The Olive Harvest
PHOTOS: Settlers attack Palestinian olive pickers, damage trees
972mag 20 Oct by Michael Omer-Man — Palestinian olive growers and their trees were attacked across the northern West Bank on Sunday, resulting in at least four injuries and the destruction of dozens of trees at the height of the yearly olive harvest. In the village of Burin on Sunday, Palestinian olive pickers and Israeli volunteers were attacked by masked settlers, who arrived from the direction of the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, notorious for being violent. Two Palestinians and two Israelis were injured by the settlers who attacked them with stones and iron bars, according to Rabbis for Human Rights, whose volunteers were attacked. The Israelis, aged 71 and 18, were both injured in their faces. Close to 2,000 Palestinian olive trees have been either uprooted or burned in recent months in areas the Israeli army knows to be flash points, where it should be providing protection for the Palestinian olive pickers, Rabbis for Human Rights wrote in a statement.
Settlers occupy, fence 20 dunums of Palestinian lands in Nablus
IMEMC 20 Oct [Friday October 18, 2013] A group of armed extremist Israeli settlers illegally occupied 20 dunams (4.94 acres) of Palestinian lands that belong to residents of Aseera Al-Qebliyya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of Israeli Settlements File at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, has reported that the settlers fenced the lands and started leveling and bulldozing them. He added that the settlers also installed a number of electric poles [a prelude to the establishment of an outpost]. The lands belong to residents Issa Suleiman Makhlouf, and Mohammad Suleiman Makhlouf.
On Friday evening, Israeli soldiers kidnapped one resident identified as Mustafa Saleh Qabha, 43, from Toura Al-Gharbiyya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. His family said that the soldiers invaded their orchard, near the Annexation Wall, as family members were picking their olive trees, and kidnapped him before taking him to an unknown destination.
Settlers uproot 100 olive trees near Nablus
IMEMC — Saturday morning [October 19, 2013] A number of extremist Israeli settlers invaded Palestinian olive orchards in Qaryout village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and uprooted more than 100 olive trees. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of Israeli Settlement file in the northern part of the West Bank, has reported that settlers from Aliyah settlement, near the village, attacked the orchards and fled the scene. The orchards belong to several residents … Nablus Governor Jibreen Al-Bakry denounced the attacks, and called on the residents to continue to pick their olive trees despite the escalating attacks carried out by extremist settler groups. He said that the settlers want to rob the residents of their orchards and of their livelihood, but the Palestinians are determined to remain steadfast in their lands.
Official: PA to reimburse farmers who suffer from settler attacks
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Oct — The Palestinian Authority will reimburse Palestinian farmers who have suffered financial damages as a result of settler attacks on their fields, a PA official said Saturday. Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf said in a statement that the PA would form a committee to compensate such farmers in order “to help them remain firm on their lands.” The minister’s remarks came as two incidents of settler raids were reported in the Nablus district … According to a 2012 report on Israeli settler violence released by the Palestine Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, every year the olive harvest period sees the highest peak in attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.
Settlers attack olive harvest near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Settlers on Sunday attacked a group of Palestinians and international volunteers harvesting olives in the Nablus village of Burin, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from the notorious Yizhar settlement raided the neighboring Palestinian village of Burin and attacked the group with iron rods. Nemr Issa al-Tirawi, 29, and his brother Qusai, 27, were lightly injured in the attack together with two international volunteers from the Israeli rights group Yesh Din.
Official: Israeli forces detain man harvesting olives
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli forces early Sunday detained a 65-year-old man while he was harvesting olives near the Nablus district village of Azmut, a Palestinian official told Ma‘an. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Adnan Samarah while he was picking olives on his land near the illegal Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that Samarah “wanted to harvest olives in a forbidden area,” and that he was turned away by Israeli forces. However, the spokeswoman claimed that he was not detained.
In the city of Tulkarm, meanwhile, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces as soldiers prevented farmers from approaching their lands and picking olives, Daghlas said.
Additionally, he added, dozens of farmers in the town of Deir al-Ghusun northeast of Tulkarm returned to their homes after Israeli soldiers would not allow them to enter their lands.
Separately, in the Qalqiliya district, Israeli forces prevented Jalal Yamin, a man from the village of Jit, from reaching his lands near an Israeli settlement, Daghlas said.
