Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Mufti: Jerusalem municipality to require quieter call to prayer
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Israeli municipal authorities in Jerusalem are planning to require mosques to lower the volume of the Muslim call to prayer, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem said in a statement Sunday. “Mosques in Palestine in general and in Jerusalem in particular have been targets of a vicious campaign by the occupation authorities,” Muhammad Hussein said in the statement. The mufti condemned the plans, saying that Muslim authorities were the only ones who had the right to intervene in mosque affairs.
“The occupation authorities make light of all heavenly laws and international law as they follow a systematic plan designed to efface all Arab and Palestinian landmarks in Palestine and replace them with Jewish landmarks.” Palestinian officials frequently condemn what they refer to as the “Judaization of Jerusalem” on the part of Israeli authorities, who they say engage in discriminatory policies that discriminate against Palestinian residents and seek to encourage their departure from the city. East Jerusalem has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Israeli authorities sometimes limit the Muslim call the prayer in other parts of the Palestinian territories, particularly in Hebron where Jewish settlers have taken over properties in the city center. Israeli forces forbade the Islamic call for prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 49 times in the month of January because it “annoyed” Jewish settlers, according to an official from the Palestinian Authority ministry of endowments.
Jewish groups tour Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Groups of Israeli Jews entered the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning through the Moroccan Gate escorted by a large contingent of Israeli police officers. Witnesses told Ma‘an that more than 40 settlers entered the compound in groups, and that a large group was led by the controversial rightist lawyer Yehuda Glick. Worshipers shouted “God is Great” in Arabic while the groups toured the compound and heated arguments were reported. Yehuda Glick is an American-born Israeli who has been banned in the past by Israeli authorities from entering the compound due to provocations while on the site. He is the chairman of the controversial Temple Mount Heritage Fund. Critics charge that the Temple Mount Heritage Fund leads Jewish tours to the site with the intention of leading Jewish prayer there — currently banned under Israeli agreements — and encouraging Jews to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and build a Jewish temple there.
Israeli notification to demolish Jerusalemite’s home built in 1930
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 Mar — Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) handed over a Jerusalemite citizen a notification to evacuate his house in the Old City, claiming that he was an “unprotected tenant.” Adnan Omran told Wadi al-Hilweh Information Center on Saturday that a Jewish lawyer handed him an evacuation order to be implemented by March 23. Adnan stressed that he has been living in the house since 1930, pointing out that he started after 1948 war paying the rent for the Israeli authorities. He stated that he lives with his 9 family members in the second floor that contains three rooms, while the first floor was turned into a synagogue and used by settlers. He pointed out that he has been subjected to daily settlers’ provocations aiming to evict his family. He added that he had refused a Jewish association’s offer to leave his house in return for an amount of money. Adnan stated that the Israeli authorities imposed a fine of 70 thousand shekels for building facilities in his house.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Army orders construction work on kindergarten near Hebron to stop
HEBRON (WAFA) 2 Mar — Israeli army forces on Sunday ordered to stop the construction work on a kindergarten in the village of Tawani to the south of Hebron, according to the Popular Committee Coordinator in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour. He said army prevented workers from proceeding with the rehabilitation work on the kindergarten and detained the workers for hours without giving a specific reason, despite the fact that the Organizational chart of the village allows the construction of similar facilities.
Israeli forces bar Palestinians from farming on their Hebron lands
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces on Saturday prevented Palestinian farmers in the Hebron district from accessing their privately owned land, local popular committee spokespeople said. Nidal al-Haddar, a spokesman for the popular committee in the southern Hebron district, told Ma‘an that Palestinian farmers were sent home at gunpoint when they attempted to reach their lands in the Umm al-Arayis east of Yatta. International solidarity activists, including Israelis, were also sent away from the land, al-Haddar said. Land owner Issa Jabarin told Ma‘an that settlers from the illegal Mitzpe Yair outpost had occupied his land in the area since 2000. Israeli courts ordered the evacuation of settlers, “but Israeli authorities have not implemented the orders,” Jabarin said.
Separately, in Beit Ummar north of Hebron, Israeli forces sent home a farmer and his family as they were tending to their lands, a local popular committee spokesman said. Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma‘an that Muhammad Abd al-Hamid Jabir Sleibi and his family were working on their land when Israeli troops arrived and threatened to detain them if they refused to leave the area. International solidarity activists were sent away as well, Awad said. Sleibi told Ma‘an that he has an Israeli court order allowing him to tend to his land.
Settlers uproot 180 saplings near Qalqiliya
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Israeli settlers on Sunday uprooted over 180 olive saplings in the Kafr Qaddum village east of Qalqiliya, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an that a number of settlers from Kedumim uprooted the olive saplings in the Khalet al-Natesh area in the northeast of the village. They belonged to villager Nathmi Obeid.
Settlers attack Palestinian shepherds east of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Israeli settlers on Saturday assaulted two Palestinian shepherds while they were grazing their sheep in the village of Tuqu‘ east of Bethlehem, relatives said. Arif Ayish Ubayyat, 23, and Ayyub Hasan Ubayyat were pasturing their sheep in the Romman area east of Tuqu‘ when a group of settlers attacked them. Arif sustained bruises and he lost 17 of his sheep during the attack. He was subsequently taken to a local clinic in Tuqu‘ for treatment. His relatives say they telephoned the Palestinian liaison department, who in turn contacted their Israeli counterparts in order to try and find the missing sheep. Relatives highlighted that the area is private Palestinian land, but is slated for confiscation by Israeli authorities. Tuqu‘ is surrounded by roads under Israeli control on all sides. On its east side is the Israeli settlement of Teqoa, and the road to the west is a major artery connecting Bethlehem to the southern West Bank.
