Qusra incident aftermath
West Bank soldiers: We guard settlers; they spit us in the face
Ynet 11 Jan by Yoav Zitun — Soldiers serving in West Bank face animosity from settlers they are assigned to protect. Following vandalism to IDF officer’s car while he was meeting with settlement representatives, soldiers express sense of betrayal, asking ‘How can you harm those who guard you and put their lives at risk for you?’ … Soldiers serving in the West Bank are perceived as the enemy by both Palestinians in the region and settlers … Another soldier, however, stressed that “we must make the distinction between settlers of Itamar, Har Brakha and other settlements who make us feel at home, and those hooligans.” As for vandalistic settlers, he said, “they control soldiers, officers, and Palestinians. Some soldiers are wary of going on some of the outposts and prefer to go on other assignments, because it’s unsettling to protect Palestinians from Jews who can target their attacks on you as well.”
Senior IDF officer’s jeep vandalized as he visits settlers
Times of Israel 10 Jan by Lazar Berman — Attack at Yitzhar follows string of incidents involving settlers and their supporters, including overnight arrests — A senior IDF officer had his vehicle damaged by unknown assailants Friday in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Col. Yoav Yarom, commander of the Samaria Brigade, drove to Yitzhar in order to talk with community leaders about increasing violence between residents and Palestinians. When the officer left the meeting, he discovered that the tires of his military jeep had been slashed. Other residents of the settlement helped Yarom change his tires. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several settler spokesmen condemned the attack.
Kahane’s grandson blames IDF for ‘price tag’ attackers’ ordeal
Times of Israel 9 Jan by Adiv Sterman — Far-right activist Meir Ettinger says that by denying him and his friends the right to bear arms, the army promotes Palestinian violence — One member of a group of far-right activists who, after allegedly attempting to carry out a “price tag” attack, were beaten and held captive by Palestinians in the village of Qusra near Nablus, demanded Thursday that the government allow him and other settlers residing in illegal outposts to acquire weapons. Meir Ettinger, a prominent activist who has been instrumental in the establishment of illegal outposts in the West Bank over the past few years, was held captive by Palestinian villagers on Tuesday for more than two hours, along with several other settlers who had been with him at the time of the alleged attempted “price tag” attack. The settlers, some of whom were beaten by their captors, were eventually handed over to the IDF. Ettinger blamed the IDF for the incident, accusing army heads of deliberately withholding weapon permits from Israeli settlers. Ettinger is the grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the slain founder of the Jewish Defense League and the outlawed far-right Israeli political party Kach … ”We acted with tremendous courage, but because of the conditions in the field, the numerical advantage of the Arabs around us and the negligence of the army, who won’t let us possess arms, we realized that the battle was lost, we suffered injuries and were trapped inside the house.” Ettinger was barred in the past from entering the West Bank after he was accused of spying on IDF posts in an attempt to map out soldiers’ movements toward illegal outposts. [Odd – I’ve seen settlers with weapons ranging from butcher knives to rifles or submachine guns – they didn’t seem to be bothered by a lack of permits]
Jewish extremists cut down fruit trees in revenge attack
JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Jan — Suspected Jewish extremists cut down fruit trees belonging to Israeli-Palestinians overnight in an apparent revenge attack for Palestinian villagers detaining Jewish settlers, police said Friday. The vandals left placards in the orchard reading “Regards from Esh Kodesh,” the West Bank settlement outpost whose residents were assaulted and briefly detained on Tuesday when they entered the Palestinian village of Qusra, some wearing masks. The vandals struck near Kfar Qasim, an Israeli Arab town that borders the West Bank some 40 kilometers west of Qusra, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. Seven of the dozen settlers involved in the original incident were meanwhile remanded in custody on Thursday night, Samri added. They had been under house arrest since the army negotiated their release by the villagers while police investigated why they had entered Qusra in the first place.
Watchdog: Israel must dismantle settler outpost
JERUSALEM (AFP) 9 Jan — Israeli settlements watchdog Peace Now has urged the government to dismantle an illegal outpost in the West Bank, after violent clashes in the area between settlers and Palestinians. Israel must “enforce the law and remove Esh Kodesh, an illegal West Bank settlement established in violation of Israeli law”, Peace Now said in a letter to the government, a copy of which was sent to AFP late on Wednesday. Residents of the outpost in the northern West Bank near Nablus had “repeatedly attacked neighboring Palestinians”, it said.
On Tuesday, Palestinians beat and detained around a dozen settlers from Esh Kodesh who had entered Qusra village south of Nablus, then released them after negotiating with Israeli soldiers. Qusra is just a few kilometers north of Esh Kodesh and is the scene of frequent clashes between settlers and Palestinians. “Esh Kodesh is an outpost that serves as launching ground for severe unlawful activity, and as such… it creates severe friction that causes harm to people and their property, and therefore heavily burdens the security authorities,” Peace Now said … Peace Now slammed the government for failing to carry out existing demolition orders on many so-called “wildcat” outposts — settlements which have not been formally approved and are therefore illegal. Under international law, all settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal.
Police arrest 3 for targeting West Bank land inspector
Times of Israel 10 Jan by Lazar Berman — Three men were arrested early Friday morning in Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, near the Jordan border, on suspicion that they intended to damage the property of a senior inspector from the Israel Land Administration who lives on the kibbutz. The three, aged 19-23, allegedly targeted the inspector, responsible for approving building in the northern West Bank, because he had distributed demolition orders for illegal structures in the West Bank. The suspects hailed from the West Bank settlements of Talmon and Shadmot Mehola. Tirat Tzvi sits several kilometers south of Beit She’an on the Israel-Jordan border. Kibbutz spokeswoman Dalia Yohanan told The Times of Israel that the three caught the attention of residents and the kibbutz guard when they began hanging posters on the inspector’s car, denouncing him and the demolition of illegal settlement buildings in the West Bank. After the suspects refused to remove the posters and leave the kibbutz, residents alerted police.
Police found containers filled with gasoline on the three men, and suspect they intended to burn the inspector’s car or home. Friday morning, the Nazareth District Court heard the police request to extend the detention of the three suspects.
Israeli settlers spray anti-Arab graffiti on Sinjil house
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Jan – A group of Israeli settlers from Shilo Thursday sprayed anti-Arab graffiti, including “Death to Arabs,” on a house in the Ramallah area village of Sinjil, according to the village’s head of council. Ayoub Sweid said settlers broke into Sinjil and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on the wall of a local house. He noted that Israeli settlers occasionally carry out attacks on Sinjil, usually vandalizing and smashing car windows. The attack is believed related to the Price Tag terror group that has been carrying several attacks against the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied territories.