IOF bar Palestinians from harvesting olive trees in Idna town
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Oct — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented on Saturday hundreds of Palestinian citizens from reaching their cultivated lands in Idna town south of Al-Khalil city for the olive harvest … The Idna farmers always suffer from the nightmare of Israeli permits that restrict their access to their olive lands.
In another incident, the IOF prevented some Palestinian farmers and herdsmen from getting access to their lands and water wells in Umm Al-Khair village to the east of Yatta town. A few days ago, the IOF also barred electricians working for Idna municipal council from resuming their work and solving the problem of electricity in Soba area, which falls within the Palestinian jurisdiction.
Restriction of movement
Jerusalem’s system of checkpoints inside Palestinian neighborhoods of the holy city
Mondoweiss 18 Oct by Allison Deger — I’m standing in Jerusalem, but behind a five-lane, metal turn-stop, gated, chain-linked, barbed-wire military instillation. There’s a call box with a button to alert the Israeli army when pedestrians want to pass. Even though I’m in a valley between windswept hills with cinder block houses and black water tanks on their roofs, I feel more like I’m in the parlor of Satre’s No Exit; sometimes the guards answer the buzz of the button, and sometimes the gates roll open, otherwise the checkpoint is locked. And I never know if I can pass through the gate, unless I try to push the metal bars forward. I wonder am I waiting for the checkpoint to open, or is it already open and I just haven’t tried to leave? Am I trapped, or do I imagine that I am trapped? Welcome to a-Zeitim crossing, one of the newer divisions inside of Jerusalem. Although hailed as an undivided capital, where Jewish-Israelis can trot from neighborhood to neighborhood, increasingly intractable metal is constructed between Palestinian localities. Like plantar warts, these checkpoints spread on the ridges and lowlands, hidden unless I look for them. Before last week I hadn’t heard of a-Zeitim, probably because cars can’t drive through, only foot traffic. And this checkpoint is nestled between Palestinian residential areas in the periphery of Jerusalem.
Israel to restrict Muslims from Ibrahimi Mosque Fri and Sat
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli authorities have decided to restrict access to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City to Muslims on Friday and Saturday [25, 26 Oct]. The closure will take place from 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon until 9 p.m. on Saturday evening. During this time, the mosque will be opened for Jewish settlers to celebrate the holiday “Shabbat Chayei Sarah,” which marks Abraham’s purchase of Hebron. Head of the Islamic endowment of Hebron, Taysir Abu Sneineh, said that the restriction of Muslim access to mosque was part of a larger campaign on the part of Israeli authorities to change the features of the mosque into a Jewish temple.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Palestinian injured by army fire in Hebron
Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli military fire, on Saturday, in the Hebron Valley (Wafi Al-Khalil) area, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The Palestinian Red Crescent has reported that the man, Ismael Al-Mashny, 23, was shot by live rounds in both of his feet, the Ma‘an News Agency has reported. Ma‘an added that locals transported the man to a medical center before he was moved to the Hebron Governmental Hospital. According to eyewitness accounts, Al-Mashny was shot from a close range. The Israeli army claimed that the man was trying to damage sections of the “security fence, near the illegal settlement of Meitar.
IOF soldiers shoot at, wound Palestinian worker
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) shot at a group of Palestinian workers near Daheriya village, south of Al-Khalil, on Saturday night wounding one of them. Mutasem Halaika, the 21-year-old wounded worker, told the PIC reporter that a patrol of the Israeli border police chased around 20 workers and fired at them while trying to cross the green line into Beersheba looking for work. He said that the soldiers fired stun grenades and live bullets at the workers, adding that he was injured in both his feet and was transferred to Al-Khalil government hospital. Halaika, from Shuyukh village east of Al-Khalil, said that his condition was stable after undergoing surgery.
Radayda family: ‘Our slain son did not intend to attack soldiers’
IMEMC 18 Oct — Family of Younis Ahmad Radayda, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on Thursday, stated that he did not intend to harm any soldiers or person, and that he accidentally drove into the military base. Younis was killed on Thursday evening when Israeli soldiers stationed at a military base close to the Qalandia terminal, north of occupied Jerusalem, opened fire at him after he allegedly drove into the base with the intent to attack them. Israeli daily, Haaretz, has reported that Mohammad Radayda, the uncle of Younis, said that his nephew never intended to attack the base, and that the Israeli claims are fabrications, the Arabs48 News Website has reported … The uncle added that Younis had to ideological motive for the attack, and added that he is married, and a father of four children. “He was working hard to feed his children, and provide them with everything they needed”, Mohammad said, “Younis must have lost control over his bulldozer, and accidentally entered the military base”.
