Escalation of Violence in the West Bank
Two Palestinians killed at two West Bank roadblocks
IMEMC updated 8 Nov — Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Thursday at night [November 7, 2013], that Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians at two roadblocks near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The sources said that resident Anas Fuad al-Atrash, 23 years of age, was shot and killed by Israeli military fire at the Container Roadblock, northeast of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The Israeli military alleged that al-Atrash “attempted to stab a soldier at the roadblock” before soldiers noticed him and shot him dead. The army withheld his body, and moved it to an Israeli forensic facility, and handed it to Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance on Friday at dawn.
On Thursday evening, soldiers stationed at the Za‘tara roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, shot and killed a Palestinian, after alleging he tried to attack soldiers in the area using a fireworks gun. Eyewitnesses said that the body of the Palestinian, Bashir Same Hananeen, 28, from Marka village near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, was seen lying next to the roadblock. Soldiers prevented the Palestinians from approaching, and closed the roadblock … His family strongly denounced his death, and said that the Israeli claims he carried the fireworks gun are just lies and manipulation of the truth, adding that Hananeen is a college teacher, “executed in cold blood.”
Earlier on Thursday, soldiers invaded various districts in the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped at least seven Palestinians before taking them to a number of interrogation facilities. Later in the day, Israeli officers kidnapped Mohammad Abu Khdeir, at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv as he was flying back from Egypt. An Israeli court ordered him under interrogation until November 13, and prevented him from seeing his lawyer. His family said he works for the Jerusalem daily newspaper and that the soldiers broke into their home and violently searched it.
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian protester in the face near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — Israeli forces seriously injured a Palestinian teenager in clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at Kabsa junction between al-Eizariya and Abu Dis on Friday. Usaid Afana, 16, was hit by a stun grenade in the face when Israeli forces attempted to disperse a demonstration on Friday. Afana lost consciousness, suffered internal bleeding and a skull fracture, local popular resistance committees spokesman Hani Halabiya said. He was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Halabiya added that Israeli forces detained 3 Palestinians in the course of the clashes, but they were not identified.
Kabsa junction is a frequent site of Palestinian protest due to its location immediately adjacent to the Israeli separation wall, which cuts the area off from East Jerusalem. Israeli forces frequently raid the area, which is near a campus of al-Quds University, to conduct arrests and home demolitions. These raids often lead to clashes.
Israeli forces open fire on West Bank protests, injuring dozens
[long article, many photos] RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — Israel forces injured dozens of Palestinians and international activists after opening fire on demonstrations in four cities across the West Bank on Friday afternoon. Israeli forces dispersed protests in Nabi Saleh, al-Ma‘sara, Bil‘in, and Kafr Qaddum protesting the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces on Thursday and marking the 9th anniversary of the death of former President Yasser Arafat. Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades at the various protests in order to disperse them, causing dozens of injuries.
Relatives say Hebron man ‘assassinated’ in cold blood
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — The family of Anas Fouad al-Atrash, who was shot dead by Israeli forces overnight Friday, rejects Israeli claims that he tried to stab a soldier, instead insisting he was assassinated in cold blood. Al-Atrash, 23, was shot dead at the Container checkpoint by Israeli border guards. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident occurred around midnight, when a man ran at a border police officer with a knife, prompting him to open fire. His family says Anas and his brother were on their way back from Jericho when he was stopped at the military checkpoint near Bethlehem. Israeli forces asked him to get out of the car, before shooting him dead, they say. “The Israeli army assassinated Anas after they forced him to get out of the car,” his family told Ma‘an. Ismail, his brother, was wounded in the incident and is being treated for shock in al-Ahli hospital. He says that his brother was assaulted before being shot dead by Israeli forces. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that the military liaison office will form a committee to investigate al-Atrash’s death.
Clashes in Hebron as hundreds attend funeral for slain Palestinian
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral procession of a Hebron man killed on Friday by Israeli forces at a checkpoint near Bethlehem. Anas Fouad al-Atrash, 23, was shot dead at the Container checkpoint by Israeli border guards. The funeral procession began at the Abu Eisheh mosque and headed towards the al-Shuhada cemetery, where al-Atrash was laid to rest … After the funeral, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood and at the main entrance to al-Shuhada Street. Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets.
