Israel’s military advocate: IDF training inside Palestinian villages is legal
Haaretz 3 Nov by Gili Cohen — There is no legal barrier to Israel Defense Forces training inside Palestinian villages in the West Bank, according to a document prepared by the IDF‘s Military Advocate General. Maj. Harel Weinberg, the MAG’s deputy prosecutor for operational affairs, wrote that the legality of training inside Palestinian villages is anchored in the principles of “belligerent occupation,” by which the military commander, who is the sovereign authority in the area, is obligated to maintain security and public order in the West Bank, and so must hold occasional training exercises in populated areas. Still, Weinberg wrote that troops taking part in such training were required to “avoid putting the population at risk, damaging their property or causing unreasonable disturbance to their daily routine.” The document was written in response to a complaint filed by activists of the Yesh Din NGO following a series of incidents involving IDF training in villages.
Restriction of movement / Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Interviews: Experiences from dealing with the checkpoints
Stop the Wall 31 Oct — Stop the Wall has prepared a special report describing the horrific conditions in which Palestinians find themselves on a daily basis when crossing the checkpoints. For this we interviewed four individuals who experience these crossings daily and they have provided us with an insight into the difficulty, complications and humiliations they must face within their own land, whether they are looking for work, going to school or visiting loved ones – every part of their life is affected by the checkpoints … The general complications in the daily life of Palestinians and the violations of their freedom of movement caused by the checkpoints can be compared to the Group Areas Act (1950) which was implemented in South Africa under the Apartheid regime. Parallels can be drawn in the general disruption of movement where traveling short distances requires a disproportionate amount of time, there are constant delays and administrative issues regarding “permits” etc. but more importantly, these restrictions are applied on the basis of race … However, what is inspiring in these interviews is the steadfastness of the workers, students and farmers as they face this mechanism of oppression.
Maariv: Netanyahu plans to build wall at Jordanian border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to build a separation barrier between the West Bank and Jordan after completing walls on the Egyptian and Syrian borders, according to a report by the Israeli newspaper Maariv on Sunday. Netanyahu plans to construct the wall in order to send a message to Palestinians who oppose Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, the report says. The wall will also guarantee continued Israeli control of the border crossing, Netanyahu reportedly said. He added that the thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan pose a threat to Israeli security, the article continues. The wall would protect Israeli settlements from possible invasion. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Ma‘an that new construction plans are a clear message from the Israeli government to the United States “declaring the failure of the peace talks.”
Israeli forces prevent Palestinian olive harvest in 2 villages
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces on Sunday prevented Palestinians in two villages across the West Bank from accessing their orchards in order to harvest olives on their lands, activists said. Women, children, and elderly residents of the central West Bank village of al-Janiya were escorted by activists from the “You’re not alone” campaign to harvest olives on Sunday morning. Israeli forces deployed in the area en masse and surrounded the group, preventing the Palestinians from accessing their lands. The olive orchards are located near the Israeli settlement of Talmon, which was itself built on land confiscated from the village. The area of al-Janiya is surrounded on all sides by Israeli-controlled roads.
Also Sunday, Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from Qaryut village in the northern West Bank district of Nablus from reaching their lands to harvest olives. Their lands are located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli.
Peace Now: ‘Israel issues new tenders for 1,889 new settlement units’
[with map] IMEMC 4 Nov — Peace Now said that the tenders include 1,061 units in the West Bank, and 828 units in occupied East Jerusalem. It added that the new tenders are the last stage before the actual implementation and construction of these illegal units starts … Commenting on the new Israeli decision, Peace Now said, “Whenever Netanyahu makes one small step towards peace, he makes two larger steps to make it harder to get peace”. Furthermore, Peace Now also said that the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization published, last week, a tender for the construction of 30 units in Beit El settlement, near Ramallah. — The new tenders as published by Israel’s Peace Now Movement: Elkana – 283 units Maale Adumim – 114 units (112 of them in neighborhood 06, and another two in neighborhood 07) Karnei Shomron – 196 units – the settlement is located east of the built route of the Barrier Givat Zeev – 102 units – at the Banana Hill neighborhood Ariel – 18 units – in the eastern part of the settlement – east of the built route of the Barrier. Adam (AKA Geva Binyamin) – 80 units – east of the Separation Barrier. The plan and the infrastructure were prepared for the evicted settlers of Migron who have chosen a different location, and now it is marketed for the general public. Beitar Illit – 238 units – in neighborhood B2 … In East Jerusalem: Gilo – 311 units – in Western Gilo Slopes Ramat Shlomo – 387 units – it is part of the plan for 1,500 units that became published during the visit of Vice President Biden in 2010. Har Homa B – 130 units for the elderly
