Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel to issue tenders for new settlement units
IMEMC 25 Oct — Israeli sources have reported that the Israeli Housing Ministry is planning to issue tenders for the construction of hundreds of  units in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, this coming week. The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted a government official stating that the announcement of the bids will take place as Israel releases 25 Palestinian political prisoners, part of the second stage of detainees’ release to boost direct talks with the Palestinians. The new constructions will be in major settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem. Haaretz said that the official claimed that the understandings mediated by the United States leading to the resumption of direct peace talks with the Palestinians “did not include any commitment from Tel Aviv to freeze settlement construction activities.” … According to the paper, Netanyahu is trying to appease the settlers, especially right-wingers, as they will be holding massive protests against the release of Palestinian political prisoners.
PLO denies prisoner release linked to more settlement construction
JERUSALEM (AFP) 26 Oct — The PLO denied Saturday that a mooted Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners is part of understandings in peace talks under which Israel would be allowed to build more settlements in exchange. The media said this week that Israeli ministers were to meet Sunday to approve the release of a second batch of Palestinian prisoners under the terms of the renewed peace talks. Public radio said that, in tandem with confirming the release, Israeli authorities would announce a new swathe of settler housing to be built in the occupied West Bank or annexed east Jerusalem. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a text message Thursday that such continued construction was part of “understandings” reached with the Palestinians and the Americans ahead of the renewal of talks. “Israel will continue in the coming months to announce building in the settlement blocs and in Jerusalem,” he wrote. “Both the Americans and the Palestinians were aware in advance of these understandings.” But Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), denied such understandings exist. “Establishing a link between settlements and the freeing of prisoners goes against all the undertakings made,” he told AFP. It would “create a very dangerous situation that we would not accept at any cost.” He added that the United States, which is sponsoring the talks, had actually “promised that it would manage to reduce Israeli settlement activities to a minimum.
Israeli forces hand out demolition orders in Jerusalem village
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli municipality staff on Sunday handed stop-work orders to several houses in the Wadi al-Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan, a Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli police and the Israeli municipality staff raided Wadi al-Hilweh and took photos of houses. Jawad Siam, director of the Wadi al-Hilweh center, said that Israeli municipality staff handed six demolition orders to Palestinian houses and a grocery store. The municipality staff claimed that they properties were built without licenses. The families that received the demolish orders are the Qaraen, Siam, Ghaith, al-Taweel, and Eweda families. Siam added that Siam’s house was built in the 1990s and there are seven relatives living in it. The house is 50 square meters wide, while the second is 65 square meters. It also contains seven relatives. Qaraen’s house consists of three apartments, 13 people live in it, including 3 children. The building was built in 1998. Israeli forces imposed expensive penalties on the family. The family tried to apply for a license, but all their attempts failed….
Israelis raze agricultural land near Nablus to expand settlements
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli bulldozers razed Palestinian agricultural lands in the village of Jalud south of Nablus on Sunday morning, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli forces bulldozed the land due to their proximity to the two Israeli settlements of Shiloh and Shvut Rachel. Settlers had been bulldozing lands in the Ras Mwaies area south of Jalud village since the early morning, Daghlas said. The Israeli forces plan to expand the nearby Israeli settlements on the destroyed Palestinian fields, he added. The razed lands belong to Palestinian villagers Tawfiq Abdullah al-Haj Mohammad as well as Mohammad and Ahmad Abed al-Rahim Hajj Mohammad.
Christian Zionists help settler-farmers take over Palestinian land
Mondoweiss 27 Oct by Allison Deger — Evangelical Christians from the U.S. are living and working at Jewish settlements in the West Bank for weeks at a time. The Christians see Jewish expansion in the area as fulfilling biblical prophecy, though the settlements are a contentious issue between Israelis and Palestinians … A report published the Israeli NGO Kerem Navot [PDF] explains “that behind the widespread takeover of land throughout the West Bank for agricultural purposes stands a distinctive territorial rationale: in comparison with the construction of buildings in the West Bank settlements, staking a claim to agricultural areas requires few resources and little time.” In the hills near Nablus there are settler olive orchards and vineyards, and most of these, Kerem Navot points out, are planted in land grabbed outside of an Israeli state order by the civilians themselves. Similarly in the Jordan valley, settlers comprise just under ten percent of the population, but 50 percent of the entire region is cultivated by their crops.