Israeli trailers removed from Palestinian property near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Four Israeli trailers were removed from a Palestinian man’s privately owned land in a Bethlehem-area village on Thursday, a popular committee spokesman said. Ahmad Salah, a spokesman for a local popular committee, told Ma‘an that Muhammad Abdullah Sbeih had received an Israeli court ruling that the trailers — planted by an Israeli man who runs a nearby settler outpost — must be removed from his land in the village of al-Khadr. The trailers were installed by settlers four years ago in Sbeih’s field in the Ein al-Qassis area, Salah said. Sbeih had received an earlier ruling from an Israeli court that the trailers must be removed, but the settlers had refused to implement the decision, Salah said. When Sbeih complained again, the settlers were forced to remove the trailers after they failed to submit any deeds to prove ownership. However, settlers merely moved the trailers to another privately owned field in al-Khadr, belonging to Khadr Ali Abu Ghalyoun, Salah added. He said the trailers were installed by the Jewish extremist Hananel Shear-Yashuv — known as Hananiya — who runs the illegal settler outpost of Sde Boaz, which sits on eight dunams (two acres) of Palestinian land nearby.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Jerusalem protesters march to condemn recent Israeli killings
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — Protesters marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Saturday to condemn the deaths of two Palestinians who have died at the hands of Israeli forces in the last week. The protest began at Damascus Gate, where Israeli police on horseback immediately tried to disperse the demonstration, organizers said. Participants marched towards Herod’s Gate and Salah al-Din street while chanting slogans to commemorate the dead. The march was held in memory of Jihad Abd al-Rahman al-Taweel, who died on Tuesday weeks after being assaulted by prison guards, and Muatazz Washaha, a young man killed after Israeli forces fired a shell at his home during an arrest raid on Thursday in Birzeit. After reaching Salah al-Din street police forces on horseback chased protesters towards al-Zahra street. Israeli police beat protesters, and assaulted journalists who were on the scene, preventing them from filming, organizers said. Demonstrators managed to return to Damascus Gate, and continued on to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, despite a heavy military presence at the gates of the compound.
Activists destroy part of checkpoint near Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Sat 1 Mar — Activists from the Popular Resistance on Saturday destroyed parts of a checkpoint east of Nablus in response to Israel’s policies of “assassinations” and land confiscation. Around 10 masked youths smashed the control room and removed metal barriers at the Beit Furik checkpoint using a metal grinder. Organizers of the action said it was a response to the confiscation of Palestinians lands and the policy of Israeli assassinations, the latest of which was the killing of Muatazz Washaha, 24, as a result of Israeli shelling of his home in the town of Birzeit on Thursday. The checkpoint was not occupied by Israeli soldiers at the time of the action.
WATCH: Hundreds commemorate nine years of popular struggle in Bil‘in
972mag 1 Mar by Haggai Matar — Unarmed resistance against the wall and the occupation has been taking place for nine consecutive years. With its ups and downs, successes and losses, villagers and supporters gather for a special commemoration protest — Approximately 500 demonstrators gathered in the center of the West Bank village of Bil‘in on Friday to mark nine years since village residents began their popular, unarmed resistance against the separation wall. The wall, built on the villagers’ agricultural land, has allowed for continuous settlement expansion on their annexed fields and olive groves. Over the past nine years, hundreds of demonstrations have taken place, two activists have been killed by the army and hundreds have been wounded or arrested. The struggle’s greatest success was its ability to force the state to move the wall further west, allowing villagers to return to some of their land. However, because much of the village remains behind the wall, the resistance continues.
Family of man killed by IDF: We weren’t allowed to convince him to surrender
Haaretz 2 Mar by Amira Hass/Reuters — Muataz Washaha, reportedly affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, died after IDF raid on his home early Thursday morning — Ta’ar Washaha, Muataz’s brother, told Haaretz that at about 5:30 A.M. on Thursday, large numbers of Israel Defense Forces troops set up near the family home in the western part of the village. Half an hour earlier, a much smaller force arrested two other young men in a different house down the hill, about 200 meters from the Washahas. Ta’ar said he and his family were woken by the stun grenades fired at the house. Residents also discovered that cell phone services in the area were disrupted from early in the morning, which led them to believe the army was planning a large operation. Residents estimated that some 200 soldiers were spread out in the neighborhood and the areas leading to it. The family left their two small houses, situated next to each other, as a result of the stun grenades and calls on loudspeakers to come out. When Muataz did not come out, they fired an anti-tank missile at the second house, and then a bulldozer destroyed the outside front wall. The soldiers also fired grenades into the top floor of the house and a fire started. Ta’ar Washaha said he asked “Alon,” a Shin Bet security service officer, to allow him to enter the house to see if Muataz was really there and to try to convince him to come out, but Alon rejected the idea. In a television interview, the mother, A’atzaz, said she also pleaded with the commander to allow her to enter the building and convince her son to come out, and she was also refused. Later, the Palestinian fire brigade arrived. The firefighters who entered the house said they found Muataz inside, uninjured, and that they did not see any weapons around him. He told the firefighters he did not plan to surrender, and the firefighters left soon after. Two units broke into the house and a large number of shots were heard. After they left, the family entered and found the body.
