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Palestinian villagers near Bethlehem visit their farmland after being barred by Israel for 13 years

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Silence of the lambs: A Palestinian hamlet on the brink of destruction
Haaretz 11 Oct by Gideon Levy & Daniel Bar-On — The lambs due to be born soon in the village of Halat Makhoul may not survive these chilly nights.  Nor may the residents, whose tents were destroyed yet again by the army — The scrawny little kitten is still around. It doesn’t seem to have grown since we were last here, two weeks ago. It’s still scratching for food in the dirt, but it’s still alive. Also still here, somehow, in Halat Makhoul, a village in the Jordan Valley, are some 1,200 sheep and about 100 people. Last week they pitched new tents, and once again the soldiers came to wreak destruction and burn things. This week the inhabitants erected them again − about a dozen white tents on the ruins of their predecessors − but they haven’t inserted the pegs deep into the ground yet, for fear of the soldiers. They are afraid to sleep in the tents, lest the wind collapse the insecure metal poles on top of them. Another dozen lambs were born in this destroyed hamlet this week; it’s the start of the birthing season. The lambs are fine, though this is not true of some of their mothers; at least two of those that gave birth were lying listlessly among the ruins of their shelter. On Tuesday, our friend, Burhan Basharat, the shepherd, was doing his utmost to save them … “My daughter asks, ‘Why did they destroy our houses? Did we do something bad to them that they destroyed them?’” says Basharat.

Villagers visit farmland for first time in 13 years
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Landowners from Za‘atara village east of Bethlehem entered their lands in Jab al-Theeb area for the first time in 13 years after it was closed by the Israeli army, a human rights organization said.  Yesh Din lawyer Mohammad Shqeir told Ma’an that the Israeli civil administration declared last week that landowners could enter into the 10 dunams of their 500-dunam lands that are planted with olive trees. However, farmers and volunteers managed to enter into all the land and plant seeds there, Shqeir said. The land was fenced off by settlers but Yesh Din made an appeal to Israeli authorities in 2009 to remove the fence and allow its owners in, Shqeir added.

Israel’s Likud hopes to complete the ethnic cleansing of Jaffa
Electronic Intifada 9 Oct by Ali Abunimah — In 1948, Zionist gangs perpetrated the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian coastal city of Jaffa. Their violent tactics included a massive car bomb on 4 January that year, set off by the Irgun terrorist group, destroying the saraya, the city’s municipal headquarters, killing and injuring dozens. Once a major cosmopolitan center of trade and citrus-growing, and the cultural capital of Palestine, poorly-defended Jaffa, beset by hunger and chaos, lay at the mercy of the besieging Zionist invaders. In April 1948, Jaffa fell to the invading forces, led by the Haganah … After the occupation, Israel confiscated most Palestinian property, corralled the remaining Palestinian residents into the Ajami neighborhood and annexed Jaffa into the “Tel Aviv-Jaffa” municipality. Since then, the Palestinians remaining in Jaffa have struggled to maintain their presence, as well as the historic character of their city despite racist attacks and harassment and gentrification calculated to drive them out for the benefit of wealthy Jewish transplants … Today, the local branch of Israel’s ruling Likud party, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hopes to finish the job started by the Haganah, Irgun and other terrorist groups in 1948 – albeit by “democratic” means. Israel’s municipal and local authority elections are scheduled for 22 October … In an 8 October posting on its official blog, the Tel Aviv Likud branch promises voters that it will “Silence the muezzin and stop the spread of Islamic movements in Jaffa.” The muezzin is the person who makes the call to prayer from a mosque.

Since 1967 Israel has razed over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees, the equivalent to destroying Central Park 33 times over
Visualizing Palestine 10 Oct — This week marked the start of the annual Palestinian olive harvest, an ancient tradition on which 80,000 families still rely for their livelihoods. Yet these families face growing economic hardship due to Israeli land confiscations, access restrictions, settler attacks, and not least the widespread uprooting, destruction and theft of the trees themselves. The infographic ‘Uprooted’ focuses on the staggering fact that Israeli authorities have uprooted over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967, the equivalent to razing all of the 24,000 trees in New York’s central park 33 times. This graphic is being released as part of Visualizing Palestine’s 2013 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. We would love if you could share the campaign URL with the graphic and through social media.

