Ein Hijleh protest village
VIDEO: Israeli forces storm Ein Hijleh in night attack, arrest protesters
7 Feb — Ali Dar Ali reports — Haitham al-Khatib says on Facebook: Palestine 07/02/2014 #EinHijleh just raided and evicted by Israeli forces. ISM reports 31 sent to the hospital and many more injured from violent arrests. Mostly Palestinian activists (men, women and children) were surrounded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers in full riot gear and arrested around 2am. #EinHijlehUnderAttack
Delegations visit Ein Hijleh protest as Israeli siege enters 6th day
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — An archbishop, a European Union delegation, the PA minister of agriculture and an Israeli member of Knesset were among the solidarity delegations that visited the protest village of Ein Hijleh on Wednesday as a military siege of the area entered its sixth day. Israeli forces also cut off the water pipe leading to the main well in the protest village of Ein Hijleh three times, leading to minor clashes in the Jordan Valley protest encampment as demonstrators reconnected the pipes. In addition, Israeli forces continued to refuse to allow the entry of supplies to the village for the sixth day … Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna visited the village on Wednesday, praising the protesters and saying he will encourage Palestinians to reach the village and support their efforts. The head and members of the local council of Jericho also visited the village and called upon the ministry of local governments to recognize Ein Hijleh as part of the Jericho district. The Palestinian Authority minister of agriculture also visited the village and expressed his ministry’s willingness to help repair the land and fix the old homes in the area. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah phoned protesters to show his support for them, stressing that although it is the only Palestinian village east of Route 90, it will not be the last due to the efforts of the popular resistance movement….
Israeli forces raid protest village in Jordan Valley
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the protest village of Ein Hijleh and fired live bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at protesters there, a Palestinian lawmaker said. Mustafa Barghouthi said two people were lightly injured and treated on the spot. Barghouthi added that they raided the village to remove a sign which had the name of the village on it, and clashes were ongoing. Activist Abdullah Abu Rahma suffered fractures to his arm and Mohammad al-Khatib suffered broken ribs a day earlier after they scuffled with Israeli forces. They were taken to a Jericho hospital. Israeli forces prevented ambulances from reaching the village on Monday, and the injured had to walk for a while before being taken to hospital. Israeli forces also briefly detained 18 participants in the village as they either entered or left it. They were all released later.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Israel destroying emergency shelters of home demolition victims, says Red Cross
Electronic Intifada 5 Feb by Ali Abunimah –;The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended distribution of tents and shelter materials to Palestinian victims of Israeli home demolitions in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley because Israeli occupation forces are habitually destroying or confiscating them. Jon Martin Larsen, ICRC spokesperson for Israel and the occupied territories, told The Electronic Intifada by telephone that his organization would continue to provide emergency supplies including hygiene kits, kitchen sets and mattresses to those made homeless by Israel. “The difference now is that we will not be able to distribute shelter materials such as tents to people affected by house demolitions in the Jordan Valley and that is because we see a pattern of obstacles and confiscations since early 2013 of these tents and materials,” Larsen explained
Israeli land authority destroys Bedouin fields in Negev
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Bulldozers and tractors sent by the Israel Land Authority on Wednesday morning destroyed fields of wheat, barley and other cereal grains planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev. Residents told a Ma‘an reporter in the southern Israeli region that tractors plowed and destroyed crops that had been planted on lands belonging to the Huzayyil tribe, before moving to the area of the nearby Awajan Bedouin village. Israeli authorities said that Negev Bedouins have taken control of state lands which they could have instead leased on a yearly basis at cheap rates. The Bedouins said they refused to sign any lease because if they do it would constitute approving Israeli claims that their private lands are state properties. Bedouins in Israel were under military rule until 1966, and tens of thousands were forcibly expelled from their lands and deported in the nearly two decades prior. Because Bedouins generally lack titles to the lands their ancestors have historically grazed and lived on, it is difficult for them to prove their right to live there. Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people, out of a total of around 200,000 Bedouins. The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.
Group: Israel demolished 27 Jordan Valley homes in January
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli forces destroyed 27 homes in the occupied Jordan Valley in January, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, leaving 147 people homeless. Nearly half of those displaced were children, and 65 people lived in communities that had been demolished more than once by Israel, B’Tselem said … Last week, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories criticized Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley. “I am deeply concerned about the ongoing displacement and dispossession of Palestinians … along the Jordan Valley where the number of structures demolished more than doubled in the last year,” James Rawley said in a statement. “This activity not only deprives Palestinians of access to shelter and basic services, it also runs counter to international law.”
Clashes erupt as Jerusalem municipality demolishes Palestinian homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Demolition teams from the Jerusalem municipality on Wednesday morning destroyed three Palestinian homes and forced a man to demolish his own home in East Jerusalem, leaving 28 homeless. Clashes erupted in one neighborhood following the demolitions, injuring 15 and leading to seven detentions, according to eyewitnesses.
The first demolition was in the Beit Hanina neighborhood north of the Old City. Demolition teams, residents said, arrived at 4:30 a.m. at Wadi al-Dam in Beit Hanina and stormed the home of Muhammad Sanduqa. They then forced the family out and evacuated furniture before bulldozers pulled the house down. Alaa Sanduqa told Ma‘an that his family house was built 17 years ago. The house, he said, measured 65 square meters and housed seven people. He highlighted that his family had paid a fine of 1,000 shekels ($280) for building without a license.
