Israeli bulldozers destroy mosque and medical center in East Jerusalem

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization

Israeli bulldozers destroy mosque, medical center in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned building that housed a mosque, a medical center, and apartments in East Jerusalem early Wednesday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said Israeli police and special forces stormed Khallat al-Ein square in the al-Tur neighborhood east of the Old City of Jerusalem and surrounded a building owned by Ghadir Abu Ajram Abu Ghaliya. Officers then evacuated the two-story building and neutralized gas and water networks before bulldozers began the demolition. Abu Ghaliya told Ma‘an that his building was demolished “without prior notice” from Israeli authorities. The first floor of the building held a mosque and a medical center, while the second floor consisted of two apartments housing 11 family members, Abu Ghaliya said. He said that he and his family had tried for 18 years to obtain a construction permits from the Jerusalem municipality. Though the mayor of Jerusalem “approved construction in the area, … the Israeli ministry of interior opposed construction.”

Israel continues wall around disputed Jerusalem hotel
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Mar – Israeli bulldozers on Thursday continued to build a section of the separation wall around the disputed Cliff Hotel in Abu Dis, lawyer Bassam Bahar said. Bahar, who also heads a local committee to defend Abu Dis lands, told Ma‘an that the Israeli Supreme Court decided a few days ago that the wall should run around the Cliff Hotel for security reasons. The court order also included confiscation of the hotel’s rooftop citing security reasons. The Israeli authorities claim that an absence of the separation wall in that area “jeopardizes the security of the state of Israel,” Bahar highlighted. The lawyer added that the “Israeli occupation authorities have been trying to confiscate the Cliff Hotel and the land surrounding it under various pretexts and by different means.” … In 2009, the Palestinian family who owns the hotel appealed to the Supreme Court to restore their property. In September 2013, the Israeli attorney general decided that the absentee property law was not applicable to the hotel. He decided that the Supreme Court should have the final say about that property.

Jerusalem municipality orders demolition of Abu Dis house
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has ordered the demolition of a Palestinian building in East Jerusalem after claiming the owner should have obtained a construction permit. The owner, Muatasim Adila, a lecturer at al-Quds University, told Ma‘an Wednesday that the demolition order for his home in Abu Dis was surprising because his building is in the West Bank and he “possesses all documents to prove that.” The demolition comes into effect on March 29, added Adila. He pointed out that a two-story building was built in 1959, and in 2012 he added a third story after he obtained the needed license from the Palestinian Authority as the area is under Palestinian control. The municipality of Jerusalem first issued an administrative demolition order in April 2013, Adila added. The municipality, says Adila, claims that his house has been built in an area controlled by Jerusalem despite the fact that Israel’s land registrar show that the area is part of the West Bank.

Settlers prepare move into key E. Jerusalem site
Jerusalem (AFP) 27 Mar by Majeda el-Batsh– Radical Jewish settlers are readying to move into a major property in the commercial heart of annexed east Jerusalem, overlooking the walls of the Old City, officials have told AFP.  A large part of the property, which also houses east Jerusalem’s main post office and an Israeli police station, was purchased last year by a radical settler group called Ateret Cohanim, which bought it from Israel’s Bezeq telecoms company. Located on the corner of Salah al-Din and Sultan Suleiman in the busy centre of east Jerusalem just outside the Old City walls, the property is currently being converted into a Jewish seminary, or yeshiva, an Israeli official and Palestinian workers told AFP. Ateret Cohanim actively works to settle as many Jews as possible in densely populated Palestinian areas in and around the Old City. The purchase was first reported in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, which published part of an email in which Ateret Cohanim’s Executive Director Daniel Luria contacted supporters to announce the acquisition of more than 1,000 square metres (10,760 square feet) in “a very large and strategic building” just outside the Old City. Speaking to AFP, an Israeli official confirmed the group had bought parts of the property and was currently carrying out renovations in order to have it ready for occupancy before the week-long Passover festival begins in mid-April.
Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Bezeq refused to confirm who was behind the purchase. “We will not disclose the identity of the buyers,” he said. Luria declined to speak to AFP. The building is currently being renovated by Palestinian workers under the supervision of Israeli technicians and engineers. “We work day and night. It is almost ready,” said one worker who refused to give his name….

IOF deploys soldiers in Wadi Qana
NABLUS (PIC) 28 Mar — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday morning deployed soldiers in Wadi Qana, near the town of Deir Estia in the city [governorate] of Salfit. Eyewitnesses told PIC that the occupation declared the area of Wadi Qana a closed military zone until the afternoon. They reported that hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed Wadi Qana, and toured the citizens’ lands.
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Israeli forces demolish Palestinian house, shed near Jericho
JERICHO (WAFA) 25 Mar – Israeli forces Tuesday demolished Palestinian-owned house and shed as well as raided several houses belonging to Palestinians near Jericho, according to WAFA correspondent. Army forces demolished a house and a shed used as an animal barn belonging to a Palestinian resident in an area east of Jericho as well as raided houses in the village of Fasayel, north of Jericho.

