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Israel battles to hold Jerusalem with bulldozers on north, south, and east

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Apartheid

Israel barrier threatens to split Bethlehem villages
BATTIR (AFP) 28 Jan — Israel’s separation barrier could soon destroy the livelihoods and redraw the demographics of two Palestinian villages south of Jerusalem, locals say, should an imminent court ruling approve its planned route. The barrier — in parts an eight-meter-high (25-foot) concrete wall — would cut through ancient irrigation systems relied upon by the West Bank village of Battir, separate residents of nearby Beit Jala from their olive groves and divide a local Christian community. The Supreme Court rules on Wednesday whether to approve the defense ministry’s planned route, after a flurry of petitions by locals and activists pleading to redirect it. The ministry insists the barrier, whose construction began in 2002 during the bloody second Palestinian intifada (uprising) and which now snakes some 440 kilometers through the West Bank, is essential for Israeli security.
But in Battir, which straddles the 1949 armistice line south of Jerusalem, the barrier threatens the livelihoods of a 5,000-strong Palestinian community that depends on a Roman-era irrigation system, residents say. The ancient system channels water from natural springs down stone terraces and through sluice gates to water villagers’ orchards and gardens. “The building of the wall will destroy parts of the water system that has been here for 2,500 years, including the stone channels that lead to the village,” said Akram Badr, head of Battir village council. Battir’s produce is a key source of income for the village, as is the tourism generated by the Roman irrigation system itself, a proposed UNESCO world heritage site that attracts Holy Land visitors and historians. 85 percent of the separation wall is planned to be built inside the West Bank, deviating from the internationally recognized Green Line for the majority of its route. Two-thirds of Battir lies in Palestinian territory with the other third in Israel.
A few kilometers (miles) down the road, the barrier threatens to separate Christian and Muslim residents of the town of Beit Jala from their olive groves and divide the Christian community. A Supreme Court ruling on the section of the barrier in that area might also be given on Wednesday.

Beit Safafa residents angry over highway set to divide village
Jerusalem Post 27 Jan by Daniel K. Eisenbud — “This policy is like apartheid – they’re separating families and the community,” says resident of village — One day after the Supreme Court upheld the state’s right to build a controversial new highway through the Arab village of Beit Safafa, residents of the southeast Jerusalem community on Monday expressed anger and frustration. The battle over the 1.8-km. highway has gone on for years, with residents vociferously opposing the extension of the Begin Highway to the Tunnel Road that leads to Gush Etzion, because it will intersect the middle of their neighborhood. “What’s legal for them is illegal for the village, because it destroys it,” said Muhammad Alian, a resident in his 60s who was born in the village. “My family will live on the other side of the highway. It’s like going into someone’s house and putting an ugly structure in the middle of everything.” Adding insult to injury, continued Alian, is that despite dramatically diminishing the quality of life for Beit Safafa’s residents, the highway will provide no benefit to them whatsoever.

Israel demolishes 4 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 27 Jan — Israeli authorities on Monday demolished four Palestinian homes in annexed East Jerusalem that had been built without construction permits, police and residents said. A total of 20 people lived in the four buildings, two of them located in the al-‘Issawiya neighborhood and two in Beit Hanina, occupants told AFP. They had been served demolition orders because they did not have the necessary construction permits, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.  She added the demolitions went ahead without incident. Earlier, a local committee official told Ma’an that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers to the al-‘Issawiya neighborhood at around 6 a.m. and demolished a three-floor building belonging to Abdul-Hayy Dari.

Israeli contractor plans Jewish-only residential project in Jaffa
Haaretz 28 Jan by Chaim Levinson — U.S. immigrant and newly religious contractor Yaakov Hayman says vision of private ‘Pearl of Jaffa’ project is ‘for Jaffa to be Jewish.’ — A group of religious-Zionist Israelis committed to Judaizing Arab neighborhoods of Jaffa plans on building a new residential project that will cater to and be subsidized exclusively for Jews. The project is being headed by a contractor named Yaakov Hayman, a secular-born religious U.S. immigrant to Israel who has spearheaded Jewish-only projects in recent years. Hayman, a former resident of Itamar now living in Jerusalem, owned a construction company that exclusively employed Jewish workers … Hayman plans to build 12 residential units on Yefet Street, Jaffa’s busy main thoroughfare, on a plot where several dilapidated buildings now stand. Its owners are selling the plot for $1,516,010 (5.3 million shekels) … The potential buyers inquired about relations with Arab neighbors, to which Hayman’s wife, Varda, replied: “There are both Arabs and Jews here. It seems like there are a lot of Arabs, because they make a lot of noise.”

Israel keeps Arab teachers out of Orthodox religious schools
Haaretz 28 Jan by Yarden Skop — Critics charge that policy encourages growing extremism in Jewish public system — A widely touted plan to employ more Arab teachers in Jewish schools apparently has one limitation: The Education Ministry does not intend to employ Arab teachers in religious Jewish schools. An official familiar with the details of the program said the ministry’s decision came because the matter was too “complicated.” The official also said there was concern in the Education Ministry that “integrating Arab teachers in religious schools could end in failure, which would paint the entire plan as a failure, and when it is a matter of a minority, when these teachers succeed it will be a success story, but if they fail, opponents will see it as a failure of all the Arabs.”

Both insult and injury for foreigners, Palestinians hurt on job
Haaretz 27 Jan by Roy (Chicky) Arad — They account for 40 percent of employees killed at work, but only 1 percent of disability-pay recipients — …Forty percent of those killed in work accidents in Israel during 2012 were foreign laborers, asylum seekers and Palestinians, according to data from the Economy Ministry. This might not seem so surprising, given that so many of these workers are employed in construction, agriculture and industry, which are hazardous industries. But what is surprising is that while these populations account for 40 percent of Israel’s on-the-job deaths, they represent only 1 percent of employees in this country who receive disability payments for non-fatal work injuries. In 2012 only 102 foreign workers and 604 Palestinians received injury allowances that allowed them to get ongoing treatment for their work-related injuries, according to the Knesset Research and Information Center. What’s more, those 102 foreign workers constitute a sharp drop from 2008, when 671 workers received payments. By contrast, the number of Israeli workers getting work-injury allowances remained steady … The Worker’s Hotline, which advocates for employee rights, says the reason so few foreign workers and Palestinians get work-injury allowances is because of the impossible bureaucracy they encounter.

