Israeli military vehicles had entered the village, the army spokeswoman responded that forces often drive around the area.
Woman run over by settler’s vehicle, sustains critical wounds
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 12 Oct – A Palestinian woman sustained serious injuries Saturday morning after she was run over by a settler’s vehicle in the central West Bank village of Marda north of Salfit. A Ma‘an reporter highlighted that the 57-year-old woman was evacuated to a hospital in Israel.
Continued settler harassment and international arrested in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 13 Oct by Khalil Team — One international was arrested after settlers fenced off the Asseh family home for a second day in a row in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida area. Yesterday, early Saturday morning, settlers tied a fence across the exit of the Asseh family home with a wire gate to prevent them from leaving for a second day. After the family and internationals removed the gate, settler children threw rocks, water and water mixed with faeces at them. Two Israeli soldiers stood close and did nothing. The police arrived but also took no action despite being informed of what had happened. Within an hour of the Asseh family and the internationals dispersing, the gate had been reassembled and reinforced. One adult male settler stood over the gate and prevented anyone from passing through or disassembling it. After 20 minutes the Asseh family and internationals finally managed to remove the gate despite repeated physical attacks by the settler. A number of internationals sustained minor injuries. During this, soldiers continued to stand by and do nothing.
A family in Qaryut was stopped by Israeli soldiers from harvesting their olive trees
QARYUT, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 14 Oct by Nablus Team — Yesterday, Sunday 13th October, Palestinian farmers and international activists were picking olives in Qaryut when it was observed that two members of settler security from the illegal settlements of Eli and Shilo were nearby. The settler security then attempted to intimidate the olive farmers, before soldiers arrived and forced both the Palestinians and internationals from the land with a supposed military order … The farmer and internationals then moved to another area as the soldiers had said, the day before, it would be safe for harvesting. Suddenly that area had also become a closed military zone. When the commander was asked for some justification for this order, he showed a map printed on paper without any official stamp or signature and refused to allow any photographs of the map to be taken. This behaviour from the Israeli army was not unsurprising as on Saturday 12th October, also in Qaryut, Israeli soldiers forced the same farmer from his land after nearby settlement security arrived.
30 settlers attack Palestinian car near Nablus
JENIN (Ma‘an) 14 Oct — A group of 30 settlers attacked a vehicle carrying three Palestinians near Nablus on Monday. Nasser Hamarsheh, 60, his cousin Montaser and an international guest were traveling to the former site of Homesh settlement northwest of Nablus when 30 settlers hiding behind olive trees attacked the car with stones and sticks. The car managed to escape the attack and an Israeli military patrol went to investigate the site of the incident. In September, Israel’s military said that land confiscated in 1978 to build the illegal settlement of Homesh would be returned to its Palestinian owners. The land, which belonged to the village of Burqa, was used to build the settlement, which was evacuated in 2005. Palestinians say that armed Jewish settlers have been trickling back to try and reestablish a permanent presence there.
2 Palestinians confess to Jordan Valley murder
Ynet 13 Oct by Yoav Zitun — …A Shin Bet statement said that three residents of Deir Samet were arrested on suspicion of murder. Uda Farid Taleb, 18, and Bashir Ahmed Uda Kharoub, 21, confessed to the charges. The suspects said they had visited Ofer’s house some two weeks ago. This was in line with information provided by Ofer’s wife Monique, who said that she and her husband noticed Palestinian youths outside their house earlier this month. Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that defense officials estimate that the murder was not a terror attack and was likely criminally motivated. Initially, the IDF and Shin Bet believed the murder was a terror attack, based on indications from the scene and the testimony of Ofer’s wife who said she and her husband were assaulted by Arabs. Security forces are now looking into the possibility that the murder was the result of a botched up plot by Palestinians to steal property from the vacation village of Brosh HaBika.
Tadhamun: Israeli attacks on Palestinian schools escalate
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 13 Oct — Tadhamun Foundation for Human Rights states that the recent weeks have seen a remarkable escalation in the attacks of the Israeli soldiers and settlers on Palestinian schools and students. The Foundation says in a statement on Sunday that these attacks include raiding the schools and destroying their contents, as well as detaining and assaulting students. It points out that the first of these attacks took place four months ago when the occupation bulldozers demolished the walls and the garden of Azzun Atma School in Qalqilya, for the expansion of the separation wall. Tadhamun adds that last week has witnessed a remarkable increase in these attacks, when dozens of settlers stormed the Jalud School in Nablus, threw stones in the classrooms and smashed 6 vehicles that belong to the teachers. Hundreds of female students from Khader School in Bethlehem and Beit Dajan School in Nablus suffered from suffocation as the Israeli soldiers fired tear gas grenades at their schools.
