Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Exile / Restriction of movement
Israel to take over area around Ibrahimi Mosque
HEBRON (WAFA) 16 Jan – The Israeli military government Thursday said it is going to take over an area around the Ibrahimi mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, according to local sources. They told WAFA that residents found a notice posted by the Israeli army on the mosque walls, threatening to take over the land and properties surrounding the mosque under the pretext of military reasons, stating that the land will become under full army control. Abdul Hadi Hantash, an expert on settlements in the Hebron area, said that the area surrounding the mosque is one of the most vulnerable locations targeted by the Israelis in an attempt to implement their settlement plan of turning the heart of the city of Hebron into a city for their settlers and to completely isolate the Ibrahimi mosque from its Palestinian surroundings.
Israeli forces issue demolition orders to residents near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli forces issued demolition notices for houses, tents, and wells in a southern West Bank village on Wednesday, residents said. Ziad Abd al-Mahdi Shalaldeh told Ma‘an that residents of the village of Sa‘ir were given until Feb. 12 to evacuate their homes in preparation for the demolitions. The buildings slated for demolition house around 50 people, Shalaldeh said. Demolition orders were handed to Ziad Abdul Mahdi Shalalda, Ibrahim Mustafa Shalalda, Ahmad Mohammad Mustafa Shalalda, Yassin Mohammad Mustafa Shalalda, Walid Mohammad Mustafa Shalalda, and Faris Yassin Mohammad Mustafa Shalalda. “We have been living in these houses for many years,” he said, adding that Israel plans to expand the nearby Asfar settlement onto the land after demolishing the structures. “We will not leave our land despite the occupation’s threats.”
Israel orders family to stop building of home
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 16 Jan – The Israeli military authorities Thursday ordered a Palestinian family from the town of al-Khader near Bethlehem to stop building their home under the pretext of not having a permit, according to local activist. They also ordered the removal of the electricity grid in that area. Ahmad Salah, from the committee against the wall and settlements in al-Khader, said staff from the Israeli military government’s civil administration handed Ali Ahmad Issa and order to stop construction on his 120-square-meter house. Salah said the al-Khader municipality was also ordered to remove the electricity grid that provides power to several homes in the same area. He said other homes in the area are likely to be demolished after owners had received demolition orders under the pretext that they were built close to the segregation wall.
Soldiers raze land near Nablus
IMEMC 15 Jan – Israeli bulldozers, on Wednesday, razed around 60 dunums (nearly 15 acres) of land belonging to Palestinians in the village of Jalud, south of Nablus, according to a local official. Head of Jalud village council Abdullah Mohammad told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) that bulldozers from a nearby settlement outpost, protected by soldiers, razed around 60 dunums of land belonging to residents of the village. He said that the settlers’ measures against residents in that area have escalated lately, and that soldiers have also prevented farmers from entering and working in their 300 dunums of land in the village.
Israel to destroy another Haifa neighborhood, evict Palestinian residents
HAIFA (Electronic Intifada) 16 Jan by Patrick O. Strickland — An Israeli municipality plans to demolish al-Mahatta, a historic Palestinian neighborhood in Haifa. It will be replaced by the expansion of an existing railway, new housing units, nightclubs and restaurants, among other venues designed to bring in increased tourist revenues. “Since I was five years old, I’ve been hearing that al-Mahatta is going to be completely destroyed … but today, I can’t imagine that we have more than two or three years left in our homes,” George Eskandar, chairman of al-Mahatta’s neighborhood committee, told The Electronic Intifada. Around 160 people from more than 30 families are facing eviction. All of them carry Israeli citizenship. Eskandar, 34, lives with his wife and four-year-old son in his family’s home. He and his wife also work as actors. “This is where I was born and where I’ve spent my whole life,” he said. The program to demolish al-Mahatta is part of an already approved national plan to develop coastal areas up and down present-day Israel. Haifa’s municipality has until the end of 2014 to decide the local details of the plan for al-Mahatta, and another five years to fully implement it. Only two of the remaining structures — one of which is a local church — will be left standing once Israel’s plans for al-Mahatta are carried out. Until now, the plan has only been implemented in the form of individual housing demolitions and evictions on a home-to-home basis.
In the shadow of the Wall: The Bedouin of al-Ram
Palestine Monitor 14 Jan by Mike J.C. — A small Bedouin community pressed between the West Bank town of al-Ram and the Israeli separation barrier illustrates the vast discrepancies in poverty and vulnerability amidst a nation already struggling under occupation. On a narrow strip of land scores of meters wide, the families of the small pastoral community, made up of about 35 people in six households, struggle to feed their children. Some of the Bedouin work in town, while others tend animals and the land to contribute to their predominantly subsistence lifestyle. Conditions deteriorated sharply seven years ago when Israel completed the eight-meter high concrete wall, pressing the Bedouin tight against the edge of Al-Ram and isolating them completely from the gentle rolling hills they had been accustomed to living off for 33 years. Not far away, the Israeli settlement of Neve Ya’akov has no such barrier between it and the same terrain … Since the wall’s completion and the loss of their pastures, the Bedouin’s grazable livestock plummeted from about a hundred to just around a dozen. Now from their simple homes and gardens, they are confined to a view of alleyways and building backsides in one direction, and the wall and their inaccessible land in the other direction.
Israel to free 2 Jerusalem prisoners on condition of exile
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli authorities on Wednesday agreed to free two Palestinian Jerusalemites on the condition that they be deported from Jerusalem, a prisoners’ committee spokesman said. Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesman for a committee that represents Jerusalemite prisoners, told Ma‘an that Israel agreed to free a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs. Abu Asab said that lawmaker Muhammad Tutah and former minister Khalid Abu Arafah have been detained for two years on the charge of entering Jerusalem “illegally,” after Israel revoked their Jerusalem IDs. Both Tutah and Abu Arafah have also been accused of being leaders of the Hamas movement in the Jerusalem area, Abu Asab said. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the 24-month imprisonment was sufficient punishment, and that the two should be released, giving the Israeli military prosecution a week to respond, he said. The response came Wednesday that the prisoners would be released but would have to leave Jerusalem. The two were detained by undercover Israeli forces on Jan. 23, 2012, from offices of the International Red Cross Committee in Jerusalem, Abu Asab said.
