Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Israeli army demolish a house in the Salfit village of Deir Ballut
[includes map, photo] DEIR BALLUT, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 29 Nov — On Thursday morning at five am, the Israeli army demolished a house under construction, and left the area before the owner Ghaneem Mahmoud Abdullah Al-Karim or other villagers were able to arrive at the scene. It is believed that the Israeli forces conduct these activities so early in the morning in order to avoid non violent resistance from the villagers. This was the first house to be demolished in Deir Ballut but there are over sixty houses that have been served demolition orders from the Israeli army. The village is over five hundred years old, and within the Oslo Agreements the village was literally split between Area B and Area C. There are over a hundred and eighty houses that now fall within Area C and therefore are under threat of demolition. The inhabitants of Area C need permission from the Israeli government to even refurbish their houses, which is often impossible to get … Deir Ballut has lost 2,000 dunums which was confiscated when Israel built the apartheid wall, and the intended reassignment of the separation barrier which is to be carried out in coming years will mean that the village will lose even more land and is surrounded by the wall. As Deir Ballut’s population increases, families are forced to build in Area C, as is the case for the Al Karim family.
IOF confiscates 1500 dunums south of Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 28 Nov — Israeli Occupation Authorities have declared its intention to confiscate about 1500 acres of Palestinian agricultural lands in ‘Aqraba village southeast of Nablus on Thursday. Palestinian farmers were surprised this morning by Israeli notifications informing them of the Israeli decision to confiscate nearly 1,500 acres of their lands located west of Nablus, a Palestinian activist against settlement confirmed. The source pointed out that the Israeli occupation authority claimed earlier that only 5 dunums would be confiscated, however it plans to confiscate 1500 dunums … Meanwhile, eyewitnesses confirmed that Israeli bulldozers began to raze Palestinian agricultural lands in order to create a new settlement road in ‘Aqraba town east of Nablus to link between Itamar and Jeanette [Ginnot Shomeron?] settlements. Israeli settlers have participated in razing the lands, the sources pointed out, stressing that the area was subjected recently to repeated Israeli attacks.
Palestinian village facing demolition awaits its fate
ZANUTA, West Bank (AFP) 26 Nov — Faris Samamri and his family of 20 scrape a living grazing sheep from a tin hut on a West Bank hillside but at a hearing that opens Wednesday the Israeli Supreme Court may order it destroyed. It is the climax of a six-year legal battle for Samamri and the other 26 Palestinian families who call the village of Zanuta in the far south of the occupied West Bank home. With the support of human rights groups, they have been battling demolition orders issued by the Israeli government for virtually the entire village in 2007, on the grounds that it was built without construction permits — almost impossible to obtain — and on an archaeological site. Before Israel occupied the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967, the villagers lived in caves but several of the caves collapsed in the 1980s and they moved to makeshift dwellings out in the open, the dwellings that Israel wants to raze … Human Rights Watch says that as an occupier, Israel is required by international humanitarian law “to ensure that the residents of Zanuta have enough food, water (and) shelter.” And forced displacement of civilian populations in occupied territory amounts to a “prosecutable war crime,” the New York-based watchdog said.
An unrelenting assault on the village of Deir Istiya’s farmland
DEIR ISTIYA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 28 Nov — The village of Deir Istiya has encountered severe disruption to its agriculture and water supply since 1990 from the Israeli authorities and nearby illegal settlements. This has culminated in the Israeli army’s planned action to uproot nearly 2500 olive trees in the very near future. The army’s mandate to perform this action stems from a court ruling given in May 2013 that gave permission for them to cut down all olive trees in the Wadi Kana (a valley making up a large part of the village’s farmland) that are under two years old. However trees that were planted over five years ago have been included in the marking action over the last five months; a marking action typically precludes the actual uprooting process. On the 26th of November, four men in civilian clothing marked 157 more trees across the village farmland. Before the army actually begins the action, under Israeli law, they have to inform lawyers representing the village of the date that this will commence. Although from past experience, villagers across the West Bank have not received such prior warning in similar cases. If the army succeeds with its plan, the destruction of more than 2,500 olive trees will decimate the village’s agriculture and economy, destroying the livelihoods of many of the 4000 inhabitants of Deir Istiya.
This is the latest in a long line of aggressive acts that the Israeli government, army, court and nearby illegal settlers have inflicted upon the people of this village. In 1990 nearby settlers deposited sewage from three separate illegal settlements into the 12 springs that provided water for the village….
Israeli bulldozers level Palestinian lands near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli bulldozers Thursday razed Palestinian lands in villages south of the West Bank city of Qalqilya, witnesses told Ma’an. Locals said that several Israeli military vehicles escorted the bulldozers to the villages of Ras ‘Atiya, Ras al-Tira, and Izbat Jalud, where the bulldozers leveled Palestinian private property. Less than a month ago, locals added, Israeli forces notified locals that the lands belonged to the State of Israel, and that Palestinians were not allowed to access them.
Israel prevents construction of Palestinian wells near Ya‘bad
JENIN (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli forces on Tuesday confiscated two pieces of digging equipment from a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank district of Jenin in order to prevent the construction of sewage wells, locals said. Israeli forces raided the village of Barta‘a al-Sharqiya while locals were drilling sewage wells at the entrance to the village and confiscated two backhoes during the process, locals said. The two backhoes belong to two brothers named Ibrahim and Mohammad Abed al-Latif Qabha. The Israeli forces claimed that the two brothers were working in a military zone, and both were subsequently taken to a military camp near Barta‘a gate.
IOA issues demolition notifications against 14 facilities in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 29 Nov — Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) notified Thursday afternoon ten citizens from Barta‘a village southwest of Jenin of the intended demolition of their 14 homes and facilities. Eyewitnesses confirmed that four Israeli patrols raided the town, and handed ten citizens notifications demolition notices for 6 houses as well as other houses under construction and several other facilities.
Israeli forces issue stop-work orders to Palestinian farmers in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 — Israeli forces handed several Palestinians orders to stop their construction of an agricultural building near Tubas, a farmer told Ma‘an Wednesday. Nawaf Hussein said that Israeli forces entered Bardala village Monday and issued him and five other farmers orders to stop building, claiming they lacked a permit. Permit applications – rarely approved by Israeli authorities – are expensive and complicated, Hussein said. He added that in order to apply for a construction permit, the building is required to be made of bricks. The farmers were building a structure of tin and nylon, Hussein said. Figures from the Israeli NGO Bimkom show that around 95 percent of applications for building permits are rejected in Area C.
A tale of two West Bank building permit requests
Haaretz 26 Nov by Chaim Levinson — A 10-family Jewish outpost gets approval for 94 housing units and a commercial zone. The 40 Arab families of Susya get the boot, and a lecture — The Jewish settlement of Givat Salit, located in the Jordan Valley, had no permits for its buildings until last week, when the Civil Administration approved a master plan that would retroactively legalize it and facilitate the construction of 100 new homes. The small Palestinian village of Susya, located next to the southern Hebron Hills settlement of the same name, had no permits for its buildings either. And that’s still the case, since last month the Civil Administration rejected Susya residents’ request for approval of a master plan that would have made their homes legal. The difference is that the government wants to promote Givat Salit, where just 10 families live so far. Though the planning agencies are theoretically independent, they fall in line behind this political decision. In the southern Hebron Hills, in contrast, government policy is to force the Palestinians back to Yatta and prevent them from spreading out. And here, too, the planning agencies fall in line.
