Israeli forces demolish Bedouin village in Negev for 66th time
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 66th time on Wednesday, leaving dozens of people in the open despite heavy rains. A large number of Israeli police and bulldozers surrounded the village in the early morning and demolished all of the residential steel structures. “Israeli occupation forces raided the village at 6:15 a.m. and demolished its houses for the 66th time,” one of the residents, Aziz al-Touri, told Ma‘an. “Under such conditions and with this heavy rain and severe cold, we tell Israeli officials that what you did is a crime against humanity. But no matter what you do, we will never give up our right in al-Araqib, the land of our fathers and grandfathers.” Two days earlier, inspectors from the Israel Land Authority had entered the village to take pictures of steel houses erected by residents near a cemetery.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Racism
Israeli settler group buys property in heart of East Jerusalem
Haaretz 12 Mar by Ilene Prusher — Ateret Cohanim, a religious Zionist organization that buys properties in the Old City and elsewhere in East Jerusalem in order to settle Jews there, says it has bought a “significant portion” of a building at the heart of the commercial district in East Jerusalem. In an email to supporters, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim-Israel Daniel Luria said the group had purchased more than 1,000 square meters in “a very large and strategic building” situated across from the Old City (in the area between Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate). Photographs attached to the email show the structure, which is located at the end of Salah al-Din Street. Built under Jordanian rule, it is home to East Jerusalem’s only full-service post office as well an Israeli police station. One picture showed the renovations being carried out on the interior of the building. Luria wrote that it would be used as an education center, with housing for pre-army yeshiva students … The message also notes that this is “the first acquisition of its kind, in the area, which is in the heart of the commercial Arab district of Jerusalem — and in the general vicinity of Sultan Suleiman,” the road that runs alongside that part of the Old City. It noted that work is “being done quietly under the radar.”
Occupation approves 387 new settlement units in Jerusalem
IMEMC 12 Mar by Chris Carlson — The Israeli Housing Ministry approved, Tuesday, construction permits for 387 settlement units in Ramat Shlomo, to the south of occupied Jerusalem. By this decision, occupation authorities aim to expand the settlement by adding 1500 units for the east side, towards Ramot settlement, Al Ray reports. The settlements of Ramat Shlomo and Ramot will form a huge enclave on the northern border of Jerusalem to isolate and separate the western villages from the city, to cut geographically the connection between those villages and to encircle Jerusalem with bypass roads, to serve settlements and settlers. Member of the Executive Committee of the PLO and Head of the Jerusalem Affairs, Ahmed Qurei, stressed that the permits will swallow more lands in the town and deprive Palestinian citizens in Beit Hanina and Shu‘afat towns of their lands.
Israel demolishes blind man’s house in Jerusalem-area village
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Mar – Israeli bulldozers early Wednesday demolished a residential building, a car wash, and a shop in an East Jerusalem village, a popular committee spokesman said. Hani Halabiyya, a spokesman for East Jerusalem’s popular resistance committees, told Ma‘an that a large number of Israeli troops and military vehicles raided the Jabal al-Baba area of al-Eizariya village early Wednesday. Bulldozers then proceeded to demolish a house owned by Suleiman Jahalin, a blind man who says he has been living in the Jabal al-Baba area since 1967. Before starting the demolition, Israeli troops forcefully removed Jahalin and ten of his family members from their home, he told Ma‘an. After the 65-square-meter house was demolished, Jahalin expressed his intention to remain in the village. “The last thing I saw before I became blind was the land of al-Eizariya,” Jahalin said. “I will never leave this land.” … Halabiyya said 40 Bedouin families could be displaced from Jabal al-Baba in the coming days, as all the families there had been issued demolition warrants…
Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers demolished a car wash and a grocery shop near the entrance of the neighborhood. The two structures were built on one dunam (1,000 square meters) of land owned by Sami Abu Ghaliya. Abu Ghaliya told Ma‘an he was surprised to see Israeli forces surrounding the structures early Wednesday. They demolished the car wash and the shop without prior notice, he said. The same structures were demolished by the Israeli Civil Administration about a month ago, and Abu Ghaliya says he rebuilt them shortly after the demolition.
Farmers denied access to lands in Jordan Valley, construction halted near Hebron
IMEMC 12 Mar by Chris Carlson — Israeli forces, on Wednesday, prevented several people from entering their own agricultural plots in the area of Samra, to the east of Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley, as a prelude to seize the land, according to local sources. Settlers, under army protection, proceeded to raze hundreds of dunums of land belonging to Palestinians in the area, surrounding the area with barbed wire and sealing it off for settlement expansion purposes, WAFA reports…
On Wednesday, Israeli forces served residents with several stop-construction notices in Bani Na‘im, a town to the east of Hebron, according to the town’s municipality. Forces handed several stop-construction notices to a number of people in Khalet Abu Bayda, under the pretext of unlicensed construction. The Municipality condemned this Israeli measure which, it said, is aimed at displacing the residents from this area.
IOF officers serve notifications for the demolition of two water wells
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 12 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) served notifications in Khirbat Al-Fakhit hamlet near Yatta town in Al-Khalil on Tuesday for the demolition of two water wells. Activist Ratib Al-Jabour told the PIC that IOF soldiers handed the notifications to two brothers in the hamlet.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian shepherds bitter at rise in Israeli demolitions
AIN AL HILWEH, West Bank (Reuters) 12 Mar — Palestinian shepherd Mahmoud Ka’abneh has squeezed his family of 12 into a neighbour’s hut on a hilly desert oasis since an Israeli bulldozer turned his own flimsy dwelling into a pile of stones and twisted metal. “They showed up at dawn and threatened to arrest me if I didn’t vacate the house immediately. They wouldn’t give me time to remove our personal belongings,” Ka’abneh, 43, said. Palestinian officials say Ka’abneh is one of more than 180 people uprooted since the beginning of the year by what they say is an upsurge in Israeli demolitions in the Jordan Valley, a hotly contested part of the occupied West Bank … International aid officials who help the Palestinians find themselves increasingly at loggerheads with Israel, and accuse it of violating international law that calls for an occupying power to ensure the welfare of the civilians it administers. Last year, according to human rights groups, Israel demolished 663 Palestinian dwellings and farming structures, the highest number in five years. About 60 per cent of the demolitions were carried out in the Jordan Valley. The valley covers about a third of the West Bank and is home to some 10,000 Palestinians, among them 2,700 shepherds or Bedouin, the Israeli human rights group B’tselem says. An estimated 6,000 settlers live along the length of the valley.