Academic delegation to Palestine endures 10-hour interrogation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Members of an academic delegation were held for 10 hours by Israeli security forces when crossing into Palestine from Jordan, a statement said Tuesday. A delegation of six academics and a labor activist came to the West Bank to conduct meetings with Palestinian scholars “in order to better understand conditions on the ground and to facilitate future collaborations,” one of the members said in a statement. University of Illinois professor Junaid Rana said that on Sunday, four members of the delegation were held and interrogated by Israeli security forces, Interior Ministry employees, and the military for over 10 hours at the border. “They were pressed about their scholarly research, academic networks, family backgrounds, nationalities, and ethnic origins,” Rana said. “The Israeli security officer demanded contact and cell phone information and two delegates were coerced into accessing their email accounts using Israeli security computers.” ….
6 Palestinian villagers injured as armed settlers attack Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Six Palestinians, including a child, were injured in clashes that broke out after a group of Israeli settlers tried to raid Beit Ummar village near Hebron on Friday afternoon. Spokesman for the local popular resistance committee Mohammad Awad Ayyad said that Israeli forces attacked a funeral procession in the village as dozens of settlers, some armed, gathered near the graveyard. Settlers also attacked a restaurant in the area, smashed its windows and forced workers to close it down at gun point, Ayyad said. He added that villagers arrived at the scene and scuffled with settlers, before Israeli forces intervened and fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinian villagers. Five people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by the Israeli forces, and a child was injured after the rear windshield of his mother’s car was shattered by a stun grenade. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that around “200 Israeli civilians” had gathered in Beit Ummar but that “nothing out of the ordinary was happening,” at that time, adding that later some Palestinians “hurled rocks.”
Jewish settler assaults two Palestinian kids in Ya‘bud town
JENIN (PIC) 17 Jan — A Jewish settler physically assaulted two Palestinian minors from Ya‘bud town, south of Jenin, and threatened to kill them during their presence near the illegal settlement Hermesh. Local sources reported that Ahmed Ghassan and Ahmed Armelah, both 15, were walking in an area belonging to Ya‘bud town near the settlement, when a settler working as a security man intercepted them and took them to the entrance of Hermesh. They added that the security man severely beat them and threatened to shoot them if he spotted them again walking near the settlement.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Illegal settlers attacked a mosque in the village of Deir Istiya
DEIR ISTIYA (ISM Nablus Team) 16 Jan — In the early morning of Wednesday the 15th January 2014, at 3:45 AM, the muezzin of the Deir Istiya village went from his home to the Abu Bakr mosque west of the village in order to prepare for the first prayer. He found the entrance to the mosque under fire. He immediately brought water from his home in order to douse the flames. When the fire was under control, he announced over the loudspeaker of the mosque for all the villagers to come and see what had happened. The villagers witnessed graffiti in Hebrew lettering at the entrance of the mosque; they also found gasoline containers which had been used and empty spray paint canisters. The graffiti said: “Our blood has been shed and we will take revenge for Qusra,” “ In memory of Qusra” and “Arabs Out”. In February 2013, settlers had attempted to burn the same mosque which was built in 2005. The guilty party were never found. The Israeli border police and Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene at 6 AM. They took pictures of the mosque, including the graffiti and the burned entrance. They took the gasoline containers and spray paint canisters into evidence. On the land between the west of the village by the mosque and the settler road the police found a mobile phone which is believed to belong to one of the settlers, lost on his or her escape. This was also taken into evidence.
The evening before the incident, Israeli forces entered the village of Deir Istiya; they then set a curfew not allowing any of the villagers to leave their homes after 10 PM; the residents then witnessed the soldiers shooting flares and throwing stun grenades. Nobody knows exactly when the Israeli army left the village. The residents believe that the Israeli soldiers prepared everything for the settler attack to avoid eye witnesses on the streets. On the settler road by the junction to the illegal settlements of Revava and Yakir, there is an Israeli army jeep parked at all times in order to protect the settlements; there is also a camera tower, which monitors the street, the field up the hill and to the mosque on the edge of the village of Deir Istiya. However, when a villager arrived at the mosque that morning, he noted that the army jeep was not in its usual position; he speculated that the soldiers left that area in order to allow the settlers free access….
Minister orders formation of local committees to protect mosques
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — The Palestinian Authority’s minister of religious endowments and religious affairs on Wednesday decided to form local committees to monitor and protect mosques from settler attacks. Mahmoud al-Habbash’s decision was announced during a visit to a mosque in the Salfit village of Deir Istiya which was burned by settlers earlier on Wednesday. Al-Habbash instructed installing cameras on mosques near settlements in order protect them from further attacks.
Hundreds of settlers raid private Palestinian land in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Hundreds of settlers raided private Palestinian land near the illegal Hebron settlement of Kiryat Arba on Tuesday. Badee Dweik, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, said that over 300 settlers raided land belonging to Rashid al-Zarou, Hamid al-Zarou, and Hamdy Abu Rmeila. The settlers planted some trees on the land and dug up private land.
Israeli settlers farm on land confiscated from Palestinian village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 Jan — Dozens of Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli forces early Friday began farming on lands confiscated from Palestinian farmers in a village south of Hebron, a popular committee coordinator told Ma‘an. Ratib al-Jbour said that the settlers began planting saplings on land that was confiscated from the village of al-Hathaleen. Approximately 150 dunams (37 acres) were confiscated months ago, he said. Israeli forces detained several shepherds from the al-Hathaleen family, Al-Jbour said, without providing further details.
Erekat: Israeli settler attacks up by 41 percent
JERICHO (WAFA) 16 Jan – Member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said Thursday that attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians have increased by 41 percent in 2013. Erekat made these comments during separate meetings he had with the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, and the UK Consul-General in Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, as well as Robert Serry, the United Nations special representative and the Norwegian peace envoy. A statement by Erekat’s office said non-stop Israeli settlement activities and crimes committed by settlers the latest was the torching of a mosque in Deir Istiya are the main obstacles to international peacemaking efforts, especially to efforts exerted by US Secretary of State John Kerry. He said the Israeli government bears full responsibility for the ramifications of this policy
In PR offensive, settlers arm themselves with chopsticks
Haaretz 16 Jan — The food business is a departure for Esh Kodesh, a small unauthorized outpost whose residents are better known for their frequent attacks on local Palestinians — Jewish settlers in the West Bank outpost of Esh Kodesh are trying to repair their image. Hot on the heels of a widely publicized foray into a neighboring Palestinian village by a group of settlers last week, comes the news that they’ve launched a new business venture – making and selling sushi … The sushi and B&B are part of an attempt by the women of Esh Kadosh to rebrand the notorious outpost. “The B&B is called Cottage in the Vineyard,” Zeev explains. “We built it so people from all over will come and see how beautiful Judea and Samaria are.”
