Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
See the Prawer Plan map Israel’s government was keeping secret
972mag 9 Dec by Michael Omer-Man — Former minister Benny Begin, who helped draft the Prawer Plan, denies saying Israel’s Bedouin support the plan: How could they if they never even saw it? — Until now, nobody knew the extent of the Prawer-Begin Plan. No government official or statement has detailed how many Bedouin citizens will be displaced, how many unrecognized villages razed and how much land will be expropriated by the state. MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) on Monday published a copy of a map distributed to members of the Knesset Interior Affairs Committee. The map was prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office for Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Jewish Home party in an attempt to assuage his party’s fears that too much land would be given to the Bedouin. Read +972′s full coverage of the Prawer-Begin Plan According to a report published yesterday on +972, the new map details plans to displace some 40,000 Bedouin and for the state to expropriate 250,000 dunams (61,700 acres) of Bedouin land. “The government hid this map from the Bedouin. The government hid this map from the Knesset,” MK Khenin wrote on his Facebook page.
Having never asked, Israel’s gov’t ‘surprised’ Bedouin reject Prawer
972mag 10 Dec by Mairav Zonszein — Israeli coalition leader Yariv Levin predicted that the cabinet will likely throw out the current version of the Prawer Plan, hours after former minister and co-architect of the plan Benny Begin clarified that he never said Bedouin supported the plan, as some Knesset members originally perceived. “I wish to again make clear that contrary to what has been claimed in recent weeks, I didn’t tell anyone that the Bedouin agreed to my plan,” Begin was quoted as saying in Israeli media. “I couldn’t say that because I didn’t show them the plan. I didn’t present the bill that I revised to any segment of the public, including the Bedouin.” … While the bill being scrapped may seem like good news, it it will only be the end of the current version; a newer version will be drafted which will in all likelihood be even worse as for the rights and dignity of the Bedouin. And don’t be fooled by Levin – he is not actually interested in what the Bedouin have to say about the plan that will permanently uproot them and alter their lives forever. To Levin, the current version is far too generous to the Bedouin … Meanwhile, a report released Tuesday by Adalah and the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality confirms (Hebrew) that the government is knowingly denying access to water to the Bedouin citizens who live in the 35 unrecognized villages in the Negev. In other words, citizens are systematically being denied what Israel itself defines as a basic human right.
The military face behind the Prawer Plan’s civilian mask
Haokets 10 Dec by Avner Ben-Amos (Translated from Hebrew by Mairav Zonszein) — ‘The Bedouin will not live on his land with his flock, but rather will be part of the urban class that comes in the afternoon and puts on his slippers,’ Moshe Dayan said in 1963. In the 50 years since, not much has changed regarding Israel’s efforts to justify its policy in the Negev: as many Arabs as possible on as little land as possible and as few Jews as possible on as much land as possible. Two quotes in the same newspaper, excerpts from interviews with two former military figures, 50 years apart. Both discuss the Bedouin in the Negev, and from both we can learn about the deeply ingrained relationship of the State of Israel to the most disenfranchised population in its territory. One is an interview with Moshe Dayan, former chief of staff, who became agriculture minister in Ben-Gurion’s government in 1959. The other is an interview with Doron Almog, a former chief officer of the Southern Command, who became head of the implementation team for resettling the Bedouin (the Prawer-Begin plan) in 2011, in Netanyahu’s government.
Israeli forces wreck house, several structures in Jordan Valley
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces demolished a [Bedouin] house and several steel structures and tents in the northern Jordan Valley on Tuesday morning, a local spokesman said. Fathi Khdeirat, a spokesman of the Campaign to Protect the Jordan Valley, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers escorted by several military wrecked a house in al-Jiftlik. In the nearby village of Fasayil, meanwhile, bulldozers tore down two steel structures used for agriculture. Two tents were pulled down in Barza neighborhood, added Khdeirat. He said that demolitions were part of an ongoing Israeli campaign “to displace Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley.”
IOF demolition of homes in JV displaces families
TOBAS (PIC) 10 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) unleashed their bulldozers in the northern Jordan Valley on Tuesday razing homes and displacing entire families. Local sources said that IOF soldiers demolished houses for shepherds near Yarza village to the east of Tobas city and Farsiya area in the northern Jordan Valley. They said that Palestinian families depending on farming and sheep breeding were now rendered homeless in the cold, winter weather sweeping the region. The sources said that the soldiers deliberately hit a 40-year-old woman on her head during their forced evacuation of those houses, adding that the soldiers did not allow medical teams to treat her.