Witnesses: Jewish groups enter Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Oct — Jewish groups entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Thursday through the Moroccan Gate and performed religious rituals, a Palestinian Authority official said. Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Jerusalem office of the PA ministry of endowment, told Ma‘an that two groups entered the religious site. Israeli police detained two photojournalists, al-Khatib added, while witnesses told Ma‘an that two young Palestinian men were arrested and taken out of the mosque compound via the Chain Gate. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli police officers forced the compound’s Palestinian security guards to stand aside while the groups entered the area. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that three Israelis were arrested and later released, and that “the visit continued as normal.”

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Israeli midnight invasions in Ni‘lin, one arrested
[with short video] 11 Oct — At 2am on Sunday morning October the 6th, six Israeli military jeeps entered the village of Ni’lin. The soldiers broke down the door of Hazem Kawaja’s home and entered the house of the sleeping family. An 18-year-old son of the household, Mohammed, was arrested by the soldiers and taken to interrogation facilities next to Ofer military prison. Mohammed is a student and the arrest makes sure that his studies this year will be forfeit. This is a tactic that has been known to be used systematically against Palestinian students.
Since the beginning of 2013, about 35 men from Ni‘lin have been arrested in their homes during nightly raids. Of these 35 no one has yet been freed. They have been sentenced to anywhere between eight to 30 months in jail, allegedly for taking part in the peaceful protests against the apartheid wall carried out every Friday in Ni‘lin since five years back. The night raids are a focused tactic from the Israeli occupation to drive people into leaving the village. At the start of the Israeli occupation there were 12.500 people living in the village of Ni‘lin. At present that number has dwindled to about 5.500 people. In other alarming numbers Ni‘lin had 5800 hectares of land in 1969 when the occupation began; today the village only controls 800 hectares. This is of course due to the construction of the apartheid wall cutting of Ni‘lin from large parts of its agricultural land but also related to the growth of nearby colonies. Ni‘lin is surrounded by five illegal settlements built on its land. To complete the infrastructure of colonization a road that only may be used by Israeli settlers has been built, further restricting Palestinian movement. The last stage in turning Ni‘lin into a giant prison, as has been done with the West Bank as a whole, is the construction of a tunnel under the apartheid road. This tunnel will in the future be the only way in and out of the village and the Israeli military will therefore effectively be able to seal off the entire village at its will.

Israeli forces injure dozens at Palestinian protests across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Israeli forces on Friday dispersed several demonstrations across the occupied West Bank, attacking Palestinian demonstrators with tear-gas grenades in numerous villages and causing dozens of injuries.  Dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation on Friday during the Bil‘in weekly protest against the separation wall and settlement construction. Demonstrators marched through the village of Bil‘in, raising Palestinian flags and chanting songs for unity and in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. [other protests described here took place in Kafr Qaddum, al-Ma‘sara, and Beitunia near Ofer prison]

Israeli forces detain Palestine TV team
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Israeli forces Friday prevented a Palestinian news team from entering the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum to cover the weekly protest, a Palestine TV director said. Ezzat Oba, director of the Palestine TV office, said that Israeli soldiers detained the TV team and confiscated the keys to their car. Similar incidents have occurred in the past, Oba added. He said that Israeli forces target Palestine TV teams and impede their ability to do their jobs.

Israelis attack school in Palestinian village, torch olive groves
Haaretz 10 Oct by Amira Hass — IDF arrests four assailants from illegal settlement near Shilo, but pupils say at least 20 settlers involved — A group of Israelis, seemingly settlers from the area of the illegal outposts east of Shilo, attacked a school in the West Bank village of Jalud Wednesday and set olive groves on fire. Around noon, the arsonists broke into the village’s elementary school and threw rocks at the classrooms as well as at five parked cars belonging to teachers. At the same time, another group, or groups, set fires in the village’s olive groves. The Palestinian fire service, which arrived from Nablus, said about 400 trees were damaged. The combined attack succeeded even though army sources told Haaretz that IDF forces were reinforced in the area due to a heightened threat of violence. Jalud is surrounded by the illegal outposts Esh Kodesh, Adi Ad, Ahiya and Shvut Rahel, which are only a few hundred meters, and as little as a few dozen meters, away from houses in the village. On the militantly pro-settler Kol Yehudi Internet site, it was reported that the attack on the village was made “after the IDF destroyed Givat Geulat Zion in the morning,” an illegal outpost that was established two years ago and in which, according to the website, two families live.