IOF soldiers fire live ammunition at young man in Tulkarem village
TULKAREM (PIC) 7 Nov — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired live ammunition at young men in Deir Al-Ghusoon village near Tulkarem after storming it on Wednesday night. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers, who invaded the village in big numbers, fired live ammo in addition to teargas and sound bomb at the young protestors. They said that intelligence officers accompanying the soldiers tried to talk about living conditions with inhabitants, noting that the soldiers evacuated the village after the night prayers and headed to nearby Bala‘a village on a similar raid.
Confrontations, arrests reported in Arub refugee camp
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 6 Nov — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) nabbed two Palestinians in ‘Arub refugee camp to the north of Al-Khalil on Wednesday amidst violent confrontations. Eyewitnesses said that IOF soldiers raided the camp and searched many houses before arresting Shamekh Al-Teeti and Ahmed Abu Sil. They said that violent clashes were reported in various alleys in the camp and many citizens were treated for breathing problems.
Two settlers injured near Bethlehem
IMEMC — [Friday November 8 2013] Israeli sources have reported that two Israeli settlers have been injured after a Palestinian hurled a Molotov cocktail at their car as it drove on road #356 close to the Efrat settlement, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The sources said that the settlers suffered minor injuries, and that the army and the police initiated a search campaign in the area. The Israeli military stated that the car was completely burnt after the settlers left it, and that the injured were moved to the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in occupied Jerusalem.
In related news, extremist Israeli settlers attacked a number of Palestinian farmers near Jama‘in village, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, chased them and detained one. Eyewitnesses said the settlers fired rounds of live ammunition into the air before detaining Hammoud As‘ad, 37.
Suspects open fire at Israeli soldiers near Ramallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — Shots were fired from a Palestinian car at Israeli soldiers in a Ramallah village overnight Wednesday, Israel’s army said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the shots were fired at Israeli forces as a car exited the village of Ni‘lin. Another car then approached an Israeli army commander and tried to run him over, she added. The Israeli commander fired shots at the vehicle, which fled the scene.
Army kidnaps 25 social media activists in Jerusalem
Occupied Jerusalem (IMEMC) 7 Nov — Israeli soldiers and police officers kidnapped on Wednesday evening [November 6 2013] 25 young Palestinian men and women, active in social network sites, exposing Israeli violations. Head of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society Nasser Qous said that the soldiers invaded a large number of internet coffee shops, and computer stores in the occupied city, searched them and kidnapped the 25 Palestinians. Abu Qous added that seven young women were among the kidnapped, and that the soldiers released 15 of the kidnapped later on. The police in the occupied city claims the kidnapped Palestinians conducted “incitement” against the army. The remaining ten Palestinians will be sent to the District Court in Jerusalem.
Israeli forces assault student in Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — An Israeli police officer assaulted a female Palestinian student in the Al-Aqsa compound on Wednesday, witnesses said. Around 40 Israeli intelligence officers entered the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccan Gate and were greeted by jeers and calls of ‘Allah Akbar’ by students, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli forces then assaulted a female student and arrested a man who tried to defend her. Two other Palestinians were detained in the incident, according to eyewitnesses. Israeli security officers noted the ID numbers of female students present in the area and summoned them for interrogation at an Israeli police station.
‘Masked’ Israeli police arrest 3 in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — Israeli police on Wednesday raided two shops in East Jerusalem neighborhoods and arrested three people, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said that masked Israeli police raided Sana print shop on al-Asfahani street near the Old City in addition to an internet café in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood near Silwan. The names of the three detainees, witnesses said, are Issa al-Kharas, Munir Kamal, and Rami Baraka.
Israeli forces detain 8 in overnight arrest raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — Israeli forces detained eight people in the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday, Israel’s army and locals said. Israeli forces raided the Ramallah village of Deir Nidham and detained Majdi Yousif Tamimi, Ibrahim Ahmad Assaf, Humam Muhammad Tamimi and Jabir Abdul-Khalid Mizhir, all aged between 17-22. Palestinian security officials told Ma‘an that Israeli forces damaged several houses during the raids. In Jenin, Israeli forces detained Mohammad Taleb Abu Baker at a flying checkpoint at the eastern entrance to the village of Ya‘bad.
