Report: ‘Soldiers kidnapped 3,874, including 931 children, in 2013’
IMEMC — [Friday Dec 27] The Census Department of the Palestinian Ministry of Detainee published its annual report stating that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, this year, 3,874 Palestinians, including 931 children. Four detainees died in 2013. The Census Department said that 1,975 of the kidnapped are between the ages of 18 and 30 (51% of the total number of kidnapped Palestinians), and that 931 children (24%) below the age of 18 have also been kidnapped by the soldiers, this year. Head of the Census Department, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, said that Israel deliberately targets young Palestinians, including children, because they are the core of the society, and its moving factor. “This is why it escalates the arrests against them”, he said, “They are imprisoned, tortured, abused and intimated”. He added that the 931 kidnapped children were taken prisoner from different parts of the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and that the number indicates a 5.7% increase in the number of children kidnapped by the soldiers in 2012, and a 37.5% increase compared to 2011. “The most serious violation is the fact that kidnapped children are beaten and tortured during interrogation”, Farawna stated, “They were humiliated, subjected to physical and emotional torture”. He said that the suffering of all kidnapped Palestinians, especially the children, starts at the moment of their arrest, as dozens of heavily armed soldiers violently invade their homes, beat and kick them in front of their families. The violations also include assaulting family members.
Israel claims aborting 90 attempts to kidnap soldiers in 2013
NAZARETH (PIC) 29 Dec — An Israeli army official claimed that the Israeli occupation forces had aborted 90 Palestinian attempts to kidnap soldiers in 2013. The Hebrew radio quoted the official on Saturday as saying that around thirty of those attempts were foiled by Palestinian Authority security apparatuses in the West Bank. He said, however, that individual resistance attacks in the West Bank did not point to the possibility of a third intifada.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Jenin man dies at Israeli checkpoint
JENIN (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — A Palestinian man died on Sunday at a flying checkpoint Israeli forces erected in the northern West Bank, the man’s family said. Adel Muhammad Amarnah, 65, was being rushed to a Jenin hospital when his car was stopped at a checkpoint near the village of Ya‘abad, his family told Ma‘an. An Israeli soldier told the driver of the car to “go back where he came from,” the family said. After being held up for an extended period of time, the driver finally convinced the soldier to let the car through the checkpoint. But Amarnah died before he reached Jenin’s public hospital, where the doctors confirmed his death, his family said. [it is to be hoped that we are not going back to the days when women in labor – and/or their babies – died in ditches at checkpoints when they were not allowed through to get to a hospital]
Israeli forces shoot 4 Palestinian in clashes near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) updated 28 Dec — Four Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces opened fire with live bullets during clashes in Silwad village north of Ramallah. Israeli forces raided the village and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, while Palestinian youths threw rocks and empty bottles at them. Israeli forces chased down Palestinians through the alleys of the village, injuring four of them during the process. The injured were taken to Palestine medical complex in Ramallah … Silwad is located directly north of the Israeli settlement of Ofra, on a major West Bank road under Israeli military control.
3 workers assaulted by Israeli forces in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Three Palestinian laborers were assaulted by Israeli forces in al-Ramadeen area in southern Hebron as they were returning home from work on Friday. Mohammad al-Atawna, director of media at the Palestinian Workers’ Union said that the injured workers were taken to Alya hospital in Hebron with various fractures and bruises. Fadi Ahmad al-Ajarma, 21, suffered from broken teeth, a fractured arm and bruises on his face, while Idriss Yusif al-Tarshan,22, suffered from hairline fracture on his head and bruises in the spine and right hand, and Mohammad Ishaq Khreis, 22, suffered from bruises on his head, shoulders, and back, al-Atawna said. Al-Atawna added that this type of assault happens frequently in al-Ramadeen area as laborers cross the border to work in Israel.
Settlers stone Palestinian vehicles near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Dec – Israeli settlers attacked with stones dozens of Palestinian vehicles in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian official said Sunday. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that the settlers pelted vehicles with stones and empty bottles smashing windshields of dozens of vehicles. The attacks, he said, were mainly on roads near the village of Za‘atara south of Nablus and the nearby Israeli settlements of Yitzhar and Havat Gilad. No injuries have been reported. Daghlas highlighted that the settler attacks were allegedly in retaliation to a firebomb Palestinians hurled at an Israeli vehicle near Za‘atara.