Israel army reforms child arrest methods
AFP 14 Oct — Israel’s army has agreed to test alternative treatment for Palestinian children it arrests in the West Bank following international pressure to introduce reforms, the UN Children’s Fund said on Monday. UNICEF, which in a March 2013 report described mistreatment of children in Israeli prisons as “widespread,” said in a statement that Israel was taking steps towards addressing that report’s recommendations. The measures being tested include the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) issuing summons for children instead of arresting them at night at their homes. And a military order in April reduced from four days to 24 hours the amount of time a 12-13-year-old can be detained until being brought before a military judge. But UNICEF stressed in a progress report published Monday that “violations are ongoing,” citing 19 sample cases of alleged abuse of teenage boys in the West Bank in the second quarter of 2013. In all cases, the boys suffered physical violence, including beating, kicking and slapping, while in 17 cases they were verbally abused. UNICEF’s March report, entitled “Children in Israeli Military Detention,” said Israel was the only country in the world where children were systematically tried in military courts and gave evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”
IOF arrests 16 citizens in West Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 14 Oct — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday arrested more than 16 citizens in different parts in the West Bank. An Israeli infantry unit and a number of military patrols raided neighborhoods in the ‘Aroub refugee camp north of al-Khalil and arrested a 19-year-old youth. In the town of Yatta south of al-Khalil, the Israeli soldiers arrested an elderly man, after raiding his home and vandalizing its contents. The IOF arrested three Palestinians in the villages of Shwika and ‘Anabta in Tulkarem, and detained two others after raiding their homes in the town of Beta near Nablus. Seven other Palestinians were arrested in villages in Ramallah during raids by the IOF.
Families, students protest in Hebron against PA arrests
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Oct — The families of students detained by Palestinian Authority security forces held a demonstration in the center of Hebron on Sunday to call for their release. Fifteen students were arrested and are being held for their political activity at Palestine Polytechnic University, demonstrators said. PA security forces said that the students have been in custody for 15 days for investigation, without providing further details. Twenty-two PPU students held a sit-in on campus to protest the arrests.
Gaza’s first ‘prison baby’ on way after jailed Palestinian smuggles out sperm
GAZA CITY (The Guardian) 13 Oct by Harriet Sherwood — Hana al-Za’anin and her husband, Tamer, have not set eyes on each other, let alone had physical contact, for almost seven years. But the young Palestinian couple are delighted to be expecting their first child in January. The baby — a boy already named Hassan — is not a modern-day miracle but the result of medical science combined with old-fashioned subterfuge. He was conceived after Tamer’s sperm was smuggled out of an Israeli prison, across a stringent military checkpoint into Gaza, and impregnated into an egg harvested from Hana at a fertility clinic in Gaza City. The resulting embryo was transplanted into her uterus.Hassan will be the first “prison baby” born in Gaza, but he will join at least three infants delivered in the West Bank as a result of a rapidly growing sperm-smuggling phenomenon, driven by women desperate for babies.
Gaza under blockade
Israel cuts off all civilian building supplies to Gaza
JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 Oct — Israel on Sunday froze shipments of building materials to the Gaza Strip after discovering an alleged “terror tunnel” entering its borders from the adjoining territory, a defense official said. “Due to security reasons, (the army) decided to stop for now the transfer of building materials into Gaza,” Guy Inbar told AFP. Inbar, spokesman for the Israeli defense ministry unit responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, did not say how long the ban would remain in force. Last month Israel permitted [very limited] delivery of cement and steel for use by the private sector into the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007, when Israel banned their transfer as part of a larger economic blockade imposed on the Strip at the time.