PA’s apparatuses arrest 7 Hamas affiliates in Nablus
WEST BANK (PIC) 8 Nov — Authority security apparatuses arrested seven Hamas supporters in Nablus, and summoned a university student in Qalqilya. In the Balata refugee camp, the PA security forces arrested Sheikh Wael Hashash, a teacher, after storming his house at midnight. The intelligence service re-arrested the student at the Faculty of Engineering Montaser Shunnar after breaking into his house in the city of Nablus. He was released a few weeks ago from Jericho jail. For its part, the Preventive Security Service (PSS) raided the town of Madama, south of Nablus, and arrested five liberated prisoners and former political detainees, including a university student after raiding his work place. In Qalqilya, the intelligence service summoned the student at the University of Khadouri Yahya Ghanem, from the town of Immatin, for the second time in a week. Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped the student at Birzeit University Usayd al-Banna during a raid into his house in the town of Beitunia, only one month after his release from the PA jails
PCHR Weekly Report: ‘Five Palestinians killed, dozens injured, by army fire’
IMEMC 8 Nov — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) based in Gaza published its weekly report on Israeli violations in the occupied territories, in the period between October 21 and November 6 2013, and said that Israel army killed five Palestinians, and injured dozens of residents … The PCHR said that the army conducted at least 50 invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and kidnapped 50 Palestinians, including seven children. Among the detainees were some political leaders of the Hamas movement. Several Palestinians were also kidnapped on roadblocks across the West Bank. It added that Israeli Navy boats continued to target Palestinian fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, extremist Israeli settlers carried out dozens of attacks against Palestinian villagers and their lands in different parts of the West Bank, cut and uprooted more than 340 trees in Palestinian orchards. Also, at least six Palestinians have been injured as the army continued to use excessive force against nonviolent activists, including Israeli and International activists, protesting Israel’s illegal Annexation Wall and its illegal settlements. One of the wounded is a Palestinian child; three of them were injured in the Bil‘in weekly protest, and one in the Nabi Saleh weekly protest, near Ramallah, and one child was injured in Qotna village, near Jerusalem. Full report
Restriction of movement
Occupation magazine 3 Nov by Eldad Kisch — Today I was ashamed, as a physician and as an Israeli. I joined some friends from Machsomwatch as an onlooker at the checkpoint Qalandia, north of Jerusalem on the road to Ramallah. This is the busiest crossing of the Green Line, where during rush hour thousands of persons pass. The passages are narrow, the crush is indescribable, the soldiers are inert and unmoved behind their armored glass windows. In order to experience some of this feeling, outside the rush hour crowd, we went through this route. With strong misgivings I joined, fearing my associations with cattle slaughterhouses and worse. From afar we heard the siren of an ambulance approaching and one of the experienced machsom-ladies said, come, this you must see … Very complicated cases may even be allowed to enter Israel proper to seek treatment in an Israeli hospital. A Palestinian ambulance brings the patient to the checkpoint where he is transferred, back to back, to an Israeli ambulance to travel to his destination. The Palestinian ambulance may enter the control compound only when its Israeli counterpart is waiting physically at the other side of the checkpoint. Only then do transfer formalities begin, and not a moment earlier. The first case concerned a 16 year old boy from Ramallah who had an accident where some of his dorsal vertebrae were crushed. For medical reasons he was to be treated at Mukasset hospital in Eastern Jerusalem. After a painful and bumpy ride he arrived at the checkpoint Qalandia at 13:00, where the other ambulance was waiting, as is appropriate. It appeared that some very relevant papers of the patient were not in order, and this had to be straightened out in Ramallah. So back to Ramallah in the Palestinian ambulance … While we were waiting for the resolution of the first case, another Israeli ambulance entered the compound. This driver told us that a very sick man, 26 years old, with infusions, a blood transfusion and on artificial respiration was on his way from Nablus in order to be transferred to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. That he was warned that the patient might not live under the circumstances. This really was a matter of the utmost urgency. We clearly saw the Palestinian ambulance entering the other side of the compound, with wailing siren, and thus we could time the procedures exactly. Also here a delay of half an hour occurred. Checking a normal car takes a few minutes at most. Ordinary soldiers are in charge here, and they decide supreme. Who is sick or just simulating. And most important, all bureaucratic requirements must be fulfilled to the last dotted i.