PHOTOS: A state-sanctioned ‘price tag’ on Palestinian olive trees
Activestills 26 Nov — Israeli civilians accompanied by the military damaged or destroyed some 60 Palestinian-owned olive trees Monday in the West Bank village of Tuqu‘. A headline on the Hebrew-language settler website Hakol Hayehudi stated: “The IDF does a ‘price tag’ of its own.” Palestinian landowner Abed Rabo Jedua was among area residents who converged on the scene to confront the settlers, soldiers and presumed contractors cutting the trees. Israeli authorities then offered Jedua a “compromise” that he and other owners must cut and trim their own olive trees in the five rows nearest the road for a span of 500 meters. As of Tuesday morning, several Palestinian landowners had already begun to comply, presumably to limit the damage that would otherwise be done by Israelis. Earlier this month, an Israeli couple was injured while driving along this stretch of West Bank road when their car was hit with a firebomb presumably thrown by Palestinian assailants. Settler activists have since attempted to erect protest tents in the area and have staged several demonstrations. The victims of the military order to cut down trees, however, are not those who carried out the attack earlier this month, turning the destruction into what some are calling an act of collective punishment.
Palestinians fight Israeli attempts to claim Bethlehem
Al-Monitor 29 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — As the Christmas season approaches and as tourism to the Holy Land rises, the fight over holy sites has also escalated. The Palestinian Ministry of Information published on its website a report citing an official complaint by the Palestinian ambassador in Rome, Mai al-Kalia, against Israel, which is trying to appropriate Bethlehem. According to the Palestinian ministry, the Israeli tourism office in Rome has published touristic literature stating that “Israel, thanks to a wide range of unique sites such as the old port of Jaffa, and Nazareth, Jerusalem and Tiberias, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Masada, the Dead Sea, Fort Herod and caves near Qumran …” Four of the sites mentioned lie in the Palestinian territories, but Israel is advertising them as part of Israel in an attempt to attract Christian pilgrims from Italy. The Palestinian diplomat, according to the report, will file an official complaint to the Italian Foreign Ministry accusing the Israeli tourism office of publishing “false information.” Palestinian efforts in Italy have been matched by a popular movement in Bethlehem itself. Young Palestinians holding signs in different languages protested outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Nov. 28. Their message was simple: Bethlehem is a Palestinian town.
West Bank construction up 130% in 2013
Times of Israel 28 Nov by Adiv Sterman — Seven percent of new Israeli construction sites erected this year were located in the West Bank, and the number of building projects across the Green Line rose by nearly 130% compared to 2012, according to statistics released Thursday. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that since the beginning of 2013, 32,290 construction sites for housing units were erected across Israel, an increase of 5.5% compared to the corresponding time frame in 2012. There has also been an increase of 12.4% in the number of apartments whose construction was completed, with roughly 30,970 homes finalized since the beginning of 2013. “I am delighted that construction starts exceeded predictions and erroneous statements in different media outlets,” Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel said Thursday.
Jews and Arabs were told to use separate lanes at West Bank crossing
Haaretz 27 Nov by Amira Hass — Discrimination between Israeli citizens contradicts IDF instructions issued two years ago. Now the military is clarifying this ruling to soldiers — A civil complaint has revealed that for a long time soldiers acted in contradiction to official rules, with separate lanes for Jews and Arabs West Bank checkpoints. Following the complaint, the office of the chief of staff and the Israel Defense Forces’ Central Command has clarified that every Israeli citizen has the right to use any lane at the crossing. In early March this year Ziyad Abou Habla was driving in the direction of Israel via the Jabara (Te’enim) Crossing south of Tul Karm. Abou Habla, who was the only civilian at the checkpoint at the time, drove toward the only manned inspection post. When the soldiers identified him as an Arab he was told to turn around and drive via a different lane, claiming that the lane he wanted to use is meant only for security vehicles and settlement residents. Abou Habla refused to comply and told the soldiers that there is no written rule on the subject, but after a prolonged argument, and because the officer at the checkpoint had his ID card, he was forced to turn back and cross via the lane designated for Arabs. In addition he complained that the female soldiers conducting inspections at the crossing made fun of him and laughed at him.
Israeli policeman assaults Palestinian Aqsa guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — An Israeli police officer Thursday physically assaulted a Palestinian guard at the Al-Aqsa compound, an eyewitness told Ma‘an. Omar al-Zanaeen, 60, was hospitalized after an Israeli policeman “brutally beat him” near Al-Aqsa’s al-Silsila gate, the witness said. The policeman reportedly ordered al-Zanaeen to close one of the gate’s doors 7:15 p.m. before closing time. After the guard refused to comply, the policeman pushed the guard to the ground, causing him to lose consciousness, the witness said. Al-Zanaeen, who suffers from heart disease, was transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Israeli police detain Palestinian man, mother near Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov – Israeli police detained a Palestinian man and his mother while they were at a cotton market in the Old City of Jerusalem, witnesses told Ma‘an. Israeli police stopped the mother and denied her access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque where she studies Islamist [Islamic, surely] law. Her son Tariq al-Hashlamoun intervened before police officers detained both and took them to a police station. Tariq is an employee at the Ministry of Endowment’s hajj department.
Israeli rightists enter Al-Aqsa under armed guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Several large Israeli groups entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound early Thursday escorted by Israeli police. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director of Islamic endowment and mosque affairs, said that over 152 right-wing Israelis entered the mosque compound via the Moroccan Gate, before touring the area and leaving. A group of 30 right-wing Israelis performed religious rituals near the Golden Gate under armed guard, a Ma‘an reporter said, with scuffles breaking out between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police. Extremist Yehuda Glick, an American-born Israeli and the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, participated in the tour. Al-Khatib denounced the raid and said the situation at the Al-Aqsa compound is deteriorating daily, with Israeli authorities trying to impose a new reality in terms of control of the holy site. Meanwhile, Israeli police prevented dozens of students from entering Al-Aqsa mosque. Some students were allowed in but had to leave their Identity Cards with Israeli guards at the gates.