IDF blames Hamas for ‘terror tunnel’ from Gaza to Israel
photos, map] Times of Israel 13 Oct by Gavriel Fiske & Mitch Ginsburg — An extensive subterranean passageway leading from Gaza into Israeli territory was the work of Hamas, which used some 500 tons of cement earmarked for civilian building in the Strip in the tunnel’s construction, the IDF said Sunday … Security forces last week discovered the terminus of the tunnel some 300 meters inside Israel proper, near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the western Negev, and took several days to render the passage unusable. The IDF said Sunday it had been aware of the tunnel effort for some time, but had not previously found its exit point … The tunnel, which began in Abbasan al-Saghira, a farming village near Khan Yunis, was described by officials as being 18 meters deep and 1,700 meters long. Officials estimate it took around a year to construct. Contrary to initial media reports, the IDF said, the tunnel did not end near an Israeli kindergarten; nor was it filled with explosives.
An underground walk toward Gaza (Spectacular tunnel photos]
Times of Israel 13 Oct by Mitch Ginsburg — From a guerrilla warfare perspective, the smooth sandy plateau near the Gaza border, shorn of vegetation and buildings and devoid of topographic undulations, is a nightmare. There are few places to hide; nearly everything can be seen from above. Hence the tunnels. And the one the IDF unveiled on Sunday — 5,500 feet long and 60 feet deep –was indicative of both the scope of Hamas’s subterranean warfare operations and the undimmed devotion of its forces to armed resistance against Israel … [Brig. Gen. Miki] Edelstein revealed that the IDF had spotted the tunnel from the very beginning of its creation and that through a process requiring “the sort of determination I wish I could detail,” had charted its path and exposed it … Calling the terrorists’ plans “ingenious,” Edelstein said that Hamas had used 500 tons of Israeli-supplied cement to build the tunnel, that there were others like it, and that their construction, crossing into Israeli territory, constituted “an extreme violation of the ceasefire,” which, he contended, Hamas had requested after Operation Pillar of Defense in November. Shortly afterward, he led a group of reporters down a sandy slope and into the darkness of the tunnel. The structure, supported by 25,000 U-shaped concrete pieces, plunged deep on the Israeli side of the border, apparently to avoid detection. Black electrical wires ran along the southern wall, as did a communications cable. [Israeli shooting of farmers hundreds of meters from the border is not, of course, a violation of the ceasefire]
Israeli cement, cables, candy wrappers: Inside the tunnel
Ynet 13 Oct by Yoav Zitun — IDF reports uncovered tunnel on Gaza border reached depth of 22 meters, dug over two years, never completed. ‘Builders, planners – everyone will pay the price,’ major general promises — …Bags of construction material, some of it Egyptian-made, show that the construction was not over, and it is unclear how far into Israel the Palestinians planned to go. The builders inscribed the walls with their names. Soldiers found various edibles and wrappings inside the tunnel, which testify to the long time the builders most likely spent inside: Sausages, chocolate wrappers dated to June, and a dairy-beverage which expired at 22/6/2013. The tunnel was not exposed by accident, as in previous cases, but due to Gaza Division and Southern Command estimations and ground reports from patrols. In January 2013, several weeks after Operation Pillar of Defense ended, a large tunnel collapsed in Israeli territory near the border fence as a result of rain-induced floods in the area. IDF troops were called in to the area, and discovered the tunnel was part of a vast system of burrows, thereby estimating that many other tunnels might be stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The Gaza Brigade set out to trace any other tunnels Gazans may have built, utilizing intelligence and technological tools. Some two weeks ago, engineering troops had started scouring a wheat field between Ein Hashlosha and the border fence. Following a thorough exploratory operation of several hundred meters, the troops determined a tunnel was underneath the field.
IOF use sapper vehicles to search for tunnels near Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 14 Oct — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday evening started to make a sweep along the perimeter fence east of the Gaza Strip using specially equipped vehicles in order to look for any underground tunnels that might have been dug by the Palestinian resistance. The search campaign took place after the IOF found a tunnel extending from Gaza to an Israeli settlement in the 1948 occupied land. The IOF claimed that the tunnel was intended for carrying out a commando attack in the settlement. A field ranger from the resistance told Quds Press that three Israeli vehicles from the military engineering unit equipped with radars were sweeping the eastern borderline of Gaza. He said he noticed that those vehicles were slowly moving and stopping when suspecting something, especially in rugged and bushy areas.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Palestinian old woman injured in Egyptian shelling near borders
GAZA (PIC) 13 Oct — An old Palestinian woman was injured when Egyptian forces shelled the tunnels area on the borders with the Gaza Strip on Saturday night. Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, the health ministry spokesman, said that 63-year-old Asmahan Abu Taha was slightly injured in her head and taken to hospital for treatment. He said that the old woman was hit with flying glass after the Egyptian shelling shattered windows in her home in Rafah. The Egyptian army has been destroying tunnels between Sinai and Gaza Strip over the past three months and intensified raids on the border area over the past few days at the pretext of destroying those tunnels.