A second demolition raid was carried out in Sur Bahir village south of the Old City. Mujahid Abu Sarhan told Ma‘an that he was awakened by the “noise of Israeli soldiers smashing my windows with rifle butts.” “The Israeli forces arrived without prior notice and they assaulted me in front of my baby girl. My house was built in 2008 and since then I have been trying to obtain a construction license.” He says that he paid a fine of 13,000 shekels ($3700) for building without a license.
A third demolition was reported in Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood. Eyewitnesses said municipality demolition teams forcibly evacuated the families of Nasser Ramadan Shqeirat and his brother Hussein. While the teams evacuated furniture, Israeli forces assaulted women and young people who tried to prevent the evacuation. They sprayed pepper spray at the residents. Clashes broke out in Jabal al-Mukkabir after the demolitions, which left 15 injured with various bruises and cuts. Fatah secretary in Jabal al-Mukkabir, Iyad Bashir, was among the injured. Israeli forces also detained 7 young Palestinians and released them hours later. Ramadan Naser Shuqeirat, Oday Naser Shuqeirat, and Ramadan Shtewi Shuqeirat were identified among the detainees. Khalid Mahmoud Bashir said Israeli forces raided his house in Jabal al-Mukkabir on Wednesday without prior notice, evicted his family and assaulted them with batons and tear gas. Bashir said he, and his eight family members including a disabled daughter, have been living in the 85 square meter house for five years. He explained that Jerusalem municipality imposed a fine of 85 thousand shekels on him eight months ago, and he pays the monthly installments for it. He added that he managed to get a court order to suspend the demolition, but that was “ignored by the occupation bulldozers.”
Details and pictures … the demolition of four residential houses in Sur Baher, Jabal Al-Mukabber and Beit Hanina
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 Feb — [Most details similar to the account of the demolition of these houses in the article above, but there are upsetting photos here – a man sitting distraught in the midst of the rubble of his home, another man in bed with tubes in his nose attached to an oxygen source]
Court upholds demolition order against makeshift homes
JERUSALEM (WAFA)5 Feb — The Israeli District Court in Jerusalem Wednesday upheld a demolition order against two Palestinian-owned makeshift structures used as residences in al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, according to a local group. Wadi Hilweh Information Center said the court gave the owners 60 days to demolish their homes themselves or the municipality would demolish them and at their expense. The two structures are owned by Mahmoud Maslamani and his son Omar. Omar Maslamani said he and his father built the two homes in April from aluminum, plastering and tin but the municipality issued a demolition order against them under the pretext of they were not licensed. He said the structures, 60 square meters and 40 square meters, were housing their family of eight people, including two children with special needs. The court rejected the family appeal against the demolition and said they have to demolish them within 60 days. Maslamani said he believes the municipality wants to seize the 1-dunum [1/4 acre] plot his family owns to construct a road that will pass through their land.
Jerusalem municipality delivers demolition warrants in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb– Five families in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem were give home demolition notices by Jerusalem municipality authorities on Wednesday, including some set to take effect within 48 hours. Director of the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center Jawad Siyam told Ma‘an that Khalid al-Zeir and his father received demolition warrants, and three more warrants were delivered to other members of the Siyam family. Some of the warranted families were notified that their houses would be demolished in 48 hours.
Israel approves 558 settlement units in occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC [Wed 5 Feb by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli government of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved the construction of 558 additional units in illegal Israeli settlements, in occupied Jerusalem. The Jerusalem City Council announced it has approved permits for the construction of the 558 units, adding that the “Planning Committee” issued permits for the construction of 386 units in Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) illegal settlement, 136 in Neve Yaakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev, all built on Palestinian lands. The granted permits allow the construction to begin in the near future, and the government is likely to start the construction in the coming few weeks, Israeli Peace Now Movement has reported. The decision comes to place another obstacle to direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that were resumed under American mediation at the end of July of 2013.
EU wants Israel settlement plans reversed
NEOnline 7 Feb — High Representative for Foreign Relations Catherine Ashton said she is deeply concerned by Israeli settlement plans for Jerusalem and urged Tel-Aviv to reverse its decision. “I am deeply concerned at the announcement by the Jerusalem municipal authorities of their approval of building permits for 558 new units in East Jerusalem, in Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev,” Ashton said in a statement. “These plans could put at risk the prospects of Jerusalem becoming the capital of two states and, in particular, the territorial continuity between East Jerusalem and the southern West Bank.” Ashton added that the EU and the international community have repeatedly warned Israel that any unilateral action prejudging the final status of Jerusalem threatens the current peace negotiations and the two-state solution. “Any such developments must be avoided at all costs,” she said.