Israeli forces confiscate Palestinian land south of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Mar — Israeli forces on Monday confiscated land from Burin village south of Nablus, a local official said. Majd Assouss, the head of a committee in the village, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had officially announced that 2,000 dunams (495 acres) belonging to the local high school would be confiscated for “security reasons,” without providing further details.
Israeli court rules settler ownership of West Bank building
Jerusalem (AFP) 11 Mar — An Israeli court on Tuesday ruled that Jewish settlers were the lawful owners of a long-disputed building in the heart of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The Supreme Court ruling brings an end to a legal dispute lasting nearly seven years, after the Palestinian Rajabi family said its four-storey building had been taken over by Israeli settlers. Israeli settlements on occupied land the Palestinians want for their future state have been a major source of tensions in US-brokered peace talks relaunched last year. The building is near a contested holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs in a tightly-controlled Israeli enclave where many streets are off-limits to Palestinian cars. The settlers were evacuated in 2008, and the court verdict said they would not be allowed to move back in until they get defence ministry approval. The structure was sold in 2004 by its Palestinian owners to settlers through a “non-Jewish straw man”, according to court documents. When settlers moved into the structure in 2007 the Palestinians charged they had been tricked and said the purchase was invalid, lodging complaints with the police and petitioning the court.
SEE: Israeli settlers walk into a Palestinian home and decide it belongs to them
Sixteen Minutes to Palestine 11 Mar by Sami Kishawi — This footage, filmed and published in 2009, gives you an intimate yet disturbing close-up of colonial expansion and occupation. Watch as over a dozen Jewish settlers make their way into a Palestinian home in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and lay claim to a section of the property. The home belonged to the Al-Kurd family. Rifqa Al-Kurd, 90, attempted to keep the settlers from entering the home but the settlers quickly moved around her, bringing their own belongings into the house and removing the family’s belongings from the premises. According to the video’s description, a previous court order administered by an Israeli judge transferred ownership rights over part of the house to a family of Jewish settlers. [More on the land disputes in Sheikh Jarrah can be found on Wikipedia and on many other sites]
Settlers strike secret deal with Ya’alon to save outpost homes
Haaretz 11 Mar by Chaim Levinson — Following pressure from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the Amana settlement movement has moved four mobile homes placed illegally on private Palestinian land a few hundred meters away – into a settlement outpost that is also illegal. According to information obtained by Haaretz, settlers agreed to move the homes only after Ya’alon promised they would be safe from demolition in the new location. Amana, in 2012, paved an access road to the Sde Boaz outpost in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, and near the same time placed four mobile homes at site away from the center of Sde Boaz. The Palestinian owners of the land petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding the state enforce demolition orders that had been issued against the structures. Last March, the state said it planned to implement the demolition orders within four months. Those four months turned into a year, during which Ya’alon intensively lobbied Amana to move the mobile homes.
Palestinian villagers capture Israeli settler stealing sheep
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Mar – Palestinian villagers on Monday captured an Israeli settler when he was trying to steal sheep from a field in the northern West Bank village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiyya south of Nablus. A Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities told Ma‘an that a settler from the illegal Eli settlement tried to steal sheep from a Palestinian shepherd before a number of villagers arrived and captured him. Ghassan Daghlas added that Palestinians notified officials in the Palestinian Authority who contacted the Israeli liaison department. Just days earlier, villagers from Jalud and Talfit villages south of Nablus captured a settler but he managed to escape shortly afterward.
Graffiti in Israeli town: ‘All Arabs are criminals’
Haaretz 11 Mar by Eli Ashkenazi and Jack Khoury — Nineteen cars were vandalized in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulya, near Kfar Saba, on Tuesday morning in an anti-Arab attack. Residents of the neighborhood found several cars with tires slashed and some of them had graffiti on them with the words “God is king.” Police who arrived on the scene also found graffiti on a wall that said “All Arabs are criminals.” The police launched an investigation but thus far no suspects have been arrested. Ihab Khatar, a resident whose car was vandalized, told Haaretz that his neighbors alerted him Tuesday morning to what happened. “I discovered that my four tires were slashed and some paint-removing chemical was thrown on it,” Khatar said. He added that the moment he saw the graffiti on the wall he knew it was a “price tag” attack. This isn’t the first time an anti-Arab attack has been committed in Israeli Arab villages within the Green Line. In the past, property has been vandalized and mosques burned.
Haaretz editorial: In Israel Arabs get less
13 Mar — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently boasts of the favorable conditions enjoyed by Arabs in Israel, which he says causes them to prefer the comfortable life of a minority in a Jewish state to any alternative in the region. The financial reports of Israel’s local government show a less rosy picture. As reported by Meirav Arlosoroff in TheMarker, per capita spending for municipal services in Arab communities is 527 shekels a year. That’s about half of the national average in Jewish communities, 40 percent of the average for poor Jewish communities and about a third of the average in wealthier Jewish communities. Finance Ministry Budget Director Amir Levy corroborated these figures when he told TheMarker that the treasury allocates less money to Arabs in Israel than to Jewish Israelis. “There are vast gaps in the resources allocated to public transportation, in the distribution of revenues from property taxes paid by businesses, in industrial investment and in education,” Levy said. Especially troubling is the spending gap in the areas in which Arabs in Israel are in need of the greatest assistance, in education and in social services.
Ignoring Arab education imperils Israel’s future
Haaretz 11 Mar by Meirav Arlosoroff — A quarter of the first-grade children in Israeli schools are not Jewish. In less polite terms, they are Arab children. In the five years until 2019 the Arab population is expected to grow at a relatively fast rate of 3%, much lower than the 4.3% figure for the ultra-Orthodox Haredi population but still much faster than the nonexistent − about zero − rate of the nonreligious Jews in Israel. For anyone who does not understand the significance of these numbers, I’ll spell it out explicitly: Alongside the Haredi children, Arab children are the future for all of us. The problem is that while for the last year and a half a culture war has been fought over the future of the Haredi children − with the change in the Tal Law for drafting Haredim, changes in funding for yeshivas and the campaign to introduce a core curriculum of secular subjects into Haredi schools − no one has been dealing with the Arab children … Segregation of a different kind Israel is a country of national separation − or to put it more starkly, of segregation. The segregation of the blacks in the United States until the 1950s and 1960s was forced on them by the whites; blacks fought with all their might to remove the walls separating them. In Israel, national sensitivities are such that both sides have chosen to keep themselves separate.