Khudari: One million people in Gaza are living on aid
GAZA (PIC) 14 Oct — MP Jamal Khudari, the head of the Popular Committee against the Siege, confirmed that more than one million people in the Gaza Strip are living on aid from international, Arab and Islamic institutions. Khudari stressed in a statement on Sunday that this number is increasing due to the Israeli occupation and the blockade.
Video – Gaza: IDF tank shield accidentally sets off explosives
Ynet 10 Oct by Yoav Zitun — IDF tank defense system “Windbreaker” was accidentally set off Thursday in the northern Gaza Strip in the direction of a nearby military vehicle. The reason was most likely a misidentification of the vehicle as hostile, prompting the tank to set off explosives. The explosives hit an open area, and no injuries were reported. Following the incident, the brigade ceased activity, and technical teams are looking into the tank systems … Earlier Thursday, a tank accident at an IDF training base in the south left two soldiers mildly injured. Damage was caused to the tank, and the circumstances of the event are under investigation.
Rafah crossing opens for limited travel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Egyptian security authorities decided to open the Rafah land crossing on Saturday for passengers traveling back and forth from Egypt to Gaza. The crossing operated only for humanitarian cases, ill people and students. Some 403 people were able to cross, and Egypt allowed 50 cement trucks to enter Gaza.
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
Group: 200 Palestinians aboard Malta shipwreck boat
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Oct — A Palestinian group in Syria said Sunday that over 200 Palestinians were aboard a boat which capsized off Malta’s coast on Friday. The Action Group for Palestinians in Syria said that at least 200 Palestinian refugees fleeing conflict in the country were aboard the boat, which left the Libyan port of Zwara on Thursday. Some 70 Palestinian refugees survived the shipwreck and are now in Malta, with the rest unaccounted for, the action group said … Some of the 206 known survivors of the shipwreck said Libyan militiamen shot wildly at them, leaving several people dead and causing the vessel to take on water and sink … Molhake al-Roarsan, 22, interviewed by Italy’s La Stampa daily, said three people had bullet wounds in the arms and legs. He said he thought the attacks were related to a dispute between different groups of human traffickers.
Ramallah cancels Eid festivities in mourning for ship victims
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Oct – The governor or Ramallah, Laila Ghannam, and the city’s scout movement announced Monday cancellation of the traditional scouts’ procession planned to be held in the city on Tuesday for Eid al-Adha holiday in mourning of the Palestinian refugees who died when their ship sank in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday. The refugees were escaping the war in Syria and on their way for safe place in Europe when their ship sank not far near the shores of Malta. Ghannam said a period of mourning has been declared for the scores of Palestinian men, women and children who died in that tragic accident.
PFLP-GC: Thousands from Yarmouk camp have fled to Sweden
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Twenty-three thousand Palestinian refugees from Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria have fled to Sweden since the war started, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command said Saturday. PFLP-GC military leader Khalid Jibril said in a statement that the suffering in Yarmouk has been largely due to the presence of Syrian opposition forces within the camp. “More than a third of the camp is under the control of the opposition,” he said. The PFLP-GC, a militant organization that has been operating in Syria for decades, has been an active force on the side of the Assad regime since 2012. Separately, Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Ma‘an Wednesday that Yarmouk’s population of 250,000 has dwindled to 18,000 after two and a half years of conflict in Syria.