IOF storms ‘Aroub camp; suffocation cases were reported
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 18 Oct — A number of suffocation cases were reported among Palestinians including children in ‘Aroub Refugee Camp north of al-Khalil when Israeli forces fired tear gas bombs at their homes during a raid. The Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sound and tear gas bombs towards Palestinian homes in the camp, led to injuries among children aged up to seven years, eyewitnesses said. The sources told the PIC reporter that many citizens were wounded during the raid due to the intensive teargas grenades fired against their houses, pointing out that an elderly woman was hit by a sound bomb in her leg.
IOF suppress weekly peaceful marches of W. Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 Oct — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled the peaceful marches held on Friday afternoon in different West Bank areas against settlement activities and in support of Jerusalem, the Aqsa Mosque and the prisoners. In Bethlehem, the IOF violently attacked the Ma‘sarah village march which was dedicated this week to supporting the Aqsa Mosque and detained a number of protestors. Many protestors also got wounded when the IOF suppressed the march held in Bil‘in village against the segregation wall and settlement activities. A young photojournalist named Majdi Abu Rahma was taken prisoner as he was taking photos during the march … The IOF also clashed with the protesters in the Friday marches organized in the villages of Nabi Saleh and Kafr Qaddum. Many protesters suffered tear gas injuries during the clashes. During the events, the IOF closed the road leading to Nabi Saleh village and chased protesters to arrest them
Molotov cocktail thrown at settler car near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a settler’s car south of Nablus on Sunday, Israel’s army said. “Around 4.30 p.m. a Molotov cocktail was hurled at an Israeli vehicle passing near Huwwara and soldiers searched the area,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said. No injuries were reported.
Israeli forces detain 5 in raids, clashes
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 18 Oct — Israeli forces detained five Palestinian young men in separate incidents late Thursday, locals and a spokeswoman for the Israeli army told Ma‘an. Locals said that the Israeli forces raided three houses in the Nablus district village of Beita, detaining three Palestinians: Omar Hilal, 19; Wasim Jihad Labib Nasser, 17; and Yousef Mohammad Abed al-Aziz Afana, 20. The Israeli soldiers damaged the doors of Fatah leader Ziyad Hilal’s house, locals added. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed the arrests, saying that the three youths were “suspected for involvement in illegal activity.” She could not confirm whether or not they were still in Israeli custody.
IOF arrests Palestinian farmer in Jenin village
JENIN (PIC) 19 Oct — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed on Friday night Tora village, south of Jenin, and arrested a Palestinian farmer while tending to his land near the Apartheid Wall. The citizen Mustafa Saleh Qubaha, 43, was arrested for approaching the Apartheid Wall, local sources said. He was then transferred to Salem military base north of Jenin. The sources pointed out that the occupation forces stationed at Tora’s entrance deliberately provoke Palestinian farmers and prevent them from entering their lands especially during olive harvest.
IOF soldiers round up ten Palestinians
NABLUS (PIC) 20 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up ten Palestinian citizens in various West Bank areas at dawn Sunday. Palestinian police sources in Al-Khalil told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers arrested Ala’a Abu Khalaf, 24, from his home in the Old City of Al-Khalil after searching it.
They said that the soldiers arrested another young man, Rashed Manasra, from Bani Na‘im village in Al-Khalil at a roadblock, adding that he is a student at Najah university in Nablus.
The sources said that the soldiers served a summons to Musab Shawar after searching his family home, adding that IOF patrols raided the towns of Edhna and Dura in addition to Tabaka village.
In Bethlehem, IOF soldiers detained three young men, one from the city itself, another from Al-Khader village, and the third from Doheisha refugee camp after searching their homes.
Eyewitnesses said that IOF soldiers accompanied by intelligence officers, stormed the Rujaib valley to the east of Nablus and served summonses to a number of citizens. They said that the soldiers raided the villages of Beita and Hawara to the south of Nablus.
Local sources in Til village, south of Nablus, said that IOF soldiers rounded up four young men while on their way to 1948 occupied Palestine.