The killing of Judge Raed Alaa Addin Zeiter
Israel ‘regrets’ killing judge as row with Jordan widens
Jerusalem (AFP) 11 Mar — Israel expressed “regret” Tuesday over the shooting of a Jordanian judge at a border crossing, but its army insisted he had attacked soldiers and tried to grab a gun. The shooting on Monday set off a diplomatic row between Israel and Amman — which signed a peace treaty 20 years ago — with Jordan’s prime minister saying Israel is “completely responsible” and demanding an apology for the “hideous” shooting. The Israeli army said 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship who worked as a judge in Amman, had charged at the soldiers with a metal pole while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), prompting them to fire at his legs. “The suspect then began to strangle a soldier and the force resorted to using live fire once again,” killing the man, the army said. It said its preliminary findings were based on extensive questioning of witnesses to the event — which took place at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan — and that a military police investigation was ongoing. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights disputed the army’s account, saying one of the soldiers pushed Zeiter after he had disembarked from a bus with other passengers so that Israeli soldiers could search it. Zeiter responded in kind and other soldiers joined the scuffle, with one of them firing three rounds at his chest, the PCHR said, citing “a witness.” He was left bleeding for 30 minutes without any medical help before an Israeli ambulance came to retrieve the body, the group said
Hundreds attend funeral of judge killed by Israel forces
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 Mar — A man shot dead by Israeli forces at the Allenby Bridge crossing was laid to rest in Nablus on Tuesday, locals said. Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Raed Zieter, 38, who was shot dead on Monday by Israeli soldiers. His wife could not attend the funeral as she does not have Palestinian citizenship. “The Israeli occupation soldiers killed Raed deliberately. If he allegedly provoked a soldier at the checkpoint, that soldier could have fired one shot at his foot, but he in fact fired several shots at his body before another soldier fired more shots. It was a targeted assassination,” Zieter’s nephew Nafi told reporters during the funeral. Raed had been planning to visit the occupied West Bank for a few days to arrange some legal and administrative issues related to his family’s properties, Nafi said. “They killed my only son in cold blood,” said Zeiter’s father Ala, who had traveled from Amman. “My son was unarmed, he wouldn’t even know how to use a weapon,” Ala Zeiter said, adding that a witness claimed to have seen soldiers insulting his son and throwing him to the ground before shooting him. Jordan demanded the Israeli soldiers involved be punished.
Parliament votes for expelling Israeli envoy in response to judge’s death
AMMAN (Jordan Times) 12 Mar by Khaled Neimat — The Lower House on Wednesday postponed a discussion over a vote of no-confidence petition to next week, giving the government almost a week to act and meet the MPs demands over measures against Israel after occupation soldiers shot and killed a Jordanian judge. The decision came at the end of the Lower House’s session on Wednesday as lawmakers concluded two days of deliberations over the death of Judge Raed Zuaiter, which triggered a nationwide popular uproar. As many as 110 deputies of the 150-strong legislature took the podium to comment on the incident, with all demanding a tough response to Israel. In an non-binding decision, they voted unanimously for expelling the Israeli ambassador and to recalling the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv. Also during the session, deputies voted in favour of releasing Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who shot seven Israeli girls in 1997 and has since been serving a life sentence in a local prison. Zuaiter’s son Following instructions by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, Minister of Environment and acting Minister of Health Taher Shakhshir checked on the condition of Zuaiter’s son who is receiving treatment at Istiklal Hospital. The minister listened to a briefing on the health condition of the child who suffers from obesity and has reportedly been in a coma. Shakhshir called for forming a medical committee comprising a number of doctors to supervise the child’s case and provide him with the best medical care … The martyr’s cousin, Sari Zuaiter, expressed appreciation for the Jordanians’ strong response to the death of the judge. He said that the coffin of Zuaiter was covered with both Jordanian and Palestinian flags, a scene that underlined the unity of the two peoples.
Wife of judge killed at crossing ‘to sue Israel’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — The wife of a man who was killed by Israeli forces at Allenby Bridge on Monday will file a lawsuit against Israel if its allegations were untrue, her lawyer said. Murad Mfarre, the Palestinian-Israeli lawyer of Raed Zeiter’s widow, relayed her message that Zeiter “was well-known and law-abiding, and it is hard to imagine that he would try to snatch the weapon of the Israeli soldier.” Mfarre said that she thinks the evidence and witness accounts contradict the Israeli account. Mfarre told Ma‘an that “There was a normal argument that turned into shooting. There are witnesses that we will reach, and we will demand that Israel show us security camera footage so we can figure out what happened.” “If we make sure that the Israeli account is untrue, we will file a lawsuit against the State of Israel.”
The nice chief of staff / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 Mar — Benny Gantz will be judged according to the actions of the army he commands – and this army kills and kills, slowly committing war crimes without hindrance — The Israel Defense Forces was a little negligent this week in fulfilling its duty: It killed the wrong Palestinian. Instead of killing just any Palestinian, the kind who shouts “Allah is great,” perhaps pushes, perhaps strikes out in rage, maybe waves an iron bar, maybe throws a stone, maybe wields a knife − acts that make it kosher for the IDF to carry out an automatic execution − the soldiers killed by mistake, certainly by mistake, a Jordanian judge. If he weren’t a judge, no one would judge their killing him. Yet Raed Zueter was a judge, and not just anywhere but in Jordan. So it became a diplomatic mess, including an investigation and an expression by the prime minister of condolence to the “Jordanian people,” as if Zaeter was not a Palestinian from Nablus. It is therefore recommended to institute from now on a new procedure for soldiers: identifying futile killings. But a few hours later came the correction, when IDF soldiers killed the right Palestinians. The IDF invaded a section of the Gaza Strip to clear overgrowth that could hide attackers, which is of course permitted. An Islamic Jihad force opened fire on the invading bulldozers. The result: three (rightly) killed Palestinians. In a place where the death sentence awaits any mentally disturbed woman, scrap-iron collector or demonstrator who dares to go near the fence, the IDF can do anything….
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours by Israeli forces
[with photos] Mondoweiss 11 Mar by Allison Deger — Tuesday marked a day of funerals as Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza mourned six killed by Israeli forces within twenty-four hours. Three were killed in the West Bank in separate instances and three were killed in the Gaza Strip from an air strike … In the West Bank on Monday Israeli border police at the Allenby crossing shot a Jordanian judge during an altercation on a bus. Raed Zeitar, 38, originally from Nablus had been living in Jordan since 2011 and was en route to the West Bank to visit his six-year old daughter who is hospitalized in a coma. In a statement the Israeli army said Zeitar was fired at after he attempted to seize an officer’s weapon: … However Mohammed Zayd, a witness, told Ma’an News Agency that Zeitar was shot after returning to his feet from when a soldier shoved him to the ground: … Adding to the Jordan Times Zayd said, “It is not true that he tried to take the soldier’s gun,” continuing, “Passengers were shocked, and started crying and screaming.” After Zeitar’s killing Israeli forces then detonated an explosive on his luggage and held the remaining bus passengers for six hours. Per a treaty between Israel and Jordan, Jordanian officials will take part in an investigation into the cause of Zeitar’s death.