Israeli forces besiege Jenin-area town for 6th day
JENIN (Ma‘an) 29 Dec – Israeli forces continued to besiege the northern West Bank town of Ya‘abad near Jenin for the sixth day in a row, closing all the town’s entrances with military checkpoints and preventing residents from moving in and out. A Ma‘an reporter says Israeli military checkpoints have been erected at the main entrance in the east and all side streets and agricultural roads. Residents have been prevented from leaving the town to their work or universities. Some people chose to take mountainous bypass paths to leave the town. A taxi driver, Ahmad Amarnah, told Ma‘an that for the sixth day, Israeli troops stationed at the entrances to the town have prevented all residents from leaving. People who leave through mountainous roads could be stopped by Israeli soldiers at Dutan checkpoint, he added. Ali Abu Bakr, a student at al-Quds Open University, said he and five other students were detained for two hours on Saturday after they were caught trying to leave Ya‘abad through bypass roads. He explained that they were trying to catch up with their final exams. “We left (our) homes at 8:30 in the morning as we had a final exam at 11:30. We tried to avoid emergencies, but despite that an Israeli patrol caught us between olive trees and took us to Dutan checkpoint. “We begged the soldiers to release us so we can arrive at campus before students sit for exams, but they told us that the whole town was being collectively punished in response to stones hurled at settler vehicles on the main road near Ya‘abad.” The students were set free only after the Palestinian liaison department intervened. They arrived late at campus, but they were allowed to sit for exams exceptionally, added Abu Bakr. Shop owner Mahmoud Badarnah says he has been trying to bring milk from Jenin and Nablus for five days, but he has not been able to enter.
Soldiers invade Bethlehem, Hebron, kidnap four Palestinians
IMEMC — [Saturday at dawn, Dec 28] Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, kidnapping four Palestinians. Soldiers also installed roadblocks in Hebron, and searched cars. Dozens of soldiers invaded the Saff Street and the Wady Ma‘aly area, in Bethlehem, and broke into several homes, violently searching them before kidnapping two Palestinians, the Radio Bethlehem has reported. The two kidnapped residents have been identified as Fady Abed Salahat, 30, and Salah Salahat, 25; both were cuffed, blindfolded and were taken to an unknown destination.
Israeli military sources said that two Molotov cocktails were thrown, on Friday evening, at Israeli military jeeps at a roadblock in the Bethlehem District; the army reported no injuries, and initiated a search campaign.
Also on Saturday, dozens of soldiers invaded the southern West Bank district of Hebron and kidnapped two Palestinians, in the city. Palestinian security sources stated that the army kidnapped Ayman and Mohammad Fakhoury, near Nabi Younis, in Halhoul town, north of Hebron, and took them to an unknown destination. Furthermore, dozens of Israeli settlers invaded the Haska area, in Halhoul, and gathered near water springs in the area. The settlers were accompanied by dozens of soldiers; soldiers and settlers withdrew several hours later.
Four Palestinians kidnapped in IOF campaign in West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 29 Dec — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Sunday four Palestinian citizens during raids on homes in different West Bank areas, and another one during violent clashes yesterday in occupied Jerusalem.
Eyewitnesses reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces at an early hour today evacuated the roads for the IOF during their campaign in Bireh city,near Ramallah. They added that the IOF kidnapped two Palestinian citizens from their homes in the city.
In Al-Khalil, the IOF kidnapped, in coordination with the PA security forces, two Palestinians from their homes during violent raids in different neighborhoods, according to local sources. They explained that the invading troops raided the neighborhoods of Tal’ah Abu Hadid and Abu Sunaina, different areas of the Old City and the southern districts of Al-Khalil and ransacked several homes before they kidnapped a citizen identified as Mutaz Wezwez.
Another citizen named Khalil Abu Mariya was also taken prisoner during violent IOF raids on homes in Beit Ummar town to the north of Al-Khalil city.
In an earlier incident, the IOF detained a young man during clashes yesterday evening in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
IOF reportedly discover an underground tunnel intended to kidnap soldiers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 Dec — Israeli Givati Brigade claimed the discovery of an underground tunnel near a wanted person’s house in Ramallah in the West Bank intended to kidnap Israeli soldiers, Israeli media sources said. During the course of the arrest of a wanted man in the Ramallah area, the Israeli forces discovered an underground tunnel near his home, in which Palestinian resistance intended to detain a captured Israeli soldier, Yediot Ahronot Hebrew newspaper said. The newspaper stated on Friday that the underground tunnel was part of the Palestinian resistance’s advanced preparations intended to kidnap an Israeli soldier.
Shifting to another issue, the Hebrew newspaper pointed out that the Israeli forces have yet to discover the identity of the sniper who killed an Israeli soldier near al-Khalil [on 22 Sept?].