Illegal settlers prevent family from leaving their home and attack internationals whilst Israeli soldiers watch
HEBRON (ISM) 12 Oct — Yesterday, 11th October at 7 pm, a group of settlers of the illegal settlement of Tel Rumeida surrounded the entrance of the Azzeh family property and built a wire fence to block the exit. Young settlers fixed the fence in place using plastic cable ties. Hashem Azzeh and his family were about to leave the house when they found the gate blocking their way and the settlers confronted them saying they couldn’t go out that way anymore. A group of Israeli soldiers were present but did not stop the action. Two international activists arrived on the scene and were surrounded by settlers and physically and verbally attacked by them, one of them had water thrown over his camera and another was kicked. An international journalist also present was hospitalized after a settler threw bleach into her eyes. After more international activists arrived, they managed to remove the fence. Despite multiple appeals to the Israeli soldiers to prevent the settler violence by both the Azzeh family and the international activists, they took no action. Jewish Defense League leader Baruch Marzel, was left free to verbally attack Hashem Azzeh.

Settlers vandalize West Bank mosque
BURQA, West Bank (Reuters) 11 Oct — Jewish settlers torched three Palestinian cars and scrawled graffiti on a mosque in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Thursday, in the latest incident in a rising trend of attacks, residents said. Two months after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators revived stalled peace talks, the Palestinian government says incursions by hard-line settlers are becoming more frequent. The phrase “Zion’s redemption,” a Star of David and the name of an Israeli soldier who was killed last month in the West Bank were spray-painted on the wall of the local mosque-cum-primary school in the village of Burqa.
“It’s the fifth or sixth attack on our village … They do these things and leave, confident because they’re armed and they have the protection of the army,” Deputy Mayor Sayel Kanan told Reuters. “They weren’t content to just move onto our lands and keep quiet, but they attack us and chase our farmers away.” The mosque was partially set ablaze in 2011, in an incident that villagers blamed on settlers from the neighboring outpost of Givat Assaf.
Settlers have attacked Palestinian communities 586 times so far this year, up from 370 in all of 2012, said Ghassan Daghlas, who tracks settler violence for the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli bludgeoned to death in West Bank
BROSH, West Bank (AFP) 11 Oct — An Israeli man was bludgeoned to death and a woman injured in an apparent militant attack by Palestinians on their West Bank home, police said early Friday. It was the third violent death of an Israeli in the occupied territory in less than three weeks. “They were beaten with blunt instruments,” at Brosh, in the northern Jordan valley, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding the assumption was “definitely” of a militant attack. The army said roadblocks had been set up in the area of the attack and, hours after the killing, security forces were still sweeping the rocky surroundings for the perpetrators. Police stopped media at the gates of the property and prevented them from entering … The radio said the couple lived alone at the isolated property, which they ran as a village guest house … The website of Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the dead man was a retired army colonel and that the couple were in their 50s.

Israeli forces arrest 5 Palestinians in West Bank
Press TV 12 Oct —  The Israeli army says it has arrested five Palestinians suspected of involvement in the killing of an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank.  Army officials said two men armed with axes and metal bars attacked the settler at his home in the settlement of Brosh in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday, AFP reported. The man named Sarya Ofer died, but his wife survived and only suffered minor injuries.  Palestinian chief negotiator Nabil Shaath slammed the Israelis for conducting security operations in connection with the incident without prior coordination with the Palestinian authorities. “The Israelis should have come to us immediately asking for security coordination” following the latest incident, Shaath said.

Two Palestinians injured by settlers near Hebron
IMEMC — Palestinian medical sources have reported Saturday [October 12, 2013] that two Palestinians have been injured after being attacked by extremist Israeli settlers in Susiya village, east of Yatta town, south of the southern West bank city of Hebron. Jihad Nawaj’a, head of Susiya Village Council, stated that approximately 13 Israeli settlers threw bottles and stones at dozens of villages, and assaulted several women and children. The settlers also attacked shepherds and their flocks in the village, and chased them out of their lands. Medial sources said that a woman identified as Sameeha Nawaj’a, 40 years of age, and Nasser Mohammad Nawaj’a, 33, suffered various cuts and bruises. Eyewitnesses said that one sheep was killed due to the attack.

