Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Gaza researchers determined to record Nakba generation before time runs out
GAZA CITY (Electronic Intifada) 23 Oct by Joe Catron — Tucked into a quiet basement suite in the main building of the immaculate Islamic University of Gaza campus, the Oral History Center could at first be mistaken for a bursar or registrar’s office. But its stacks of metal filing cabinets may contain more memories per square meter than any other place in the occupied Gaza Strip. Researcher Nermin Habid said that the center conducted interviews with those who had witnessed the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing ahead of Israel’s foundation in 1948, as well as the Naksa (setback), Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and Sinai in 1967. ‘We have already conducted 1,500 oral interviews and archived audio files from them,’Habid added. ‘A meeting can last anywhere from half an hour, to two or three hours. We can also have follow-up meetings. We have also published 120 [interviews] in written form. In the future, we plan video interviews. We hope to use them to produce a documentary film about the history of Palestine.’ ‘Building from scratch’ Its work with first-generation Palestinian refugees begins with finding them. ‘It is by experience, by relationships,’ said Habid. ‘“We built the archive from scratch. There is no systematic reference center for such information in Gaza.’ … The Gaza Strip has the highest proportion of refugees of any territory in the world.
Special police unit evacuates Bedouins; ‘It’s not easy,’ officer says
Ynet 25 Oct by Ilana Curiel — Yoav Unit set up ahead of expected Knesset approval of Bedouin resettlement bill; officers already razing illegal homes in Negev. Adalah: Unfortunately, Bedouins viewed as security risk, demographic problem — “Large protests, stone-throwing and damage to infrastructure are possible scenarios, but no one wants to get to that point. The trick is to prevent rioting. If we do not – then we have failed,” said the commander of a special Israel Police unit in charge of the regulation of Bedouin settlement in the Negev – including the evacuation of illegal homes. The Yoav Unit was set up ahead of the expected approval by the Knesset of the Prawer Bill, which is meant to relocate nearly 30,000 Bedouin to officially recognized communities in the Negev region, including Rahat, Khura and Ksayfe.
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.
Israel demolishes Palestinian home in Negev
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces on Thursday demolished a Palestinian home south of Beersheba, a Ma‘an reporter said. The house belonged to Muhammad al-Walidi from Bir al-Mashash village. Israeli bulldozers also demolished a solar panel, water tanks and a fence surrounding the home, claiming that the structures were unlicensed. Israeli authorities left a notice at the site which read “No approach – land belongs to Israel Land Authority,” according to locals…
The Israeli government in January approved the Prawer-Begin Bill, calling for the relocation of 30,000 – 40,000 Bedouin, the demolition of about 40 villages and the confiscation of more than 700,000 dunams of land in the Negev.
Official: Israel forbids construction of public park in Jenin village
JENIN (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli authorities banned Palestinians from continuing construction on a park in the Jenin district village of Barta‘a al-Sharqiya, a local official told Ma‘an Thursday. Tawfiq Qabha, a member of the village council, told Ma‘an that volunteers established the park – the only public park in the village – four months ago … He said that Israel has targeted Barta‘a al-Sharqiya since 2003, when it began building the separation wall that now surrounds the village. Israeli forces have imposed a checkpoint that has strictly limited freedom of movement for village residents, Qabha continued. The village, inside the Barta‘a enclave, is one of eight communities encircled by the separation wall. The area falls in what Israel defines as the Seam Zone, a quasi-military zone in which construction is forbidden without prior coordination with Israeli authorities, which is near-impossible to secure. According to the UN, Around 7,500 Palestinians who reside in the Seam Zone require special permits to continue living in their own homes; another 23,000 will be isolated upon the wall’s completion. [On Monday Israeli authorities ordered the village council of Wadi Fukin, west of Bethlehem, to stop construction on their new park.]
Locals: Israel orders demolition of 2 Palestinian-owned buildings
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces issued orders Thursday for the demolition of buildings under construction by Palestinians in the Hebron district village of al-Shuyukh, locals told Ma‘an. The buildings belong to residents Adnan Khalil Hussein Halaika and Ahmad Mohammad Issa Qadoum, locals said. Qadoum said that he found the housing demolition orders underneath a rock near the house that is under construction. The house was meant to bring his family together after a long period of suffering, he said, adding that if Israel destroyed the house, the family would suffer more. Halaika told Ma‘n that according to a notice he found posted outside the construction site, the demolition order is based on an Israeli court decision made on Oct. 11.
Israel orders construction on three houses to stop
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 24 Oct — Israeli forces Thursday handed three Palestinians notices to stop construction on their houses in an area south of the town of Taqou‘, east of Bethlehem, as a prelude to demolish them, according to a local official. Head of Taqou‘ village council, Taysir Abu Mifreh, told WAFA that forces handed the three Palestinian households, including two brothers, notices to stop the work on their homes under the pretext they were being built without a permit and for being built in Area C, which falls under full Israeli control.