The occuption is one big ‘price tag’ attack and we’re all paying the price
Haaretz 10 Jan by Uri Misgav — Sometimes it seems that if the perpetrators of those sickening, cowardly acts known as “price tag” attacks didn’t take place, right-wing settlers would need to invent the phenomenon. The acts greatly serve right-wing Jewish settlers’ interests. Their purpose is to demarcate the boundaries of legitimacy. When something is defined as beyond these limits, the implication is that everything else is acceptable. When a price tag attack is “condemned,” the subtext is that the other parties to the occupation and settlement enterprise in the West Bank are not being taken to task and are operating within the bounds of consensus. This mechanism works with almost suspicious effectiveness. This week’s events in the West Bank village of Qusra, where Palestinian residents apprehended a group of masked settlers from a nearby outpost and held them until they were released to the Israeli army, were conclusive proof. Undoubtedly this unruly and wild group must be dealt with through the criminal justice system. It would also be fitting to have them and their patrons bear the cost of extricating them from Qusra, as is the case with backpackers who need to be rescued due to their irresponsible actions. When all is said and done, an operation at the brigade level had to be dispatched to get the settlers out of there. There was also a measure of poetic justice, it should be acknowledged, in the incident, and not just in the way it exemplifies the principle of self-defense demonstrated by the Palestinian villagers. After all, it’s those so-called murderous Palestinians who were the ones who saved the Jewish hooligans from the wrath of the masses and gave them bandages for their wounds and water. And it was the Israeli army which extremist settlers so hate that came to get them out of there. All one has to do is take a quick look at the pictures from the scene to understand the extent of the wretchedness of this settler militia that was figuratively caught with its pants down. And one looks in wonder that these are the forces that the strongest army in the Middle East along with the Shin Bet security service, with all its effectiveness, have not been able to rein in over all these long years.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Israel announces more than 1,800 new settler homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Jan — Israel announced plans on Friday to build more than 1,800 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, settlement watchdog Peace Now said. The housing ministry announced the plans for 1,076 units in annexed East Jerusalem and 801 in the occupied West Bank, Peace Now spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP. “The housing ministry announced the plans this morning,” Amihai said. “Many of the units will be built in existing settlements such as Efrat and Ariel in the West Bank, and Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev in east Jerusalem,” he said. The ministry could not be immediately reached for confirmation.
Hundreds protest against Negev house demolitions
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship demonstrated in Beersheba outside of the office for The Authority for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev on Thursday to protest ongoing house demolitions. The demonstrators chanted the Palestinian national anthem and waved Palestinian flags as Israeli police closed all roads leading to the office and deployed hundreds of officers in the area. Protesters also carried signs with the names of 44 unrecognized Bedouin villages and chanted against the Prawer Plan. Mayor of Rahat, Tala al-Qreinawi, told Ma‘an that he joined the hundreds of protesters, describing the Israeli authority as “a second government which endeavors to displace the Bedouins and steal their lands.” Despite announcing that the Prawer Plan was scrapped in December, Israeli authorities have continued to implement it on the ground with ongoing demolitions and land confiscations, the mayor said. “The bill is being studied in the Knesset and we can’t see any intentions to stop it,” al-Qreinawi added.
Israel issues demolition orders for Palestinian home near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli forces on Friday issued a notice to a Palestinian family mandating they demolish their own house east of Jerusalem, a Fatah official told Ma‘an. The notice said that Ahmad Mohammad Hassan Helwa would have to demolish his house in the village of ‘Anata before Jan. 14, Mohammad Helwa said. He added that Israeli demolition teams had destroyed Helwa’s house and farm in the past, but that he had since rebuilt them.
Jordan Valley resident told his house will be demolished
MALEH, Jordan Valley (WAFA) 9 Jan – The Israeli army Thursday notified a resident of the northern Jordan Valley that his residence and animal barn are going to be demolished, according to a local official. Aref Daraghme, head of Maleh village council, said the army told a local resident he has one week to vacate his properties before they come in to demolish them. Daraghme said the Israeli military authority has destroyed dozens of makeshift structures in the Jordan Valley over the past month
IOF threaten to raze homes anew in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 9 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday morning handed two Palestinian citizens in Khirbet Al-Hamma in the Jordan Valley demolition orders against their homes. Head of the Wadi Maleh municipal council Aref Daraghmeh told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the Israeli army notified the two citizens about its intention to demolish their homes and one structure used for livestock.The IOF also ordered the two citizens to leave the area within one week.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
How to get around building regulations in a West Bank outpost
Haaretz 9 Jan by Chaim Levinson — Last week, workers brought sheets of drywall into the northern West Bank outpost of Havat Yair; in two or three months, they will be interior walls. Next will come the gardeners to plant grass. Then the outpost will have another house all ready for its prestigious occupant: the daughter of Samaria Regional Council chairman Gershon Mesika, mayor of the area’s settlements. The complicated, behind-the-scenes process through which Batya Masika bought the house is the story of the ongoing failure of law enforcement in the West Bank and the active complicity of Israel’s Civil Administration in this failure. Havat Yair was established in 1999 near the settlement of Yakir, on land that belonged to the nearby Palestinian village of Isstiya before Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. The outpost survived several attempts to evacuate it and eventually became permanent. The Housing Ministry invested one million shekels ($285,000) in it, despite the lack of construction permits. Having diligently marketed itself as a bourgeois community, Havat Yair is now highly sought after, with a long waiting list for housing. It even has a café and bed-and-breakfasts. In 2009, following years of political pressure, the Civil Administration took the first step toward legalizing the outpost – examining the ownership of the land to see if it was state land that could be formally transferred to the settlers. In the area around Havat Yair, as in 66 percent of the West Bank, the Jordanians – who occupied the area from 1948-67 – never finished registering all the land. Thus, the Civil Administration’s review was based on aerial photographs. Places where the photos showed signs of Palestinian cultivation were classified as private Palestinian land, based on Ottoman law (still valid in the West Bank,) in terms of which a person acquires ownership of land after working it for 10 years. Most of Havat Yair was classified as state land. But four enclaves were defined as private Palestinian land. In February 2011, the Netanyahu government announced a new policy on illegal construction in the territories. Anything built on privately owned land would be demolished (a commitment never actually carried out), but anything built on state land would be legalized. This, for the settlers, was the best of all possible worlds.
Israeli forces, rightists tour Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — A group of newly recruited Israeli soldiers and a group of rightist Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate Thursday, escorted by Israeli police officers, witnesses said. More than 50 army recruits toured the mosque’s squares in military uniform, escorted by police and tour guides, the witnesses told Ma‘an.
Separately, they said 17 Israeli rightists led by extremist lawyer Yehuda Glick entered Al-Aqsa. They toured various squares in the compound, and Glick was seen holding photos of the “Jewish Temple” along with photos of Knesset member Moshe Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership faction of Israel’s Likud party. Furthermore, a group of Israeli intelligence officers toured the al-Aqsa Mosque squares, witnesses said. Yehuda Glick is an American-born Israeli and the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, an extremist Jewish organization focused on “strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount.”
Israeli excavates site in flashpoint West Bank city
JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Jan — Israel is excavating an archaeological site in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, officials said Thursday, in a move critics say aims to legitimize Jewish settlement in Palestinian territory. The excavations began on Jan. 5 during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s 10th visit to the region to push Israel and the Palestinians towards an elusive peace deal. The site is at Tel Rumeida, in the heart of Hebron’s historic old city, a spokeswoman for Israel’s Antiquities Authority (IAA) told AFP … “The excavation will be conducted in plots … which are owned by Jews. The total area to be excavated will be approximately six dunams (1.5 acres),” the statement said. “The excavation will not disrupt the lives of the local (Palestinian) residents and will allow them to go about their daily routine,” it added.