Israel to expand illegal settlement in occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC Wed 5 Feb by Saed Bannoura — Ahmad Sob-Laban, a Palestinian researcher specializing in Israeli settlement activities, stated that Israel is preparing to expand the Maaleh Zeitim illegal settlement, built in the heart of the Ras al-‘Amoud Palestinian neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem. Sob-Laban said that, last month, the Jerusalem City Council issued a permit to construct a 400 square meter building that includes three separate pools dedicated to religious settlers, separating men from women, and will be surrounded by a 3 meter wall. The pools are known as Mikveh, and are used for ritual immersion in Judaism. The official added that the new plan is intended to be implemented on nearly 2 dunams (0.49 acres), south of the settlement, overlooking Wadi Qaddoum road … The Refugees Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) said that Ras al-‘Amoud has been the target for Israel’s illegal settlement activities since 1997, when three settler families established the illegal Maaleh Zeitim outpost that has continued to expand since then. There are currently around 500 settlers living in Maaleh Zeitim, and the settlement is currently in its second stage of expansion as Israel will also be conducting a third stage of expansion to reach the current goal of 150 units.
Israel’s AG pushing to try violators for illegal construction in West Bank
Haaretz 7 Feb by Chaim Levinson — For the past year and a half, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has been pushing an initiative aimed at starting to try violators for building illegally in the territories, but a Haaretz investigation has found that law enforcement agencies tend to deal lightly with such criminal cases. Despite having strong evidence, the police recently closed a case against Ze’ev Hever, secretary-general of Amana and the chief violator in this regard, for defying a High Court injunction. Amana is the construction arm of the settlement movement.
PHOTOS: In fight against the wall, does Cremisan have a prayer?
Activestills 5 Feb Photos and text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler — After more than two years of vigils by Palestinian Christians that gained widespread international attention, the Israeli High Court issued a preliminary order questioning the path of the separation barrier that would further divide West Bank land, cutting off the Cremisan monastery and a valley of olive groves.
Palestinian village crippled by Oslo restrictions
[with 3-minute video of interviews] HEBRON (Ma‘an) 5 Feb – “Either you issue an Israeli construction license before Feb. 19, or your houses will be demolished,” Israeli forces have warned Palestinian residents in a village southwest of Hebron. Ribhi al-Hroub, his brother, and other residents live in the part of the village Deir Samit in the West Bank’s Area C, a designation according to the Oslo Accord of 1994 which places it under full Israeli rule. Al-Hroub told Ma‘an Monday that Israeli officers told him that he should obtain a construction license for the house his family already lives in or it will be demolished. “He (an Israeli officer) notified me that I should obtain an Israeli license, and when I asked where I could get it from, he said from the Civil Administration department. “Then I asked him if they agree to give me a license, and he immediately said no. “’On what basis do you give me a warrant asking to get a license if you know that I can’t get it?’ I asked. ‘This is my business,’ he said. This area “C” is Israeli land and you are not allowed to build on it.’” Commenting on the situation, the mayor of Deir Samit says the village can expand only to the east to meet its natural growth. To the west, he said, there is Israel’s separation wall, to the south there is the Israeli bypass road, and to the north there is the town of Idhna which is densely populated and surrounded by bypass roads and the separation wall. “Every day or every week, Israeli forces arrive and deliver demolition and stop-work warrants. Two weeks ago, they demolished houses in Beit Awwa and Deir Samit,” the mayor said.
Israeli forces uproot 120 palm trees near Jericho
JERICHO (WAFA) 6 Feb — The Israeli forces uprooted on Thursday around 120 palm trees in Al-Zubeidat, a town located to the north of Jericho, local sources said. Hasan Al-Jarmi, the land owner, said that Israeli bulldozers, in the early morning hours, surrounded the area, bulldozed and uprooted around 120 palm trees under the pretext they were planted in Area C, under the full Israeli control. He added that the Israeli action has sabotaged (ruined) his efforts exerted over the past ten years to reclaim his farmland and dispelled his hopes to set up an income-generating project in his land, stressing that he would continue to plant his land despite all the Israeli measures
Israeli forces uproot 300 olive trees in Bethlehem area village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli troops on Thursday morning accompanied bulldozers to the west Bethlehem village of Wadi Fukin where bulldozers destroyed 300 newly planted olive trees, despite locals’ attempts to stop them. Head of Wadi Fukin local council Ahmad Sukkar told Ma‘an that 50,000 square meters of land were leveled and ancient dry stone walls [which made terraces to retain water for the trees] were demolished by the Israeli forces. Clashes broke out between Israel forces and locals as they tried to defend their lands while bulldozers leveled the fields. Sukkar said that land is private property belonging to Mahmoud Ali Atiyyeh, Ishaq Salih Manasrah, Jamal Mahmoud Atiyyeh and Amin Mousa Atiyyeh. Sukkar added that the Israeli forces had sent warrants to the owners claiming that their private land was Israeli state property.
Settlers cut down 100 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 5 Feb- Israeli settlers on Wednesday destroyed over 100 olive trees in the Nablus district, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from Itamar cut down the olive trees in an open area in Wadi Yanoun, which is situated between ‘Awarta and Yanoun villages.
Jewish settlers on Sunday vandalized private Palestinian agricultural lands north of Ramallah and uprooted more than 1,000 olive trees and newly planted saplings.