PHOTOS: Israel ‘punishes’ Ni‘lin activist, denies access to olive trees behind the wall
Activestills 23 Oct Text by Haggai Matar Photos by Keren Manor (Updated) — Meet Muhammad Amira from the West Bank village of Ni‘lin. At 43, married with four children, a science teacher at the local school, for six years Israel has banned Amira from visiting the 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of agricultural land his family owns, which are trapped behind the wall Israel built on village lands. Planted with olive trees and serving as grazing territory for the family’s sheep, the lands used to produce an important and regular supplemental income for the Amira family until construction of the fence-turned-wall began in 2007. Because he is one of the leaders of the local popular unarmed struggle against the wall, military authorities have marked Amira and denied him a permit to work his own land — for unexplained “security reasons.” Muhammad Amira is the last remaining agriculturally inclined member of his wider family, which means that his banishment from his lands by the army actually cut all ties between the family and its land. For six years now the trees have not been cared for nor harvested. The sheep were sold off. The way that Israel tends to exploit Ottoman land laws, which are still in place in the West Bank, after land is not cultivated for three years it is in danger of being declared state land and/or taken over by settlers.
Lying by omission: the JNF’s role in setting Negev land policy
972blog 24 Oct by Seth Morrison — The Jewish National Fund has in the past been caught lying about its role in East Jerusalem evictions of Palestinians. Now its role in Israeli land policy in the Negev is revealed to be much larger than it admits. A former JNF board member demands the organization take responsibility for its actions.
Activists arrested in Hebron: ‘Segregation isn’t our Judaism’
972mag 25 Oct by Michael Omer-Man, photos by Activestills — Israeli police arrested seven Jewish activists from Israel and the Diaspora in the segregated city of Hebron on Friday for holding signs that read, “Segregation is not our Judaism.” The activists, from a group called All That’s Left, went to Hebron on the eve of Shabbat Chayei Sarah, which is when the Torah portion of the same name is read. Religious-nationalist Jews descend on Hebron over the weekend, to mark the text they believe to be proof that Jews own Hebron. More on segregation in Hebron Even more than the rest of the year, during the Chayei Sarah weekend, the Israeli army restricts Palestinian movement in Hebron due to the influx of Jewish worshipers. This year, like years past, the army prevented Palestinians from holding Friday prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque … Shuhada Street, where the activists were arrested, has been segregated — open only to Jews and not Palestinians — since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, when Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and injured 125.
IOA planning new railway into OJ
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Oct — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) are planning the construction of a new railway line that would extend from the entrance of Jerusalem into the Old City. The Israeli financial daily “Globes” said on Wednesday that the Israeli ministry of transportation would launch the project in cooperation with Israel Railways and the municipality of Jerusalem. It said that the railway would include the building of an underground station in the historical Mamunulla Islamic graveyard, adding that it would cost around 700,000 dollars.
Child treated for shock after Nablus settler attack
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — An eight-year-old child was treated for shock on Wednesday following a settler attack in the Nablus village of Burin, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank bank, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers from Yizhar attacked the Boursli family home with rocks and empty bottles. Sima Boursli, 8, suffered from shock following the attack and was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. The settler attack took place just hours after international ambassadors and consuls had visited the village.
Settlers prevent Bethlehem farmers from reaching their land
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Israeli settlers and military forces prevented dozens of Palestinian farmers from reaching their land east of Bethlehem on Wednesday. Armed settlers assaulted villagers from Tuqu‘ while Israeli soldiers stood by and prevented them from reaching their land to harvest olives, a Ma‘an reporter said. Head of Tuqu‘ village council Taysir Abu Mifreh said that settlers from Noqedim also used dogs to intimidate Palestinian farmers. A confrontation developed between settlers and farmers, with Israeli soldiers intervening on behalf of the settlers, locals said. Ziad Numan, head of the municipality of Janata village, and Naser Sbeih, a tractor driver, were arrested. No injuries were reported.
Settlers assault farmers, attack vehicles in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli settlers on Thursday attacked several farmers in the Nablus district, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers assaulted Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives in the Nablus village of Burin. One farmer suffered severe bruising as a result of the attack.
Meanwhile, settlers hurled rocks at Palestinian cars near the Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus, damaging several vehicles. The settlers also assaulted an Israeli journalist in the area, Daghlas said.
Settlers uproot 30 olive trees in Huwwara
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli settlers on Friday uprooted 30 olive trees in Huwwara village south of Nablus, an official said. Ghassan Daughlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from Yitzhar settlement uprooted 30 olive trees that belong to Dawod Salim Odeh.
Israeli settlers raid village in al-Khalil
Al-Khalil (PIC) 25 Oct — Dozens of extremist Jewish settlers, at dawn Friday, raided al-Tawani village in the southern West Bank district of al-Khalil. Rateb al-Jabour, coordinator of the popular committee against settlement in the village of Yatta to south of al-Khalil told Quds Press that about a hundred Jewish settlers accompanied by IOF troops raided al-Tawani village at dawn Friday and marched the streets of the village chanting racist slogans against Arabs and Muslims which resulted in clashes between the villagers and the settlers.