Soldiers invade Jenin, one Palestinian injured
IMEMC — [Wednesday at dawn, October 9, 2013] Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin, shot and injured one Palestinian; clashes have been reported. Soldiers also installed roadblocks in the area, and invaded various communities. Medical sources said that Mohammad Ashour Zakarna, 20, was shot by a gas bomb in the leg during clashes that took place in the city.  He was moved to the Jenin Governmental Hospital suffering moderate injuries. Dozens of Israeli military vehicles also invaded areas south of Jenin city, leading to clashes with local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at them.
The army fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades causing dozens of injuries. Furthermore, soldiers closed the Dotan military roadblock, near Ya‘bod town, and blocked all Palestinian traffic, while military units invaded various nearby Palestinian communities. Dozens of military jeeps also invaded the villages of Jilqamous and Deir Abu Da‘if, east of Jenin.

Israeli forces detain 8 Palestinians in West Bank raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday, locals and Israel’s army said. Israeli forces raided the Nablus village of Tell and detained five people, witnesses told Ma‘an. Ten people were issued summons orders to report to Israeli intelligence headquarters in Huwwara military base … An Israeli army spokeswoman said eight people were detained overnight, four in the Nablus area, three in Beit Awa, and one in Beit Ummar.

Several Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank
MEMC — Wednesday at dawn [October 9, 2013] Israeli soldiers invaded various areas in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and kidnapped several Palestinians, including a 12-year-old child. Local sources in Al-Ezariyya town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, have reported that dozens of soldiers were deployed near an area of the Annexation Wall where several Palestinian youths previously managed to dig a hole in the wall. The army said it noticed some Palestinians trying to breach the wall once again. Soldiers chased the youths but could not apprehend them, and arrested three who were just walking in the area, eyewitnesses said.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, in Silwan town, in occupied Jerusalem, kidnapped two construction workers and confiscated construction equipment. Soldiers also handed a resident a military warrant ordering him to head to a nearby military base for interrogation. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the soldiers broke into the home of Jawad Siyam, head of the media unit of the center, and searched it. Soldiers further handed three families warrants informing them the army intends to demolish their homes, allegedly for building them without construction permits.

Israeli forces detain 4 in West Bank, 2 teens in Jerusalem
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Oct — Israeli forces detained four people in the West Bank overnight Wednesday, locals said. Over 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the city and detained Mohammad Rajad Tawashi, 23, Mohammad Nanaa, 29, and Hafith Dwiekat, 26.

PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli troops wound 7 civilians, abduct 47 in 51 invasions this week
IMEMC 12 Oct — Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 51 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week, during which they abducted at least 41 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children. During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank. Four of them, including reporter of Palestine TV, were wounded during Bil’in weekly protest, west of Ramallah, while the 5th one was wounded when Israeli forces moved into al-Bireh town in the centre of the West Bank. The child was wounded when Israeli forces moved into Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus, and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters into Beit Dajan high school for girls. The 7th person was wounded when Israeli forces moved into Jenin …
Hazem al-Syouri (55) said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “I live with my mother and brothers in a 5-storey building in the centre of the Old Town in Hebron. At approximately 00:00 on Thursday, 03 October 2013, I woke up as I heard knocks on the front door. I opened my apartment’s door, which overlooks the yard and found a number of Israeli soldiers trying to open the gate from inside while other soldiers were doing the same from outside. I realised then that some soldiers had jumped over the wall. I tried to talk to them but they did not listen to me. In the meantime, Israeli forces raided my apartment while I was trying to open gate that got stuck because they hit it from outside. A large number of Israeli soldiers raided the yard after the gate was open. They deployed in my apartment while other soldiers climbed the stairs leading to other apartments belonging to my brothers and mother. The soldiers were yelling and ordered me to go out. In the meantime, Israeli soldiers raided the whole building. They forced my mother, brothers and children, who were asleep, to go out as well. They kept searching the house until 04:30. We heard the sounds of smashing glass and destroying doors. Children were crying all the time. When I tried to talk to the Israeli soldiers to allow me in, a soldier pushed me away and prevented me from talking to them, during which, two female soldiers arrived. Israeli soldiers ordered women and children to get inside to be personally searched with the metal detector. Furthermore, an Israeli soldier searched my niece Joud (17 months) and took all her clothes off. As a result, my mother fainted …The damage caused to my brothers’ apartments and mine are above NIS 100,000.”  Full Report