A march for the settlers in Jerusalem and the closure of streets and roads
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 Jan — Dozens of settlers participated in their monthly march on Thursday in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem down to the Wailing Wall. The occupation forces closed the streets and roads in the Old City as well as closing the neighbourhood of Wadi Hilweh and prevented the residents from leaving the neighbourhood in order to protect the settlers in their march to the Wailing Wall. During the closure, verbal altercation broke out between the residents and the police which checked the IDs of several residents and threatened to arrest them.
Israeli authorities replace Arab names of Jaffa streets with Hebrew names
JAFFA (PIC) 6 Feb — Israeli municipal teams in the city of Jaffa in 1948 occupied Palestine removed banners of Arabic names from the streets of several neighborhoods in the city and re-named them in Hebrew. Sheikh Suleiman Satel, a preacher from Jaffa, said in a press statement on Thursday morning that the municipality renamed the streets after Jewish leaders and rabbis in an attempt to give a Jewish character to the city and its neighborhoods. He stressed, however, that the Israeli authorities’ procedures will never change the Arab reality of the city of Jaffa.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Arresting five Jerusalemites
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 4 Feb — The Israeli forces arrested 5 Jerusalemites on Tuesday night while walking in the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem. They are: Khalil Tarhouni, Saeed Halabi, Wisam Halabi, Mustafa Tarhouni and Rami Abu Sbeih; note that they were assaulted and severely beat
2 Palestinians injured as Israeli forces storm refugee camp
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 5 Feb – Two young Palestinian men were injured and four others were detained during an overnight Israeli military incursion into al-Fara refugee camp in the northern West Bank. An Israeli soldier sustained minor wounds, onlookers said. Locals told Ma‘an that more than 40 Israeli military vehicles stormed the camp around 2 a.m. on Wednesday from three directions before they started to ransack homes. In response, dozens of young Palestinian men clashed with the invading soldiers and pelted them with stones and empty bottles. The Israeli troops fired live ammunition at the protesters injuring two. Locals confirmed that 27-year-old Saed al-Ghoul sustained a gunshot in the abdomen and 23-year-old Hamza Mousa Ulayyan was hit in the hand. Eventually, Israeli soldiers detained four young men before they left the camp. Locals identified the detainee as 26-year-old Muhammad Kamil Abu al-Summan, 20-year-old Abed Fathi Mansour, 18-year-old Yousif Jabir Abu Siyam and 21-year-old Mujahid Sawalmah. The sources highlighted that a fire broke out in the house of Mujahid Sawalmah as a result of an explosion the Israeli troops caused. The house was completely destroyed, according to local sources. While Israeli troops withdrew from the camp, a young man hurled a homemade bomb injuring a soldier with shrapnel. The incursion into al-Fara came only hours after masked gunmen marched in the streets and threatened collaborators with Israel demanding that they end contact with Israeli intelligence.
Man shot with live bullets in clashes with Israeli forces at al-‘Arrub
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — A young Palestinian man was injured with live ammunition and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes with Israeli forces in al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron on Thursday evening. Local sources in the camp told Ma‘an that the young man was shot from close range in the upper left thigh, which caused severe damage to his groin. He received first aid before being transferred to a hospital for treatment. Witnesses said that dozens of others were injured with rubber coated steel bullets or from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers deployed heavily at the entrance of the camp … Al-‘Arrub refugee camp is located on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, immediately south of the Gush Etzion Israeli settlement block and beside an Israeli checkpoint. The Israeli checkpoint has made the area the site of frequent protests against the Israeli occupation, and Israeli forces regularly raid the camp and detain local youths.
Israeli soldiers spray racist graffiti on homes near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 4 Feb – Israeli soldiers Tuesday sprayed racist graffiti on the walls of several Palestinian homes in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, according to a local activist. The coordinator of the popular committee against settlements and the Apartheid Wall, Mohammad Awad, said that a number of soldiers raided the town and sprayed racist graffiti on several homes such as, “death to Arabs” and “the people of Israel are strong.”
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian man in Turmusayya
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian man from Jerusalem while he was at work in the central West Bank village of Turmus‘ayya on Wednesday afternoon. Imad Dauwod al-Joulani, 49, was attacked by around 25 Israeli settlers while he was working with a concrete truck, a relative said. Kayed al-Rajabi said that they beat him with stones and sticks until a nearby driver who saw the incident fired a gunshot in the air to disperse them. The driver’s nationality was identified as Russian. Al-Joulani suffered a deep cut in the head and eye as well as fractures in his jaw and teeth. He was taken to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem following the attack. Turmus‘ayya sits immediately south of the Jewish settlement of Shiloh halfway between Ramallah and Nablus. In 2012, there were 353 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Over 90 percent of investigations into settler violence by Israeli police fail to lead to an indictment.
Clashes break out as settlers attack farmers near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Clashes broke out near Nablus on Thursday after settlers attacked a group of Palestinian farmers, an official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers from the outpost of Esh Kodesh tried to stop farmers from harvesting their land in the village of Qusra. The farmers defied the intruders and dozens of residents from Qusra rushed to the scene to help defend the land after a watchman alerted villagers using a loudspeaker from the village mosque. The settlers fled the scene and Israeli military forces raided the area. An Israeli spokeswoman confirmed the clashes and said border police and Israeli military forces were at the scene and used “riot dispersal means” against the villagers.