Violence / Raids / Protests / Illegal arrests
Protests across West Bank violently dispersed by Israel, 2 injured
[photos] RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrations across the occupied West Bank on Friday, leaving several Palestinians injured and dozens suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces opened fire with tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall taking place in Bil‘in and Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, and in al-Ma‘sara, near Bethlehem.
Two Palestinians were injured and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in the protest in Bil‘in. Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters as they neared the Israeli separation wall, which cuts through the village of Bil‘in. Photographers Mohammad Yassin, 21, and AbdulKadir Abu Rahma, 19, were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets in the back and foot respectively … Since 2005, Bil‘in villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers. Previous protests by Bil‘in activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.
West Bank village marks 7 years of popular resistance
972mag 25 Oct by Haggai Matar — The markedly stone-free protests in al Ma‘asara are nevertheless violently suppressed by the Israeli army. ”We see the soldiers here with their guns, their boots, their shields and their helmets protecting the wall – but we know the real problem is the wall that is in their minds,” protest leader says — About 200 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists attended this week’s Friday demonstration against the wall and settlements in the village of al-Ma’asara, south of Bethlehem. The larger-than-usual crowd gathered at noon in the village center to commemorate seven years of popular struggle in the village – seven years of weekly marches toward the land where the separation barrier is planned to run.
Thousands attend funeral for Ramallah man killed Tuesday
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 23 Oct — Thousands of mourners on Wednesday participated in the funeral of a man shot dead a day earlier by Israeli forces near Ramallah. Muhammad Assi, 28, from Beit Liqya was killed Tuesday when Israeli soldiers stormed an area between the West Bank villages of Bil‘in and Kufr Nemeh, sparking a gunfight which ended at a cave, Palestinian witnesses and medics said. The funeral procession started at the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah and Assi was then transferred to Beit Liqya where he was wrapped in Palestinian Islamic Jihad flags. Dozens of cars followed the procession and thousands of people carried the body while chanting slogans calling for revenge and resistance against Israel’s occupation. Mourners also chanted for an end to negotiations with Israel. Islamic Jihad confirmed Assi was one of its militants in a statement on its website which said he had been “assassinated” by Israel’s army in Kufr Nemeh, while Gaza’s Hamas rulers offered condolences. The Israeli army confirmed the incident and claimed Assi was responsible for the November 2012 bombing of a Tel Aviv bus that wounded 29 people. Israeli forces have killed at least 20 people in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip this year.
Palestinian boy beaten at checkpoint leads to clashes in Hebron
HEBRON (ISM) 24 Oct — On Tuesday 22nd October in Khalil, a 15-year-old Palestinian was beaten for not having identification (ID) that the Israeli government does not issue until the age of 16. At approximately 2:30pm on Tuesday, Mahmod from Tel Rumeida (not his real name) was attempting to pass through checkpoint 56 on his way home. When asked to produce his ID, he explained to the soldiers that he was only 15 years old so had therefore not yet been issued an ID. The soldiers did not believe this and pushed him against a wall, whilst in this position a soldier struck him three times, twice in the abdomen with the butt of his rifle and once on the back of his head with his fist. Mahmod then collapsed to the ground and started to have a bout of violent seizures. These seizures lasted for over 15 minutes before he was taken to an ambulance on the H1 (Palestinian) side of the checkpoint. By this time his family arrived and was able to accompany him to hospital. Upon seeing the injuries of Mahmod some local Palestinian youth proceeded to throw stones at the building that was in front of the checkpoint.
PCHR succeeds in ensuring compensation for families of children killed by Israeli forces
IMEMC 23 Oct (orig. PCHR 20 Oct) — Lawyers of the Legal Aid Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) succeeded in ensuring remedy for the families of 3 Palestinian children, who were killed by Israeli forces in 2001. Following years of legal work and vigorous follow-up, a settlement was concluded with the Israeli Military Prosecution’s representatives to pay NIS166,000 for each family of the victims in exchange for closing the file. Procedures to submit the amounts of money to the families are now in process … The attack took place on 30 December 2000 when Israeli forces fired a number of artillery shells at Ahmed Mohammed Banat (15); Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Madhoun (16); and Mohammed Ahmed Lubbad (17). They are all from al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City … 30 minutes later, Israeli forces announced they had killed 3 armed Palestinians who attempted to sneak into the settlement. They changed their allegation later and claimed that the 3 persons were trying to plant explosives in the area. However, the official story of Israeli forces stated the 3 persons had carried knives. The victims’ names and ages were not identified then, as Israeli forces kept the corpses. At the same time, 3 families from al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City reported that 3 of their children were missing after they returned from a visit to their friend in Beit Lahia.