But critics have said the dig is a deliberate political move in a highly sensitive area, aimed at legitimizing Jewish settlement of the occupied West Bank. “Any excavation in a politically charged area is automatically a political move,” archaeologist Yonathan Mizrachi told AFP. “In Tel Rumeida, excavating the land is a very sophisticated way of legitimizing the takeover of land by settlers. By saying that they’re carrying out an archaeological excavation, settler groups can say it’s not a political act,” he said. “If settlers built homes on land that used to be owned by Palestinians, they would continue to be viewed by much of the Israeli public as a group of extremists. But through creating archaeological sites, settlers can bring in tourists, representing themselves as people who are protecting the place.”
Restriction on movement
British student deported from Israel because his social media posts ‘posed a security threat’
Jerusalem Post 10 Jan — Activist stopped at Ben-Gurion Airport, was subjected to full body search, interrogation, and sent back to the UK — British student Gary Spedding was deported from Israel on Friday because his social media activity allegedly posed a “security threat.” Spedding defines himself as an activist against anti-Semitism and in favor of finding a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Sky News, Spedding arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday on a flight from London’s Luton Airport. At immigration, he was taken to an interview room where he was subjected to a full body search and interrogation. Immigration officers took Spedding’s phone and went through its contents for four-to-five hours, copying content from it, according to Spedding, who kept his social media followers up to date with live updates. “Just noticed Israeli security went through the email address I use for Alliance Party matters – they read our party proposals (confidential for party only) to the Haass talks,” he wrote on Facebook. He also said on Twitter that he has been repeatedly threatened by airport security with nine days in detention and a permanent ban from Israel … He said he will be “seeking legal recourse through [the] Israeli court system” against the ban. Spedding, an active youth member of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party and a Huffington Post columnist, traveled to Israel in order to meet with Israeli politicians and NGOs. He founded and served as Vice President of the Palestine Solidarity Society at Queen’s University in Belfast, and joined the Holy Land Trust – an NGO that “aspires to strengthen and empower the peoples of the Holy Land (in particular Israelis and Palestinians) to engage in spiritual, pragmatic and strategic paths that will end all forms of oppression.” Spedding said the incident will not deter him from continuing his “nonviolent activist work.”
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Twilight Zone — The eldest casualty: The story of Said Ali, 89, killed by the IDF
Haaretz 9 Jan by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — As far as is known, he was the oldest Palestinian to be killed by the Israel Defense Forces. Born in 1925, almost 89 years old, he was from the generation of people like Shimon Peres and Ariel Sharon, a native son from the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus. Said Ali, who lived through British, Jordanian and Israeli rule over this land, died on a mattress on the floor of his home in the heart of the village. Cause of death: asphyxiation from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. The event occurred last week, on the first day of 2014, which is Fatah Day in the territories. January 1, which is also the anniversary of the consolidation of that Palestinian movement, was Ali’s last day on the face of the earth. Here, then, are examples of the impressively broad range of the army’s innocent victims — from 2 years until 89 years old, from the very young to the advanced in years — during this period of relative quiet of the last few years. Ali suffocated on the second anniversary of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma, a young woman from Bil‘in who also died of tear-gas asphyxiation; the IDF refused to investigate the circumstances of her death … One has to see for oneself what it’s like in these villages when the IDF unleashes its tear gas. A suffocating, stinging cloud covers everything; the gas insinuates itself into every house. There is nowhere to escape … As the former Kafr Qaddum council head, Sakr Obeid, told us: “That man, of blessed memory, was the best we had in the village.” We went with out with him to the blocked road, where Obeid showed us an electricity pole beyond which villagers are not permitted to pass. The houses of Kedumim, a huge settlement that continues to expand, loomed at the end of the road that no longer leads anywhere. The settlers’ cars continued to drive by freely.
Dozens injured by tear gas as Israeli disperses Kafr Qaddum protest
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces dispersed a protest in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank on Friday. Protest spokesman Murad Ishtewi said that Israeli soldiers raided several neighborhoods in the village and fired hundreds of tear gas canisters in residential areas, causing dozens of people to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation. A Ma‘an reporter said that an Israeli bulldozer accompanied by a large number of soldiers also entered the area of the Omar ibn al-Khattab mosque while the clashes were ongoing. The Israeli raids come just over a week after Israeli forces killed an 85-year-old Palestinian man in Kafr Qaddum after launching a large number of tear gas canisters into residential areas in the village during clashes.
Several protesters wounded in violent IOF attacks on W. Bank marches
RAMALLAH (PIC) 11 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday violently suppressed the peaceful marches held in different West Bank villages in protest at Israel’s settlement activities. Palestinian local sources said that the IOF intensively fired live and rubber[-coated steel] bullets and tear gas grenades at the protests, which caused several injuries among Palestinian and foreign participants. Several protestors suffered bullet injuries in their feet and severe tear gas suffocation in Ni‘lin and Bil‘in villages near Ramallah as they were protesting Israel’s settlement expansion and land annexation. In Bethlehem, the IOF also intercepted the weekly march of Ma‘sarah village and physically assaulted the protestors as they were trying to get to the segregation wall … In Nabi Saleh village, two children suffered rubber bullet injuries and many others suffered from tear gas inhalation.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Video shows nightly brutality of Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem
Electronic Intifada 8 Jan by Ali Abunimah — This video, published by the Independent Media Center (IMC) (imcpal.ps), shows Israeli forces roughing up and arresting youths in the walled-in eastern occupied Jerusalem village of al-Eizariya early this morning. A report accompanying the video – that names the detained individuals – says that the Israeli forces “kidnapped two young men and two children during confrontations between the occupation forces and village youth” near the Israeli wall that separates al-Eizariya from the rest of Jerusalem. Several youths were treated for light to moderate injuries. The report states that Israeli forces “beat the youths as they took them inside the wall .. and the sounds of screams of pain could be heard from behind the wall for more than half an hour after the arrest. The crying child was screaming ‘I am not with them, I didn’t do anything.’”
Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians in Duheisha camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Israeli military forces shot and injured three Palestinians in Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem early Thursday, locals said. Nidal Ibrahim Ubeid was shot in the thigh by an expanding dum-dum bullet, witnesses said. Medics described the injury as serious. Two other young men, Khalil Ahmad al-Banna, 18, and Muhammad Ibrahim Zawahrah, 21, were shot with plastic coated metal bullets. Israeli forces had stormed the camp during an arrest raid just after midnight and were met by dozens of young men who hurled rocks and empty bottles at the soldiers. Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades. Murad Muhammad Zaghari, 20, his brother Ashraf, 18, and Muhammad Nasri Abed Rabbo, 21, were detained.
Israeli forces shoot 4 protesters in al-Jalazun camp clashes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Four Palestinians were injured by live bullets during clashes with Israeli soldiers in al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah on Friday, locals said. Israeli forces chased Palestinians down the alleys of the camp and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas at Palestinians who threw stones and empty bottles in return. No Palestinians were detained during the clashes, despite the attempts of Israeli forces … In December, an Israeli sniper shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the back in al-Jalazun refugee camp.