A letter from al-Walaja: Wars, walls, and now roads
[with photos and map] Activestills 10 Dec Text by Anne Paq and Hisham Abu Ali — A new Israeli-planned road, ostensibly meant to give the Cremisan Monastery access to Israel and Jerusalem, will cut off the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja from its lands. Its lands were taken and villagers displaced in first in 1948; in recent years Israel began completely surrounding it with the separation wall, taking even more land. Village resident Hisham Abu Ali is done being silent … Near the site of the new road, a Palestinian inhabitant of al-Walaja, Hisham Abu Ali, sits almost every day in the land belonging to his family. Fifty of his olive trees have been marked for uprooting. He is desperate to keep them intact. Hisham has already been affected by the building of the wall. He had to sell of his flock of sheep, as it was increasingly difficult to reach the land beyond the route of the wall. Hisham tried to call out organizations for help, or the lawyer from al-Walaja, all in vain. He still decided to break his silence and wrote this open letter to Israel and to the Cremisan Monastery: My name is Hisham Abu Ali, I was born in al-Walaja in 1969. Al-Walaja is a Palestinian village located in the Bethlehem Governate, a few kilometers far from Jerusalem. I’m writing this letter because of the latest catastrophe my village is confronted with. I’m writing because I wish to stop it, and I hope it is the last one.…
Photo: Absiya Jafari, who is more than 100 years old, holds a Palestinian passport issued during the British Mandate … The original village of Al Walaja was completely destroyed in 1948 during the Nakba and all villagers were forced to leave and became refugees. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
Abu Ali’s letter failed to move the Israelis:
Soldiers uproot olive trees near Bethlehem
IMEMC — [Monday at dawn, Dec 9] Local sources report that Israeli military bulldozers have uprooted more than 40 olive trees, in order to connect settler road #60 with the Cremisan Monastery in Beit Jala town, west of Bethlehem, and other areas. Orchard owner Hisham Abu Ali stated that the army previously uprooted 15 trees in his orchard in order to expand the road, and came back today to uproot 40 more olive trees, the Palestinian News & Agency (WAFA) has reported…
Jewish National Fund ‘repents’ for erasing Palestinian villages
Electronic Intifada 9 Dec by Adri Nieuwhof — Has a senior figure in the Jewish National Fund (JNF) repented for his part in the dispossession of Palestinians? A website from a group calling itself the New Keren Kayemeth Leisrael — or the New JNF — indicates that such a radical conversion has taken place. It introduces us to Rafi Schtendel, a JNF chairperson who begins to understand that claims by his organization to care for the environment by planting trees are bogus. Schtendel came to this realization after reading Facing the Forests by the Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua. Schtendel writes, “It is so sad that in the story, only after the Arab worker burns the JNF forest, it exposes what’s buried beneath it. Why must it be that way? Why not simply acknowledge what we’ve done, destroyed and covered up? Yehoshua has his worker’s tongue cut off, but ours is intact and we must use it to say out loud: Sixty-five years ago there was an entire culture here that we have destroyed to establish a Jewish State, whose ruins are covered by KKL forests.”
Settlement wastewater pumped into valleys, plains in Salfit district
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Settlers in illegal settlements in the central West Bank area have started to pump untreated wastewater into the valleys and plains near Palestinian villages in Salfit district, a local researcher said Monday. Khalid Maali told Ma‘an that settlers took advantage of stormy weather to pump their sewage which mixed with rain water. Ariel settlement, he said, has pumped untreated wastewater into al-Matwi valley in Salfit district contaminating rainwater which flowed into Palestinian lands. He highlighted that sewage would eventually pollute ground water and springs in the area. Farmers, he added, “are talking about a river-like flow of water in al-Matwi valley.”
Settlers raid Palestinian park near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a park in the Palestinian village of Burqa northwest of Nablus overnight Monday, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers attacked al-Masudiyya park and attempted to pull down a number of structures. The settlers who launched the attack dug out a hole in a small first aid facility located in the park before running away when security guards arrived, Daghlas added. He also highlighted that Israeli forces had delivered a demolition warrant to the owners of the park in mid-November. The demolition order targeted structures donated by World Vision, a local official told Ma‘an at the time.
Racist graffiti sprayed in Palestinian village in northern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — A Palestinian village in northern Israel was targeted by racist graffiti and vandalism on Tuesday morning, according to Israeli media sources. The phrase “Stop assimilation, Arabs get out” was found written in Hebrew on a wall in Akbara village near Safed, according to Ynet. Police also found 10 cars with punctured tires in the village, presumably linked to the graffiti. Police said they would launch an investigation. The vandalism follows a similar attack in Baqa al-Gharbiya, another Palestinian village in northern Israel on Sunday. In that attack, phrases like “Muhammad is a pig” and “terror stones” were sprayed on the side of a mosque. Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20% of Israel’s population.
Jerusalem / Al-Aqsa
Group: New Israeli excavations under al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec – Israeli authorities started new excavations under the al-Aqsa compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, namely under the Chain Gate on the western side, according to the Jerusalem-based al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage. The group said in a statement that excavations were about 8 meters below a tunnel the Israelis had dug under the western part of the compound. Dozens of plastic buckets were seen as well as large plastic containers full of soil, according to the statement. Furthermore, added the group, ancient Islamic buildings in the area were bolstered by steel stanchions “which indicates there are deep excavations under the buildings.” The group also highlighted that the Israeli “occupation made up” a new Jewish synagogue for females within the tunnel under the western part of al-Aqsa compound. The group added in its statement that several synagogues were created and inaugurated along the same tunnel in the past few years.