Israel occupies Jenin house, turns it into military base
JENIN (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli forces took control over an inhabited Palestinian house and turned it into a military base in the village of Ya‘bad, near Jenin, in the northern West Bank on Friday. Two Israeli military vehicles raided the house of Atef Khalil Abu Baker in the al-Maloul area south of Yabad municipality, and subsequently stationed themselves on the roof of the house at around 12.30 p.m. Israeli forces claimed that they occupied the house because of its vantage point over the area. They added that they intended to monitor children who throw stones at army and Israeli settler vehicles traveling to Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, two illegal Israeli settlements nearby. The occupation comes after a Palestinian near Yabad hurled an improvised explosive device at an Israeli settler school bus early Friday morning.
Youths smash hole in Israel’s separation wall near Abu Dis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Dozens of young Palestinians smashed a hole in Israel’s separation wall near Abu Dis on Wednesday, as clashes broke out in the town for the second day in a row. Popular resistance committee spokesman Hani Halbiya told Ma’an that youths made a 3-meter hole in part of the wall in protest against a house demolition in Abu Dis late Monday. Workers spent several hours repairing the wall under the guard of Israeli security forces. After military forces left the area, Palestinian youths returned to the wall and reopened the hole, Halbiya said. Israeli forces then raided Abu Dis and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs. Two people were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets.
Protesters shut down street in Qalandiya Camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — A group of men in Qalandiya refugee camp blocked a main road Thursday to protest the Palestinian Authority’s continued detention of a political prisoner, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said that the protesters shut down the camp’s central street – one that connects Ramallah to cities in the southern West Bank – and additionally closed entrances to the camp, burnt tires and threw stones at passersby. The men were protesting the Palestinian Authority’s detention of Rabee‘ Hamad, a man who was released from Israeli prison 8 months ago, locals said. The PA is still detaining Hamad despite a court decision to release him, locals added
Group: Israel accuses Hebron woman of trying to stab soldier
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli military forces have accused a 20-year-old woman detained in Hebron on Tuesday of attempting to stab an Israeli soldiers, a lawyer said Thursday. Jad al-Qadmani, from the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Ma‘an that Muntaha Saleh Ahmad Lahaleh was detained in Beit Ummar this week while returning home from work at a nursery. Israeli forces stopped the car she was traveling in a at a temporary checkpoint and searched her in a provocative manner, her father said. Muntaha then slapped one of the soldiers in the face and was detained by other soldiers and taken to Kiryat Arba detention center before being transferred to an interrogation center. Al-Qadmani, who visited Muntaha, said Israeli forces are accusing her of attempting to stab a soldier and planted sharp tools in her bag. Israeli interrogators have been verbally abusive towards her, he added. The Palestinian Authority liaison office said it was working to release Muntaha.
Israeli forces arrest 14 Palestinians from Hebron area
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Oct – Israeli forces Wednesday arrested 14 Palestinians from various areas in the Hebron region, according to security sources. They told WAFA that forces arrested 14 people after raiding and searching their homes, causing serious damage to their furniture
Official: Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians across West Bank
JENIN (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians across the West Bank Thursday for “suspicion for involvement in illegal activity,” a spokeswoman for the Israeli army told Ma‘an. Locals said that Israeli forces arrested brothers Ahmad and Mohammad Nabil Zakarneh after raiding their house at 3 a.m. in the Jenin district village of Qabatiya. Additionally, witnesses added, Israeli soldiers detained Zakaria Fayez Sabaneh. The Israeli army spokeswoman said that five Palestinians were detained in Qabatiya in total. Locals said that soldiers damaged Palestinian property during the raids, and that meanwhile, Israeli forces traversed the villages of Ya‘bad and al-Tarem on foot.
Separately, Israeli forces raided the village of Dar Salah east of Bethlehem and detained a Palestinian man, a local official told Ma‘an. A member of the Dar Salah village council said that Israeli forces raided a house, damaged property and arrested Mohammad Dawoud Dahabiya Rabaiya, 34.
The Israeli army spokeswoman added that three Palestinians were detained in ‘Azzun in the Qalqiliya district, two in villages northwest of Ramallah, one in the Israeli settlement of Teqoa southeast of Bethlehem and one in al-Ubeidiya east of Bethlehem.
PA security arrest father of political prisoner
Tulkarem, (PIC)– The PA security agencies arrested on Thursday the father of political prisoner Ahmad Hamdan. The same agencies detained a university student and a writer in the cities of al-Khalil and Qalqilya. Sources close to the family of Hamdan told the PIC reporter that the father Muhammad Hamdan received a phone call for the general attorney’s office asking him to go the General Intelligence (GI) headquarters to collect his son. The sources added that the father and the mother along with their children went to the GI headquarters on Thursday evening, but the GI officers refused to release Ahmad and told the father that we will not release him and we will not obey the orders of the attorney general … Ahmad Hamdan was detained last Saturday. He has not been charged, and he gets released briefly every 48 hours, just outside the GI headquarters and arrested again to “comply with the law” that allows the detention of suspects for 48 hours without a charge. This is the 19th time Ahmad, who spent a total of 23 months in Israeli occupation jails, had been detained by the PA security agencies for his [Hamas] political affiliation.