Stop the demolitions in Jerusalem! / Jeff Halper
Mondoweiss 3 Nov — The “judaization” of Jerusalem and the West Bank continues apace, despite the so-called “peace process.”… If the demolition of 2000 housing units of Ras al-Kahmis/Shuafat are carried out, 15,000 Palestinian residents will lose their homes. No less significant in the view of the Israeli government, they will be forced out of Jerusalem and will lose their right to live, work, pray and even enter the city. Demolitions of Palestinian homes lay at the very heart of Israel’s attempt to “judaize” Jerusalem and the West Bank, just as it does inside Israel as well. The process graphically illustrates how dry, bureaucratic urban policies can be used as effective mechanisms of repression. Since 1967 the Israeli government has pursued a declared policy of maintaining a 72% majority of Jews over Palestinians in the city. Towards that end, it has not allowed Palestinians to build new homes, creating an artificial shortage of some 25,000 housing units in the Palestinian sector. (Palestinians, to put it mildly, are not able to access most of the Jewish neighborhoods). That induced shortage raises the price of renting or buying, and since 70% of the Palestinians live under the poverty line, they are forced to move outside of the Jerusalem borders to acquire affordable housing … over the past few years the Jerusalem Municipality has allowed massive housing complexes to arise within its borders yet outside the Wall and checkpoints, in such no-man’s land as Ras Khamis and by the Shuafat refugee camp, where the 2000 demolition orders have been issued, or in Kufr Akab, a part of Jerusalem on the other side of the Kalandia checkpoint. By doing so, it set a trap. The plan, publicly discussed by Mayor Nir Barkat, was this: thousands of desperate Palestinian families would be allowed to move into high-rise apartment blocks beyond the Wall but still in Jerusalem, attracted by the affordable prices but in no danger of losing their Jerusalem residency. Once settled in, the government would declare that the Wall will henceforth constitute the municipal border, thus in one fell swoop ridding itself of tens of thousands of Arab residents by depriving them of their residency rights since the “center of their lives” is no more Jerusalem. The 72% majority is more or less preserved. So why, then, the demolition orders? What happened in my view was that Barkat was told that his plan is not legal and cannot work. In response, he has changed course and decided to demolish all these high-rise apartment blocs instead.
OCHA case study: Dislocated communities in East Jerusalem: The Bir Nabala / Tel al ‘Adassa Bedouin community
September 2013 — The Bir Nabala / Tel al ‘Adassa Bedouin community consists of nine families who have lived in the area between Ramallah and Jerusalem since the late 1950s. It is one of at least 16 Palestinian communities located on the “Jerusalem side” of the Barrier, although the majority of their residents hold West Bank ID cards. In August 2013, Israeli forces demolished all the structures in the community, and, a few days later, the remaining families left to the “West Bank” side of the Barrier, after being instructed to do so by the Israeli authorities. This once intact community of nine families is now dispersed into three separate locations on the “West Bank” side of the Barrier.
80-year-old Palestinian man remembers destroyed village of his youth
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — An 80-year-old Palestinian man recalled memories of the destroyed village of his youth for the TV program, “A memory that never rusts,” describing a landscape destroyed by Zionist forces in the 1948 conflict known in Arabic as the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. Jameel Deif-Allah Sawalma offered recollections of his long lost village of al-Auja, near Jaffa, before it was overtaken and destroyed. “Our village plains were wide like a palm, al-Auja river was to our west and our soil was red like a beet,” he said. “There were no rocks, and we planted it with watermelons, melons, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sesame, lupine, oranges and lemons.” Sawalma recalled fishing from the nearby river using hooks and sleeping bills to knock the fish unconscious, as well as the run back home to cook them, while fish traders used large nets to catch the famous Jaffa fish … Sawalma concluded with the harsh recollections of the Nakba, when him and his family were forced out of the village and had to march to Qalqiliya and the to al-Far’a refugee camp.
Israeli forces hand out demolition orders in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 31 Oct– Israeli forces on Thursday handed out three stop-work notices for houses and agricultural properties in the Wadi Aziz area in Idna village west of Hebron, an official said. The mayor of Idna, Hashim Tmeizi, said Israeli forces handed a notification to a house belonging to Tareq Mohammad Itmaiza and agricultural properties belonging to Mohammad Ahmad Faraj Allah. The Israeli forces instructed Faraj Allah to demolish 12 agricultural properties he has owned for 10 years. Three days ago, the Israeli forces handed notifications and stop-work orders for properties belonging to the Idna association for cooperation and livestock development.
