Israel moves forward on high-rise settlement in heart of Palestinian Jerusalem

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Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

NGO: Israel to build high rise settlement in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 Feb — Jerusalem’s Israeli planning committee moved forwards on Wednesday with plans to build a nine-story Jewish seminary in the heart of a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood near the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem. Plans for the new tower block, to be built in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, were deposited for consultation, giving the public 60 days to submit any objections, settlement watchdog Peace Now said. “It’s a plan for a nine-story, ultra-Orthodox yeshiva in Sheikh Jarrah which was deposited today for objections,” spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP. “The plan was supposed to be discussed and approved a few weeks ago, however it was postponed — most probably due to political reasons,” he said. “It’s not a game changer but it’s on a piece of land in Sheikh Jarrah which has already suffered a lot. It’s a very sensitive area and I think the prime minister knows it.” Sheikh Jarrah is a Palestinian residential neighborhood located to the north of the Old City that has seen repeated attempts by Jewish settlers to evict local residents. The area, which is home to around 2,700 Palestinians, includes well-known landmarks, such as Orient House, the American Colony Hotel and the Palestinian National Theater, as well as many consular missions. Located on the road which links the Old City to Mount Scopus, the area is considered a strategic location and settlement groups have made persistent efforts to take control of its land.

Rightists march at Maale Adumim in favor of new settlements
MAALE ADUMIM (AFP) 14 Feb — Thousands of young Israeli hardliners marched on Thursday to demand the government build new settler homes in E1, a highly sensitive strip of West Bank land near Jerusalem. Police said more than 6,000 people, including major Israeli political figures but composed mostly of teenagers, joined the march which began in Maale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank and ended at E1 — an undeveloped stretch of land just to the west, which borders annexed East Jerusalem. “Kerry = persona non grata,” read one of the signs, referring to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently trying to coax Israel and the Palestinians towards a peace agreement. Israel has been planning construction in E1 since the early 1990s but nothing has ever been built there due to heavy international pressure. Plans for building 1,200 units unveiled in December 2012 were quickly put on the back burner after the announcement triggered a major diplomatic backlash.  The Palestinians say construction in E1 would effectively cut the West Bank in two and prevent the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. “We will keep (the) promise to build in E1,” Housing Minister Uri Ariel told a crowd composed almost entirely of high-schoolers…
The demonstration came hours after a Palestinian protest on the site in opposition to Israeli settlement construction in E1. That protest was held in anticipation of the Israeli right wing protest, and Israeli forces detained one activist during the demonstration.

Israel court orders demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb – The Israeli Central Court of Jerusalem has ordered the demolition of steel structures used by the Palestinian al-Maslamani family as domiciles in the al-Tur neighborhood. Omar al-Maslamani told Ma‘an that the court rejected an appeal by the family and informed him and his father that they should demolish the structures in 60 days. Otherwise the municipality demolition teams will do the job and the family will have to pay the costs, he says. Al-Maslamani highlighted that he and his father built two domiciles in 2013 using tin sheet and gypsum boards. The domiciles measure 100 square meters and house eight family members including two children and a disabled girl. The Jerusalem municipality, he added, has been trying to confiscate the family’s tract of land measuring 1,000 square meters to use for a public road. The road’s plan was submitted to the Knesset in 2000 and it was not approved, added al-Maslamani.
Separately, demolition teams of the Jerusalem municipality handed demolition orders to Islam and Iman al-Abbasi in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood under the pretext that their houses were built without license. Family members told Ma‘an that the houses were built about three months ago on a tract of land the family owns. Each of the two houses measures 80 square meters and they house 12 family members.

Sit-in at EU Jerusalem office to protest home demolitions
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Activists organized a sit-in on Thursday in front of the European Union’s office in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem in protest of the Israeli policy of house demolitions. Participants handed a letter to the EU representative explaining the suffering caused by the demolitions, and emphasizing the EU’s role in protecting Palestinians. Protesters held signs reading “House demolition are against international law,” “House demolitions are the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalemites,” and “No to the house demolition policy,” among others. The sit-in was organized by the Jerusalem civil and national work organization, which called on Palestinians in Jerusalem to resist and stand against Israeli policies.  The protest comes amid a major increase in the frequency of demolitions since the beginning of the year, with at least 114 Palestinian properties destroyed and 217 people displaced in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent weeks, according to UNOCHA.

Israeli forces demolish Jordan Valley village for 2nd time
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished tents set up by Palestinian residents in the Jordan Valley after their village was completely destroyed by Israel in January, an Israeli rights group said. “A Civil Administration bulldozer arrived once more at Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah in the central Jordan Valley this morning. It began demolishing the tents put up by the residents since the latest demolition of 13 January 2014,” B’Tselem said in a statement. “A soldier escort to the bulldozer slashed the tent fabric so that the tents could not be re-erected.” The bulldozer did not manage to destroy all of the tents as some were located on a hillside. Israeli Civil Administration officials informed residents that they would soon return with a larger bulldozer to complete the demolitions.
On Jan. 8, Israeli authorities destroyed the entire village of Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah, leaving 25 people homeless, including 15 children. Israeli forces also destroyed the the only water pipe serving the community, B’Tselem said. Residents were given temporary tents by the International Committee of the Red Cross, but days later Israeli authorities returned to the village and confiscated the tents. Since then, villagers have huddled together in a single tent provided by the ICRC and most of the livestock has no shelter.

IOF arrest two activists after their return to village of Ein Hejleh
NORTHERN JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 13 Feb –Ten Palestinian activists returned on Wednesday evening to the village of Ein Hejleh in the Jordan Valley, few days after it was evacuated by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF). Eyewitnesses told PIC’s reporter that the activists were able to reach the village and pitched tents in the site; however, large Israeli forces surrounded them and arrested two of them. The two detainees, the witnesses added, were taken to the Israeli Ofer prison. The IOF has also held a group of journalists and prevented them from approaching the site, which was immediately declared a closed military zone. The occupation patrols have been intensively deployed in the bypass road 90 near the border with Jordan.
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Palestinians renew call for UN World Heritage status for West Bank village
Haaretz 13 Feb by Barak Ravid — The Palestinian Authority has renewed its request to have the West Bank village of Batir recognized as a protected site by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. PA officials turned to the UN agency two weeks ago and asked it to begin an emergency procedure to recognize the ancient terraces of Batir, near Bethlehem, as a World Heritage Site, hoping this will block the planned construction of part of the separation barrier there. The Palestinians, who since October 2011 have enjoyed the status of a member state in UNESCO, froze a similar process in June 2013 at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who at the time was actively involved in renewing the peace talks. As part of the understandings with the U.S. administration that led to a renewal of the diplomatic negotiations, the Palestinians agreed to freeze unilateral steps in various UN agencies. A renewal of the process in UNESCO may signify that the Palestinians are preparing for the possibility that Kerry will not succeed in formulating a framework agreement that will constitute a basis for continuing the negotiations, and that the peace talks will blow up and not be extended beyond April 29 – the date determined in advance for their conclusion.