Israel’s separation fence accommodates settlers
Al-Monitor 27 Jan by Akiva Eldar — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists, as reported here, that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) maintain a presence along the Jordan river for years to come, to protect the newly charted “seam” line against infiltration by terrorists and weapons smuggling. Netanyahu asks us to believe that this demand does not stem from concern for the interests of the settlers, has nothing to do with economic considerations and is in no way connected to political constraints. His one and only concern is for Israel’s security and, as we know, he does not make concessions on Israel’s security. Right? Not exactly. If this is true, how does one explain the multiple breaches in the separation fence, or as it’s officially named, the “security fence?” How is it possible that 12 years after the government approved the erection of the fence, the West Bank settlement blocs — Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel-Kdumim — are still mostly on the eastern side of the obstacle? If, indeed, as the official site of the Defense Ministry claims, the fence is “designed to reduce the capability of terrorists to infiltrate from the Palestinian Authority into Israel’s area,” how does one explain that about one-third of the planned outline of the fence is still being breached? If the intention had indeed been only to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into “Israel’s area,” meaning the area west of the Green Line under Israeli sovereignty, the whole fence would already have been up. But the completion of the fence is being delayed by petitions that stem from the government’s insistence on including settlements on the western side of the fence, instead of adhering to the 1967 border. The planned 815-kilometer (506-mile) course of the fence (including the portion around Jerusalem) is almost three times as long as than the Green Line. It follows, then, that this obstacle is designed to annex territories outside Israel’s sovereign area. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the defense needs of the residents of the State of Israel. Like the new tenders for construction in the West Bank settlements and in East Jerusalem, the fence is part of a policy of establishing realities on the ground.

Palestinian petitions to force Ya’alon to reveal outpost deal
Haaretz 29 Jan by Chaim Levinson — Defense minister keeps secret an agreement reached on illegal West Bank constructions — A Palestinian has petitioned High Court of Justice to compel the defense minister to reveal commitments he made in a closed meeting on illegal construction near his West Bank village. The Amatin (or Immatin) resident, backed by human rights group Yesh Din, wants to find out what Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said to the Shomron Regional Council about the outpost of Havat Gilad, which lies south of Nablus. In 2012, the same Palestinian appealed before the court, demanding the state evacuate a number of structures built illegally on his private land. The structures were demolished in July 2013 but new construction was soon underway. Israel said it would not raze the new structures because of ongoing negotiations on the future of the outpost with its residents … Following two weeks of intense negotiations, the settlers agreed to evacuate the four structures. In exchange for their voluntary withdrawal, Ya’alon agreed to examine the possibility of official recognition for Havat Gilad settlement. The petitioner is seeking to the court’s help to reveal the details of the deal because it could affect his land.

Restriction of movement

Israeli forces stop Palestinian premier’s convoy for third time
NABLUS (Ma‘an)  28 Jan — For the third time in two weeks [and the fourth time in a month according to Wafa], Israeli forces on Tuesday stopped the convoy of interim Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as he was traveling in the occupied West Bank. Local sources told a Ma‘an reporter that Hamdallah was detained for 45 minutes at the checkpoint near the District Coordination Office at the entrance to Ramallah. The convoy was coming from Nablus in the northern West Bank.
On January 14, Israeli police officers stopped Hamdallah’s convoy twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The first time was near the Ramallah area village of Turmusayya. A heated argument broke out between Hamdallah and Israeli officers at that time, and as a result the prime minister swore at an Israeli officer calling him “a dog standing in occupied territory.” Hamdallah did not leave until an officer apologized to him. In response, Israeli police said Hamdallah’s convoy was stopped because it was driving “recklessly and endangering other road users.” Twelve hours later, the convoy was stopped again on its way back to Nablus.  Israeli soldiers stationed at Zaatara checkpoint near Nablus stopped the convoy and asked for ID cards of everybody. A spokesperson for the Palestinian government Ehab Bseiso said that nobody in the convoy responded and they instead continued on their way.

Ramallah governor briefly held by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Jan — Israeli forces on Tuesday evening detained Ramallah and al-Bireh governor Laila Ghannam on her way from Jericho to Ramallah. A statement from the governor’s office said that “Occupation forces brutally took the papers of the car carrying the governor, and stopped all cars with red (Palestinian governmental) license plates intentionally and provocatively”. They were released a while later, the statement added. Ghannam said that her detention was a political message from the Israeli government to all PA leaders that Israel wants to impose its control in every way possible. She added that targeting Palestinian leaders “in all racist ways” was an attempt to weaken the PA and publicly threaten its representatives. “Our national effort to build our institutions is continuous despite all these procedures,” Ghannam said.

Israeli forces install iron gate at entrance to Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Israeli forces on Tuesday erected an iron gate at the main entrance to the Bethlehem village of Nahhalin. Locals told Ma‘an that in 2001 Israeli forces had blockaded a road connecting the village to Hebron. On Tuesday, Israeli forces removed the earth mounds blocking the road and replaced them with an iron gate, which is expected to give villagers access to Route 60, a main highway running the length of the West Bank. Villagers had to previously travel via the nearby villages of Husan and al-Khader to reach Bethlehem, although the new gate is expected to be open for only eight hours a day.
Nahhalin is a Palestinian village located in the seam zone, the area within the West Bank but on the Israeli side of the separation wall. Villages within the seam zone experience severe restrictions on their movements, as they are completely surrounded by areas under Israeli control and cut off from other Palestinians, and Israeli forces require them to obtain permits in order to travel. Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions. At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.