Protests against the Prawer Plan
Anti-Prawer demos planned worldwide
Rahat (Ma‘an) 29 Nov by Graham Liddell — Protests slated for Saturday in dozens of cities worldwide are likely to be the largest-yet demonstrations against Israel’s so-called Prawer Plan to uproot Bedouin villages. A joint Israeli-Palestinian activist organization on Thursday announced the 24 locations where demonstrations were scheduled to take place. In the announcement, the Alternative Information Center called on all who “oppose ethnic cleansing, displacement and confinement in the 21st century” to attend the protests. Israel’s Prawer Plan, if implemented, would result in the systematic destruction of more than 35 villages in the Negev and the “expulsion and urbanization” of more than 70,000 Bedouin Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, the AIC said. “The Prawer Plan is the largest Israeli land-grab since 1948,” the group said…
Israeli activist Yeela Raanan called for international pressure on Israel to stop the Prawer Plan on Nov. 23 during a lecture near the Negev city of Rahat … Dozens of the Negev’s unrecognized Bedouin villages are “slated for erasure,” Raanan said. On top of threats of displacement, residents of the unrecognized villages face everyday hardships, as Israel denies them access to basic services and infrastructure such as electricity and running water … The original idea behind the Prawer plan “was that if we can take the Jews out of the Gaza Strip we can take the Bedouins out of their villages,” Raanan said. Even if the Prawer Plan relocated the Bedouin into recognized Israeli urban spaces, Raanan said there is no reason to hope their lives would improve, citing the seven recognized Bedouin villages as an example.
Police threaten activists, bus companies as anti-Prawer protest intensifies
972mag 29 Nov by Haggai Matar –As the third ‘Day of Rage’ against the Prawer Plan to displace the Bedouin of the Negev nears, police have started to harass activists and bus companies involved in the protest planned for Saturday. The past two weeks have seen a rise in anti-Prawer protests — Bedouin activists in the Negev were urgently summoned local police stations on Thursday, where they were warned that they must be granted a permit to hold the third “Day of Rage” against the Prawer Plan, scheduled to take place in the Negev/Naqab on Saturday. However, under the law, demonstrations of this sort do not require such permits. Furthermore, the bus companies hired for the purpose of transporting demonstrators from all over the country received similar phone calls from police and were told that anyone assisting the “illegal demonstration” in any way would be considered an accomplice to the offense. Activists are currently trying to work out a solution out with the police, but are warning against the dangerous path the police are taking by repressing voices of dissent. Click here for 972′s full coverage of the Prawer Plan
In two crimes of extra-judicial execution and excessive use of force, Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinian civilians in Yatta, south of Hebron
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 28 Nov — In a new crime of extra-judicial execution, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians in Hebron by targeting their vehicle near Zaif area, north of Yatta, south of the city. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:00, on the abovementioned day, Mousa Mohammed Makhamra (24), from Yatta, and Mohammed Fo’ad Nairoukh (24), from Hebron, were driving a white Subaru vehicle on a dirt road linking al-Berka area, east of Yatta, and bypass road (60). A Renault Kangoo vehicle was following the above-mentioned vehicle. The Subaru was about to reach the bypass road when an Israeli infantry unit had been deployed in the farmlands around. Israeli soldiers directly opened fire at the vehicle, and in the meantime, other soldiers opened fire from the Renault vehicle as well. Soon after, a Mercedes 608 accompanied by a Mercedes bus and an Isuzu Jeep – all with Palestinian registration plates – arrived and stopped on the bypass road. A large number of Israeli soldiers stepped out of the vehicles and deployed in the area. An hour and a half later, Israeli forces brought a robot to pull the dead civilians out of the vehicle. A suspicious object was also taken out of the vehicle and detonated. At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 27 November 2013, Israeli forces delivered the 2 corpses to an ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society that took them to Abu al-Hassan al-Qasem Hospital in Yatta. Medical sources at the hospital stated that Nairoukh was killed by 3 bullets to the chest and a bullet to the right side of his forehead (entered and exited). Makhamra was killed by a bullet to the right eye (entered and exited), a bullet to the right side of the neck, a bullet to the chest and a fourth one to the pelvis.
Half an hour later, in an excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in the south of Hebron. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30, Israeli forces surrounded a house belonging to the family of Khalil Mohammed Abu ‘Eram (43), from al-Berka area, north of Yatta, south of Hebron. They immediately opened fire at the house for a few minutes and then used an explosive device to blow up the door. They also opened fire at a by-passer. Issa Abu ‘Eram said to PCHR’s fieldworker that a large number of Israeli soldiers moved into the area and surrounded a house belonging to his brother Khalil. The house was rented by 3 Palestinians claiming to be from Jenin. At approximately 18:30, they heard gunfire around the house and then the sound of an explosion. After a while, an ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society arrived. Residents of the area learnt later that a civilian was killed near the house. At approximately 01:30 on Wednesday, 27 November 2013, Israeli forces delivered the corpse of the civilian to an ambulance that took it to Abu al-Hassan al-Qasem Hospital in Yatta. The killed was identified as Mahmoud Khaled al-Najjar (24), from Yatta.After examination of the crime scene, it was found that Israeli forces had opened fire randomly at al-Najjar while he was walking near the house, due to which, he was hit by a number of bullets causing his death before he was taken to the hospital. According to medical sources at the hospital, al-Najjar was hit by a bullet to the left side of his chest, 3 bullets to chest and a bullet to the right shoulder. In addition, part of his head was taken out as he was pulled by a robot. [see also Wikipedia’s list of alleged and confirmed assassinations reported to have been conducted by the State of Israel – clearly not complete since it doesn’t, for just one example, include the 13 Oct 2002 telephone-booth killing of Muhammad ‘Abayat in Bethlehem, which happened while I was there in the town.]
Ma‘an editorial: Salafist Jihadi groups in the West Bank? / Nasser Lahham
28 Nov — Immediately after Israeli forces murdered Mahmoud al-Najjar, Mousa Makhamra and Muhammad Nayroukh in Yatta on Tuesday, Israel started a large media campaign claiming the three men were planning to found an al-Qaeda-affiliated group in the West Bank. The campaign was very fast, very large and prepared in advance. Media outlets in the Arab world and in Palestine bought the Israeli argument to a certain extent by quoting reports about the incident from Israeli sources. The absence of an official Palestinian account, and the fact that Palestinian factions and security services remained silent, helped circulate the Israeli account and even give it some credibility. The public dislikes silence and vacuums in such situations because it leaves more room for curiosity and encourages more circulation of the Israeli account which accuses the Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) of creating fertile ground for jihadists. If that is the case, Israel all of a sudden decided to put the group through a test. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government turned everybody’s attention away from the ugly assassination and instead propagandized a cinematic plot justifying the death penalty without trial. The world has almost forgotten that Israeli forces carried out a predetermined, well planned military attack against young men in the prime of their youth driving a civilian car. They were in possession of a handgun. What does it mean to have a handgun in the first place? In fact, Israel kills over intentions rather than deeds, unlike international law, and all human-made laws, which prosecute people over what they do and not what they aspire to … So are there Jihadist Salafists in Palestine? If the answer is yes, I don’t think that the news is as dangerous as Israel is trying to circulate. It is a natural reaction to the ongoing occupation and inter-factional rivalry in Palestine … Fighting Jihadist Salafist ideologies and radicalism shouldn’t be through targeted assassinations of supporters of these ideologies, simply because, violence begets violence. The right way to do that is through the withdrawal of the occupation on one hand, and through dialogue between Palestinian organizations and Salafists on the other.
Factions declare day of mourning after Hebron killings
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Palestinian nationalist and Islamic factions in Hebron on Wednesday declared a day of mourning for three Palestinian men who were killed Tuesday evening by Israeli forces in Yatta, south of Hebron. A statement by the factions rejected Israel’s “justifications for the ongoing crimes and military procedures against the Palestinian people.” It also called on Palestinians to “beware of Israeli media which disseminates poisonous reports in an attempt to harm Palestinian unity.”