Report: Boy splashes chlorine on Palestinian woman in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — A 12-year-old ultra-orthodox Jewish boy on Thursday splashed a Palestinian woman with chlorine at a light rail station in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported. Channel 2 reported that the woman did not require medical attention, but filed a complaint with the police. She claimed the attacker acted out of racist motives. Police are looking for the boy, the report said.
6 arrested in Jerusalem, West Bank
IMEMC — [Thursday 9 Jan] Six people from Jerusalem, Salfit, Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron were arrested by Israeli forces today, according to local and security sources … Israeli security officers raided the Palestinian-African community neighborhood in the old city of Jerusalem Service and arrested a youth, according to local sources, the Palestine News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported. Occupation forces broke into the village of Yasuf, in the northern West Bank area of Salfit, arresting a 25-year-old Palestinian. In Jenin, a house in Jenin refugee camp was also raided by Israeli forces, who arrested a 39-year-old man after searching his house. Also arrested was a 27-year-old man after forces searched his house in Beit ‘Ur al-Tahta, west of Ramallah. In Halhoul, near Hebron and to the south of the West Bank, forces arrested two men, aged 35 and 40, after searching their houses.
IOF raids villages in the West Bank and arrests citizens
NABLUS, JENIN (PIC) 9 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Thursday raided the village of Beit Furik and several neighborhoods in Nablus and arrested citizens. PIC’s correspondent reported that the Israeli soldiers raided the neighborhoods of Khellat Amud and Ras Al Ain, ‘Askar refugee camp and Amman Street, and arrested a young man after breaking into his house. They also stormed the town of Beit Furik at midnight Wednesday, and clashes broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths. In Salfit, the IOF stormed the village of Marda, and arrested a 20-year-old man. They have arrested two young men at Hawara checkpoint, after stopping and searching their vehicle. In the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli forces stormed the town of Ain Shibl where they broke into and searched citizens’ houses. Meanwhile, local sources in the city of Jenin said that more than 15 Israeli military vehicles stormed at dawn Thursday the eastern neighborhood, while intelligence officers raided two houses and questioned the inhabitants. No arrests were reported. The sources added that the IOF attacked the citizens and searched a number of neighboring houses in the area before withdrawing at 06:00 am (local time).
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Hamas cancels West Bank celebrations after 20 members arrested
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Hamas said Friday that it would not hold a celebration in the West Bank for its 26th anniversary after the Palestinian Authority arrested a number of its members. The celebration was originally planned for Saturday. Hamas Spokesman Husam Badran said in a statement that PA security forces arrested 20 Hamas members within 24 hours, including members of the planning committee for the celebration, students at al-Najah University, and recently freed prisoners. Bardran said the arrests would not discourage the Hamas movement.
Two international activists to be deported after their arrest is declared illegal
Occupied Palestine (ISM) 9 Jan — Yesterday, Wednesday 8th January, at approximately 11am in Khalil (Hebron), Vincent Mainville and Fabio Theodule (Swiss and Italian citizens respectively), were arrested by Israeli border police officers. The two international activists were first detained while trying to stop Israeli forces firing live ammunition and tear gas canisters towards a group of Palestinian youth and children throwing stones towards the soldiers. Israeli forces accused the two activists of trying to assault a border police officer and obstruction of military action. Both activists are committed to non-violent solidarity work … The two activists attended Hasharon court this morning in Jerusalem; they were escorted by Israeli border police and were handcuffed throughout the night. When they arrived in the courthouse they were escorted to several different rooms before being led outside the court without seeing their lawyer. Vincent and Fabio were then taken to the immigration center where deportation procedures were begun without a court hearing. Although the judge later ruled that the activists had been illegally arrested, it was too late to prevent their transfer to immigration and therefore prevent their deportation.
Detainees / Releases
Israel indicts 12-year-old Palestinian boy
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Jan – The Israeli authorities indicted a 12-year-old boy from the town of Hizma, east of Jerusalem, the Palestine branch of Defense of Children International (DCI) said Thursday. It said Israeli forces arrested Mustafa Khatib, a sixth grade student, on January 6 and remanded him in prison for three days until charges could be filed against him. DCI attorney, Iyad Mesk, challenged the military prosecutor’s request at Ofer military court near Ramallah and asked for the immediate release of Khatib. However, the court rejected the request and gave the prosecutor a period of two days to prepare an indictment. According to the statement, the prosecutor asked to keep Khatib in prison for two months in addition to paying a fine ranging between $600 and $1200. Nevertheless, after Mesk presented his defense of Khatib, the court agreed to release him on $3000 bail on condition he will be under house arrest until his trial except for the time he should be in school. The court also gave the military prosecutor 72 hours to appeal the verdict. Mesk said the court usually sets high bail knowing that the families cannot afford it, which means a delay in the release of the child.
Israeli forces release 9 detained Palestinian children and 1 youth
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli forces freed nine Palestinian children and one youth from detention on Friday after the intervention of Palestinian military liaisons, according to a Palestinian security source. The released teenagers were from across Hebron and Ramallah governorates and were all detained by Israeli forces on the pretext of throwing stones. The official source in the military liaison identified the released detainees from Hebron city, Halhoul, and at-Tabaqa, all in Hebron region, as: Mohammed Nafez Hussein Abu Sneineh, 16, Solomon Imad Tuwaya, 14, Uday Imad Tuwaya, 16, Essam Emad Muhammad Tuwaya, 12, Ali Saeed Junaidi, 12, Qusay Kamel Atrash, 13, al-Montaser Ballah Munther Muhammad Abu Atwan, 14, and Safwan Talal Abu Sneineh, 19. The other detainees were identified as Mahmoud Ibrahim Jaidy, 13, from ‘Abud, and Abdullah Kheir al-Tamimi, 14, from Deir Netham [or Nidham], both towns in the Ramallah region abutting settlements and completely surrounded by areas under Israeli military control. Director of the military liaison in Hebron Major Nadir Haji said that the liaison was ready to provide protection for all Palestinians, especially children … According to Defense for Children International, between 500-700 Palestinian children are detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. DCI estimates that 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained since 2000.
Israeli court accepts MP Mohammed Totah and Khalid Abu Arafa’s appeal
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 Jan — Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the Jerusalemite deputy Mohammed Totah and former Minister Khalid Abu Arafa should be released. The court had held a hearing to decide on an appeal submitted by both officials protesting their continued detention on charges of entering the city of Jerusalem illegally and of being affiliated to Hamas. Their Jerusalemite identity cards and residence permits were rescinded. Head of the Jerusalem prisoners’ families committee, Amjad Abu Asab, said that the Israeli Supreme Court accepted to release MP Mohammed Totah and former Minister Khalid Abu Arafa after spending 24 months out of their 30-month sentences.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian prisoner suffers from ‘hysteria’ after hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — A Palestinian inmate in Israel’s Ofer prison suffered from “hysteria” after carrying out an extended hunger strike, a prisoners’ ministry lawyer said Thursday. Ehab al-Ghaleet, a lawyer for the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, said that Thaer Abdullah was on hunger strike for 50 days, as a result of which he was treated in Assaf Harofeh medical center. Throughout that period Abdullah suffered from brain dehydration and had to stop his strike before he was returned to Ofer prison, al-Ghaleet said. He added that Abdullah, who was sentenced to 6 months administrative detention, was kept in isolation in the Ramla prison infirmary. Abdullah was brought to a psychiatrist when he returned to Ofer due to his hysteria, al-Ghaleet said.