Palestinian-American student denied entry to Israel after being told ‘there is no such thing as Palestine’
Mondoweiss 6 Nov by Yara Karmalawy — I’ve spent my entire life hearing stories about Jerusalem and the beauty of my homeland from my mother and grandparents. I had always dreamed of one day being able to visit, and in the summer of 2012 it seemed that I would finally have that opportunity. In September of that year I started my travels with 30 peers on a student diplomatic trip through the Middle East. I knew that I would likely face some trouble at the Israeli borders due to my Palestinian background, however what I experienced turned out to be far more than just a little “trouble” … “What is the purpose of your visit to Israel?” “I am on a student diplomatic trip with the University of California school system” “Where are your mother and father from?” “My father is Egyptian, and my mother is Palestinian” I noticed her smirk when I said the word Palestinian.“So your mother is a Palestinian and you think that you can come to Israel?” “Yes” “You are not allowed to enter here because you have a Palestinian I.D.” “No, I do not, I am an American citizen. I wasn’t born in Palestine, nor have I ever lived there” Again she laughed, and snidely replied, “Well there is no such thing as Palestine anyway, but you have an I.D. through your mother, so you are not allowed to enter here. No Palestinians are. But you can try the Allenby Border Crossing, that is for Arabs only”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Threats to non-Jewish religious organizations
Catholic church slams Israel razing of its property
Jerusalem (AFP)5 Nov — The head of the Roman Catholic church in the Holy Land protested Tuesday against Israel’s demolition of a church-owned property in annexed east Jerusalem, saying it eroded chances for peace. “This act is against the law, against justice and against humanity, against any ideology upon which peace can be built and increases segregation and hate,” Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Tawwal told journalists at the site of the demolition. Israeli security forces and bulldozers arrived at the house at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) on Monday with a previously unseen demolition order, claiming it had been built without a permit, according to its residents — a family of 14. But Tawwal said the property, on Jerusalem’s southeastern edge close to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, had been standing since before 1967, when Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. “We didn’t receive any orders for the demolition” beforehand, Tawwal added
Settlers torch 2 cars in Hebron village, spray graffiti
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — Settlers torched two Palestinian cars in a Hebron village on Thursday, locals said. A group of settlers from Kiryat Arba set fire to the vehicles in Bani Na‘im which belonged to brothers Abed al-Menm and Mohammad al-Salayma. The settlers also sprayed threatening graffiti in the village reading “Good things are coming,” apparently referring to future attacks being prepared by settlers, locals said.
The first time I saw a settlement from behind its walls
Mondoweiss 7 Nov by Nadya Raja Tannous — We 26 delegates drove down the highway that bisects the E1 corridor in a stream of all yellow, Israeli license-plates. Behind us were the outskirts of East Jerusalem, whole Palestinian neighborhoods like Atur and Abu Dis, which had been sandwiched between the expansive wall through Beit Hanina and the imposing shadow of the “Separation Barrier” that designates the beginning of the West Bank. All around us spanned the desert. In front of us were the shiny, red-roofed, homes of Ma’ale Adumim, the largest settlement in all of historic Palestine. … Upon arrival to its entrance, the landscape changed abruptly. Palm trees sprouted from the median in the road, hot pink flowers grew in abundant bushes beside them, smooth pavement spanned on either side of the convoy, and ancient olive trees that had been uprooted from their original roots were placed in small, landscaped roundabouts as a fashion detail … After passing multiple apartment complexes, the bus climbed to the top of a large slope and parked in front of a vista point. From the top, I saw the same sprawling desert of rock and small dry trees surrounding the highway that we had just come through a couple of minutes prior. Around us on the hill we were surrounded by luscious plants that, unlike their neighbors, had plenty of water to drink and bloom into their potential thickness. The stark contrast made the settlement bloc around us appear fictional and out of place.
Detainees / Court actions
PCHR calls for investigation into death of Palestinian prisoner in Israeli hospital
IMEMC 8 Nov — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls for an immediate and independent investigation into the circumstances of the death of a Palestinian prisoner, Hassan al-Turabi, in Affoula Hospital inside Israel on Tuesday, 05 November 2013. PCHR is deeply concerned that the Israeli authorities may have delayed offering Abu Hamdiya timely and adequate medical treatment for his condition. Furthermore, PCHR further condemns Israel’s ignorance of repeated calls to release al-Turabi who was suffering from leukaemia. Hassan ‘Abdul Halim ‘Abdul Qader al-Turabi, 23, from Surra village near Nablus, died on Tuesday morning, 05 November 2013, in Affoula Hospital inside Israel where he was receiving medical treatment for leukaemia.