Nablus man injured by settler in hit-and-run accident
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — A Palestinian man sustained multiple fractures late Wednesday after being knocked down by an Israeli driver who then fled the scene, his family said. Basim Umran told Ma‘an on Thursday that his brother Tayseer, 42, was the victim of a hit-and-run accident near Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus. Umran highlighted that an Israeli settler hit his brother while he was waiting for a taxi to drive him to his home in Deir al-Hatab village east of Nablus. Umran suffered multiple fractures in the incident and underwent surgery at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians in overnight raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians in arrest raids across the West Bank overnight Monday, locals and Israel’s army said.Israeli forces raided several neighborhoods in the Nablus village of Duma and detained Bashir Hisham Dawabsha, Ali Mahmoud Dawabsha, Mahmoud Labib Dawabsha, Musab abdul-Samee Dawabsha, Amir Khalid Dawbsha, Shakir Jaafar Dawabsha and Isam Inad Dawabsha. Locals said that 10 Israeli military vehicles raided the village … In Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Malik Muhammad Hasasnah, 27, after raiding his home in al-Ubeidiya. Ahmad Muhammad al-Asaa, 38, and a former prisoner Adnan Muhammad Shanayta, 24, were also arrested. Muhammad Ahmad Khalaf, 27, was detained in the Jenin village of Burqin while Shahd Mousa Khalayla, his brother Muhammad and Alaa Abu Awwad were arrested in the Hebron village of al-Samu‘.
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in arrest raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank, locals and Israel’s army said. In Nablus, Israeli forces raided Huwwara and detained Suleiman Abdul-Rahim Abu Shehadah, 31, Karam Mahir Dmeidi, 32, Abdul-Halim Said Dmeidi, 28, Khader Udah, 31, and Abdul-Latif Said Dmeidi, 35. Israeli forces raided the nearby village of Beita and detained Bashir Yahya Dweikat, 20, Luay Tayseer Dweikat, 17, and Salim Mustafa Hamayil, 17, witnesses said. In Qalqiliya, Israeli forces raided a coffee shop in the village of ‘Azzun and detained Udayy Hamza Abdul-Halim Hussein, 23, and Ahmad Yousif Salamah Salim, 23.
6 Jerusalem Palestinians sentenced to jail, 4 for Hamas links
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — The central Israeli court in Jerusalem on Wednesday sentenced six Palestinians from Jerusalem to jail time for various crimes including involvement with Hamas, participation in clashes at the Al-Aqsa compound, and attempting to buy weapons. All of the recently sentenced men have already been kept in Israeli prisons or under house arrest for extended periods of time up to two years without trial.
Indictment: Right-wing extremists torched Palestinian cars
Ynet 5 Feb by Naama Cohen-Friedman — Yehuda Landsberg, Benjamin Richter and Yehuda Savir – three residents of the Havat Gilad settlement outpost – were charged Wednesday with planning and executing price tag operations in the Samarian Palestinian village of Far‘ata. According to the indictment, the three arrived three months ago at the Palestinian village, set two Palestinian-owned vehicles on fire and sprayed Stars of David on nearby walls. Substantial damage was caused to the two cars that were torched. “The forbidden actions of the group members were performed due to nationalistic motives and out of hostility towards the Arab public,” the indictment reads. The three, aged 22-25, were defined by the Shin Bet as radical right-wing activists, and two of them were previously affiliated with other violent acts.
Jerusalem court charges 4 Palestinians in planned wedding hall attack
Haaretz 5 Feb — Four Palestinian youths, ages 19 to 21, were charged with planning a terror attack on a wedding hall in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Bayit Vegan in Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday. The Shin Bet security service arrested the four East Jerusalem residents this January and their remand was extended until next Thursday, Army Radio reported. They had planned to carry out a shooting attack using automatic weapons they intended to purchase from a weapons dealer in the West Bank. According to the indictment, the four youths from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber planned to enter the Nof wedding hall dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews and open fire on the guests. One of the accused was said to have previously worked at the wedding hall.
Israel indicts Palestinian for working with Al-Qa‘ida, holding biological weapons
Haaretz 4 Feb by Chaim Levinson — A Palestinian has been indicted in a military court on suspicion of being an Al-Qa‘ida activist who possessed biological weapons and planned to train other Palestinians in their use. Samar al-Barak was indicted after spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial – a detention the state defended before the High Court of Justice on the grounds that it was essential for security reasons. Al-Barak, born in the West Bank town of Qalqilyah in 1974, studied microbiology in Pakistan. In 1998 he underwent military training in Afghanistan, court documents said, and three years later he was recruited into Al-Qa‘ida. In August 2010 he was arrested when he tried to return to the West Bank via the Jordanian border.
Gaza under blockade
Army invades Khan Younis
IMEMC — Thurs morning, 5 Feb — A number of armored Israeli military vehicles carried out a limited invasion into an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses have reported that four armored bulldozers and a number of military vehicles, stationed at the Sofa military base, across the border, invaded the Palestinian neighborhood of al-Fakhary, bulldozed and uprooted farmlands. They added that a number of Israeli drones were flying over the area during the invasion. The soldiers also fired rounds of live ammunition at several farmers, forcing them out of their lands.