Israeli settlers threaten to evict villagers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli soldiers and settlers on Sunday threatened the people of Umm al-Khair village east of Yatta with eviction, a local anti-settlement committee official said. Ratib al-Jbour said that a group of settlers accompanied by Israeli forces threatened to evict villagers from their houses according to notices previously given to property owners. A verbal and physical confrontation erupted between the villagers and settlers, he added …
Earlier Sunday, Israeli bulldozers razed and dug up agricultural lands near the Palestinian village of Qusra in the southern part of Nablus, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers from the nearby settlement of Migdalim entered the lands early in the morning and began to dig in the nearby village of Qusra. Daghlas added that the bulldozers were digging to extend the nearby settlement into Palestinian land.
Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests
Five Broken Cameras star among those shot in Bil‘in by Israeli forces
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Iyad Burnat, star of the Oscar-nominated film 5 Broken Cameras, was among those shot by Israeli forces during the weekly protest in his village of Bil‘in on Friday. Israeli forces opened fire on a demonstration against the separation wall four in Bil‘in on Friday afternoon, injuring four individuals including Iyad Burnat and two other members of his family. Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation. Iyad was struck by two rubber-coated steel bullets in the thigh. In a Facebook post on Friday evening, Burnat said that he was “fine.” He added in a separate post on Saturday that “the bullet that does not kill us makes us stronger.” Iyad Burnat is the brother of Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer whose film 5 Broken Cameras was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012. He was the first Palestinian to ever receive that honor. Iyad Burnat is a leader of Bil‘in’s protest movement and was a central protagonist of the documentary film.
Palestinian man shot near Kiryat Gat
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — A Palestinian man from Dura was injured after unknown assailants opened fire on him near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, according to Israeli police. The man, whose name was not given, was in his 20s and suffered bullet wounds in his leg. Police spokesman Luba al-Samari said that the man went on his own to the police station in Kiryat Gat, where he was treated before being taken to the hospital. Al-Samari added that the police had opened an investigation into the incident and were looking for the suspects who had run away.
Soldiers invade different parts of West Bank
IMEMC — [Sunday Morning November 3, 2013] Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded various districts in the occupied West Bank, broke into homes, kidnapped Palestinians, and installed several roadblocks before stopping and interrogating dozens of residents … In The Hebron District, one Palestinian youth, identified as Mohammad Zqqout Al-Badawi, from the Al-‘Arroub refugee camp, was moved to a local hospital in the city after a number of soldiers assaulted him. … Two more Palestinians have also been taken prisoner in Ni‘lin village, west of the city, media sources said. On Saturday evening, soldiers kidnapped several Palestinian workers in Wadi Qaddoum, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The army claimed that the seven are bearers of Palestinian ID cards, and that they did not obtain work and entry permits … Also on Saturday evening, scores of soldiers invaded Osareen [or ‘Usarin] village and ‘Aqraba town, near Nablus, leading to clashes with dozens of local youths. Eyewitnesses said that several soldiers surrounded Palestinians who gathered in Khirbit Taweel village, south of Nablus, and attacked them as they attempted to rebuild structures demolished by the military.
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians south of Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli forces on Saturday detained two Palestinians from Yatta, south of Hebron, a local committee said. Ratib Jbour, coordinator of the popular committee for the region, said that 20 Israeli settlers from the local settlement of Mitzpe Yair attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds with their guard dogs, before Israeli soldiers intervened and detained two of Palestinians who had come under attack. Said Mohammad Ulyan Awad, 42, and Jameel Ahmad Ulyan Awad, 48, were detained at the scene and taken to an unknown location. The attack occurred in an area belonging to the Palestinians but on which settlers have erected tents and an illegal outpost. Jbour added that an Israeli court had previously ordered the return of the lands to their original owners, but that the Israeli army had refused to carry out the order and dismantle the tents, and had prevented a Palestinian family from reaching their land.
Settler wounded after being struck by Palestinian truck
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — An Israeli settler sustained critical wounds to the head after being hit by a Palestinian truck near the Israeli settlement of Elazar in the southern West Bank, a Ma‘an photographer said. The Israeli settler was crossing the street to reach a bus stop when a Palestinian driver from Hebron struck her with his truck on the road in the Bethlehem district. Ma‘an photographer Jala Hmeid was present at the time of the accident and said that the settler appeared to be in her 20s. Ambulances crews rushed to the area and evacuated the injured woman to a hospital in Jerusalem … Israeli police rushed to the area and closed the road. They subsequently opened an investigation into the accident.
IOF soldiers storm eastern Nablus, attack foreign activists in nearby hamlet
NABLUS (PIC) 3 Nov — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the eastern areas of Nablus city at dawn Sunday and stationed near the refugee camps of ‘Askar and Balata. Local sources said that the soldiers stayed for an hour before retreating to Elon Moreh settlement. Meanwhile, IOF soldiers assaulted dozens of foreign activists in Khirbat Al-Tawil hamlet near the Nablus villages of Beit Forik and ‘Aqraba on Saturday night. Locals said that the soldiers fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at the activists. IOF patrols had destroyed farmers’ cultivated land in that same area last week.