Twilight Zone: Released from Israeli prison, traumatized by newfound freedom
Haaretz 8 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Two men from a village near Ramallah came home last week after nearly three decades in Israeli prisons for murdering a soldier. They say they believe in peace – but are not sure Israelis want to listen — They come from the same village. Now they live in two neighboring houses that they’d never seen before, opposite one another on a road lined with cypress trees, decorated with their pictures. Their families built the houses for them, in place of the ones that the Israel Defense Forces demolished 28 years ago, after the two men were arrested. Twenty-eight years ago, they were involved with the squad belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that shot to death reservist Corp. Aharon Avidar. Avidar was 29 when he died. Since then, they were imprisoned in an Israeli facility for that murder … Nasser is 58 years old, Karage is 50. They are relatives, both from the village of Safa, west of Ramallah. They are the faces behind the “despicable murderers” who have “blood on their hands.” They killed an Israeli reservist in Ramallah, paid for it with the best years of their lives, and now want to open a new chapter in their lives, as well as in their outlooks and in the relations between the two peoples. To them, the dead soldier Avidar was a victim of the occupation, just as they have been
Palestinian-Israeli cleric convicted of inciting violence
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Nov — An Israeli court found firebrand Islamic preacher Sheikh Raed Salah guilty on Thursday of incitement to violence but acquitted him on a charge of incitement to racism. The Jerusalem magistrate’s court said Salah, leader of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, had in February 2007 called on “all Muslims and Arabs” to “help the Palestinian people” and “start a Muslim Arab intifada (uprising),” to “support holy Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque.” … Salah will now await sentencing, which could put him behind bars. Salah, who is from northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, is no stranger to run-ins with the authorities.
Israel closes alleged Hamas offices in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 Nov — Israeli security forces on Thursday shut down two East Jerusalem offices they said were a cover for activities of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip … The Shin Bet named the offices as those of charity organization “Jerusalem for Development” and “Amarat al-Aqsa” (Al-Aqsa Properties) – which they said were ostensibly owned by the Islamic Movement in Israel, based in in the Arab Israeli cities of Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm … On Wednesday, dozens of Palestinian women and men affiliated with Amarat al-Aqsa tried to prevent Israeli police from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque after a small Islamist demonstration was held at the flashpoint religious site near the Western Wall revered by Jews.
Rafah crossing closed until further notice
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — Egyptian authorities on Friday closed Rafah crossing from both sides until further notice, security sources said. Prior to the closing, six Palestinians buses carrying 339 travelers as well as humanitarian cases crossed the terminal Friday morning. The buses were originally scheduled to travel on Thursday. The decision follows the end of an agreement made between Palestinian and Egyptian authorities to keep the crossing open for six days ending Friday.
Egyptian army helicopters fly over southern Gaza
RAFAH (PIC) 7 Nov — Two Egyptian army choppers flew over the southern Gaza Strip border city of Rafah on Thursday morning. Eyewitnesses said that the choppers flew over the border areas of Rafah, adding that the choppers suddenly breached the airspace of Gaza as they were apparently combing the Egyptian Rafah city. Egyptian military choppers flew over suburbs in Rafah and Khan Younis cities, south of the Gaza Strip, over the past few weeks focusing on the coastal area and the southern and western suburbs of both cities.
Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers enter Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered eastern Gaza City [PIC: Johr Dik] Wednesday as civil defense crews continued their search for the bodies of two people killed in an Israeli attack, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the vehicles entered the Zeitoun neighborhood of the city and that the bulldozers began digging up lands near the border with Israel.
IOF soldiers raid southern Gaza & fire at farmers; gunboats fire at fishermen
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 7 Nov — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided southern Gaza Strip areas on Thursday morning and fired at farmers forcing them to abandon working in their fields. A field observer told Quds Press that IOF soldiers advanced to the east of Qarara town, to the north east of Khan Younis, and bulldozed land while opening intensive fire at farmers. He said that soldiers in military watchtowers also opened machinegun fire at Palestinian houses in the same area.
Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats along the coasts of Gaza and blocked fishermen from fishing, fishermen said.
IOF raids the northern Gaza Strip
GAZA (PIC) 8 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided on Thursday afternoon the north of the Gaza Strip, where they opened fire at the farmers and razed Palestinian lands. An eyewitness told Quds Press that a number of Israeli military vehicles, accompanied by bulldozers, penetrated on Thursday afternoon in the east of the town of Jabaliya in the north of Gaza. He added that the occupation vehicles raided Abu Samra farm and opened fire at the farmers. No injuries were reported. The Israeli bulldozers then began bulldozing the lands, forcing the farmers to leave the place.