Right-wing MKs walk out on EU parliament speaker
Times of Israel 12 Feb by Raphael Ahren — European Parliament President Martin Schulz criticized Israel Wednesday for its blockade of the Gaza Strip and for allegedly allowing Israelis to consume more water than Palestinians, causing a storm of protest from the far-right Jewish Home party, some of whose members walked out while he was addressing the Knesset plenum  … Schulz also recounted a meeting he held two days ago with young Palestinians, saying they dream of something that most people take for granted: “to live in their own country, without violence, without restrictions of movement.” Palestinians have the same rights as Israelis to self-determination and justice, Schulz said. “One of the questions from these young men that moved me the most was: How can it be that Israelis are allowed to use 70 liters [of water] per day and Palestinians only 17?”  At this point, several right-wing MKs yelled out in protest, calling the figures Palestinian lies, with a number of Jewish Home party lawmakers, including Orit Struck and Moti Yogev, stalking out of the plenum.

Undeniable discrimination in the amount of water allocated to Israelis and Palestinians
B’Tselem press release 12 Feb — Following the Knesset debate today, B’Tselem publishes a short FAQ about inequality in the distribution of water between Palestinians and Israelis. 1. Is there discrimination in terms of the quantity of water available to Israelis and Palestinians? Yes, there is discrimination in water allocation and Israeli citizens receive much more water than Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Government of Israel is largely responsible for this discrimination due its water policy: First, minimal amounts of water are supplied to Palestinians and water from shared resources is unequally divided; Second, existing infrastructure with high levels of water loss is not upgraded, no infrastructure is developed for communities that are not connected to the water grid and water infrastructure projects in areas located inside the Palestinian Authority are not approved. It is important to note that the water allocation for Palestinians was determined in the Oslo Accord, but the agreement included a plan to increase the supply. This plan never materialized. In addition, demand for water has increased due to population growth over the twenty years since the Oslo Accord was signed. 2. Are there gaps in water consumption between Israelis and Palestinians? Absolutely…..  [See Visualizing Occupation: Distribution of water]

Just how much do Palestinians rely on Israel for water?
Haaretz 13 Feb by Amira Hass — Israelis – including those in the settlements – use three times as much water a day in their households as West Bank Palestinians do, according to figures provided by Palestinians and aid organizations. That is just one aspect of the large discrepancy between Israelis and Palestinians in access, development and use of water resources — a discrepancy that has only increased since the signing of the Oslo Accords. Some 113,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, in some 70 villages and communities, are still not connected to the water network and are dependent on water transported in tanker trucks, which raises the price significantly. In many of these communities, which are extremely poor, the families are forced to spend up to 40 percent of their income on this basic commodity. In these communities in Area C (under exclusive Israeli control) the average water consumption per day is about 20 liters per capita. Often a pipe of Israel’s Mekorot water company that reaches the settlements runs nearby, but the Palestinians are not allowed to connect to aspect of a large discrepancy in access, development and use of resources. In most areas of the West Bank the water supply in the summer is sporadic, with municipalities required to stagger the water supply between neighborhoods. In various cities, especially in the southern West Bank, there is no running water in houses for weeks and even months at a time. Consequently, according to estimates of international aid organizations, almost a million Palestinians do not reach the minimal average daily usage of 60 liters, set by the World Health Organization.

On camera: Settlers caught stealing from Nablus nursery
IMEMC 14 Feb by Chris Carlson — Surveillance CCTV cameras recorded a group of Jewish settlers stealing seedlings, along with a set of agriculture pottery from a nursery in Sawiya village, near the West Bank city of Nablus. The video was aired Wednesday by Israel’s Channel 2 television, Al Ray reports; it showed different groups of settlers arriving in the nursery with their cars as battering rams, stealing whatever their hands could take before speeding away. The report emphasized that the thieves were Jews and the incident was repeated more than 6 times this month.

Why did police close settler vandalism case?
Haaretz 13 Feb by Amira Hass — Hebron-area family suing police for failure to act effectively on evidence of tree vandalism — The police station in Hebron got the call at 6:27 AM, and the duty officer took down the report of the damage done to the olive grove belonging to the Amur family of Yatta. A police team was dispatched and at 9:56 it arrived at the grove – across from the Palestinian village of A-Tawani and the Maon Farm outpost that had been erected nearby. The police team found representatives of the District Coordinating and Liaison Office and several Israel Defense Forces soldiers, including two trackers who had started combing the area for footprints. Tracker Khalil Gabia began following a fresh pair of prints that led to a house. In the house he found a pair of shoes that he said matched the footprints, and also found a man in the house who matched the shoes. Sounds promising, no? So how did the case end up being closed for lack of evidence? The documents in the case file offer some clues.

Restriction of movement

Gaza patients forced to cover ‘Palestine logo’ to cross Erez
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an/AFP) 13 Feb — Palestinian and Israeli civil liaison departments reached a deal on Thursday to allow patients from Gaza to enter Israel for medical treatment after earlier being denied access because their referral letters contained the “State of Palestine” logo. Palestinian officials told Ma‘an that the officials met Wednesday afternoon at the Erez crossing to try to find a temporary solution for patients seeking medical care. A deal was reached to cross out the words “State of Palestine” on all official referral letters in order to allow patients entry to Israel, the officials said. Over 190 patients were eventually allowed to cross into Israel and travel to the West Bank for medical treatment after the logo was blurred out. On Wednesday, 70 patients who were scheduled to travel to the West Bank via the Erez crossing for treatment were denied entry because they presented documents including the “State of Palestine” on the letterheads. “This is a political decision from the Israelis to exert pressure in the negotiations,” a senior Palestinian official at the Gaza district coordination office said. A spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry unit responsible for coordinating civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, confirmed that the permits had been refused because they were submitted on stationary bearing the problematic logo. The PLO declared independence unilaterally in 1988 and was recognized as a “non-member observer state” by the United Nations in 2012. More than 130 countries today recognize Palestine’s existence as a state, but Israel refuses to do so.