Video: Checkpoint by Jasiri X
Mondoweiss 28 Jan by Adam Horowitz — From Ferrari Sheppard’s website Stop Being Famous: Up-and-coming Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X releases “Checkpoint,” a chilling music video documenting his experience visiting Palestine in 2014. The video features footage Jasiri himself captured of Israeli soldiers, as well as newsreel clips of IDF brutality against Palestinians and internationals. Watch closely, Ferrari Sheppard of Stop Being Famous has cameo in this powerful video.

NSA helps Israel discriminate against US citizens
End the Occupation 28 Jan by Sandra Tamari — When I called the US Embassy in Tel Aviv during my detention by Israeli intelligence at Ben Gurion airport in May 2012, I told the Embassy official that the Israelis were demanding access to my Gmail account.  The Embassy staffer replied nonchalantly, “If the Israelis have your address, they can get in without your password.”  Stunned, I replied,  “How?” He simply answered, “They’re good.”  Recent revelations that the National Security Agency regularly shares intelligence data with Israel put my experience in a new light.  Reports in The Guardian last month show that the NSA hands over metadata to Israel that includes emails and phone conversations of U.S. citizens, information that allows Israel to spy on U.S. citizens and discriminate [against] American travelers of Palestinian origin. My saga began when I landed in Tel Aviv as part of an interfaith delegation along with 30 other U.S. citizens.  I alone was pulled aside at the airport.  Questions included, “What is your father’s name?” and “What is your grandfather’s name?” My passport was taken from me and I was told to take a seat in a waiting room occupied by hard chairs filled with other Palestinians like me.  I was questioned by several Israelis over the course of the next eight hours.  One of my interrogators turned her computer screen to me and handed me her keyboard. “Log in,” she demanded.  Facing me was the Gmail home screen.   When I refused, I was threatened that failure to comply would compromise my reentry into the United States and harm my relationship with my employer.   I thought it wise to contact the U.S. Embassy for help. That was of no assistance. In addition to making light of the Israeli request to view my email, the Embassy official told me that because I wasn’t Jewish, there was nothing he could do to help me and that if he interceded on my behalf, it would hurt my case with the Israelis.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Palestinian in stable condition week after Israeli shooting
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Jan — An injured young Palestinian remained at al-Maqased hospital in Jerusalem in stable condition Monday over a week after Israeli forces shot him at a gas station, relatives said. Alaa Mahmoud Abdul Jawad al-Jamzawi, 20, was shot in his right thigh on Jan. 17 at the gas station where he worked during clashes in ‘Anata village, his uncle, Abu Walid, said. Al-Jamzawi was taken to al-Iman medical center before being transferred to Ramallah Governmental Hospital where he underwent a 12-hour operation to remove fragments of a bullet. He suffered major artery and nerve damage, and around 5 cm of bone decayed as a result of the injury. Days after the injury he was taken to al-Maqased hospital, where he still suffers from pains in the leg but is in stable condition.

Video: Israeli soldiers watch settlers attack 2 Hebron minors
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — A group of Israeli settlers on Sunday attacked two Palestinian children in Hebron’s Shuhada Street in front of Israeli soldiers, who did nothing to stop the attack, a local group said. A local group known as Youth Against Settlements told Ma‘n that 13-year-old Ahmad Hisham al-Azzah and Yazan Zeidan Sharabati were assaulted by a group of settlers in the southern West Bank city while the two were walking to their homes in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. The group later published a video showing the settlers attacking the Palestinian minors while soldiers looked on. The video reveals that only after other Palestinians came to the scene to defend the teenagers, Israeli soldiers intervened — on the side of the settlers. The soldiers then detained Yazan Sharabati and his father, Zeidan, accusing them of attacking Israeli soldiers. The settlers, meanwhile, are not stopped by the Israeli soldiers. The detained father and son were subsequently taken to a police station in the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba east of Hebron.  An Israeli army spokeswoman said that the pair had been detained for “hurling rock at soldiers” and had been taken for questioning. They were released a few hours later after the Palestinian military liaison department and a lawyer representing Youth Against Settlements intervened.

Clashes in Jenin following Israel arrest raid
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed in the Jenin town of Ya‘bad on Sunday following an Israeli arrest raid, locals said. Seven Israeli military vehicles stormed Ya‘bad and positioned themselves near the Yasser Arafat primary school, witnesses told Ma‘an. Young men from the town gathered in the area and threw stones at the soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades. Israeli soldiers stopped Palestinian vehicles and used them as shields during the clashes, witnesses said.
Muhannad Ahmad Abu Bakr, 29, Majd Mahmoud Abu Bakr, 17, and Muhammad Mujahid Abu Bakr, 15, were detained by Israeli forces. Israeli troops also detained dozens of young men in a local coffee shop for several hours during the clashes before allowing them to leave, witnesses said.

Clashes reported in al-‘Azza refugee camp in Bethlehem
IMEMC Tues evening 28 Jan by Saed Bannoura — Dozens of Israeli soldiers attempted to invade the al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and clashed with local youths. The Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported that the soldiers were heavily deployed near the Paradise Hotel, adjacent to the camp, and clashed with local youths who hurled stones at them. The soldiers fired gas bombs, and rubber-coated metal bullets; several injuries among the Palestinians have been reported. Israeli soldiers repeatedly invade the Paradise Hotel area, and the Intercontinental Hotel area, on both sides of the camp, and install roadblocks before stopping dozens of Palestinian cars and searching them while inspecting the ID cards of the passengers.
The ongoing invasions lead to clashes between the soldiers and local youths, especially since the army frequently targets the camp…
Also on Tuesday evening, soldiers closed a road leading to the Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources said that the army placed a sand barrier on the road, closing an area where more than 200 Palestinians live.  Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the attack is part of ongoing violations against the Palestinians. Awad added that the road is essential to the residents, and by closing it, Israel is imposing further restrictions on the Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement.

Israeli forces deploy near Teqoa settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Israeli army and border guard officers were heavily deployed in the vicinity of Teqoa settlement east of Bethlehem on Tuesday, a Ma‘an reporter said.  Ambulances and firetrucks arrived at the scene and Israeli forces were searching the area. Witnesses say that there were clashes in the western side of the village. Israeli media reported that the army asked residents of the settlement to remain in their homes after three firebombs were thrown in the area.