3 injured in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Three Palestinians were injured after an Israeli airstrike targeted the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, medical officials said. Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma‘an that an Israeli plane fired a missile at a three-wheeled vehicle east of Khan Younis, injuring two men. A child standing by the window in a nearby house was injured by broken glass. All three were taken to Kamal Nasser hospital in Khan Younis for treatment.
Earlier, Israeli military vehicles crossed around 200 meters into a border area east of Khan Younis, forcing farmers to flee the area.
Eyewitness said that Palestinian fighters then fired several mortar shells at the vehicles.
Israeli aircraft targets location in Rafah
RAFAH (WAFA) 9 Jan – An Israeli aircraft fired a missile Thursday at the Tal al-Sultan area to the west of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, said witnesses. They said an F16 jetfighter targeted a structure in the area with one rocket without causing any injury among residents. The attack came hours after a drone fired a missile and injured two people in the village of Khaza‘a near Khan Younis.
PFLP, DFLP claim mortar strike on Israeli military targets
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Palestinian factions on Thursday took responsibility for launching mortar shells at Israeli military targets earlier in the day. The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said in a statement that it fired two 80-millimeter mortar shells at a group of Israeli tanks that had invaded an area east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. The statement said that the group would continue to resist the Israeli occupation.
Meanwhile, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the National Resistance Brigades, said it fired two mortar shells at an Israeli military site east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The group said in a statement that the shells were fired in a response to ongoing Israeli escalation in Gaza, saying it would continue to conduct operations against Israel.
Palestinian fisherman kidnapped by the Israeli navy in Gaza waters
GAZA (ISM, Rosa Schiano) 11 Jan — On Wednesday, 8th January 2014, 27-year-old Palestinian fisherman Mohammed Sultan Al Khader had was arrested by the Israeli navy in Gaza waters. He had been fishing with his two brothers, Ahmad and Hamdi, on a small fishing boat, called a hasaka. Al Khader was released in the evening … The three brothers were less than one nautical mile off the coast of Soudanya in the northern Gaza Strip … In the Israeli port of Ashdod the soldiers uncuffed his feet and removed the blindfold from his eyes. Then he was interrogated … He asked me on which part of the beach I used to work. He showed me pictures of it. They had pictures of each area. ‘Select one of the pictures’, he told me. I chose a picture of the beach area in which I work. The investigators told me to show a governmental site close to the beach and asked how many people work there. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘I don’t know anyone one working there.’ I said. He asked me how it was possible that I did not know anyone if I need to go there to get my permit to work as fishermen. I told him I only know two persons who came on the beach outside the governmental site. Then the investigator asked me about another governmental site of the civil defense. He asked me if the police there had guns. I told him that I did not know, that some of them did and others didn’t.” … These attacks by Israeli military forces are increasingly restricting the fishing area allowed to the Palestinian fishermen preventing them from accessing waters north of Gaza Strip. The practical limit imposed by Israel on waters north of Gaza is not six nautical miles, but one to two. Moreover, it seems clear that through these detentions, the Israeli authorities are trying to obtain information about people and places in the Gaza Strip.
Smuggled sperm brings baby joy to Gaza prisoner’s family
GAZA (Reuters) 10 Jan by Nidal al-Mughrabi — The wife of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail gave birth on Friday to a boy born from sperm smuggled into Gaza, her family said, the first successful pregnancy of its kind in the embattled coastal enclave. The procedure follows several similar cases last year in the West Bank, and Palestinians view such births as an act of defiance against Israel’s jail policies. “I am tired and very, very happy,” said mother Hana al-Za’anin, her voice weak, hours after delivering baby al-Hassan. Speaking from a hospital bed in Gaza City, she told Reuters Israel had banned her from visiting her husband since his arrest in 2006, citing unspecified “security reasons.” … Al-Za’anin declined to say how the sperm was conveyed out of prison, but said its journey to a medical lab in Gaza, where two specialists were waiting for it, took around six hours. Her husband Tamer was arrested in an Israeli army incursion into the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun and jailed for 12 years for belonging to the Islamic Jihad militant group.
Hamas ready for security cooperation with Egypt
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 8 Jan by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Hamas foreign relations official Bassem Naim said that the movement is ready for security cooperation with Egypt, especially after the Egyptian Interior Ministry accused Hamas of being involved in bombing the Security Directorate in Mansoura in the Dakahlia Governorate on Dec. 24. The blast killed 16, including 14 policemen. “Let a Hamas delegation meet the Egyptian security apparatus and let’s put on the table all the files and evidence. We are ready to hold accountable anyone found to be involved, and we shall take full responsibility,” Naim said during a phone conversation with Al-Monitor, adding that this comes in the context of maintaining common security in Palestine and Egypt. That call came after a rise in the frequency of Egyptian accusations toward Hamas, as reported on Jan. 7 by Al-Monitor’s Adnan Abu Amer. Egypt has formally accused Hamas of being involved in the Mansoura bombing.
Palestinians mark subdued Christmas at Gaza’s Orthodox church
Electronic Intifada 9 Jan by Rami Almeghari — “If you have no relatives in the West Bank, you can’t afford to visit the Church of the Nativity [in Bethlehem] with your family members. This is because of the economic hardships here in Gaza,” said William al-Turk, as he, his wife Nancy and their four daughters attended Christmas services this week at Saint Porphyrius, the only Orthodox church in Gaza City. According to the Eastern Christian calendar, the church marks Christmas on 7 January. Israel granted several hundred Christian Palestinians aged under 16 or over 35 short-term permits to travel to the occupied West Bank to participate in Christmas celebrations in recent weeks … Still, even though they stayed at home, the al-Turk family were dressed in new clothes and surrounded by other worshippers in the ancient church, whose first stones were laid in the fifth century of the common era.
Hamas: The Palestinians allegedly arrested in Ismailia are legal passengers
GAZA (PIC) 10 Jan — The Hamas Movement categorically denied the Egyptian claims that the two Palestinians who were allegedly detained in Ismailia governorate had entered the country illegally. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated on Thursday that these two Palestinians are legal passengers and were arrested during their travel. Abu Zuhri added that one of the passengers, Khaled Akel, was en route to Turkey to visit his father who lives there and the other, who is a university lecturer named Hazem Al-Baz, was going to Cairo university to discuss his doctoral dissertation. He affirmed that both of the passengers entered Egypt legally through the Rafah border crossing, and called on the Egyptian authorities to release them and stop its reprehensible attitude towards the Palestinians. The Egyptian authorities said that it had arrested two Palestinians from Gaza as they were trying to cross a security ambush near Ismailia city, and claimed that they entered the country illegally.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian refugees in Syria / UNRWA
Official: Hundreds face imminent death in Yarmouk camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus face imminent death in the coming 10 days unless a safe supply line is opened, a Palestinian official told Ma‘an Thursday. Ayman Abu Hasham, director of the Palestinian Refugees Support Network in Syria, said that residents in the camp are eating grass in order to ward off starvation, which he says will kill hundreds if supply lines are not opened soon. On Thursday, there was an attempt to transfer 300 patients from the camp to receive medical treatment but snipers from the Syrian government fired at them, injuring the director of a relief committee Fuad al-Omar, Abu Hashem said. “Claims that there are militants in the camp are just to justify the siege,” Abu Hashem said … Any side which undermines initiatives to bring food into the camp are participating in the siege, Abu Hashem said, accusing the PFLP-GC and the Syrian government of blockading the refugee camp.