New huge housing units built in Salfit settlement
SALFIT (PIC) 26 Oct — Jewish settlers in Ariel settlement built on Palestinian land in Salfit province have built new huge housing units on farming land owned by Palestinians. Eyewitnesses said that construction work has been seen inside the settlement of several multi-story buildings that would accommodate more settlers. The settlement is currently inhabited by 23,000 settlers. Researcher and journalist Khaled al-Ma’ale said that settlers were building a big building near Ariel university, adding that 12,000 Israeli students were enrolled in that university.
The world’s only ethnic time zone
972mag 28 Oct by Yuval Ben-Ami — As of this morning, for the first time in a month, all the residents of the Holy Land are living in the same time zone. In late September, the Palestinian Authority switched to winter time, but the West Bank’s Israeli settlers continued living in line with Israel’s clock, which only made the switch today. Thus, for one month, the West Bank became the only place in the world where time is not delineated by geography but rather by ethnography: different people went about their lives on different clocks, despite the fact that they live in such close proximity to each other within the same territory. Settlers today make up over 15 percent of the West Bank population. This means that about every sixth West Bank resident thought an hour ahead of the other five. Drivers passing each other on Route 60 drove in different time zones, depending on to the color of their license plates.
Concrete and cockroaches: municipal elections in the Arab sector
Haaretz 28 Oct by Oudeh Basharat — While the living space of the surrounding Jewish towns has expanded, the Arabs’ living space has turned into a suffocation space — When land became limited and the population grew, the Arab villages turned into cities of concrete. As if to rub salt in the wound, recently someone sent me a picture of what Yafia looked like in 1930: Fewer than 30 ancient buildings integrated in the hilly landscape, surrounded by huge tracts of land. In 1948, Yafia, a village outside Nazareth, had 1,000 residents and occupied 16,000 dunams (4,000 acres). Today, with nearly 20,000 people, Yafia manages with some 4,000 dunams. While the living space of the surrounding Jewish towns, some of which didn’t exist when Israel was founded, expanded, the Arabs’ living space turned into a suffocation space, in which, thank God, there is at least enough room to bury the dead. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.554673
Jewish settlers assault Palestinian couple in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– A group of Jewish settlers assaulted and wounded a Palestinian man and his wife in Al-Khalil/Hebron on Saturday … Palestinian security sources told Quds Press that settlers from Kiryat Arba settlement, established on Palestinian land in Al-Khalil, severely beat up Mohammed Al-Qaimeri and his wife in Ras area, which is close to the settlement. They said that Palestinian ambulance crews rushed to the area and transferred the couple to hospital where their wounds were described as moderate.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers stormed the town of Halhoul, north of Al-Khalil, at dawn Saturday and set up roadblocks at entrances to other villages in the province. Local sources said that IOF soldiers detained 17-year-old Qusay Qawasme and 19-year-old Ala’a Al-Arja in Halhoul.
Settlers enter Palestinian village under IOF protection
NABLUS (PIC) 26 Oct — Around 40 Jewish settlers entered the Palestinian village of Qaryut, south of Nablus, and provocatively roamed its streets under Israeli army protection on Saturday. Inhabitants said that the settlers came from a nearby settlement and were accompanied by its security officer.
Settlers burn olive saplings, trees south of Bethlehem
IMEMC — [Sunday Morning October 27, 2013] A number of extremist Israeli settlers, burnt dozens of Palestinian olive saplings, and trees, that belong to residents of the Al-Khader town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Local sources have reported that a group of settlers of the Efrat settlement, built on lands illegally confiscated from the villagers, invaded the orchards, burnt approximately 80 olive saplings, in addition to nearly 20 trees (almond, apricot, peach trees). The settlers took most of the uprooted trees and saplings with them back into the settlement, the Radio Bethlehem 2000 has reported.
PA to plant 750,000 olive trees to compensate for settler attacks
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Saturday that the Palestinian Authority will compensate Palestinians whose olive trees have been damaged by Israeli settler attacks by planting 750,000 olive trees across the West Bank. Hamdallah stressed that the Palestinian Authority is working to limit the obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation on Palestinian economic development and livelihoods.