UPDATE: Israel arrests nine Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 20 Oct – Israeli forces Sunday arrested five Palestinians from the West Bank, in addition to four Palestinians, including a minor, from the Jerusalem area, according to local and security sources …
In Jericho, forces arrested two Palestinian ex-detainees after beating them up, according to their families. They were taken to an unknown location.
Israeli police arrested four Palestinians from the Jerusalem area; 14-year-old Mahmoud Da’ana, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was arrested under the pretext of “attacking and smashing the glass of a vehicle belonging to an Israeli settler.
Meanwhile, Israeli police, late Saturday, arrested three Palestinians from the old town of Jerusalem after they were attacked by settlers; Israeli special police units arrived at the scene and arrested the Palestinians but not the settler
2 Israeli teens arrested over racist graffiti in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli police on Sunday arrested two teenage Israeli girls for suspected involvement in spraying racist slurs in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah last week, Israeli police said. Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Ma’an that Jerusalem special patrol units arrested the two teens as part of an ongoing investigation into the incident. The girls, aged 15 and 16, appeared before Jerusalem magistrate’s court, he added … “Price Tag” attacks have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the occupied West Bank, but are generally less common within East Jerusalem.
Gaza under blockade
As a result of restrictions at Rafah: Erez Crossing serves as main gateway out of Gaza
[with chart] Gisha 20 Oct — October 20, 2013. The restrictions on Rafah Crossing led to a strange turn of events in September: Erez Crossing has now become the main gateway into and out of the Gaza Strip, although no significant change in Israel’s restrictive policy has taken place. The restrictions imposed by Egypt on travel through Rafah have led to a sharp decline in the number of individuals exiting Gaza via Egypt: from an average of more than 20,000 exits a month during the first half of the year to only 3,412 in September … A look at the numbers reveals that close to 16,000 people who would have traveled out of Gaza every month on average now remain in the Strip without being able to leave. Students, professionals who work outside the Gaza Strip and many others have been stripped of their basic right to travel.
Israeli forces detain Gazan on way to hospital with his mother
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli forces detained Nu’man Rihan, 41, at the Beit Hanoun crossing while he was traveling with his mother to Israel for medical treatment on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holidays. Human rights sources told Ma‘an that on Tuesday Rihan was en route to Israel with his mother when he was detained. She was forced to return to Gaza and forgo her medical treatment as a result. According to Mizan center, Rihan was detained for six days before being released on Sunday. Over the course of the Eid al-Adha holidays, Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinians at the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza.
An Israeli army spokesman did not return emails seeking comment.
Israel refuses entry of 120 trucks into Gaza
IMEMC — Sunday October 20, 2013, the Israeli Authorities refused to allow 120 trucks loaded with construction material into the Gaza Strip as they tried to cross through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) terminal between Gaza and Israel. Palestinian legislator Jamal Al-Khodary stated that preventing construction materials from entering Gaza means denying thousands of workers any chance of earning a living, and is costing the Gaza Strip significant loses as it is also obstructing vital projects, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported. He added that the list of supplies Israel refuses to allow into Gaza is long, and includes construction materials of different sorts, and added that Israel is also preventing the Palestinians in Gaza from exporting their goods and produce, an issue that constitutes collective punishment that violates international Law.
Israel reopens Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli authorities opened Gaza’s Kerem Shalom terminal Sunday morning after a six-day closure for Eid al-Adha, a Palestinian official said. Raed Fattouh, who coordinates imports into the Gaza Strip, said in a statement Sunday that Israel would allow 250 truckloads of goods into Gaza. He said that commercial commodities, agricultural products, humanitarian aid supplies and a limited amount of fuel and gas for domestic use would be allowed to pass through the terminal into Gaza. Construction material will not be allowed in, he said.
Rafah crossing closed due to computer malfunction
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — The Rafah crossing closed on Sunday due to a computer malfunction on the Egyptian side of the border, an Egyptian official said. The Egyptian officials at the crossing told Palestinian border workers that they are working to address the technical difficulties, but that Rafah would be in partial operation until Thursday. Only one bus crossed through Rafah on Sunday, locals told Ma‘an.