In Qalqilya, the PA security served writer Khalil Mansour with a summons for his critical articles of the government.
In al-Khalil, the General Intelligence summoned Musaab Zaghir, a student at the al-Khalil University.
PA security raid the home of leader Abu al-Hayja
JENIN (PIC) 25 Oct — PA security elements, at dawn Friday, raided the home of imprisoned leader Jamal Abu al-Hayja, in a barbaric manner and threatened his wife unless her son Hamza surrenders himself to PA security in two days. Um al-Abed, the wife of Sheikh Jamal Abu al-Hayja, told the PIC reporter that PA security forces raided her home twice between midnight and dawn, hoping that Hamza would have returned after their first raid. She added that they raided the house without any search warrant and without any consideration to the fact that only women were present at the house. They threatened that they will harm Hamza if he does not surrender to them. Former minister of prisoners affairs, Wasfi Qabaha, lambasted the PA security for the raiding the home of a leader “who lost his arm in the battle of honor in defense of the dignity and honor of his people in the Jenin refugee camp [in 2002].. and who is languishing in occupation jails serving nine life terms.”
Palestinians arrested over Israel ‘drone’ attack plot
AFP 25 Oct — Three Palestinian engineering students arrested by PA security forces for planning attack on Israel with unmanned aircraft. Hamas condemns arrest, says PA ‘protects security of occupation’ — …The three Hebron University engineering students had intended to build a pilotless aircraft equipped with explosives, according to the Palestinian security source.
Gaza under blockade
Israel denies EU delegation entry to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct by Charlie Hoyle — The Israeli government on Wednesday denied an official European Union delegation entry to the Gaza Strip, claiming the visit would strengthen the ruling Hamas movement. Six members of an EU Parliament delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council were due to visit Gaza from Oct. 27-30 in a trip largely focused on social, economic and humanitarian issues, including visits to UNRWA health centers, schools, food distribution centers, rehabilitation centers and sports clubs. The MEPs, from a cross-section of political parties representing six EU member states, were informed in an email by Israeli authorities that they would not be allowed into Gaza via the Erez crossing for the three-day visit, which also included trips to Christian schools, a sports clubs and the University of Palestine. Emer Costello, chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said she was “astounded and dismayed” by Israel’s decision to refuse an official EU visit … Margrete Auken, a Danish MEP who was scheduled to take part in the trip, told Ma’an that the visit had originally been planned for last November but was canceled due to Israel’s war on Gaza.er this year banning member states from funding projects in settlements … “I think the reason the Israeli government is doing this is to punish the EU for the guidelines on settlements. … they want to get rid of them, but that of course will never happen,” she said.
Solidarity visits to Gaza dwindle
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 24 Oct by Abeer Ayyoub — Hamas officials would once ask visiting international solidarity delegates to bring medicine and supplies, which are scarce, to the Gaza Strip. The international visitors, who included pro-Palestinian activists, lawmakers and former diplomats, would meet with Hamas officials in Gaza and extend invitations for them to visit their (mostly Muslim) countries. While in Gaza, both sides would draft plans for drumming up support for Gaza in Islamic and European capitals.
Since the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in July, however, such delegations no longer travel to Gaza, and local Hamas leaders have struggled to get out. Egyptian restrictions on movement through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza has stifled international support for the besieged Palestinian enclave …
Alaa al-Bata, head of media relations for the Hamas government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that there had been a marked decrease in the number of solidarity delegations since the June 30 revolution in neighboring Egypt. “We used to receive more than 25 delegations a month before that, but for the last two months, for example, we haven’t received any,” Bata told Al-Monitor.
Turkey to send humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza
ANKARA (PIC) 24 Oct — Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs said it would provide urgent assistance to the impoverished Gaza Strip to address the aggravating humanitarian situation resulting from the ongoing Israeli blockade and Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing. In a press release on Wednesday, the Turkish foreign ministry described the humanitarian situation in Gaza as worsening and said that the Turkish presidency channeled 850 thousand dollars to the Palestinian government in Gaza through the Turkish cooperation and development agency-Tika. The ministry affirmed that this financial assistance would be used to provide fuel supplies immediately needed for operating power generators at drinking water pumping stations and hospitals. For its part, the Turkish government decided to provide Gaza with 10 thousand tons of flour in response to a recent appeal by the UNRWA. The first shipment of this aid will be sent on the first of November. Turkey is also embarking on preparing medical aid for Gaza, including medical equipment and medicines.