When shooting a 14-year-old boy in the neck is a minor infraction
972blog 2 Mar by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — At the end of last July, J., a boy from the village of Silwad, set out with his brother and two other boys to visit family friends in the western side of Silwad, a distance of about one kilometer from his house. One of the boys was asked to deliver a bundle of clothes to the family. They reached the house, handed the bundle over and headed back. On their way, they met a friend shepherding his flock and sat down next to him. And then J.’s world turned upside down. He noticed three soldiers coming out of the trees behind them, blocking the path they had intended to take home. Soldiers on the village roads are not a common sight, so the group changed its course, and started climbing the nearby mountain. As they reached a bend in the path, they heard gunshots. The group scattered instantly. J. himself says he went into shock, since this was the first time he had heard gunshots so close to him. He was slower than the others. He heard a second volley and then felt a hit in his right arm; a third volley came and a bullet hit him in the neck. J. managed to walk a few more steps and then collapsed by the wall of a house. He was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah where it was determined that the bullet entered the right side of his neck and exited through the left. He was hospitalized there for four days. Yesh Din wrote to the IDF demanding an investigation into the incident. Four months later, the IDF sent an answer that can only be described as infuriating….
Fourteen protesters wounded in Israeli attacks on 5 weekly nonviolent demonstrations
IMEMC Sat 1 Mar by Ghassan Bannoura — Local sources report that at least 14 civilians were injured, and many others were treated, for the effects of tear gas inhalation, on Friday, when Israeli soldiers attacked anti-wall non-violent protests organized in West Bank villages, using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Protests were organized on Friday, in the village of Qarout, in the northern West Bank, the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, central West Bank, and Al Ma‘ssara village, in the southern west Bank. At least 10 civilians were injured due to Israeli attacks against a protest organized by the villagers of Qarout. Residents tried to reach lands outside the village, to plant olive trees, when they were attacked by soldiers, local sources reported….
Israeli army storms kindergarten, school near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 2 Mar — Israeli forces stormed on Sunday a kindergarten and a high school in the town of Ya‘bod to the west of Jenin, spreading fear and panic among the children and the students, according to security sources. Head of Ya‘bod municipality, Samer Abu Baker, said that large forces broke into the town while firing heavy fire and stun grenades towards residents and raided a kindergarten and a high school in the area, spreading panic and terror among children and students. They raided a high school, assaulted and beat up its principal, Bader Zaid, along with some teachers for attempting to prevent the soldiers from entering the classes. Zaid said the soldiers chanted foul insults against the teachers and the students over the schools loudspeakers and broke it afterwards.
Watch: Israeli forces disperse thousands as protesters mark massacre
HEBRON (Ma‘an) Sun 2 Mar — Some 2,000 Palestinians and international activists marched through Hebron on Feb. 21 to mark the anniversary of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre. Protesters called for the re-opening of Shuhada street, a major thoroughfare that was closed by Israeli authorities after a US-born Jewish extremist killed 29 worshippers and injured 125 inside Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in February 1994. Demonstrators were met with violence by Israeli soldiers, who maintain a heavy presence in Hebron’s Old City near areas where around 500 Jewish settlers have taken over properties. [Protesters included both Israeli and American Jews, some of whom speak in this video]
Settler runs over and kills elderly near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Mar – Medical sources Sunday said that 66-year old Saleh Mlihat died of wounds he sustained during a hit and run by an Israeli settler near Ramallah. They said that Mlihat, 66, was found dead four hours after being run over by a settler, who fled the scene, leaving Mlihat to bleed to death. Mlihat was severely injured in his head and in different parts throughout his body.
Molotov thrown at Israeli car near Tuqu‘
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Sun 2 Mar — Israeli forces were heavily deployed in a village near Bethlehem on Sunday after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli car, locals said. Locals told Ma’an that an Israeli car driving on the main road of the West Bank village of Tuqu‘ was lightly damaged by the Molotov cocktail. No injuries were reported.
Detainees / Court actions
Court verdict on Israeli cops who let injured Palestinian die full of errors
Haaretz 2 Mar by Chaim Levinson — Last week’s court decision to reduce the jail terms of two police officers who left an injured Palestinian to die by the roadside is based on a verdict that contains factual errors, including the incorrect claim that the police have no procedure for handing over to the Palestinian Authority Palestinian prisoners who are in Israel illegally. On February 24, the Jerusalem District Court shortened the prison sentence of two police officers convicted of negligent homicide from 30 to 21 months. The two, Chief Inspector Baruch Peretz and patrolman Assaf Yakutieli, left Omar Abu Jariban, an injured resident of the Gaza Strip, on the shoulder of Highway 443 in June 2008, where he died of dehydration. Abu Jariban, 35, who was in Israel illegally, had crashed in a car he had stolen on Highway 6, been hospitalized and subsequently handed over to the Rehovot police.