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
5 shot as Israeli forces disperse protests across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Jan — Israeli forces injured five Palestinian protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets and caused dozens more to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation as they dispersed protests across the West Bank on Friday. The weekly protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall were violently dispersed by Israeli forces in Bil‘in, al-Ma‘sara, Kafr Qaddam, and Tuqu‘. In the village of Bil‘in in the central West Bank, five protesters were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers dispersed a protest against the separation wall and renewed Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian land. Protesters also marched in solidarity with the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, which has been besieged by the Syrian regime since July of last year. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, and exploding bullets at protesters as they neared lands close to the wall that were previously confiscated from villagers by Israeli forces. Coordinator for the popular resistance committee Abdullah Abu Rahma, 43, was injured by a tear gas canister that struck him in the back while Rashid Khatib, 20, Eid al-Khatib, 20, photographer Mohammad Yassin, 21, and Ashraf Abu Rahma, 35, were struck by rubber-coated steel bullets in the legs and feet. [details on the other village protests follow]
Hebron schoolgirl says Israeli soldier threatened to kill her
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — An Israeli soldier threatened to kill a Palestinian girl in Hebron on Wednesday. Asil Jabir, a pupil at Taysir Maraqa preparatory school, said that she was heading to school with some of her friends when a female Israeli soldier stationed at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque forced the group to go back. The girls were forced to take a bypass route to reach the school, which Asil said Israeli forces usually allow them to use. Hours later, the schoolgirls returned via the same checkpoint. “Nobody opposed us, but all of a sudden, the same female soldier, who was hiding, surprised me from the back and grabbed my neck tightly,” Asil said. “She then cuffed my hands and took me to a nearby military post. She tried to bring me into a cabin by force, but I opposed while she was kicking my feet and knocking my chest with her rifle. She threatened to kill me, and whenever somebody came close she asked me to tell them to go away or otherwise she will kill me.” Asil was released after about an hour. The Israeli soldier told her that she would kill her the next time she saw her, Asil said.
Children burned with cigarettes by Israeli soldiers in illegal settlement
Electronic Intifada 15 Jan by Nora Barrows-Friedman — Three Palestinian children were allegedly burned with lit cigarettes and denied access to food, water or toilet facilities after being arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers and police in September, a new report indicates. In separate incidents, the three children were allegedly assaulted and abused during arrest and transfer to the Ariel police station, which is located inside the illegal Ariel settlement colony in the occupied West Bank. Defence for Children International-Palestine section (DCI-Palestine) says that: … Israeli soldiers severely and repeatedly beat Ali S, 14, from Azzun, Hendi S, 17, from Salfit, and Mohammad A, 15, from Tulkarem after arresting them. One soldier extinguished a cigarette butt on Ali’s lip while another burned Hendi’s arm with a cigarette, according to the sworn testimonies of the two teenagers. Hendi and Mohammad were denied access to food, water and toilet facilities for a long period. All three of them were accused of stone throwing.
International activists physically and verbally abused in detention
ISM 15 Jan — On Wednesday 8th January, Vincent Mainville and Fabio Theodule were arrested by Israeli border police in Khalil (Hebron). The two actvists were handcuffed and taken to Jaabara police station where they were forced to kneel on the concrete floor for approximately 30 minutes. Fabio was blindfolded with his own keffiyeh and while kneeling he was pushed against the wall by Israeli border police officers and kicked in his legs. After an hour passed, the makeshift blindfold was removed although their hands remained cuffed behind their backs for the next four to five hours. Fabio and Vincent were questioned by Israeli forces, both refusing to sign documents that were written in Hebrew. They were went taken to Kiryat Arba police station, fingerprinted and then interrogated once again. Several hours passed and it was only at this point that they were allowed to call their legal representative. They were transferred to a police facility near Ben Gurion airport where they were made to wait outside in a prison courtyard for two hours. Fabio asked for water and was told by a border police officer, “If you want to drink, you can drink my piss”. Fabio and Vincent repeatedly asked for jackets or a blanket due to the cold weather, they were both ignored … After they had the short conversation with their lawyer they were taken to the immigration office in Tel Aviv. The two activists tried to refuse to enter this building as they knew their lawyer was attempting to argue against their arrest [which was eventually declared illegal]. It was at this point Israeli forces became extremely aggressive, dragging both Vincent and Fabio by their handcuffs causing their wrists to bleed.Vincent attempted to resist as they were both dragged up a set of stairs and it was at this point a man from the immigration center kicked him in his ribs and his face….
Clashes with Israeli forces spill onto Bethlehem main streets
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Jan — Clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces spilled over onto Bethlehem’s Manger Street on Friday, after two weeks of daily confrontations in nearby ‘Aida refugee camp. Local activist Salah Ajarma told Ma’an that clashes between protesters and Israeli forces took place in the area around Rachel’s Tomb on the main road leading through Bethlehem from Jerusalem to Hebron as well as on nearby Manger Street. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at protesters as they threw rocks towards the soldiers, who blocked off Bethlehem’s main streets. There were unconfirmed reports by local activists and eyewitnesses that one protester was injured in the clashes due to excessive tear gas inhalation.
On Saturday, residents of ‘Azza refugee camp, located near the scene of Friday’s fighting, will hold memorial services to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Salah al-Amarin. The 15-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in ‘Aida refugee camp last January. The clashes in Bethlehem come after nearly two weeks of daily clashes between Israeli forces and youth in ‘Aida refugee camp near Rachel’s Tomb. At least three protesters have been injured in the clashes in ‘Aida refugee camp, two due to live bullets and one due to rubber bullets, according to Ajarma.
Israeli forces injure 2, detain 3 in clashes east of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Jan — Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian youths during clashes with protesters in Eizariya east of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon. During the clashes Israeli forces also detained three protesters after beating them severely, according to local activists. Hani Halabiyeh, a spokesman for the local popular resistance committee, said that clashes broke out at the Kabsa junction in Eizariya between local youths and Israeli occupation forces. The clashes erupted after local youths attempted to break a hole in the Israeli separation wall as it cuts through the village and separates it from nearby Jerusalem. Clashes spread to nearby Abu Dis over the course of the afternoon. Two Palestinian youths were injured in Eizariya during the clashes and were moved to the hospital for treatment. Halabiyeh added that occupation forces detained three locals, who were identified as Ibrahim Damdoum, 17, Mahmoud Zaki Halabiyeh, 17, and Abd Afanah, 30. Halabiyeh said that during the clashes, occupation forces climbed atop local rooftops and had sprayed tear gas canisters and rubber bullets indiscriminately.