Israeli army sends Gazans threatening voice messages
GAZA (Ma‘an) 19 Oct — Dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have received voice messages on their telephones from the Israeli army telling them not to go near any Hamas sites. Mohammad Yousef, a resident of Gaza, said that he received a voice message from someone who identified themselves as being a member of the Israeli armed forces, warning him not to go near any Hamas sites. The voice message said, “Hamas is digging terrorist tunnels instead of working on development and building hospitals and schools to serve the needs of its citizens. You should avoid such acts and report them to ensure your safety.” Israel has previously used similar methods to target Palestinians in Gaza, including after the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, as well as during the Israeli assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9.
IPS transfers hunger striker to Ramle clinic
NABLUS (PIC) 20 Oct — The Israeli prison service (IPS) transferred hunger striker Akram Al-Fasisi from Ofer jail to Ramle prison infirmary. Lawyer Jawad Bulous, the director of the legal affairs department at the Palestinian Prisoners Society, said in a statement on Sunday that the IPS transferred the Palestinian prisoner after his health condition deteriorated. Fasisi has been on hunger strike since 29/9/2013.
Palestinian prisoners in Rimon anxious after admin threatens raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Oct — Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison Rimon said that there is a state of high anxiety and fear in the prison after the warden threatened to storm their rooms last Wednesday. Sources in the prison said that prisoners have promised to oppose the threatened operation, and will respond with force and burn their rooms down if the prison administration launches a raid. The prison administration recently sent a prisoner named Mohammad Abu Khatla from the Gaza Strip into solitary confinement for seven days, and restricted his visitation rights for two months after they found that he was trying to smuggle sperm out of the prison, sources added.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
EU Parliament group: Israel ‘ethnically cleansing’ in Negev
Ynet 20 Oct by Itamar Eichner — Israel’s tense relations with the European Union have seen another downturn after the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) in the European Parliament held a panel discussion on Thursday on Israel’s resettlement plan for the Negev’s Bedouin population under a banister describing Israel’s actions as “ethnic cleansing.” Israel’s ambassador to the European Union, David Walzer, sent a sharp letter to the parliament’s president, Martin Schultz, and to the S&D’s president, Hans Swoboda, and urged them to condemn the event organized by Belgian Parliament Member Véronique De Keyser.
Tulkarem: A city under dust
AIC 17 Oct by Carolin Smith — A high rate of unemployment, lack of electricity and first and foremost the nearby chemical factories that threaten the health of local residents. Although the people of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem have numerous reasons for despair, they refuse to lose hope. “The chemical substances produced by the Geshuri factories affect my plants”, says Palestinian farmer Fayez Taneeb from the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. Taneeb stands in front of a row of greenhouses. Inside most of them are long white plastic boxes, hung from the ceiling and filled with organic strawberries In others, tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers peep out. For his products he doesn’t use any chemical fertilizers. Instead, Taneeb employs natural means such as special insects to counter pests and vermin. But Taneeb’s organic concept of cultivation is constantly threatened by twelve nearby Israeli factories – the Geshuri factories – that produce agricultural chemicals in the occupied area of Tulkarem. According to Sharif Shahroroi, member of the Society of Social Work Committee in Tulkarem, the factories manufacture pesticides, paint, cement and also cancer-causing asbestos. For this reason, Taneeb needs to raise his organic vegetables in closed greenhouses. “I can’t sell the plants that I cultivate outside under an organic label because of the air and soil pollution”, he says. One criterion for organic food is that it doesn’t come into contact with chemicals.
WATCH: An IDF love song set in the ruins of a Palestinian village
972mag 19 Oct by Edo Konrad — One of the more difficult aspects of living in Israel over the last several years has been coming to terms with the layers of denial in which Jewish Israeli society wraps itself — …I recently came across a video that, at least for me, clarifies just how deep the denial of the destruction of Palestinian existence prior to 1948 runs in Israeli society. The video shows the Nahal Band – a music and theater troupe belonging to the IDF’s Nahal group, famous for their renditions of classic Eretz Yisrael songs – singing Haim Hefer’s timeless “He Didn’t Know Her Name.”… Watching this video, one cannot help but be taken aback by the sight of the soldier singing a love song while walking around a depopulated Palestinian village. The village’s ruins and its cacti are transformed and repurposed into a mere backdrop for the soldier’s longing for his nameless female lover. But the most disturbing aspect of the video is that we aren’t watching some kind of accident unfold before us, nor are we witnessing some lone blemish on the pristine record of the most moral army in the world. The video strikes at the underlying principles of the Zionist project: the denial of the existence of another people who had to be cleared away in order to build a new society.