Israeli forces detain 15 in overnight arrest raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) Monday 27 Jan — Israeli military forces detained 15 Palestinians overnight Sunday, locals and Israel’s army said.
Israeli forces raided Nablus early Monday and detained Mujahid al-Masri, Ayman Sweidan and Samir Hashim, witnesses said. Ammar al-Walwil, 35, was detained in Balata refugee camp after Israeli soldiers ransacked his home, while Amjad Talal Awwad and Abed Muhammad Abdat were detained in ‘Awarta village. Israeli forces raided the home of journalist Ammar Manny and issued a summons demanding that he report to Israeli intelligence officers, locals said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said 15 Palestinians were detained overnight, three in Nablus, two in Tulkarem, two in Ramallah, and eight in the Hebron area.

Israeli forces detain 3 teenagers in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israeli forces detained three Palestinian teenagers in the al-Thuri neighborhood in East Jerusalem on Monday. Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer from the Al-Damir Association for Human Rights, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the neighborhood early Monday and detained Mahmoud Ayman Abu Nijmah, 19, Majdi Umran Uweida, 18, and Omar Mazin Abu Khatir, 18. All three were taken to the Russian Compound detention center for interrogation over suspected stone throwing.

Soldiers kidnap at least 30 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
IMEMC Tuesday 28 Jan — The army has alleged that the kidnapped Palestinians are ‘wanted’, and [they] were moved to different interrogation centers. Dozens of soldiers invaded various Palestinian communities near Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, and kidnapped two Palestinians in Zeita town, and two in Qabatia. The soldiers also invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, kidnapping two Palestinians. Furthermore, the army invaded the ‘Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus, also in the northern part of the West Bank, broke into and searched several homes in the eastern and western parts of the Nablus district. Local sources said dozens of soldiers invaded Beita town, the Al-Jeser (Bridge) area, and the Martyrs Memorial area, in the heart of the town, fired flares and rounds of live ammunition before kidnapping two Palestinians identified as Imad Hamayel and Bara’ Hamayel. Several military jeeps also invaded the ‘Orif [or ‘Urif] nearby town, and kidnapped a young man, identified as Abdul-Hafith Shihada, after violently breaking into his home and searching it. Soldiers also invaded the Deir Abu Mash‘al town, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped two Palestinians. Local sources in the West Bank district of Bethlehem have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the Deheisha refugee camp, south of the city, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Basel Yousef Melhem, 20, after the soldiers searched and ransacked his home.
In addition, dozens of soldiers invaded the al-‘Ezariyya and Abu Dis towns, near occupied Jerusalem, and kidnapped fifteen Palestinians, including six children; the army said that kidnapped Palestinian are believed to be involved in throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli military vehicles … Hani Halabiyya, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA), that dozens of vehicles, including a number of army buses, invaded the area before the soldiers violently searched homes and property, kidnapping the fifteen young Palestinians … Halabiyya added that the soldiers carried lists containing pictures of young Palestinians from al-‘Ezariyya and Abu Dis, believed to be active in popular resistance against the Wall and settlements. Also in Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, after stopping them at the Zayyim roadblock, east of the city, and took them to an unknown destination, after violently beating them. The two, Ashraf Azzam Za’aqeeq, 26, and Mohammad Hussein Za’aqeeq, 22, both from Hebron, were kidnapped by the soldiers as they were heading back home from work.

Two journalists detained, a third attacked
IMEMC Tues 28 Jan by Chris Carlson — Israeli forces detained on Monday, January 27, 2014 European Press Agency photographer Abed El-Hafiz Al-Hashlamoon and WAFA Agency photographer Ahmed Mizher, during their coverage of the clashes which erupted between Palestinian citizens and IOF in Khilat Al-Nahl area near the city of Bethlehem, The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a press release. According to the Palestinian News News Network (PNN), Al-Hashlamoon reported to the MADA that Israeli occupation forces searched, insulted, and detained them for about an hour and half.
In a related incident, Israeli forces attacked on Friday, January 24, 2014, the French agency photographer Jafaar Ishteya, when he was covering the Kafr Qaddoum village north of West Bank weekly demonstration against the wall and the settlement.

Israeli police arrest 10-year-old Palestinian
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Jan – Israeli police arrested Monday a 10-year-old Palestinian alleging he threw stones at Israelis, said witnesses. Police arrested Ameer Ramadi at his Sheikh Jarrah home in East Jerusalem and took him to the police station. [End]

Israeli forces arrest teen in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian teenager in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya on Tuesday, locals said. Mahmoud Abu Snieneh, 14, was assaulted and detained by soldiers during clashes in the area, witnesses said.

OCHA warns of the seriousness of targeting Palestinian children by IOF
Uruknet 26 Jan — United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA) warned of the seriousness of the Israeli occupation’s recent practices targeting Palestinian children. The UN said in its monthly report issued on Friday that the clashes that took place during demonstrations and military operations with Israeli forces across the West Bank caused the injury of 38 Palestinians, including ten children, this week. The report said that the process of targeting the children has accelerated pointing out that “six Palestinian children and one adult were injured in four clashes with Israeli forces that erupted during Israeli military operations in the village of Anata and in Al Ezariya (both in Jerusalem), in the village of Silwad (Ramallah), and near Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem).” It added: “The injury of Palestinian children in clashes with Israeli forces has become a key protection concern during 2013, when the number of such injuries more than doubled compared to the previous year — from 526 to 1,185.”

Israelis detain camel for ‘infiltrating military zone’
Middle East Monitor 26 Jan — Israeli security forces have detained a camel alleged to have “infiltrated” a “military zone” near Bethlehem, taking the level of arbitrary arrests and harassment of young Palestinians to a new low. The head of Rashaida village council, Fawaz Rashaydeh, told Quds news agency that Israeli soldiers arrested the camel belonging to Moslim Younis Rashaydeh and took it to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement near Bethany. The soldiers arrested the camel’s owner at the same time and forced him to pay a fine of 2,000 shekels for the return of the animal and an additional 600 shekels as a “transfer fee”. Rashaydeh accused the Israelis of acting with intent to drive Palestinians from their land to the east of Bethlehem. According to Mr Rashaydeh, this is not the first time that the occupation forces have confiscated and detained livestock belonging to local citizens. “Over the past few years Israel has confiscated several herds of cattle belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village,” he said.