Further Israeli army harassment in Tawayel
TAWAYEL (ISM Nablus Team) — Today, Saturday 2nd November, a number of Palestinians supported by international activists traveled to the village of Tawayel to help rebuild a house for a family that was made homeless after Israeli forces demolished their property on Tuesday 29th October. By mid morning up to 60 people had gathered on the farm and electricity poles were replaced, however heavy machinery was forced to leave due to fears that the Israeli army would return and confiscate it. Work continued to lay the foundations of the replacement house by hand. At approximately 3pm Israeli soldiers arrived shortly followed by two military vehicles. Israeli forces inspected the site but did not speak to anyone until the vehicles arrived. The Palestinians present were asked for ID and the questioning was aggressive, one Palestinian was threatened that he would “pay a price” for his involvement. Construction has been halted as a result of the incursion and the family affected remain housed in a tent. Additionally their livestock are being watered from a truck at considerable expense, as the water reserve was destroyed in the same demolition
2 teens arrested in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces on Sunday arrested two teenagers after raiding their house in Bab Hutta neighborhood in the Old City of Jerusalem. Amer Iseed said that a large army unit raided his house, thoroughly searched it, and arrested his sons, Obeida, 15, and Othman, 13. They were taken to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation center. Iseed added that he, his brother Yaser, and his nephew Sulaiman were assaulted during the raid, while Sulaiman was ordered to visit the Israeli intelligence Monday. Obeida was released 10 days ago after spending five months in Israeli jails, he added.
PA arrests fighters for allegedly planning to abduct soldier
IMEMC 4 Nov — A senior Israeli military source told the Israeli Walla News Agency that the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank arrested a week ago members of what is believed to be a cell that planned to abduct an Israeli soldier.
Gaza under blockade
Militants ‘shoot down’ Israeli drone over Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Palestinian militant groups in Gaza shot down an Israeli drone in the northern Gaza Strip, military sources in Gaza told Ma‘an Sunday. A spokesperson for the Israeli army confirmed that a reconnaissance drone crashed while on an “executive mission,” but said that it malfunctioned due to a technical problem. Sources within Gaza’s military groups denied the Israeli army claim, insisting that the drone was shot down. Hamas’ military wing al-Qassam Brigades brought down another drone during the latest Israeli military offensive against the coastal enclave about a year ago.
Egypt reopens Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Egyptian authorities on Saturday morning reopened Egypt’s border crossing with the Gaza Strip after it had been closed for more than a week. Officials at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing said it was open at 10 a.m. in both directions. They highlighted that priority would be given on the first day to holders of foreign and Egyptian passports as well as patients who urgently need treatment in Egypt or other countries. Students will be allowed to travel Wednesday.
Egyptian army uncovers fuel smuggling networks
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The Egyptian army on Saturday discovered and demolished a major network used for storing and smuggling fuel through the Gaza borders in al-Barahima neighborhood of Rafah. A Ma‘an reporter in the Sinai Peninsula quoted Egyptian sources as saying that secret tanks were used to store diesel before it is pumped via pipelines. Four tanks made of cement and three plastic tanks were uncovered. Furthermore, Egyptian forces uncovered and demolished two smuggling tunnels with their craters inside residential houses in Rafah. One tunnel was used for smuggling people and another for goods.
Gaza government calls on EU to clarify its position on the electricity grant
GAZA (PIC) 3 Nov — Palestinian government in Gaza called on the European Union to clarify its position on the money which had been allocated a few years ago to buy fuel for the Gaza power plant and which is given to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. The EU has pledged since 2007 to pay 11 million euros to the Israeli company to supply power plant in Gaza with fuel. At the end of 2009, Ramallah Authority suggested to the European Union to give it this amount of money, claiming it will buy fuel from the Israeli company and then convert it to Gaza power plant … Dr. Mohamed El-Farra, the Minister of Local Government in Gaza, told Quds Press: “We have heard from sources speaking on behalf of the European Union that they are supporting the electricity sector in Gaza by buying fuel needed to run the power plant, within the budget sent to the authority in Ramallah. So we want the EU to clarify this issue.” He said: “If it is true that the European Union is still paying 11 million euros per month for the authority to support the purchase of fuel for the power plant in Gaza, it means that Gaza’s share is being robbed”, and he called on the media to investigate and follow up this issue.
Reporter: 2 Palestinians detained in Sinai
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Egyptian police forces in el-Arish detained two Palestinians without IDs on suspicion they were working in smuggling tunnels to Gaza, a Ma‘an reporter said. Police arrested the two suspects who were identified Abdul Rahman, 27, and Hamada, 28. Their last names were not released.