For Israel’s police, settler violence is but a fantasy
972blog 26 Oct by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — The Israeli right-wing likes to claim that Palestinians fabricate the destruction of their olive trees. The police disagrees. Not that they are any good at catching the terrorists — …One of the most common, quiet kinds of settler terrorism, carried on an almost daily basis in the West Bank, is that of vandalizing trees. Yesh Din has dedicated its new data sheet to this phenomenon. Destroying crops is an ancient tool of agrarian terror. Its purpose is generally disinheriting farmers from their land for the benefit of others. Aside from the economic damage – and the damage is immense in societies still making much of their living off agriculture — there is the crippling fear that even if you give your all to your crops, even if you wake up at unreasonable hours, even if you work in the blazing sun and the freezing rain, all your work will be in vain, for some human scum will creep up at night and set the fruit of your labor ablaze. The Bible is quite familiar with this situation: … One assumes that the people who skulk about to set fire to and cut down the Palestinians’ trees are as familiar with these verses as I am. Most of them, after all, are allegedly Bible-readers. Contrary to the common claim among the right wing, these incidents are not a fantasy, nor are they Palestinian fabrications.
Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests
Israeli forces assault Palestinian school bus driver near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian bus driver carrying students in the Masafer region east of Yatta in the southern West Bank early Sunday morning, a Palestinian official said. Ratib al-Jbour, the coordinator of the Popular and National Committees south of Hebron and east of Yatta, said that the Israeli forces stopped Mufid Abu Qbaiyta, 27, and beat him up while he was picking up schoolchildren. As a result of the attack, al-Jbour suffered from bruises all over his body. Israeli forces also damaged the tires of the bus, in order to prevent drivers from picking up children in the surrounded areas. An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was “not familiar” with the incident.
Palestinian farmer’s head smashed open by settlers in West Bank
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW 972mag 26 Oct by Mairav Zonszein — Rabbis for Human Rights reports that settlers from the illegal Adei Ad outpost attacked Palestinian farmers from Al-Mughayer Saturday afternoon with clubs, smashing one man’s head open. His uncle was also wounded. Both are now in stable condition. Just last week, settlers attacked olive pickers in Burin with metal poles. According to Yesh Din, since 2005, out of 825 cases of settler violence against Palestinians, police filed indictments only 8.5 percent of the time.
Israeli forces damage Palestinian vehicle in Ya‘bad, clashes ensue
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces damaged Palestinian vehicles during clashes early Sunday in the village of Ya‘bad southwest of Jenin, locals told Ma‘an. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers drove through the village after midnight, spoke through a loudspeaker using offensive language and damaged at least two Palestinian vehicles. The vehicles belong to residents Ahmad Taher Zeid al-Kilani and Mohammad Hamarsheh, locals added. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces following the raid, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas grenades and sound bombs while Palestinians threw stones and empty bottles. Dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, locals said. No detentions were reported … These clashes come as Israeli forces in the village reportedly continue to occupy an inhabited Palestinian house. Stationing themselves on the roof of the house, soldiers claim to be using it as an outpost to monitor neighborhood activity. The occupation of the house comes after a Palestinian near Ya‘bad reportedly hurled an improvised explosive device at an Israeli settler school bus early Friday morning. Israeli forces frequently impose closures and take over houses in Ya‘bad due to its proximity to two Israeli settlements.
Israeli soldiers blocking the entrances of Ni‘lin village
Nil‘in Sons 27 Oct — Since last week the village of Ni‘lin is being targeted daily by mid-night raids from the Israeli occupation forces. The soldiers have been shooting tear gas into people’s homes while they are sleeping. Only two people have been arrested but ten houses have been invaded by the soldiers. The arrested are Naha Nafi, 21, and Tariq Kawaja, 24. Another three young men were sought after but could not be found. The situation has escalated in the last two days. Israeli soldiers have started blocking the entrances of Ni‘lin preventing people from entering or leaving the village. For the villagers who commute to Ramallah for work or studies this collective punishment has caused huge problems. However, 11 pm on Saturday night a big number of Israeli jeeps invaded the village, seemingly just to cause disturbance. The soldiers began harassing villagers, firing their rifles without any apparent reason. As youths gathered to drive the soldiers out of the village they were directly fired upon with rubber coated steel bullets. One young man was hit in his leg and many bystanders suffered from tear gas asphyxiation. Also at this occurrence tear gas was fired into the homes of sleeping villagers. At present the entrances to Ni‘lin is still being blocked by the Israeli military. The villagers are awaiting their next move with anxiety.