West Bank riot illustrates essence of occupation
972blog 29 Jan by Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) — When residents of one of the most radical settlements in the West Bank terrorized their Palestinian neighbors, the army and police did what they are becoming known for doing: absolutely nothing — On April 25th, 2013, Raed Mahmoud Ahmad Sabah was in his house in the village of ‘Urif when he noticed three Israeli civilians, all wearing hoods, approaching his house from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. Shortly afterwards, a settlement security vehicle joined the group, and out stepped a man who Sabah identified as a settlement security officer. Several minutes late, two IDF vehicles arrived, out of which emerged a handful of soldiers. The squad of hooded Israelis was reinforced by even more hooded Israelis who also came from the direction of Yitzhar. Together they began to hurl stones at Sabah’s home and at the neighboring houses and uprooting saplings. The Israeli soldiers, along with the settlement security officer, just stood about aimlessly. Only when the young men of ‘Urif gathered to defend themselves and their property, did the army spring into action. Naturally, the IDF and Border Police began firing tear gas canisters at the Palestinians.

Gaza under blockade

Israeli forces shoot, injure man in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israeli soldiers on Monday shot and injured a Palestinian man east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, a medical official said. Spokesman for Gaza’s Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma‘an that a 34-year-old man was shot in the chest by Israeli fire. The man, who was not identified, is in a critical condition. Shortly before the man was shot Israeli forces opened fire indiscriminately after an explosion rocked the central border area as an Israeli military jeep was passing by. A large group of Israeli troops were seen in the area and fired smoke bombs in order to evacuate the jeep, witnesses said.

Two Palestinian fishermen, including child, kidnapped by Israeli forces off Gaza
GAZA (ISM, Rosa Schiano) 27 Jan — On Monday, 20th January, at about 6:00 am, Yousef Amin Abo Warda (age 18) and his cousin Ahmad Kamal Abo Warda (age 16) left their house to go fishing in a small boat without an engine. Around 7:30 am they were fishing in front of the al-Waha area, in the northern Gaza Strip, and sank their fishing nets about three kilometers, or 1.6 nautical miles, offshore. The arrest  Yousef said two large Israeli gunboats approached the fishing boats. While other fishermen were able to escape, for Yousef and Ahmad it was impossible, as their boat had no engine and was made heavy by seawater seeping through a hole. “Soldiers from one of the gunboats began shooting into the water, while the second gunboat quickly turned around us to create waves,” Yousef said. The soldiers, as they usually do when they want to arrest fishermen, asked the two young Palestinians to undress, dive into the water and swim to the Israeli ship. “I tried to get closer to their ship by swimming, but the ship moved away, so it became hard for me,” Yousef said. ”I cried that I was tired moving my arms. I could no longer swim. The ship stopped. I went directly to the ladder that they putdown and I climbed on board the ship.” “They made me kneel down and handcuffed my hands behind my back,” Yousef added. ”They gave me some clothes and helped me put them on. They yelled to my cousin Ahmad to swim toward the ship. After about half hour Ahmad was sitting behind me. Our hands and feet were tied.” Moreover, the soldiers kicked the two fishermen on their backs.

Teenager killed in explosion in Khan Younis
IMEMC 27 Jan by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian teenager was killed in an explosion which took place, on Sunday, in the al-Boeij refugee camp, in central Gaza. The sources said that Ashraf Farajallah, 18, died of serious injuries to the head resulting from the blast. Security sources in Gaza said the causes of the blast remain unknown. Ashraf al-Qodra, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, stated that Farajallah was initially moved to al-Aqsa Hospital in the nearby town of Deir al-Balah, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported. He was subsequently moved to Shifa Medical Center, in Gaza city, due to the seriousness of his condition, but succumbed to his injuries.

Israeli forces violate Gaza border, level agricultural lands
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Israeli bulldozers escorted by military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, violating the coastal enclave’s borders and destroying agricultural land nearby. Eyewitnesses told a Ma‘an reporter that bulldozers violated the border near ‘Abasan, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip in order to level agricultural land. Eyewitnesses added that Israeli troops escorted the bulldozers and fired smoke bombs in order to obscure locals’ vision of the operation…
The day comes a day after an explosion was reported in the same area while an Israeli military jeep was driving along the border. Large swathes of land in the Gaza Strip are considered by Israel to be part of a ‘security buffer zone’ extending between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip from the border.  Israeli forces frequently raid this zone, leveling agricultural lands, and regularly open fire on Palestinian civilians in the area. In the last week alone, one Palestinian has been killed and another injured by Israeli fire in the border region. According to OCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.

In Gaza, water — and time — are running out
Haaretz 28 Jan by Zafrir Rinat — The Gaza Strip is facing a severe shortage of potable water and immediate action is necessary, Israeli and Palestinian experts said Monday. Without the provision of water to meet basic needs in the near future, Gaza could see a spike in diseases due to the reduction in the quality of water available, the environmental and water experts warned at a conference hosted by Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum. A collaboration by Friends of the Earth Middle East and the Institute for National Security Studies, the conference focused on including environmental and water issues in the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Among the participants was Prof. Uri Shani, former head of the Water Authority and current Israeli representative in the talks with the Palestinians and Jordanians on water. Shani said Gaza already has a high rate of water pollution-related childhood illnesses, which threaten to cross over to Israel as well. Shani said the international project to establish a desalination plant for Gaza would take years to complete and warned that an additional supply of water is needed now …  “Hamas is not working to solve the water problem. Israel has ignored it too, and so far has not kept its promises to increase the water supply,” said Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, after the conference. “In addition, there are problems with the electricity supply in the Gaza Strip, which makes it difficult to construct desalination or sewage treatment facilities. We are facing a disaster, since in a little while there will be no water in Gaza. No fence will stop a million and a half people – with no reprieve offered by Hamas – who will try to reach Israel so that they will have water to drink.”