Gaza conference seeks to maintain relations with Egyptian people
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov – A popular conference kicked off Saturday in Gaza City seeking to reinforce relations between the Palestinian and Egyptian peoples after the rift between Egypt and the Hamas movement which rules the coastal enclave. Five Egyptian political parties will send recorded speeches to be played at the conference. Representatives of those conferences couldn’t travel to the Gaza Strip to join it in person. The conference is being organized by civil society organizations, dignitaries, academics, female activists and students. One of the organizers, senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef, told Ma‘an that the conference was a message from the Palestinian people reiterating that Egypt “is very valuable to us and we are trying through the conference to maintain the historic relations based on religious, language and cultural ties.” … Husam Udwan, who chairs Gaza Strip’s syndicate of university professors, said the conference would seek to “protect and enhance” Palestinian-Egyptian relations in light of the recent misunderstandings and “Israeli media attempts to fabricate lies to drive a wedge between both peoples.”
Body of slain fighter located
IMEMC 3 Nov — Bodies Of Two Fighters Still Burried Under Rubble — After three long days of search, the body of slain fighter, Khaled Abu Bakra, was located, on Saturday evening under the rubble of tunnel bombarded by the Israeli army on the border near Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip Ashraf Al-Qodra stated that various governmental and civil institutions, residents and the Red Cross participated in the search until locating the body of the fighter. The severely mutilated body of Abu Bakra was moved to the Nasser Governmental Hospital. Al-Qodra added that the search campaign faced numerous obstacles, mainly due to toxic shells fired by the army at the tunnels. He said the search had to be stopped as Israel allowed rescue teams to search for a limited time, and that the bodies of Mohammad Daoud and Mohammad Al-Qassas, are still buried under the rubble of the tunnels that is 18-20 meters deep underground. Medical sources in Gaza said that the search would resume in an attempt to locate the two bodies
Israel launches limited incursion in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — A number of Israeli military vehicles crossed into the Gaza Strip north of Beit Lahiya on Sunday morning, spraying sporadic gunfire, a witness said. An eyewitness told Ma‘an that the Israeli military forces conducted the incursion at 1 a.m. in the northern Gaza Strip and started razing lands, firing intermittently. No injuries were reported … The incursion follows two deadly Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip: an air strike in northern Gaza that killed three Palestinians on Friday and an artillery shelling in Khan Younis refugee camp that killed one on Thursday.
Detainees / Court actions
Fatah officials to visit Marwan Barghouti in Israeli prison
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — A delegation of Fatah officials is scheduled to visit jailed leader of the movement Marwan Barghouthi in Israeli prison, say Fatah sources. Sources in the movement’s recruitment and organization commission told Ma‘n Sunday that member of Fatah’s Central Committee Mahmoud al-Aloul along with other members of the Revolutionary Council planned to pay a visit to Barghouthi in his prison cell. The visitors will update Barghouthi on the latest developments within Fatah movement. Barghouti is one of the main Palestinian political leaders of the First and Second Intifadas, and he is sometimes referred to as the ‘Palestinian Mandela’. On Monday a new committee was launched in South Africa to campaign for Barghouthi’s release from Israel prison.
Palestinian lawyer faces Israeli jail for ‘organizing demonstrations’
RAMALLAH (Electronic Intifada) 31 Oct by Patrick O. Strickland — Israel is targeting Palestinians advocating for the rights of political prisoners to disrupt their work, say a lawyer facing jail time and the director of the prisoner rights group Addameer, who has been banned from travel. On 23 October, Anas Barghouthi, a prominent Palestinian lawyer, was released on bail from Ofer Military Prison near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. An Israeli military court charged Barghouthi with organizing solidarity demonstrations; he faces a new hearing in November. Barghouthi, 30, was targeted for arrest after a long record of support work as legal counsel for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli military courts and as legal defense in Palestinian Authority courts. Israeli soldiers arrested Barghouthi on 15 September while he was traveling between Ramallah and Bethlehem, cities situated in the central region of the occupied West Bank
Rare appeal granted in policy of education for Palestinian prisoners
JPost 4 Nov by Yonah Jeremy Bob — Deputy Supreme Court President Miriam Naor on Sunday granted the motion of three Palestinian prisoners for a rare appeal of a decision to uphold banning higher education for security prisoners … Naor ordered that between seven and the maximum number of nine justices would hear the appeal, the final decision on the number being in the hands of Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis … In the summer of 2011, prior to the release of Gilad Schalit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that in light of the fact that Schalit’s whereabouts were being kept secret, with no right to visit and expected harsh detention conditions, Palestinian prisoners convicted of security-related offenses would no longer be able to study for college degree while in confinement. Netanyahu’s logic was that such security prisoners should not have such unusual privileges while Schalit was being so mistreated by his Hamas captors. Even after Schalit was released, the ban on college studies continued
IOF forces an MP in administrative detention to break his strike
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 Nov — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have forced a detained Palestinian MP to conduct medical tests due to his health deterioration after boycotting medicines and Israeli prison clinics as part of the administrative detainees’ protests. Palestinian human rights sources said that IOF transferred on Saturday the MP Hatem Qafisha to the prison clinic by force. They tried to force him to take medicines against his will especially that he suffers high blood pressure and diabetes, the sources said, adding, “However, the Hamas MP remained committed to the protests declared by administrative detainees against their arbitrary detention”.