Black Palestinians shrug off racism
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 4 Nov by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Racist taunts toward Gaza’s African minority are not uncommon, despite centuries-long African migration to Palestine — “Hey, chocolate,” “Hey, cappuccino,” “Hey, Galaxy [brand of chocolate],” “Hey, brown one” and “Hey, black one,” are jocular expressions used by some in Gaza when a man, woman or child of African descent passes by. Sometimes the racism is expressed nonverbally through looks. Gazans, however, seem unaware of this racism. Al-Monitor met with political activist Samah al-Rawagh, 33, at her home and asked her whether she experienced any discrimination due to her skin color. She made light of the matter. Yet, when her father Ahmad al-Rawagh, 80, recounted incidents he had experienced involving racism, Samah was shocked. “That’s the first time I’ve heard such stories from you,” she said. “I struggled a lot to overcome the difficulties caused by the color of my skin. I always had to doubly prove myself at school, at work and in life, because I’m dark-skinned,” Ahmad said. He said that they are originally from Sudan. His ancestors came at the beginning of the 20th century and lived in Palestine — in a village called Roubin, neighboring Jaffa — until 1948, when they were forced to migrate to the Gaza Strip. “But I never felt that I did not belong here. Palestine is the homeland I have always known, and is a homeland to about 10,000 other dark-skinned people in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas’ new spokeswoman to break misconceptions
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 7 Nov — The Hamas-run government has appointed a young woman as the first English-speaking spokesperson designated for the Western media. The move was seen as a bid by the Islamist government to correct one of the stereotypes associated with the way it deals with women and an attempt to present more influential and convincing speech to the world media. Israa al-Mudallal, 23, now occupies a small room at the government’s media department in Gaza City, next door to Ihab al-Ghussein, the government’s spokesman and head of the department. Dressed in a beige headscarf, Mudallal highlighted the message she wanted to relay to the outside world. “I want to change the formula of the Palestinian discourse to the international community,” she told Al-Monitor. “I will focus on the humanitarian dimension, like the electricity problem and avoid the disgraceful matters, such as the Palestinian division.”
llink to www.al-monitor.com
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
Palestinian refugees accuse Jordan police of abuse
JERASH, Jordan (Al-Monitor) 7 Nov by Alice Su — Palestinian refugees at the Jerash refugee camp have accused Jordan’s security forces of abusing some refugees during detention following clashes with nearby villagers — Mohammed Yousef Abu Sulayman is missing his front teeth. The 40-year-old car mechanic lives in the Jerash refugee camp, locally called Gaza Camp for its more than 25,000 refugees whose families fled from Gaza in 1968. As an ex-Gaza refugee without a national ID number, Abu Sulayman has long lived without access to healthcare, full education, representation or any jobs aside from blue-collar labor. Now he also lives without teeth. Abu Sulayman is one of 16 Gaza Camp refugees who were detained for two weeks in October following a weekend-long clash between the Palestinian camp, neighboring village al-Haddad and Jordan’s public security forces.
PFLP-GC to coordinate safe exit for Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk
DAMASCUS (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command has agreed with Syrian authorities to facilitate the exit of all Palestinian refugees who wish to leave Yarmouk camp, the militant organization said in a statement … Raja said that the Syrian Ministry of Social Affairs, the Syrian Red Crescent, and the General Authority for Palestinian Refugees had prepared shelters for those who wish to leave Yarmouk, and that the refugees would be provided with the necessary infrastructure for a decent standard of living. Syria will compensate the refugees for any damages inflicted upon them by the national crisis, the statement said.
From resistance to existence: a week in photos, November 1-6
This week: Palestinians demonstrate against the Israeli separation wall and U.S. foreign policy, construction and demolition of Palestinian homes, Afghan asylum seekers struggle in Europe, a funeral for a Palestinian who died in Israeli custody, a hearing on the Prawer-Begin Plan, animal rights activists in Tel Aviv, and Palestinians seek water access in the Jordan Valley.