Israeli forces turn house into military outpost near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 27 Mar – The Israeli forces took over Thursday morning a house under construction and turned it into a military observation point in Al-Yamun to the west of Jenin, according to security sources. They told WAFA that forces stormed Al-Yamun, patrolled their troops in its streets and neighborhoods and took over a house, turning it into a military outpost, according to security sources.  Meanwhile, forces handed a 21-year-old person from Maythaloun, a town located to the south of Jenin, a notice to appear before the Israeli intelligence

Israeli bulldozers level Palestinian lands in Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — Israeli bulldozers leveled Palestinian agricultural land in the southern West Bank village of Susiya on Wednesday, a local official said Wednesday. Susiya Mayor Jihad Nawajaa told Ma‘an that several bulldozers escorted by Israeli military vehicles leveled private Palestinian land in the Umm Nir neighborhood of the Hebron-area village. Fruit trees were bulldozed near the illegal Israeli settlement of Susiya, Nawajaa said. Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone and denied farmers access to their lands. Nawajaa added that a delegation from the British consulate general in Jerusalem was scheduled to be visiting Susiya at the time.

Israeli settlers destroy solar panels near Hebron
IMEMC Fri 28 Mar by Chris Carlson — Israeli settlers destroyed, Thursday, power-generating solar panels near Yatta in Hebron district, a local activist has said. Settlers from the illegal Mitzpe Yair settlement, established on Palestinian lands to the east of Yatta, smashed five power-generating solar panels belonging to Khirbet Bir Al-Idd, WAFA reports. The panels were built with funds made available through the German Agency for International Development (GIZ), according to activist Naser Nawaj‘a.

Settlers graze sheep on Palestinian land near Hebron, destroy crops
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 Mar – Israeli settlers Thursday allowed their sheep into a Palestinian private-owned land near Yatta, to the south of Hebron, according to Rateb Jubur, of the anti-settlement campaign.  He told WAFA that settlers from the settlement of Ma’on, illegally built on Palestinian land, allowed their sheep into a 25 dunums of land planted with winter crops in the village of Kharruba near Yatta, to the south of Hebron, destroying the crops.

Settlers cut down 50 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Israeli settlers cut down more than 50 olive trees in Huwwara village south of Nablus in the northern West Bank on Thursday, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that “a number of settlers from Yitzhar settlement chopped down more than 50 olive trees in al-Naqara area north of the village.” Daghlas pointed out that the trees belong to Ahmad Odeh and Ghazi Al-Mukhtar. He added that more than 5,700 trees have been cut down by settlers in the West Bank since the beginning of this year.

Israeli forces shut down Palestinian conference in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — Israeli forces on Wednesday prevented Palestinian human rights organizations in Jerusalem from holding a conference in opposition to Arab enlistment in the Israeli military, organizers said. Israeli special forces and police reportedly stormed the headquarters of the Yabous Cultural Center immediately prior to the beginning of the conference and shut down the building until the evening. Organizers said that the police hung a notice signed by the chief of police banning the proceedings from moving forward because the conference was organized by activists associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israeli authorities consider a terrorist organization. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center director Rami Saleh denied the allegations, noting that the conference was organized by JLAC, St. Yves, Kanaan Project, and in cooperation with the Baladna organization’s Haifa branch.  Saleh said the conference aims to raise awareness in the Arab community of Jerusalem about “civil service,” a form of service in the Israeli army that the Israeli state has increasingly enjoined Arab youth to enlist in.

Kairos Palestine to raise awareness on Jerusalem, marking Easter
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 25 Mar — Kairos Palestine is currently preparing an Easter Alert, in order to bring awareness about the deteriorating situation in Jerusalem and to encourage churches, parishes, lay-persons and clergy all around the world to remember this season that marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The idea is to focus on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday on a different issue, highlighting the deep impact of the Israeli occupation on all levels of life in Jerusalem. This year, Kairos Palestine focuses on different subject such as the revocation of residency rights in East-Jerusalem, home demolition in East-Jerusalem, the reality of education in occupied Jerusalem (private schools and public schools) and the call for resurrection: Access to worship. Kairos Palestine combines statistics and facts on the ground with theological reflections, interviews and case studies.

EU diplomats warn of regional conflagration over Temple Mount
Haaretz 28 Mar by Amira Hass — Israeli policies are aimed at cementing its unilateral and illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, report says — European Union diplomats stationed in Jerusalem and Ramallah are warning of regional conflagration over the Temple Mount. A March 18 internal report to Brussels raises caution around the changing status quo at the holy site and the growing tension triggered by the demands of right-wing Jewish groups. “There remains a significant risk that incidents at this highly sensitive site, or perceived threats to the status quo, may spark extreme reactions locally as well as across the Arab and Muslim world, and have the potential to derail the peace negotiations,” according to the report, which was obtained by Haaretz. The report also says that almost 100,000 East Jerusalem residents are in danger of losing their homes due to building restrictions Israel places on them … The EU delegates also sound the alarm about the idea of dividing the Temple Mount and allocating separate prayer times for each religion, as was done at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs, known by Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. The report contains an implicit criticism of the tendency by Muslim religious authorities and Palestinian politicians to deny the historic affiliation Jews have to the Temple Mount.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Resistance / Illegal arrests

Repression and resistance in Bethlehem’s ‘Aida refugee camp
[excellent timeline of the events in ‘Aida 21-27 March, with photos] Mondoweiss 27 Mar by Adam Wolf — Following the Israeli military’s recent surge of killings in the occupied territories the refugees of ‘Aida camp in Bethlehem have renewed a campaign of resistance against the apartheid wall that encircles much of the camp … Before sunrise on Friday, March 21, the youth of Aida drilled a hole in a previously damaged section of the wall. Over the next several days, the Israeli military used various methods to repair the wall. During these operations, the military used a range of weapons and tactics. Tear gas, flash grenades, rubber coated bullets, plastic coated bullets, and live ammunition were used, and the military occupied Palestinian homes and placed trigger happy snipers on rooftops. Every military assault was met with resistance from the youth of Aida refugee camp, armed only with stones and broken pieces of brick.