That evening around 9pm Israeli soldiers shot Saji Darwish, 18, after throwing stones on a road near the settlement of Beit El, which is separated from highway access by a concrete wall. Darwish was a student at Bir Zeit University, studying advertising. The same day Fida’ Mohyeeddeen Majadla, 23, was shot in the chest and head and was reportedly killed instantly by the live fire at a roadblock south of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. Another, Ibrahim Adnan Shokry was also wounded. Israeli authorities then held Majadla’s body.
Hours later on Tuesday morning three members of the armed-wing of the Islamic Jihad movement were killed in an Israeli air strike near Khan Younis in the southern West Bank. Ma‘an reported the al-Quds Brigade said in a statement, “Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and Abd al-Shafi Muammar, 33, “were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area.” The Israeli army said the air strike occurred after mortar shells were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The six killings come just days after Amnesty International published a report on “trigger happy” soldiers using live-fire on unarmed protesters.
PLO, PA denounce ‘extrajudicial’ Israeli killings
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — The Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority condemned the killing of six Palestinians by Israel in recent days, warning that the violence undermines the ongoing peace negotiations. PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned the killing of six Palestinians in a twenty-four hour period ending Tuesday, accusing Israel of creating “a culture of violence” and being “bent on demonstrating that it is a rogue state with its repeated war crimes against the Palestinian people and sense of exceptionalism and impunity.” “The Israeli government is undermining the credibility of the ‘peace’ negotiations which have become a cover for Israel to buy the time needed to change facts on the ground while blatantly provoking the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the talks,” she said in a statement. Ashrawi also called on the international community to take “immediate action” by adopting “punitive” measures in order to hold Israel accountable for the “extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians.”
Zirin challenges sportswriters to report Israeli violence against Palestinian soccer players
Mondoweiss 11 Mar by Annie Robbins — In a few days, the chairman of the Palestinian Football association will head off to a regional meeting of Arab states to organize an effort to expel Israel from FIFA as well as the International Olympic Committee due to treatment of Palestinian footballers under occupation. Meantime, Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, has followed up on his first damning expose with another riveting article on Israel’s targeting of Palestinian soccer players. “A Red Line for FIFA? Israel, Violence and What’s Left of Palestinian Soccer“ is a full throttle appeal for investigation. First advising US spokesperson Jen Psaki to follow up on the situation (as we noted here), Zirin then directs his focus on his own profession, sports journalists. He reveals that the response to his last article was “overwhelmingly hostile”. Some of Zirin’s professional colleagues made accusations against him, doubting not only his reporting of the attacks, but the very concept that Palestinian athletes were ever targeted. And that doubt stemmed from the assumption his sources were (merely?) Palestinian. This is some radical racism … Heartbreakingly Zirin then lists, with description, individual members of Palestine’s national team killed by Israel; Ayman Alkurd, Wajeh Moshtahe, Shadi Sbakhe, all targeted in their homes over the course of seventy-two hours. Then the imprisoned; Omar Abu Rios, Muhammad Nimr, Zakaria Issa, Mahmoud Sarsak. He states that three were jailed in Israeli prisons without trial “over the last decade”.
5 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) Tues 11 Mar — Five Palestinians were injured early Tuesday during clashes with Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah, witnesses and medics said. After Israeli forces raided al-Jalazun refugee camp, youths hurled stones towards them and soldiers fired back live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, locals told Ma‘an. Jamil Bayyari, 16, was hit in the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet, while Qahir Farraj was hit by a live bullet in his abdomen and Abd al-Rahman Tarifi was hit in the stomach by a rubber-coated steel bullet, medics said. Two others were injured, witnesses said, without elaborating. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces were in al-Jalazun camp in response to reports that Palestinians fired gunshots at a residential building in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.
5 injured after Israeli forces open fire on Beit Ummar protesters
HEBRON (Ma‘an) Wed 12 Mar — Five Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces opened fire with live and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in Beit Ummar north of Hebron. Spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee against the Wall Mohammad Ayyad Awad in Beit Ummar said that Bashir Irzeeq Bashir Abu Ayyash, 16, was shot in the left thigh with a live bullet and was taken to Aliya hospital in moderate condition. Two others others were injured by bullet fragments, including an unidentified 16-year-old who was injured in the stomach and an unidentified 17-year-old who was hit in the left thigh. Two others were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets in their feet and were treated on the scene in the Aseeda area. Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation during the clashes. Israeli forces climbed the rooftops of several houses and closed the main road of the village, the spokesman added. An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Beit Ummar has seen frequent clashes in recent weeks as Israeli forces have blocked the main road into the village, leading locals to respond in anger.
Palestinian youths clash with Israeli forces near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Tues 11 Mar — A number of young Palestinian men were injured by rubber bullets and excessive tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli troops near Bethlehem Tuesday. Youths in the area organized a rally near ‘Azza refugee camp to protest the Israeli army’s recent killings of Palestinians, locals said. Witnesses said clashes broke out between the protesters and Israeli forces. Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles while Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at the youths. A few Palestinians were taken to the hospital for treatment, locals said, without specifying how many.
Jewish setter runs over Palestinian boy
BETHLEHEM (PIC) Wed 12 Mar — A Jewish settler in a speeding car ran over a Palestinian boy in Husan village to the west of Bethlehem on Tuesday evening then sped away. Local sources told the PIC reporter that the 16-year-old boy Hani Shusha was injured in the accident and was hospitalized. The sources pointed out that Israeli occupation forces stormed the village after the incident in ten army jeeps spreading tension among the inhabitants.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Poisoned by tear gas in the comfort of their own home
972blog 10 Mar by Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) — The security forces have a problem with the village of Qaddum – we’re not quite sure why. Perhaps it is because the residents hold weekly demonstrations against the occupation. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the security forces have decided to teach the village a lesson … The Friday demonstrations are dispersed with an iron fist; beyond that the residents also report recurring attacks on the village, even on days when no demonstrations are held. These attacks include the throwing of stun grenades and CS gas canisters (a more aggressive form of tear gas). In one case, which actually made it to the Israeli media – of course, under the pretense that one more person killed by the IDF will make the kettle boil and bring about a new intifada – Saeed Gasser Nassar Ali, an 85-year-old resident of the village, died after inhaling tear gas, which seeped into his house following a demonstration … Three weeks before Ali died, M., a resident of Qaddum, woke up at around 1 a.m. His brother warned him that the army was raiding the village, and that all windows must be closed. Soon after, even though he thought he had closed all the windows, gas seeped into the house. The first to feel it was seven-year-old A., who began screaming that he couldn’t breathe. Then four-year-old R. began complaining that he was feeling ill. The gas came through the windows of the bathroom, which is close to the children’s room. M.’s wife was in the bedroom holding H., a two-month-old baby, in her arms. When the gas reached the bedroom, she too had trouble breathing. M. noticed H. was turning blue and throwing up.