Poll: 70 pct of Palestinians expect peace talks to fail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — Over 70 percent of Palestinians expect US-sponsored peace talks with Israel to fail, according to a public opinion poll conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University … Over 53 percent of those asked said they did not support a return to negotiations with Israel, and 90.1 percent view US policy as generally biased in favor of Israel. Eighty percent of respondents said they supported conducting a referendum among Palestinians before signing any agreement with Israel, with 51.8 percent of those asked saying they supported a two-state solution. Nearly 58 percent of people polled expect the outbreak of a third Intifada if current negotiations fail, with one in three people supporting the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority if talks break down. A majority of those polled (58.7 percent) said they supported a nonviolent, unarmed popular uprising if talks failed, with around 38 percent supporting armed resistance. A majority of over 73 percent of Palestinian polled said they neither feel safe for themselves or their families and properties under the current circumstances, with one in three people considering emigrating due to the political and economic circumstances.
Kerry warns of violence if peace talks fail
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) 7 Nov by Matthew Lee — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a stark warning to Israel on Thursday, saying it faces international isolation and a possible explosion of violence if it does not make progress in peace efforts with the Palestinians. Kerry issued the blunt remarks in a joint interview with Israeli and Palestinian television channels, ensuring the message would reach its intended audience … Kerry said a failure in the talks could be devastating. “If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel. There will be an increasing campaign of de-legitimization of Israel (that) has been taking place in an international basis,” he said.If Israel cannot reach peace with the current Palestinian leadership, Kerry added, “you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”
link to news.yahoo.com
Kerry in Bethlehem announces $75M for infrastructure projects
BETHLEHEM, November 6, 2013 (WAFA) – US Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday announced in Bethlehem an additional $75 million aid for infrastructure projects to the Palestinian people. Kerry inaugurated a new road in Bethlehem financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Kerry said the new aid is in addition to $25 million announced earlier
Liberman is acquitted of corruption, setting stage for return as foreign minister
972mag 9 Nov by Michael Omer-Man — The man who has become the symbol of ultra-nationalist trends and anti-democratic legislation is cleared of corruption charges, allowing his return to helm of the Foreign Ministry, which Netanyahu has been holding for him — …The Israeli Left often paints Liberman as the boogieman haunting liberalism and democratic values. He was the main proponent behind a proposed loyalty oath targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel, advocated population transfer in the framework of a two-state solution and ushered into the Knesset with him a slew of ultra-nationalist, politicians who put forth an entire Knesset term’s worth of anti-democratic legislative proposals ranging from the Nakba Law to a bill that would limit funding to human rights NGOs
Source: US, Israel lose UNESCO voting rights
PARIS (AFP) 8 Nov — The United States and Israel lost their UNESCO voting rights Friday after suspending funding to the organization for its recognition of Palestine, a source from the UN agency told AFP. Neither the United States nor Israel “presented the necessary documentation this morning to avoid losing their right to vote,” the source said on condition of anonymity. Both countries stopped paying their contributions to the global cultural agency after Palestine was made a UNESCO member in 2011, provoking a major financial crisis at the agency and putting hundreds of jobs in jeopardy. Under UNESCO rules, the US and Israel had until Friday to pay their dues or automatically lose voting rights. US contributions represented 22 percent of the agency’s overall budget. With the US and Israel withdrawing their contributions UNESCO’s budget fell from $653 million to $507 million.
Egypt’s coup leaders employ Israeli company to secure Suez Canal
Middle East Monitor 6 Nov — A report by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights has revealed that an Israeli company, Seagull Maritime Security, provides maritime security services for cruises and cargo ships passing through the Suez Canal in Egypt. The Egyptian authorities have granted the company a license to work in the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and in Arab and African ports including Jordan, UAE and Oman. According to the report the company is one of the few whose guards are allowed to disembark fully armed on the Egyptian Tiran Island. The company’s official site does not reveal its Israeli identity, however several other sites connected to the company reveal the background of the company’s directors and managers as IDF veterans from elite units. The company is a member of the Israeli Association of Private Security Companies. The company was founded by its CEO, Kfir Magen who served as an officer in the Israeli navy, in 2008 … The company’s advisory board chairman, Ami Ayalon, served as commander in chief of the navy in 1992 and participated in an attack against the Suez in 1969 which claimed the lives of 80 Egyptian soldiers. Ayalon who served as head of the Shin Bet in 1996 now works within the company.