Clashes in Hebron after funeral for 3 men killed by Israel
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Clashes broke out across the Hebron district on Wednesday as thousands of mourners gathered to take part in funeral processions for three Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces a day earlier. In Hebron’s Old City, Israeli forces fired tear gas at a girls primary school, causing several children to faint. A teacher at the al-Zahra school told Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired tear gas directly onto school grounds, with Palestinian medics treating the young children at the scene. In Hebron’s Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood, clashes broke out between young Palestinian men and Israeli troops … Muhammad Awad, spokesman of Beit Ummar’s local committee against settlements and the separation wall, was hurt by a tear-gas canister which hit him directly in the chest. He was evacuated to a medical complex in the town for treatment. Medics said he was in moderate condition. Israeli forces deployed at the main road to Hebron near Beit Ummar and carried out inspections on Palestinian vehicles. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces fired a tear-gas canister into a passenger bus driving from Hebron to Beit Ummar, injuring several people. In Yatta, thousands joined the funeral of Mousa Makhamra and Mahmoud al-Najjar. The funeral procession started at the central mosque in Yatta and went toward the town’s cemetery. Mourners chanted slogans urging Palestinian fighters to retaliate for the killings and calling upon the Palestinian Authority to stop peace negotiations with Israel. A separate funeral procession was held in Hebron for Muhammad Fuad Nayroukh after prayers at Ansar mosque in the city. A Ma’an reporter said hundreds of mourners joined the funeral.
Violence / Invasions / Suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Teen dies en route to hospital amid checkpoint closure
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — A Palestinian teenager died Thursday after she was unable to pass through an Israeli checkpoint on the way to the hospital during a medical emergency, the girl’s family said. Nour Mohammad Afaneh, 14, died in an ambulance while in critical condition on her way to a Bethlehem hospital, Afaneh’s father told Ma‘an. He said that Anafeh had been suffering from severe pneumonia and was physically disabled. On the way to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, the ambulance arrived at the Container Road checkpoint north of Bethlehem and found it closed, he said. After attempting three other routes to the hospital in heavy traffic, the ambulance attempted to bring Anafeh to Ramallah Governmental Hospital, but she died before arriving, her father said. Her funeral will be held Thursday. Popular Committe Spokesman Hani Halbiya told Ma‘an that Israeli forces have kept the Container Road checkpoint closed for the past three days.
Israeli troops shoot and injure two Palestinian protesters near Jerusalem
IMEMC 30 Nov — As Palestinian protesters took to the streets Friday to bring attention to the death of a Palestinian child at an Israeli military checkpoint Thursday, and two protesters were shot with live ammunition in two separate locations near Jerusalem. In Abu Dis, a protester was hit with three bullets in the lower extremities, while in al-Azariya, Israeli troops shot a protester in the chest and leg, also with live ammunition. According to the spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, Hani Halbiya, the shots were fired at the demonstrators by Israeli snipers stationed on rooftops. The protests were spontaneous marches in the streets and involved the chanting of slogans, and handwritten signs protesting the death of the child Nour Afaneh the previous night. Israeli sources have alleged that some of the youth involved in the protests also threw stones at the Israeli troops who arrived at the scene of the protests with armed personnel carriers and machine-gun mounted jeeps … Deaths of patients at Israeli checkpoints were frequent during the second intifada, which lasted from 2000 to approximately 2006. In the last two years, with the easing of some military checkpoints in the West Bank, such deaths have become less frequent. But the checkpoints that remain have become like border crossings, making it extremely tedious and time-consuming to cross them. In this case, a checkpoint that has remained open most of the last two years was closed by Israeli troops to mark the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The ambulance was stuck at the Container checkpoint for several hours, and the child died as a result.
Palestinian man succumbs to Israeli-inflicted bullet wounds
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — A man who was injured by Israeli forces several months ago succumbed to his wounds Thursday, a Ma‘an reporter said. Mahmoud Wajeeh Awwad, 28, died Thursday in an Israeli hospital from months-old bullet wounds inflicted by Israeli forces. Israeli soldiers shot Awwad in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet eight months ago during clashes at the entrance of Qalandya refugee camp in Ramallah. The injury caused him to fall into a coma, and he remained comatose until medics pronounced him dead late Thursday. Israeli forces regularly fire rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters, referring to the practice as “riot dispersal.”
Thousands of mourners join funeral of Qalandiya man
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Thousands of mourners on Friday participated in the funeral of a man who died Thursday of wounds he suffered from Israeli fire eight months earlier. The funeral procession started from Palestine Medical Complex and ended at a mosque where participants prayed for him, and then went to the camp’s cemetery where he was laid to rest. Masked and armed men from the al-Aqsa Brigades participated in the funeral and fired shots in the air during the procession. After the procession, dozens marched toward Qalandiya checkpoint and clashed with Israeli forces. Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers who responded by firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas.
Israeli forces disperse weekly protests in West Bank
[with photos] RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Several people were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces violently dispersed protests across the West Bank. Two people were injured, a third was arrested, and dozens suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation in clashes in Bil‘in near Ramallah. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades as protesters neared lands close to the wall. Ismael Abu Rahma, 17, and Ashraf al-Khatib, 33, were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets in the hand and foot, respectively, while Mohammad al-Khatib, 39, was arrested. Dozens suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation. Friday’s demonstration was held to mark the first anniversary of upgrading Palestine to a non-member observer state in the UN, and in celebration of the UN resolution to declare 2014 the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. [also details of protests in Nabi Saleh and al-Ma‘asara]
Activists: 2 Palestinians hurt by live fire in clashes near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) 29 Nov — Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians at a demonstration near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank late Friday, activists said. The protesters were demonstrating in the al-Ezeriya and Abu Dis villages against the death of Nour Mohammad Afaneh, who died in an ambulance while it was held up near a checkpoint. Popular Committee spokesman Hani Halbiya said that clashes broke out in the Ras Kabs area and in Abu Dis village. Habliya said that snipers fired live bullets at protesters, injuring one in the chest and leg, and a second with three bullets in the lower extremities. They were taken to nearby hospitals in critical condition, he added. Palestinians responded by throwing rocks and closing roads with burned tires.
Israeli police threaten to detain 4-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Israeli police raided a house in East Jerusalem late Thursday carrying a detention order for a four-year-old Palestinian boy, a neighborhood information center said. According to Wadi Hilweh information center, several Israeli police officers raided the house of Zein al-Majed in the al-Saediya neighborhood in Jerusalem’s Old City. The police said they had a detention order of al-Majed’s four-year-old son, Muhammad, the center said. After forcing al-Majed to wake his son up, the police officers reportedly decided not to arrest the boy when they saw him. The center said that an Israeli police officer questioned al-Majed about his relatives, accusing them of injuring an “Israeli settler.” Police threatened to return and arrest four-year-old Muhammad if they discovered any charge against him during investigations.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an he was unfamiliar with the incident, but said that four Palestinians carrying Israeli citizenship were detained Thursday as part of an investigation into a violent incident. Rosenfeld said the four were suspected of throwing stones at an Israeli vehicle near the Sur Baher neighborhood of Jerusalem. The stone-throwing incident injured a three-year-old Israeli baby, he said. He added that the four detainees were between the ages of 15 and 17.