Meanwhile, the occupation forces held Dr. Adnan Abu Tabana in administrative detention few days after his arrest. Abu Tabana, 48, was ordered in administrative detention for six months. This is the fourteenth time he is detained administratively. He has spent more than seven years in administrative detention.
Official: Israel to imprison 4 men for alleged Hamas involvement
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — An Israeli court on Thursday issued detention orders for four Palestinian men who were accused of being affiliated with Hamas, a committee official told Ma‘an. Ahjad Abu Asab, the director of the Jerusalem prisoners’ families committee, said that the court ruling called for the 42-month imprisonment of Haitham Shukri Mohammad Tahaa, a 44-year-old father of five. Tahaa’s prison sentence in al-Ramla begins on Jan. 15, 2014, Asab said. Additionally, he said that Abdul Rahman Owis, 51, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Ashraf Atiya Zaloum, 36, and Mohammad al-Atrash from Beit Safafa were also sentenced to 6 months in prison, he added.
Hamas: IOA arrested 23 Palestinians after their release from PA jails
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) arrested 23 Palestinians after their release from Palestinian Authority (PA) jails in October. A statistics report issued by Hamas in the West Bank showed that the 23 men were political detainees and were either cadres or supporters of the movement. It added that the IOA arrest fell in line with the security coordination between the IOA and the PA. The report pointed out that four were Hamas leaders, 11 university students, and the rest liberated prisoners.
Solidarity / BDS
‘Our struggle as well’ || South Africa limiting formal contact with Israel
Haaretz 2 Nov — South African ministers are currently refraining from visiting Israel, the nation’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was quoted as stating on Friday by the Sunday Times … The minister said the South African struggle was not limited to its own borders, but was also concerned with international solidarity. “The struggle of the people of Palestine is our struggle,” she added, according to the report. “The last time I saw a map of Palestine, I couldn’t go to sleep.” “It is just dots, smaller than those of the homelands, and that broke my heart.”
St. Louis dumps occupation profiteer Veolia!
STL-psc 31 Oct — Campaign Shows the Power of Local BDS Efforts — In a dramatic conclusion to nearly one year of effort and vigilance by the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and coalition partners, the St. Louis mayor’s office announced on October 29, 2013 that Veolia Water North America was withdrawing itself from consideration for a contract to consult with the St. Louis Water Division. Veolia is a major, global target of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement because of its complicity in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. Veolia profits from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank by providing services, such as trash collection, water services and, until recently, bus lines, to illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land.
Five Palestinians killed and 250 arrested by IOF in October
NABLUS (PIC) 3 Nov — Tadhamun Foundation for Human Rights said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed five Palestinians and arrested more than 250 others during the month of October in different parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The researcher at the foundation Ahmed Beitawi pointed out that IOF soldiers killed five Palestinian citizens, including four in the West Bank and one in Gaza. Israeli daily arrests continued in different cities, villages and refugee camps in the West Bank and the border areas in the Gaza Strip. Tadhamun reported that the Israeli occupation forces arrested about 250 citizens, including two women and more than 50 children aged between 8 and 18 years old. Beitawi pointed out that the IOF escalated during the last month the campaign against Palestinian university students in the West Bank. They kidnapped 15 students at al-Najah University affiliated with the Islamic bloc, then released some of them and extended the detention of the others, while two of them were held in administrative detention. The IOF also arrested two Palestinian students studying abroad on their return home.
PLO threatens to take Israel to UN on settlements
RAMALLAH (AFP) 3 Nov — The PLO threatened to go to the UN Security Council over Israel’s announcement on Sunday of tenders to build more than 1,800 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “The PLO is considering a mechanism to go the Security Council and the UN against these new Israeli decisions, especially as there are international resolutions that consider settlements illegal,” senior PLO member Wassel Abu Youssef said.