Activist: Palestinian detained in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) Wed 12 Mar — Israeli forces on Tuesday evening arrested a young Palestinian in the Wadi al-Harya area in Hebron. Thaer Nabil Ghannam, 18, was beaten and arrested as he returned from work in Wadi al-Harya area, coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement Imad al-Atrash said. Ghannam was taken to Tal al-Rumaida, and then to a police station in Kiryat Arba settlement.
Witnesses: Israel detains 11 Palestinians in overnight raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) Mon 10 Mar — Israeli forces detained a number of Palestinians in the West Bank in overnight arrest raids, locals and an army spokesperson told Ma‘an. Local sources said that Israeli troops raided the village of Tell south of Nablus and detained 23-year-old Walid Jamal. Separately, Israeli soldiers raided Taawan street in southern Nablus and detained 24-year-old Ammar Abu Zarour, locals said. Meanwhile, nine Palestinians were arrested in Hebron, identified by locals as Muhammad Khalil al-Jaabari, Thaer al-Jaabari, Safwan Majdi al-Jaabari, Sultan Ali al-Jaabari, Muhammad Hisham Jaafar, Iyad Jaafar, Umran Shukri al-Jaabari, Tamir Yaqin al-Jaabari and Kamal Abd al-Rahim al-Jaabari.
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma’an) Wed 12 Mar — The Israeli army detained 13 Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank, locals and an army spokeswoman told Ma‘an. Locals said Israeli forces early Wednesday raided the al-Makhfiyya neighborhood of Nablus and detained Huthayfa Muhammad Sharida after ransacking his family home and confiscating his computer and cell phone. Separately, Israeli forces raided al-‘Ein refugee camp near Nablus and detained 21-year-old Muhammad Basyuni, witnesses said. Israeli troops also detained two Palestinian youths in Ya‘abad west of Jenin, locals told Ma‘an. Witnesses said that several military vehicles entered the village early Wednesday and that soldiers ransacked several homes before detaining 22-year-old Abed Abu Bakr and 23-year-old Kamil Hirzallah. In Bethlehem Israeli troops raided al-Rashayda village in the east and detained two young men. Head of al-Rashayda village council Fawwaz Rashayda told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Othman Hlayyil Rashayda, 25, and his brother Bilal, 23.
An army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers arrested one Palestinian in Qalqiliya, two in Ya‘abad, one in Nablus, one north of Nablus, one south of Nablus, two in Ramallah, one north of Ramallah, one in Qalandia refugee camp, two in al-Jalazun refugee camp, and one in Beit Ula.
East Jerusalem man arrested for plotting gas pipe terror attacks
Ynet 12 Mar by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — 50-year-old man says he was angry at Jewish presence on Temple Mount, got idea from recent gas blast accident in capital — …According to information approved for publication Wednesday, the man was arrested for allegedly cutting gas pipes in residential buildings in Jerusalem, in a bid to cause a blast that would target the city’s Jewish residents. Ziz Mussa Salam Auysat, a 50-year-old Arab from East Jerusalem, was arrested in a joint operation by Jerusalem District Police, the Shin Bet security service and the Border Police some three weeks ago, after allegedly cutting gas pipes in the East Talpiot area of the city. He has been in custody since, and police say he has confessed to the allegations during questioning.
Detainees / Court actions / Repatriation of remains
VIDEO: Key witness aimed gun at Palestinian teen during police interview
Haaretz 13 Mar by Chaim Levinson — Video shows arresting soldier in interrogation room, pointing gun at 15-year-old suspected of throwing rocks — A soldier who served as a key witness in an investigation against a 15-year-old Palestinian attended the police interview, where he trained his gun on the teen. The scene was captured in a video. Israeli soldiers in February arrested four Palestinian youths in the West Bank village of Nabi Salih, near Ramallah. Villagers have been demonstrating weekly against what they say is the takeover of a nearby spring by Jewish settlers from Neve Tzuf. The soldiers, who said the teens had thrown rocks at them four days before, arrested the suspects and brought them to the Binyamin police station and questioned about rock throwing. One of the soldiers, who served as a key witness against the minors, attended a considerable part of the police interview with one of them. During the interview the soldier played with his weapon and at one point he trained it on the suspect, who was in restraints, for one minute. The station’s senior investigator, Haim Toledano, then entered the room and told the soldier to wait outside. The teen was charged with throwing rocks but the case was thrown out of court because the photos of the incident were blurry and had no timestamp. The Military Advocate General’s office next charged the teen with taking part in an illegal demonstration. He was sentenced to eight days in prison and released with time served.
Arab jailed for 25 years for Tel Aviv bus bomb
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Mar — A Tel Aviv court on Monday handed a Palestinian in 1948 areas 25-year prison term over the 2012 bombing of a bus during a major Israeli campaign in Gaza. Mohammad Mafarja, 19, was sentenced three months after being convicted on charges of aiding the enemy during war, attempted murder, causing an explosion and wounding 24 people. A resident of Taibe in central Israel, Mafarja boarded the Tel Aviv bus on November 21, 2012, and placed a bomb inside before getting off, according to the District Court. Shortly afterwards it was triggered remotely by a cellphone used by his accomplice Ahmad Mousa, a Palestinian from the West Bank. The two had decided “to carry out an attack to end the war in Gaza,” which began when Israel killed Hamas military commander Ahmad Jaabari on November 14, 2012, the court said in Monday’s sentencing. The Gaza conflict ended several hours after the explosion with an Egyptian-brokered truce, in a development unrelated to the attack.The explosion left two people in moderate-to-serious condition, while another eight people were lightly wounded and 14 more suffered from shock. The blast damaged the bus and vehicles nearby. The court also mentioned Islamic Jihad militant Mohammad Assi who planned the attack. Assi was shot dead during an Israeli attempt to arrest him near the West Bank city of Ramallah in October 2013. Mousa’s trial, which is being heard in a military court, is ongoing.
Israel returns remains of five slain Palestinians
IMEMC 12 Mar by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli Authorities handed, on Tuesday evening, the remains of five Palestinians who were buried at the Numbers Graveyard for many years. The bodies were moved to the Taybeh roadblock, in the northern part of the West Bank, before being handed over to the Palestinians … Israeli legal groups estimates that there are hundreds of Palestinian and Arab fighters still buried in numbered graves.