41 Palestinians ‘dead from hunger, medical shortages’ in Yarmouk
Beirut (AFP) 11 Jan — A Syrian monitoring group said Friday it has documented the deaths of 41 Palestinian refugees in besieged Yarmouk camp as a result of food and medical shortages, including women and children. “Food and medical shortages have killed at least 41 people in the past three months in Yarmouk” in southern Damascus, which has been under suffocating army siege ever since rebel groups took control of it, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Of the total, 24 have died as a result of malnutrition. The rest died either because of a lack of specialized treatment or because of a shortage of medicines, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. According to the Britain-based group, which relies on a network of activists and doctors across Syria for its reports, three of the fatalities were children and 13 of them women. “Among them was a one-day-old child who could have survived had there been incubators,” said Abdel Rahman.
PA asks to participate in upcoming Geneva II conference
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — The Palestinian Authority representative to the UN in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi said on Friday that the PA has applied to participate in an upcoming international summit to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria. Khraishi told Ma’an that PA foreign minister Riyadh al-Malki has sent letters to the United States, Russia, and UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon requesting to attend the Geneva II conference on January 22. The conference will bring together the Syrian regime and opposition forces, along with a number of countries and international organizations, to discuss steps to end the civil war in Syria. Khraishi stressed the importance of Palestinian representation at the conference due to the presence of around 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria, whose conditions need to be monitored. Khraishi added that they are still awaiting a response to their request and expect it to be discussed during an upcoming meeting of Arab ministers on Saturday and Sunday. 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.
UNRWA employees continue hunger strike
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) 10 Jan — Twenty-four UNRWA employees in the West Bank and Jerusalem have entered into the 11th day of a hunger strike in protest of the agency’s policies and “negligence” towards workers. A spokesman for the UNRWA local employees’ union, Shaker al-Rashq, said they categorically condemn the suspension or dismissal of any employees who were detained by Israeli forces, referring to a new policy implemented by UNRWA that he said prohibited employment of those formerly in Israeli detention. “The racist policy led to the dismissal of 55 employees in mid-November who were on temporary contracts,” al-Rashq said “we are talking about service contracts between 3 and 13 years and not months.” He also demanded that UNRWA end ongoing reductions in services, and called for equal salaries for all employees, referring to the comparatively low wages given Palestinian employees compared to international employees. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma‘an Wednesday that the agency “deplores statements by the unions that we have abused the rights of staff.” In cases where staff are detained, Gunness said, “the Agency continues to uphold their rights and only when someone has been found after a thorough review to have violated UN rules and regulations is disciplinary or other action taken.”
Israel summons Dutch ambassador over divestment
AP 10 Jan — After Dutch pension manager divests from Israeli banks in protest of their involvement in West Bank settlement construction, Israel summons Dutch ambassador, asking for ‘clarification’
Israel boycott growing ‘much faster’ than South African campaign, says Omar Barghouti
Electronic Intifada 10 Jan by Ali Abunimah — Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti was in Chicago this week to speak on a panel on academic boycotts at the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference. He also spoke to Jerome McDonnell on WBEZ’s Worldview (use the player above to listen). An MLA meeting would not normally make headlines but Barghouti’s appearance has provoked alarmist articles in the Israeli and US media, including in Haaretz and The Wall Street Journal. Following the American Studies Association’s (ASA) landslide vote to endorse the academic boycott of Israel in December, Israel and its supporters fear that the much larger MLA – with 30,000 members in 100 countries – is heading in the same direction. No boycott resolution is currently on the MLA’s agenda, but there is a resolution on academic freedom in the occupied territories which is seen by some as a trial balloon … Barghouti said that progress in the BDS movement against Israel was “much faster” than the progress made by the campaign against apartheid South Africa when he was a student in the United States in the 1980s.
G4S contracts in Israeli occupied territories face major investigation
The Independent (UK) 7 Jan by Jim Armitage — G4S, the security company which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past two years, is facing an investigation by international authorities into its alleged activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Sources said the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) UK staff have indicated that it will be investigating the company’s work supplying Israeli security services.It is alleged that G4S provides Israel with surveillance equipment at its checkpoints in the occupied territories, although the precise nature of the equipment is not known … Given the illegality of the settlements under international law, the OECD is expected to question G4S on how it can justify, as a company from an OECD-member country, supplying or servicing kit that aids the occupation.
Arab-American scholars back ASA boycott as legal threats start pouring in
Mondoweiss 10 Jan by Alex Kane — The landmark decision by the American Studies Association (ASA) to boycott Israeli academic institutions has lead to legal threats, reports of intimidation aimed at pro-boycott scholars and pushback from those in support of the ASA’s decision. The latest is that a group of prominent Arab-Americans have issued a statement in support of the ASA decision, while an Israeli legal center has said that a lawsuit is in the pipeline. Earlier this week, Palestinian and Arab-American scholars released a missive in support of the ASA boycott, which is part of the larger boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. The statement condemned the “hate” that the ASA has been a target of and expressed appreciation at the ASA’s “recognition that BDS is a legitimate, non-violent tool of resistance by peoples enduring settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid.” Some scholars who signed the letter have already reported receiving hate mail because of it. It was signed by dozens of prominent figures, including Rashid Khalidi, George Bisharat, Ali Abunimah, Noura Erakat, Nadia Hijab and more. Here’s more from the statement:
Veolia, a local BDS target, loses Massachusetts commuter rail contract
Mondoweiss 9 Jan by Nancy Murray — Over the last two and a half years, supporters of Palestinian rights in Boston have mounted a BDS campaign aimed at denying a new contract to run the Massachusetts commuter rail to Veolia, one of three companies that formed the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR). With a 60 percent stake in the MBCR, Veolia has been in charge of operating and maintaining the trains since 2003. On January 8, they tasted victory, when a contract that could be worth as much as $4.26 billion was awarded to the MBCR’s sole competitor, Keolis America … Although we have no way of knowing whether our activity played a direct role in the Board’s decision, we have clearly raised public consciousness about Veolia’s role in the West Bank.
Erekat: Israel settlers plans ‘message’ to Kerry not to return
RAMALLAH (AFP) 10 Jan — Israeli plans unveiled Friday to build over 1,800 settler homes are a signal to US Secretary of State John Kerry not to pursue his peace push, a top Palestinian negotiator said. “The new settlement construction plan is a message from (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to Kerry not to come back to the region to continue his efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks,” Saeb Erekat told AFP. “Every time Kerry has stepped up his efforts, returning to the region (for more talks), Netanyahu has stepped up his efforts to destroy the peace process,” Erekat said. “Netanyahu is determined to destroy the two-state solution.