Kerry to meet Abbas in West Bank on Nov. 5
RAMALLAH (AFP) 1 Nov — US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, a Palestinian official said, in an effort to keep peace talks alive. “The aim of the visit (to the town of Bethlehem) is to contain the huge crisis in peace talks, prompted by Israel’s announcement in the last few days of new settlement tenders,” the senior Palestinian official told AFP. “The US administration has not taken any concrete measures against Israel’s settlement moves, and maybe this American silence on the issue is what has caused” the step-up in settlement plans, he said on condition of anonymity.
Women-only cafes offer new visions of Palestinian public space
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov by Alexa Stevens — Discreetly located at the foot of a staircase, the cafe offers a familiar scene: shisha pipes are stacked neatly on the counter, ashtrays dot each table, Lebanese satellite television plays in the background and steaming Turkish coffee is served to a table of regulars. Like many other cafes lining the busy avenues branching off of Ramallah’s bustling Manara Square, this is a gendered space. Male employees stand guard outside, surveying the entrance of the cafe with stern eyes. Unlike most public establishments in Ramallah, Ladies is a cafe for women only. When the cafe opened in early 2012, it was the first women-only cafe in Ramallah. As in most cities in Palestine, cafes in Ramallah are primarily a men-only affair. Many cafes and restaurants have mixed clientele and some even have delineated “family” sections, but for the most part women rarely frequent cafes on their own. Ladies promised to provide a different experience, one that barred male clientele and instead offered a public space intended exclusively for women. The hope was that in a society where cafes are traditionally geared towards men, the creation of a women-only cafe would offer women equal access to the public sphere, but on their own terms. Cafe owner Jamil Ali explains that in a woman-only space, women can feel comfortable and take off their scarves, smoke cigarettes and sit with their legs crossed, unlike in male-dominated cafes where these behaviors might draw attention.
Gas stations union suspends strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — West Bank gas stations suspended a strike Sunday to protest the Ministry of Finance’s decision to force stations to fully pay for fuel before receiving it. The union of gas station owners said the decision was made to postpone the strike, set to begin 4 p.m. Sunday, during a meeting at the Ramallah Chamber of Commerce. The union later suspended the strike after the ministry informed it that it withdrawn the decision. Earlier Sunday, the union said many gas stations in the West Bank had run out of fuel after Israel suspended shipments.
New evidence hoped to free Holy Land Five
Electronic Intifada 1 Nov by Maureen Clare Murphy — A motion citing new evidence has been filed to exonerate five humanitarians who are imprisoned in the United States for providing aid to Islamic charities in Palestine, the Muslim Legal Fund of America announced yesterday. The five defendants were prosecuted for their work with the Holy Land Foundation, which was the largest Islamic charity in the US before it was shut down without due process by an executive order issued by President George W. Bush in late 2001
BBC screens ’emotive’ program on Jerusalem — seven months after pulling it
Electronic Intifada 31 Oct by Amena Saleem — Seven months after it pulled a documentary questioning the scale of the Jewish exile from Jerusalem in 70AD, the BBC is preparing to show the same documentary this Sunday — followed by a discussion program to add “context and balance.” Jerusalem: An Archeological Mystery Story was originally scheduled for broadcast on BBC Four on 25 April. However, when viewers settled down to watch it, they found themselves watching a repeat program on Egypt instead. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) wrote to the BBC to ask why the documentary had been pulled at the last minute, and without warning. The BBC replied, saying: “We originally acquired Jerusalem: An Archeological Mystery Story to supplement BBC Four’s season exploring the history of archeology. However, we have decided that it doesn’t fit editorially and are no longer planning to show it as part of the season.” “Pressure” This claim was disputed by the documentary-maker himself, Ilan Ziv, who wrote on his blog that “a mixture of incompetence, political naivete [and] conscious or subconscious political pressure” at the BBC had led to his film being dropped. [unfortunately the film can’t be viewed on the BBC outside the UK]
Analysis / Opinion
The Palestinian Authority’s role in Judaising the West Bank / Saleh Al-Na’ami
MEMO 1 Nov — The signs are that the Palestinian Authority is playing a key role in enhancing the settlement project in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem through its influential role in improving the security environment for the settlements, allowing these areas to attract new groups of Israelis …In an extensive investigation by Israeli journalist, Josh Breiner, on the Walla news website in September he concluded that the PA’s security cooperation with Israel has turned the Jewish settlements in the West Bank into the “garden of Eden” for many Jewish people and has encouraged them to exploit the great opportunities available to them there … The clearest result of the improved security environment in West Bank Jewish settlements, thanks to the PA’s efforts, is the participation of more secular Jews in the settlement project.
Analysis: Can Oslo’s failed aid model be laid to rest?