MP Abu Halabiyeh warns of land collapse in the Aqsa Mosque
GAZA (PIC) 10 Dec — Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiyeh, head of Jerusalem Committee at the PLC, warned of the continuing Israeli digging under Al-Aqsa Mosque. Abu Halabiyeh said in a press statement that seismologists have warned of an earthquake measuring 5.5 on Richter scale that might lead to land subsidence in Al-Aqsa Mosque. He pointed out that the Israeli excavations and tunnels under Al-Aqsa mosque are meant to facilitate its demolition. Any further earthquake would lead to significant land collapses in the area due to the Israeli excavations, he added. [Al-Aqsa has been severely damaged by a number of earthquakes, most recently in 1927 and 1937 – this is a seismically active area, with the Great Rift Valley as close as the Dead Sea] … Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemned the Israeli continued violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israeli attempts to divide the holy place temporally and spatially, calling for a firm position against Israeli Judaization policy in occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli order extends closure of Aqsa ministration office
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Dec — The Israeli occupation police extended the closure of the Aqsa ministration (Imarat Al-Aqsa) foundation for a whole year. The Israeli intelligence and its police had closed the foundation’s office for 30 days about one month ago … The extension order was sealed with the name Yohanan Danino, chief of the Israeli police, at the pretext of preventing “terrorism” as stated in the paper. Na’amnna condemned the Israeli arbitrary measure against the foundation as an attempt to prevent it from serving the Aqsa Mosque and protecting it against Judaization activities. The Aqsa ministration foundation provides religious education for the Muslim worshipers inside the Aqsa Mosque and organizes group sessions for this purpose, in addition to other activities that aim to keep the Mosque alive with the continued presence of Muslim visitors.
Official denounces Israeli installation of cameras in Al-Aqsa
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Dec — Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash Monday denounced Israeli police installation of surveillance cameras inside al-Aqsa Mosque compound. He considered it as “an unprecedented step in the systematic Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Habbash said this action is considered a desecration of Islam and a flagrant aggression against the religious freedom of Muslims who come to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to pray. He said the installment of these cameras “is a new form of Israeli aggression taking place for the first time since Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967 and it constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif) and impose an illegitimate Israeli foothold within the Muslims’ holiest place in Palestine.
Israel army recruits tour al-Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — More than 100 newly recruited Israeli soldiers entered the al-Aqsa compound escorted by large numbers of police officers on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses said more than 100 male and female recruits entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate and made stops across the compound listening to briefings by Israeli tour guides about the significance of the compound. Separately, a group of settlers and employees of the Israeli telecommunication provider Bezeq also visited the compound earlier on Tuesday.
Ashrawi urges NBC to halt drama series set in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday called on US network NBC to halt production of a drama series due to be filmed in East Jerusalem. The upcoming drama ‘DIG’ is an action-adventure series set to be filmed entirely in Jerusalem. It was developed by Keshet Media Group, an Israeli media company, and will consist of six episodes due to be aired in 2014 … “Any business or organization that deals with Israel in Occupied Palestine is in flagrant breach of international law, conventions, and consensus, respectively.” Most of the series will be filmed in the ‘City of David National Park’ in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, and the project has the full support of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who has promised to facilitate access to the Old City and other landmarks. “It is evident that these efforts coincide with Israel’s intensive and accelerated efforts to annex and ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. The choice to film the series in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem is designed to endorse the occupation and the bitter reality experienced by Palestinian Jerusalemites,” Ashrawi said.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Israeli extremist stabs a young Palestinian man in Jerusalem
IMEMC — [Tuesday evening Dec 10] Eyewitnesses have reported that a young Palestinian man was moderately hurt after being stabbed by an Israeli extremist in Jaffa Road, in West Jerusalem, the Milad News Agency has reported. The sources stated that Mohammad Marwan, 20 years of age, was heading back home from work when an Israeli settler stopped him asking for a cigarette, and when the settler made sure the young man was an Arab, he stabbed him. The young Palestinian man, from Ras Al-’Amoud in East Jerusalem, was stabbed in the arm as tried to fend off the attack when he noticed the knife. His family said that after Mohammad was stabbed, around nine more extremists, who were apparently hiding in the area, gathered around him and one of them struck the injured Palestinian on the head with a baton. Mohammad’s cousin, who was buying some groceries at a nearby store, said he noticed one of the settlers placing a knife on his cousin’s neck, and ran towards him while shouting at the settlers who fled the scene. He added that he witnessed an Israeli Police car driving nearby, but the officers did not even stop, and drove off, the Milad Agency said. The injured Palestinian was moved to the Hadassah Israeli Hospital in Jerusalem, suffering an injury to his arm, in addition to bruises to the head and legs.
Army kidnaps a Palestinian woman in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (IMEMC) 11 Dec — The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday [Dec 10], a Palestinian woman identified as Nadia Lufty Abu Eid, 34. The Center said that Nadia is the wife of Ayman Abu Eid, a former political prisoner from Biddu town, in occupied East Jerusalem. Ayman spent 15 years in Israeli prisons. Head of the Ahrar Center, Fuad Al-Khoffash, stated that the soldiers installed a roadblock at the entrance of the town, and kidnapped Nadia as she was heading to a hospital in Jerusalem seeking medical attention for her child. Al-Khoffash said that the soldiers confiscated the car Nadia was driving, and took her to an interrogation facility in the city. Nadia is a mother of five children; the youngest is a one-year-old baby girl. Al-Khoffash voiced an appeal to human rights groups to intervene, and expose the ongoing Israeli violations on roadblocks, as well as in different parts of occupied Palestine.
Twin girls rammed by settler’s vehicle near Beit Jala
IMEMC — [Tuesday, Dec 10] Palestinian medical sources have reported that twin girls have been wounded after being rammed by an Israeli settler’s vehicle in the Al-Walaja road, west of Beit Jala, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Mohammad Awad, head of the Emergency Unit in Bethlehem, said that one of the girls suffered a fracture in one of her legs, while her sister suffered various cuts and bruises to different parts of her body. The 17-year-old sisters were moved to the Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala, Awad added.
On Monday, December 9, a young Palestinian man was injured after being rammed by an Israeli military jeep in Nahhalin village, west of Bethlehem.