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Palestinian villagers’ complaints of settler violence are going unheard
Haaretz 29 Dec by Amira Hass — It’s easy to guess that whoever threw two firebombs at a small house in the Palestinian West Bank village of Burin — where a family of five lives — will not be brought to justice. It’s doubtful the police are looking for the assailants, and even if they are, it’s unlikely the culprits will be found. Even if they are found, it’s unlikely that cause will be found to file an indictment. How do we know? By looking at the history of complaints by Burin residents to the police about attacks by Israelis. Before midnight on November 25, Vedian and Ghassan Omran were still awake. They suddenly heard something rustling outside, maybe soldiers. The rustles got louder and then rocks started hitting the house. That’s why all the homes in Burin’s easternmost neighborhood have iron mesh around their windows. Here, as in other Palestinian houses in the West Bank, the nets speak of the proximity of settlers and their rocks, and the absence of law enforcement.
Otherwise Occupied | | Who will protect Israel’s poor settler kiddies?
Haaretz 30 Dec by Amira Hass — While settlers covet a West Bank hill, the army is using stun grenades to keep Palestinian farmers off their land — Want to meet the victims of hostile acts? Go to the village of Burin, south of Nablus, because no article can convey the fear, methodicalness, hypocrisy and collaboration of each entity that seeks to make the villagers loathe their lives. If the settlers from Yitzhar and its outposts take a rest from their sacred harassment of these villagers, then, thank God, there are still the Bracha B outpost and the mini-outpost Givat Ronen to show these goyim just who the chosen people are. And let’s not deprive the army and the Border Police, who work day and night to carry out their supreme mission of protecting Israeli citizens, even when those citizens are shooting at Palestinians, throwing stones at them, setting trees and cars on fire, keeping Palestinians from harvesting their olive groves despite pre-coordination with the army, rolling burning tires onto fields, or expelling people from their land … Here is a partial list of some of the latest attacks, taken from a letter sent by human rights group Yesh Din to Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the general in charge of the army’s Central Command:
Whitewashing the settlers’ police force
972blog 29 Dec by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — Israeli police in the West Bank manage to avoid carrying out the most basic of investigative actions – even while holding in custody two suspects caught red-handed.
Six Palestinians shot by PA forces in Jenin camp
JENIN (PIC) 28 Dec — PA Security Forces stormed on Friday Jenin refugee camp and started firing intensively, injuring 6 citizens including the leader in Jihad movement Mahmoud Sa’adi and the leader Bassam Sa’di’s two sons. Eyewitnesses confirmed to the PIC reporter that PA forces stormed the refugee camp over a family problem in the camp, and they started firing randomly once the leader Mahmoud Saadi emerged with his nephews Yahia and Fathi, the leader in Jihad Movement Bassam Saadi’s two sons. Yahya Bassam Saadi, 19, suffered very serious injuries as he was shot in his chest, while Sheikh Mahmoud Saadi got shot in his stomach. Fathi Bassam Saadi, 18, was also moderately injured in addition to three other citizens who were present at the scene. The sources said that the PA forces tried to arrest Sheikh Mahmoud Saadi after shooting him; however, camp inhabitants intervened and prevented his arrest, after which violent clashes broke out in the refugee camp … On Friday evening, PA forces stormed al-Razi hospital and arrested Yahia and Fathi although they were receiving treatment after being shot by those forces in Jenin camp, PIC reporter reported. Yahia and Fathi were transferred in an ambulance to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus under heavy police protection. PA Security Forces have carried out raid and arrest campaigns in Jenin Refugee camp under the pretext of searching for weapons and wanted persons.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Sweeping the sand out of the desert: From Verwoerd to Prawer
972mag (Haokets) 29 Dec by Hilla Dayan — …The Prawer plan looks and smells like it was just taken out of Hendrik Verwoerd’s dusty drawer. Verwoerd, the infamous “architect” of apartheid, conceived the idea of forcefully moving populations to government-built designated areas. The idea that the government determines where an entire population can legally reside, delimiting “for its development” a restricted area, and considered legitimate only by a hostile authorities but not by those living under its thumb, is truly a relic of a dark era. With the passing of Nelson Mandela, it’s worthwhile remembering how this grand apartheid experiment in systematic domestic ethnic cleansing actually ended. It was a catastrophe, and not only for the population; as far as policy makers are concerned it was a grand planning failure as well. According to some estimates, around 8 million people became internal refugees of apartheid, to this day populating some of the largest shanty towns in the world. No tourist arriving at Cape Town International Airport can miss the ubiquitous and huge “squatters camps” along the main highway. The Prawer Plan, in whatever new incarnation it reappears, will doubtlessly have similar results.
Ministerial committee approves annexing Jordan Valley
Ynet 29 Dec by Moran Azulay — The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved Sunday a bill, proposed by MK Miri Regev, to annex the Jordan Valley, thereby ensuring that the region remains within Israeli sovereignty even if an agreement is reached with the Palestinians. The bill was supported by eight ministers from the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, and Habayit Hayehudi. Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said: “There is no divide between settlement and security. The Jordan Valley is consensus for the citizens of Israel. Never mind — let them know the Jordan Valley will be Israeli under any final agreement.” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, and Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri have appealed the bill, which therefore might not undergo legislation.