2 Nov by Al-Shabaka — The first installment of a two-part policy brief from Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. — Overview Since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles, the donor community has invested more than $23 billion into ‘peace and development’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), making it one of the highest per capita recipients of non-military aid in the world. However, aid has not brought peace, development, or security for the Palestinian people, let alone justice. Al-Shabaka Guest Author Jeremy Wildeman and Program Director Alaa Tartir examine the origins of the present aid-for-peace model as well as its effects on socio-economic conditions and pull together the many critiques of the Oslo economic model. The authors argue that donors are reinforcing failed past patterns associated with the so-called peace dividends model while making only cosmetic changes to their engagement. Indeed, donors do not appear ready to change an approach dominated by policy ‘instrumentalists’ who ignore and reject outcomes that do not match their pre-determined values instead of upholding international law on Palestinian rights and international development principles that strive to ‘do no harm’. They underscore the alarming possibility that the Oslo aid model may serve too many interests to be dismantled and conclude with an assessment of what will be needed for change.
How to stir up hatred between Jews and Bedouin in Israel / Rabbi Arik Ascherman
Haaretz 4 Nov — The government’s bill to transfer 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their land, to be debated in a Knesset committee this week, will harm Bedouin women even more than men … The issues facing Bedouin women are very serious, as we frequently hear from the Bedouin women activists we partner with. But the reality is that these women still choose to fight this bill while struggling in their communities on women’s issues because they know just how deeply they will be harmed by the bill’s passage. Unemployment in townships like Rahat is four times higher than in recognized villages (there are no statistics for unrecognized villages). In addition to suffering transfer and dispossession as Bedouin, women will be the first to be unemployed. The social anomie created by urbanization only increases violence against women.
Bakri, Bakri / Gideon Levy
[one of the articles appearing in the Hebrew version of Haaretz that have never appeared in the English version] 24 Oct Translated by Sol Salbe — We love our “Israeli Arabs” in flat bread, whether in the smaller thicker pita or the larger, thinner Druze/Lebanese lafa. For us it’s hummus at Abu-Shukri ( “the genuine article” ), Koftas at Diana’s and kebabs at Al Barbour – that’s the way we love them. That’s how we fancied Muhammad Bakri when he played a leading role in Beyond the Walls. He was awarded the David’s Violin prize for it. That’s also how we loved his son Saleh: when he starred in the Band’s Visit. For that role he won an Ophir Prize – the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars. That’s the way we love ourselves as well: Look at us, so enlightened, so egalitarian. Arab actors are beautifully successful in the only democracy. Why, we even broadcast Arab Labour — which pokes fun at Jewish-Arab relations in this country — on prime time. How liberal is that? But look, look at what happens when those “good Arabs” step outside the hummus-chips-salad boundaries that we’ve designated for them — they immediately become the enemies of the people. It was like that with Muhammad, and same again with Saleh. Their story stretches far beyond the boundaries of their village, Ba’ana, it extends even beyond their roles in the Israeli theatre and cinema. The Bakri Saga is the story of the Israelis’ attitude to the Palestinian citizens of the state. The slanders against Muhammad Bakri began immediately after several members of his extended family were suspected of involvement in deadly Mount Meron terrorist attack, for which two of them were convicted. Bakri the elder became a marked man. Then came Jenin, Jenin oh, Jenin, Jenin, and he was sentenced to the vilest form of character assassination and to a life of ostracism and persecution … Since then, this gifted creator, this wonderful actor and esteemed director who was so integrated into the art scene, has become a broken man. He who was opposed to violence on both sides, and who was as sharply critical of his own people at least as much he was of his state has, became a bitter person his voice has almost been silenced and the fount of his work has almost dried up.
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Bombs awry || Is Israel’s alleged bombing of Syria really necessary? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 Nov — Is there any justification for Israel to bomb Syria six times in a year, as foreign media reports allege? The ones supposedly doing the bombing say there is. Is it wise to bomb Syria six times in a year? The mouthpieces for the bombers say it is. Why do we have to bomb Syria six times in a year? Perhaps because we can; perhaps because it’s effective; perhaps because no one really cares … Israel decides which weapons are allowed to pass and, above all, which ones are not. That’s its right, because it’s the strongest. It does it in the Gaza Strip and in Latakia, Syria; in Sudan and the Mediterranean Sea – anywhere it can. Israel has the right to brutally violate the sovereignty of a neighboring hostile state, to fly in Lebanese airspace undeterred – and God have mercy on anyone who tries to stop it. God have mercy, too, on anyone who dares question its judgment. A public debate over the bombing policy will only come of the “certified success story” turns, heaven help us, into a failure – a plane shot down; a pilot taken prisoner; civilians killed; Syria retaliates; Russia wakes up; or, even worse, the United States begins to grumble. Only then will the questions begin. But by then it might be too late.