Gaza factions limit cellphone use to avoid Israeli assassinations
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 4 Feb by Hana Salah — Israel is tracking Hamas members’ movements via their mobile phones and using their “voiceprint” to carry out assassinations, according to reports from the Gaza Strip. Mobile phones are considered Israeli intelligence’s most successful tool for tracking the movements of Gaza’s various resistance factions. This comes at the end of a year of successive blows delivered by both Hamas security services and the resistance factions against Israeli spies and collaborators. An official security source told Al-Monitor that there were cases in which resistance members were tracked and then assassinated through the use of mobile phones … The danger posed by mobile phones to resistance members lies in the extraction of spatial coordinates even when the mobile phone is off, out of service or does not have a SIM card, according to a report posted on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Majd website.
Israel to allow 1,000 tons of cement into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — Israel will allow the entry of 1,000 tons of cement into the Gaza Strip to help it recover from the last storm, the Palestinian Authority civil affairs minister said. Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma’an that 25 truckloads totaling about 1,000 tons of cement will enter Gaza starting Sunday and Monday.
Hamas redeploys forces along Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — The Hamas government in Gaza has redeployed security forces along its borders with Israel to prevent rocket fire, an interior ministry official said Tuesday. Islam Shahwan said that the interior ministry’s role is to “secure and fortify the home front and the agreements approved by resistance factions to realize our people’s interests, security and stability.” The “resistance in Gaza will not allow the occupation to violate the ceasefire which had been reached after the occupation was defeated in the 2012 battle,” he added. Days earlier, a security source in Gaza said that Hamas had withdrawn a special security force tasked with preventing rocket fire at Israel. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told AFP that while the 600-strong rocket-prevention force was removed, regular security forces remained in place. The force was removed in protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Hamas in flux: Document exposes disagreements and division in Gaza
Ynet 4 Feb by Elior Levy — Hamas forces deployed to stop rocket fire were withdrawn at weekend due to disagreement between Hamas military wing and its political leadership, and only reinstated after Haniyeh and Meshaal intervened … Palestinian sources said that the matter was not one of tactical indecision, but internal disagreements regarding the proper response to IDF operations. A document obtained by Ynet confirmed that in the end, the moderate elements prevailed….
Gaza ministry denies ordering arrest of militants firing rockets
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Gaza’s ministry of interior on Wednesday denied media reports that the ministry had ordered security services to arrest militants launching rockets towards Israel, denouncing the rumors as “lies.” “These are mere lies and falsifications and the minister’s office never released such a letter,” the minister’s office said in a statement. The statement added that “such trivialities will never deceive our people and the ministry of interior headed by minister Fathi Hamad will continue to protect our home front and our resistance.” Israeli news website Ynet published on Wednesday a document in Arabic that they said was a letter sent from the minister of interior’s office to the commander of Hamas’ military wing urging him to arrest those who launch rockets towards Israel. The letter was addressed to Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah and called on him to ensure that security forces under his command monitor the areas from which rockets are being fired and to detain all “those who fire rockets even if it necessitates using force.”
Rockets hit Israel’s south
Ynet 6 Feb by Matan Tzuri — Two rockets launched from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council and near the city of Ashkelon on Thursday. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.
Gaza cancer patients on the rise
IMEMC 6 Feb by Chris Carlson — (Press TV/Al Ray) On Tuesday, Gazan patients and doctors marked the World Cancer Day by staging a protest inside Gaza’s Shifa hospital. An average of 1,000 cancer cases has been recorded annually among Gazans, for the past two years. Gaza’s Health Ministry said that the Israeli occupation’s use of internationally banned weapons has sharply increased the number of cancer cases. “Thousands of tons of unconventional weapons containing carcinogenic agents were fired on Gaza in the last 14 years. Many of the weapons used by the Israeli forces are internationally banned and contain illegal substances that not only affect people but they also have long-term effects on the environment,” said Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra. “The Israeli forces used all sorts of weapons against us. They are testing their weapons on us and on our children,” said a Gazan cancer patient.
Gaza man sentenced to death for collaboration with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — A Gaza military court on Thursday morning sentenced a man convicted of collaborating with Israel to death and another to life in prison on the same charge. The court did not determine a date for his execution. It said the evidence proved the defendant was guilty. Neither defendant was identified by name.
Palestinian refugees in Syria & Lebanon
Syria unrest spills into Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — As more and more Palestinian refugees flee Syria, living conditions in Lebanon refugee camps are worsening, particularly in Ein el-Hilweh in the coastal city of Sidon. A senior Fatah leader in Lebanon says the unemployment rate in Palestinian refugee camps has neared 80 percent. Speaking to Ma‘an, Munir Maqdah highlighted that about 25,000 Palestinian refugees who fled Syria are living in tents in Ein el-Hilweh. The population of the already densely populated camp, he said, has reached 105,000 living in a square kilometer … “Living conditions have become completely unbearable in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon with unemployment rates increasing day after day,” he says. Local committees in Ein el-Hilweh, says Maqdah, have been working on 90 apartments to try and absorb refugees coming from Syria. Maqdah highlighted that offices of “all public service facilities in Ein el-Hilweh including charities and centers have been inhabited by refugees fleeing Syria.” UNRWA provides humanitarian aid to the refugees once every three months. However, the refugees who arrived from Syria depend mainly on humanitarian aid from other international human rights groups. About 70,000 Palestinian refugees have fled Syria to Lebanon so far, and they are living under very dire conditions, Maqdah says.