Bedouin man jailed for ‘unwittingly’ delivering explosive device
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 2 Mar — An Israeli court on Friday sentenced a Bedouin man from Tel as-Sabi near Beersheba to a year in prison after he was convicted of giving a ride to a Palestinian who later set an explosive device in an Israeli bus. Defendant Mahmoud Abu Anza was sentenced to a year in prison and three months under probation as part of a plea bargain despite the fact that the District Attorney was convinced that Abu Anza was unaware that the man he picked up was carrying an explosive device. In addition, the private car that the defendant was driving when he picked the man upwas confiscated. Mahmoud Abu Anza picked up Sami al-Hreimi on Dec. 22, 2013. He dropped al-Hreimi off in Jaffa, and from there al-Hreimi boarded bus number 240 to Bat Yam, according to Israeli news site Ynet. He left an explosive device in the bus before getting off with the plan to remotely detonate it. Passengers noticed the bag, however, and the bus was successfully evacuated before the explosive was detonated. [So now you can be imprisoned for NOT intending to commit a crime…]
Waste water floods prisoners’ rooms in Israeli prison clinic
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC), in a press release Sunday said that waste water flooded into rooms of Palestinian sick prisoners detained in the Israeli Ramle prison clinic. PPC said that representative of prisoners, shadi Matar told PPC lawyer that the prison administration cut off the water supply which caused the pipes to explode, flooding prisoners’ rooms with waste water. Head of PPC Qadora Faris said that this incident shows the prison administration’s disregard for prisoner’s life, stressing that it is about time to end the so called lie of al-Ramle prison clinic which, he said, have turned into a section for punishment and not for treatment.
Minister of Prisoners: Israel deliberately commits war crimes against prisoners
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Mar — The Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs, Issa Qaraqeʻ, confirmed having medical reports that Israel deliberately committed war crimes against sick Palestinian prisoners. Qaraqeʻ confirmed having medical reports and data that provide sufficient evidence to convict Israeli Prison Service for committing deliberate war crimes against sick Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Qaraqeʻ stated: “We intend to present these reports to the European parliamentarian fact finding mission slated to visit Israeli prisons during this month and to all relevant international and humanitarian organizations.” He said that he will take Israel to international courts if the Israeli Prison Service does not respond to calls to improve the humanitarian and health situation of sick Palestinian prisoners.
Gaza under blockade
Crowds bury ‘mentally ill’ Gaza woman shot dead by Israeli forces
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Large crowds turned out to mourn the death of a 57-year-old Gaza woman on Saturday, hours after Israeli forces shot her dead as she walked near the separation barrier in the southern Gaza Strip. Mourners taking part in the funeral for Aminah Qudeih in the city of Khan Younis called for a response to the killing, demanding Palestinian leadership hold Israeli authorities accountable by appealing for justice at the International Criminal Court. Although Qudeih was shot by Israeli forces east of Khan Younis late Friday, ambulance crews were prevented from reaching her until Saturday morning, at which time they found her dead. Abu Anas Qudeih, a relative of the woman, told Ma‘an that Aminah had gotten lost on her way home from a party at her neighbors’ house. He added that although she had not approached the buffer zone that Israeli maintains near the border, Israeli forces had opened fire on her as she walked and killed her … The woman’s relatives told AP she was mentally ill, and assumed she wandered toward the border by mistake.
3 injured in Gaza tunnel gas leak
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Three workers were rescued after suffering from near suffocation as a result of a gas leak in a tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, an official from the Gaza Strip health ministry said. Gaza Strip health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that civil defense crews rescued three workers who had suffered from gas inhalation in a tunnel on the border between Rafah and Egypt as a result of the gas leak. 10 others were rescued before suffering as a result of the leak, he added. The incident occurred in the area of Yebna refugee camp south of Rafah, the source said.
Rafah crossing closed for 3 weeks
IMEMC Sun 2 Mar by Chris Carlson — Egyptian Authorities continue the closure of Rafah crossing to Palestinian travelers, for the third week in a row, according to borders and crossings administration in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians, including students and medical patients, have been stuck at both sides of the closed crossing. Egypt opens the Rafah crossing once a week for Umra pilgrims, while the humanitarian cases are still shouting for help.
Gaza shariah council denounces attack against church
GAZA CITY (TurkishPress.com) 2 Mar — The Higher Shariah Court Council in the Gaza Strip on Sunday denounced a recent attack on Deir al-Latin Church, saying the perpetrators of the attack were nothing but “ignorant” people. “We will not allow anybody to spoil good relations between Muslims and Christians,” said Hassan al-Gougou, head of the Gaza council, during a visit to the church. He called on Gaza’s Muslims and Christians to avoid provocative acts, saying both Muslims and Christians sacrificed their lives to defend their lands against Israel’s occupation. Some unidentified people tried to set the car of the church priest on fire last Wednesday and later wrote offensive comments on its walls.
Algerian revolutionary Djamila Bouhired to visit Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Former Algerian revolutionary Djamila Bouhired plans to visit the Gaza Strip on March 8 along with a delegation of 80 women from around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day in the besieged coastal enclave. Undersecretary of the Gaza Strip Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ghazi Hamad told Ma’an on Saturday that Bouhired and the rest of the delegation wanted to celebrate the occasion with women in Gaza. Their ability to cross into Gaza is dependent on authorities at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Hamad added.
Medics: Gaza militants injured during training exercise
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Three Palestinian militants were injured after a wall collapsed during a training exercise in the southern Gaza Strip late Friday, medics said. Medical sources told Ma‘an that three militants received treatment after they sustained wounds during a training exercise in the city of Rafah. The political affiliation of the militants was not revealed.
Militants kidnap, assault sheikh in Gaza’s Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Mar — Unidentified militants kidnapped and assaulted a sheikh in the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that Sheikh Majdi al-Mughrabi, whom they described as a “Salafi,” was found handcuffed in Rafah city near the border with Egypt two hours after he was kidnapped. Al-Mughrabi was tortured during the kidnapping, locals said, without providing further details.