PLO official: Kerry threatened to stop funds if Palestinians do not agree to his framework
Mondoweiss 10 Jan by Ira Glunts — Maariv (Hebrew) reported Thursday that a PLO official claimed Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to stop aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the current peace talks fail. At a press conference on Wednesday in Ramallah, Tayseer Khaled, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, accused the U.S. Secretary of using political blackmail to pressure the Palestinians into making concessions. Khaled said that the Americans made it clear that Washington will not be able to ensure the continuation of international assistance to the PA and will not be able to prevent the expansion of the settlements, if the negotiations stall as a result of a Palestinian refusal to sign the framework agreement.
Poll: A third of Israeli Arabs in favor of towns being annexed to Palestinian state
Haaretz 9 Jan by Hilo Glazer — Nearly a third of Israeli Arabs are in favor of their communities being transferred to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian state under a peace deal, a survey conducted for Haaretz showed. In comparison with earlier surveys on attitudes toward territorial and population exchanges, the survey points to an increase in the percentage of Israeli Arabs prepared to consider such exchanges in a future Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, though the majority of Israel’s Arab population still opposes such exchanges. In the survey, conducted by the Dialog Institute under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, 500 Israeli Arabs from four areas in the country – Wadi Ara and the Little Triangle areas, Nazareth, Sahnin and Shfaram – were polled. Nearly half (42 percent) of the respondents stated that they would support an exchange of territories in general, and 31 percent of the respondents stated that they personally would want to see their community transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction. A breakdown by age group of the last figure shows that the percentage of those supporting such a combined territorial and population exchange is highest in the 18-24 age bracket
Activists stop ‘normalization’ conference in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Activists on Friday disrupted and cut short a joint Palestinian-Israeli conference in an East Jerusalem hotel, a Ma‘an reporter said. The activists demonstrated in front of the Ambassador hotel, accusing the conveners of advocating “normalization” with the Israeli occupation. They managed to enter the conference hall, where they interrupted the opening statement by chanting slogans. There was a verbal confrontation between conference participants and activists, forcing participants to leave the hotel and cut the conference short. The conference, entitled Ordinary People Make History, was organized by the Israeli-Palestinian organization Minds of Peace. The participants include former members of the Israeli army and Israeli settlers, in addition to Palestinian ex-prisoners, security officers, and businessmen. Activists attempted to break up the first meeting of the same conference in Ramallah on Thursday, but were prevented from entering the conference by Palestinian police. They chanted slogans and held signs outside the conference. “Normalization is treason,” signs read. “Inside this hall sits Israeli officers who killed our children.”
Israelis rushed from West Bank hotel after protest
RAMALLAH (AP) 9 Jan by Dalia Nammari — Palestinians threw rocks Thursday at a West Bank hotel, shattering windows and breaking up a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. The conference was cut short and three dozen Israeli participants were rushed out the back door, put on Palestinian police buses and driven to safety, organizers said. The gathering was to have marked the start of two days of meetings by a grassroots group bringing ordinary Israelis and Palestinians together for mock peace talks, organizers said. Protesters said they object to attempts at normalizing Israeli-Palestinian relations at a time when Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands continues. About 35 Israelis and 50 Palestinians participated in Thursday’s gathering, the first the group has held in the West Bank, said Palestinian organizer Ibrahim Enbawi. After word of the gathering got out, about 30 protesters showed up outside the hotel. Protesters tried to enter the hotel, but found the doors locked, and then began throwing stones that shattered several windows and glass doors. Israeli participant Rami Cohen, a former air force pilot, said he felt uncomfortable after the stone-throwing, but expressed understanding for the protesters. “There is more anger here than in Israel because the Palestinians suffer more than us,” said Cohen, 56, who works for a high tech company in Tel Aviv … Jamal Jumaa, a leading Palestinian activist, said he joined the protest because he believes such gatherings distort reality, but said he was not among those throwing stones. When they (Israelis) come like this to the middle of Ramallah, they have another agenda, which is to clean up the face of the occupation, to show that Palestinians and Israelis are co-existing when in fact they are not,” he said in a telephone interview.
Japan finances rehabilitation of electricity network in Salem
NABLUS, (WAFA) 9 Jan — Ambassador of Japan to the Palestinian Authority, Junya Matsuura, Wednesday inaugurated a project for the rehabilitation of the electric network in Salem village, near Nablus, worth over $120,000, according to a press release … The project was funded by the Government of Japan in March 2013 through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). Salem village council used the grant to replace 4700 meters of the most harmful parts of the existing electrical wiring with new cables and also by extending new 5000 meters of cables to the districts where large numbers of households used to live without the regular electricity supply. Matsuura emphasized Japan’s firm commitment of supporting Palestinian people from human security perspective as well as the importance of implementing social and economic development projects needed for Palestinian communities. Japan’s development assistance to the Palestinian people has exceeded $1.34 billion since 1993.
PA security forces discover drug laboratory in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Palestinian Preventive Security Forces uncovered a heroin and cocaine laboratory in Tulkarem on Thursday and arrested several suspects at the scene. The laboratory was operating with high-tech and expensive equipment and was led by an organized crime group linked with the Israeli mafia, security forces said. The laboratory produced and distributed large amounts of cocaine and heroin, they added. Several suspects are in Palestinian custody and investigations are ongoing.
Study: Birthright contributed $825 million to Israeli economy
Jerusalem Post 9 Jan by Sam Sokol — The Taglit-Birthright program has contributed over three quarters of a billion dollars to Israel’s economy since its establishment in 2000, according to a study released by international accounting firm Ernst & Young on Tuesday. A joint venture of the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and American philanthropists, Birthright has brought over 350,000 young Jews for the first time to Israel on free 10-day trips. The program has been considered a success due to studies linking participation with a lowered rate of intermarriage.
Other analysis / opinion
Recent clash between settlers, Palestinians shows the failure of IDF, Shin Bet / Amos Harel
Haaretz 11 Jan — The Israeli army fails to make clear to its soldiers that they must prevent rampages by settlers, while Israel’s security services are losing the struggle with Jewish terror — The Israeli Air Force has a long-standing tradition of treating every near mid-air collision as if it had in fact occurred. This is how security forces should investigate the incident that took place on Tuesday in the village of Qusra, north of Ramallah. According to senior officers in the Central Command, it all happened in a matter of minutes. If Israeli military forces had not arrived in the nick of time, and were it not for the courageous and exceptional initiative taken by a few Palestinian activists, who protected with their own bodies the Israeli thugs who had come down the hill to the village from the settlement of Esh-Kodesh, Israel and the Palestinian Authority would now be dealing with the aftermath of a massacre … A few tactical aspects of the incident require investigation by the IDF and the security services. It appears that a long time elapsed between the time an army observation post sighted the settlers heading to the village and the summoning of military forces … That morning, the Civil Administration had uprooted an olive grove that the settlers had planted on private Palestinian land. Revenge was in the air. Furthermore, since two known extreme right-wing activists lead the group of settlers, they should have been under surveillance. The officers had no pity for the settlers they saved. This was a mess of their own doing … It’s almost redundant to point out that a massacre, if it had taken place, would have swept the West Bank into a new cycle of bloodshed … The fact that the incident in Qusra only ended in an “almost-disaster” should not detract from the severity of the failure to deal with rampages by extreme rightwing thugs … The army cannot overcome an built-in obstacle — young soldiers and officers identify with their basic mission of protecting Israelis in the territories, namely the settlers. When extreme fringes among the settlers commit violence against Palestinians, few soldiers can internalize this and change their behavior. It takes the involvement of senior and experienced officers to motivate the army to act as is expected of it.