Haaretz editorial: Nothing short of a war crime
28 Mar — The IDF cannot simply shrug off the death of Yusef a-Shawamreh — Last week, 14-year-old Yusef a-Shawamreh and two of his friends left their village of Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa in the southern West Bank to pick plants on his family’s field, west of the separation fence. The three youths passed through a wide gap in the fence, which had existed for at least two years and which the Israel Defense Forces hadn’t bothered to fix. After crossing the fence, the boys heard three or four gunshots. The firing came from an IDF ambush, a few dozen meters away. According to an investigation by B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, released on Wednesday, the shots had been fired with no warning. A-Shawamreh was wounded in the hip and fell to the ground bleeding. He managed to crawl to the road, but then the soldiers emerged from their hiding place. The soldiers arrested the other two boys and a-Shawamreh received preliminary medical treatment. A military ambulance arrived only half an hour later, although an IDF camp is located a mere two kilometers away. Meanwhile, the boy bled to death … This chain of events is extremely grave. Opening fire automatically on people who pass through a gap in the fence is abhorrent and despicable. A-Shawamreh is the victim of a war crime. There is no other way to describe the circumstances of his death. The IDF cannot make do with its spokesman’s attempt to whitewash the incident. It must hold a vigorous investigation and then put on trial the soldiers responsible and the commanders who sent them on the mission.

Woman injured after being rammed by settler’s car near Bethlehem
IMEMC Thu 27 Mar by Saed Bannoura —  [Wednesday Evening, March 26] Palestinian medical sources have reported that a 55-year-old woman was moderately injured, after being hit by a settler’s car in Teqoua‘ village, east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Medical sources said the woman suffered various fractures, cuts and bruises, and was moved to a local hospital by Red Crescent medics who rushed to the scene. The sources said that the woman suffered fractures in her arm and shoulder, in addition to various cuts, including in her face and head. She was moved to the Beir Jala Governmental Hospital, in Bethlehem.

Armed settlers attack farmers near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 26 Mar —  Israeli armed settlers Wednesday attacked several Palestinian farmers, forcing them off their land near the village of ‘Arraba to the southwest of Jenin, security sources told WAFA.  Sources said a group of settlers from Mevo Dotan settlement, illegally built on the lands of ‘Arraba and Ya‘bad, attacked the farmers under army protection while they were working in their land, forcing them to leave at gunpoint

Report: Israeli soldier fakes stab attack by ‘3 Arabs’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — An Israeli soldier has confessed to lying about being stabbed by three Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported. Earlier Thursday, the soldier claimed to have been stabbed in the leg by three Palestinians near the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev. It was reported that he had received treatment at the Hadassah Medical Center. Israeli police launched an investigation into the incident after noting inconsistencies in the Israeli soldier’s testimony, and he later confessed that he had invented the attack, Ynet reported. The soldier had in fact been suffering from a superficial injury and had been at home.

Palestinian worker dies while being chased by Israeli officers
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — A Palestinian worker from the south Hebron hills died Thursday after he fell while being chased by Israeli police officers because he did not have a permit to work in Israel. Paramedics of the Magen David Adom told Ma‘an that they were alerted around midday to the presence of a man lying unconscious in the old industrial zone in the town of Mitzpe Ramon in southern Israel. After an examination, the paramedics concluded that the man was dead … A spokeswoman for the Negev police told Ma‘an that initial reports suggested that the victim hit his head when he fell and died as a result.

A Palestinian has been killed every 4.2 days in 2014
972mag 26 Mar by Mairav Zonszein — …Including a-Shawamreh, the IDF has killed 19 Palestinians in the first 81 days of 2014 — an average of one every 4.26 days. Eleven were killed in Gaza, about half of them civilians who posed no threat whatsoever, except that they were close to the border fence; others were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in response to fire into Israel. The eight killed in the West Bank include the Jordanian-Palestinian judge shot and killed at the Allenby Crossing, the circumstances of which remain obscure and conflicting. (It certainly doesn’t help that the security cameras were peculiarly not working that day.) While the circumstances of each killing vary to a degree, the numbers are startling. They tell the story of a military framework all too capable of taking  lives all too often.

Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) Wed 26 Mar — Israeli forces arrested 13 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight, Palestinian security sources and an Israeli army spokeswoman said Wednesday. A number of Israeli military vehicles entered the village of Burqa west of Nablus after midnight, and soldiers proceeded to ransack several homes, Palestinian security sources said. Israeli troops then interrogated several residents in the street before taking three of them into custody.  Three Palestinians under the age of 17 were arrested, identified as Salah Fatin Muhammad Salah, Ammar Khalid Seif, and Abd al-Qadir Salah. Three adults — Ahmad Ayman Imein, Haris Hijja Islam, and Khairi Suleiman Seif — were also arrested, the sources said. Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided the village of Sabastia west of Nablus and detained 30-year-old Majd Abd al-Karim Azim. Also in the Nablus district, Israeli troops raided al-Majdal Bani Fadil and detained 35-year-old Nazeeh Suleiman Othman.