IOF raids different areas in occupied WB, triggering clashes
NABLUS (PIC) 16 Jan — Violent clashes erupted Wednesday when Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided Beta village, south of Nablus, on Wednesday night. Eyewitnesses told a PIC reporter that IOF soldiers were deployed in several neighborhoods and closed a number of shops under intensive fire, which led to the outbreak of the clashes with inhabitants. No injuries were reported. Israeli soldiers closed the western entrance to the town, and tightened security measures at Hawara, Zatara, and Yitzhar checkpoints south of Nablus, the sources added.
Meanwhile, clashes continued between dozens of Palestinian youths and IOF soldiers in Jalazoun refugee camp in Ramallah on Wednesday evening. The PIC correspondent said that the youths stoned the Israeli soldiers and set fire in a number of tires, while IOF fired heavy tear gas bombs and metal bullets. A number of youths suffered breathing difficulty after inhaling the gas.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En
IOF soldiers round up five Palestinians
JENIN, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up five Palestinians in Jenin and Bethlehem at dawn Thursday including a teenager. Local sources told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers nabbed three young men in ‘Aida refugee camp, near Bethlehem, after searching their homes and forcing all inhabitants out in the cold weather. The sources said that the soldiers stormed the camp amidst heavy shooting and firing of teargas and sound bombs. They added that the soldiers threw stones at houses. The sources pointed out that the indiscriminate shooting started fire in the house of Juma Owais.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers nabbed two brothers in Teyba village, west of Jenin [not to be confused with Taybeh near Ramallah], which is adjacent to the racist, separation wall. Locals said that the soldiers arrested Anas and Ammar Jabarin after ransacking their homes and forcing their families, including women and children, to stay in the open cold weather during the savage search.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Israeli forces arrest Palestinian man near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Israeli forces on Thursday arrested a Palestinian man in a village east of Qalqiliya. Witnesses said that Hamid Zaki Hamid Badwan, 22, was detained at a checkpoint south of the village of ‘Azzun. Badwan, who works as a firetruck driver, is the fourteenth person to have been arrested in the village in the last two days, locals said.
Israel Police held Palestinian for 72 hours without questioning
Haaretz 16 Jan by Chaim Levinson — Murad Shtewi was arrested on his way to a weekly march from his West Bank village of Kafr Kaddum to protest the closing of its access road — A military tribunal recently ordered police to immediately release a West Bank man they had held for 72 hours without once questioning him. The police had also sought to keep Palestinian activist Murad Shtewi in custody an additional 10 days, prompting Israel Defense Forces Col. Netanel Beniso to reprimand the police offices for violating what he said were the basic norms of law enforcement. “Bringing [a suspect] before a judge must be done as soon as possible,” Beniso said during Shtewi’s appeal of his four-day remand extension. “The sequence of events as it emerges from the investigation file shows an outrageous waste of days in detention until actual questioning began. The Israel Police thus violated its basic obligation.”
Israeli forces detain 3 Hamas members in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Israeli forces detained three prominent Hamas leaders in Hebron early Thursday, locals said. Nidal al-Qawasmi, Sufyan Jamjoum and former Palestinian minister of local governance Issa Khayri al-Jaabari were detained following arrest raids on their homes, witnesses said.
PA forces arrest two university students
WEST BANK (PIC) 17 Jan — The PA security forces continued arrest campaign against Hamas’ supporters and cadres in the occupied West Bank, arresting two university students in al-Khalil and extended the detention of another student. In al-Khalil, the PA intelligence apparatus arrested a student at al-Khalil University Abdul Rahman Abu Arqoup, who is a liberated prisoner. In Bethlehem, the PA preventive security arrested the student at al-Khalil University Anas Sheikh, who was released only few days ago from Israeli jails. In turn, the two students at al-Najah university, Musab Adnan and Said Bakr Bilal continued their hunger strike for several days protesting their continued arrest in PA jails.
Meanwhile, a PA court in Nablus extended the detention of Maaz Rehan for more 15 days pending investigation, knowing that he is the brother of two martyrs. In the same context, the Islamic bloc, Hamas’ student wing, said that 100 students at Birzeit university declared a one-day hunger strike in protest at the PA continued political arrests against the bloc students in West Bank.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Security spokesman denies West Bank Hamas arrests
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security forces on Thursday denied Israeli media reports that the PA had arrested Hamas members in the West Bank. Adnan al-Dumieri told Ma‘an Thursday that Israeli reports claiming the PA had arrested a small group of Hamas members in Bethlehem and another in Hebron were false. “We have no information about this issue,” al-Dumieri told Ma‘an. “Israelis are releasing false, poisoned, untrue, and unrealistic information as part of an Israeli media campaign against the president, the leadership, and the Palestinian security forces,” he said … Earlier, a report by the Israeli news website Walla said improvised explosive devices were found in a car in Hebron and that Hamas members were planning to detonate it inside Israel. The report also claimed that a group of Hamas members in Bethlehem were planning an attack. Both groups were arrested by PA security forces, the report said, citing a Palestinian security source.
Addameer releases latest report on the continued targeting of Palestinian human rights activists by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association) 13 Jan – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association are pleased to announce the publication of its latest report ‘Courageous Voices, Fragile Freedoms’. The report examines Israel’s increasing use of arrest and detention of Palestinian human rights activists taking part in protests and other peaceful acts of resistance against the illegal Annexation Wall and settlements in the West Bank … the report shows that beginning in 2009 there was a shift in tactics by the Israeli forces that should be viewed in the context of increasing recognition of the legitimacy of the actions by the Palestinian human rights activists.