VIDEO: Gazans turn to solar power as fuel crisis bites
AFP 28 Feb — On the roof of Gaza City’s children’s hospital, a pristine row of solar panels gleams in the sunlight, an out-of-place symbol of modern, clean energy in the impoverished Strip — Like many 8-year-old girls, Rola Hussein likes cartoons and is scared of the dark. But Rola lives in the power-deprived Gaza Strip, so to keep her happy her father had to take matters into his own hands … Here in the Gaza Strip most people turn to generators during energy shortfalls. But Israeli and Egyptian blockades have meant shortages in basic goods, including gasoline to run generators…. At the al-Nasir Children’s Hospital in Gaza City, loss of power for even a single minute could mean life or death for babies in the maternity ward depending on generators.
Clearing the fog on Israeli drone use in Gaza
Haaretz 1 Mar by Amira Hass — Foreign media outlets say Israel uses UAVs for attacks in the Strip. A Palestinian researcher refutes claims that such strikes are ‘surgical’ — In a conference room in the West Bank City of Ramallah, beneath a large portrait of the early 20th-century Polish-Jewish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, a discussion was held last week of the use by the United States and Israel of unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and attack. The participants also talked about ways to counter this kind of “video game” warfare, as a Gazan researcher termed it … It was based on a study commissioned by the Ramallah office from Dr. Atef Abu Saif, who teaches political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, to fill a hole in the research. While many states as well as the United Nations have studied the increasingly criticized use of drone attacks, figures on Israel’s use of UAVs in the Gaza Strip are not available, at least not to the general public. According to foreign and Palestinian reports, the Israel Air Force uses UAVs extensively in its attacks on Gaza, but the Israeli military has never confirmed that it uses such weapons systems. Abu Saif’s report, “Sleepless in Gaza, Israeli Drone War against Gaza,” adds to studies and reports in the world media refuting claims by their manufacturers and countries that use them that UAVs carry out “surgical strikes” that don’t harm innocent civilians or minimize harm to them … Abu Saif also went over questions raised by other researchers. For example, if drones are so precise that their operators can tell what color clothes the target is wearing, how is it that so many civilians are hurt and killed? One of the answers is that, according to foreign and Palestinian reports, the drones target not only specific armed men or those deemed “combatants” based on intelligence information, but also behavior patterns or certain actions that the control room commanders interpret as being terror-related. Riding a motorcycle is one example, or the gathering of several people in an open area (who could be farmers), spending time on the roof (children playing or feeding pigeons) or carrying long objects. Such attacks are called “signature strikes,” Abu Saif writes.
The power of speaking Hebrew in Gaza
972blog 1 Mar by Abeer Ayyoub — Can Gazans boycott Israel while also studying Hebrew at university? One Palestinian believes in the power of understanding Israeli culture and people in their own words — …Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet its footprints were never totally erased. When you arrive in Gaza, you will see traces of Israel here and there. While it is obviously expected, it shouldn’t be accepted. No one said that normalizing with the occupation is only about recognizing its illegal existence and dealing with it; it is a bit more than that. When you arrive in Gaza you will find Hebrew words everywhere: you can see the word “delek” (Hebrew for “gas”) at one of the gas stations; you must tell your taxi driver that you need to get to a specific “ramzor” (streetlight) since there is no other word for it here. And when you ask the seller at the supermarket if he has anything good for breakfast, he will often offer you a piece of “uga” (“cake”). At the supermarket one can choose from a variety of Israeli goods in almost every section. But if you are anything like me, you will always avoid buying any Israeli goods. Luckily, there is an increased awareness about boycotting Israeli goods in Gaza. Personally, I began boycotting only three years ago, and although I never thought it was easy, it is totally possible. And although I am a boycotter of Israeli goods, I am also a student of the Hebrew language at the Hebrew studies program in one of Gaza’s local universities. There is a good amount of students in our class — and the number only grows each year.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Armed group ‘enters Yarmouk’ in violation of deal
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 2 Mar — The al-Nusra Front has re-positioned itself within Syria’s Yarmouk camp, a leader of a Palestinian faction in Syria said in a statement Sunday. Hussam Arafat, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command, said in a statement that the al-Qaeda-associated al-Nusra Front had stationed itself in a building in the Yarmouk’s al-Reeja square. Arafat said al-Nusra militants had occupied al-Reeja square and al-Thalatheen street in the center of the camp and were deployed in several other areas. He warned that al-Nusra Front’s presence in the camp amounted to a “dangerous escalation” that prevented humanitarian aid from entering the camp and made it impossible for sick patients to leave. Palestinian factions in Syria are holding extensive meetings to deal with the issue, Arafat said. In a separate statement, the al-Nusra Front confirmed its presence in the camp.
Clashes break truce in Syria’s Yarmuk: monitor
BEIRUT (AFP) 3 Mar — Gun battles and shelling hit the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk in southern Damascus today, breaking a truce in place since mid-February, said a group that monitors the Syrian conflict. “There was shelling of Yarmuk and fighting between (Al-Qaeda branch) Al-Nusra Front and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “The truce has been broken,” its director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Boycott campaigns extend to Arab countries
Alternative Info Ctr 2 Mar — The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Rima Khalaf, is urging both Egypt and Jordan to boycott Israeli settlement products. “Boycotting the settlement products will not hurt Arab countries, including the least advantaged like Egypt and Jordan,” Khalaf stated on Tuesday speaking at a conference in Tunis. The UN official pointed out to the Arab states, many of which are secretly importing goods from Israel, that “many European countries are already boycotting them.” … In Jordan a new campaign was launched to boycott Israeli products in Jordan’s grocery stores, the Jordanian daily newspaper Al-Ghad reported on Friday. The campaign started on Facebook and aims specifically to boycott Israeli agricultural products. The activists also printed stickers with the slogan “Don’t pay for the bullet that kills our people,” and distributed them to grocery stores across Amman and other Jordanian cities. The activists would also like to convince wholesalers to stop importing Israeli products.