IOF soldiers round up 7 Palestinians in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided three villages to the east and west of Ramallah at dawn Sunday and rounded up seven Palestinians. Eyewitnesses and local sources told Quds Press that IOF soldiers stormed the villages of Kufr Nima and Ras Karkar west of Ramallah and Silwad to the east of it in addition to the city itself. They noted that four Palestinians were detained in Kufr Nima, all of whom are liberated prisoners, who served two and half years to six years in Israeli jails. Relatives of one of the detainees quoted officers accompanying the soldiers as saying that the village would witness a series of raids and arrests. Meanwhile, a Palestinian youth was arrested in Ras Karkar and another in Ramallah city at dawn while a third was nabbed in Silwad at a late night hour on Saturday after confrontations with young men in the town, locals reported.
VIDEO: Were Palestinian shepherds arrested on false pretenses? Army promises probe
Haaretz 27 Oct by Amira Hass — Activist’s footage shows settlement security coordinator telling soldiers to make arrests — The Israeli army will launch an internal investigation into two cases in which soldiers allegedly arrested Palestinian shepherds on false pretexts, the IDF Spokesman’s Office has told Haaretz. The investigation, under the auspices of the Israel Defense Forces advocate general and the army’s criminal investigation division, will be studying allegations that troops from the Kfir Brigade arrested Palestinian shepherds near the village of A-Tuwani in the southern Hebron Hills, taking them away from their flocks and pastureland for hours. In the first incident, as shown in a video taken by an international activist who was at the scene, the soldiers arrested a shepherd on the direct order of an Israeli man named Gedalia, who is the security coordinator of the settlement of Maon. In the second incident, a commanding officer claimed the grazing was forbidden because it was too close to the outpost of Mitzpeh Avigayil. The shepherd testified that the soldiers struck and abused him.[From video: Security coordinator: I am asking you to detain him and see who this man, who this terrorist is]
Gaza under blockade
Egypt closes Rafah crossing indefinitely
GAZA (PIC) 26 Oct — Egyptian authorities have decided to close Rafah crossing on Saturday until further notice after opening it this week for students and patients’ travel, as well as for the Gazan pilgrims’ return. Maher Abu Sabha, director of border crossings in Gaza, said that the Egyptian authorities informed his department of their decision to indefinitely close Rafah crossing starting Saturday.
Palestinian olive harvest resumes despite Israeli border threats
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 27 Oct by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Moussa Saadat and his wife, Fatima, pick olives and thoroughly inspect them to see if they are damaged or not. They explained to Al-Monitor that worms had infested the majority of this year’s crop … The couple owns a small, green plot of land that has 13 large olive trees as well as other citrus and fig trees in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. “This year, our crop has been very bad and less than we expected. The majority of it was damaged by worms. It is not just our trees; the same thing has happened to the majority of growers,” Moussa said … Moussa affirms that he feels responsible for these trees, particularly since they cannot approach the other 30 olive trees, given their dangerous location in close proximity to the border. The border area with Israel, which the latter has dubbed the “security belt” — estimated at nearly 300 meters (984 feet) to the south and north of Gaza — is still dangerous. This is despite Israel giving up the buffer zone during the truce that was concluded under the auspices of Egypt in the war in November 2012.
Hundreds of Gazan kidney patients face death
GAZA (PIC) 26 Oct — The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza Strip warned on Saturday that hundreds of kidney failure patients were in danger of death due to the acute shortage in medicines and other consumables used in the dialysis process. For his part, director of kidney department in the Shifa hospital Dr. Abdullah Al-Qaishawi told a ceremony for kidney patients called “Smile of Hope” on Friday night that the Strip was in acute shortage of medicines and consumables needed for completing the dialysis process. More than 450 patients in Gaza suffer from kidney failure and need three dialysis sessions weekly. Repeated closure of Gaza crossings had led to the acute shortage in the dialysis process needs. Qaishawi underlined that any shortage in any component of the dialysis leads to a stoppage in the whole process. In the absence of alternatives, the process of kidney dialysis would be facing a crisis, he added. He also pointed out that the interruption in power supply affects dialysis, adding that repeated power failure negatively affects the machines and could lead to their complete stoppage.