Hamas denies connection to Sinai violence
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Hamas on Monday condemned Egyptian statements linking the Palestinian group to the ongoing crisis in Egypt, denying any connection to a Sinai-based militant group and calling upon authorities to stop the “lies.” Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has no connections to Gaza nor to Palestine, referring to a Sinai-based Wahhabi militant group that has been behind a string of bombings targeting Egyptian state institutions in recent months. Abu Zuhri added that alleging that the movement is from Gaza is an attempt by authorities to export the Egyptian crisis to Gaza, and called for a end to all the “lies, which only serve the Israeli occupation.” … Abu Zuhri also denied claims made by former Egyptian general Sameh Seif el-Yazal that Sam-7 rockets are being smuggled from Gaza to Sinai. Abu Zuhri highlighted that the weapon is not made in Gaza but in Russia, and is readily available on the black market.

Gaza group says it has manufactured new missile launcher
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Jan– The Gaza-based al-Mujahideen Brigades, the military wing of the al-Mujahideen movement, announced on Monday that they have manufactured a new type of handheld missile launcher. A spokesman for the group, named Abu Omar, said in a statement received by Ma‘an that the new launcher called “Sair”, which means “flames” or “hell” in Arabic, would be used in any new confrontation with Israeli occupation forces. “The launcher was (created as) part of efforts to develop resistance weapons as the enemy has been threatening to launch a new aggression against the Gaza Strip,” the statement said, referring to a series of Israeli strikes and assassinations in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks. Abu Omar added that resistance has several more “surprises” which would be revealed if any confrontation breaks out with the Israeli occupation. The al-Mujahideen Brigades are a little known movement that originally emerged from Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades but became independent and today lean towards the group Islamic Jihad. Al-Mujahideen has carried out rocket attacks on Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip, in contravention of the ceasefire the Hamas-led Gaza government currently maintains with Israel.

Israeli tank targeted near Gaza border
World Bulletin 28 Jan — An unidentified group on Tuesday attacked an Israeli tank near the border with Israel with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), a Palestinian security source said. A massive explosion was heard in the border area between the Al-Maghazi refugee camp and an Israeli military site, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency. A security source said the blast had been caused by an attack on a tank on the Israeli side of the border, adding that the tank had sustained minor damage. Israeli military reinforcements, the source said, had since arrived in the area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, while Israeli authorities have yet to comment on the incident.

Ruins of Gaza airport tell sad tale
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 28 Jan by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Not far from the border gate in Rafah, where thousands of travelers are held up after the Egyptian authorities closed the crossing, lies the Gaza International Airport. The airport is made up of three huge buildings adorned with Moroccan mosaics. The first is for VIP travelers and topped with a golden dome, the second is the departures/arrivals lounge and the third houses the Palestinian Airlines administration. Behind these structures stretches a long runway. The airport has a large main gate and another secondary one.  From afar, these buildings look operational, but as you get closer the destruction becomes apparent. There are no passengers or planes, and the buildings have been bombed out and emptied of everything but their outer structure. Even the stones that made up the tarmac have been stolen, and the runway has become a winter pasture for the sheep of nearby nomads. A horse’s cadaver lies nearby. This is what the airport has become ever since Israel bulldozed many of its structures on Dec. 4, 2001. Eight days later, Israeli aircraft bombed the radar tower, and on Dec. 15 another strike completely destroyed the runway. On June 26, 2006, the Israeli military occupied the airport facilities and began using them as a military base. The airport was opened by former President Authority Yasser Arafat in 1998 with funding from Spain, Germany and other countries. Moroccan architects took charge of its decoration and design. The ruins of the VIP hall, with its golden dome and mosaic walls, are the only testament to the airport’s distinguished architecture.

Prisoners / Release of Palestinian remains

Palestinians earn degrees while in Israeli jail
TUBAS, West Bank (AP) 27 Jan by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Jamal Abu Muhsin was a first-year Palestinian university student when he was convicted of stabbing a 76-year-old Israeli man to death in 1991, in retaliation for the killings of five Palestinian stone-throwers by Israeli soldiers. Recently released from prison, he’s now beginning a new chapter of his life thanks to a pair of university degrees — all earned behind bars. Abu Muhsin is among hundreds of Palestinians who have spent their time in Israeli prison pursuing higher education — a program that was supported by the Israeli prison system for two decades until it was cut in 2011 as part of a series of sanctions against prisoners. Since then, prisoners secretly have organized their own courses, with backing from universities in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian officials say. Uprising leader Marwan Barghouti, the most famous Palestinian prisoner, teaches a master’s degree course in Israel Studies, and Abu Muhsin was one of Barghouti’s students. Abu Muhsin said studying helped him get through 23 years behind bars. [not unusual – convicts in U.S. prisons, for example, commonly pursue higher education, regardless of their crimes]

Israel to release remains of Jenin area man who died in 2002
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israeli authorities will return the remains of a Palestinian militant who carried out a bombing inside Israel over a decade ago, a human right groups said on Monday. Israeli human rights group Center for the Defense of the Individual (HaMoked) said in a statement that the remains of Abdul-Karim Tahaynah from Silat al-Harithiya in the Jenin district will be returned on Sunday, twelve years after he was killed in an operation in northern Israel. Tahaynah’s remains will be returned via the Taybeh checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem at 8 p.m. on Sunday. The remains matched DNA samples taken from relatives, HaMoked added. Tahaynah died on March 5, 2002 after he detonated an explosive belt he had on his body inside an Israeli bus in Afula. The operation killed one Israeli passenger and and injured more than twenty others. Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the operation, which took place at the height of the Second Intifada against the Israeli occupation. The day before the attack, 17 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli attacks across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. So far this year, four Palestinian families have received the remains of relatives who were killed by Israeli forces and whose bodies had been held in Israel. A fifth family is expected to receive their relative’s remains on Tuesday.