IOF detains a child for 18 hours without water or food
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Nov — A Palestinian child has been subjected to torture during his detention for 18 hours in an Israeli detention center. The 13-year-old child Yahia al-Rajabi, from the Old City in al-Khalil, was deprived of water and food for 18 hours while being detained in an Israeli prison. The child told the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society after his release that he was arrested at midnight after being shot at by Israeli soldiers and severely beaten with their rifle butts. The child confirmed that he was transferred to Kiryat Arba settlement where he was interrogated and then taken to Etzion detention center, in which he was subjected to psychological and physical torture till being released Tuesday night. The Israeli forces had arrested Yahia al-Rajbi on Sunday
A Palestinian woman’s reaction to sexual harassment lands her in jail
Haaretz 30 Nov by Gideon Levy — Muntaha al-Khekh spent four weeks in in jail – some of it in isolation – for striking back after being sexually harassed by an Israeli policeman — She is a nice-looking, smiling, 20-year old girl, who has decided to pluck up her courage and relate what happened to her − not a trivial matter in the traditional society in which she lives. Wearing a black dress and kerchief, a keffiyeh slung over her shoulders, Muntaha al-Khekh tells her story. Her father notes every word, but does not intervene. From time to time, she halts in embarrassment. She and her six sisters live with their parents in Surif, a village west of Hebron … Her father, Abu Ala, is an officer in the security apparatus of the Palestinian Authority … She states that she was never involved in politics or security matters. On October 22, she joined the owner of the preschool where she worked on a trip to Hebron. Around 5 in the afternoon, close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, her companion entered a store while she waited outside, near the entrance gate for Muslims. T., an Israeli policeman in a blue uniform, approached her and asked her what she was up to. She replied that she was waiting for her friend. T. said he wanted to search her and Al-Khekh replied that she wanted a policewoman to conduct the search. T. said there wasn’t one nearby, grabbing her arm while starting to grope and stroke her. T. asked her if she was married, unbuttoning his shirt. In response, Muntaha slapped his face.
PA spokesman denies arrest of former hunger striker
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — A Palestinian Authority security official Wednesday denied reports that PA police had arrested former hunger-striker Khader Adnan. PA Security Spokesman Adnan Dmeiri told Ma‘an that Adnan had attempted to “obstruct” the work of security forces, but that he had not been arrested. Adnan’s relatives claimed that security forces had arrested him and his cousin, Farouk Moussa, at Moussa’s house in Arraba near Jenin. Security forces arrived to arrest Moussa when Adnan tried to stop them, resulting in both of their arrests, Adnan’s relatives told Ma‘an. Adnan’s 66-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison in 2012 inspired hundreds of prisoners to take on Israel’s policy of holding detainees without charge.
Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians in overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Israeli forces detained 15 Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank, locals said. Israeli soldiers raided several areas in the Hebron district and detained 12 young men. Locals said that Israeli forces raided the southern district following the killing of three Palestinians in Yatta. Witnesses said that Khalil Muhammad Abu Iram and his son Muhammad were detained south of Hebron. Abu Iram is reportedly the owner of a house which was rented by the men killed by Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces also detained four relatives of one of the victims of Tuesday’s killings. Muhammad Mansour Makhamra, his brother Mahmoud, Ibrahim Abdullah Makhamra and his brother Yousuf were identified as those arrested. In Hebron, Luay Faysal Hashlamoun, Anas Ajjouri and Fadi Sabir Burqan were arrested by soldiers, while in Beit Ummar three people were detained. A local committee spokesman named two of the detainees as 52-year-old Falah Hamdi Abu Mariya and his teenage son Yahya, 17. Abu Mariya’s wife fainted during the arrest raid after Israeli soldiers assaulted him in front of his relatives and a fight broke out. Palestinian medics were only allowed to access the house and help the woman after the Israeli soldiers had left the property.
Forces arrest seven Palestinians across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 28 Nov – Israeli forces Thursday arrested seven Palestinians from across the West Bank, according to local and security sources. They said that forces arrested three Palestinians, including a minor, from the town of Duha, south of Bethlehem, after raiding their homes. Forces arrested two Palestinians in their early twenties from the town of Dura, south of Hebron after raiding and searching their homes. Forces also arrested a 23-year-old Palestinian at a military checkpoint near the village of Barta‘a al-al-Sharqiyeh, south of Jenin, and arrested another 25-year-old university student after raiding and searching his home located in the Jenin area town of Qabatiya.
PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, 12 wounded by Israeli forces this week
PCHR-Gaza 29 Nov — …Israeli attacks in the West Bank: In the West Bank, in a new crime of extra-judicial execution, on 26 November 2013, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians in Hebron by targeting their vehicle, north of Yatta village, south of the city. Half an hour later, in an excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in the south of Hebron. After examination of the crime scene, it was found that Israeli forces had opened fire randomly at the victim while he was walking near a targeted house. He was hit by a number of bullets causing his death before he was taken to the hospital. According to medical sources at the hospital, al-Najjar was hit by a bullet to the left side of his chest, 3 bullets to chest and a bullet to the right shoulder. In addition, part of his head was taken out as he was pulled by an Israeli robot. In the same context, on 23 November 2013, 5 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded when dozens of boys gathered at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, and clashed with Israeli forces. On 23 November 2013, a Palestinian child was wounded by 2 bullets to the left leg when Israeli forces moved into Qarawet Bani Zaid village, northwest of Ramallah. Israeli forces conducted 64 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 46 Palestinians, including 10 children, were abducted in the West Bank. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 5 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: In the Gaza Strip, on 23 November 2013, Israeli forces abducted 3 Palestinian children from Gaza valley (Johr al-Deek), as they crossed through the border fence. The children were questioned and then released 3 hours later via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. Israeli navy forces have continued targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea. 2 Palestinian fishermen were abducted off the fishing port in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli settlement activities: Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property…
Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations: Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in protests in Bil‘in village, west of Ramallah, and Kofur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilia. 5 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. Full Report
Israel jails Arabs for murder of Jewish spree killer
World Bulletin 29 Nov — An Israeli court jailed six Israeli Arab citizens on Thursday over killing an Israeli soldier who was involved in a deadly shooting rampage on a bus in the center of the Arab city of Shfaram in 2005. Israeli soldier Natan Zada, a Jewish extremist, took a passenger bus from Haifa to Shfaram and opened fire on the passengers, killing four Arabs and wounding 15 others. When he ran out of ammunition, a group of Palestinian youths attacked him and beat him to death. The Israelidistrict court sentenced three men to two years in jail, three others to 11- to 20-month terms, and the sixth was sentenced to a suspended eight-month jail term. After the sentencing, Arab demonstrators blocked the road outside the court in protest, triggering clashes with the Israeli police. Nine demonstrators were arrested. Arab Israeli Knesset member Jamal Zahalka slammed the ruling as “unfair.” “The men who prevent the continuation of the massacre in Shfaram should have been awarded with a medal of honor,” Zahalka was quoted as saying by Palestinian Ma‘an news agency
Israeli court sentences Tulkarem man to life term and 20 years
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — An Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian man to a life term and an extra 20 years on Tuesday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said. Salam al-Zaghal from Tulkarem was sentenced to a life term and 20 years, according to PPS. Israeli authorities claim that al-Zaghal killed a settler at Zatara checkpoint south of Nablus last March. Al-Zaghal was subsequently injured when Israeli forces opened fire at him.