Erekat condemns Israel’s bill to annex Jordan Valley
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — A chief Palestinian official on Sunday condemned an Israeli committee vote in favor of a Knesset bill that would annex the Jordan Valley, placing it under full Israeli sovereignty. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the decision destroys all efforts for peace with Israel, showing the Israeli government’s “indifference” toward international law. In an interview with Ma‘an, Erekat said the Palestinian response should be to seek statehood recognition by the United Nations and other international bodies.
Activists reclaim land in threatened area
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 28 Dec — Activists from the anti-settlements committee in Bethlehem Saturday reclaimed land in Wadi Rahhal area, south of Bethlehem, to protect it from Israeli takeover, according to one of the activists. Hasan Breijieh told WAFA that a number of activists planted 30 dunums of the threatened land with seedlings to prevent Israeli settlers from seizing the land for settlement expansion. He said the activists are going to repeat this act in other areas threatened with takeover by the settlers.
Jordan’s Minister of Tourism urges visits to Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Dec — Jordan’s Minister of Tourism Nidal Qatamin Saturday urged Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem in order to break the Israeli control over it and to show support for its Palestinian residents who are fighting Israeli plans to displace them. Qatamin, accompanied by his Palestinian counterpart Rola Ma’ayya, toured the occupied city and visited al-Haram al-Sharif, the holy sanctuary, which houses the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. Adnan Husseini, minister of Jerusalem affairs, welcomed Qatamin when he arrived at the mosque and said Arab and Muslim visits to Jerusalem will help the steadfastness of its Arab population
Palestinians of 1948 occupied lands commemorate Balad al-Sheikh massacre
HAIFA (PIC) 28 Dec — The Palestinian citizens in the 1948 occupied lands held their Friday prayers at Al-Qassam cemetery in Balad Al-Sheikh village, east of Haifa city, to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre which had been committed in the village by the Zionist gangs of Palmach and Haganah. Sheik Ra’ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands, delivered the Friday Khutba (sermon) and led the prayers in the presence of political and national figures. Sheikh Salah highlighted the atrocities that had been committed by the Palmach and Haganah gangs in the village, especially the massacre that claimed the lives of more than 60 Palestinian villagers on December 31, 1947.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Gaza under blockade (see also two opinion pieces at the end of this newslist)
Official: 2 Palestinians injured by Israeli artillery in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Two Palestinians were injured after Israeli artillery hit the central Gaza Strip on Sunday, a Palestinian official said. Israeli forces hit an area east of al-Maghazi refugee camp with an artillery shelling, Gaza’s Ministry of Health spokesman said. Ashraf al-Qidra said two Palestinians suffered from burns as a result of the shelling, and were taken to Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital in moderate condition.
Israeli warplanes launch mock raids on Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 29 Dec — Israeli warplanes launched a series of mock raids on Gaza Strip at noon Sunday and dropped a number of bombs off its coast. A field observer said that an Israeli F-16 warplane dropped the bombs off the coast of Gaza city and other areas causing big bangs that were heard all over the tiny enclave.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Gaza power plant functioning as normal after Israel reopens border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Gaza’s sole power plant began to function as normal after Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday, allowing shipments of diesel fuel to enter the Strip, a Palestinian source said. Raed Fattough, who coordinates the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, told Ma‘an that shipments of diesel and gasoline entered Gaza early Sunday, after which the power plant began running on the basis of eight hours on, eight hours off. Israel also allowed seven truckloads of strawberries and a one of cherry tomatoes to exit Gaza to be sent to Europe, Fattouh said, adding that “hundreds” of truckloads of commercial goods and humanitarian aid are soon expected to enter the Strip. The Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday following an upheaval of violence, during which a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli Civil Defense employee at the border and Israel hit Gaza with airstrikes, killing a 3-year-old girl and injuring several other Palestinians. As fuel ran out, Gaza’s power plant stopped functioning on Friday after operating for a mere 12 days. As fuel ran out, Gaza’s power plant stopped functioning on Friday after operating for a mere 12 days.
Israeli security sources told the Israeli news site Ynet on Friday that Hamas was responsible for the plant’s shutdown, saying the Islamist movement was unwilling to pay the PA for fuel. But a Palestinian Authority official denied these claims, saying the fees for the current shipment of fuel had already been paid using funds donated by Qatar, as international media reported earlier in December.
Rafah crossing closed for second day in a row
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on Saturday for the second day in a row, a Palestinian official said. After being open from Tuesday through Thursday in an exceptional case, the crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has now been closed two days in a row, the Gaza government’s Director of Border Crossings Mahir Abu Sabha told Ma‘an. Sabha said his department was trying to convince Egyptian officials to open the Rafah crossing for as long as possible, in order to ease the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.