Palestinians flee hunger and hell of besieged Syria camp
DAMASCUS (AFP) 4 Feb — Khulud Shehab’s withered hands push two of her children out of Yarmouk in southern Damascus, anxious to flee the hell and hunger of the Palestinian refugee camp as fast as possible. For seven months, the Syrian army has imposed a punishing siege on the camp to try to force out rebels holed up inside. Khulud and her family are among the lucky few to be allowed to leave, after a deal was struck following months of negotiations between Syrian authorities and Palestinian factions in Yarmouk. “Just look at them. You can imagine what it’s like inside,” Khulud tells an AFP journalist, displaying her cracked hands. “It’s disastrous. People are literally dying of hunger,” says the slight and dark-eyed mother. “We were boiling herbs and bits of cactus we found in the fields near our house,” to eat and survive, she adds. Amid the crush of leaving Yarmuk, Khulud has lost track of her husband and one of her daughters as the family negotiated streets strewn with the rubble of buildings destroyed in months of fierce fighting.
Repatriation of remains
In pictures … the funeral of martyrs Al-Akhras and Abu Swei
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 3 Feb — Thousands of Palestinians participated on Monday in the official and popular events for the funerals of Martyrs Daoud Abu Swai from the village of Artas and Ayat Al-Akhras from Al-Dheisheh refugee camp after their bodies were detained in the secret cemeteries for years.
Israel to return remains of Palestinian man held since 2002
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israel will return the remains on Sunday of a Palestinian killed by soldiers over a decade ago, an Israeli human right groups said on Thursday. Israeli rights group Center for the Defense of the Individual (HaMoked), said in a statement that the remains of Ahmad Ayid Faqih from the Hebron area town of Dura, will be returned via the Tarqumiya checkpoint west of Hebron on Sunday evening. The remains matched DNA samples taken from relatives, HaMoked said. Faqih was killed on Dec. 27, 2002 after he and Muhammad Mustafa Shahin 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 Faqih and his companion were shot dead in the ensuing firefight. At the time Faqih 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. Since the late 1960s, Israel has withheld the bodies of hundreds of Palestinians. Their bodies are interred in numbered, rather than named, graves in four cemeteries created for that purpose, the biggest of which is located in the Jordan Valley.
Israel to release remains of Nablus man killed in 2002
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Israeli authorities will return the body of a young Palestinian man to his family next week after having kept it for nearly 12 years, as part of a larger repatriation of Palestinian bodies by Israel. Israeli human rights group Center for the Defense of the Individual (HaMoked) said that the body of Habash Hanani from Beit Furik near Nablus will be delivered at 8 p.m. on Tuesday to al-Taybeh crossing, following the completion of necessary DNA tests. Hanani was killed on May 28, 2002 after he opened fire near the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar near Nablus in the West Bank, killing three settlers and wounding two. The attack came at the height of the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising in the 2000s against the decades-long Israeli occupation.
Photos of the week: Palestinians return to Jordan Valley village
Activestills 6 Feb — This week: African immigrants and Palestinian activists occupy protest camps to demand their rights; self-demolition in East Jerusalem; solidarity with hunger striker Samer Issawi; and Israeli authorities block Negev Bedouin agriculture and dump garbage in the West Bank.
The month in pictures: January 2014
Electronic Intifada 5 Feb — On the first day of 2014, 85-year-old Said Jasir died after Israeli forces shot tear gas into his home during a protest in the Palestinian village of Kufr Qaddum near the occupied West Bank town of Qalqiliya. Later on in the month, a two-month-old baby from the same village was injured after a tear gas canister fired by the Israeli army broke a window and penetrated the child’s house.
Former Fatah strongman denies meeting Israeli official
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Former Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan on Thursday denied media reports that he had met with an Israeli official as part of discussions to be a potential replacement for President Mahmoud Abbas. Earlier, Israeli daily Maariv reported that Benjamin Netanyahu had sent his political adviser Yitzhak Molcho to Dubai to meet with the former Fatah official. The move was described as an attempt to build good relations with Dahlan as a potential political partner if Israel and the PLO fail to reach an agreement in ongoing peace talks. Israeli officials reportedly believe that Dahlan’s popularity in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank make him a suitable replacement for Abbas, Maariv said.
PM brokers deal to end UNRWA strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Feb — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has brokered an agreement between Palestinian employees of UNRWA and the agency’s administration ending a two-month strike. Officials privy to the details told Ma‘an on Thursday that both sides agreed, in principle, to put an end to a strike which has been ongoing for more than two months. The terms of the agreement were expected to be announced Thursday or Friday.