This couple needs a military permit for Valentine’s Day — here’s why
World Post 13 Feb by Anat Saragusti, Director, B’Tselem — How are you spending Valentine’s Day this year? Today, as you’re planning a surprise for your loved one or helping your child make cards and candies to take to school, I want you to stop for a moment. While flying red hearts are popping from every corner, while flower stores are hiring extra hands — let us pause for just a moment for a short trip to another place where Valentine’s Day is not so merry.  In this place, thousands of people cannot see their loved ones in person, and even sending a bouquet of flowers to a sweetheart is not possible. This place is called Gaza. Since 2000, Israeli policies have banned Palestinians from traveling between Gaza and the West Bank. Though it may not seem like it in recent years, Gaza and the West Bank are two parts of the same territorial land of the Palestinians and, as might be expected, there are strong family ties between those two parts. Many Palestinian families have relatives in both the West Bank and Gaza, and until crossing was prohibited, hundreds of Palestinians relocated between the two areas to marry their loved ones. But for the last 14 years, Israel has banned all travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, except in very few exceptional humanitarian cases involving serious illness, death, or a wedding, for first-degree relatives only.

PA. Jordan working to reopen bridge Israel closed in 2005
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — The Palestinian Authority has been holding talks with Jordan to try and reopen the Prince Muhammad Bridge commercial crossing between Jordan and the northern West Bank, a Palestinian official said. Undersecretary of the PA ministry of transportation Ali Shaath told Ma‘an on Tuesday that a joint Palestinian-Jordanian committee has been tasked with preparing the plans to reopen the crossing. The move will increase the Palestinian Authority’s commercial exchange with Jordan and other Arab countries which “the Israeli occupation” has been impeding, he explained. Shaath confirmed that Jordan had agreed to reopen the bridge, and that officials in the Palestinian department of civil affairs have been addressing the issue with Israel. Prince Muhammad Bridge, also known as Damia Bridge, is a bridge over the Jordan River about 15 kilometers to the north of Jericho. The Israeli authorities have kept the bridge shut since 2005.

The economic breach in the separation fence
Al-Monitor 11 Feb by Danny Rubenstein — More than 10 years have passed since construction work began on the separation fence between Israel and the West Bank. The cost of construction amounted to some 12 billion Israeli new shekels [more than $3.4 billion], making it one of the most expensive projects in the history of [Israel]. Moreover, the maintenance costs for the fence has stood at some 1 billion shekels [close to $284 million] a year since 2007, so the overall cost of the fence is expected this year to total no less than 20 billion shekels [nearly $ 5.7 billion] … Looking back, one might wonder whether this huge project was indeed justified … One fact is clear: The fence is not stopping anyone seeking to enter into Israel from the Palestinian territory in the West Bank. In the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli police, they are talking about [the] close to 50,000 West Bank Palestinians who are working at any given moment in Israel without an entry permit (dubbed the “illegals”) … They have no difficulty entering into Israel … Given that 50,000 “illegals” infiltrate into Israel through gaps in the fence, it is then no doubt that terrorists as well can do the same and carry out attacks [in Israel]. The fact, however, is they are not doing it.

The next stage: a visa to Europe / Amira Hass
Haaretz 12 Feb — If European visa request forms included the question: “Were you involved in demolishing homes and transferring Palestinians in the last 10 years?” tens of thousands of Israelis would most likely choose to brazenly lie, and answer ‘no’ — The successes of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are impressive, but they’re not enough. Israel needs braver, more stringent messages from friendly countries in order to understand just how much its ordinary life is based in obscene and perverted policies. Jewish Israelis need more than just symbols like Scarlett Johansson’s recent entanglement in order to realize that there are much more important things at stake than the settlements’ villas and their boutique wineries. One such thing, for example, is their children’s and grandchildren’s future in this region. Therefore, European states must cease automatically giving Israelis tourist visas upon arrival at their borders. Instead, they should require us − as they do Palestinians − to request visas at their consulates ahead of time. Disruption of our freedom of movement and the chances of being refused visas would be a well-placed warning sign, telling us that our normality is nothing more than an illusion.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests

Palestinian footballers shot by Israeli forces never to play again
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Two young Palestinian football players shot by Israeli forces last month have learned that they will never be able to play sports again due to their injuries, according to doctors. Doctors at Ramallah governmental hospital said the pair will need six months of treatment before they can evaluate if the two will even be able to ever walk again, at best. Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, were shot by Israeli soldiers as they were walking home from a training session in the Faisal Hussein Stadium in al-Ram in the central West Bank on Jan. 31. Israeli forces opened fire in their direction without warning as they were walking near a checkpoint. Police dogs were subsequently unleashed on them before Israeli soldiers dragged them across the ground and beat them. The pair was subsequently were taken to an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem, where they underwent a number of operations to remove the bullets. Medical reports said that Jawhar was shot with 11 bullets, seven in his left foot, three in his right, and one in his left hand. Halabiya was shot once in each foot. The two were taken to Ramallah governmental hospital before being transferred to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman. Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril al-Rajoub condemned the shooting and said that “Israeli brutality against them emphasizes the occupation’s insistence on destroying Palestinian sport.” Rajoub called for imposing penalties on the Israeli football association, and demanded its removal from the FIFA as it should not accept racist organizations that do not adhere to international law.

Soldiers attack children heading to school in Jerusalem
IMEMC Thurs morning 13 Feb by Saed Bannoura —  Israeli soldiers attacked and fired gas bombs at dozens of schoolchildren in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, leading to dozens of injuries, Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan has reported. The Center said that the soldiers invaded Schools Street, in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, in Silwan, and attacked children who were walking to school. Medical sources said dozens of children suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics. The army also detained several students and searched them, leading to clashes.
Also on Wednesday, soldiers invaded various neighborhoods in Silwan, and handed destruction orders against a number of homes.  Soldiers also kidnapped two young Palestinian men, identified as Mustafa Siyam and Mohammad Qara‘in, after an argument that erupted between them following the invasion, and violently assaulted them. The soldiers also sprayed gas in their faces. Furthermore, soldiers kidnapped resident Anan Beidoun, after breaking into his home in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood. The army alleges the resident built his home on a land “owned by the Antiquities Department.”

Witnesses: Israeli forces fire tear gas into East Jerusalem schools
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters into four schools in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Thursday, witnesses said. Dozens of school children suffered excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces deployed in the Ras al-Amoud quarter of the neighborhood. Clashes broke out after soldiers began harassing students and inspecting the ID cards of local residents. Several schoolboys and girls required treatment after inhaling tear gas.