Egyptian authorities bar solidarity delegations from visiting Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 29 Dec — The Egyptian authorities refused to allow on Saturday three solidarity delegations to enter the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. Director of crossings affairs Maher Abu Sabha told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the Egyptian authorities prevented an Italian and Jordanian delegations in addition to the aid convoy Miles of Smiles from entering Gaza.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Gaza fishermen suffer 85 percent income loss as Israeli siege, attacks continue
GAZA CITY 29 Dec by Joe Catron — …The Abu Wardas’ experiences echo many more documented in a new report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). The PCHR, which supported the Free the Holy Land Sea campaign, is translating the document — already published in Arabic — into English. Over four years, from 1 September 2009 through 31 August 2013, the Israeli navy killed two fishermen, wounded 24, and captured 147, according to the report. The navy also seized 45 boats and destroyed or damaged 113 more. The report also records the losses incurred by about thirty bombings of four fishing ports during Israel’s November 2012 attacks on the Gaza Strip, including damages to an additional 80 boats and destruction of a health clinic and a youth center used by fishermen … Casualties have continued to mount in the four months since the period covered by the report ended. The PCHR publishes regular reports on human rights abuses in Gaza. These reports indicate that Israel has shot at fishermen at least 37 times since September, as well as seizing six boats.
Through the lens of Muhammad Hassunah: 1970s Gaza
Al-Monitor 29 Dec by Asmaa al-Ghoul — For those who didn’t experience life in Gaza in the 1970s, it is difficult to imagine how things were back then. Although the imagination is the only thing that politics or religion cannot control, the contrast is really hard to conceptualize. Women used to sport beautiful, brightly colored clothing in the 1970s. They would wear their hair in the finest cuts and styles. They would sing and laugh in the streets. Their woes were lighter, their joys were greater. Men and women would freely mix together everywhere, with music mingling with laughter in public places. That, at any rate, is how Gaza seemed in the 1970s, as depicted in the film reels of Muhammad Hassunah. Al-Monitor’s correspondent visited the the photographer in his Gaza home near the sea in the same room where, through an old cinema projector, he used to screen films for Gazans of their family celebrations.
PM seeks budget boost for Gaza periphery
Times of Israel 29 Dec by Stuart Winer — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to ask the cabinet on Sunday to approve an NIS 166 million ($47.6m) economic plan for the southern town of Sderot and other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The Government Press Office said in a statement that the infusion of funds is intended to “strengthen residents, local authorities and the regional economy in light of the security situation and the difficulties regarding daily life.
Detainees / Prisoner releases / Court actions
Prisoners set for release Monday; High Court appeals expected
Ynet 30 Dec by Michal Margalit — Almagor association to appeal release before High Court on Monday, insisting release sends message saying ‘You can kill a Jew and be released.’ …The prisoners — 17 West Bank residents, six east Jerusalem residents, and three from Gaza — are expected to leave the Ofer Prison on Monday night. Those who go back to the West Bank and east Jerusalem are to arrive in Ramallah via the Bitunia crossing and those who return to the Gaza Strip are to cross into the strip via the Erez crossing. As in the previous two release instances, the prisoners will be monitored by the Israeli security establishment. Though several prisoners released as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal, so far neither of the prisoners released as part of the peace process have perpetrated terror acts. According to a security source, “most of them are advanced in age, people who have served 30 or 25 years in prison. They were tested and examined by Israel Prison Service personnel who informed the ministerial committee of the level of risk the prisoners pose. “We are not talking about a group of young terrorists… these are terrorists who have committed horrible crimes, but it’s a different generation.”
Israel names pre-Oslo prisoners set for release
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec – The Israeli prison service published Saturday night on its website a list of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners slated to be released Monday as a third group of prisoners who have been detained before the Oslo Accords of 1994. 1. Adnan Yusuf Muhammad al-Afandi 2. Ahmad Shehadah Farid Shehadah 3. Ramadan Udah Muhammad Yaqub … Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman of for the Israeli prime minister’s office, said the prisoners would be released at least 48 hours after the list had been made public. He reiterated that an Israeli ministerial committee which ratified the list stressed that if released prisoners resume “aggressive attacks” they will be sent back to jail and serve their original sentences … Israel agreed to release 104 veteran Palestinian prisoners who have been in custody since before the 1993 Oslo Accords as part of a plan to resume peace negotiations after talks were halted for more than two years. The release of two dozen Palestinian prisoners on Dec. 29 is the third part of that four-stage deal, and Israel has already released 52 prisoners in two previous rounds. The last batch are expected to be released in March 2014.