‘Erekat accuses Israel of propping up Hamas in Gaza’
Times of Israel 2 Mar by Elhanan Miller — Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly accused Israel on Sunday of propping up the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, and warned that if peace negotiations fail the Palestinians will become “a state under [Israeli] occupation.” Speaking before the board of the Yasser Arafat foundation in Cairo, in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi and senior Egyptian politician Amr Mousa, Erekat warned that the Palestinian Authority could cease to exist in the absence of a peace deal with Israel. “We do not want to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, which came into existence as a result of the Palestinian struggle, but continuing the status quo will be impossible,” Erekat told the gathering, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Youm A-Sabi’. He said that if the PA is abolished, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the PLO, will replace the Palestinian Legislative Council, which has not convened since Hamas’s bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
For Netanyahu, a bombshell battering by Obama
Times of Israel 3 Mar by David Horowitz — Hello, Mr. Prime Minister. You’re attempting to maintain “a chronic situation” as regards the Palestinians. You’ve been pursuing “more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time.” There’ll come a point, you know, “where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices: Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank?… Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?” But other than that, Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to the White House. Until he read the breaking news of President Obama’s earth-shattering interview with Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have anticipated that Monday’s meeting was going to be one of his less confrontational and unpleasant sessions of frank, allied diplomacy with his good friend Barack.
Israel dismisses US security proposal as ‘non-starter’
JERUSALEM (WorldTribune.com) 28 Feb — Israel is said to have rejected a U.S. security regime in the West Bank as part of the establishment of a Palestinian state over the next year. Israeli sources said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon dismissed a plan by U.S. Gen. John Allen that envisioned an interim Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley. After several years, the U.S. plan called for Israel to rely on satellites and radars to monitor the border with Jordan. “Ya’alon made it clear that this was a non-starter,” a source said. “He didn’t even make promises that the Allen plan would be seriously considered.” The sources said Ya’alon relayed his refusal in meetings with senior U.S. officials … The sources said Ya’alon has also dismissed a U.S. missile defense concept to stop attacks from any Palestinian state.
Exiled Palestinian leader eyes return
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AP) 1 Mar by Karin Laub — Fueled by millions in Gulf aid dollars that are his to distribute, an exiled Palestinian operative seems to be orchestrating a comeback that could position him as a potential successor to aging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a phone interview from London, Mohammad Dahlan spoke of his aid projects in the Gaza Strip, his closeness to Egypt’s military leaders and his conviction that the 79-year-old Abbas has left the Palestinian national cause in tatters … Some caution that Dahlan has made too many enemies in Abbas’ Fatah movement and will continue to be ostracized by those planning to compete for the top job in the future. Dahlan, 52, told the Associated Press Wednesday that he was “not looking for any post” after Abbas retires, but called for new elections and an overhaul of Fatah.
Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal to visit Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Sat 1 Mar — Saudi Arabian billionaire prince al-Walid Ibn Talal is scheduled to visit Ramallah on Tuesday and meet Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and business leaders, a Palestinian businessman said on Saturday … Al-Masri said that the prince, who has a net worth of around $30 billion, is a shareholder in al-Masri’s group and that his visit “will be useful and effective.” During the visit, al-Masri added, Palestinian businessmen will discuss preparations for an economic conference to be held in Palestine in August. Private sector, public sector, and civil society organizations are supposed to partake in that conference. In addition, bin Talal is expected to announce a donation for the Jerusalem Fund, an organization that does educational and humanitarian work in Palestine. He will also address possible plans to support the Palestinian economy in general.
Palestinian poet ‘Abu Arab’ dies at 83
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Sun 2 Mar — Palestinian poet Ibrahim Mohammad Saleh died on Sunday after a long fight with illness. His grandson, Ayham Matar, told Ma‘an that Saleh, who is commonly known as Abu Arab, died in his house in Homs [Syria] on Sunday afternoon. Abu Arab, deemed “the poet of the Palestinian revolution”, was born in al-Shajara village near Tiberia in mandate Palestine in 1931. He lived in a number of refugee camps in Arab states, before ending up in Syria. Shajara formed his first band which consisted of 14 singers in Jordan in 1980. His father was killed while fighting Israeli forces in 1948, while his son was killed in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
UN calls for more refugee aid at Palestinian development meet
JAKARTA (AFP) 1 Mar – Representatives of 22 nations pledged their support for Palestinian development Saturday, but the UN urged more action for refugees “in need of aid” in an “increasingly dire” situation. The Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) in Jakarta ended with Japan — one of the world’s biggest donors to the Palestinian Territories — pledging $200 million, most in financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority and for infrastructure development. But the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a statement that more attention should be paid to Palestinian refugees, describing appalling conditions in the Syrian camp Yarmouk … UNRWA estimates the funding needs for Palestinian refugees to reach $1.5 billion in 2014. Last year’s combined contributions to UNRWA by countries represented at CEAPAD, excluding Japan, amounted to $2 million.
Residents throw rocks, bottles at police station near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) Sat 1 Mar — A group of unidentified men threw rocks and empty bottles at a [PA] police station north of Hebron early Saturday, security sources said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that police had attempted to seize an unlicensed vehicle in the town of Sa‘ir, and that residents responded by “attacking” the town’s police station. Police fired warning gunshots into the air and the assailants fled the scene, the statement said.