Gaza forced to buy Israeli fuel to ease shortage
MENA 24 Oct — Energy officials in Gaza said they were forced to purchase Israeli industrial diesel to keep Gaza’s only power station operating. Ahmed Abul-Omrein, director of information in the Gaza Energy Department, said in press statements on Thursday that a decision had to be made to buy the Israeli fuel despite its high price, but added that purchasing Israeli fuel will continue for another few days only as part of an emergency plan. Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday allowed the entry of 400,000 liters of fuel to the power generation station in Gaza following a major shortage in fuel that led to power blackouts that lasted around 12 hours a day.
Power outages send Gaza children to study on streets
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 24 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — The only refuge Asaad Jabouri, 12, found for doing his homework is under a light post on Market Street in the al-Nuseirat Camp in central Gaza Strip. He came here fleeing the electricity cuts in his neighborhood, about 200 meters from the street. Jabouri, a sixth-grade student, spread out his books on the sidewalk while vehicles rushed by. He was hurrying to finish his homework and avoid getting home late. After finishing his work, Jabouri took a deep breath and raised his head while still stretched out on the ground. “I’m finished, now we can talk,” said Jabouri. He sat down on the side of the road to catch his breath. “I come here day after day to do my homework. Sometimes, I choose to sit under a light post, while other times I sit in front of a well-lit shop,” he explained. Jabouri, who hails from a poor family, is taking afternoon classes at a government school. Classes begin at noon and end at 5 p.m., just as it starts to get dark. He doesn’t have much time to do his homework now that daylight-savings time is ending in the Palestinian Territories, thus shortening the days even further. The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip began on June 28, 2006, when Israeli military aircraft shelled a power station in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the abduction of soldier Gilad Shalit by armed Palestinian factions. The station hasn’t been repaired since.
Video and photos: March for Ahmad Sa‘adat and all Palestinian prisoners, Gaza
GAZA (ISM) 23 Oct by Rosa Schiano. More photos here
Palestinians in Gaza express love, politics with graffiti
[with photo gallery] GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 23 Oct by Asmaa al-Ghoul — GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Stark colors, subdued colors; sometimes beautiful, other times childish lines. Old words covered in a coat of white paint, itself covered in new verses again. Slogans atop one another, representing Hamas, the Quds Brigades or the Popular Front. Walls weakened by years of slogans and canvases, scratched out and redrawn, ad infinitum. Political rhetoric transformed into congratulatory messages after a successful pilgrimage, wedding or release from prison. Walls quickly cleaned only to be re-adorned with ads and phone numbers for burial or taxi services, adjacent to the painting of a rocket proclaiming the formation of a new military brigade. Such is Gaza, an open book whose pages are written on concrete.
Egypt accepts a Palestinian proposal for operating Rafah crossing
GAZA (PIC) 24 Oct — The Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip confirmed that it has recently started operating Rafah crossing with a new mechanism due to malfunctions in the computer network at the Egyptian side of the crossing. General directorate of borders and crossings at Gaza Ministry of Interior and National Security has submitted a proposal to end the Rafah crossing crisis which is the sole gateway to the external world for the Gaza Strip’s 1.8 million people. The general manager of crossings in Gaza Strip confirmed the Egyptian temporary approval of the Palestinian proposal to operate the crossing. The proposal states that Palestinian travelers would be treated as pilgrims, so that their passports would be handed over to the Egyptian side to be checked, and then they would be allowed to travel directly, he clarified … After implementing the proposal on Wednesday, seven buses carrying 654 passengers were allowed to pass through the crossing while 108 passengers were allowed to enter Gaza Strip.
Egypt delays Hajj pilgrims from returning to Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Egyptian authorities on Wednesday ordered 19 buses carrying pilgrims back to Gaza to return to el-Arish due to the security situation in Sinai, an official said. Director of the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing Sami Mitwalli told Ma‘an that Egyptian authorities prevented the buses from traveling to Rafah due to a security curfew in the Sinai peninsula. The 774 pilgrims will be able to cross into Gaza on Thursday, Mitwalli added.
Rafah crossing opens for second group of pilgrims
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — A second and final group of pilgrims from the Gaza Strip returned home Friday via the Egyptian Rafah crossing into the blockaded territory, the Hamas religious affairs minister said. Ismail Radwan said that the first group consisted of 770 pilgrims and arrived on Thursday after spending one night in el-Arish.
IOF bulldozers damage land in central Gaza Strip
GAZA (PIC) 24 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) escorted four huge bulldozers into eastern Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and damaged land adjacent to the border fence. Palestinian security sources told the PIC reporter that the IOF-escorted bulldozers advanced 150 meters from the borderline. They said that the bulldozers leveled land north and south of an adjacent Israeli army position before evacuating the site.
Ghussain: Resistance tunnels legitimate means of self-defense
GAZA (PIC) 23 Oct — Ihab Al-Ghussain, the spokesman for the Gaza government, said that digging resistance tunnels was an internal affair and a legitimate method for self-defense. He said on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the Palestinian people and its resistance factions are entitled to take whatever means possible to defend the Gaza population in face of the repeated Israeli attacks and crimes that are committed amidst international silence.