Instead of evacuating West Bank outpost, state continues to humiliate itself
972blog 18 Oct by Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) — Last August, the High Court of Justice ruled that the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona is to be totally evacuated, with the exception of those plots of lands which the settlers claim to have purchased – claims about which there are, to put it mildly, serious doubts. Thus, the court rejected the scandalous interpretation by the Attorney General, who tried to transform the evacuation order of an entire outpost into an order for the removal of one structure. The state disgraced itself during that hearing, with one justice commenting that “it seems the state does not understand what it is saying,” while another wondered whether the state had realized its new position effectively refuted its earlier claims. One would think the state ought to have learned its lesson. Instead, it decided to humiliate itself again. Instead of implementing the court’s order, the state is attempting a very old shtick: it is now claiming that the evacuation of Amona has to be postponed, since it is afraid that “such an evacuation in such a time may harm the interests of the state.” We are, after all, negotiating with the Palestinians.
‘Lost’ Indian Jews come to Israel despite skepticism over ties to faith
Haaretz (JTA) 20 Oct — Some 2,000 members of the Indian Bnei Menashe community live in Israel. Another 5,000 are waiting to immigrate — …The community has been permitted to move en masse despite practicing rituals in India with only glancing similarity to Judaism and claims of ancient Jewish ancestry that some politicians and experts find dubious. “This is a bluff,” said Avraham Poraz, a former Israeli interior minister who temporarily halted Bnei Menashe immigration a decade ago. “They don’t have any connection to Judaism.” The Bnei Menashe are hardly the first group to make claims of ancient Jewish ancestry in a bid to gain Israeli citizenship … Shavei founder Michael Freund, a conservative columnist and former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is almost singlehandedly responsible for bringing the Bnei Menashe to Israel. His organization has provided them with a Jewish education in India, converted them in accordance with Orthodox standards and brought them to Israel, where they were settled initially in West Bank settlements — all on Shavei’s dollar. Founded in 2004, Shavei now works with groups of claimed Jewish descent in Europe, South America and China. Permanent Shavei emissaries are stationed in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Italy and India — spots with particularly large populations of potential recruits
A new intifada?
Reports: West Bank attacks do not signal new intifada
JERUSALEM (AFP) 20 Oct — An uptick in violence in the West Bank is cause for concern but not part of an orchestrated Palestinian campaign, Israeli media reported on Friday. A series of incidents, the latest of which saw Israeli soldiers shoot dead a Palestinian who forced his way into an army base on Thursday, have killed and injured several Israelis. Haaretz daily’s defense analyst Amos Harel said of the violence: “Even though some of these attacks had a criminal context alongside a political motive, this is an accumulation that cannot be ignored.” … Military officials said Thursday’s incident — where Yunis al-Radaydeh, 30, crashed a tractor through the perimeter fence of an army base in the West Bank neighborhood of al-Ram — was not a coordinated attack, telling public radio he had acted alone and was not part of a “terrorist organisation.” … Haaretz stressed that “not every series of terrible incidents is necessarily another intifada,” or uprising. “Israel has not found any orders from above behind the new wave of terror attacks, not on the part of Hamas and certainly not on the part of the Palestinian Authority’s leadership,” it said.
Mashaal: A new intifada in the West Bank in the offing
DOHA (PIC) 20 Oct — Head of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mashaal said that the West Bank is getting prepared for another round of confrontation against the Israeli occupation and the harbingers of a new intifada are looming. Mashaal made his remarks during a festival for Jerusalem organized in the Qatari capital Doha by the Palestinian groups Hawiyya and youth for Jerusalem. “The oppressors, the enemies and the rivals suppress our people in the West Bank, but today it is growing restless and getting prepared for a new round. It will not be long until you see what pleases you, God willing,” Mashaal stated. The Hamas leader stressed that the next battle against the Israeli occupation would be for the Aqsa Mosque and urged the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim nations not to forget Jerusalem and its holy Mosque. He talked about his Movement’s position against any sectarian polarization, bloodshed, and foreign interference or aggression in the Arab world, noting that Hamas likes to see the Arab peoples get their rights peacefully with no military options by their oppressors.