4 kidnapped in West Bank, teen placed under ‘house arrest’
IMEMC Wed 26 Mar by Chris Carlson — Israeli forces abducted four people on Wednesday, including a Fatah official, from the districts of Jenin and Bethlehem, according to reports by media and security sources. Forces stormed the town of Ya’bad, to the southwest of Jenin, from which they took three people aged between 18 and 19 years, after breaking into their homes and conducting violent searches, said a report by WAFA. Meanwhile, a large number of Israeli troops stormed ‘Aida camp, in Bethlehem, taking with them Fatah Secretary-General, Mohammad Al-Azraq, age 28, after breaking into and searching his house.
The Israeli police placed a teen under house arrest in Jerusalem, as a condition for releasing him on bail pending ‘the completion of legal proceedings’ against him, Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a press release. The child had been taken into custody a month and a half ago, undergoing harsh interrogation techniques, on charges of throwing Molotov cocktails in the area. Meanwhile, police stationed in Al-Qashleh interrogation center served a 35-year-old guard of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with an order prohibiting him from entering the mosque for ten days, pending an appearance before the chief of Jerusalem district Israeli police, on charges of assaulting an officer. The guard stated that it was he who had been assaulted by police, and that he sustained wounds when Moshe Feiglin stormed the mosque.

PCHR Weekly Report [20-26 March]: 3 Palestinians killed, 34 wounded by Israeli troops
PCHR-Gaza Sat 29 Mar — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, for the week of 20 – 26 March, 2014, the Israeli military killed a child and an adult, both civilians, as well as a member of a Palestinian armed group, and wounded another 12 Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp … During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and a member of a Palestinian armed group in Jenin refugee camp, in the north of the West Bank. They also wounded 30 Palestinians, including 4 children, a paramedic and a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces who was in plain clothes. They further wounded an Italian journalist …  During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 69 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted at least 46 Palestinians, including 3 children. A Palestinian boy was wounded during an Israeli incursion into al-Zababda village, southeast of Jenin. 46 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted … Israeli forces stormed the premises of the Palestinian Civil Defense in Salfit, and abducted 3 civil defense officers … Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child; 4 of them were wounded in access-restricted areas, and the 5th one was wounded when Israeli gunboats fired at Palestinian fishing boats … Israeli forces confiscated heavy machinery and prevented establishing a road in Jeeb and Bourin villages, in the north of the West Bank. Israeli settlers attacked farmers and shepherds using sharp tools. Israeli settlers uprooted and stole 980 olive seedlings in the center and north of the West Bank… Full report

Land Day

Palestinians in 1948 territories decide to go on general strike on Land Day
NAZARETH (PIC) 27 Mar — The High Monitoring Committee for Arab Citizens in the 1948 occupied Palestine decided to go on general strike on the 38th anniversary of the Land Day, which falls on March 30. Head of the Monitoring Committee Mohamed Zidan said in a press statement on Thursday that the committee has decided to commemorate the Land Day this year by a general strike and by organizing several events in rejection of the occupation policy of house demolitions and the seizure of Arab lands. On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians in 1948 territories gathered to protest Israeli government plans to expropriate thousands of dunums of Arab-owned land in the Galilee. In the resulting confrontations with Israeli police, six Palestinians were killed, hundreds wounded, and hundreds jailed. Those events have become consecrated in the Palestinian memory as Land Day, which has become an Arab and Palestinian national event and a symbol of the unity of the Palestinian people.
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Video: Land Day, Gaza Strip
27th March 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Marco Varasio | Gaza, Occupied Palestine — On Land Day, 2014, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Beit Hanoun, Gaza marched toward the separation barrier in the “no-go zone.” Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas canisters to break up the peaceful demonstration. Two people were overcome by the tear gas.

Video: Land Day demonstration in Bil‘in
ISM Palestine Published on Mar 28, 2014  Bil‘in demonstration for Land Day. The activists plants olive trees near the apartheid wall. The Israeli soldiers did not fire, seemingly due to the presence of an important journalist who was making a film about Israeli army violence.

Israeli forces disperse weekly Bil‘in protest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — One person was injured on Friday as Israeli military forces dispersed a weekly Friday demonstration by villagers in Bil‘in, locals said. Dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists planted olive trees near the Israeli separation wall and placed empty tear gas canisters under existing trees. Demonstrators also raised Palestinian flags and chanted songs for political unity, and in support of Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces used pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators, injuring Wael Burnat, 34. He received medical treatment at the scene.

Gaza under double blockade

Israeli forces shoot, injure man in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire on dozens of Palestinians who had stormed an area of the buffer zone east of Jabaliya, injuring a 19-year-old in the leg. He was taken to Kamal Adwan hospital with moderate injuries.

Israel blocks European delegation from visiting besieged Gaza Strip
GAZA (PIC) 28 Mar — The Israeli occupation authorities prevented an official delegation from the European Parliament from entering the Gaza Strip, where it was supposed to meet with officials from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The delegation includes three MEPs, Chris Davies, from UK, Norbert Neuser, from Germany, and Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, from France, who had intended to meet with UNRWA officials to discuss the use of EU money on humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip.
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Report: Israeli forces arrest 2 Palestinians who crossed Gaza border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Israel’s army on Friday arrested two Palestinians who crossed the fence from Gaza into Israel, Israeli news site Walla reported. The men were searched and transferred to Israeli security forces for questioning.

Egyptian army destroys 13 tunnels in Rafah
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — The Egyptian army reportedly destroyed 13 smuggling tunnels near the Rafah border and seized a number of vehicles and other goods that were intended to be smuggled across the border, an Egyptian security source said. The source said that the army had taken possession of a car and four motorcycles that were intended to be smuggled. The source added that two people were detained in al-Qantara for intending to smuggle drugs across the border.