26 prisoners moved to Ofer prison ahead of release
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Israel’s prison administration transferred 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners to a jail near Ramallah ahead of their imminent release, a Palestinian official said. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said that the Israeli prison administration brought the prisoners — who are scheduled to be released at 1 a.m. Tuesday — to Ofer prison, west of Ramallah. The prisoners will have a medical check-up before their release, Qaraqe said. A statement from the Israeli government warned that any “violent conduct” by any prisoner would result in his re-arrest and a continuation of his original sentence.
32 veteran prisoners to remain in Israeli jails after upcoming release
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday that 32 veteran Palestinian prisoners will remain in Israeli jails after 26 are released early Tuesday. Twenty-six more pre-Oslo prisoners are scheduled to be released in early 2014, which would leave just six of such prisoners left in Israeli jails. The remaining Prisoners who fit the agreed-upon criteria for the release are as follows: 1. Karim Yusif Fadel Yunis 2. Maher Abd al-Atif AbdulKadir Yunis 3. Mohammad Abd al-Hamid al-Tus….
IDF officer who hit activists with rifle gets two months’ service in plea bargain
Haaretz 19 Dec by Gili Cohen — Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, former deputy commander of the Jordan Valley brigade, has reached a plea bargain with a special military court on charges arising out of a confrontation between himself and pro-Palestinian activists in April last year. Eisner, who was dismissed from his position following the incident, will do two months of army service duty at the ground forces headquarters base at Castina, beginning next February. His lawyer had asked that sentence be deferred due to planned exercises by the unit with which he is now serving. He is expected to take early retirement from the Israel Defense Forces, at the age of 43, in a year and a half. As part of the plea agreement, Eisner was convicted of exceeding his authority to an extent that would pose a danger to life and health, as well as unbecoming conduct. The case concerned a confrontation in April 2012 with activists near the West Bank Palestinian village of Al-‘Auja in the Jordan Valley. Eisner hit five of the activists, who included both foreign activists and Palestinians, with his weapon and his bare hands. Some of the activists required medical treatment for their injuries. Video footage that was widely shown on television showed Eisner hitting a Danish activist in the face with an M-16 rifle. [see here ]
Israel extends house arrest of mentally challenged teen
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Israel has extended the house arrest of a mentally challenged Palestinian who has been under home confinement for four months, relatives said. Ahmad Dawoud Obeid, 19, was beaten and arrested in August by undercover Israeli forces in al-Issawiya near Jerusalem. Obeid was in court several times and was charged with throwing rocks at Israeli forces until he was released on bail on the condition of remaining under house arrest. Obeid’s father said his son’s mental and psychological condition is worsening each day. “We prevent him from leaving the house in order not to be re-arrested. He has become neurotic, he does not eat, he is difficult, and despite his condition the occupation insisted to arrest and try him.” The father added: “He does not know what a police officer, a court, or house arrest are. These terms are above his mental capacity.” The teenager’s father added that he showed the courts paperwork proving his mental condition, but a court-appointed psychiatrist said he had no disabilities.
Two Palestinian refugees killed in Syrian camps
DAMASCUS (PIC) 29 Dec — The working group for the Palestinians in Syria reported that two Palestinian refugees died on Saturday due to the continued shelling and siege on Syria refugee camps. The group said in a press statement on Sunday that a young man from Daraa camp was killed by shrapnel of mortar shells that fell on the camp, while a woman in Yarmouk camp died of starvation because of the blockade imposed on the camp.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Abbas orders immediate food supplies to Yarmouk camp in Syria
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Dec — President Mahmoud Abbas ordered Saturday dispatch of immediate food supplies to Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria due to the difficult situation the camp is going through. Abbas ordered Palestine’s ambassador to Syria and other official parties to immediately act to facilitate entry of these supplies. The president’s decision came following reports that five Palestinian refugees have died of hunger in the besieged camp. Yarmouk has been under siege by the Syrian army for several months. No one has been allowed in or out of the camp since then, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, which is responsible for all Palestinian refugee camps in the region.
EU donates 16 million euros to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — The European Union has announced a 16 million euro ($21.9 million) contribution to the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA said in a statement Friday. The donation brought the EU’s contribution to UNRWA to nearly $210 million, the statement said, adding that 41 percent of UNRWA’s funding came from European countries in 2013. “The latest generous contribution comes in response to the worsening situation in Syria and the increasing numbers of civilian deaths and casualties, including among Palestinians and humanitarian workers.” The war in Syria, UNRWA said, has rendered 440,000 Palestine refugees in “dire need” of humanitarian relief.