A delegation from Oxford University visits Gaza
[How did they get in? or are medical teams allowed?] GAZA (PIC) 27 Oct — MP Jamal Khudari, the head of the Popular Committee against the Siege, welcomed the visit by a delegation from Oxford University to the Gaza Strip these days … Khudari stressed that the delegation members were keen to visit Gaza, as they wanted to participate in the support of the educational sector in the Strip. He said they also took part in a scientific medical conference at the university and gave lectures to the medical students. For his part, Professor David Cranston, senior clinical lecturer at the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the University of Oxford, expressed pleasure at attending the medical conference in the besieged Gaza Strip. The delegation, which leaves Gaza next Thursday, includes eleven academics from the university, and is participating in the fifth medical conference at the Islamic University.
Young Gaza photographers, filmmakers sweep UNRWA/EU prizes
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Oct – Young photographers and filmmakers from the Gaza Strip swept the first and second place prizes in a combined United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and European Union (EU) 2013 photo and film competition for young Palestine refugees. The results, announced at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah on Friday, named Bilal Khaled Telawi, from Khan Younis camp in Gaza, as first prize winner in the photo competition, followed by Mo’taz Ibrahim al-A’araj, from Rafah camp, Gaza, in second place and Najd Imad Abed al-Al, from Beddawi camp in Lebanon, in third place. In the film competition, 20-year-old Salah Alhaw from Gaza received the first prize for his film “Dance on the Rooftop.” He said that his video attempted to portray the “overcrowding and difficulties Palestinian refugees in the camps face on a daily basis.” Even so, he adds: “They are determined to go on, with a love for life and increasing home for a better future.” The second prize also went to a young refugee from Gaza, 21-year-old Hussam Abu Dan, who said that his film, “Droplets”, “illustrated the use of creative means by Palestinian children to create games.” The film shows several young children collecting droplets from laundry hanging on different clothes lines, and later coming together to create bubbles.
Qassam Brigades member dies in tunnel accident in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — The military wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, announced Sunday that one of its members died in a tunnel accident in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The military wing identified the man as 23-year-old Salih al-Bashiti. They added that the tunnel in which he died was used for military purposes. Medics confirmed al-Bashiti’s death and said that he died of electric shock. His body was transferred to Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital.
Two mortar shells from Gaza hit western Negev
Times of Israel 27 Oct by Lazar Berman — Two mortar shells from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel Sunday afternoon, the Israeli military said. There were no injuries or damage. The shells fell at 1:30 p.m. in an open area in the Eshkol region in the western Negev.
Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired at Ashkelon from Gaza
Times of Israel 28 Oct by Lazar Berman — Two rockets from the Gaza Strip were fired at Israel in the early hours of Monday morning, setting off sirens in Ashkelon and in areas surrounding the Strip. There were no reports of injuries or damage. The Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted one of the rockets aimed at Ashkelon, the IDF said early Monday. A second rocket fell in an open area in the area, and troops were dispatched to search for the impact site.
Release of 26 Palestinian prisoners approved
Ynet 27 Oct by Attila Somfalvi — The second stage of the Palestinian prisoners’ release was approved, and the list of those up for release has been formed: Following a fiery debate in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation over the Struck Bill to block the releases, the special committee for prisoners release has confirmed the second stage in the deal which led to the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. The 26 prisoners to be released were jailed due to crimes performed before the Oslo Accords, and served time ranging between 19 to 28 years. 21 prisoners are from the West Bank and five are from Gaza. The list of prisoners was posted Sunday night on the Prison Service’s website. The 26 prisoners in the following list are responsible for the deaths of 27 Israelis. Before the list was published the families of the prisoners’ victims were notified of their release … The list was published 48 hours before the release date to allow Israelis to appeal the Supreme Court against the release … Earlier Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs had rejected a bill that attempted to block the release of Palestinian prisoners.
PA: Freed detainees will not be deported
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — An agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the release of veteran Palestinian prisoners will not result in any being deported abroad, a PA official said Sunday.