PCHR weekly report: Israeli troops injure 12 civilians and 2 fighters in attacks this week [9-15 Jan]
IMEMC 17 Jan — …the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that, during the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 13 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a woman, and an international activist, 10 of whom were wounded during weekly protests throughout the West Bank. One was wounded at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp and 3 others, including one civilian and 2 members of an armed group, were wounded in airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 72 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 66 Palestinians, including 7 children, were abducted. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 2 Palestinian civilians were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank. On 09 January 2014, Israeli forces, backed by military vehicles, moved into Um Sararah area adjacent to Kherbet al-Fakhit (al-Mosafer area), southeast of Yatta town south of Hebron. Israeli forces patrolled the vicinity of the area and deployed on the farmlands. They prevented the movement of civilians and declared it a closed military zone. Israeli soldiers confiscated barbed wire and uprooted a large number of woodland trees, which were less than 1 year old and were planted to establish a nature reserve on a 1000-dunum land donated by the Mehmed family to the Ministry of Agriculture. The project was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) … Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out 5 airstrikes, 2 shooting incidents along the border fence and 6 shooting incidents at Palestinian fishing boats. On 09 January 2014, 2 members of an armed group were wounded when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a motorcycle, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. Moreover, a 3-year-old child sustained minor injuries by glass fragments…. Full report
Gaza under blockade
Four children, one woman injured as army bombards Gaza
IMEMC — Thursday at dawn, Jan 16 — Palestinian medical sources have reported that four children and one woman have been injured, after Israeli soldiers carried out a number of air strikes targeting eastern and western areas of Gaza city. The sources said that all wounded Palestinians suffered mild-to-moderate injuries, and are gradually recovering. Israeli sources said that several shells were fired, after midnight, from the Gaza Strip towards Asqalan (Ashkelon). Israeli Ynetnews has reported that several shells were fired from Gaza overnight, and that that Iron Dome interception system managed to intercept and destroy five shells, while a sixth shell landed and detonated in an open area. The Israeli army also claimed it bombarded a workshop used by Palestinian fighters to manufacture shells, in addition to bombarding what was referred as a “launching pad” used for firing shells into adjacent Israeli areas.
Israel troops open fire on Gaza protesters, 2 injured
GAZA CITY (AFP) 17 Jan — The Israeli army fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters near the border fence in the Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding two Palestinians, medics and an AFP correspondent said. Troops fired at some 300 demonstrators who were protesting against Israel’s destruction of farmland for its 300-meter buffer zone, the correspondent said. Two protesters were moderately wounded and taken to hospital, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told AFP. Israel’s army was “unaware of the incident,” a spokeswoman said. The demonstrators were marching near the border fence in support of Palestinian farmers, whose citrus trees they said had been uprooted to make way for the Israeli-controlled buffer zone that runs along the border. “Israel destroyed most of our citrus trees … (and) still prevents us from importing or exporting any products,” said a statement from protest organizers the Gaza Youth Coalition. The statement deplored “daily Israeli attacks” against farmers near the border. Israel allows “civilian access on foot to areas up to 100 meters from the perimeter fence for agricultural purposes only, and vehicular access to a distance of 300 meters,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Israeli soldiers often fire at Palestinians who walk near border areas.
Israeli military vehicles enter border area in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, witnesses said. Locals told Ma‘an that four tanks and three bulldozers entered an area several hundred meters east of Khan Younis and leveled private Palestinian land. Israeli forces fired smoke bombs in the area to provide cover for the vehicles while reconnaissance planes hovered in the sky, witnesses added.
Gaza’s economy shattered by Israeli siege
GAZA (ISM, Rosa Schiano) 15 Jan — A recent report by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Gaza says the Israeli authorities have closed Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) checkpoint, the Gaza Strip’s only commercial crossing, for 150 days, 41% of working days, during 2013. The reports points out that the continued closure of the commercial crossing constitutes a violation of the ceasefire agreements reached in November 2012 after the Israeli “Operation Pillar of Defense” military offensive … The report also describes the impact of the Egyptian closure of the tunnels since July 2013. This closure caused huge economic losses over the past six months as a direct result of the interruption of economic activities and a fall in production, resulting in a decline of 60% of gross domestic product. Unemployment exceeded 39% at the end of 2013.
Lack of construction material impedes repair of homes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — A lack of construction material in the Gaza Strip is preventing the refurbishment of 20 homes in the al-Bureij refugee camp, an UNRWA official said Wednesday. Abu Omar Rabaty, director of UNRWA’s housing department, said the UN agency has already signed contracts to refurbish the homes but Israel has yet to allow the necessary construction material into Gaza. UNRWA submitted an application to Israeli authorities to allow cement, iron bars, and gravel needed for the project. The homes need to be demolished and rebuilt as they could collapse at any time, Rabaty said.
A fresh solution to Gaza’s water crisis
GAZA, State of Palestine (UNICEF) 14 Jan by Catherine Weibel and Sajy Elmughanni — …The water situation in Gaza is particularly desperate: More than 90 per cent of the water extracted from the territory’s sole aquifer has been found unsafe for human consumption. And an estimated four-fifths of the water sold by private vendors is contaminated. More than four out of five Gazans buy their drinking water from unregulated, private vendors, a heavy burden on already impoverished families. “Some families are paying as much as a third of their household income on water,” says June Kunugi, UNICEF Special Representative for the State of Palestine … For the poorest of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, there may be a solution: neighbourhood desalination plants and free public taps that provide clean water . The territory already hosts 18 small plants, most of them supplied by UNICEF. With support from the Government of Japan, UNICEF has installed three brackish water (mixed fresh- and saltwater) desalination units with the capacity to treat 50 cubic metres per hour, and 10 units with the capacity to treat 50 cubic metres per day, which altogether provide safe drinking water to 95,000 people. With support from the European Union, UNICEF is now installing a seawater desalination plant to treat 6,000 cubic metres per day, which will benefit 75,000 people.