Opinion / Analysis
Yes, Arafat was poisoned and Israel killed him, but what can we do? / Abdel Bari Atwan
Middle East Monitor 8 Nov — There are three countries in the world that possess the radioactive polonium used to assassinate the Palestinian president Yasser Arafat; the United States, Russia and Israel. The two superpowers had no direct benefit from committing this war crime. So, fingers are now pointed at Israel, the country that has specialised in carrying out assassination operations against Arabs, Palestinians and international envoys over the past 60 years, since the beginning of the occupation of Palestine. Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli Prime Minister who is lying comatose in hospital, had made several open threats to assassinate the Palestinian president. He had refused to surrender at the Camp David retreat in 2000 and abandon occupied Jerusalem and full sovereignty over it, as well as sparking the armed Intifada against the occupation, anticipating and waiting for his martyrdom. President Arafat took all the necessary measures, within the limits of his basic capabilities, to thwart the attempts on his life while confined in his compound … Arafat put up iron bars on the roof of his compound to prevent helicopters from landing and capturing him and locked his refrigerator that operated on a small electric current generated by a small motor; he was the only one with the keys. This refrigerator contained canned food, which was the only thing he ate out of fear of being poisoned. He also kept a gas mask and his small automatic gun near his bed in case gas bombs were thrown to kill him and in order to defend himself until he was martyred. The only thing he had not taken into account was being poisoned by radioactive polonium and its lethal radiation. This type of poison was not discovered until November 2006 when it was used to kill Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in a London hotel.
Despite Swiss report, controversy over Arafat’s death continues / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 8 Nov — Many questions were left unanswered even after the publication of the final conclusions by the Swiss researchers, who examined Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s corpse. Was the Palestinian leader poisoned by the Israelis? Did Ariel Sharon, then prime minister of Israel, give the order to assassinate him? After all, Sharon loathed Arafat and referred to him as “the dog in the Muqata.” The possibility cannot be discounted entirely, especially when considering a news conference that took place in January 2002. The Karine A arms ship that Arafat ordered had just been seized while making its way from Iran to Gaza, and at a news conference, then Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz was caught on microphone whispering to Sharon: “We have to get rid of him.” Mofaz was one of the people who initiated the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004. Like Sharon, he wanted to get rid of Arafat, but unlike Yassin, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority was protected by then-US President George W. Bush. Sharon had promised Bush that he wouldn’t harm Arafat, and according to his office manager, attorney Dov Weisglass, he kept his promise. After all, he had no reason to break it. Arafat was holed up in the Muqata in Ramallah and had no influence. At the same time, however, it is impossible to ignore that Israel had plenty of reasons to cause Arafat’s death during the second intifada … Regardless, before the Arafat file is closed and a finger is pointed at Israel, there are still several questions raised by the Swiss report:
Hamas reconciles with Gaza Salafists / Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor 5 Nov — GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The relationship between Hamas and the various Salafist jihadist groups in Gaza is in a state of flux these days. As previously reported by Al-Monitor, relations between the two parties were once highly confrontational, but they have since improved. Early October witnessed the first tepid movement toward a reconciliation between Hamas and the Salafists. This process has been conducted through intermediaries, particularly Muslim clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, accompanied by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who visited Gaza in May to help resolve the outstanding conflicts between the two sides. A prominent Salafist leader in Gaza who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity disclosed that intensive contacts had been taking place with Hamas following years of bloody conflict. He noted that the mediators had put in place a preliminary agreement to end the conflict, which had been threatening to deteriorate further.
Israel must stop settler violence / Mairav Zonszein
The Forward 8 Nov — Jan Psaki, a State Department spokesperson, characterized Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement in early November of plans for thousands of new settlement homes as not conducive to “steps that create a positive atmosphere for continued negotiations.” The mild and familiar American condemnation is certainly true, but off the mark, considering the very negative atmosphere created by daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians, their natural resources and their property. Hundreds of Palestinian olive trees have been destroyed by settlers in various incidents, so many it is hard to keep count. Six hundred in Nablus on October 30. Two days before that, a Palestinian farmer’s head was cracked open by settlers wielding iron bars from the illegal outpost Adei Ad. And just before that, settlers from Yitzhar attacked both Palestinian farmers and Jewish Israeli volunteers from Rabbis for Human rights with clubs, resulting in four injuries. The list goes on and on. These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence. Saying there is no “positive atmosphere” because of new settlement plans is thus a glib understatement, almost disingenuous. The atmosphere Israel perpetuates has been anathema to any kind of goodwill interaction with Palestinians for quite some time. You don’t need new settlement plans to see this.