Inside Shin Bet
[transcript of one-hour documentary which can be seen on AJ] Al Jazeera World 24 Oct Filmmaker: Essam Billan — Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, or Shabak as it is known in both Hebrew and Arabic, is one of the three branches of the Israeli General Security Service (GSS). Through personal accounts – from two former Shin Bet detainees, a former agency officer, Palestinian-Israeli lawyers and Israeli legal experts and politicians – Al Jazeera World examines the controversial organisation’s methods, powers and history.
Palestinian accused of killing soldier ‘tortured in jail’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — A Palestinian prisoner was severely tortured by Israeli forces after his arrest, prisoner support group Addameer said Sunday. Addameer Lawyer Mohammad al-Aabed met with Nidal Amar, 42, who is suspected of kidnapping and killing Israeli soldier Tomer Hazan. Amar told the lawyer that he was tortured in ways “only seen in movies,” but refused to go into details. Amar said that his brother Abdel Salam came up with the idea of kidnapping a soldier to demand the release of their third brother Noureddin, who is serving a 29-year sentence in Israeli jails. He added that he was promised a reward of 5 million shekels from a group he refused to name. Amar said that he and Abdel Salam invited Hazan, who he worked with in a restaurant in Petah Tikva to their house in Beit Amin village near Qalqiliya. They then lured him to a mountain where Amar asked his brother for the money he was promised. When Abdel Salam said that the money was unavailable, Amar allegedly tied Hazan’s hands, unbuckled his belt and strangled him to death with it. Amar added that he acted it in a state of hysteria because he feared that he would get arrested and spend a long time in jail for kidnapping a soldier, according to the group.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Syria’s Palestinians: Refugees once again
Al-Monitor 25 Oct by Camille al-Tawil Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) — Filippo Grandi, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), discussed the “tragic” situation of the Palestinian refugees in Syria, saying, “Half of them have fled from camps in Syria after [those camps] turned into ‘battlefields’ for government forces and the opposition.” Grandi, whom Al-Hayat interviewed in London, revealed that UNRWA has sent a number of its Gaza employees who are “emergency experts,” as a result of the repeated wars there, to train UNRWA staff in Syria, because the latter have never lived in battle conditions. Grandi said, “The Palestinians in Syria lived through a long period of stability. They have been welcomed since 1949. UNRWA worked well. But when the war broke out, we have become worried, like any other party. At the beginning [of the war], nothing happened in the Palestinian refugee camps, which are spread over 12 locations. However, near the end of 2012, the conflict started reaching these sites more and more. We now estimate that seven or eight [camps] (out of the 12 camps) have become battlefields: the opposition at the center of [the camps] and government forces surrounding them. Most people there are trying to flee.
Two Palestinian refugees die in Syria camps
DAMASCUS (PIC) 27 Oct — Action Group for the Palestinians in Syria said that two Palestinian refugees died on Saturday as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria. The group said in a press statement on Sunday that the child Qais Ajou died following the aerial shelling that targeted the vicinity of the Quds Mosque in Daraa camp, while Mahmoud Alaa El Din from the Yarmouk refugee camp died after eating, along his family members, wheat grains contaminated with rat poison. It stated that several mortar shells hit Daraa camp, causing no injuries, and pointed that the power outage has continued, along with the severe shortage of food, flour and fuel.
Jewish anti-miscegenation groups distribute racist, sexist flyers
972mag 27 Oct by Mairav Zonszein — I have recently reported on a few instances in which two Jewish anti-miscegenation groups — Lehava and Yad L’Achim — have been actively operating to thwart contact between Jews and Arabs. Lehava, which runs a hotline encouraging callers to inform on Jewish-Arab couples, was reportedly behind a campaign to pressure Israel’s National Service Administration to stop allowing Israeli Jewish females to work night shifts in hospitals – presumably to make it more difficult for them to socialize with the Palestinian citizens of Israel with whom they work. Yad L’Achim – whose mission is to fight ‘assimilation’ (read: miscegenation) and whose slogan is, ‘We don’t give up on a single Jew’ – claims to collect the identification cards of Jewish women seen socializing with Palestinians. Both these organizations have posters circulating on the streets and in social media that are racist, sexist and offensive. Here is a flyer by Lehava spotted in Jerusalem that says in Hebrew and Arabic: ‘Don’t even dare to think about a Jewish woman!’