Israeli troops ‘assault’ Palestinian youth in south Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli soldiers assaulted a Palestinian youth in the northern West Bank late Tuesday, his father said. Abd al-Latif al-Raee told Ma‘an that he and his 19-year-old son Adham were walking in their privately-owned field in southern Qalqiliya when Israeli troops attacked the young man. “They assaulted my son before my eyes,” al-Raee said. The soldiers “dragged him between bushes where they brutally beat him.” After detaining Adham for more than an hour, the soldiers released him, al-Raee said, adding that his son was bleeding badly and that he was assaulted for no reason. Al-Raee said he filed a complaint at a military liason office.

Israeli forces raid house, detain father and son in Silwan [and injure grandmother]
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in East Jerusalem early Wednesday, a committee spokesman said. Amjad Abu Asab, spokesman for a Jerusalem-based committee that represents prisoners’ families, told Ma’an that Israeli troops and intelligence officers overnight raided the Beir Ayyoub area of the Silwan neighborhood and detained a young man and his father. Abu Asab identified the detainees as 20-year-old Abd al-Rahman Shaloudi and his 43-year-old father, Idris. The Israeli soldiers “savagely” broke into their house and damaged its interior, Abu Asab said.  He said Abd al-Rahman’s grandmother was taken to hospital after one of the soldiers slammed a door on her hand. The young man recently spent 16 months in Israeli prisons, and was released on Dec. 22, 2013, Abu Asab said.

4 Palestinians injured after Israeli forces raid Qabatiya
JENIN (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Four Palestinians were injured after being shot in clashes with Israeli forces that broke out in Qabatiya in the northern West Bank on Wednesday afternoon. Local sources told Ma‘an that clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers raided the area near the Shuhad junction and dozens of Palestinian youths responded. Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles, while Israeli forces fired live bullets and tear gas, injuring four. Mohammad Kamal Tazaza was shot in the hand, Ali Taysir Zakarneh and Nizaruddin Khoza‘a were shot in their feet, and Samer Asasaa was hit directly by a tear gas canister, according to local sources. All of the injured were taken to Jenin hospital.

Israeli forces briefly detain woman, issue ban for Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli forces on Wednesday briefly detained a Palestinian woman before issuing a ban to prevent her entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Nujoud Imteer was taken to al-Qashla police station when she tried to enter the compound from the Cotton Merchant’s Gate. She was detained and banned for allegedly “causing riot inside the mosque,” locals said.

Palestinian kidnapped near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Feb by Saed Bannoura — [Thurs 13 Feb] Several Israeli military vehicles invaded the Deir Nitham [or Deir Nidham] village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped one Palestinian. Dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation; one woman was injured after the soldiers attacked her. Local sources have reported that the soldiers invaded and violently searched several homes in the village, causing property damage and kidnapping resident Obeida Nassereddeen Tamimi, 22 years of age. Soldiers also violently attacked a Palestinian woman, identified as Mona Mahmoud Tamimi, 45, causing various cuts and bruises. [Ma‘an: Deir Nidham is a small village completely surrounded by areas under Israeli military control. It is located directly beside the Hallamish settlement, close by to Nabi Saleh, which is the site of frequent protests against the Israeli occupation.]…
In related news, Israeli sources said that a Molotov cocktail struck an Israeli settlement bus, near Madama village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The Israeli army said the bus was partially damaged, but the incident did not lead to any injuries. Soldiers initiated a search campaign in the area, but reported no arrests.

Soldiers kidnap 12 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies Thursday 13 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded various Palestinian districts in the occupied West Bank, kidnapping twelve Palestinians before moving them to interrogation facilities. The Israeli military claimed that the twelve Palestinians “are wanted for security violations”, and were moved to several interrogation facilities. Local sources in the central West Bank district of Ramallah have reported that the soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians from the Qalandia refugee camp, as they were trying to cross through Atara roadblock, north of Ramallah. The army said that the soldiers arrested Hosni Mteir, Mahmoud Samih Mteir, Mohammad Mteir, Mahmoud Mohammad Mteir and Ali Adawi, alleging that they uncovered three M16 rifles belonging to them.
Furthermore, soldiers invaded the Balata refugee camp, violently searched homes and kidnapped resident Abdul-Jabbar Farraj; excessive property damage was reported.
Earlier on Thursday, at dawn, undercover soldiers of the Israeli army invaded the Deheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, kidnapping one Palestinian identified as Tamer Habry Abu Saddoud, 20.
Also in Bethlehem, soldiers invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem, and kidnapped Amjad Saleh Abu Aker, Mohammad Hamza al-Kurd, Moath al-Mashayekh, Mustafa Abu Srour, and Mohammad As’ad al-Masa’eed; all 16 years of age.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, soldiers installed a roadblock at the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp, kidnapped Rami Jihad al-Khatib, 28, and took him to an unknown destination.
Soldiers also repeatedly invaded various areas in Hebron over the last 24 hours, including a 4-hour long invasion into Hebron city, broke into and searched several homes.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded al-Thaheriyya town, south of Hebron, and blocked the main entrance of the al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, before stopping and interrogating dozens of residents while inspecting their ID cards.

8 injured in clashes across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) Friday 14 Feb — Dozens of Palestinians were injured, and others suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation in clashes that broke out with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank. Six young Palestinians were shot with live bullets at the entrance of al-Jalazun refugee camp northeast of Ramallah.
In Bil‘in village, dozens suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a weekly protest. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters as they neared their lands close to Israel’s wall.  Israeli forces dispersed another protest in Nabi Saleh village and prevented villagers from reaching their lands, which face the threat of confiscation. Locals said that Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters, causing dozens to suffer from excessive tear-gas inhalation. In Kafr Qaddum, two people were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation in the weekly protest. Coordinator for the popular resistance committee in the village Murad Eshtewi said that Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets. Abd al-Rahim Eshtewi, 40, was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the neck and was taken to Darwish Nazzal hospital in Qalqiliya, while Aws Abd al-Raziq Amer was shot in the leg with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Dozens others suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation.

Gaza under blockade

Palestinian killed by army fire in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies Thurs evening 13 Feb — Palestinian medical sources have reported that one Palestinian was killed, and another wounded by Israeli military fire in the al-Mintar area, east of the Ash-Shujaeyya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. Dr. Ashraf Al-Qodra, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, stated that resident Ibrahim Suleiman Mansur, 26 years of age, was shot by a live round, in his head, and died of his injury. Al-Qodra added that another Palestinian, 21 years of age, was moderately injured by a live round in his right leg. The two were collecting gravel to be used in construction, due to the lack of construction materials resulting from the illegitimate Israeli siege on Gaza.