On November 19, 2013, a young woman identified as Zeina Omar Awad, 21, was injured after being rammed by a settler’s vehicle at the main entrance of Beit Ummar. She suffered cuts and bruises, while the settler fled the scene.
On the same day, a Palestinian woman was wounded after being rammed by the speeding vehicle of an Israeli settler, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. [etc.]
Settlers attack Palestinian cars in Nablus
IMEMC — [Monday, Dec 9] Israeli settlers have attacked dozens of Palestinian cars driving on roads in various areas, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus. Local sources have reported that the settlers caused damage to dozens of cars driving on roads in the district, especially near the Sorra [or Sarra] village, the Nablus-Ramallah road, and at a junction close to the Yitzhar illegal Israeli settlement.
Furthermore, Israeli soldiers stationed at the Huwwara roadblock, south of Nablus, closed the roadblock and searched dozens of cars, interrogating the occupants. The army gave no explanation for closing the roadblock, and forced hundreds of cars to line-up for several hours.
In related news, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday evening, the Zababda village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped two Palestinians. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the two have been identified as Anwar Ahmad Kamil, 20, and Wael Ahmad Lahlouh, 20. Both are from Qabatia town, south of Jenin.
Bethlehem man shot by Israel 9 years ago in critical condition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — A man shot by Israeli forces nine years ago is currently in a critical condition after suffering from complications caused by the injury, his relatives told Ma‘an. Muin al-Atrash, from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, was shot on March 22, 2004 during a demonstration protesting against the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin. His brother, Farid al-Atrash, a lawyer with the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, told Ma‘an that Muin is currently in a critical condition in al-Maqasid Hospital in Jerusalem. Al-Atrash has been suffering from hemiplegic migraines since the incident, which leads to paralysis and weakness on one side of the body.
In Hebron, you don’t ask why
Haaretz 11 Dec by Melanie Ward — Three months of living in Hebron taught me what goes on there makes no sense, either for Israel’s security or for the Palestinians who live there — …As Hanna, an Israeli in Jerusalem, told me, “Hebron is impossible to understand.” … Heavily armed soldiers on the street; frequent detentions and arrests of Palestinians, including children; 122 road and other closures, including the banning of Palestinian cars, and even Palestinians walking on what used to be the busiest street in the city – at one point a soldier told me Shuhada Street was “Jews only.” I learned that harassment of Palestinians is routine. I witnessed, for example, a Palestinian man called Zidan detained for two hours for taking biscuits to a kindergarten. They obviously didn’t set off the checkpoint metal detector but soldiers wanted him to open every individual packet, ruining the lot. I kept asking: Why? British-born Israeli friends said the criminal behavior of many of the Hebron settlers would see them in prison if they lived in the UK. Having witnessed their actions almost every day for three months, words cannot express my bafflement at why Israel sends its army to protect them. On Shabbat Chayyei Sarah, October 2013, settlers attacked the Palestinian Al Khamerie family as they were taking sweets home with their four-year-old daughter and disabled son. The group of settlers called others to “come and attack the Arabs.” The parents, Mohammed and Ramsina, were hospitalized; Ramsina has still not recovered
Soldiers invade Al-Eesawiyya, clashes reported
IMEMC — [Monday evening, Dec 9] Several Israeli military jeeps invaded the Al-Eesawiyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and broke into the home of detainee Samer Al-Eesawy; clashes have been reported. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers invaded the home of Tareq Al-Eesawy, and alleged they were searching for his sons Samer and Midhat, both imprisoned by Israel, and handed his son, Firas, a military warrant ordering him to head to a security base for interrogation. Clashes have been reported between the soldiers and dozens of local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at them, while the army fired dozens of rubber-coated metal bullets and concussion grenades.
The father said that his son, Midhat, will be released from an Israeli detention center on Tuesday, adding that he believes Israel will be trying to intimidate the family, to prevent it from celebrating the release of their son.
It is worth mentioning that Samer Al-Eesawy is expected to be released on December 23, as part of an agreement he achieved after holding a hunger strike that lasted for more than nine months. He went on hunger strike demanding an end to his arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial.
Israeli forces raid prisoner’s home, interrogate relatives
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces raided the house of a Palestinian man currently imprisoned in Israeli jails early Tuesday and interrogated his family, his wife said. Margaret al-Raee, the wife of prisoner Maher al-Raee, said that Israeli forces raided her house at 3 a.m., causing extensive damage to her property and belongings. During the course of the raid, Israeli forces interrogated her about her husband and their family, and issued a summons order to her son, Mujab Maher, 24, to meet with Israeli intelligence officers next week. Maher al-Raee was detained by Israeli forces for being affiliated to the left wing Palestinian political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and sentenced to 13 years in an Israeli prison.
Five Palestinians kidnapped in Jenin
IMEMC — [Monday at dawn, Dec 9] Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin, including the Jenin refugee camp, kidnapping four Palestinians … Local sources have reported that the soldiers invaded several areas of the Jenin refugee camp, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Suleiman Jom’a Sa’ad Abu Khalifa, 45. The soldiers also broke into and violently searched a number of homes in Khallet As-Soha and the Eastern neighborhood in Jenin, kidnapping three Palestinians identified as Majdi Zaher As-Sa’dy, 25, Ahmad Ziad Al-Hajj, 23, and Suleiman Abu Ar-Rob, 22.