Suspected car bomb targets PRC leader in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — The car of a Popular Resistance Committee leader exploded in the northern Gaza Strip late Friday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that unknown suspects were seen planting explosives on a car belonging to a PRC leader identified as A.D. The car later exploded, with no injuries reported.
Detainees / Court actions
Administrative prisoners to start protest measures
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 24 Oct – Some 140 prisoners held in administrative detention in Israel without charge or trial decided to start protest steps demanding an end to their incarceration, prisoners’ advocates said Thursday. Qaddoura Faris, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, said at a press conference that the first step will be to boycott all Israeli military courts to be accompanied by strikes on Monday that could increase to three days a week if necessary. He said that the prisoners feel the courts do nothing other than agree to the sentence the prosecutor asks for. He said the prisoners are tired of being held for long periods of time without charge or trial and want to put an end to this kind of detention that is considered illegal by international law
The family of prisoner Lama Hadaydeh calls for her release
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 Oct — The family of the prisoner Lama Hadaydeh, 25, from Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, called for her release immediately … The family expressed concern over their daughter’s fate especially that she has been held in Jalama interrogation center without charges, Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ Studies revealed. Lama was arrested a few days before Eid al-Adha from her house in Tulkarem refugee camp after Israeli military force raided her family’s house and confiscated her personal laptop. The director of the center Fouad Khuffash stated that Lama’s arrest raised the Palestinian female prisoners’ number to 14 … Lama is a university student at Al-Quds University in Tulkarem
Waed: Captive Hammad in serious danger
GAZA (PIC) 23 Oct — Jordanian captive Ala’a Hammad is passing through a life threatening stage after 175 days of hunger strike, Waed society for prisoners said in a statement on Wednesday. It said that Hammad, who went on hunger strike on 1st May, was isolated from the outside world and was suffering from medical neglect in Israeli captivity. The society said that the Israeli prison authorities were trying to pressure Hammad into breaking his strike, but he is adamant on continuing despite his exhaustion and worsening condition … an international campaign in solidarity with Hammad kicked off on Wednesday.
Amnesty slams ‘harassment’ of human rights lawyer
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Amnesty International on Thursday urged Israel to drop all charges against a Palestinian human rights lawyer a day after he was released from military custody. “The release of Anas Barghouti is positive news but he should have never been detained and charged in the first place,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. An Israeli judge at Ofer military court ruled that Barghouti should be released because confessions submitted as evidence from other detainees failed to prove he was a security threat, the rights group said. “It is unacceptable for Israeli authorities to continue to prosecute activists because of their peaceful work in defense of human rights. This release should be a first step towards the authorities ending their harassment of Palestinian human rights defenders.” Barghouti was detained on Sept. 15 at a checkpoint in Bethlehem and charged nine days later with being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was also charged with being part of the “leadership of a committee to organize demonstrations,” both charges which he denied. If convicted, Barghouti faces up to 18 months in jail, and Amnesty says it will consider him a prisoner of conscience for his work on behalf of prisoners and the “peaceful expression of his political views.”
Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa prison deprived of family visits
JENIN (PIC) 23 Oct — The Israeli authorities continued depriving the Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa prison of family visits including Eid al-Adha visits since ten days ago. The Israeli measure came as part of the collective penalties imposed against the prisoners following their protests against the Israeli break-in into section 1. The Israeli Prison Services (IPS) refused to remove the ban on family visits during Eid al-Adha although family visits during holidays have more priority than normal visits. For its part, the Palestinian Prisoners Society stated that the IPS and representatives of the prisoners in Gilboa prison have reached a deal to restore the stability in the prison and to cancel all punitive measures against the prisoners except the ban on family visits.
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
UN: Palestinian refugees in Syria face ‘extreme vulnerability’
NEW YORK (AFP) 23 Oct — Top UN official Jeffrey Feltman emphasized Tuesday the “extreme vulnerability” of Palestinian refugees in Syria as fighting there escalates. Speaking at the Security Council, the under-secretary for political affairs also called on member nations to give more generously to fund the UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA. He recalled the sinking off Egypt of a boat filled with Palestinian refugees and “an increase in the death toll of Palestinian refugees in Syria from the escalation of fighting” in Daraa, Yarmuk and the Damascus region … Nearly 500,000 Palestinians are registered as refugees in Syria. Their ancestors fled their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948, and in successive conflicts afterwards. Feltman also emphasized that the budget of the UNRWA is running “a deficit of $48 million” which “threatens the provision of essential services to more than five million Palestinian refugees.”