As peaceful protests decline, fears rise of a third intifada / Hugh Naylor
NABI SALEH (The National) 19 Oct — Each Friday, Bilal Tamimi and fellow residents of Nabi Saleh have been determined to peacefully rally against the seizure of their land and a village spring by Israeli settlers. Although many in this Palestinian hamlet, along with foreign activists and liberal Israelis, have tried to embrace non-violent struggle against Israel, most Fridays Mr Tamimi and fellow protestors face barrages of tear gas and rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers. At night, the military sometimes raids their homes, arresting scores of people, including children, for participating in the rallies. For four years, they have carried on with almost unflinching resolve. But that is changing. “The people are tired, and they don’t see results,” Mr Tamimi, 48, said. He was forced to call off a demonstration on a recent afternoon because he was one of a mere three people who showed up. The village of Nabi Saleh is not alone in experiencing such fatigue. About a dozen other Palestinian villages in the West Bank have in recent years also attempted to use what they call unarmed resistance to Israeli occupation. But combined with the harsh response of Israel’s military and the unrelenting expansion of its Jewish settlements on land wanted for a Palestinian state, Palestinians are increasingy questioning the usefulness of peaceful tactics. Some even predict a return to armed struggle and its painful consequences. “There are those who are saying we should change the style, to be more violent,” said Iyad Tamimi, 47, a Nabi Saleh resident and a relative of Bilal who supports the non-violent approach. “But violence means we pay a big price.”
Report: EU to bypass its own anti-settlement guidelines
972mag 17 Oct by Noam Sheizaf — Israeli and European officials are reportedly nearing an agreement that would allow Israeli institutions to continue operating freely in the West Bank while enjoying EU grants — In coordination with Israeli officials, the EU is about to introduce a solution that would allow Israeli institutions — which are invested in or profit from the occupation — to enjoy EU grants, according to a report in the Israel’s Maariv newspaper (Hebrew). The new directives will enable Israeli companies and institutions to divert money into investments in the settlements and in Jewish enterprises beyond the Green Line through subsidiaries or divisions, all while receiving EU
grants funds through their main operational budgets. If implemented, the new mechanism would allow Israel to join the prestigious Horizon 2020 program, which should result in 300 million euros of support to Israeli scientific and academic institutions.
NGO launches 9th annual women’s film festival
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Cultural NGO Shashat is launching its 9th annual women’s film festival in the West Bank and Gaza Strip this week. The festival will take place from October 20 until December 20 in six refugee camps and 20 cities in collaboration with seven universities and 22 organizations in the West Bank and Gaza, a statement said. This year’s festival is part of a “Remnants” project consisting of 10 films by 14 young female filmmakers and one hundred screenings and discussions … Shashat produced three new films from the West Bank and four from Gaza dealing with “cultural, social and environmental remnants which are hold-overs and left-overs which contaminate and slowly poison our social, cultural and environmental landscape,” the NGO said … The young female filmmakers focus on themes such as the “stereotyping of women, gossip which restricts the options of women, visual and verbal harassment which rapes women,” together with the marginalization of elderly and handicapped women and the destruction of young people’s potential through unemployment.
More Bedouin women turn to academia
The Media Line 21 Oct — Eman Abu Ammar, 24, is studying language and literature at Ben Gurion University. Unlike many Bedouin girls her age, she’s in no rush to get married. “Bedouin usually get married young,” she told The Media Line. “People ask me, ‘Why aren’t you married, don’t you have anybody?’ It does pressure me, but I plan to choose a partner who will allow me to keep studying.” Abu Ammar covers her hair with a bright blue headscarf, or hijab. She says she wears it both as a religious statement and a Bedouin custom, which begins at age 12. The youngest of eight children, her parents encouraged her to study at the university, but to continue living at home. She says that she does talk to fellow male students at the university, but would not meet them outside of class.
Journalists rally in Ramallah to reopen Gaza media offices
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — A group of journalists rallied in Ramallah on Sunday to launch a petition to reopen the Gaza bureaus of Ma‘an News Agency and al-Arabiya. The petition stated that the closure of the media offices violates Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which entitles the freedom of opinion, and Article 27, which allows anyone to operate a media outlet. Rally leader Omar Nazzal said the petition aims to pressure Hamas to reopen the media offices, adding that the closures were a “slap in the face” for freedom of expression. Nazzal called on intellectuals and writers to sign the petition. Ma‘an’s Gaza bureau has been closed since July 25.