Detainees / Court actions

Israeli court says parents can attend child interrogations
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Oct — An Israeli judge at a Jerusalem Magistrate’s court ruled Wednesday that the parents of young Palestinian detainees can attend police interrogation sessions with their children, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said. Mufid al-Hajj, a lawyer with the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Ma‘an that the decision was made during a court session for several Palestinian minors. Israeli police interrogate Palestinian children repeatedly without the presence of their parents and often force minors to confess to crimes using illegal methods, al-Hajj said. The decision will be circulated to Israeli police stations in Jerusalem, the lawyer added. There are some 180 Palestinian children imprisoned in Israeli jails, according to Addameer prisoners group. [Apparently this applies only to Jerusalem courts and not to the military courts in the West Bank]

Jerusalem woman sentenced to 7 months in jail
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — An Israeli court on Wednesday sentenced a woman from Jerusalem to 7 and a half months in prison, and handed her a suspended sentence of five months. Palestinian Prisoners’ Society lawyer Mufeed al-Hajj said that his client, Inam Qalimbo, was convicted of participating in an illegal demonstration in Jerusalem, obstruction of justice, and attempting to assault a police officer. Qalimbo was arrested on April 2. She was severely beaten and her headwear was stripped off during the arrest.

Court hearing of Arab MK over Gaza flotilla adjourned
World Bulletin 10 Oct — Israel’s High Court on Wednesday adjourned hearings into a complaint against Haneen Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), over the latter’s participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. “A panel of three judges looked into a petition filed by former lawmaker and right-wing extremist Michael Ben-Ari, Zionist activist Itamar Ben Gvir and the ‘Our Land of Israel’ movement,” read a statement issued by the MK’s office. The petition calls for obliging the state to bring Zoabi to court for her participation in the Freedom Flotilla.


Egypt-Gaza border quiet despite political rhetoric
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 9 Oct by Asmaa al-Ghoul — There is no major military buildup on the Gaza border to suggest Egypt might attack the Hamas-held territory anytime soon — The border area between Gaza and Egypt that stretches for 14 kilometers (nine miles) seems totally calm — a far cry from the warnings of the Palestinian and Egyptian media about mounting tension and a security situation that is likely to explode. On the Egyptian side, soldiers move about in their military patrol vehicles without any fear, while on the Palestinian side the National Security Force soldiers in charge of securing the area wave their hands to salute the soldiers across the border.

Israeli gunboats open fire at Gaza fishermen, locals say
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli navy forces fired shells at fishermen off Gaza’s coast.

MSF extends surgical programs to second Gaza hospital
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Médecins Sans Frontières has extended its reconstructive plastic surgery program to al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip, the second project of its kind in the coastal territory. In July 2010, the international aid and humanitarian organization opened a plastic surgery unit at the Nasser hospital in collaboration with local Gaza health authorities … The program provides treatment to victims of trauma, domestic accidents, burns and other injuries and aims to help patients regain optimum use of their limbs, a statement said … Israel’s blockade on Gaza has resulted in over 450 patients having to wait from 12 to 18 months for their operations, MSF said. Between January and September 2013, MSF teams performed some 126 procedures, 63 percent of which were on children.

Palestinian Unit “Gaza Poster’ official video clip
10 Oct Directed by Ayman Al Khatib– is a song produced by Palestinian Unit. It describes the situation of Gaza strip despite all contradictions, there is still hope and smile. Verse 1: Gaza, good morning to you / I spent my whole life in your land, / Palestinian, green my ‘Id color, jail is the only place I practice my freedom. / Your streets, allies and lights / Your neighborhoods, your people and your humidity / The walls, the doors, the people and neighbors / The sounds of power generators and Adhan / Life here is like nowhere else, like no other time / There is no way but to live satisfied with everything [this has it all – parkour, hip-hop, violin and guitars, brilliantly colored graffiti and more]
link to

Irish minister visits Gaza, pledges $0.67 million to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Irish Minister of Trade and Development Joe Costello announced a contribution of $0.67 million to the UN agency for Palestine refugees to support emergency food assistance to Gaza, UNRWA said Friday. During a trip to Gaza earlier this week, Costello visited one of the agency’s preparatory schools and later a food distribution center in the Nuseirat refugee camp, the agency said. “We are proud to work with UNRWA to help support these refugees in their time of need,” Costello was quoted as saying.