UNRWA hunger striker taken to the hospital
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — An UNRWA worker from Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem was taken to the hospital after he fainted three days after launching a hunger strike in protest against the organization’s policies towards its employees. Khalil Abu Laban, who is one of four employees currently on strike against the UN Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, was taken to Beit Jala governmental hospital after fainting, another participant in the demonstration Jamal Jaber told Ma‘an. Abu Laban was diagnosed with acute gastritis and is in a stable condition, Jaber said. Jaber added that the strike by UNRWA employees is in its 25th day, and began as a result of a conflict with the organization over salaries and positions within the organization. The strike is also in protest of a decision to forbid anyone who was imprisoned in Israel to work for the UNRWA. Large percentages of the Palestinian population have been detained with or without charge by Israeli occupation forces at some point in their lives, meaning that this prohibition excludes many people.
Poll: Most Israeli Jews feel schools should teach ‘Palestinian narrative’
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec by Henry Rome — A majority of Israeli Jews believe the schools should present the Palestinian narrative about the conflict, according to a Tel Aviv University survey. The results, announced on Thursday, reignited the longstanding controversy over the content of school curricula on both sides, and drew sharp criticism from a senior government official … More than 64 percent of respondents said Israeli schools should teach the “Palestinian narrative.” Respondents in the Center and Left overwhelmingly supported the idea – 70.9% and 89.6%, respectively. Those on the Right were split within the margin of error, with 53% supporting teaching the Palestinian view. Bar-Tal said the results indicate that the Jewish public is more open than the government to learning about the Palestinian narrative.
Knesset member tries to shut out Arab-Israeli soccer
Al-Monitor 29 Dec by Shlomi Eldar — Knesset member Miri Regev has called for suspending the Arab-Israeli Bnei Sakhnin soccer club from the Israeli league over the raising of Palestinian flags during a match, ignoring racist actions by Jewish rival fans — In addition to its standing as the most popular sport in the country, Israeli soccer has another, less savory facet — an emotionally charged and nasty side that has nothing to do with sports or the spirit of achievement. It is the political aspect. Thus, the fans of the Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem are associated with the nationalist right wing, while the fans of the Israeli soccer club HaPoel Tel Aviv are known as sympathizers of the left. As for the supporters of the Arab soccer clubs, by and large, they are the object of hatred.
Arab parties plan to fight right-wing bid to squeeze them out of Knesset
Haaretz 29 Dec by Jack Khoury and Ilan Lior — There was no surprise among the Arab political parties at the agreement between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to raise the Knesset electoral threshold to 3.25 percent of the vote, as part of the so-called governability bill whose final readings are to be heard soon. Arab political figures said the right wing is trying to ensure its continued parliamentary majority by clearing the plenum of Arab MKs as much as possible. But they say the move could come back to haunt the right, because the Arab parties will find a way to unite into one or two election lists and campaign on the slogan that the right and Lieberman don’t want Arabs in the Knesset. That, they say, will bring out their voters en masse and end up actually increasing the Arab presence in the legislature.
Official: Israeli commanders not welcome to visit Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — The governor of the Bethlehem district said Sunday that Israeli military commanders were not welcome to visit the area, after he received a request for military officials to visit Bethlehem while off duty. Abd al-Fattah Hamayil said in a statement that “the chief of the occupation army’s central command” along with other military officials requested to visit Bethlehem in plain clothes, without providing further details. The officials are unwelcome, Hamayil said, because of the “occupation’s ongoing atrocities” against the city. He cited the Israeli army’s raid of central Bethlehem on Thursday as an example, saying Israeli soldiers “savagely destroyed dozens of stores in the city.” “If the Israeli occupation’s leaders and commanders want to visit Bethlehem, they have to enter the city in military tanks and armored vehicles.”
Arab Christian community divided on IDF enlistment drive
AP 28 Dec — Dozens of Israeli soldiers respectfully rose from their seats as the Israeli national anthem began playing. The recording of “Hatikva,” an ode to the Jewish yearning for the Land of Israel, wrapped up a ceremony, held in Hebrew, during which speakers thanked the troops and handed out awards. It looked like a typical motivational gathering for soldiers of the Jewish State – except that nearly all those in uniform weren’t Jews and Hebrew wasn’t their first language. They were Christian Arabs, a minority that has historically viewed itself as part of the Palestinian people and considered service in the army as taboo. The gathering – a pre-Christmas nod to Christian soldiers, who nibbled on cookies and chocolate Santas – was part of a new push by Israel’s government and a Greek Orthodox priest to persuade more Christians to enlist. The campaign has set off an emotional debate about identity among Christians, a tiny minority within Israel’s predominantly Muslim Arab minority. So far the numbers of Christian Arabs enlisting is negligible, but with the community’s fate possibly at stake, tempers have flared and each side has accused the other of using scare tactics and incitement. Father Gabriel Nadaf, the priest promoting enlistment, said Christians must serve in the army if they want to integrate into Israeli society and win access to jobs … Arab Christians opposed to army service – the large majority in the community, according to its spokesmen – say the real goal is to divide and weaken Israel’s 1.7 million Arabs, made up of Muslims, Christians and Druze
‘Reprimanded’ Israel soldier still posting violent, racist material on Instagram
Electronic Intifada 28 Dec by Ali Abunimah — He’s back. Only months after he was supposedly “reprimanded” for his conduct on social media, Israeli army Golani Brigade soldier Osher Maman is again publicly disseminating racist and violent material including outright calls to murder Palestinians. This comes as Israel has launched yet another effort to control its soldiers’ often embarrassing online image. Maman’s latest antics include the posting the above image to his account on the photosharing website Instagram. It shows a man — apparently Maman himself attempting to disguise his identity — holding the flag of the racist anti-Palestinian organization Kach (also known as Kahane Chai). Kach is banned even in Israel and is considered a “terrorist” organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union. The flag is also used by the Kahanist anti-Arab group the Jewish Defense League (JDL).