In related news, soldiers stationed at the Za’tara roadblock, near Jenin, kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Mahmoud Ghazy Abu Baker, from Ya‘bod village. Eyewitnesses said that Abu was heading to work when he was stopped and interrogated at the roadblock before he was kidnapped
Israeli forces raid Duheisha near Bethlehem, detain 4
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces stormed Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank early Tuesday morning and detained four young men. Locals told Ma‘an that undercover Israeli forces entered the camp in a civilian vehicle and detained four young men after ransacking their homes … The sources highlighted that during the raid, local young men hurled stones at the Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets back at them … Duheisha refugee camp is located in Area A, the less than 20% of the West Bank that is under Palestinian civil and military control according to the Oslo Accords.
Israeli forces ‘detain 6 Palestinians in Hebron area’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces on Tuesday morning detained six Palestinians from the villages of Beit Ummar, Yatta, Dura, and Sir [Sa‘ir] in Hebron and took them to an unknown location, an activist said.
Gunmen kill a Palestinian officer in Bethlehem
IMEMC 11 Dec — The Palestinian Police in the West bank district of Bethlehem, has reported that an officer was shot and killed, on Tuesday [Dec 10], after gunmen opened fire at a Police station in Teqoua‘ town, east of Bethlehem. The slain officer has been identified as Nasser Daraweesh, from Beit Kahel town, in the southern West Bank District of Hebron. Medical sources at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem said that Daraweesh died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Bethlehem Governor, Abdul-Fattah Hamayel, stated that gunmen opened fire at the Police station, killing the officer, and fled the scene. Hamayel added that the Police initiated an investigation into the attack, adding that the Police and security departments “will not allow this crime to pass unpunished”, and will not tolerate any criminal acts, and acts that aim at creating chaos and insecurity. On December 9, a Palestinian man identified as Hasan Mubarak was shot and killed by Palestinian Police fire in a nearby village. The Police said the man was wanted for criminal acts and that he was “accidentally hit by warning rounds”.
Detainees / Court actions
Jordanian prisoner Alaa Hammad resumes hunger strike
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Dec — Jordanian prisoner Alaa Hammad resumed his hunger strike on Sunday night after Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) backtracked on the agreement they have concluded with him to halt his strike, lawyer Jawad Boulos said. The lawyer quoted Hammad as saying that the IOA has implemented only a part of the agreement, where it allowed some of his relatives, living in Jerusalem, to visit him in Ramle prison hospital while preventing his wife and children, living in Jordan, from visiting him. Hammad affirmed that he will not stop his hunger strike till allowing his family to visit him, especially that he did not meet them for seven years.
Israeli court defers trial of female prisoner for 10th time
JENIN (PIC) 10 Dec — The family of Palestinian prisoner Mona Ka’adan, a 42-year-old woman from Jenin city, said that the Salem military court on Monday postponed her trail to December 19 without giving reasons. Ex-detainee Tareq Ka’adan, the brother of Mona, told Ahrar center for human rights that it was the tenth time the Israeli military courts rescheduled the trial of his sister, noting that his sister suffers from unbearable psychological pressure as a result of that, in addition to acute abdominal pains.
For his part, director of Ahrar center Fouad Al-Khafsh said that prisoner Mona has been banned since her detention from family visits, adding that the Israeli Hasharon jailers refused three months ago to let her brothers see her in prison, although they had visit permits.
Jailing of Palestinians who tackled Israeli killer shows courts serve apartheid
Electronic Intifada 10 Dec by Sawsan Khalife‘ — If further proof was needed that the courts are an integral part of Israel’s apartheid system, it was in abundance in a Haifa court last month. Six Palestinian men have been handed prison sentences of up to two years each over the 2005 killing of an Israeli soldier who opened fire on a bus full of civilians in Shefa Amr, a city in the Galilee region of present-day Israel. A seventh man has been given a suspended sentence of eight months. The court case, which concluded last month, demonstrates that Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated differently by the the authorities. Considerable effort was made to protect the reputation of Eden Natan Zada, the Israeli soldier who opened fire on the bus, murdering the driver and three passengers. The prosecution refused to label him a “terrorist” because using such a label would “disgrace the deceased,” as the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The Palestinians who tackled Zada and prevented him from inflicting an even higher death toll were, on the other hand, depicted as inherently violent. The court refused to accept the obvious that those who confronted Zada were responding to his unprovoked acts against innocent civilians and were trying to defend their community.
Raymond prison prevents family visits to 12 Jerusalemite prisoners
GAZA (PIC) 9 Dec — The Israeli Raymond jail administration blocked family visits to 12 Jerusalemite prisoners scheduled on Sunday, Prisoners’ Studies Center revealed. The spokeswoman for the center Amina al-Tawil quoted Head of Jerusalem Prisoners Families Committee, Amjad Abu Asab as saying that Raymond prison administration informed the Red Cross delegate in Jerusalem of its decision to prevent family visits to 12 Jerusalemite prisoners, without providing further information.
Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Family members of Gaza prisoners held in Israeli jails on Monday left the Gaza Strip to Israel via Erez crossing to visit 51 prisoners in Rimon prison, a Red Cross spokesman said. Amjad Najjar told Ma‘an that 94 relatives of prisoners including 23 children below 10 left via Erez early Monday. Travel procedures went smoothly without major impediments, he added. The Israeli authorities had allowed Gaza families to visit their jailed relatives in Israel in July 2012 for the first time since 2007. The move came after Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody staged a long hunger strike. 5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.