Britain announces £15M support for Syria’s Palestinian refugees
LONDON (WAFA) 23 Oct — The United Kingdom announced on Monday a £15.5 million support to the Palestinian refugees in Syria who were caught in the conflict there, the British Department for International Development (DFID) said in a press release received on Wednesday. The aid will be channeled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is in charge of Palestinian refugees both inside Syria and those who have once again had to flee to neighboring countries as a result of the conflict, International Development Minister Alan Duncan said. This will include food for over 155,000 people and cash assistance. Of more than half a million Palestinian refugees whose families have sought safety in Syria over previous decades, more than 50 percent have now been driven out of their homes by the fighting. This includes approximately 235,000 displaced inside Syria, as well as 47,000 who have moved into Lebanon and 9,000 into Jordan
Palestinian institutions in Europe follow up the refugees issue in Italy
ROME (PIC) 24 Oct — A delegation of Palestinian institutions based in Europe has met with Italian police leadership to discuss the crisis of the Palestinian refugees and Syrians who have arrived in Italy by sea, especially after the sinking of the ship carrying about four hundred refugees. The Italian police authority expressed its willingness to hand over the recovered bodies of those who drowned to their families to be buried in an appropriate manner … The delegation has visited the Italian morgue accompanied by some of the victims’ families to recognize the unidentified victims. On the other hand, the delegation visited Sarkoza area where they met with the Italian authorities concerning the refugee camp that hosts 250 Palestinian and Syrian refugees who reached Italy recently. The delegation also visited al-Rahma mosque in Catania that hosts and provides shelter to large numbers of refugees.
From walls to evictions: a week in photos – Oct 17-23
Activestills 25 Oct — This week: Palestinians face the separation wall and settler violence while harvesting olives, Afghan asylum seekers protest while under pressure in Brussels, Israelis face eviction from public housing, Palestinians debate prisoner exchanges, new barriers are built in Hebron, West Bankers wait for work, and Palestinian children face soldiers and water shortages.
Israel to vote on draft law preventing release of detainees
IMEMC 25 Oct — The Israeli daily Maariv has reported that the Israeli cabinet will be holding a vote on a new law meant to prevent the government from releasing Palestinian political prisoners. The vote only comes a few days before Israel implements the second phase of releasing detainees. The Jewish Home party, a fundamentalist coalition partner of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, presented the proposal. The timing comes just as Israel prepares to release some Palestinian detainees by the end of this month as part of the efforts to “boost direct talks with the Palestinians”.
Bill: Gov’t cannot negotiate J’lem without Knesset support
Ynet 20 Oct by Moran Azulay — The Ministerial Committee on Legislation ratified on Sunday a bill that proposes that the government can only hold negotiations regarding dividing Jerusalem if it gains the support of no fewer than 80 MKs. The bill, endorsed by MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), stipulates that the government must have the parliament’s support in order to negotiate the capital’s status.
Palestinians to world: Boycott Bank Leumi as well
Ynet 25 Oct by Elior Levy — PA urges 50 countries to clamp down on private companies conducting business in West Bank, east Jerusalem; Israeli companies and financial institutions with overseas branches also targeted — Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior economic official and negotiator in the peace talks with Israel, told the Financial Times on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority’s minister of foreign affairs had begun sending letters about a month ago to 50 countries that are home to 504 companies with business in settlements, asking them to withdraw their investment or freeze their activities. Commercial activity in the settlements is illegal and constitutes a violation of international law, the letters said.
Remains of 36 Palestinians to be released
IMEMC 25 Oct — The Israeli government has decided to release the remains of 36 Palestinians buried at the Numbers Graveyard. The remains are for Palestinians involved in bombings and attacks; the decision angered the families of Israelis killed in those attacks. Israeli Yedioth Aharonoth has reported that the families believe that the release of the remains of “Palestinian assailants” will be like “harming the bereaved families once again”. The paper said that the families would be filing appeals to the Supreme Court in an attempt to prevent the release of those remains. The release is planned to be conducted between the fifth and the seventh of this coming November … The release of the remains of Palestinians is part of the efforts to secure the release of all remains of Palestinian and Arab fighters buried in the Numbers Graveyard. On Thursday, May 21 2012, the Palestinian Authority (P.A) in the West Bank held an official burial ceremony for 91 Palestinians who have been buried in the Numbers Graveyard, and their remains were handed to the P.A.
Israeli rightists tour Aqsa compound under guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli rightists toured the Al-Aqsa compound on Thursday escorted by Israeli police, witnesses said. An Israeli rightist who had recently been banned from entering the mosque compound tried to enter the area to pray, but was stopped by Israeli forces. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said “normal visits took place regularly and there were no incidents.”
Japan supports projects in two West Bank villages
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 24 Oct -– Japan signed Thursday two separate agreements with the villages of Azzoun and Bidya in the West Bank for a total value of almost $200,000, a press release by the Japan’s Representative Office in Ramallah said …
A grant of $88,400 went for the rehabilitation of water network in Azzoun. This project aims to rehabilitate 2,250 meters of underground water pipes in seven different areas, benefiting 153 households (about 770 people) who will be getting adequate and clean water supply compared to the existing network, which provides water with rusty taste and low supply due to leakage and corroded pipes. Bidya Municipality will get $105,100 for enhancing the electricity provision in the village. Through this project all Bidya citizens estimated around 10,000 people, will be able to have a stable and safe electricity supply