Gaza welcomes freed Palestinian detainees, rallies for others in illness and isolation
[photos] GAZA (ISM, Marco Varasio) 15 Jan — Like every Monday morning, people gathered at International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza office to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities. This week’s rally started with the chanting of slogans against the illegal detention of Palestinians and people offering sweets to pay homage to Rami Barbakh, a prisoner freed in the latest release who attended the rally. Banners in honor of Ibrahim Bitar, a Palestinian patient prisoner from Khan Younis detained in the prison of Nafha, whose family has been recently banned from visiting him, were held by Palestinian youth
Egypt upheavals threaten to suffocate Gaza
GAZA CITY (Sydney Morning Herald) 17 Jan by Ruth Pollard — His wedding gift to her was a booking for two at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt – a ticket to freedom to mark the beginning of their married life. Ayman and Sameeha, who met and fell in love in while Ayman was studying in Paris, planned to return to the city where it all began. The couple would attend a conference in Geneva, then travel to Paris to honeymoon in a place that allowed them to breathe, away from the siege of Gaza. It wasn’t to be. After obtaining the appropriate permission and documentation required to leave Gaza – from both Hamas and the Egyptian authorities – Egypt did not open its border, leaving the newlyweds and hundreds of others stranded. “We changed our tickets three times, I was calling my friends in Geneva to change our arrival dates, but we did not make it to Paris or Geneva together,” says Ayman, a 27-year-old activist who works at a non-government organisation in Gaza. Talk of border crossings is never-ending in Gaza, a tiny, 42-kilometre strip that is tightly controlled on three sides by Israel – land, air and sea – and on its other land border by an increasingly hardline Egyptian government determined to punish Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement for its close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. “You are dominated by uncertainty and insecurity,” Ayman says. “When you travel abroad you know how to plan for tomorrow. Here you must plan around securing the very basics of life – food, electricity, fuel, water, gas and you never know whether you will access these things each day.” We are talking over dinner in the couple’s first-floor apartment in Gaza City, as Sameeha and Ayman’s mother rush to get food on the table in time for us to eat and have the dishes done before the electricity shuts down for eight hours, as it does each night at 10pm. As each new family member arrives for dinner, Ayman describes how the siege of Gaza – now in its seventh year – affects their life.
Twitter suspends Hamas accounts
The Lede blog 17 Jan by Robert Mackey — Several Twitter accounts used by the military wing of Hamas have been suspended by the social network in recent days, angering the Islamist militants and delighting Israel’s military. As The Lede reported in late 2012 during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, the blockaded Palestinian territory ruled by Hamas, the Islamist militants used their now-suspended @AlqassamBrigade Twitter account to reply directly to messages from @IDFSpokesperson, the official account of the Israel Defense Forces. Although those exchanges of insults and threats have disappeared from the social network with the suspension of that account and at least two more used by the militants, the Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf preserved a screenshot of one interaction that was posted on Twitter even as the two sides also traded rocket fire.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Bombing kills 7 in Syria refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Seven Palestinian refugees were killed and dozens injured late Thursday in a bombing that targeted Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. The head of the Omari Battalion, a Free Syrian Army militant group, told Ma‘an that a military helicopter dropped an explosive barrel on houses in the “Palestine Park” area of the camp. The injured were still being removed from the debris and taken to hospitals, Ismail Abu Hani al-Omari said. The explosion destroyed three buildings and caused extensive damage, al-Omari said. Militants in the village of Yalda west of Yarmouk hit the helicopter with a missile after it struck the camp, he added. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that only four people were killed in the barrel bombing, and that the Syrian air force was responsible. The Observatory added that two camp residents had died as a result of malnutrition Thursday, bringing the total deaths related to food and medicine shortages to more than 50 in recent months.
Sit-in in Jerusalem in support of Yarmouk refugee camp
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 17 Jan — Dozens of people have staged a sit-in in occupied Jerusalem on Thursday at the Red Cross headquarters in support of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. Dozens have participated in the sit-in including women and children, carrying a number of victims’ pictures who starved to death and banners condemning the siege imposed on the camp. The participants have collected during the sit-in relief supplies including blankets, medications and human basic needs to be sent in aid truck to the besieged camp. In case they couldn’t manage to have access to the camp, the aid supplies would be sent to Zaatari camp. The campaign aims to shed light on Yarmouk refugee camp suffering, the participants said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Angela Davis: ‘Support BDS, and Palestine will be free’
17 Jan by Nora Barrows — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: Scholar, author and legendary activist Angela Davis talks about Palestine, the struggle against Israeli apartheid, the global prison industrial complex and why transnational security corporation G4S should be boycotted, in a recent speech she gave in London. [Listen to the podcast, or read the transcript].
Official: Israel imposing agenda on Mideast talks
RAMALLAH (AFP) 16 Jan — A top Palestinian leader Thursday accused Israel of imposing its own agenda onto Washington’s Middle East peace push, pressing issues that overshadowed Palestinian demands. The remarks by senior Fatah party member Nabil Shaath came after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s 10th visit to the region to try to push a framework for final status talks as an April deadline for the negotiations loomed. “Israel has succeeded in really persuading Mr. Kerry to change the agenda of the discussions,” Shaath told reporters in Ramallah. “Today, you will see Mr. Kerry going back and forth, discussing nothing but two issues. The two issues have never been in our agenda: the Jewishness of the state and (Israeli soldiers in) the Jordan (Valley),” he said … Shaath said Kerry was being forced to hammer out the two issues as other crucial points — such as the borders of a future Palestinian state — were being overlooked. “They (Israelis) force the agenda on (Kerry); they will not talk about anything else.”
Israel hits back at EU over settlement protest
JERUSALEM (AFP) 17 Jan — Israel called in European ambassadors in a tit-for-tat move Friday after four EU states lodged formal protests against the right-wing government’s drive to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the European Union of a “hypocritical” attitude toward the Middle East process, saying it should be more concerned by Palestinian militancy than Israeli housing construction … Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in an illegal settlement, ordered the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain be called in to “stress to them that their perpetual one-sided stance against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians is unacceptable and creates the impression they are only seeking ways to blame Israel,” his spokesman said. “Beyond being biased, unbalanced and ignoring the reality on the ground, the positions held by these states significantly harm the possibility of reaching some sort of agreement between the sides,” a statement said. Lieberman’s spokesman said the envoys were being summoned for Friday.
US consulate posts anti-settlement news report
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — The US Consulate General in Jerusalem on Thursday hinted at a second incident in days of Israeli criticism of US Secretary of State John Kerry. On its Facebook account, the consulate linked to a story on an Israeli news site that refuted claims by Israeli Minister of Housing Uri Ariel that Kerry approved his plan to build 1,400 new settlement units in the West Bank. The story quoted a US official as saying: “Our position on settlements has not changed, and we have consistently communicated our objection both publicly and directly to the Israelis on settlement announcements.” “In case you missed it on Monday, the U.S. official in this story got it right,” the consulate noted.