Gaza under blockade
Computer network at Rafah crossing breaks down
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Dec – The computer network at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing broke down Monday morning after only one bus and one ambulance managed to cross into Egyptian territory, a Palestinian official said. Director of border crossings Mahir Abu Sabha told Ma‘an that Egyptian officials at Rafah crossing notified their Palestinian counterparts that the computer network broke down. Hundreds of passengers traveling for humanitarian needs were waiting for the computer system to be repaired so they could travel. Thousands more across the Gaza Strip, he added, are waiting until the crossing resumes operations at full capacity. The Rafah crossing has been open exceptionally in both directions since Saturday for special cases, after it was closed for eight consecutive days.
WHO concerned over humanitarian health crisis in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — The World Health Organization on Sunday expressed concern over a humanitarian health crisis in the Gaza Strip, as the health infrastructure struggles to cope with severe shortages in basic supplies. “The accumulation of shortages in basic supplies in Gaza is leading to rapid deterioration in the social determinants of health for the population of 1.7 million Palestinians,” WHO said. Over 30 percent of medicines and 50 percent of medical disposables are out of stock in Gaza, and large generators used to power hospitals during 14-hour power cuts have frequent breakdowns. One of the two generators powering the Gaza European hospital burned out last month, WHO said. In recent months, government hospitals in Gaza have reduced non-urgent surgery by almost 50 percent to conserve fuel and medical supplies for cases of emergency. Power shortages also directly and indirectly affect the health of Gazans, as water supplies are reduced, sewage pumps fail to operate and ground transportation for solid waste removal becomes less frequent.
EuroMid: The blockade threatens every aspect of women’s lives in Gaza
GENEVA (PIC) 10 Dec — An European human rights institution has revealed in a field report that 45 per cent of pregnant women in the Gaza Strip suffer from anemia due to the poor living conditions under the illegal Israeli-led siege imposed on Gaza for the past seven years … According to the field report, more than half (58.9 per cent) of the women in the study said they believe domestic violence is a growing problem in Gaza, and an even larger proportion (61.3 per cent) think their children are more at risk. An earlier survey (2011) by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics corroborated the women’s concerns, while 90 per cent of the women described the blockade and frequent Israeli military attacks as directly triggering higher levels of nervousness, tension and anxiety. A result of these growing tensions is a rise in the divorce rate (perceived as increasing by 24.6 per cent of the interviewees) and violence against women and girls, it added.
Israel to allow some materials into Gaza again
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 Dec — The United Nations said Monday that Israel has agreed to again allow imports of construction materials into Gaza after a two-month clampdown following the discovery of a tunnel dug by militants from the coastal strip into Israel. Israel restricted items that can enter Gaza Strip since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the territory in 2007, fearing Palestinian militants could use construction materials like metal and concrete for military purposes. In 2010, Israel eased the restrictions to allow imports for internationally supervised projects. But in October, it halted the entry of all construction materials after discovering the concrete-lined tunnel along the border. Israel said the tunnel was to be used by militants for attacks and abductions of Israelis — a claim that Palestinian armed groups later confirmed … U.N. Mideast envoy Robert Serry said Monday the materials that will be imported are to be used to build U.N.-funded schools, housing and sanitation facilities.
UNRWA employees in Gaza stage partial strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip staged a partial strike on Tuesday, a member of the employees’ union told Ma‘an. Medical centers affiliated to the UNRWA were shut down from 8 a.m to 9.30 a.m., said Suheil al-Hindi, a member of the union of UNRWA employees. He added that Gaza schools run by the agency would go on strike after the third class as well.
Photos: A visit to the Gaza fish auction
GAZA (ISM – Charlie Andreasson) 10 Dec — Gaza’s fish action brought back memories from both my time as a fisherman and my work in the port of Gothenburg [Sweden] … In Gothenburg, there were double rows, five to six boxes high, arranged in line after line. The group of men, for they were all men, moved along them as they were sold. The boat that unloaded its cargo first also sold it first, which usually generated the best price. It was always a race against the clock to come into the harbor and unload as quickly as possible. Here in Gaza, the rows were fewer, and no box was set on another. And I suppose that instead of a race against time to unload first, there was pressure to get into the harbor before the Israeli navy attacked. For it is precisely because of Israeli violence that the catches are so small … In 2000, the fishing industry was valued at $10 million, but today it is only a shadow.That was clear to me where I stood and watched the auction over the few boxes of fish that were up for bidding. In 2009, the total catch was 1,526 tons, down 42% since 2000. And as the shallow waters are increasingly overfished, the catch will continue its steep decline. The fish are in deeper water, still in Palestinian waters, but where the fishermen are not allowed.
Kite-flying film shows Gaza’s kids grow old too soon
Electronic Intifada 10 Dec by Sarah Irving — In July 2010, approximately 7,500 children gathered on a beach at Seifa in northern Gaza to fly kites. They were aiming to beat their own record for simultaneous kite-flying, set the previous year at more than 3,000. The loose narrative of the new documentary Flying Paper is the preparations of a few of those children for the record-breaking attempt. Abeer, a 16-year-old aspiring journalist from Jabaliya refugee camp, follows the story, while brother and sister Musa and Widad (egged on by their grandfather) compete to build bigger, better and more beautiful kites … the focus on a specific small number of these kids allows the expected mentions of the ever-present Israeli military to rise above their usual function as a commentary on the blighted innocence of Palestinian youth. Because we hear repeatedly from Widad, Musa and their companions, we encounter more detail. We know which little girl claims to have been more or less frightened during the raids and shelling, or what the sounds of bombs and shells sound like to a particular child. And because we get to know these children, it is all the more disturbing to hear one announce that “they used to take my grandpa and uncles away.” In addition, Flying Paper doesn’t idealize the Palestinian society it portrays.