War crimes and criminals
Israeli troops fired from air in 2010 ship raid, Turkish court told
ISTANBUL (Reuters) 10 Oct by Ece Toksabay — An anti-war activist told a Turkish court on Thursday that Israeli commandos opened fire from a helicopter during a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship three years ago, countering Israeli assertions that the soldiers had acted in self defense. Israeli marines stormed the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians, on May 31, 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip. Nine Turks were killed in clashes on board. The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, two of Washington’s strategic allies in the Middle East, and relations remain fraught. The trial in absentia of four retired Israeli commanders, including the ex-head of the army, opened in Istanbul last November and resumed on Thursday with testimony from those who were aboard and relatives of the dead. Israel has dismissed it as a political “show trial”. Kenneth O’Keefe, an Irish-Palestinian former U.S. marine turned anti-war activist who was on board the aid ship, told the court that Israeli soldiers had started shooting from the helicopter, killing several people.
Former Navy chief Marom detained at Heathrow
Ynet 14 Oct by Aviel Mengazi — Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eli Marom, who served as the commander of the Israeli Navy during Operation Cast Lead and during the raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel, was held for questioning at around noon Monday at London’s Heathrow Airport upon his arrival in Britain, Ynet has learned. Marom was held for a short time, during which he phoned the Justice Ministry in Israel. The threat of being arrested in Europe has concerned senior Israeli military officers and politicians for a number of years now in light of lawsuits filed by pro-Palestinian organizations, although in most cases, at least in Britain, the measures taken against Israeli officials have been largely symbolic.
Resource: War crimes in Israeli law
972mag 14 Oct — Israel has not yet enacted a law defining war crimes, and the military courts judge soldiers who violate the rules of law according to “regular” offenses. Yesh Din’s new report presents the need for Israeli legislation on this subject. The approach currently applied in Israel argues that ordinary domestic legislation is adequate for the prosecution of defendants for actions constituting war crimes. The report reviews international models for legislation criminalizing war crimes and discusses the existing provisions in Israeli law, the policy of the military prosecution, and the rulings of military courts.
How Israel increases its odds of international prosecution
972blog 14 Oct by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — When the criminal records of IDF war criminals are expunged, the government puts them in danger of being tried abroad — Last week Yesh Din published a new report, ”Lacuna: War Crimes in Israeli Law and Court Martial Rulings.” It deals with the way the military justice system handles offenses that are in effect war crimes. One of the issues discussed is the criminal records of soldiers convicted of offenses of this kind. In 2011 the Knesset enacted Amendment No. 61 of the Military Justice Act. It’s pretty complicated, but can be summed up by saying that if a soldier was convicted of an offense in a military court martial, and the court sentenced him to no more than two months imprisonment, his criminal record would be erased in five years.
Solidarity / BDS
Jordanian band tour runs into political bumps
HuffPost 9 Oct by Daoud Kuttab — This week, a Jordanian band went on a tour that includes the Golan Heights, Nazareth, Haifa, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. But the popular music group which is rated as one of the top five in the region faced a concerted social media and online attack as having participated in a politically unacceptable act. Because the band members received visas from the Israeli embassy in Amman the bank was attacked as having contributed to normalising relations with the Israelis … The online and social media campaign was launched by a number of young Jordanians and Palestinians, including some who are citizens of Israel .In an article published on a number of progressive sites, the writer says the band is welcome to Palestine only after it is liberated. A hashtag “welcome after it is liberated” also went viral as attacks against the music group mushroomed
Rutgers students face ‘bias’ probe for flyers criticizing Israeli home demolitions
Electronic Intifada 14 Oct by Ali Abunimah — Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, is under investigation by campus administrators after complaints of “bias.” One Zionist group has alleged that SJP specifically targeted the dorm rooms of Jewish students on the New Brunswick, New Jersey campus with mock “eviction notices” designed to draw attention to Israel’s practice of demolishing Palestinian homes. But this claim has been contradicted by the university in a statement to The Electronic Intifada. A campus rabbi has even demanded that SJP be “disbanded” by the university to set an “example.”
Murder victim’s family: Detectives mocked him because he’s Arab
Ynet 14 Oct by Hassan Shaalan — Officers investigating murder of Ramla man make light of his death during WhatsApp chat. Victim’s sister: They should be trying to catch the killer — …Referring to Hindi’s murder, the detectives wrote, among other things, “good riddance” and “Lol. Yitgadal Veyitkadash.” Yitgadal Veyitkadash is part of the kadish prayer for the dead. On Sunday Israel Police announced that the detectives would be prosecuted, and the victim’s relatives promised they would not remain silent. “I guess police officers are bored,” Ala’s sister Lulu said at the family home in Ramla on Sunday.