Gaza patients suffer as Egypt keeps Rafah crossing closed
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 26 Mar by Asmaa al-Ghoul — The mother of 14-month-old toddler Ahmad Abu Nahal left her son for a few minutes to prepare him a bottle of milk. When she returned, he was motionless. He had just died. “Once I saw him in this state and didn’t hear his breathing, I knew that he had died. I cried heavily at home. He died as we watched, waiting for the Rafah crossing to open. We wanted to go to Turkey, where he would be treated,” said Ahmad’s mother, Islam Abu Nahal. Ahmad had breathed audibly, suffering from an enlarged heart … During an interview with Al-Monitor at the family home, she said that Ahmad had spent more time at the hospital than at home. His body was full of blue marks from his injections. The Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has been closed for more than 46 days, during which time hundreds of patients have waited to travel to Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other countries to be treated in hospitals there. The patients had received grants from the Palestinian Ministry of Health for that purpose.

Twenty-four hours at Rafah
Al-Akhbar 26 Mar by Hani Ibrahim — The Palestinians are unwelcome in Egypt. Their living conditions have further deteriorated following accusations by the new Egyptian regime that Gaza residents, mainly affiliated with Hamas, are launching “terrorist attacks” inside the country. This situation is reflected by the humiliating treatment Palestinians are being subjected to on both sides of the Rafah crossing… After a person is cleared on the Palestinian side, they must test their running capabilities. For instance, the bus carrying their belongings might be departing, so they have to run a mile a minute to reach the first Egyptian gate. Here, time does not matter, because for Egyptians, Palestinian time and dignity is worthless, regardless of their humanitarian conditions. As an Egyptian officer yells “remove your belt quickly, put your money and cell phone on the table and pass through the scanner,” you cannot help but remember a similar situation you must have had gone through on an Israeli checkpoint. Of course, when you packed your suitcases, you made sure not to forget anything, but maybe you didn’t know back then that you would need a pen at the Egyptian border, because officers here still adopt a manual registration system. Anyway, maybe the manual system is better than computers that might break down for no reason, meaning that many travelers would be rejected. In any case, you better train your feet to stand for long hours, not due to the lack of chairs but because the places where travelers’ names are called are too far apart: the first one is at the intelligence room and the other is at the departure window. Of course, microphones are a waste of time, because what’s better than an officer’s loud voice to show you that he means business? As you go between the two locations, make sure to keep an eye on your baggage because theft is an issue here. Meanwhile, listen carefully to the officers until you hear your name, but pay attention, Egyptians tend to call out names in their own accent.

To spy to live
GAZA CITY (IPS) 28 Mar by Khaled Alashqar — “If you want to live and receive medical treatment, you have my number, so you can call me and agree to my request. You will then get medical help, and survive.” The request, the patient said, was from an Israeli intelligence officer looking to recruit him in exchange for treatment. The 28-year-old Fadi Al-Qutshan never did become a spy for Israel. And he did not survive long. Qutshan suffered from a rare illness that led to artery blockage. With no help possible in Gaza, he was advised to go for treatment at a hospital in the West Bank. His application to Israeli authorities — needed for a Palestinian to enter another Palestinian area — was refused several times. It was finally granted on the intervention of the Palestinian Centre of Human Rights in Gaza. At the West Bank hospital Qutshan was told he needed treatment at the Israeli hospital, Tel Ha Shomar. He did get passage and admission to the Israeli hospital and was operated on successfully. He needed a follow-up visit to complete treatment. That return became conditional … “Blackmail of patients because of their need to travel through Israeli checkpoints has turned these checkpoints into traps for Palestinian patients,” Ahlam Al-Aqra’, solicitor with the legal aid unit of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told IPS. “Many needing to go through checkpoints are either arrested or pressured to work as spies,” he said. “This is against basic human rights, and it must stop.”

2 children killed, 4 injured in fire caused by candle
IMEMC Fri 29 Mar by Chris Carlson — Two children have died, and four others were wounded, in a candle fire which broke out in their home in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The families of Gaza seek other means of lighting because of the ongoing electricity outages, which are now up to 12 hours a day. An Al Ray correspondent reported that Malak Sheikh al-Eid, age 2, and Ghena Sheikh al-Eid, a year and a half, died immediately and arrived at the hospital with charred bodies, while the other four members of the family sustained moderate to severe injuries. He added that the mother sustained light injuries, the father and his daughter with moderate injuries, while the other daughter was seriously wounded. They were transferred to Nasr Medical Complex in Khan Younis … The Ministry of Health blamed the international community and the Arab Summit, stressing that the death of the two children is added to the invoice that the besieged Palestinian people pay every day.

In a gesture to Turkey, Israel allowing building materials and medical supplies into Gaza
Haaretz 27 mar by Amos Harel — Move signals progress in slow-moving reconciliation process between Jerusalem and Ankara following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 —  Ahead of the anticipated deal with Turkey over the Mavi Marmara affair, Israel is allowing building materials, communications equipment and medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, so that construction of a Turkish hospital south of Gaza City may resume … Construction began in April 2011, on the ruins of the Netzarim settlement in central Gaza, and relied on smuggling tunnels in Rafah. The 150-bed hospital will cost about $35 million to build. .. Ya’alon’s announcement came after Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told the Turkish daily Hurriyet on Tuesday that a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey will be signed shortly after the March 30 local elections in his country.