Israel’s Yaalon risks isolation after Kerry slur
JERUSALEM (AFP) 16 Jan — Israel’s defense minister may have apologized for his offensive comments about US Secretary of State John Kerry but his outburst could see him marginalized by Washington, commentators warned on Wednesday. A furious diplomatic row erupted between Israel and its closest ally on Tuesday when Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as saying Kerry had an “obsession” about the peace process and was working out of a “sense of messianism.” Washington immediately lashed out at the “offensive” remarks, demanding an apology, which was eventually published by Yaalon’s office late on Tuesday, although it stopped short of denying the comments … His remarks also sparked a welter of criticism inside Israel, with several cabinet ministers and the opposition saying many officials saying his personal attack on Kerry was inappropriate. Although the statement appeared to head off the crisis, commentators said Yaalon’s dismissive comments could cost him dearly. “The Americans have long marked Yaalon as a possible obstacle to reaching a peace agreement,” wrote Nadav Eyal in Maariv newspaper. “The problem isn’t what Yaalon said about the peace talks. The problem is Yaalon’s personal attack” on Kerry, he wrote, saying the minister had made a “beginner’s error” which could cost him a seat at the table with the Americans.
Ban Ki-moon launches year of Palestinian solidarity
IMEMC 17 Jan — Israeli envoy angered — General-Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, launched a new initiative on Thursday, calling 2014 a “Palestinian Solidarity Year”. According to the Palestinian News Network (PNN), Ban Ki-moon said that 2014 will be will be a crucial year for achieving a two-state solution, ending the occupation that was started in 1967, and establishing an independent Palestinian state which lives side by side with Israel. Ki-moon has called on the international community, especially Israelis and Palestinians, to work together in order to achieve justice and permanent peace in the region. He added that the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships must have political will and responsibility, and to have a clear vision for a better future, through committing to advance their efforts in negotiations. In a display of differing opinion, Israeli envoy to the UN Ron Prosor has condemned the initiative of 2014 being a solidarity year. “The UN is used as a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda. Instead of trying to end the campaign of Palestinian incitement against Israel, the UN provides a stage for Palestinian productions for the media,” Prosor said.
UNESCO cancels Israel exhibit following Arab pressure
JTA 17 Jan — Complaints by Arab states led the United Nation’s cultural arm, UNESCO, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel. The exhibition, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro, was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova on Wednesday said in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely. She said the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
US presses UNESCO on cancellation of Jews in Israel exhibit
JTA 18 Jan — The Obama administration is “deeply disappointed” with a decision by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural arm, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel and is seeking its placement “as soon as possible.”
Congressman to PA: Stop incitement or lose US aid
Haaretz 17 Jan — Leading U.S. politician’s bill would require Palestinians to pass inspection every six months or lose $400 million a year — As a condition for receiving continued U.S. aid, the Palestinian Authority would have to pass White House inspection that it “no longer engages” in incitement against the United States or Israel, according to a bill authored by the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, JTA reported Thursday. The bill comes in the wake of strenuous efforts by the Netanyahu government to show that the Palestinian Authority isn’t interested peace, the purported proof being the anti-Israeli “incitement” in their media, textbooks and public statements. Palestinians maintain the charge is false, and point to statements by Israeli leaders as being no less antagonistic.
Hamdallah meets UNRWA union
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Interim Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Wednesday met representatives from UNRWA’s employees union and refugee camp popular committees to discuss a letter he received from the refugee agency’s general commissioner. The letter from Filippo Grandi addressed issues between UNRWA and its employees including re-hiring 53 employees whose contracts ended in December 2013 as part of a job-creation program. The letter also said that the UN was prepared to equalize salaries in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Hamdallah called on the union to suspend its strike in order to continue serving the needs of the camps, and provide an opportunity for talks sponsored by the government. Representatives of the union said they would study the suggestions and announce their position Thursday after discussing the letter with its members.
Israel to return remains of Palestinian man killed in 2002
JENIN (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Israeli authorities have agreed to deliver the remains of a Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli forces in 2002 to his family in the northern West Bank, an Israeli organization said Thursday. The Supreme Court ruled that Israel would send the remains of Majdi Abd al-Jawad Khanfar to his family in the village of Silat al-Dhahir in the West Bank’s Jenin district, a spokesperson for the Center for the Defense of the Individual told Ma‘an. The decision came in response to the center’s demands for the release of the remains of every Palestinian currently held in Israel, the spokesman said. Khanfar’s remains will be delivered to his family on Jan. 26, he said, adding that a DNA match had already been confirmed. The spokesman said Israel announced that the remains of Palestinians currently held in Israel would be distributed to their families after DNA tests were completed. Khanfar was killed on March 30, 2002 after he and another members of Fatah’s military wing attacked an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, killing an Israeli soldier.
PA short of medicines, medical equipment
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health is suffering from shortages in medicines and medical equipment because the Ministry of Finance has not paid the suppliers. Public hospital doctors and patients have recently been complaining about shortages in indispensable medicines and equipment such as arterial, electrocardiograph paper as well as medications for cardiac diseases, blood pressure and cancer among others … Administrative manager of the Ministry of Health Abd al-Halim Hamadnah told Ma‘an that the ministry’s debts have reached 700 million NIS ($200 million). These debts, he said, have been accumulated in the past four years. Some 88 percent of the debts, he said, are owed to medicine suppliers and private hospitals, and the rest is owed to suppliers of fuel and cleaning materials.
Doctors in public hospitals start partial strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Doctors in public hospitals in the occupied West Bank have started partial strike action against what they describe as “abusive practices” by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health … The protests were sparked by a recent ministry decision to transfer several doctors to different work locations in order to implement a 2013 decision banning doctors from running private clinics, Sabha said.
Israel’s cheering section
Stephen Harper rocks out for Israel
Times of Israel 17 Jan by Ben Harris — JTA — Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is heading to Israel next week, and among other things will presumably visit a bird sanctuary named after him. Harper’s support for Israel is so robust it is considered one of, if not the, greatest foreign policy shifts in postwar Canadian history. And it has come at some considerable cost. But Harper’s love for Israel is so great it moves him to song. At the Jewish National Fund dinner in Toronto last month, Harper announced his intention to visit Israel in a five-minute speech. That was followed by 35 minutes of rock music covers performed by Harper and his band, Herringbone.
Why is Stephen Harper one of Israel’s staunchest supporters?