Police arrest two Israelis inciting against Palestinians in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 Oct — Police arrested Monday two Israeli women who were distributing racist and inciting material against the Palestinians outside Lions Gate, one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem, according to witnesses.
They said police stopped the women and took them away after they were found distributing material from the racist Kahana movement. Police said the women were from a West Bank settlement and that they were later released on bail
‘May you be raped in your grave.’ says new darling of Israel’s ruling Likud party
Electronic Intifada 13 Oct by Ali Abinumah — May Golan has been a regular presence at Tel Aviv rallies where Israeli politicians whip Jewish mobs into a frenzy of hatred against asylum-seekers and migrants from countries in Africa. But she is no mere passive bystander. Golan, megaphone in hand, often incites hatred herself against Africans, accusing them of rape, murder, crime and of destroying the “Jewish state.” …Golan was also present at the 17 September rally, captured on video by David Sheen, at which Africans were called “slaves” and children chanted “The people demand the expulsion of the Sudanese!” to the delight of their adult guardians (Golan is visible at 3:55).
Jews, Arabs work to resist racists municipal election campaign
972blog 11 Oct by Dov Caller & Alan Traister — “If the Arabs keep coming, Jews will leave and we will even end up with an Arab mayor. The attempt to elect representatives of the Arab community to the city council shows that Karmiel is on the way to becoming a mixed city. Karmiel of 2013 is fighting for its life as a Jewish and Zionist city.” – Attorney Koron Noimark, Chairman of the Likud election committee. It’s happening again. Every four years, when municipal elections come around, the genie of nationalistic fear and hatred is let out of the bottle. In Karmiel, this is the time when Arab migration to the city becomes the main topic of conversation. A typical letter to the editor reads: “Here, the country grants them all their rights, security, stability, and a good life while they return nothing to the country — their own country — nothing.”
Political and other news
Israel rethinking release of pre-Oslo prisoners
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) updated 13 Oct – The Israeli government will hold a special session late Monday to re-examine plans to release a second group of veteran Palestinian prisoners in custody before the Oslo Accord of 1994. Ma‘an has learned that senior officials decided to re-examine the decision following calls from the right in Israel to cancel the release of pre-Oslo prisoners after two Israeli soldiers were killed in the occupied West Bank. The right-wing Israelis, who opposed the decision from the beginning, maintain that “punitive” procedures should be taken against the Palestinians after the killing of two Israeli soldiers in separate incidents. However, the Israeli army’s chief of staff Benny Gants has said that the killing of Israeli soldiers would not affect the government’s commitment to release veteran prisoners, a source told Ma‘an
Palestinians to continue boycott of Jerusalem elections
Al-Monitor 11 Oct by Daoud Kuttab — Municipal elections in most countries are not a big deal. But the Jerusalem municipal elections are a big deal for Palestinians, who have boycotted every election held in the city since 1967. Ever since the Israelis occupied east Jerusalem and unilaterally declared that the city’s two sides are now a “united city,” Palestinians have refused to field candidates or vote for the city council and mayor. This has resulted in Jewish Israelis continuously gaining every seat on the council of a city with between 250,000 to 350,000, depending on whether Palestinian Jerusalemites on the other side of the wall are included in the count … In similar struggles around the world, local communities have often chosen to avoid or boycott national general elections while agreeing to participate in local elections, which have less of a political connotation and more of a service orientation. Islamist movements in Israel and Jordan, for example, have participated in local polls but boycotted national ones. But in Jerusalem, everything from picking up garbage to the sewage system to schools and hospitals is political. Discrimination in planning, building and land expropriation has been thoroughly investigated and documented by human rights organizations.
Radiation experts confirm polonium on Arafat clothing
PARIS (AFP) 14 Oct — Swiss radiation experts have confirmed they found traces of polonium on clothing used by Yasser Arafat which “support the possibility” the veteran Palestinian leader was poisoned. In a report published by The Lancet at the weekend, the team provide scientific details to media statements made in 2012 that they had found polonium on Arafat’s belongings. Arafat died in France on November 11 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow’s request. His remains were exhumed in November 2012 and samples taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned — a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. That investigation is ongoing, conducted separately by teams in France, Switzerland and Russia.