PHOTOS: Gaza calls for the rights of Palestinian prisoners and the freedom of Ahmad Sa‘adat
Gaza, Occupied Palestine (ISM Schiano) 27 Mar On Monday, at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City, the weekly rally in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails saw the participation of many prisoners’ families, released prisoners, and international and Palestinian activists. Each week, the rally focuses on certain topics, ranging from administrative detention to the health condition of sick prisoners, women prisoners and ill-treatment, to the prisoners on hunger strike … On Monday, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine protested to demand the release of its general secretary, Ahmad Sa‘adat, on the eight anniversary of his abduction by Israeli forces. Eight years ago, on 14-15 March 2006, Israeli forces surrounded the Palestinian Authority prison  in Jericho, where Sa‘adat was held with his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Basil al-Asmar and Hamdi Qur’an. The Israeli forces attacked and destroyed the prison, kidnapping the Palestinian prisoners held inside. United States and British guards, under whom Sa‘adat and the other prisoners were held, left the prison in advance, knowing it would soon come under attack from the Israelis. Eight years after his abduction, Sa‘adat is considered a leader in and out the prison, and protests for his release, as well as broad international support, are the proof.

Hamas relies on support from large Gaza families
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 27 Mar by Hazem Balousha — Hamas has had a fluctuating relationship with Gaza’s large and influential families since taking power. While Hamas benefited from these families to win the parliamentary elections of 2006, it considered them — upon taking control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 — a security threat. Shortly after assuming power, it began to undermine their powers to its favor. Recently, however, it has started to reinforce some of their roles, mainly concerning solving internal societal problems. Hussein al-Serhi, the director-general of the Tribal Affairs and Conciliation Department at the Gaza Interior Ministry, told Al-Monitor that his department helps resolve approximately 20,000 cases per year, through 600 certified mediators spread across the Gaza Strip. “Many people prefer to solve their disputes through the clans and families, because doing so is faster than resorting to the courts, where cases can remain pending for years,” he said.

Hamas takes Israeli threats seriously
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 28 Mar by Adnan Abu Amer — In mid-March, Palestinians and Israelis fought another round that included the launching of dozens of rockets at Israeli settlements and Israeli attacks on Gaza. This latest fight was expected to end in a fashion similar to previous ones, with an exchange of statements between Gaza and Tel Aviv. However, this time around, the latter raised the bar and issued threats about possibly occupying the Gaza Strip anew and purging it of its military arsenal and rocket-launching capability, as Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has called for.  Concerns increased in Gaza amid the escalatory rhetoric by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Army Commander Benny Gantz. In conjunction with these threats, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades published a video showing its monitoring of an undated visit by Ya’alon to Gaza’s eastern border, where he was within range of the brigades’ snipers. At the same time, the Israeli military conducted exercises March 19 for various combat units in areas adjacent to the Strip….

2 Gaza men jailed for collaboration with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — A military court in Gaza City on Wednesday sentenced two Palestinian men to prison time after they were found guilty of collaboration with Israel. According to an announcement released by the court, one man was sentenced to 12 years in jail and another to eight years.

Palestinian refugees in Syria

7 Palestinian refugees died in Syria on Thursday
DAMASCUS (PIC) 28 Mar — The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said that seven Palestinian refugees, including 2 children, were killed in Syria on Thursday after a car bomb exploded in the town of Yadodeh in Daraa.  The group said in a statement on Friday that the Syrian security forces planted the bomb in the car owned by refugee Hail Saprouji, one of the residents of the town of Muzeireeb, after holding it for several hours. As Hail and his six family members were returning to their home in the town, the explosive device planted in his car exploded, killing all the members of the family including 2 children and wounding a number of citizens. Meanwhile, an elderly woman Hamda Yahya, aged 70 from the Yarmouk refugee camp, died due to the lack of nutrition and medical care because of the blockade imposed on the camp by the Syrian regime forces and some armed groups for more than eight months. The Yarmouk camp’s main street was also bombed on Thursday night, while its residents continued to receive aid.
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Political, other news

Israel ‘no’ on prisoners ‘slap in face’ to peace: Palestinians
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 28 Mar —  Israel’s refusal to free a final batch of Arab prisoners Saturday is another obstacle to US efforts to broker peace, a senior official in Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party said. Under the deal that relaunched peace talks last July, Israel agreed to release 104 Arabs held since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords in exchange for the Palestinians not pressing their statehood claims at the United Nations. The prisoner release was also dependent on progress in the negotiations, of which there has so far been no sign. Until now, Israel has freed 78 prisoners in three batches but ministers had warned they would block the final release, which had been anticipated for Saturday, if the Palestinians refused to extend the talks beyond their April 29 deadline. Jibril Rajub, a member of Fatah’s central committee, told AFP Friday “the Israeli government has informed us through the American mediator that it will not abide with its commitment to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday 29.” “Israel has refused to commit to the names that were agreed upon of prisoners held by Israel since before the 1993 Oslo agreements,” Rajub said. Israeli officials refused to comment, but cabinet ministers have baulked at including Israeli Arabs among the prisoners slated for release. Rajub called the Israeli move a “slap in the face of the US administration and its efforts,” and said the Palestinians would resume their international diplomatic offensive

Americans pushing hard to get Israel and Palestinians to extend talks
Haaretz 28 Mar by Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid — Senior American officials have been holding marathon meetings over the past 48 hours with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They are attempting to resolve the crisis over the release of Palestinian prisoners and to formulate an agreement that will allow for the extension of negotiations between the two sides past April 29 …  The U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, came to Jerusalem from Amman after the first meeting between Kerry and Abbas. Indyk provided a number of proposals that could become the basis for enabling the continuation of the talks between the two sides for another few months, said Palestinian sources. As far as Abbas and the Palestinian leadership is concerned, the fourth stage of the Palestinian prisoner release must be included in any possible framework.