Palestinian refugees in Syria

VIDEO: Yarmouk camp residents ‘can’t remember’ last time he ate
Al Arabiya 24 Jan — A starving elderly man appeared in a video this week expressing the agony of finding food in Syria’s besieged Yarmouk refugee camp. The 27-second footage showing his severe malnutrition went viral on social media, as it signaled the humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian refugee camp, which has been ongoing for months.  “I can’t remember,” the man said when asked by the camera-holder when was the last time he had eaten. Images of starving Palestinian refugees have shocked many worldwide, with children and women in labor dying due to lack of food.

Death toll rises in Yarmouk as siege and bombings continue
Mondoweiss 26 Jan by Allison Deger — A week ago the world rejoiced when food trucks finally arrived to Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria to alleviate mass starvation, after nearly 200 days of siege and over 50 dead. Parcels of lentils, oil, sugar, rice and noodles were distributed. People gathered in the streets to cook a coffee-table-sized pot of soup. But an hour later two blasts hit the camp, and the siege and its bombing campaign were back … Even after the food arrived, it did little to curtail the starvation throughout the camp that has emaciated its lingering 40,000 residents. The death toll now has exceeded 63, jumping ten more after the food trucks entered. Abdallah, 24, a Palestinian raised in Syria living inside of Yarmouk, said only 50 food parcels came: “Finally, after all the pressure and the popular media and international attention, the Syrian government has only allowed 50 food parcels—with the knowledge that the number per household exceeds twelve persons per family inside the camp. The living conditions are in the worst stages. The introduction of some food parcels did not change the fact that the tragedy in the camp already caused more than 55 deaths due to hunger and the majority of children are suffering from malabsorption and malnutrition.”

Crisis in Yarmouk camp in Syria unites Palestinians
Al-Monitor 27 Jan by Daoud Kuttab — Never in recent memory has any single issue or location unified Palestinians as much as the starvation of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp just outside Damascus. The camp, one of the biggest in Syria, has been a target of the internal Syrian conflict, with some opposition forces holed up inside and government forces keeping a tight siege on the camp. For weeks, Palestine TV has been covering nonstop the siege of Yarmouk. Political leaders are paraded, news of the status of the food shipment updated every hour and a fund-raising campaign has also been initiated. The save Yarmouk drive was not confined to official Palestinian TV. Social media, local groups, demonstrators and communities inside Palestine and out and on both sides of the Syrian crisis have all been recruited to give attention to the besieged camp. The name Yarmouk was even publicly stated during the opening sessions of the Geneva II conference in Switzerland. What is remarkable is that the save Yarmouk initiative has infiltrated all fields and has been adopted and picked up by political groups that have not seen eye to eye. While Fatah seems to be the lead faction paying attention to Yarmouk and its destiny, supporters of other Palestinian groups, including Hamas, have also joined the bandwagon, collecting donations and making public declarations. Palestinians and their supporters in Jordan, the Gulf and other diaspora locations have also experienced public rallies and fund-raising campaigns. UNRWA, the international organization responsible for Palestinian refugees, also initiated its own campaign to help Yarmouk.

Group: 7 Palestinians die of hunger, lack of medical care in Yarmouk
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Seven Palestinian refugees who died in the past few days in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus were identified Tuesday by a Palestinian group based in Syria. The Workforce for Palestinians in Syria identified seven victims in a statement received by Ma‘an on Tuesday, adding to dozens who have already died as a result of deteriorating conditions and widespread hunger in the camp … The statement also mentioned the high numbers of Palestinians currently being held in detention, adding that the group’s statistics show that 391 Palestinian refugees have been detained in Syria, of whom 355 are detained by the Syrian regime, and 36 by the opposition forces. Detainees include journalists, and humanitarian activists.  Renowned Palestinian doctor Hayil Hmeid has been in custody since Aug. 11, 2012. Syrian regime security forces detained Dr. Hmeid from his private clinic. According to the statement, 137 Palestinian refugees have died of torture in custody since the beginning of the unrest in Syria. The latest victim was 70-year-old Osama Omar Abu Hashim, an engineer and renowned human rights activist in Aleppo … At least 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syria conflict, and around 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their homes in Syria due to violence in the country. Prior to the conflict, 600,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria.

PFLP-GC: No [acceptance of] Hamas move to end Yarmouk crisis
DAMASCUS (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — The pro-regime Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command group denied reports Monday that it accepted an initiative from Hamas to end the siege at Yarmouk refugee camp. But the PFLP-GC welcomed Hamas’ recent statement in which the movement tried to convince militia groups to sign an initiative of 14 Palestinian factions and withdraw from the camp. There were no other initiatives, the statement said. Hamas spokesman in Lebanon Ali Baraka said earlier on Monday that parties agreed to Hamas’ initiative which aims to end the siege on the camp, the PFLP-GC said.  Baraka also said that 80 percent of the militias in the camp agreed to Hamas’s initiative, a claim which was categorically denied by the PFLP-GC.

Political, other news

Fatah: Hamas has yet to reply to reconciliation proposal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Jan — A Fatah spokesman on Tuesday said that Hamas did not reply to Fatah’s recent proposal on a reconciliation agreement.  The head of Fatah’s reconciliation team Azzam al-Ahmad said earlier this month that he would visit the Gaza Strip and meet with Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.  However, spokesman Hassan Ahmad told Ma‘an that “al-Ahmad’s visit to Gaza is linked to Hamas’ approval to hold elections and form a unity government. But Hamas has yet to reply to the proposal given by al-Ahmad to Haniyeh in the latest phone call.” But Ahmad said that the Gaza government allowing 120 Fatah members back into the Gaza Strip was a positive move. “There are no precise statistics on the number of Fatah members who left after the division in 2007,” he said.

Palestinians, US to try to bridge gaps in framework deal
Haaretz 28 Jan by Jack Khoury — Negotiator Saeb Erekat to present list of ‘gross Israeli violations’ of terms of peace talks — Palestinian negotiators will be in Washington Tuesday to try to bridge the gaps on all issues in the Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aims to draft. A senior Palestinian source who has been briefed on the issue told Haaretz that the Palestinians seek clarifications from Kerry’s team on several issues. “We want to clarify what the 1967 borders are from the Americans’ standpoint, and how they see the status of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and another long list of things including security issues,” he said. The Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported Monday that Saeb Erekat, who heads the Palestinian negotiating team, expects to receive a written document from the Americans detailing their ideas about any future agreement. Erekat, for his part, plans to present Kerry with a list of what he called gross Israeli violations of the terms of the negotiating process and attempts to determine facts on the ground.