Hamas activists accuse Meshaal of preferring life in exile
Al-Monitor 7 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — Rumors about Hamas Chief of Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal leaving Qatar for Beirut have sparked criticism within the movement toward those exiled leaders who refuse to return to Gaza –The rumors have been circulating inside and outside Gaza for a long time. Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, is supposedly in hot water in his new abode in Qatar and is looking for another place to live. Al-Monitor correspondent Adnan Abu Amer talked with the spokesman of the movement’s political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, who denied the rumor and claimed that this is only propaganda aimed to harm Hamas.

Gaza man ‘kidnapped’ by Israel in Sinai, says family
Khan Younis (Electronic Intifada) 8 Oct by Joe Catron — The abduction of a Palestinian-Egyptian from the Sinai on the eve of Egypt’s 3 July coup has highlighted the network of collaborators and agents working with Israel in the peninsula. Wael Abu Rida crossed the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt on 6 June with his family, including his one-year-old son, Mazen, who suffers from brain atrophy. The trip was nothing unusual, according to Wael’s wife, Amani Abdulrahman Abu Rida, who accompanied him. She and other members of the Abu Rida family are refugees who were forced to flee Salama, east of the coastal Palestinian city of Jaffa, by advancing Zionist forces in April 1948. The family spoke to the Electronic Intifada at their home in Khuza‘a, an agricultural village outside Khan Younis in the southeastern Gaza Strip, close to the barrier wall erected by Israel. “This was the fourth time he had gone to Egypt for treatment for his son,” Amani said. “We used to stay there fifteen or twenty days for treatment. Nothing had happened before.”

Cash-strapped Gaza charities brace for bitter Eid
World Bulletin 11 Oct — With the Eid al-Adha holiday around the corner, charitable organizations in the impoverished Gaza Strip are hoping for a miracle after a vital aid lifeline through the territory’s only gateway to the outside world was cut. Last year, charities in the territory managed to distribute 400,000 kg of Udhiya (livestock sacrificed in Eid al-Adha festivities) to poor families. Around 3,000 children also received new winter clothes. But things are different this year, as foreign aid delegations which used to bring financial and food aid into the territory are not knocking on the doors of the territory this year. “Gaza charities have not received any funds to buy Udhiya for distribution to the strip’s poor and needy, while the plans for clothing have also come to a halt,” Walid al-Amoudi, head of Gaza’s charities federation, told Anadolu Agency. “The main reasons for this are the hindrances facing the entry of solidarity delegations into Gaza and the aid shipments they used to bring the strip’s poor,” he added.

Photos: Gaza’s children learn Hajj pilgrimage
World Bulletin 11 Oct — The children who live under the Israeli blockade in Gaza are learning how to perform the Hajj pilgrimage in a primary school. Wearing ihram, the children circumambulate a model of the Ka‘bah.

Gaza’s ancient ruins neglected, looted
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 10 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal —  If the archeological sites in Gaza could talk, they would scream for help against the desecration to which they are being subjected by human hands. Some are being demolished, and new homes are built in their place. Others are being looted or neglected — The Muslim and Christian archeological sites in Palestine are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years old. According to Palestinian historian Nasser al-Yafawi, however, they are being continuously desecrated in several ways: construction occurs on top of them, the government neglects them, they are stolen by Israeli occupation or looted by thieves and antiquities traders in Gaza … The Gaza Strip, which was a bridge linking the Levant and Egypt, has been home to many ancient civilizations. Besides the archaeological sites mentioned above, Gaza also has the oldest port in the Middle East.

Women’s film festival in Gaza touches on sexual taboos
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 8 Oct by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Hymens, sexual harassment and honor crimes are taboo subjects usually kept under the rug in Gaza. The Through Women’s Eyes film festival organized by the Palestinian Women’s Affairs Center was dedicated to films directed by women who addressed these delicate issues. Taking place on Oct. 2-3, the film festival was held in the Rashad al-Shawa auditorium in Gaza City. Although the quality of these works paled in comparison to featured Arab and foreign films, they were nonetheless among the most controversial.