Medics: 3 injured by explosion in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Three people were injured on Tuesday evening in an ambiguous explosion east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said. Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that three injured arrived at Kamal Adwan hospital in serious and moderate condition. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, and the injured were not identified.
Egypt releases 100 Palestinian Syria refugees
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Egyptian authorities on Tuesday released 100 Palestinian refugees out of 350 who were detained while trying to leave Syria through Egyptian waters, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo said. The released detainees were freed from Alexandria and el-Beheira police stations, the embassy added.
UK government warns British citizens against doing business in Israeli settlements
Haaretz 9 Dec by Barak Ravid — The British government issued new recommendations to its business community last week, warning citizens against doing business with individuals or entities in Israeli settlements. “EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals,” reads the warning on the U.K. Trade and Investment site, in its “Overseas Business Risk Report” for Israel, which is part of a larger survey by the trade agency that makes recommendations regarding the risks of doing business in various parts of the world. “The U.K. has a clear position on Israeli settlements: The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible. We will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” the warning reads.
Israel-Romania row over settlements building
Al Jazeera 11 Dec — In latest row between Israel and EU, Romania refuses to allow its workers to build illegal settlements in the West Bank — A diplomatic spat has erupted between Israel and Romania after Bucharest reportedly refused to allow Romanian construction workers to be employed in settlements being built in the occupied West Bank. The row, reported by Israel’s military radio on Tuesday, comes in the wake of tensions between Israel and the European Union over new guidelines that bar EU funding for any Israeli entity operating in the occupied Palestinian territories. Talks with Bucharest on importing Romanian manual labour broke down in 2012, the radio said, but resumed at Israel’s initiative after a new Romanian government came to power in May that year. Differences centre on Bucharest’s request that Israel guarantee no Romanian construction workers would be employed on settlements on occupied Palestinian territory that are considered illegal under international law. The Romanian foreign ministry confirmed to the AFP news agency that the talks were continuing
Calls to boycott Israel grow on US campuses
Al Jazeera 10 Dec by Samuel Nelson Gilbert — On December 4, the council of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted unanimously to endorse the call from Palestinian civil society for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions (USACBI), becoming only the second academic association in the US to do so. The decision was described by the ASA as an “ethical stance”, which “represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians”. Support for the resolution was described to Al Jazeera by author and Professor of American Studies Alex Lubin as “nothing less than the breaking of what Edward Said called ‘America’s last taboo’…Creating a space within US society to break through the enforced silence on Israeli occupation” … The vote follows what many view as a trend in academia made evident by the growth of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) movement on US campuses. The student groups work in “solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian peoples” endorsing the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.
Swarthmore Hillel defies headquarters on Boycott Israel program restrictions
The Forward 9 Dec by Derek Kwait — Swarthmore College’s Hillel student board voted unanimously Sunday to defy guidelines restricting whom it may host for programs on Israel and condemned the ground rules, imposed by Hillel International, for constricting Israel-related speech for Jewish students on campus. The vote marked the first time a Hillel student board declared its intent to override the parent body’s guidelines, which prohibit a Hillel center from hosting or partnering with any group or individual that — among other things — supports sanction or boycott campaigns against Israel, or that “delegitimizes, demonizes, or applies a double standard to Israel.” “This policy has resulted in the barring of speakers from organizations such as Breaking the Silence and [members of] the Israeli Knesset from speaking at Hillels without censorship,” the resolution said … Although the Swarthmore Hillel has not yet invited controversial speakers to campus, what is important is that the center can in the future if and when there is a student demand to hear the views of such speakers, said Joshua Wolfsun, a Swarthmore undergrad and director of communications for the Hillel.
Kerry jetting back to Israel, West Bank
AFP 10 Dec — Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Israel and the West Bank this week just days after his last visit, a US official said Monday, denying he was only focused on an interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Amid intense diplomatic activity, Kerry will leave again for Israel on Wednesday, five days after he landed back from Jerusalem and after spending most of the weekend meeting in Washington with Israeli leaders.
US plan keeps Israeli army in Jordan Valley for 10 years
Haaretz 10 Dec by Barak Ravid — Palestinian official says time would be used to train PA security forces; Meeting in which Kerry presented plan to Abbas described as ‘worse than bad — The new security plan that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week, as part of a future Palestinian state, calls for Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley for a period of 10 years, the Palestinian daily Al Ayyam reported Tuesday. A senior Palestinian official, who was not identified, told Al Ayyam that the 10-year period was to be used for training and strengthening the Palestinian security forces, before gradually transferring control of the Jordan Valley to them. According to the report, Kerry’s proposal includes an “invisible” Israeli presence at the border crossings between Jordan and the future Palestinian state.
Palestine’s most fertile meadow ‘at risk’
JENIN (Ma‘an)10 Dec – The West Bank’s most fertile meadow is shrinking gradually as a result of construction licensed by the Palestinian ministry of local governance, according to the head of a local committee in Jenin. Mousa al-Badawi, who chairs a committee representing the public in Jenin, told Ma‘an Tuesday that “Palestine’s food basket Marj Ibn Amir is at risk because of corruption.” The meadow’s fertile land, he added, is being “bitten” by construction expansion which is “killing the agricultural land without any supervision or control despite all appeals and religious recommendations.”