Israeli forces open fire on Gaza protesters, 9 injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, injuring nine people, witnesses said. They opened fire east of Jabaliya in north Gaza, injuring one person seriously. Seven other people were lightly injured after being hit by tear gas canisters. The wounded were taken to Kamal Adwan hospital for treatment. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the shooting but did not say if anyone was injured. “Hundreds of Palestinians were throwing stones to try to damage the security fence between Gaza and Israel,” said the spokeswoman. “Our soldiers tried to keep the crowd at bay by using anti-riot methods and by firing live bullets towards the legs of the main instigators,” she added.

Rockets hit Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol regional councils; none injured
Ynet 14 Feb by Mattan Tzuri — Two rockets hit Israel on Friday, one near a greenhouse in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and the other in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported.,7340,L-4488410,00.html

Egypt army destroys 10 Gaza border tunnels
CAIRO (TurkishPress) 12 Feb — The Egyptian army has destroyed ten tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula with the Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said Wednesday. “[Egyptian] border guards… managed to deal a new blow to cross-border smugglers by destroying ten tunnels in Rafah,” army spokesman Ahmed Ali said via Facebook.

Lifting Gaza blockade ‘out of the question’, senior Israeli officials say
Haaretz 12 Feb by Barak Ravid — Israel will not lift the blockade currently imposed on the Gaza Strip, senior officials at the Prime Minister Office said on Wednesday, a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that lifting the siege be a condition for signing a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey.

Gaza’s cancer patients suffer due to siege, division
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 13 Feb by Hazem Balousha — The political division between Gaza and Ramallah, in addition to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade, is leaving cancer patients in the Gaza Strip without adequate medical care — Nasser al-Sadek was standing, about four months ago, in his electric appliances store in the town of Jabaliya in the north of the Gaza Strip, when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. He visited a doctor at the hospital who gave him medication for inflammation, but the pain persisted. He returned to the doctor, who conducted tests to reveal the presence of tumors inside his lungs, which, analysis proved, were cancerous. Doctors at the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip decided to transfer Sadek, 44, to an Israeli hospital to complete the required tests and receive chemotherapy, because Shifa lacked the facilities to diagnose and treat the disease. After receiving an appointment from the Israeli hospital, as per the relevant procedures, he submitted an application to the Civil Affairs Committee for permission to enter Israel. Israeli security authorities refused, on multiple occasions, to issue Sadek a permit. He waited 23 days before he was allowed to cross the border and go to the hospital, where he learned that the cancerous tumors had spread to his brain. He remained in an Israeli hospital for a month, during which his medical condition was diagnosed and he was given initial treatment, subsequently returning to the Gaza Strip. Sadek’s doctors again determined that he needed radiation therapy, which is unavailable in Gaza hospitals. His wife set about to obtain the necessary paperwork and schedule an appointment for him at a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem, or even an Israeli one. Another 23 days passed until the appointment was scheduled, by which time the cancer had spread to parts of his liver. Sadek, who has eight children, lies unconscious in the Shifa Hospital’s Hematology and Oncology Department.

Will the flowers of Gaza break Israel’s siege this Valentine’s Day?
GAZA (Corporate Watch, Tom Anderson and Therezia Cooper) 12 Feb — …Farmers in Gaza have long been encouraged by Israeli export companies to focus their production on high risk ‘cash crops’ such as flowers and strawberries, and the arrival of carnations from Rafah to European markets for Christmas or Valentine’s day is often cheered on by the Israeli Government who uses it as a PR exercise to show how it ‘facilitates’ Palestinian exports. Unsurprisingly, this is not the full story … “The Israeli occupation allows us to export a small quantity of produce, just to show the world that they are nice to the Palestinians, but they are using us. Everything we do is controlled by them”, said Saad Ziada from UAWC when we met him in his Gaza City office in November last year, just before what was supposed to be the start of the flower exporting season. This statement is true of all produce in Gaza but flower exporters are particularly susceptible to the control Israel holds over exports, as their produce relies on hitting the market at exactly the right time for popular flower buying holidays. If the border is closed for a week and the flowers miss the export window for Valentine’s Day, for instance, their profit for the whole year can be lost … The table above shows that flower exports have decreased to a fraction of what they were in 2004. During 2012 and 2009, the years of major Israeli attacks on the Strip, exports were prevented entirely. Gaza’s flower growers see no light at the end of the tunnel with most not having the cash flow to continue their profession. Exports are declining and becoming even more unpredictable with increased border closures.

Salafists rally against Valentine’s day in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 14 Feb by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Gaza resident Maher Annan gave a red carnation to his wife Umm Mahdi, as their four children Nour, Nagam, Mahmoud and Mahdi stood by smiling. This gesture was blasphemous according to the religious speech given by Sheikh Hamada Jabar on the evening of Feb. 13, directed at the owners of shops selling flowers and other gifts on Al-Wahda Street in Gaza City. Each of these shops was preparing in its own way for Valentine’s Day. “God called upon us to love, so how can celebrating love be considered haram?” asked Annan, as he bought a flower from the Crazy Flower shop. Sheikh Jabar stood in front of the shop, which was decorated with red ribbons, preaching to those who had gathered. He told them that Valentine’s Day is a forbidden, Christian practice. Annan, his wife and others were motivated by curiosity to listen to the sheikh, who was surrounded by other Salafist sheikhs. They were carrying banners calling for women to wear the veil and for people to give up smoking and not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. “A single flower is enough for me on Valentine’s day. Why must people always focus on the bad side of things?” Umm Mahdi asked Al-Monitor. A march by a group of Salafist sheikhs belonging to the Ibn Baaz Islamic Charitable Association had started on the evening of Feb. 13 in the Garden of the Unknown Solider. It was part of a campaign against Valentine’s Day.