PLO official: Israelis welcome to apply for immigration to ‘Palestine’
The Media Line 29 Jan — PM Netanyahu’s remarks on possibility of Israeli Jews living under Palestinian rule stir controversy among State’s political leaders. PA President Abbas also against idea, but Palestinian officials say possibility not ruled out — …According to Ashrawi, the Palestinian Basic Law does not discriminate against race or religion. “(Israelis) are more than welcome to apply for residency under our basic laws as individuals, but not Jewish enclaves or ghettos in Palestine,” the Palestinian legislator said.,7340,L-4482204,00.html

Abbas ready to meet Netanyahu ‘any time’
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he was ready to meet Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any time, Israeli media reported. “Quote me on this: I am ready to meet Netanyahu any time,” Abbas told Israeli TV. Asked if he would address the Israeli parliament, or if he would allow Netanyahu to speak in the Palestinian one, Abbas responded that “We can consider this … I don’t rule out the idea.”  In Abbas’ interview with the Institute for National Security Studies, which was published on Israel’s Ynet news site and other Israeli media, he addressed Israeli security concerns and explained the PLO’s view of ending the conflict.

2 UNRWA employees on hunger strike taken to hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Jan  — Two UNRWA employees on a hunger strike were taken to the hospital on Monday, the 56th day of the refuge agency employees strike. Mohammad al-Atawna, director of media at the Palestinian Workers’ Union, said hunger strikers Talal Imrezeq, 35, from Hebron and Naser Bazoor, 47, from Nablus were taken to hospitals after their health deteriorated. They are among 28 UNRWA employees on a hunger strike throughout the West Bank for the last 30 days.

Palestinian president presides over mass wedding
JERICHO, West Bank (AP) 28 Jan by Karin Laub & Mohammed Daraghmeh — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday presided over a mass wedding of 218 couples in the parking lot of a five-star hotel, for the first time copying a social outreach tactic perfected by his Islamic militant rivals as he courted popular support. With unemployment in double digits and the cost of living rising, couples unable to afford a traditional wedding jumped at the chance of the all-expenses-paid party. Abbas’ office funded the event with more than $1 million, including $4,000 in startup money for each couple … Some of the brides grumbled about missing out on their own special day in a white dress. “Of course every bride dreams of having her own party, not a mass wedding,” said 17-year-old Safaa Dawas from the Balata refugee camp, who finished beauty school but is unemployed. Her husband, 27-year-old Ali Farraj, works in an aluminum factory, but doesn’t earn enough to make her dream of a traditional wedding come true. Others said a group wedding now is preferable to waiting for years to get married. According to local custom, the groom has to pay for all expenses, including the wedding party, the bridal gown and a gold dowry, as well as provide a place for the couple to live. At a minimum, a young man needs about $10,000 for a traditional wedding, usually attended by several hundred guests. Many have to put off getting married because they can’t afford it.

Israel attacks Syria missile facility in Latakia again
Tikun Olam 27 Jan by Richard Silverstein — Israeli media are reporting (Hebrew and now in English) an attack on Syria’s missile infrastructure in the port city of Latakia.  It is Syria’s main port where it receives all weapons that arrive by sea.  Russia, one of Bashar al-Assad’s main military patrons sends much of his missile systems via Latakia, which explains why this is at least Israel’s third attack.  The first attack, first reported here last July as Israeli in origin, was supposed to have wiped out the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile system.  However, Israel had coordinated the attack with the FSA, and an informer planted by the regime warned Assad of the it.  Most of the weapons components were removed before the Israeli air force attacked.  Thus, an Israeli triumph turned to ashes. We still do not know what Israel’s target was.  My Israeli source will only confirm reports attributed to the rebels that Israel was responsible for the attack.

Analysis / Opinion / Reviews

And in other Holocaust-related news …
Haaretz 28 Jan by Amira Hass — In what way are The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz English Edition similar? Both devote lots of space to prominently placed articles on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. But they don’t devote much space to settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. That’s the conclusion of a Palestinian student at Bir Zeit University, who, in an assignment for a communications seminar, examined the print editions of both newspapers between October 20 and November 20 last year. (Full disclosure: The student, Adla Nazer, interviewed me while she was working on her research.) During the 30 days of her survey, settlers committed 32 attacks of various types against Palestinians, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. But according to Nazer, Haaretz English Edition published only five items on the issue, while The Jerusalem Post published just one – and even that was on the mildest type of attack: spray-painting graffiti (in Jerusalem), not a physical attack, arson, or the destruction of olive trees, for example.

Tale of Palestinian family torn apart by prison brought to London stage
LONDON (Electronic Intifada) 28 Jan by Emily Lawrence — For Palestinians growing up in the militarily occupied West Bank, the threat of imprisonment in an Israeli jail is a constant and very real fear. Since the occupation began in 1967, an estimated 40 percent of the male population has been detained under military orders. Of those, thousands have been held in a procedure known as administrative detention, in which prisoners are held indefinitely without charge or trial. This is the theme of The Keepers of Infinite Space, a new London play written by Omar El-Khairy and directed by Zoe Lafferty. It follows the story of Saeed (played by Edmund Kingsley), a bookshop owner from Nablus, who is arrested, thrown into an Israeli prison and has his sentence renewed indefinitely. It soon unfolds that his father Khalil (Hilton McRae), now a property developer, was held in the same prison in the 1990s for his involvement in the Palestinian resistance. The play primarily examines the brutal treatment and torture of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, as well as drawing on a range of other issues surrounding the occupation. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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One Response

  1. Citizen
    January 29, 2014, 8:50 pm

    Thanks Kate, for compiling this horrid factual treasure.

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