Gaza under blockade
Israeli airstrike kills 3 Palestinians in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Mar — An Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, an official said. Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that three Palestinian resistance fighters were killed by the airstrike in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing. Al-Qidra identified the victims as Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar. The bodies were taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis, al-Qidra said. Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, said in a statement that the victims were militants affiliated to the group. “They were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area,” the statement said … Earlier on Tuesday morning, an Israeli drone fell in the area of the attack.
Dozens of rockets from Gaza strike southern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — Dozens of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave. The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the operation, which it has named “Breaking the Silence.” The group said that it had launched 90 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, saying: “The response has begun to the crimes of the occupation, the latest of which was the killing of three members” of the group on Tuesday. An Israeli military source said that eight rockets had fallen in residential areas, causing property damage but without resulting in any injuries. Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told an Israeli television channel that there was no option other than completely re-occupying the Gaza Strip, arguing that after two wide-scale military operations “Israeli towns and cities” are still under fire from the Gaza Strip. The residents of southern Israeli towns and cities cannot remain under the the threat of “terrorist” organizations, he added. An Israeli source said that crews had found the fragments of nearly 57 rockets. The source also said that the Iron Dome missile-defense system had intercepted three rockets. According to Israeli reports, rockets landed in open areas near the town of Sderot and near residential areas … An Israeli officer told Israeli army radio that “we haven’t seen such a barrage (of rockets) in the last two years.”
Israel launches artillery strikes after dozens of rockets from Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 12 Mar — Israel launched artillery strikes against the Gaza Strip as a barrage of rockets from the besieged coastal enclave hit southern Israel on Wednesday, with no reported injuries. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had launched “artillery fire” at two “terror locations in the northern and southern Gaza Strip” on Wednesday afternoon, in response to a volley of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad earlier said it had fired 130 rockets into Israel, in response to an Israeli airstrike the day before that killed three Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave. The al-Quds Brigades, the group’s armed wing, claimed responsibility for the operation, which it named “Breaking the Silence.” A spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades said that the group was not breaking the truce between Israel and Hamas, but was merely “responding” to Israeli killings of seven Palestinians in the last two days, including three in Gaza on Tuesday. “We are aware of the siege and division” between Palestinian political factions, spokesman Abu Ahmad told Ma‘an, “but I don’t think our silence to the attack won’t ease the siege,” he explained. Three other Palestinian militant groups also claimed to have participated in the attacks on Israel, including the National Resistance Brigades, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.
Multiple Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) Wed 12 Mar — Israeli air forces launched air strikes across the Gaza Strip late Wednesday, with no immediate reports of injuries. The Israeli air strikes came after Islamic Jihad said that it launched 130 rockets into southern Israel in response to Israel’s killing of three of its members on Tuesday. Israeli air strikes hit a number of military targets across the besieged coastal enclave, as well as a number of open areas. Strikes hit a site belonging the military wing of Islamic Jihad in Rafah as well as an open area in the southern Gaza Strip. The empty land that was hit by the air strike was in al-Nasser neighborhood, while it was not clear where in Rafah the military site belonging to the al-Quds Brigades was. Three rockets were also fired at the Huttein military site belonging to the al-Quds Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, and no injuries were reported in that strike. The Israeli air forces also launched a strike on al-Quds Brigades in al-Qara neighborhood in Khan Younis, and another site belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, west of Rafah. Israeli air forces also launched four air strikes against a site belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades site Areen-2 west of Rafah…
IOF raids southern Gaza, targets fishermen
GAZA (PIC) Tues 11 Mar — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided on Tuesday morning the south of Gaza Strip and razed agricultural land. Eyewitnesses reported that several Israeli troops accompanied by bulldozers raided this morning Khuza‘a town east of Khan Younis southern Gaza Strip. They said that the Israeli forces bulldozed agricultural lands in the town amid intensive overflights of warplanes, the sources added.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Israeli navy detains 2 Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Tues 11 Mar — The Israeli navy on Tuesday detained two fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a union official said. Nizar Ayyash, head of the union of Gaza fishermen, told Ma‘an that Israeli warships confiscated a fishing boat and forced two fishermen to sail to Israel’s Ashdod Port, without providing further details.
Egypt destroys 1,370 Gaza smuggling tunnels: army
CAIRO (AFP) Wed 12 Mar — Egypt’s military said Wednesday it has destroyed 1,370 smuggling tunnels under its border with the Gaza Strip, as Cairo’s ties remain sour with the Hamas movement that rules the Palestinian enclave. Ties took a turn for the worse after the military’s July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Hamas is affiliated. The statement did not say when the tunnels were destroyed, but the military has poured troops into the adjacent Sinai Peninsula to counter militancy that has grown since July.
Qatar extends Gaza power plant fuel grant
GAZA CITY (Turkish Press) Wed 12 Mar — Qatar has agreed to extend by three months a grant with which to pay taxes on oil supplies for the operation of the Gaza Strip’s only functioning power plant, a Gaza energy official said Wednesday. “Qatar has notified the office of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of its decision to extend by three months its grant for paying taxes on oil supplies for the power plant,” Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chief of Gaza’s energy authority, told Anadolu Agency. He added that Qatar would pay $30 million in tax dues to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Qatar, for its part, has not made any official announcement about extending the grant … Cut off from the rest of the world by a years-long Israeli embargo, Gaza is forced to purchase fuel for its power plant from Israel through the Palestinian Authority. The West Bank government, however, demands that Hamas – which since 2007 has governed the coastal territory – pay taxes of up to 40 percent on the cost of fuel, further eroding Gaza’s dwindling coffers.
Hamas releases photos of Israeli drone in Gaza
Ynet 11 Mar by Elior Levy — Hours after Israeli Skylark UAV crashes in Gaza Strip, Hamas showcases pictures of IDF’s smallest aircraft — …It was reported by the Popular Resistance Committees that its men were the first to get their hands on the drone after its crash; however Hamas security official quickly reached them and forcefully took the UAV away. The crash occurred Tuesday morning during a routine operational activity of the IDF’s Gaza division, about a kilometer west of the southern Gaza border fence. Preliminary investigation reveals that a technical failure led to the crash, but it is also examined whether a human error led to the event.
Medics: 4 killed in Gaza explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Tues 11 Mar — Four People were killed and six others suffered injuries after an explosion in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, a medical official said. Ashraf al-Qidra said that Mohammad Tayseer al-Hamdeen, 26, Bilal al-Hamdeen, Jafaar Odwaan and a fourth unidentified man were killed in the explosion. Six others were injured including two children and a woman in critical condition, he added. The four were all affiliated with Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, and they arrived dead at the hospital, a Ma‘an reporter said. The house was severely damaged, and the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.