Palestinian refugees elsewhere

PA, Syria agree to protect refugee camps
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Palestinian and Syrian leaders will cooperate to protect Palestinian refugees remaining in Syria, Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Ma‘an on Wednesday. Zaki, a member of Fatah’s central committee, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad last week … “We agreed to create safe passages to refugee camps,” Zaki said. He added that Palestine’s policy of non-intervention in internal Syrian affairs had protected Palestinian refugee camps within Syria from attacks by government forces.
Although Syrian rebels have entered camps in the past, Zaki said, the Syrian army has not. “The circumstances of refugees in Syria are very difficult,” Zaki said, pointing to Yarmouk camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp of the 14 in Syria, as an example. “Of its population of 250,000, only 18,000 remain.” He said that he and Assad agreed “to preserve these refugee camps as a witness to Israel’s historic crime.”

Group: Palestinian killed in Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Oct  — A young Palestinian man killed on Thursday in shelling on al-Husayniyah refugee camp in Syria, a local group said. The Taskforce for Palestinians in Syria identified the victim as Ibrahim Hamzeh. For the third day in a row, al-Husayniyah refugee camp has been subjected to heavy and violent shelling on different areas. The shelling has caused significant damage, and regime forces have tried to enter the camp. Palestinians in the camp are complaining about lack of food and medications due to a blockade imposed on them by the army. The army closed all the entrances and the exits of the camp two months earlier.

Twelve people drown in migrant boat accident off Egypt
CAIRO (Reuters) 12 Oct — Twelve people died when a boat carrying illegal migrants and Syrian refugees sank off Egypt’s northern coast on Friday, security and medical sources said. “The Egyptian coast guards saved 72 Palestinians, 40 Syrians and four Egyptians,” one security source said. The circumstances of the accident and the nationalities of the deceased were not yet known.

Other news

Israeli politicians demand halt to peace talks after killing
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel called on Friday for an end to direct negotiations with the PLO, claiming that they would not bring peace. Instead, he argued, “the Jewish people are the ones paying the price,” for the negotiations, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported. Uri Ariel called for an urgent meeting of Israeli government officials to reconsider the decision to release some Palestinian prisoners as part of negotiations, as had been previously discussed. Ariel is a representative of the far-right Jewish Home party, and is himself a settler who lives in an Israeli settlement illegally built on Palestinian land. Ariel suggested that releasing prisoners and continuing direct negotiations would lead to an increase in Palestinian “terrorism,” particularly given the Palestinian leadership’s “silence” concerning such operations. Uri Ariel’s declarations were made immediately following the killing of a retired Israeli army colonel in the Jordan Valley Friday morning … The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Ze’ev Elkin, called for end negotiations with the Palestinians immediately and called on the government not to release the Palestinian prisoners,

Palestinian charm offensive latest twist in peace talks
al-Monitor 10 Oct by Daoud Kuttab — For nearly two years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior leaders have hammered home a single point: “Why are Palestinians refusing to negotiate with us?” Netanyahu repeatedly said that he would go anywhere — including Ramallah — to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and initiate peace talks. At one time, he suggested setting up a tent somewhere between Jerusalem and Ramallah, so that the two parties could meet and theoretically solve the decades-long conflict. Today, a good two months into the US-sponsored nine-month secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the only voice calling for public meetings is that of the Palestinian leader. Netanyahu, who waited 27 minutes and 48 seconds into his UN General Assembly speech to mention the Palestinians, appears to have all but forgotten his public demands to meet face to face with Abbas.

After years of blocking, Israel backs Gaza offshore gas
GAZA (UPI) 10 Oct — After decades of stifling Palestinian efforts to develop Mediterranean natural gas fields off the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government is reported to be supporting the $1 billion project, which observers say could transform Palestinian aspirations for statehood. It’s part of a $4 billion U.S.-backed plan, unveiled in May by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to end the Palestinians’ crippling dependency on foreign aid and Israeli energy and promote a peace agreement. Two fields, Marine 1 and 2, were discovered by British Gas in 2000, a year after the group and its partner, Consolidated Contractors International Co., based in Athens, Greece, were awarded a 25-year exploration license for the entire offshore sector by the Palestinian Authority. BG Group held a 60 percent stake, CCC 30 percent and the PA’s Investment Fund 10 percent. BG said at the time the fields, 20 miles off Gaza, contained an estimated 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas, then worth around $4 billion. Industry sources say with far larger fields found in Israeli waters to the north in 2009-10, the Gaza reserves are probably much higher than the initial estimate.