Gaza under blockade
Medics: Israel forces shoot, injure Palestinian in south Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on Tuesday in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, medical officials reported. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said that the 23-year-old man, identified only as M.Q., was shot in the right foot near the border. He was taken to Gaza’s European Hospital for treatment.
Palestinian shot, injured in clashes in Jabaliya
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — A Palestinian man was shot and injured in clashes with Israeli forces near the al-Shuhada cemetery east of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses said. Jibril al-Najjar, 22, was shot in the left leg and taken to Kamal Adwan hospital in moderate condition, they said. Clashes started after dozens of youths gathered near the cemetery and threw rocks at Israeli forces.
Israeli forces fire at Palestinian farmers in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Israeli forces early Friday fired at Palestinian farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said that Israeli soldiers stationed near al-Qarara village shot at farmers east of Khan Younis refugee camp. The soldiers were reportedly firing in the direction of Palestinian houses. The farmers fled the scene immediately, witnesses said. Israeli forces regularly shoot in the area, locals said, adding that Israeli bulldozers raze lands “on a daily basis.”
Israeli navy arrests two young Gaza fishermen
GAZA (WAFA) 28 Nov – The Israeli navy arrested two young Gaza fishermen [Ma‘an: Mahmoud and Ahmad Hassouna] while they were in their boat only one mile in the sea outside Rafah, a human rights group said Thursday. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said an Israeli navy boat stopped the fishermen aged 16 and 17 years on Wednesday evening while fishing in the Rafah area, arrested them and seized their boat. [PIC: Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza city and prevented fishermen from sailing.]
Electricity returns to Rafah after 3-day power outage
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — After three days without electricity, power returned to the city of Rafah Thursday, a Palestinian official said. Jamal al-Dardasawi, director of public relations of Gaza’s electric company, told Ma’an that an Egyptian electric company repaired power lines Thursday, causing power to come back on around 5:00 p.m. in the Gaza Strip’s border city with Egypt. Rafah depends on Egypt for 27 megawatts of electricity, al-Dardasawi said.
Egyptian authorities close Rafah crossing after opening it for two days
GAZA (PIC) 29 Nov — Egyptian authorities closed on Thursday evening Rafah crossing after opening it for two days during which hundreds have traveled in both directions. The General Authority for border crossings in Gaza has affirmed that Egyptian authorities allowed Thursday the travel of two buses and a number of ambulances through Rafah crossing, carrying 219 passengers, and refused the travel of 17 Palestinians without justification. On the other hand, 210 passengers have arrived in the Gaza Strip via Rafah crossing. A malfunction in computer network at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing disrupted on Thursday the travel of passengers from and to Gaza Strip. After Morsi’s ouster, Egypt introduced a policy which reduced the number of people who can cross from 1,200 to only 300 a day, leading to humanitarian crisis for thousands of citizens.
Rafah crossing remains open for second day in a row
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Egyptian authorities on Thursday allowed the Rafah crossing to stay open for the second day in a row, officials said. [It had been closed since Thursday the 21st] Crossing officials on the Palestinian side said that 553 people have left Gaza for Egypt through Rafah since Wednesday. Egyptian authorities rejected entry to 30 people, without clarifying motives for doing so, the officials added.
UN begins distributing fuel to counter Gaza crisis
GAZA CITY (AFP) 28 Nov — The United Nations on Thursday began distributing fuel in Gaza to keep critical infrastructure running as fears of a health crisis grow over accumulating rubbish and sewage, a UN official said. “Fuel is actually coming in, as of today, through the Kerem Shalom (goods crossing with Israel), purchased by UNRWA and distributed by the UN,” the organization’s Middle East special coordinator Robert Serry told a news conference in northern Gaza. “That doesn’t resolve the fuel crisis in Gaza, but it does provide a safety net, we hope, for the coming two to three months for those critical installations here,” he added.
Serry’s announcement came as the Islamist Hamas-run Palestinian territory suffers the most serious fuel crisis in its history, with daily power outages of up to 16 hours. Hospitals, water and sanitation plants, businesses and private homes are all being hit. The minister responsible for the Middle East at Britain’s Foreign Office said that a year after a truce ended fighting between Israel and Hamas, conditions in Gaza had only worsened.
Turkey to fund fuel for stricken Gaza utilities
World Bulletin 28 Nov — Turkey will fund a purchase of fuel to provide power for emergency services in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, including hospitals and idle sewage treatment plants, a United Nations official said on Thursday. Robert Turner, of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that provides assistance to Palestinian refugees, said Turkey had pledged $850,000 that should allow emergency services to operate over the coming four months. Turner said the donation was paid by Turkey to the Palestinian Authority, which in turn had already transferred $200,000 of it to UNRWA in Gaza. “We are facilitating the process by purchasing the fuel, locations and the distribution and monitoring are being done by UNICEF and by the World Health Organisation,” Turner, the UNRWA Gaza director of operations, told Reuters. Turner said the fuel would not be enough to resolve the crisis at these critical service facilities but would help to “alleviate” it.
Israel reopens Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom, or Beit Hanoun, crossing with Gaza on Thursday to allow a delivery of humanitarian aid and fuel into the coastal territory, a Gaza official said. Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh told Ma‘an that 240 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial merchandise would be allowed into the Gaza Strip. Limited sums of fuel and domestic-use gas are also expected, he added. One truckload of herbs and three trucks of strawberries will also be exported to the EU. On Wednesday, 203 trucks of goods entered the Gaza Strip and one truck of strawberries was exported.
Israeli authorities frequently close the Kerem Shalom crossing, usually after rocket fire from Gaza or during Jewish holidays. Gisha, an NGO that campaigns for freedom of movement, describes the closures of Kerem Shalom crossing as a form of collective punishment against a civilian population, which is a violation of international law. “International law provides Israel with a wide range of lawful actions, military and diplomatic, that can be used to counter the threat of rockets,” the organization wrote in a May 2013 position paper. “Restrictions on movement of people and civilian goods as a means of punishment fall outside this range.”
WHO: October denial of Israeli permits for Gaza patients highest
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Nov — The number and rate of Israeli denials of permits for October for Gaza patients to cross Erez (Beit Hanoun) to seek medical treatment in Israel, East Jerusalem or the West Bank was the highest in 2013, the monthly World Health Organization (WHO) report on Gaza patient referrals said Tuesday. It said the number of applications for health access through Erez checkpoint was 44% higher this year than the same period in 2012 to reach 1420 … Eleven patients, including one female, who had appointments for treatment in orthopedics, urology, and neurosurgery were denied permits, said the WHO report.