Lack of vision threatens vital West Bank eye clinics
BIRZEIT, West Bank (The Guardian) 28 Feb by Matthew Kalman — St John of Jerusalem eye hospital is losing funding for outreach clinics for Palestinian patients — It’s a busy morning at the mobile eye clinic for Dr Islam al-Hashash. There’s an elderly Palestinian woman with signs of a tumour in the optic nerve. Then a teenage girl with conjunctivitis and a refractive error. Next, a student with itching and burning in her eyes. For Hashash and his colleagues, this is a regular morning on their rounds as a mobile eye unit sent out by the St John of Jerusalem eye hospital. But its days may be numbered. The hospital used to send two mobile outreach teams to the West Bank four mornings a week. Then the EU stopped funding and now it sends only one. When the funding runs out in 2015, the mobile outreach will end. Khaled Zuaiter, the outreach co-ordinator, says more than half of the 50-plus patients consulted that day had never seen an eye doctor before. “If we weren’t here they would not be checked and the situation with their eyes will just get worse. If you don’t screen and treat those patients and refer them to the hospital, there will be a catastrophe. There will be more blindness in this country,” he said. In 2013, the outreach team screened more than 13,000 people. The main hospital in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, with its satellites in Hebron, Anabta and Gaza, treated more than 114,000 patients – up from 60,000 just six years ago – and performed more than 4,000 operations.
Olympian Klassen inaugurates West Bank women’s gym
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) 4 Mar — Canadian speed skater Cindy Klassen, a six-time Olympic medalist, has helped inaugurate a $1.2 million indoor gym for Palestinian women in the biblical town of Bethlehem. Women’s participation in sports is still relatively unusual in Palestinian society, which encourages gender separation in much of public life. Several women’s soccer teams have formed, but they lack training facilities. The 1,300-square-meter (14,000-square-feet) sports center opened Sunday, with funding from Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in the Canadian city of Calgary. The center will also offer space to volleyball and basketball teams as well as tennis players.
West Bank: 2 earthquakes in past 2 days
IMEMC Sun 2 Mar by Chris Carlson — Shaking in the northern West Bank, felt Friday evening and Saturday morning, was “definitely” a series of two earthquakes and was not the result of explosions, Jalal Dabeek of an-Najah National University said, on Sunday. Dabeek, who chairs an-Najah University’s Center for Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction, told Ma‘an News Agency that fears the quakes were caused by explosions were not justified, highlighting that the center’s Seismic Risk Mitigation department detected earthquakes … Dabeek said that residents of the northern mountain of Nablus felt the earthquakes, while in the southern mountain they were not felt.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
The most moral army in the world / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 2 Mar — The Israel Defense Forces believes brute strength is the only way to act, yet Israelis refuse to see what Amnesty International and others tell them — The most moral army in the world fired an anti-tank missile at the house in which a wanted young Palestinian was hiding. The most moral army in the world ran a bulldozer over the top of the house and destroyed it. The most moral army in the world used dogs to search the ruins. The most moral army in the world used a drill it calls a ‘pressure cooker’ — a rather disgusting drill it invented for itself. It happened last Thursday, at Bir Zeit in the West Bank. The soldiers of the most moral army arrived early in the morning for another “arrest operation,” like others that happen every night and which you rarely hear anything about. It involves sowing fear in villages in the middle of the night, invading houses whose inhabitants — including the children — are sleeping soundly, brutal searches and destruction. Sometimes, like last Thursday, it also ends in death.
Listen to the Mad Man of Qalandiya / Tamar Fleishman of Machsom Watch
QALANDIYA, West Bank (Palestine Chronicle) 28 Feb — …At the checkpoint there was also a thirteen year old boy who had been waiting since the morning for a passage permit for his father, who had an operation scheduled for the next day. The child stood for hours pressed against the metal partitions, while holding in his hands a file full of medical permits. “If he doesn’t get the permit today- his father is done for” said a person who also waited at the entrance to the lane leading to the offices, to “renew” his magnetic card … And not far from there, at Jaba checkpoint, once again soldiers from the Oketz unit were training a dog: They pulled over a passing car, took its owner out, told him to take his personal belongings and his Koran out of the car. To them this was a humane gesture indicating that they were upholding his dignity. The owner of the car stood and watched the dog enter his car, sniffing the font and the back as well as the trunk. The man stood trembling with disgust. And in spite of the guns and the soldiers’ orders, he couldn’t control his body that kept pushing him forward as if to protect his car from the intruder. “What’s wrong with you?” asked the soldier, “the dog won’t harm your car”. I intervened and gave them a lecture on Islamic laws. I explained that a dog to a devoted Muslim is a like a pig to the devoted Jew, that not only its body but also its breath is impure and so is anything that comes in contact with it. As I said this I saw from the corner of my eye the man nodding his head. When the dog completed its task, I took out a package of pre-moistened towelettes and we cleaned the inside of the car which the dog touched and exhaled on. I don’t know whether or not the soldiers thought I was mad, I also don’t care, but later one of the dog trainers, Ronny was her name, came over wanting to converse and understand.