Gaza’s education ministry bans unauthorized UNRWA curriculums
GAZA (PIC) 13 Feb –The Palestinian ministry of education has informed director of UNRWA operations in Gaza Robert Turner of its decision to halt the teaching of the agency’s unauthorized curriculums in its schools. This came during a meeting between education minister Osama al-Muzaini and Turner in Gaza. Muzaini confirmed his Ministry’s approval to form a joint committee to discuss the proposed books, saying that he does not mind making book in coordination between his ministry the UNRWA , provided that these books must take into account the Palestinian national values and norms. The education ministry warned the agency of serious consequences if it continues to use these unlicensed books. Turner, in turn, pledges to discuss the issue with other UNRWA officials within one week as it was set by the ministry.
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Discovering Gazans’ resilient side
BBC News 13 Feb by Simon Cox — After a year of relative calm, tension between Israel and the Palestinians is now increasing again. But as journalists arrive in Gaza City – expecting tensions and unrest – stories of surprise have been coming back — Room 17 at the Al Deira hotel was a Moroccan style suite with a stylish bathroom, colourful rugs and a spectacular view of the Mediterranean lapping gently at a curve of golden sand. It was not what I was expecting in Gaza. I had come prepared for trouble, with a flak jacket and helmet, driven from the border with Israel in an armour-plated car past a plethora of grey breeze block structures, unfinished due to a lack of cement. I was not here to report, but to train a group of journalists from Alwan radio for a weekly programme they had been making with other stations in the West Bank as part of a wider BBC and British Council project.
My hotel was not the only surprise – so too were the 10 eager, smiling faces waiting to greet me at Alwan’s offices on the 11th floor of an office block in downtown Gaza. The majority were young women, dressed in jeans and trainers and bold bright headscarves in a rich medley of mint greens, purples and blues … I expected the stories from my young team would be primarily about the hardship of daily life but instead they recorded stories on their mobile phones about the strawberry season; a second-hand shop where both the rich and poor came to pick up designer bargains; and an unemployed engineer who had become a canary breeder to make money.  You need this kind of ingenuity when half the population is unemployed.

Apartheid Week

Announcing Israeli Apartheid Week 2014
[with video] Israel Apartheid Week 14 Feb — Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Reflecting the global grassroots rejection of Israel’s military and political aggression, IAW was held in more than 200 locations in 2012 and more than 150 cities in 2013. Tenth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week – #apartheidweek UK and US: February 24-March 2 Europe: March 1-8 South Africa: March 10-16 Brazil: March 24-28 Palestine, Arab world and Asia: TBA IAW is an annual international series of events including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings, multimedia displays and boycott of Israel actions held in cities and on university campuses across the globe. If you would like to organize and be part of Israeli Apartheid Week on your campus or in your city please get in touch with us at Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.


Israeli settlements also face pressure from within
PSAGOT, West Bank (AP) 13 Feb — These days, when Yaakov Berg tries to sell his award-winning line of Psagot boutique wines, he encounters obstacles from every direction. As a Jewish vintner in a West Bank settlement, his product is increasingly considered off-limits. “Not just overseas, also in Tel Aviv,” says Berg, 37. “So we have big problems. Actually, it’s almost impossible to sell in (Tel Aviv) restaurants.” With Israel mired in a struggle to combat growing calls in Europe to boycott Israeli products and businesses with ties to the controversial settlements, a quieter and more informal campaign is subtly emerging at home among Israelis themselves. Israelis who may have long supported peace but also considered the settlements no big deal are starting to ask why Israel continues building there in the face of what looks like a rare global consensus against them verging on outrage. And even among Israelis who consider the West Bank Israel’s by right, there seems to be some discomfort now with continued investment in the West Bank instead of a genuine effort to address an internal housing crisis and other social ills in Israel.

Palestinian refugees in Syria

West Bank shops not to sell red roses this Valentine’s Day
RAMALLAH (Gulf News) 13 Feb by Nasouh Nazzal — Scores of flower shops in the Palestinian territories have decided not to sell red flowers this Valentine’s Day so that Palestinians can donate the money they might otherwise spend on these symbols of love to ease the suffering of the Palestinians of Al Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria. Valentine’s Day is widely observed in the Palestinian territories and is a peak trading season for flower shops despite the inflated prices on this particular day … This year our people in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria need our help, attention and prayers more than marking Valentine’s Day does and the public needs to be reminded of the suffering of these Palestinians,” said Firas Farrah, the owner of a pioneer flower shop in Hebron, who decided to suspend selling flowers on Valentine’s Day. “The amount paid for each red flower should go to help the Palestinians in Al Yarmouk — this is better than giving it to me or to any other flower shop,” he told Gulf News.

The deal in Yarmouk — End of the tragedy or empty words?
YARMOUK 12 Feb by Racha Abi Haidar — The sheer devastation is enough for one to imagine what kind of battles have been taking place in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. There are no signs of life at the camp, except for the fighters of the Palestinian factions, who have filled the void left behind by the camp’s fleeing residents. In the opinion of the Palestinian fighters, the optimistic view that the crisis in the camp is over is rather exaggerated. To them, all talk about the neutrality of the camp in the armed conflict is just “empty words.”

UNRWA: Suspension of aid distribution in Yarmouk to be lifted ‘soon’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — The UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA said that they were “closely monitoring” reports that evacuations from Yarmouk had resumed, following their suspension last week after clashes erupted. “UNRWA remains in constant contact with the authorities and is assured that the current suspension will be lifted soon, pending negotiations between government forces and groups inside Yarmouk,” UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement to Ma‘an on Wednesday.
Clashes on Friday night forced UNRWA to suspend aid distribution in the besieged Damascus refugee camp … Gunness said that until distribution was “temporarily suspended” on Friday, UNRWA had distributed 6,528 food parcels, 10,000 polio vaccines and “a range of other medical supplies to civilians inside the camp” since being allowed access to the camp on Jan. 18.

Repatriation of remains

Israel to return remains of Palestinian man held since 2002
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli authorities will return the remains of a Palestinian man from the Hebron area whose body has been kept by Israel for more than 10 years, a Palestinian committee spokesman told Ma‘an. Amin al-Bayid, a spokesman of Hebron branch of the Palestinian Committee for Retrieving Martyrs’ Bodies, told Ma‘an that Israel would return the remains of Mohammad Mustafa Hasan Shahin Al-Darabee from Dura south of Hebron. Al-Bayid said the committee was notified by a lawyer from the Israeli human rights group HaMoked (Center for the Defense of the Individual), that the remains of al-Darabee would be delivered to his family Sunday evening at the Tarqumia checkpoint south of Hebron.  After the remains of al-Darabee are returned, Israel will have returned remains of 12 Palestinians held in numbered graves. Israel pledged to return 36 bodies of Palestinians kept by Israel for many years as a gesture to encourage the PA to continue peace talks. Al-Darabee was killed on Dec. 27, 2002 after he and Ahmad Ayid Faqih broke into the Israeli settlement of Otniel south of Hebron and opened fire inside a Yeshiva school. The attack killed two Israeli soldiers and two settlers before al-Darabee and his companion were shot dead in the ensuing firefight. At the time al-Darabee was 20 years old. The Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility for the operation, which came at the height of the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising in the 2000s against the decades-long Israeli occupation.