Tent placed near Egypt embassy in Gaza to protest Rafah closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Wed 12 Mar – A high committee against the Gaza siege on Wednesday erected a tent in front of Egypt’s embassy in Gaza City to host activists demanding that Egypt reopen the southern Rafah crossing. Deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahar, who joined the inauguration of the protest tent, delivered a speech urging leaders of Arab countries to end the siege imposed on Gaza. It is a responsibility of the Arab and Islamic nations to support the Palestinian people, he said. “We still hope that Egypt will reopen the Rafah crossing,” added Bahar highlighting that the Gaza Strip won’t be subdued if Egypt worsens the siege.
Masked Gaza gunmen steal $500,000 in rare robbery
GAZA CITY (AP) Mon 10 Mar — The Gaza Strip has endured back-to-back wars and uprisings in recent years, but criminal violence has been relatively rare. That changed Monday. Police Col. Ayoub Abu Shaar says masked robbers broke into a post office in Gaza City, shot and wounded a guard and made off with $500,000. The Islamic militant Hamas, which rules Gaza, distributes the salaries of 40,000 government employees through post offices. Salary payments for March are to begin Wednesday, meaning post offices currently hold large sums of cash.
EU warns of security fallout from Gaza crisis
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) Wed 12 Mar — The European Union has warned of “serious consequences” for Middle East regional security if the Gaza Strip’s dire economic and humanitarian situation is not addressed. A report commissioned by EU consuls general in East Jerusalem and Ramallah urged Israel to ease access restrictions to the blockaded Palestinian territory, especially in light of an unprecedented crackdown by the new Egyptian regime on Gaza’s western border. “Today, Gaza is facing a dangerous and pressing humanitarian and economic situation… [including] the cessation of imports of construction materials; rising unemployment, rising prices and increased food insecurity,” the report said. “If left unaddressed, the situation could have serious consequences for stability in Gaza, for security more widely in the region as well as for the peace process itself,” it said, referring to ongoing US-backed Israeli-Palestinian talks. “Israel bears the prime responsibility for the situation in Gaza,” it said, adding that a seventh consecutive year of blockading the strip had caused “further deterioration of the humanitarian situation and of the economic and social conditions.” The report highlighted the economic damage caused by both the blockade Israel imposed in 2006, and Egypt’s destruction of hundreds of cross-border tunnels after the July ouster of president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, an ally of the Hamas Islamist movement that governs Gaza.
UNRWA to employ fresh graduates from Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Mar – The UN’s Palestine refugee agency has decided to temporarily employ 210 fresh graduates from the Gaza Strip, says a spokesman of the director of UNRWA operations in the central Gaza Strip. Khalil al-Halabi added in a statement that 210 alumni who graduated in 2013-2014 from Palestinian universities would be hired for nine months at UN-affiliated schools in the Gaza Strip. He added that $1 million donated by the Islamic Relief of Saudi Arabia has been allocated to the temporary program. Al-Halabi highlighted that UNRWA started to distribute aid in cash to families whose properties sustained damage as a result of the snow storm Alexa in mid-December. More than 1,000 families will receive cash.
Palestinian refugees in and from Syria
Palestinian refugees from Syria left to suffer by Jordan
JORDAN (Electronic Intifada) 10 Mar by Hanine Hassan — “I just want to be able to give birth at a hospital and provide my child with an identity,” 25-year-old Alaa pleaded with a frozen and detached look in her eyes, putting her pale, thin hand on her belly. Alaa, a Palestinian whose family hails from the city of Jaffa, was born and raised in Deraa refugee camp in the south of Syria. On 28 August 2012, when the fighting intensified, Alaa made the terrifying decision to flee to the closest Syrian border with her husband. Much to Alaa’s dismay, her Syrian husband was allowed to cross safely into Jordan but she was refused entry because of her father’s birthplace: Palestine … The longer the Syrian civil war lasts, the harder it becomes for Palestinian refugees from Syria to maneuver into Jordan. Palestine refugees face a systematic witch-hunt as Jordanian authorities crack down on civilians fleeing a devastating war. This pursuit of Palestinian-Syrians in Jordan is directly linked to the US-brokered “peace talks.” While the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly indicated he is prepared to give up Palestinian refugees’ right of return, some Jordanians do not want their country to be the permanent alternative for some two million Palestinian refugees — thus any “new” Palestinian to the country is seen as one too many….
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Tutu: Israel’s humiliation of Palestinians ‘familiar to black South Africans’
Haaretz 10 Mar — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Sunday that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians reminds him of South African apartheid, and reiterated his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces,” he said in a statement. “Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.” The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town made the statement as the 10th annual Israel Apartheid Week opened Sunday in South Africa. The initiative, part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement’s campaign against Israel, is being marked in 87 cities this year.
War of rhetoric vs. Australian Jewish lobby heats up
SYDNEY (Haaretz) 12 Mar by Dan Goldberg — Australian Jewry’s major pro-Israel lobby has come under fire for its “extremely hard-line positions,” sparked by an ongoing war of words following the broadcast of a controversial documentary that accuses Israeli soldiers of abusing Palestinian children. The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, which claims to be “the premier public affairs organization for the Australian Jewish community,” was singled out this week by John Lyons, Middle East correspondent for The Australian, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch. “AIJAC is not an elected body representing the Jewish community but a privately funded lobby group with extremely hard-line positions on Israel,” Lyons wrote in a scathing article that was unusual in an otherwise unapologetically pro-Israel paper. … The furor erupted after the broadcast last month of “Stone Cold Justice,” a controversial joint investigative effort by The Australian and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Fatah backs Abbas: No recognition of Jewish state
RAMALLAH (AFP) 11 Mar — The Revolutionary Council of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday night unanimously endorsed his rejection of demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, officials at the meeting told AFP. “President Abbas has reaffirmed his refusal to recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel and council members stood up to hail this decision,” a senior Fatah official said from the meeting in Ramallah. Abbas said in his speech to delegates that “at 79 years old, he wasn’t going to back down on his people’s rights or betray their cause,” despite the “great pressure being exerted,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Knesset passes controversial Referendum Law
Ynet 12 Mar by Moran Azulay — New Basic Law calls for popular vote on any proposed territorial concessions reached during negotiations with Palestinians — Not unlike the votes on the haredi draft law and the governance act, the controversial Referendum Law also passed in second and third reading Wednesday with the Knesset plenum half empty. The new law, passed with 68 MKs in favor and none against, ensures that Israeli citizens can vote on any territorial concessions negotiated during peace talks. The plenum, composed solely of members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, passed the bill into law despite the heavy objections of the opposition, who had demanded longer discussions on the newly-minted Referendum Law – one of three hot-button pieces of legislation passed this week.