Soldier arrested for allegedly selling entry permits to Palestinians
Ynet 11 Dec by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — The IDF, in cooperation with police forces and the Israeli Civil Administration arrested a soldier on Tuesday on the suspicion that he supplied Palestinians, who were barred from entering Israel, with entry permits in return for drugs and cash. The soldier was arrested after a covert investigation. A Qalqilya man was also arrested under suspicion of brokering between the soldier and Palestinians. Police sources said further arrests are expected.
Israel passes law aimed at deterring African migrants
JERUSALEM (LA Times) 10 Dec by Batsheva Sobelman — In a controversial move decried by human rights organizations, Israel’s parliament passed a bill allowing migrants to be jailed without trial for a year. Under the law finalized early Tuesday after a heated late-night debate, Israeli authorities will be able to jail new migrants for a year if they slip over the border illegally, and detain others already in Israel in a new holding facility indefinitely … It replaces a previous law, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, that allowed migrants to be jailed for three years. The court ruled in September that the law violated human rights. The new law attempted to address the court’s concerns by lowering the detention time. The court had also ordered the government to release about 2,000 Africans detained at the time, and review individual requests for asylum and refugee recognition. Fewer than half have been released.
The month in pictures: November 2013
Electronic Intifada 7 December
Photos: The ‘Separation Wall’, Bethlehem, West Bank
By Russ Taylor, ‘nomadruss’ – posted 10 December
Analysis / Opinion
Are jihadists coming to the West Bank? / Naela Khalil
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 9 Dec — The recent deaths of three Palestinian men in Hebron has sparked a local debate on the presence of Salafist jihadism in the West Bank. When Israeli occupation forces assassinated three young men in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on the evening of Nov. 26, Israeli and Palestinian security sources agreed that they were members of a Salafist jihadist cell, which West Bank Palestinians had never known existed. At the funerals of Mohammed Nairoukh, Mahmoud Najjar and Moussa Makhamreh in Hebron and the neighboring town of Yatta, Nairoukh’s coffin was draped in Hamas’ flag, while black banners of the Salafist movement fluttered above and draped the bodies of the other two men. This was taken as a clear indication that they were members of the Salafist jihadist movement, though the existence of such a movement remained the subject of heated debate among locals. Statements by Palestinian security sources, along with their affirmation that they had launched a security campaign targeting “Salafist jihadist” groups and arrested 22 people as a result, settled the debate in favor of the presence of such groups, even if their actual capabilities, armament and numbers were still unknown. The Mujahedeen Shura Council also announced, following the assassination of the three young men in Hebron, that it had commenced its military operations in the West Bank. It confirmed in a communique that the eliminated cell was but the tip of the iceberg. A person knowledgeable in Salafist affairs who requested anonymity told Al-Monitor that the statement made use of non-jihadist expressions, such as “fearless” and “lionhearted,” which prove that it is a “fabrication.” … The spokesman for the Palestinian security agencies, Maj. Gen. Adnan al-Daeiri, despite not giving Palestinian media any statements pertaining to the security campaign, wrote on his Facebook profile on Dec. 3 that occupation authorities had blown the incident in the West Bank out of proportion. “Occupation forces are submitting media accounts that they have marketed around the world about the presence of al-Qaeda and Salafist jihadists in Palestine. In these reports, they convey a message to the world that these jihadists are highly capable terrorists, requiring that they continue entering into Palestinian cities,” he relayed. Khaled Amayrah, a journalist and expert in Islamic movements and the Arab-Israeli conflict spoke with Al-Monitor by phone. “Jihadist groups in Gaza have succeeded in establishing a Salafist jihadist nucleus in the West Bank. We don’t know whether this presence is armed or not, or whether its activities are confined to recruiting supporters of jihadist ideals,” he said.
Popular Front’s role wanes in Palestinian politics / Daoud Kuttab
Al-Monitor 10 Dec — Mention of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) used to arouse fear and intimidation in Israel and around the world. The radical Palestinian organization founded in the late 1970s by George Habash, a Palestinian Christian physician from Lydda, became a household name after it carried out spectacular airline hijackings and other daring acts. On Dec. 7, its acting chairman, Abdel Rahim Malouh, and a number of its senior leaders quietly resigned from the faction, which is under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), without anyone paying much attention. Malouh told local Palestinian media that he had submitted his resignation in 2010, but that it took effect on Dec. 7. Others who resigned at the same time include Jamil Mejdalawi, Younis al-Jaro and Abdul Aziz al-Qarayah. Malouh has said that he will retain his seat as a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee. What has happened to this faction that the Israelis once considered a terrorist organization? Many would argue that the hoopla around the Marxist PFLP was undeserved. True, the group carried out spectacular acts of violence, such as airplane hijackings, the most famous one involving the diversion of a passenger jet to the Jordanian desert in 1970. In fact, however, the PFLP killed only a few people. Given today’s cutthroat brand of terrorism, indiscriminate car bombings and beheadings, this once supposedly radical organization appears by comparison to be a humble lamb … Now that Malouh’s resignation has taken effect, it is unclear who will replace the acting head of the organization. The only other well-known figure is Khalida Jarrar, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The PFLP is unlikely to regain its former footing or standing. Once it stood as the second most popular Palestinian faction, after Fatah. PFLP supporters carrying red flags with a map of historic Palestine on them continue to appear in demonstrations and at other public events, but their real power and impact has clearly diminished.