In addition, 95 applications of patients (6.69%), including 17 children and six patients over the age of 60, received no response; 36% were females. The report said 22 patients, including four females, were called for security interviews by Israeli General Security Services (GSS) as a condition to process their application. Only one patient was granted a permit after interrogation.
Human chain against Gaza blockade
GAZA (PIC) 28 Nov — Dozens of injured and disabled Palestinians participated Wednesday afternoon in a human chain against Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. The human chain stretched along Omar Mukhtar Street in Gaza, where the participants raised Palestinian flag and banners condemning the siege imposed on them and calling for urgent intervention to put an end to the difficult humanitarian situation.
Arab Idol winner wants to inspire and give hope to Palestinian refugees
AP 27 Nov by Edith M. Lederer — This year’s “Arab Idol” winner, Mohammed Assaf, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza, said Tuesday he wants to give hope to the nearly five million Palestinian refugees and tell them nothing is impossible. The 24-year-old singer told a news conference that as the first Arab goodwill ambassador for youth for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees he feels “the load of responsibility” for speaking on behalf of young Palestinians.
Israel trains for invasion of Gaza
Israel Today 27 Nov — The Israeli army on Wednesday wrapped up two days of massive ground exercises simulating the invasion of the Gaza Strip and the suppression of Hamas rocket fire. The exercises focused on directing overwhelming firepower against the sources of terrorist rocket fire, while at the same time advancing ground forces deep into Gaza … In the last “Gaza war” in November 2012, Israel was compelled by massive international pressure to halt its counter-assault prematurely, and Hamas subsequently declared victory and grew stronger. It would appear that next time, Israel is determined to hit hard and fast before the world can come to Hamas’ aid.
link to www.israeltoday.co.il
Hamas cancels anniversary celebrations
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — The Hamas movement said Friday that it would cancel its 26th anniversary celebrations in the Gaza Strip due to the economic crisis there … Hospitals, water and sanitation plants, businesses and private homes are all being hit. Since Sunday, the Gaza Strip has relied on donkey-drawn carts to keep the streets clean because of a lack of petrol for dustbin lorries. Officials have warned that the growing mountains of rubbish are likely to pose a serious health risk to residents of the enclave.
‘Irada’ program gives hope to Gaza war victims
World Bulletin 27 Nov — Turkish-funded program aims to rehabilitate Gazans handicapped by Israel’s three-week-long “Cast Lead” assault on the strip — A mixture of pride and happiness overwhelmed Essar Sharaf when she saw her wood-carved products selling like hot cakes at an exhibition hosted by a Turkish-funded program that sponsored her year of vocational training. But this hadn’t been the case two years ago. Sharaf, who was disabled during Israel’s 2008/09 war on the Gaza Strip, had been on the verge of despair. Each day was worse than the last. But light appeared at the end of the tunnel when she learned of a Turkish-funded program, dubbed “Irada” (“will” in Arabic), which provided Gazans disabled in the war with vocational training with the ultimate aim of helping them earn their own livelihoods.
Refugees held in Egypt start second hunger strike
World Bulletin 27 Nov — Thirty-two Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Egypt maintained their hunger strike for the fifth day on Wednesday to protest a recent decision to deport them for attempting to illegally immigrate to Europe. The refugees, who launched their hunger strike last Saturday in Egypt’s northern Beheira province, were arrested while trying to set sail from Egypt in a fishing boat. After being released by Egyptian authorities, the refugees – half of whom are children – were slapped with deportation orders.
They are currently staging a sit-in outside a local Beheira police station, calling on Egyptian authorities to either allow them to stay in the country or seek asylum in Europe, a security source said. Egyptian officials were not available to comment on the issue. It is the second hunger strike to be staged by Syrian and Palestinian refugees inside one week.
Druze soldiers barred from entering Dimona reactor
Times of Israel 29 Nov — Three Israeli Air Force servicemen who arrived with their unit at the nuclear reactor in Dimona as part of a training exercise were asked to remain outside the facility — because they were Druze. According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth later confirmed by Israeli radio stations, a bus full of IAF personnel arrived at the Dimona site in recent weeks to take part in security training. The soldiers were asked to give their military IDs to the officer running the drill. One officer and two soldiers, all Druze, were denied entry to the facility while the remainder were let in. Israel’s 120,000 Arabic-speaking Druze community, who belong to a religious sect founded in the 11th century when it split off from Shi’ite Islam, is one of only a few Arabic-speaking minorities whose members choose to be drafted into the IDF alongside the Jewish majority. The Druze serve in the IDF in a much higher proportion to their population than Jewish Israelis, the Yedioth article noted.
Gaza PM discusses relations with Fatah, Egypt
World Bulletin 28 Nov — Ismail Haniyeh, the Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip, discussed Hamas relations with Fatah and Egypt in a meeting that was cut short due to the death of his granddaughter — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh held talks on Wednesday with a host of Palestinian figures to discuss inter-Palestinian reconciliation and relations with Egypt. The meeting dwelt on reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah group of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ways of ending the stalemate in efforts to heal the Palestinian rift, Haniyeh’s media adviser Taher al-Nunu told a press conference. Hamas‘s relations with neighboring countries, particularly Egypt were also discussed, he added. Attendees “reaffirmed the strength of relations with Egypt and other Arab countries,” al-Nunu said.
Shaath: Palestine prepared to join more UN orgs
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — PLO leader Nabil Shaath said Tuesday that Palestine was prepared to join international organizations after talks with Israel failed to result in a breakthrough after five months. “The negotiations are falling on deaf ears,” Shaath told Ma‘an. “The distance between us and them is huge, and that is apparent in the statements of their leaders regarding Jerusalem, the West Bank and the (Jordan) Valley,” he said. Shaath added that the PA still has the ‘weapon’ of going to international organization including the International Criminal Court if Israel continues to impede peace talks. “There are 35 conventions that do not need approval to join, on top of them is the Rome Statute,” he said, referring to the 1998 treaty which established the ICC.
UN: 2014 to be the year of solidarity with Palestine
World Bulletin 27 Nov — Voicing solidarity with Palestinians in their aspirations for independent statehood, and stressing the importance of ongoing peace talks aimed at a two-state coexistence for Palestine and Israel, the UN General Assembly observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with a series speeches and all six proposed resolutions adopted. The Chair of the General Assembly’s Committee on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Senegal’s ambassador to the UN Abdou Salam Diallo, on Monday, introduceed several draft resolutions related to the question of Palestine, which will be asked to, among other things, declare 2014 as the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” … The special meeting held at the UN General Assembly came ahead of the International Day, observed annually on November 29. The Day marks the date when the General Assembly adopted a resolution in 1947 partitioning then British mandated Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.