Abbas: Israel has transformed political conflict into religious one
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with a German television station that he blamed Israel’s “demands in East Jerusalem” for having “transformed the conflict’s political nature into a religious conflict in a region already burdened with sensitivities.” Abbas said that he rejected any attempt to make the Palestinian-Israeli political conflict a religious issue “on the basis of our rejection of extremism and terrorism in all its forms.” Abbas stated his desire for a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict, but warned that Israeli attempts to annex East Jerusalem and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque had transformed what was an essentially political conflict into a religious struggle.
PA public workers’ union to launch open-ended strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — The Palestinian Authority’s Public Workers’ Union announced Sunday that it will launch an open-ended general strike on Wednesday effective across all governmental offices in the West Bank. The head of the union, Bassam Zakarneh, said Sunday that the union is still firm on its position regarding the need for the Palestinian Authority to add cost of living increases to the wages of all public employees without exception.
PA officials worked for over a year to free Lebanese hostages
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Palestinian Authority officials worked for over a year to secure the release of nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who had been held in Syria since 2011, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Turkey said Sunday. Nabil Maarouf told Ma’an that Palestinian officials cooperated with Lebanese, Turkish and Qatari officials to secure the release of the pilgrims. The pilgrims, who had been held hostage in Syria for 17 months, arrived in Beirut on Saturday after being freed in an exchange that also released two Turkish Airlines pilots seized in Lebanon. Beirut-based satellite TV station Al-Mayadeen reported Saturday that the first phone call with the abductors was made by Maaroof from his mobile phone.
Palestinian fighter reportedly killed in Syria phones family alive
UMM AL-FAHM (Ma‘an) 19 Oct — A Palestinian man reportedly killed while fighting in Syria phoned his family on Saturday morning to tell them that he is alive and safe. Muayyad Zaki Jum’a Aghbarria, 28, left his village of Mushayrifa in northern Israel to fight with the rebels in Syria.
Relative: Egyptian family rejects Israel honor
AP 20 Oct — ‘If any other country offered to honor Mohamed Helmy, we would have been happy with it,’ says relative of Egyptian doctor named Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem — A member of the family of the first Arab honored by Israel for risking his life to save Jews during the Holocaust says the family isn’t interested in the recognition. The Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel’s Holocaust memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during the Nazis‘ genocide, but a family member tracked down by The Associated Press this week in Cairo said her relatives wouldn’t accept the award, one of Israel’s most prestigious.
Analysis / Opinion
Lessons in hatred: Israel incitement is worse than that of Palestinians / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 20 Oct –By excoriating ‘Palestinian incitement,’ Israeli leadership sets new records of chutzpah: It’s own incitement is far, far worse — Here’s another record for Israeli chutzpah: Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz declares that because of Palestinian incitement there is no peace. In an article published in the New York Times last week under the headline “How Palestinian Hate Prevents Peace,” the national philosopher tallied Ramallah’s sins … The real incitement is denial of the Nakba; the real incitement is demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinians; the real incitement is the militarism, victimization and arrogance of the “Chosen People,” including Holocaust studies for six-year-olds that is designed to give the impression that the whole world is against us. The real incitement is that which will never acknowledge the context and motive behind Palestinian hatred. They don’t need lessons in school in order to hate Israelis – it’s enough for them to wake up terrified in the middle of the night to see soldiers brutally intrude their homes, bully their parents and degrade them in front of their eyes. Those are their real inciters.
How long will Israel stay off the nuclear hook? / Akiva Eldar
Al-Monitor 16 Oct — The agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons, and prospects for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, will bring even more attention to Israel’s not signing either the Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Chemical Weapons Convention … The Iranians are asking, rightly so from their point of view, why the international community picks on Iran while ignoring the Pakistani bomb. According to various research institute estimates from 2011, Pakistan has a hundred operational warheads. The Shaheen-2 rocket produced in Pakistan, with a range of almost 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles), was supposed to have become operational, in addition to nuclear-capable land-based and airborne cruise missiles. The regime in Tehran is more stable and no less rational than the one in Islamabad. Osama bin Laden did not find refuge for years in an Iranian village. The danger that radical groups will overthrow the government in Pakistan and take control of the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal is greater than such a thing happening in Iran. The Iranians are wondering, rightly so from their point of view, where Israel gets off threatening to attack a sovereign state to prevent its acquiring weapons which a complete majority of experts in the world believe Israel itself has had for decades.