Other news

PA to remove religion from ID cards
NABLUS (Ma’an) 13 Feb — The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards, according to officials. The undersecretary of the ministry of interior Hassan Alawi told Ma‘an that President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree to remove religious affiliation from identity cards beginning on Feb. 11, 2014. Alawi said the decision was made entirely by Palestinian authorities and ensures the equality of all Palestinians, regardless of their religion.

PA’s Abbas moves toward creating vice presidency
Al-Monitor 12 Feb by Daoud Kuttab — The Palestinian leadership might appoint a vice president as an insurance policy against a US-Israeli backlash should President Mahmoud Abbas reject a final peace deal … The 78-year-old Abbas has dropped no hints about a preferred successor, but he has approved a legal research process to create such a position. While article 34 of the Basic Law allows for a sitting president to make temporary laws, it is believed that creating the position of vice president requires a vote by the currently inactive PLC. The problem is further compounded by the last elected speaker of the Palestinian legislature, Abdel Aziz Dweik, being a strong supporter of Hamas.

Abu Marzouk: The reconcilation should not join Gaza with the occupied West Bank
BEIRUT (PIC) 14 Feb — Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk expressed his rejection of the idea of forming a new Palestinian government on the basis of conjoining the Gaza Strip with the occupied West Bank under the current Palestinian authority. Abu Marzouk stated in press remarks to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds that the inter-Palestinian reconciliation does not mean that Gaza should immediately be joined with the West Bank under a new government. “The reconciliation are established [first] through reaching a consensus on a national unity government of independent technocrats,” the Hamas official underlined.
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PA denies arrests of 40 militants returning from Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security forces on Thursday denied allegations by Israeli media that they had arrested 40 Palestinians who had fought with militants in Syria. Spokesman for the PA security forces Adnan al-Dumieri denied the allegations, saying that they were untrue accusations, and blasting the impartiality of the Israeli media in covering Palestinian issues.

WATCH: Who is the mayor of Nazareth?
Israeli Social TV 14 Feb — The question of who will be mayor of Nazareth, the “political capital” of Arabs citizens of Israel, remains undecided. Unlike national elections where Arab turnout lower than the national average, turnout in local races often reaches 90 percent in Arab cities and councils. Israel’s Hebrew-language media, however, does not cover those elections. This is the story of the closely contested Nazareth mayoral race.

One family behind West Bank’s best soccer team
WADI AL-NEES, West Bank (AP) 13 Feb — Palestinian farmer Yousef Abu Hammad sired enough boys for a soccer team – literally. Over the years, his 12 sons have formed the core of what is now the top-ranked team in the West Bank. The current roster includes six of Abu Hammad’s sons, three grandsons and five other close relatives. The players from the hamlet of Wadi al-Nees consistently defeat richer clubs and believe their strong family bonds are a secret to their success. Having no distractions also helps. There’s little to do in the village except play soccer. It is perched on a hilltop just south of the biblical Bethlehem and has only about 950 residents, virtually all members of the Abu Hammad clan. Until the late 1980s, Wadi al-Nees had no running water or electricity. ”We all love soccer – kids, men, women, old and young,” said team director Ahmed Abu Hammad. Wadi al-Nees heads the West Bank’s top league which has 12 teams. It retained the No. 1 slot with a five-point difference even after losing 1-0 last Friday to archrival al-Khader, a team from a village near Bethlehem that is ranked second.

In pictures: Palestinian farmer has enough sons for football team
The National (UAE) 12 Feb — Over the years, Yousef Abu Hammad’s 12 sons have formed the core of what is now the top-ranked team in the West Bank. All photos by Dusan Vranic / AP Photo

World’s largest fair-trade olive oil supplier has origins in Jenin
Al-Monitor 13 Feb by Gil Kelian — Given the failure of the fair-trade cause in Israel, the success of Canaan Fair Trade, based in the West Bank Palestinian city of Jenin, is particularly notable. The fair-trade supplier of olive oil and other Palestinian agricultural products has clients all over the world, including international corporations like Ben & Jerry’s, LUSH Cosmetics and the giant retailers Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma and Sainsbury’s.

Israeli forces unearth grave in Beit Ummar, locals say
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Feb– An Israeli bulldozer on Friday unearthed a grave in the Hebron town of Beit Ummar, a local committee member said. Mohammad Awad told Ma‘an that an Israeli bulldozer dug up a grave located on the side of a main road, leaving the bones visible to passersby. The incident took place after Israeli forces closed the Abu al-Tooq road leading to Beit Ummar with cement blocks, he added. [End]

Obama and Jordan’s king to discuss Mideast in California desert
AFP 14 Feb — WASHINGTON —US President Barack Obama will launch a new round of Middle East diplomacy Friday in a plush oasis in the arid California desert, hosting a Valentine’s Day summit with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.  Obama and the king will swap the piles of snow in Washington for the Sunnylands retreat at the Annenberg estate in Palm Springs, to discuss issues including the pitiful torrent of refugees pouring into Jordan from Syria. The meeting will be the first of a trio of meetings between Obama and key Middle East leaders in the coming weeks.,7340,L-4488298,00.html

Netanyahu said stalling on Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal
Ynet 13 Feb — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the draft of a reconciliation agreement with Turkey, Army Radio reported Thursday. The report cited a source familiar with the talks as saying Netanyahu was afraid of the reaction from the right over the high compensation for families of those killed in fighting when the IDF boarded a Turkish Gaza-bound boat in 2010. The draft includes a payment of more than 20 million dollars to the families of the nine Turkish nationals who died on the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.,7340,L-4487888,00.html

TIKA establishes oxygen production center in West Bank
World Bulletin 13 Feb — Turkey’s Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has completed the construction of an oxygen production center in the Al-Birah Hospital in the West Bank. The Al-Birah Hospital, which is operated by the Palestinian Red Crescent, will not need any extra material to produce oxygen by means of this new device. The head of the Palestinian Red Crescent thanked Turkish officials for the aid, saying that they would no longer need Israel to provide oxygen tubes.