UNIFIL working with Israel, Lebanon to prevent escalation
Ynet 29 Dec — After five rockets were launched at Israel from Lebanon Sunday morning, UNIFIL claims it is in direct contact with the IDF and Lebanese army in a bid to prevent further escalation, find perpetrator. … “The Israeli army responded by firing a large number of shells at the area from where the rockets were fired. If necessary, it will be even tougher.
Analysis / Opinion
The world’s blatant double standard – in Israel’s favor / Larry Derfner
972mag 27 Dec — The American Studies Association may be singling out Israel for boycott, but if you look at the serious, painful punishments the world metes out to oppressor nations, Israel is not being singled out, it’s being let off the hook. As of Friday at noon, a Google search of “human rights sanctions” turns up over 40 million results. There are human rights sanctions and other punishments against China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Yemen, Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and lots of other countries. And these sanctions weren’t put in place by some minor academic group like the American Studies Association, but by the United States of America, the European Union and/or the United Nations Security Council. Furthermore, these sanctions hurt those countries quite a bit more than the ASA’s boycott of Israeli colleges is likely to hurt Israel. Yet you would think from the reaction to the recent ASA boycott that no other country in the world is being punished for its human rights violations.
Fun with chronology: misreporting the Israeli assault on Gaze / Belén Fernandez
Al Jazeera 29 Dec — The media has a habit of using truncated timelines to excuse Israel’s assaults on Gaza — The New York Times’ rendering of recent violence on the border between Gaza and Israel is a shining example of the chronological sleights of hand that have come to characterise mainstream reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Isabel Kershner’s December 24 dispatch, “Killing and Retaliation at Gaza-Israel Border Continue Violent Cycle”, sets up the timeline as follows: “An Israeli labourer who was repairing the security fence along the border with Gaza was fatally shot on Tuesday by a Palestinian sniper, according to the Israeli military, and Israel immediately responded with airstrikes and tank and infantry fire against targets it associated with militant groups in the Palestinian coastal territory.” The seeming cause-and-effect relationship is emphasized by two photographs appearing side by side at the top of the article. On the left: the body of the sniper victim. On the right: the body of the three-year-old Palestinian girl cast as unintended collateral damage in the photograph’s caption: “A shell killed her as Israel, responding to the sniper attack, struck targets it associated with militant groups.” Buried in a paragraph in the second half of the article, however, is the following detail: “On Friday, Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian man who approached the border fence separating Gaza from Israel.”
‘Wave of Palestinian terror’? Not exactly / Dahlia Scheindlin
972mag 26 Dec — The latest escalation between Israel and the Palestinians has taken lives on both sides over the last week. The Israeli media is now describing the violence as a new “wave of Palestinian terror.” Commentators have said that it’s not clear yet whether this is a third Intifada, indicating an organized uprising, since the attacks appear to have been perpetrated by individuals. But they are unquestionably acts of terror. Israeli media tells a very simple story: the attacks are happening to us unilaterally and unpredictably, their arbitrary nature makes life in Israel terrifying and fragile. The only possible explanation for the uptick in Palestinian violence, observed Israeli officials such as Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, is that Palestinian extremists hate the peace negotiations currently underway. Consider the main violent events over the last week: … This roster highlights several things. First, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint anything resembling a starting point for the violence. Prior to last week, 19 Palestinians had been killed since July, compared to four Israelis. Second, if the general definition of terror involves violence against civilian targets for political aims, the “wave” of Palestinian terror is not an accurate description unless Israel counts Palestinian attacks on soldiers and police as terrorism, and discounts its own attacks on civilians. Third, the violence is neither unilateral nor arbitrary, if one follows events on the ground.