Tulkarm TV stops broadcast after Israeli threats
TULKARM (WAFA) 5 Feb – The Tulkarm-based al-Shira television stopped broadcasting on Wednesday following Israeli army threats to storm the station and seize its equipment under the pretext that it disrupts army telecommunications, according to Mohammad Zeidan, director of the TV … He rejected the Israeli allegations saying the station is officially licensed by the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications, which did not say it was violating any rules. He said the ministry checked the Israeli allegations and found them baseless. However, added Zeidan, the station decided to stop broadcasting momentarily to avoid an army raid and seizure of the equipment until this issue is resolved between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
Dozens hold demonstration against division in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — Dozens of activists from a national committee to end the political division in the occupied territories held a demonstration in a Gaza City square on Tuesday. Participants raised Palestinian flags and signs demanding that Fatah and Hamas end the division and achieve reconciliation after a split in 2006 which divided the West Bank and Gaza under rival governments. Activist Huda Ulayyan told Ma‘an that “we sent several messages to the world, Fatah, and Hamas emphasizing the importance of unity and ending the division.” “We have been demonstrating for a year and a half,” she added. Activists say they will continue their protests until the parties reconcile.
Military experts: NATO is very effective compared to UNIFIL
Ynet 5 Feb by Itay Blumenthal — Following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘ New York Times interview, in which he said that NATO troops would be responsible for the security of a future Palestinian state, and despite Minister Naftali Bennett’s opposition, Israeli military experts say that international forces could be efficient in maintaining regional quiet.
Arab MKs blast Likud bill, say it sets country’s Christians against Muslims
Haaretz 6 Feb by Jonathan Lis — The bill, sponsored by coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu), aims to legally differentiate Christian and Muslim Arabs and give the Christians separate representation in the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity in the Employment Commission. In an interview with Maariv a few weeks ago, Levin said, “This is an important historic move that can balance Israel and bring us closer to the Christians, and I am careful not to call them Arabs, because they’re not Arabs. “The Christians can be directors in government corporations, they will get separate representation in local authorities and they’ll get equal employment opportunities,” Levin said. He said the Christians “are our natural allies, a counter-balance against the Muslims who want to destroy the state from within.”
Jordanians worry about fallout from Mideast peace
AP 2 Feb — Jordan’s Prime Minister Ensour announces Hashemite kingdom will not deploy troops to West Bank to replace IDF. Jordanian Foreign Minister Judeh says country has right to ‘accept or reject’ any part of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — Israelis and Palestinians may be hugely skeptical about the US-led peace negotiations their leaders have been roped into, but the Jordanians seem worried that they actually might succeed. The kingdom is already home to the largest Palestinian population outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Jordanian lawmakers and others fear an accord might lead to a new influx of refugees. The kingdom, a key US ally, is watching warily as Secretary of State John Kerry brokers the secretive talks. Protests have broken out, the media brims with disaster scenarios, and lawmakers have held anguished debate.
Analysis / Opinion
‘I wasn’t prepared for the white supremacy’: Dream Hampton on her visit to Palestine
Electronic Intifada 4 Feb by Nora Barrows-Friedman — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: *Palestinians reclaim their heritage in the ancient village of Ein Hijleh in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank: Patrick O. Strickland reports. Read transcript and listen to individual segment; Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam, the Super Bowl and SodaStream: Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on how the boycott campaign made international headlines this past week. Read transcript and listen to individual segment; *Writer, filmmaker and Detroit-based activist Dream Hampton talks about her recent visit to Palestine. Read transcript and listen to individual segment Music by Jasiri X: “Checkpoint”
47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation / Eva Illouz
Haaretz 7 Feb — Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians — … Indeed, the valiant combatants for the good name of Israel miss an important point: the critiques of Israel in the United States are increasingly waged by Jews, not anti-Semites. The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews. If Israel is indeed singled out among the many nations that have a bad record in human rights, it is because of the personal sense of shame and embarrassment that a large number of Jews in the Western world feel toward a state that, by its policies and ethos, does not represent them anymore. As Peter Beinart has been cogently arguing for some time now, the Jewish people seems to have split into two distinct factions: One that is dominated by such imperatives as “Israeli security,” “Jewish identity” and by the condemnation of “the world’s double standards” and “Arabs’ unreliability”; and a second group of Jews, inside and outside Israel, for whom human rights, freedom, and the rule of law are as visceral and fundamental to their identity as membership to Judaism is for the first group. Supreme irony of history: Israel has splintered the Jewish people around two radically different moral visions of Jews and humanity … TInterestingly enough, there are not many episodes in history where groups have fought over moral issues … here is, however, one well-known episode of history in which a single group divided itself in two sides around the moral question of how a third group of people should be treated, and this episode was the American antislavery movement.
How Europe funds the occupation of Palestine / David Cronin
Electronic Intifada 5 Feb — Has the European Union finally confessed that it is footing the bill for the occupation of Palestine? In a roundabout way, one of its envoys may have done just that. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, recently warned about the consequences of the Union deciding to cut its assistance to the Palestinian Authority should the current “peace” talks prove fruitless. “I think it is realized in Israel that this money is key to the stability of the West Bank and in Gaza,” the Dane said. “If we don’t provide the money, I think there is a great likelihood that Israel would have to provide far more.” Faaborg-Andersen’s choice of words is instructive. He appears to believe that the EU is doing Israel a favor by providing “stability” in the territories occupied in 1967.