Israel moves closer to deploying laser shield against rockets
AP 14 Feb — With technology reminiscent of ‘Star Wars’, Iron Beam designed to take out threats not in the air long enough for Iron Dome to intercept … Besides Iron Beam and Iron Dome, Israel is also developing the next phase of its Arrow system which can intercept missiles in space and the upcoming David’s Sling, which shoots down short and mid-range ballistic missiles.,7340,L-4488337,00.html

Analysis / Opinion

Why are we ignoring Palestinian nonviolence? / Emily L. Hauser
Forward 12 Feb — The Jewish and Israeli press is quick to report any and all Palestinian violence against any Jew, anywhere. Which makes sense, of course. Israelis and Palestinians are at war, Jews everywhere have a dog in the fight, violence is deplorable, et cetera and so on. But, by contrast, there’s a marked reticence to report on events that show Palestinians actively engaged in nonviolent forms of protest, like last week’s little-noted “protest village,” Ein Hijleh, established by hundreds of activists to protest Israeli annexation plans in the Jordan Valley. This reticence speaks volumes. Really inconvenient and uncomfortable volumes. The Jewish and Israeli narratives — the way we talk about who we are and why we’re here (and though they run parallel, these narratives are not the same) — are, like any other cultural narrative, heavy on self-promotion. Jews share a deep and disturbing history of anti-Jewish violence and hate, and we often tell ourselves that this is the only part of our story that matters when we’re looking out into the world. This is the part that tells us everything we need to know. In this light, our enemies can only be unjustified in their hate; the use of violence defines them and reveals their truest selves; anything else is aberration and cannot be trusted. We, on the other hand, are okay. We’re pretty darn good. We use violence, sure, but only ever because we’re forced to. Sometimes we hate, but look at what they did, can you blame us? These things tell you nothing about our souls — and when one of our own strays from our accepted norms of violence (a Baruch Goldstein, say, or a Yigal Amir) he or she is an esev bar, a wild shoot. A bad apple. An aberration.

I traveled to Palestine-Israel and discovered there is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict’ / Ferrari Sheppard
Huffington Post 10 Feb — …Before I go further, I must put to rest a misnomer. Contrary to what’s been reported in the news for years, there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. None, zero, zilch, diddly-squat. I can say with confidence that Palestinians have no agency. The Israeli government controls everything in the country. This total control which is most magnified in the West Bank, concerns everything from where Palestinians are permitted to travel, to how much water they consume per month. Currently, there is no ‘conflict,’ only the omnipresent power of the Israeli government and those who resist it. This is important to understand.

In West Bank settlements, Israeli jobs are double-edged sword / Jodi Rudoren
MISHOR ADUMIM INDUSTRIAL ZONE, West Bank (NYTimes) 10 Feb — The personal conflict that thousands of Palestinians face working for Israeli companies in the occupied West Bank is particularly stark for Hassan Jalaita, who for 18 years has repaired Israeli Army jeeps at the Zarfati garage here. Those are the very same jeeps that confront Mr. Jalaita at the checkpoint he crosses each morning. The same ones that sweep through villages where his friends and relatives live. But those jeeps also help pay his $1,471 monthly salary at Zarfati, more than triple the minimum wage in Palestinian areas of the West Bank, where a 19 percent unemployment rate and lack of labor laws make finding a decent job difficult. “I feel like I’m not a human being — we are serving the occupation,” said Mr. Jalaita, 47, a father of five, two of them university students. “I am forced to work here because I have a house, I have a family. Tomorrow, if there is another place to work, if there is work in Palestine, I will do it.” Israeli industries operating in settlements that most of the world considers illegal and a prime obstacle to peace have become a focus of global attention in recent weeks, amid growing momentum for a boycott movement targeting Israeli businesses and institutions … Underlying the dispute is a complicated economic and political landscape of factories and farms that at once entrench the Israeli occupation and help feed the Palestinian families that oppose it. About 25,000 Palestinians work legally for Israelis in the West Bank, many in construction, building the settlements they hope will soon be dismantled.

Study shows dire consequences if Palestinian Authority collapses / Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor 14 Feb — In a political reading of the expected failure of negotiations, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research issued a detailed study on the implications of the collapse of the PA. The study, titled “The Day After: The Initiative for the Collapse of the Palestinian Authority,” was put forth in collaboration with the US Middle East Project and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center …The center that launched the study is located in the city of Ramallah, central West Bank, and is headed by Khalil Shikaki. In a statement obtained by Al-Monitor, the center said most Palestinians are convinced that Israel believes the PA plays two major roles. The PA exempts Israel from the responsibility of care for the people living under its control, and at the same time it protects Israel from the demographic threat that is reflected in the current one-state reality. Nevertheless, Israel may resort to sanctions that could, intentionally or unintentionally, lead to the collapse of the PA. This has been recently demonstrated in Israel’s threat to cut off the power supply for Palestinians in the West Bank because of their accumulating financial debts. According to the statement, few Palestinians believe the PA ought to dissolve itself to force Israel to assume its full responsibility as an occupying power. Should the PA collapse or be dissolved, this will deal a severe blow to the Palestinians’ efforts at uniting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This is especially true if the West Bank came under Israel’s total control while the Gaza Strip gained further independence and attributes of a state. The collapse of the PA is also likely to deal a major blow to the approach of Fatah in its conflict with Israel, while Hamas would gain further credibility, as the PA would reject the American-Israeli project to establish a state in the West Bank, which will continue to be separated from Gaza … The study gained importance because most of the participants are prominent Palestinian officials and ministers, such as: Naim Abu al-Homs, former education minister; Fathi Abu Meghli, current education minister; Mashhour Abu Deqqa, communications minister; and Ahmed Qurei, former prime minister. (listserv) (archive)

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Israel moves forward on high-rise settlement in heart of Palestinian Jerusalem

“It’s a death trap, a suicide rap
the Jews can’t get out of it
Baby, Israel was born to die”

Dare I ask for the names of all the Non Jews who will live in this apartment building.

Given that Israel is a beacon of Democracy and equality.

Just asking??.

Gaza patients forced to cover State of Palestine on papers before entry to Israel. Why can’t the UK customs Authorities do the same for products from occupied territories? This from a UK customs on tariff preference paper; importation of goods from Israel…”The European Community has long taken the view that goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories do not qualify for preferential treatment under the terms of the EC/Israel preferential trade agreement.… Read more »

Kate: thank you for your work in posting this disturbing news. It must be as disturbing for you to post it as it is for us to read it — daily seeing what is done with American support. Still, it is good to know. I would like to think that if more Americans knew what is happening, they would urge their elected leaders to end U.S. support for such actions.