EU says Palestinian Authority lost 2.5 billion euros of aid
Middle East Monitor 14 Oct — The Sunday Times newspaper in the UK has obtained a draft report by the EU that underlines the concern that the Palestinian Authority has lost 2.5 billion euros in aid over the last four years. The newspaper obtained the unpublished draft report from the European Court, an official EU institution based in Luxembourg, and disclosed its contents on Sunday. According to the report, the EU transferred a total of 2.5 billion euros in aid between 2008 and 2012, but it does not know where the funds were directed. The newspaper revealed that the EU recently sent a delegation to occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to investigate the way aid is being handled. The investigators confirmed, according to the report, the absence of any administrative procedures to prevent the exploitation of aid and expressed a real fear that the funds have been “misspent, squandered or lost to corruption”. The investigators drew comparisons to similar experiences of corruption and the poor utilization of aid money in Egypt, where a total amount of one billion euros has disappeared over the last six years
Canadian pair described ‘shared trauma’ of ordeal in Egyptian prison
Guardian 11 Oct by Patrick Kingsley — John Greyson and Tarek Loubani were beaten and kept in cell crammed with prisoners before finally being released this week — Shortly after arriving at Egypt‘s notorious Tora prison, the Canadian film-maker John Greyson was beaten and kicked so hard that for the next week “there was a single bootprint perfectly etched on my back”. His companion Tarek Loubani – a Canadian-Palestinian doctor – was subjected to the same brutal treatment. “We both went foetal to try to protect ourselves,” remembers Greyson. “I was in pain for about a week.”
In show of military might, Israel drills long-range air force attack
Times of Israel 10 Oct by Gavriel Fiske — In a display of muscle-flexing to Tehran ahead of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Israel made a rare announcement Thursday that its air force had conducted a series of drills in which fighter aircraft practiced midair refueling and a simulated strike on a distant target. A video, unprecedentedly uploaded to YouTube by the IDF Thursday, shows F-15 and F-16 fighter jets refueling midair over the water. It was published shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a series of European TV interviewers, warning the EU not to ease sanctions against Iran.
Report: Gaza hacker publishes details of 5,000 Israelis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Oct — A hacker from the Gaza Strip on Sunday published personal details for over 5,000 Israeli citizens online, Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported. The hacker, known as GaZa HaCHer, published the identity numbers, personal phone numbers and addresses of 5,000 Israelis, claiming he did it out of boredom. He attached a message saying ‘Enjoy’ with the information.
Opinion / Analysis
A dangerous illusion / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 Oct — The illusion that Israeli settlers can live peacefully in the land of apartheid was shattered with the murder of Seraiah ‘Yaya’ Ofer — …Around the tranquil resort, one can find the most definitive evidence of the apartheid regime maintained in the occupied territories. It is precisely here, in the ostensibly all-Israeli valley – the valley of consensus – where the most repressive and explicit exploitation and oppression are found. It’s enough to look around at the innumerable earthen embankments created by Israel in order to choke and imprison the shepherds; at the hundreds of signs warning of military firing zones whose purpose is to scare and drive out their inhabitants; at the checkpoint – one of the cruelest checkpoints in the West Bank, which until recently blocked Palestinian traffic into the Jordan Valley; at the demolition orders and the ruined villages; the shepherds left with no roof for themselves or their livestock; the thousands of people living here in abject conditions and without access roads, electricity or running water. And then to look at the settlements, at the green groves and vineyards of the settlers … Thursday’s fatal terror attack is a reminder of the real context. However unfair and inhumane it is, it does not justify murder, but anyone who thinks that ranchers can go on forever marketing vacations, grapes and dates in this land of apartheid, that they can sleep safely and peaceful while all this is happening around them, is living in a dangerous illusion. Unfortunately, this illusion was shattered on Thursday, and in the most vicious possible manner. Remember, the white ranchers in South Africa also thought it would go on forever.