US isolated in latest UN vote on Palestine
Electronic Intifada 28 Mar by Ali Abunimah — The international community today took a firm stance totally isolating the United States over its opposition to Palestinian rights and its support for Israel’s criminal violations of international humanitarian law. The UN Human Rights Rights Council in Geneva passed four resolutions on the question of Palestine, and as these tweets from the Palestine Liberation Organization indicate, the United States was the sole “no” vote in every single case.

European Parliament delegation visits Palestine to assess state of peace process
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Mar – A European Union delegation visited Palestine to strengthen their understanding of the circumstances of the Palestinian people and assess the state of the peace process, leader of the delegation, Chris Davies, said Tuesday in a press release. The delegation included Chris Davies, Norbert Neuser and Nicole Kiil-Neuser, members of parliaments from the UK, Germany and France respectively. The delegation expressed their disappointment and outrage “to hear yet again of the injustices of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine — of confiscations and of demolitions, of settlement building and of the exclusion of Palestinians from so much of their own land, of humiliations and of killing, with the Israeli perpetrators facing nothing by way of punishment”, the press release said. They criticized the Israeli actions and regretted the EU’s lack of action. “The European Union criticizes Israel for all these things but we regret that the EU’s words are too rarely followed by action,” the press release said.

Leading Palestinian moderate retires as East Jerusalem university president
Haaretz 27 Mar — Sari Nusseibeh, one of the leading Palestinian political moderates and intellectuals since the first intifada in the late 1980s, has resigned as president of East Jerusalem’s Al-Quds University after a 20-year tenure, JTA reported Thursday. Nusseibeh’s announcement came on Wednesday, three days after a reportedly strident protest on campus by hundreds of Hamas supporters. However, Nusseibeh said in a statement that he was leaving office because he had held it so long and reached the retirement age of 65, adding that he would stay on at Al-Quds as a philosophy professor.

Palestinian students visit Auschwitz in first organized visit
Haaretz 28 Mar by Matthew Kalman — Visit is part of program that aims to teach Israeli and Palestinian students about the other side’s suffering in effort to study how empathy could facilitate reconciliation — A group of 30 Palestinian students arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday, in what is believed to be the first organized visit by Palestinian students to a Nazi death camp. The students are spending several days in Kraków and Oświęcim guided by two Jewish Holocaust survivors. A news blackout on the trip was requested by the organizers. The presence of the Palestinian group at Auschwitz-Birkenau is being reported here for the first time. The students from Al-Quds University and Birzeit University, near Ramallah, are participating in a joint program on Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev … Last week, a group of Israeli students visited the Dheisheh refugee camp, located south of Bethlehem,  to learn about the Palestinian experience of suffering during the founding of Israel in 1948 ­­– known to Palestinians as the Nakba (“the catastrophe”). The reactions of each group will be studied by a group of PhD psychology students to see whether exposure to the conflicting historical narrative helps the students to understand their enemy, and facilitates efforts toward reconciliation and coexistence.

Palestinian ISP offers broadband band-aid in West Bank
Wall St Journal 26 Mar by Joshua Mitnick — A Palestinian ISP has come up with a solution for subscribers to Palestinian mobile providers deprived of broadband access: CoolNet is rolling out a street-level Wi-Fi network that will allow mobile-phone users to get broadband services throughout the West Bank.

Israel’s Transportation Ministry earmarks $57 million for West Bank roads
Haaretz 27 Mar by Chaim Levinson — The 24 infrastructure projects include new roads between settlements, the beginning of a West Bank train system, and a Jordan Valley pedestrian bridge for Palestinians … Bar-Lev, an MK in the opposition, criticized the plans, saying they “cast doubt on Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu]’s true willingness to reach a peace agreement.”

Analysis / Opinion / Reviews / Interviews

Release Marwan Barghouti: He can be Palestine’s Nelson Mandela / Martin Linton
The Guardian 28 Mar — The death of Nelson Mandela reminds us that often the first step towards the resolution of a conflict is the release from prison of a national leader who has the authority to unite, negotiate and resolve. Marwan Barghouti has been in jail since 15 April 2002 when Israeli security agents, posing as ambulance workers, seized him in broad daylight and took him to Israel. In 2004 he was convicted by an Israeli court of involvement in five murders, which he denies. Despite nearly 12 years behind bars, Barghouti remains the most popular politician in Palestine, capable, according to recent polls, of beating either President Mahmoud Abbas or his Hamas rival Ismail Haniyeh for the presidency. Many believe he could come out of prison, stand for election, win the presidency, unite the Palestinian factions, negotiate a settlement, put it to his people, win their support and then preside over a process of “truth and reconciliation” in a newly independent country … But if peace is ever to come, Israel will have to acknowledge that Barghouti was a political and not a military leader, that he never carried arms and that he always opposed actions targeting Israeli civilians, even while defending the right of Palestinians to resist.