Kahane’s legacy / Hanan Ashrawi
Congress Blog 28 Feb — Twenty years ago this week, a Brooklyn-born Israeli settler named Baruch Goldstein walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and opened fire with his army-issued assault rifle, killing 29 Palestinians and wounding 150 others … A year later a Jewish extremist and admirer of Goldstein assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an attempt to stop the peace process. Goldstein and Rabin’s killer, Yigal Amir, were both followers of the notorious Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane, a fellow Brooklynite of Goldstein’s who advocated a Greater Israel and the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories, founded the Jewish Defense League in New York before immigrating to Israel in the early 1970s where he formed the Kach political party. At the time of Kahane’s assassination in 1990, Kach had been barred from Israeli politics for its overt racism and extremism. After Goldstein’s bloody rampage the Israeli government outlawed Kach as a terrorist organization along with offshoots like Kahane Chai, as did the U.S. Yet, two decades later, the extreme right-wing, anti-Arab racist ideas espoused by Goldstein and his mentor Kahane, which deeply alarmed many in Israel’s ruling elite at the time, have moved into the mainstream of Israeli politics and society. Kahane has become a folk hero to many on Israel’s right, for whom “Kahane was right” has become a popular slogan. Equally disturbing is the veneration of the mass murderer Goldstein by some.
Not Arab enough for a Jewish MK? / Khaled Diab
Haaretz 2 Mar — Despite what some in the Knesset think, Christians in Israel are Arabs too and have played prominent roles in Palestinian politics, society and culture — “This is a historic and important move that could help balance the state of Israel, and connect us and the Christians,” said Yariv Levin, the Likud Knesset member behind the controversial new law to distinguish between Israel’s indigenous Christian and Muslim minorities. While being a minority within a minority does make Palestinian Christians more vulnerable than their Muslim compatriots, the issues facing the two are generally the same. Besides, the law seems to be about anything but the enfranchisement and empowerment of a shrinking minority – otherwise its sponsor would’ve made some effort to understand the group he was targeting. In fact, for someone who calls a law “historic”, Levin shows precious little understanding of history. “I’m being careful about not calling [Christians] Arabs because they aren’t Arabs,” Levin asserted confidently, throwing prudence, intelligence and knowledge to the winds of his bigotry. My incredulity was driven by the fact that not only are Christians in this part of the world as much Arabs as Muslims, there were actually, it would shock Levin to learn, Arab Christians, as there were Arab Jews, long before there were ever any Muslims. In the modern era, it might perplex Levin to discover, that Christians actually invented and defined “Arab” in its modern meaning… at least in part. Whereas once “Arab” referred solely to the inhabitants of Arabia and those descended from the Arab tribes, in the modern era, the word took a far, far broader and more inclusive meaning. In the Palestinian context, many of the leading champions of the Palestinian cause, especially on the left, were Christian, as were many of its most prominent figures in all walks of life. For instance, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the second-largest faction in the PLO, was founded by George Habash, who, like Che Guevara, was a doctor turned Marxist revolutionary.
How ‘trigger-happy’ soldiers killed an unarmed man walking to work / Allison Deger
Mondoweiss Sat 1 Mar — When Jihad Aslan, Yunes Jahjouh, Rubin Abd al-Rahman Zayed were killed in Qalandia refugee camp on August 26, last year, Israeli soldiers were in danger. Still, if the occupying army’s own protocol had been followed, no one would have died that morning. From my interviews with neighbors and relatives of the deceased I found that a typical night-time arrest mission quickly descended into a massive clash with over 1,500 Palestinians involved, hurling everything from stones to furniture at nearly a dozen army and border police units. The case is one of the 22 instances of Israeli soldiers killing unarmed men in 2013, outlined in Amnesty International’s (AI) landmark report, ‘Trigger-happy’ Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank, published two days ago. That report calls on the US and EU and other governments to suspend arms transfers to Israel. The unfortunate events kicked off around 4 am when undercover border police dragged Hatem al-Khitab, the brother of the man the army came to arrest, to the street and beat him. The wails of al-Khitab and the smacking of fists to body awoke others, and a clash ensued while it was still dark. My assessment was that the army acted with negligence when they drew attention to themselves by publicly beating a man. The undercover unit then found itself in a dangerous situation where stone throwing posed a real threat of injury. Even so, Israeli army regulations require a verbal warning in Arabic and two warning shots before live-fire is allowed– but only with an effort to preserve life, by aiming for the limbs. And in fact, no shots were fired at this time. The trapped border police then called for back-up and ten cars arrived. What happened next is that the reinforcements began firing live rounds into the assembly of Palestinians, according to a spokesperson for the IDF. Two were killed and 20 injured during the clash. By all witness accounts, bullets were sprayed haphazardly, injuring many on their way to work.
Film review — Two blushing pilgrims: A Palestinian love story / Hamid Dabashi
Al Jazeera 28 Feb — …In his most recent work, “Omar” (2013), Hany Abu-Assad has so finely perfected his cinema that we can now look back at his oeuvre and see the confident hands of a master craftsman looking for and finding the timber of a Palestinian life too tightly held in the embrace of its political fate. As he did in “Paradise Now”, he manages, with a gentle and confident hand, to squeeze out a personal story – Palestinians falling in love – from the greater cause of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. How can Palestinians fall in love, you may wonder, when they are so busy trying to liberate their homeland? They liberate their homeland precisely by falling in love, liberating their arrested bodies in manners no Zionist occupation can imprison behind any apartheid wall. Central to “Omar” is the love story between Omar (Adam Bakri) and Nadia (Leem Lubany), while he and two of his friends, Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat) are plotting to ambush an Israeli army post. They manage to do what they had plotted with their limited means, consequently, the Israeli security forces are now doggedly after them.