Otherwise occupied | | The dark knights of the Israeli army: Are soldiers teaming up with settlers? / Amira Hass
Haaretz 14 Oct — Were sheep really almost stolen from the illegal outpost of Havat Maon – or did its residents use soldiers to harass residents of the nearby village of a-Tawani? — On Sunday, October 6, residents of the unauthorized and illegal West Bank outpost of Havat Maon suspected that someone was trying to steal sheep from the flock owned by Yehoshafat Tor … The item went on to explain, “Despite the looming suspicion that this was a criminal act, Israeli army troops decided to initiate the procedure known as ‘Dark Knight 3,’ pointing to the suspicion that an armed terrorist had infiltrated the community. Nearby communities were also alerted that an infiltration might have taken place.” At nightfall, the dark knights raided the nearby Palestinian village of a-Tawani, whose olive trees are vandalized at least once a month (as of press time, the last time this happened was October 4). The police and the army never catch the vandals. This is the village whose residents are frequently stopped by certain Israelis from taking their animals out to pasture while the army stands idly by or actively stops them as well. This is the village where children cannot attend school without an escort, either from the army or international peace activists, for fear of being attacked by Havat Maon residents.
A single flash bomb got the village’s inhabitants out of their homes, and they discovered settlers in their village … When the settlers began walking toward the school, the residents followed. “We asked them why they had entered the village, and they didn’t answer,” Mahmoud Salman told Eitay Mack, an independent lawyer. Then the villagers saw soldiers with the settlers. “We asked the soldiers why there were settlers in the village, but they didn’t answer,” Salman said. At that point, the soldiers began searching homes. Salman’s father, Salman Rabai, 68, heard knocking so loud that it shook the front door, and the soldiers shouting “Open up, open up!” Rabai, who describes himself as ill and elderly, limped toward the door, leaning on his cane. When he opened the door, the dark knights aimed their rifles at him. They kept the weapons trained on him as he limped, on their orders, to every door in the house and opened each one. “I asked them what they wanted,” Rabai told Mack, but they did not answer. They touched nothing in the house; they only looked. But that was enough to make Rabai’s 3-year-old granddaughter tremble with fear for a long time afterward.
How a Nazi plan shaped early Israel
Times of Israel 11 Oct by Joshua Davidovich — A plan used in the 1950s to build a system of towns and villages in the northern Negev was based on a theory developed in the Third Reich, to be used for populating an Eastern Europe cleansed of Jews. Did Zionist planners not know, or not care? — …Describing Christaller’s plan for the Warthegau area of Poland, Trevor Barnes, a geography professor at the University of British Columbia, told this reporter recently that “it involved creating this empty space without people and then refilling it with a Germanized population… If that’s what happened in Israel, it’s repeating exactly the same narrative, the same set of relations as there were in Nazi Germany.
Palestinians do have options for change and resistance / Mazin Qumsiyeh
Ma‘an 6 Oct — …What are our options outside of sloganism or defeatism? That is to say, outside of current policies of endless talk or endless negotiations while weak? The other options are not magical nor new; many have already articulated them in clear visions in countless studies. Why not revive the original charter of PLO to liberate all of Palestine? Why not democratize the PLO to really represent the 12 million Palestinians around the world? Why not refuse to suppress resistance and instead engage in massive popular resistance throughout historic Palestine? Why not engage in resistance in areas outside of Palestine? Why not target Zionist companies and interests world wide by economic boycotts and even sabotage? Why not expose and confront the network of Zionist lobbyists that support war crimes and support Zionist control? Why not engage in educational campaigns and media campaigns and lobbying around the world? Why not build alliances with powerful states that could provide protection or support, like China, Russia or Brazil? Why not promote boycotts, divestment, and sanctions? Why not work through international agencies including the International Court of Justice to bring Israeli war criminals to justice and challenge membership of Israel in the UN and all its agencies? Why not do all the above and even more?
Muzzling discussion of the Nakba and Palestinian history
Muzzlewatch 12 Oct by Donna Nevel — We know all too well how adamantly pro-Israel forces in the U.S. Jewish community and Israel consider certain conversations and actions critical of Israel “beyond the pale,” and how blatant their hasbara (pro-Israel propaganda) attempts are to silence and suppress them. Although the parameters (of what is “acceptable”) may change at times, what doesn’t seem to change is how hasbara intensifies as efforts to reveal historical and current truths and demand change become more visible and powerful. Most recently, Al Jazeera reports that right wing groups have tried to censor schoolbooks and silence organizations that make visible to the Israeli public the Nakba, an Arabic word meaning catastrophe that refers to the forced dispossession and expulsion and of over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and land before, during, and after the creation of the Jewish state.