Why did Israel fail to back US-supported UN resolution on Crimea?
Electronic Intifada 27 Mar by Ali Abunimah — The United States often stands virtually alone, save for the company of its colonies like Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, as well as other settler-colonial states like Canada, in opposing UN resolutions critical of Israel. Israel did not return the favor today by backing a resolution the US feels very strongly about. The UN General Assembly passed resolution A/68/L.39 condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea … The United States, predictably, voted in favor, Russia against, and China abstained. But Israel was a no-show, not voting at all … Perhaps Israel was disturbed by the language of today’s resolution, which “Calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” and to “refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.” Israel, of course, remains in flagrant violation of dozens of similarly worded UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions including Security Council Resolution 465 of 1980, deeming Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and its settlements on occupied land to be illegal.

Can a focus on ‘Palestinian narrative’ be dangerous to Palestinian rights? / Sarah Irving
Electronic Intifada 28 Mar — There are two main strands to Anna Bernard’s book Rhetorics of Belonging (Liverpool University Press). Both have significance towards how Palestine is thought and written about in the West and how Western liberals categorize “good” and “bad” Arabs, selecting what they wish to hear and believe about Palestine. First is an exploration of how Palestinian and Israeli literature — notwithstanding current interest in translations of Arabic literature into English — is surprisingly little read in the context of postcolonial and comparative literature … The second main strand is the idea that it is possible — indeed, necessary — to look at Palestinian and Israeli literature alongside each other. To do so, Bernard argues persuasively, is not to grant the narratives themselves moral or political equivalence — to see Israeli claims as equal to Palestinian. To acknowledge that these literatures relate to one another, Bernard argues, is to understand the ways in which they often represent reactions to the same circumstances … Indeed, she cites Edward Said in his assertion that “we know these histories cannot be separated and that the Western liberal who tries to do so violates, rather than comprehends, both.” This approach leads to an unpicking of the ways in which Palestinian and Israeli writers do (or do not) represent their respective nations in their writings, and the ways in which other scholars and critics have read literature on this theme.

Bedouin lawyer and PhD student: ‘No, I was not raised in a tent’
Haaretz 28 Mar by Ayelett Shani — Rawia Aburabia, 33, says that even though the situation of Bedouin women is bad, a trend of ‘groundbreaking women’ is taking hold — You started out as a social worker. What made you decide to go into law? As a social worker I encountered many wrongs, but I had the feeling there was nothing I could do about them, that I was limited. In my third year I started to deal with “unrecognized” villages [of Bedouin in the Negev]. That just crushed me. What can you possibly offer someone whose life has been trampled by political policy? People are in distress and you can’t help. They have no electricity or water, they are in a dreadful situation. So I decided to study something that would allow me to help on a larger scale, and I chose law, with an emphasis on human rights. And you work for the Association for Civil Rights. I head the unit that deals with the Arab and Bedouin population in the Negev, and am a member of the executive committee for equality of personal rights. I deal with all the well-known issues – from home demolitions to forced marriages of underage girls. It’s very complex even for me. … The Israeli policy of rule involves concentrating the minority in one place so as to strengthen political control over it. All studies show that, by all indices, coerced urbanization bore very deep and had severe consequences. The economic and social situation was aggravated, because Bedouin were uprooted from an agricultural environment to one that is supposedly urban, but does not really offer urban services. There is no infrastructure, no organized industrial zone, the education standard is very inferior. A farce of a whole fabric of life. How does that affect the status of women? Catastrophically. They are a minority within a minority, in a repressive patriarchal society in which the men also suffer from weakened masculinity; their homes are demolished and no one takes them into account. The Israeli side now thinks it is going to “rescue” the women … What do you think about Israel? What do you feel toward Israelis? It’s not easy growing up here as a national minority. I think Israel is becoming more and more right-wing, violent and racist. I have never felt such a poisonous atmosphere toward the Palestinians as today.

Israel’s rhinoceros corps go on strike / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 26 Mar — The country’s cosmeticians have gone out on strike, and only a very few people care that their services have been halted … We are of course talking about the strike by the employees of the Foreign Ministry. It is possible they actually are discriminated against in their salary conditions, and that their strike is one of the most justifiable. But the strike is what has actually exposed once again the character of their work, which in recent days has been crowned with empty glory. The work of the army of Israeli diplomats, a chorus of ambassadors, is mostly propaganda work, which in Israel is referred to by the Hebrew word hasbara. But there are things that are not hasbarable, a term invented by one of them, the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz. Israel’s ambassadors have a wealth of such issues that meet that definition. The Israel of 2014 is impossible to explain. The continuation of the occupation, the refusal to put an end to it, the continued building in the settlements and the obstinacy over the recognition of it as a Jewish state — is impossible to explain. The almost daily war crimes, the senseless killing, the discrimination against minorities, the behavior toward the African asylum seekers, the nationalism and the anti-democratic legislation — no diplomat, no matter how talented and polished, can explain all this. In futility, Israeli diplomats are trying to do so. (listserv) (archive)

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Oy vey, had a synagogue been demolished by Palestinians, the cries of anti-semitism, would be deafening. This is a new low, even for Israel, they don’t give an owl’s hoot if a house of worship, has been bulldozed and demolished. Shame on them, and if this dastardly act provokes anger,… Read more »


“Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned building that housed a mosque”


The Highly Disturbing Facts of the US-Backed Israeli Occupation of Palestine No of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails = 4228 No of Israeli political prisoners held in Gaza and West Bank = nil US military/civil aid, loan guarantees given to Israel annually = $6billion US military and civil… Read more »


“Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. Protection of cultural objects and of places of worship Article 53 [ Link ] — Protection of cultural objects and of places of worship… Read more »