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (10-23 October 2013)
PCHR 24 Oct [could not be included in Friday’s list because the PCHR site was inaccessible] Israeli forces killed a member of an armed group, who was wanted by them in the West Bank. 4 Palestinian civilians, who tried to take the corpse of the victim from the Israeli forces, were wounded. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. A Palestinian civilian was wounded during Bil‘in weekly protest, northwest of Ramallah. Dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces conducted 99 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 4 limited ones in the Gaza Strip. At least 48 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and a girl, were arrested in the West Bank. Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 16 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and a woman, were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank. Israeli navy forces have continued targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea.Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
VIDEO: Making ends meet in the West Bank
NASDAQ — Palestinian Authority managers earn more than 20 times as much as unskilled workers – despite a budget deficit of more than $1bn.
New Palestinian generation opts for fewer children
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 15 Oct by Rasha Ablu Jalal — While Islam calls for believers to bear many children and prohibits the use of birth control [?] new Palestinian generations are defying tradition and leaning toward limiting the number of children they have. As Arabs, Palestinians are among the keenest on maintaining their mores and traditions as well as the most committed to the teachings of Islam. Religious scholars historically called on people to procreate with abandon, and their calls were widely endorsed by men and women alike, in their quest to gain — in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — a demographic advantage in the Palestinian territories. The newer generations, however, which have had to contend with successive economic and political crises, decided to forego this call to procreate. Reasons for this, according to sociologist Assaad Kuhail, include increased awareness and their slim chances of finding job security as well as the difficulties they have faced in trying to live a dignified and prosperous life.
Facebook users outraged as Israeli army spokesman posts Fairuz video
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces Arabic public relations Spokesman Avichay Adraee posted a video by Lebanese singer Fairuz on his Facebook page Saturday, leading to a wave of angry and mocking comments by users in Arabic. Adraee posted a link to the video for the song, “I loved you in summer,” to mark the end of summer daylight savings time, and added, “with this wonderful and ingenious video, we say, until we meet again, oh summer!” Fairuz is one of the most famous Lebanese singers of all time, and throughout her life had been a dedicated advocate of the Palestinian cause. She has devoted numerous songs and performances to Palestinian issues, a stance sharpened after Israel commenced a series of invasions in the 1970s that resulted in a nearly 20-year-long occupation of large portions of Lebanon. Facebook users responded in anger to Adraee’s decision to post the video. Hamza Zbiedat commented that “Fairuz is an Arab who sings for the world the most beautiful songs of art, love and peace, but you are the representative of death, war, destruction, and killing.”
Palestinian youth unite across borders, one hike at a time
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) updated 26 Oct, by Alexa Stevens — They surveyed the scene below them: Palestine’s characteristic terraces, spotted with olive trees and sloping hills, with an Israeli settlement on the horizon. Last Friday morning over 100 Palestinian youths gathered at the top of a mountain north of Ramallah, preparing to descend into the nearby olive groves of Deir Jarir and the historic town of Taybeh just beyond. They were members of Tajwal Safar, Arabic for “Touring and Traveling,” a Palestinian youth group that organizes day-long walks and tours of different sites across the West Bank. Though seemingly only a hiking group, Tajwal Safar both physically and socially unites Palestinian members from across territories occupied by Israel into an integrated, national group, effectively creating a political act of resistance against Israel’s military occupation of Palestine … Before starting that day’s walk, the participants introduced themselves to the group. The range of cities represented was impressive: Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, Jerusalem as well as various places “dakhl,” or inside Israel.
Druze officer named commander of elite infantry brigade
Haaretz 25 Oct by Gili Cohen — An elite Israel Defense Forces infantry unit is to be commanded by a Druze officer, for only the second time in the army’s history. The IDF Spokesman announced Thursday that Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz appointed Col. Rassan Alian as the next commander of the Golani Brigade. Alian has previously served as commander of the Mensahe regional brigade, which covers the northern West Bank (including the Jenin area). Alian will be the second Druze officer to command a regular infantry brigade. The first was Imad Fares, who was commander of the Givati Brigade from 2001-2003.