Israeli settler campaign mocks Kerry / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 9 Jan — In an interview with Al-Monitor, OneVoice CEO Laura Talinovsky condemns the defamation campaign led by the My Israel group against US Secretary of State John Kerry — They find it funny. A young man in glasses is sitting in the cubicle of a public restroom, looking for toilet paper. Cut. Music. A man who resembles US Secretary of State John Kerry appears in center screen and says in a booming voice: “Caught in the bathroom without any toilet paper? We have the solution. A hedgehog. Its aerodynamic shape allows you to wipe thoroughly.” The audience bursts out laughing. And the clip continues with a series of brief parodies that attempt to ridicule the US secretary of state, a man who has been working to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever since he took office. The young man following Kerry’s advice in the satirical video ends up battered and homeless. The group behind this campaign titled, “John Kerry Solutions, Ltd.” is the My Israel movement, founded in 2010 by Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, the Yesha Council (the settlers’ umbrella organization) and the Benjamin Regional Council, a regional council covering 42 Israeli settlements of the West Bank. Bennett and Shaked were political activists in the nationalist camp then. Today, Bennett is chairman of the HaBayit HaYehudi Party and minister of the economy and trade, while Ayelet Shaked is a Knesset member for that party. Their goal is obvious. They want to cast the secretary of state as a naive fool, who offers stupid solutions to problems and then avoids any responsibility for the outcome. The instigators of this campaign claim that Kerry’s initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will lead to catastrophe. “He doesn’t live here to pay the price for his suicidal solutions,” the spokesman of the Benjamin Regional Council explained. “We have a responsibility for the future of the State of Israel. John Kerry does not.”
The fate of a Palestinian investor who called for Abbas’ resignation / Amira Hass
Haaretz 10 Jan — As the Quartet and U.S. try to attract foreign investors to develop the Palestinian economy, burdensome bureaucracy is driving the Palestinian-Canadian Sabawi family away from the West Bank — The Palestinian Authority is thwarting the activities of a real estate company after its owner publicly criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Seven weeks ago, the Palestinian Land Authority suspended the processing of a project for registering and parceling private land purchased by the Palestinian-Canadian Sabawi family. The family is the majority owner of a real estate company listed in the Palestinian stock exchange, but over 1,500 also holds stocks in the company. Through an unofficial channel, the company learned that the director of the Palestinian Land Authority was acting in accordance with direct orders from Abbas’ presidential bureau. A spokesperson for the bureau denies any connection with the actions of the Palestinian Land Authority and told Haaretz that the suspension of the project’s processing began eight months ago and stems from the need to correct certain flaws in the land registration process. The company in question, UCI – Union Construction Investment, sells to Palestinians in the PA and in the Palestinian diaspora quarter-acre lots in the West Bank, after it has worked on the standard registration of around 250 acres of land it had purchased in several blocs in villages north of Ramallah and the Salfit region (Areas A and B), and on the submission of master plans for the approval of the Palestinian Ministry of Local Authority.
No Palestinian tears for Sharon / Daoud Kuttab
Al-Monitor 10 Jan — Palestinians will not be mourning the loss of Israeli strongman Ariel Sharon, whom they remember as the “Butcher of Beirut.” — If you were to ask a 20-year-old Palestinian today about Ariel Sharon, you might be surprised how little this generation knows about him. The past eight years, in which Sharon became incapacitated, and the few years before that in which he had softened his radical stance, appear to have chipped away at the warmonger image that is still etched in the consciousness of almost every Palestinian over 25 years old.
More than any other Israeli military figure, Sharon seems to be present in every violent mark since the Nakba and creation of Israel. He joined the Israeli army in 1948 and one of his first assignments by David Ben Gurion was in 1953 to establish Unit 101, which focused on retaliation to cross-border attacks by the Palestinian fedayeen (militants). After one such attack, Sharon’s men crossed into the Palestinian town of Qibya, then under Jordan’s rule, and killed 69 Palestinian villagers, two-thirds of whom were women and children. The Qibya massacre showed Sharon’s ruthlessness and would become a symbol of the brutal Israeli retaliations to any Palestinian resistance attacks.
The brutality of Sharon and his Unit 101 was on display again after the Israeli occupation in 1967. His unit was dispatched to the Gaza Strip specifically to root out the fedayeen from the refugee camps. People of the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza still remember Sharon and his bulldozers as they literally widened the streets of the camp by destroying homes on both sides of the road, so that Israeli army vehicles could travel easily while they patrolled the camp to crush the resistance.
As defense minister under Menachem Begin in 1981, Sharon turned to spearheading the settlement drive in both the West Bank and Gaza. The photo most etched in older Palestinian minds is that of Sharon on a hilltop with a map, and soldiers and settler leaders around him.
But perhaps the most negative memory for Palestinians of Sharon was his relentless war on the PLO and the invasion of Lebanon, the siege of Beirut and the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982. This sealed Sharon’s image in Palestinian minds as the “Butcher of Beirut.”
Sayed Kashua presents: A revolutionary peace plan
Haaretz 9 Jan — I have thought hard and long about how to respond to the [Lieberman plan] to annex the Israeli Arab communities in Wadi Ara and the Triangle to the West Bank, under Palestinian sovereignty. I decided that instead of getting angry and only reacting in the usual Arab way to government plans, I would be a pioneer and initiate a peace plan, whose main points are listed here. 1. Whoever lives between the sea and the river and holds a document of residency/citizenship papers/driver’s license and wants to be a citizen of the new state, will be entitled by law to be a citizen. 2. Everyone who entered Israel after January 1, 2014, and was granted citizenship only because his mother is Jewish, is not a legitimate citizen of the state and should be considered a remnant of the old colonialism, until he proves otherwise. 3. The new state will be a haven for Jews from around the world, who will go before a committee and prove that they are being persecuted because of their Jewishness. 4. The new state will be a haven for every Palestinian from around the world, who goes before a committee and proves that he is being persecuted and discriminated against because of his Palestinian-ness … 13. There will be zero tolerance for every manifestation of racism. 14. Belief is permitted. 15. Heresy is permitted. 16. The state will not have a religion. 17. It will be forbidden to establish Jewish parties. 18. It will be forbidden to establish Arab parties. 19. Arabs and Jews will live wherever they want. 20. The admissions committees for private communities will be abolished. 21. Arabs and Jews will be permitted to love… 27. All the flags will be abolished. In official ceremonies and at sports competitions, white flags will be flown. 28. The name of the state will be changed. 29. The anthem will have no words. 30. The social workers will start to get real salaries. 31. All the children will learn one historical narrative. 32. Lying to children is forbidden….