Arafat poisoning claim back by journal
Al Jazeera 12 Oct — One of the world’s leading medical journals has supported the possibility that Yasser Arafat, the longtime Palestinian leader, was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210. The British The Lancet journal has published a peer review of last year’s research by Swiss scientists on Arafat’s personal effects. It endorsed their work, which found high levels of the highly radioactive element in blood, urine, and saliva stains on the Palestinian leader’s clothes and toothbrush … According the Lancet publication, “[the] findings support the possibility of Arafat’s poisoning with 210Po … on the basis of [the] forensic investigation, there was sufficient doubt to recommend the exhumation of his body in 2012”. The results of that latest analysis are expected shortly.

Islamic Jihad leader dies in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Yousef al-Arif, a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, died on Friday in the West Bank following a severe heart attack. Al-Arif, who was 65 years old, was a prominent leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in Nablus and in the West Bank in general. He spent almost 10 years of his life in Israeli jails.  He was also a school teacher.

Italian culture minister criticized for visiting Hebron settlers
Electronic Intifada 11 Oct by Ali Abunimah — Italy’s minister of culture has come under strong criticism from Palestinians for visiting an Israeli settlement in the heart of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 8 October. But the minister, Massimo Bray, of the center-left Democratic Party, subsequently expressed some criticism of the settlers, even while cementing Italy’s ties with Israel. Youth Against Settlements (YAS), a Palestinian advocacy group, accused Bray of showing “solidarity with fanatic Israeli settlers” and of violating international law.

Italian minister denies Hebron visit was ‘in solidarity with settlers’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Oct by Alex Shams — Italian Minister of Tourism and Culture Massimo Bray has denied allegations of acting in “solidarity” with Israeli settlers after meeting with a leader of the illegal Jewish settler community in the Old City of Hebron on Tuesday. A statement released by the Italian consulate denied these “specious” allegations, highlighting that the visit was not in “solidarity with the settlers” but was instead part of a mission to “contribute to Palestinian institutional building in the field of culture and tourism promotion.”  The statement added that the minister had visited the Old City of Hebron and had, “sorrowfully seen the consequences of occupation in order to give testimony about them,” stressing that Italy’s official position is that “settlements remain illegal under international law.”


Demand justice for Alex Odeh: 28 years later
RabbiBrant 11 Oct — I remember well the murder of Alex Odeh. It occurred exactly 28 years ago today in Orange County, CA. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and I followed the case closely. Odeh, a young Palestinian American who served as the West Coast director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was killed when a bomb ripped through his second story office in Santa Ana. I recall reading that Odeh was a gentle family man and political moderate who called for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. I also remember reading that the FBI suspected three members of the Jewish Defense League, a radical Jewish hate group – and that all three had fled to Israel. It is now 28 year years later and no one has been arrested for the murder of Alex Odeh – even though the FBI has long suspected the identity of his killers.  Sad to say, I admit I wouldn’t be thinking of Alex Odeh today had I not received this petition just sent out by Jewish Voice for Peace, calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to hold his murderers accountable. For more information about the Alex Odeh case, click on the clip above.

28 years ago this day an American was killed by terrorists: identities of both victim and terrorists may surprise you
Wilson Station blog 11 Oct by Jon Trott — October 11, 1985, Alex Odeh opened up the door of his workplace. Milliseconds later, a powerful pipe bomb ripped Alex’s life from him and injured several others nearby. Alex Odeh was an Arab-American and worked for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination League (ADC). And in what surely is yet another surprise for many reading this with jaundiced eyes, Mr. Odeh was not Muslim but Christian (a Palestinian Roman Catholic). He served as Professor of Middle East History and Arabic Language in Satna Ana, California after immigrating to the U.S. in 1972. At the time of his death he was the West Coast director of the ADC. Just last week, the ADDC sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to “renew their genuine efforts in resolving the case.” A prime suspect in Mr. Odeh’s murder was a member of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which at the time was viewed by the FBI as America’s number one terrorist threat. Please sign the petition to solve Alex Odeh’s Murder and hold responsible the Terrorists involved.

Obama’s aid cut to Egypt is a sham
Electronic Intifada 10 Oct by Ali Abunimah — The Obama administration’s announced suspension of some military aid to Egypt is a sham.  Far from actually withdrawing significant US support for the Egyptian military dictatorship that overthrew the country’s elected president on 3 July, the package of measures is designed to reinforce and normalize US cooperation with the coup regime, secure Israel’s interests and US regional hegemony. It also ensures that Egypt continues to help Israel to maintain the collective punishment of almost 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza. (listserv) (archive)


About Kate

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

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