TORONTO (JTA) 18 Jan by Ron Csillag — Visiting Israel on Sunday, the devout evangelical Christian prime minister gains little with his support, and may be paying a price — It took seven years, but one of Israel’s staunchest allies among world leaders will be making his maiden voyage to the Jewish state on Sunday. Since his election in 2006, the Conservative prime minister has been full throated, unapologetic and seemingly indifferent to consequence in his support for Israel. Harper was the first Western leader to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas’ 2006 seizure of power in Gaza and the first to withdraw from the second U.N. World Conference Against Racism, known as Durban II, saying the event would “scapegoat the Jewish people.” Canada has sided openly with Israel in every one of its military operations since 2006. Harper’s Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, calls him Stephen, and the two speak regularly. And earlier this month, Harper appointed Vivian Bercovici, a Toronto lawyer and an outspoken Israel supporter, as Canada’s ambassador to Israel.http://www.timesofisrael.com/why-is-stephen-harper-one-of-israels-staunchest-supporters/
Australian FM expresses support to Israel’s illegitimate settlements
IMEMC/Agencies 17 Jan — The Australian Foreign Minister said, in an interview with the “Times Of Israel” newspaper, that the international community should refrain from labeling Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal, and claimed that Israel “has the right to build its settlements”. Julie Bishop strongly denounced European countries that are “pressuring” Israel into stopping its illegitimate settlement activities, and said that she would like to see “which International Law declared those settlements illegal”.
Her statements completely ignore the Fourth Geneva Convention Article Number 49 that states, “The occupying power shall not move parts of its civilian population into territory it occupies”
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Israeli soldiers get ‘addicted to power’ over Palestinians, says new book
Electronic Intifada 16 Jan by Adri Nieuwhof — The Israeli military teaches its soliders not to think about the consequences of their violent behavior against Palestinians, a new book states. In Soldiering Under Occupation (Berghahn), Erella Grassiani analyzes confessions collected by Breaking the Silence, a group which exposes the conduct of Israeli troops, as well as interviews that she conducted herself. Grassiani, who lectures in the University of Amsterdam, finds that in most cases soldiers realize that their activities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza cause harm to the Palestinians. However, the majority of the soldiers do not act on this knowledge and do not try to change the situation … A soldier guarding a checkpoint tells how — to his shame — he enjoyed the feeling of power and finds he got “addicted to controlling people.” People do what you tell them. You know it is because you carry a weapon, he realizes. “God, I can do everything. It’s terrible, I told you I really, really tried for it not to happen…..this power, soldiers feel it,” says an officer with the Israeli paratroopers.
In new book, Palestinian, Israeli Jews reflect on history of ethnic cleansing
Electronic Intifada 17 Jan by Rosemarie M. Esber — In Contested Land, Contested Memory (Dundurn, 2013), Jo Roberts, a British lawyer and anthropologist, focuses on how Israel contends with the Nakba, its 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.She examines how “contested histories of the past” currently affect the lives of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Roberts principally analyzes how the respective traumatic histories of Israelis and Palestinians shape their national identities and influence the possibility of their reconciliation. The author significantly contributes to the historiography of 1948, particularly in her presentation of the lesser-known experiences of displaced Palestinians who remained in what became Israel after the war. Roberts’s thoughtful book considers the traumas of the Holocaust for Jewish Israelis and the Nakba for Palestinian citizens of Israel through the lens of “social suffering.”
For Palestinian citizens, nothing but contempt and rejection for Liberman plan / Riad Kabaha
972blog 17 Jan — ‘Liberman’s proposals spoil the delicate fabric of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel. They come from a man who paved his political path using right-wing statements, erecting barriers in the process of peace and leading us to fear and despair — I was born in the early 1950s as an Israeli citizen. I was raised and educated in Israel, where I acquired positive, beneficial things from Jewish society, such as: curriculum, language, clothing, sites around the country, academic studies, employment, Jewish friends, participation in Knessest elections, the ability to struggle for equality and rights, working together with the Jewish people and cooperation with Jews who believe in my way. Thus, we became part of a new culture: Israeli culture on the one hand, while continuing to be an integral part of the Palestinian people on the other. Although separated from other Palestinians until 1967, we were able to keep our tradition, language, and culture. The occupation of 1967 did not change the fact that we maintain our characteristics both as Israelis and as part of the Palestinian nation at the same time. This makes us unique and different from both the Jews and the residents of the occupied territories. That is why Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent statements about exchanging territories and forcing nearly 300,000 Palestinian Arabs Israeli in what is known as the Triangle area (which stretches from Kfar Qassem in central Israel to Megiddo in the North, and includes more than 20 Arab towns and cities) to a future Palestinian state were received with contempt and rejection by all of the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel.
I’d move to Palestine, if it were real / Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz 14 Jan — The creature known as the Arab citizen was the product of a traumatic rape. Yet even he has the right to think about his future — There are those who see Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments about transferring the Triangle region and all its Arab residents to the Palestinian Authority as a devastating blow to Israel’s Arab citizens who, when push comes to shove, would prefer to live in Israel, despite their sloganeering. But I’m prepared to move, provided that Palestine will be a real country in every way and not just a punching bag … If Lieberman were not around, the Palestinian propaganda machine would have to invent him. After all, his desire to remove citizens from the state of the Jews because of their origins also serves as an amazing argument against recognizing Israel as the Jewish state. A state in which non-Jews are considered property, to be moved from place to place as needed. And if its public face, its foreign minister, exudes racism – well, the nature of that country is clear. But leaving Lieberman’s provocative discourse aside, the Arab public has to start speaking out clearly about what it wants. If Arabs do not want to be part of the Palestinian state, and justifiably so, and they do not want to live in a political and geographically autonomous area, and justifiably so – then they must declare out loud that the best thing for us is to remain Israeli citizens. It’s about time that we fight in order not to be aliens in this country. To demand that its character be democratic and accepting of everyone, that its symbols represent everyone, and that everyone share in its resources. Because despite everything, there are some impressive islands of Jewish-Arab cooperation here and furthermore, despite everything, Israeli Arabs enjoy significant rights that we must fight to broaden.
Blair’s moral failure / Mustafa Barghouthi
Haaretz 16 Jan — Tony Blair’s words of praise for Ariel Sharon, the ‘Butcher of Beirut’ and symbol of Israel’s wider impunity on the international stage, show his bankruptcy as Quartet envoy … Mr. Blair is supposed to represent the international community in Jerusalem. He is supposed operate within the framework of international law, which includes ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and establishing a fully independent and sovereign Palestinian state. His speech showed no respect for the thousands of families who still mourn their loved ones, massacred in Qibya in 1953, in Sabra and Shatila in 1982, not to mention the 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese killed under Sharon’s orders during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the thousands killed during the second intifada or the hundreds of Egyptians prisoners of war who were brutally killed by his orders.