Poll finds general distrust among Israelis in US-meditated peace talks
Ynetnews 11 Mar — There is a general distrust among Israelis in the American-mediated peace talks with the Palestinians, according to a joint poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University, and published Tuesday. Some two-thirds of Israelis (64 percent) said they do not trust US Secretary of State John Kerry to take Israel’s security needs into account as a crucial factor in his proposed framework agreement. Among those were 66% of Israeli Jews and 53% of Arab Israelis. This is a significant change from an IDI poll from December, that found that 64% of Israeli Jews and 78% of Arabs Israelis believe the US, and particularly Kerry, are committed to ensuring Israel’s security in negotiations. The change can be attributed to the fast-approaching American-set due date for the peace talks, April 29, and to American admission it is unlikely a final accord will be signed by that date
Students emerge as losers of 2-month UNRWA standoff
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Mar by Graham Liddell — Thousands of students in Palestine are bound for summer school this year, but not due to failing grades or classroom misbehavior. Instead, the children are paying the price for an extended squabble between their teachers and the organization that administers their schooling. In February, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah brokered a deal to end a 66-day strike by Palestinian employees of the UN agency for Palestine refugees … UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness says 97 schools were closed from Dec. 3, 2013, to Feb. 7 this year due to the strike, affecting over 51,000 students. “A total of 28 to 30 school days were lost,” Gunness told Ma‘an.
US gives Israel $429 million for Iron Dome
Haaretz 10 Mar — Israel and the United States have signed an agreement guaranteeing continued American support for the Iron Dome missile defense system, including an immediate transfer of $429 million.
For one American Jew, charity in Israel takes a different form
Haaretz 12 Mar by Judy Maltz — Early education of Arab children and the inclusion of Arab women will do more than coexistence efforts, U.S. retail baron Robert Price says — …Price, the man who helped launch the first members-only discount retail store in America – the precursor to Costco and Sam’s Club – doesn’t donate to Israeli universities, hospitals, research institutes or museums. In fact, in recent years, his family’s charitable trust hasn’t donated to Jewish causes at all in Israel. As a matter of policy and principle, Price earmarks all his donations here for projects that benefit the country’s Arab minority. He says this is the most effective way of helping Israel. “As Jews, my wife and I care very much about this country, and therefore we feel it’s important to support the Arab community here,” he said in a first-ever interview with the Israeli press.
Analysis / Opinion / Arts
Poetry video – Dana Dajani, “Love Letters from Palestine”
Published on Mar 9, 2014 “To North Africa” poetry and music night fundraiser at Fraîche Cafe and Bistro. Dubai, February 28th, 2014.
Film review: The unending Nakba – Three generations of stateless Palestinians search for home
972mag 10 Mar by Dahlia Scheindlin — Tens of thousands of Palestinians have languished for over 65 years in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, waiting to return home. Now, through his documentary [“A World Not Ours”], Mahdi Fleifel reveals an essential side of Palestinian exile that is often forgotten: the human side — …On the face of it, Fleifel’s film about three generations of a Palestinian family living in the squalid in Ein el-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon since 1948 doesn’t seem like the best candidate to break the typical victimized image of Palestinians. Somehow, it does. It turns out the refugee camp is a little universe. In “one square kilometer with over 70,000 refugees,” ironies and contradictions abound. As the film opens he tells us that the name Ein el-Helweh means “the sweet spring,” over a background of a cool saxophone riff; while the camera pans over pockmarked walls and the rubble of buildings. In this anachronism lives a community of colorful characters, with heroes and legends, humor and fools.
‘New Directions’ conference discusses future of Palestinian Studies
Electronic Intifada 8 Mar by Sarah Irving — At the beginning of March, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island hosted what a number of participants called “the biggest gathering of scholars on Palestine in decades.” Organized under the aegis of Professor Beshara Doumani (author of Rediscovering Palestine, a ground-breaking history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Nablus), “New Directions in Palestinian Studies” was a conference which highlighted current work on the history, economy and politics of Palestine, but also challenged academics studying Palestine and the Palestinians to consider how they see their work and their discipline … He also stressed the deliberate use of the term “Palestinian Studies” rather than “Palestine Studies” – the latter may be familiar to some readers from the title of the main journal and institute in the field. The different coinage, he suggested, was important in including the experiences of refugee and diaspora Palestinians alongside subjects associated directly with the geopolitical entity of Palestine.
Delaying the apocalypse at Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount / Khaled Diab
Haaretz 11 Mar — Jerusalem’s holiest site – once again triggering crises between Muslims and Jews and between regional states – cannot remain hostage to extremists — The Dome of the Rock dominates the Jerusalem skyline with majestic splendour. To the untrained eye, this architectural gem, floating resplendently above the old city’s cacophony, seems like a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity, a retreat for meditation and introspection. But the Noble Sanctuary, as it is known to Muslims, or Temple Mount, as Jews refer to it, has been anything but peaceful and has been the symbolic heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict’s religious fault line for much of the past century. Even today it remains a major flash point. In fact, the 21st century got off to an inauspicious and bloody start when a provocative visit by Ariel Sharon to the site caused simmering tension to overflow into the costly second intifada. And these tensions show no sign of abating. Last week, a group of Jewish extremists – led by the messianic rabbi, Yehuda Glick, who is part of the tiny fringe movement which fantasizes about building the Third Temple – stormed the complex. More troubling than the lunatic fringe was the Knesset debate on Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, sponsored by the far-right parliamentarian Moshe Feiglin, which took place in February …
Given this widespread apprehension that this seismic shift in the Noble Sanctuary’s status could become the ground zero, or epicentre, of a region-wide conflict, many today will find it hard to conceive, or even believe, that there is historic evidence to suggest that Muslims and Jews once prayed together on the Temple Mount. Following the surrender of Jerusalem to the Arab armies, Omar Ibn al-Khattab, Muhammad’s second successor, or caliph, allowed Jews, who had been expelled by the Christian Byzantines, back into Jerusalem. “There is strong evidence to suggest that the Jews were not only permitted to return to Jerusalem, but that the Muslims allowed them to worship at their side on the Temple Mount,” wrote Francis E Peters, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Some other historians agree. “We know that Omar welcomed the Jews back in Jerusalem, that he and the early caliphs allowed Jewish worship on the Temple Mount and that the Jews did not leave again as long as Islam held sway,” Simon Sebag Montefiore noted in his comprehensive biography of Jerusalem … Is it possible today, in the supposedly more enlightened 21st century, for the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount to become a common ground, rather than a battleground, for Muslims and Jews?