Germany and Britain block Palestinian bid to join international olive trade group
Haaretz 29 Nov by Amira Hass — European diplomatic sources claim that letting Palestinians join the council could sabotage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — The Palestinians have had to freeze their application to become a member state of the International Olive Council due to opposition by Germany and Britain. According to European diplomatic sources, German and British representatives claimed that letting the Palestinians join the council could sabotage the Israeli-Palestinian talks now taking place under American auspices. The talks’ resumption was conditioned on Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a Palestinian promise not to try to join various UN organizations, and not address the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Palestinian application, which was prepared this summer by the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry in Ramallah in the name of the State of Palestine, was supposed to be voted on at an olive council meeting in Madrid this week. Representatives of the European External Action Service argued that the council is purely a technical organization, and therefore does not fall in the category of the organizations that the Palestinians promised not to join.
Chechens build new mosque in Arab village
World Bulletin 28 Nov — Muslims from Chechnya have helped fund the building of a new mosque in an Arab village in Israel. The mosque was named after Chechnya’s former leader Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in 2004, in the village of Abu Ghosh. Abu Ghosh residents say their forbears were Chechens who came five centuries ago to then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. “We were raised to accept and welcome everyone, no matter what their race or religion,” said Salim Jabr, the former Abu Ghosh mayor and chief fund-raiser for the $10 million mosque. The building has four minarets – a number typical of mosques in the Caucasus but otherwise unseen in Israel or the Palestinian territories, where one or two is the norm. The slender spires reach up 52 meters (171 feet) around a gilded dome that sits above a marbled prayer hall capable of taking in 3,000 worshippers. The previous village mosque held only 150, Jabr says – insufficient for a population of 6,500. Turkish artisans provided woodwork and filigree for the mosque, gratis. There’s a contemporary Israeli touch, too, in the roomy, ventilated bomb shelter built into a lower floor. Jabr says 85 percent of the village’s farmland was seized to make way for new Israeli communities and military camps.
92 HIV infections diagnosed in Palestine since 1988
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov – Despite the fact that HIV infection rate in Palestine is among the lowest in the world, the Palestinian Ministry of Health is exerting major efforts to control the virus while protecting the privacy of patients. The ministry has been working to try and completely eliminate the virus in Palestine, according to Dr Asaad Ramlawi, the chief of a Palestinian national committee for fighting AIDS … Ramlawi added that 30 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have the virus that causes AIDS and are still alive receiving treatment for free, including all tests and medical procedures.
Turkey’s ban on Israeli flights could bring down El Al
Times of Israel 28 Nov by Raphael Ahren — CEO Shkedy slams gov’t for failing to tackle ‘unacceptable’ situation in which 112 Turkish airline flights leave Ben Gurion for Turkey each week, compared to zero Israeli flights — …Since the Prime Minister’s Office and the Transportation Ministry seem unwilling, for political reasons, to challenge the Turks on their refusal to accommodate Israel’s special security requirements, effectively preventing Israeli airlines from landing in their country, El Al is now pinning its hopes on Avigdor Liberman, Elyezer Shkedy said. Israel’s newly returned foreign minister is known not to shy away from controversial issues and has spoken out frequently in the past against the current government in Ankara.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
What the EU settlement ‘compromise’ will mean on the ground
972mag 26 Nov by Michael Omer-Man — An analysis of how the EU’s settlement guidelines will affect Israel and the settlements after the two sides reached an agreement on their disputed terms, as they have been reported thus far — The European Union will not impose a blanket ban on loans to Israeli entities that operate on both sides of the Green Line. That was the most important concession the EU made in watering down its settlement guidelines in the face of Israeli pressure, preliminary reports of a compromise detailed Tuesday evening. Instead of banning financial instruments to any company that operates on both sides of the Green Line, as the original wording would have done, the new reported compromise will put the burden of proof on an applicant or recipient to show how they will ensure EU funds do not inadvertently finance settlement activity, Haaretz and other Israeli media reported … The importance of that concession for Israel is massive. In the domestic Israeli market, there is no Green Line as far as commerce and trade are concerned. Barring financial instruments, i.e. loans, to any company or institution that operates on both sides of the Green Line would have effectively made most Israeli companies and institutions ineligible. For example, an Israeli petrol company might have been ineligible for EU loans because it operates petrol stations in the West Bank. Now, it must only show how it will prevent EU funds from reaching those gas stations. On the European side, there is actually little change in the practical applications of the new wording. The point of the blanket ban on granting financial instruments to bodies that operate on both sides of the Green Line was to prevent inadvertent EU funding of settlement activity. With a requirement to make sure that EU money doesn’t make its way to settlements, however, the original goal is fulfilled
Interview: Latin America’s dynamic Palestinian communities / Charlie Hoyle
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 28 Nov — The Palestinian diaspora in Latin America represents an undocumented story of success, with Latin Americans of Palestinian descent holding positions of power and influence in the political and business classes of their respective countries. Ma‘an interviewed Cecilia Baeza, Doctor of Political Science at Sciences Po Paris and co-founder of RIMAAL, to discuss the history of Palestinian emigration to Latin America, a chapter of the Palestinian narrative often overlooked … Ma’an News Agency: How large is the Palestinian community in Latin America? Cecilia Baeza: Latin Americans of Palestinian descent claim today to be around 700,000, making it the largest Palestinian presence outside the Arab world. There is no single Latin American country where one cannot find Palestinians, but Chile and Honduras are by far the first in terms of numbers, with at least 350,000 and 280,000 people of Palestinian origin, respectively. In those countries, Palestinians are mostly third and fourth-generation immigrants from the region of Bethlehem. In Brazil, by contrast, one can find a majority of first and second generations … MNA: What is the current political and economic status of the descendants of Palestinian immigrants? CB: The integration of Latin Americans of Palestinian descent has not only been successful on a professional and economic level, it is also deeply culturally rooted. Latin Americans of Palestinian descent are seen as fully-fledged citizens by their fellow nationals and fully identify themselves with the countries where they live. The presence of politicians of Palestinian descent at every level of politics in their countries is an evidence of that. Palestinians have been elected city mayors since the 1920’s … Since the late 1990s, Palestinians in Latin America have even reached the highest levels of political representation, with Carlos Flores Facussé, President of Honduras from 1998 to 2002, Elías Saca Gonzalez, President of El Salvador from 2004 to 2009, Said Wilbert Musa, Prime Minister of Belize from 1998 to 2008, and Yehude Simon Munaro, Prime Minister of Peru from 2008 to 2009.
The new Israeli Arab hipsters: Dancing through the culture clash
Haaretz 30 Nov by Roy (Chicky) Arad — A bubbling new sub-culture is taking hold among young Palestinians living in Israel — A new generation of Palestinian Arabs is growing up in Israel, a new alternative subculture is shrugging off years of fighting for its survival and a traditional image. At the center of this revival is liberal Haifa, from which tattooed arms are stretching throughout the country, with bands, bars, parties and everything else related to cultural renewal and alternative lifestyles that are usually associated more with places like Berlin, New York or Tel Aviv. “We’re a new generation, less religious and very developed,” declares Lena Bader, 19, who came to Haifa from the Arab town of Kafr Qasem northeast of Tel Aviv and is now a first year fashion design student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. “It’s a generation that wants to express how it feels through both clothing and a way of life.