Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Israeli soldiers ‘shoot, critically injure’ Palestinian teen
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli soldiers shot and critically injured a Palestinian teenager during a protest in Beit Ummar north of Hebron on Friday, medics said. Medical sources in al-Ahli hospital in Hebron told Ma‘an that Mohammad Abu Ayyash, 16, was shot with a live bullet near his ear which penetrated his head. He is said to be in a critical condition, medics added.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said “approximately 70 Palestinians hurled rocks at security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means. A main instigator hurled an explosive device at the soldiers, and they fired at his lower extremities.” She added that the teenager was “lightly injured” and reports of him being shot in the head were “wrong,” but was not aware of which hospital he was being treated in…
On Monday, Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank shot dead at least two Palestinians. Saji Darwish, 18, was killed after being shot near Ramallah, while Raed Alaa Addin Zieter, 38, was shot dead at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan. Another Palestinian was killed during a car accident in disputed circumstances near Tulkarem on Monday, with Palestinian security sources saying that Israelis opened fire on the car prior to the crash, a claim the Israeli military denied.
Nearly 40 injured in clashes across the West Bank
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Nearly 40 protesters were injured after Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrations across the central West Bank on Friday afternoon, activists said … The demonstrations come after a week of intense violence in the region, as airstrikes and rocket fire was exchanged in the last two days across the Gaza border after seven Palestinians were reported killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip earlier in the week.
East Jerusalem Dozens of Palestinian were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in the Abu Dis and Eizariya villages in East Jerusalem on Friday. Spokesman for the local popular resistance committee Hani Halabiya told Ma‘an that 35 young men were struck by rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation. Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli forces and closed the roads with trash bins during the clashes. Israeli forces fired tear gas randomly at houses and at the Eizariya cemetery, Halabiya said. Israeli forces also fired at al-Quds news photographer Rami Alariya. “Israeli forces shot four tear gas canisters, a metal bullet, and three stun grenades at me in different locations while I was covering the clashes,” Alariya said. “An officer threatened to shoot me and then gave orders to soldiers to shoot me near al-Jabal junction in Abu Dis,” he added, “in addition to the curses and insults I received.”
Beitin Two Palestinians were injured in clashes that broke out in Beitin village east of Ramallah on Friday. One protester was struck by a live bullet in the leg and another was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet after Israeli forces opened fire at protesters, who were throwing rocks at them. Protestors said they marched to condemn the killing of Saji Darwish, 18, last week, a student at Birzeit University from Beitin who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers while he was throwing rocks at the vehicles of Israeli settlers…
Bil‘in A Norwegian activist was injured and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes in Bilin in the central West Bank. Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters as they neared their lands close to the wall, injuring a 36-year-old woman from Norway named “Katia” who was struck by a tear gas canister in the back. Organizers said the protest was held “in loyalty to the martyrs,” and protesters raised Palestinian flags and posters of Saji Darwish. They marched through the village and chanted songs for unity and resistance…
Nabi Saleh Dozens of activists suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest in Nabi Saleh northwest of Ramallah. Protesters marched towards their confiscated lands which have been taken over by the nearby illegal Jewish settlement of Hallamish after the noon prayers and condemned recent “Israeli crimes” against Palestinians, the ongoing siege on Gaza and continued settlement activity in the West Bank. Israeli forces dispersed protesters using rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas.
Photos of the week: Palestinians mourn after week of violence in West Bank, Gaza
Activestills 14 Mar Photos by: Ahmad al-Bazz, Keren Manor, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen
Thousands protest Israel in Jordan over shooting of judge
Haaretz 14 Mar by Jack Khoury/AP — Thousands of Jordanian protesters called on the kingdom to put an end to its peace treaty with Israel in the capital Amman on Friday, following the shooting of a Jordanian-Palestinian judge by Israeli soldiers at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan earlier this week. Some of the protesters, among them members of Islamist, nationalist and leftist groups, shoved against riot police lines, trying to attack the Israeli embassy. Police officers carrying shields and batons chased some protesters in the streets. The death of Raed Zueter, a Jordanian magistrate of Palestinian descent, has caused an uproar in Jordan, triggering street protests and calls in parliament to annul the 1994 peace agreement with Israel.
6 detained in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Fri 14 Mar — Israeli forces raided ‘Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem on Friday and detained two young men, local sources said. They were among at least six detained overnight in the occupied West Bank. Locals said that Israeli forces stormed the camp early Friday and ransacked several houses under the pretext of inspection. They then detained Omar Azziah, 28, and Mahmoud Adel al-Hajajra, 17. Locals added that Israeli forces beat Mahmoud as well as his brother Ahmed during the raid.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed six arrests overnight including one in the Nablus area, two in a village near Ramallah and three more in the Bethlehem region.
In Nablus, Israeli forces beat a Palestinian man at the Zaatara checkpoint south of the city, while another was detained at the same checkpoint. Palestinian security sources said that Israeli forces at the Zaatara checkpoint near Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus severely beat Muhammad Mustafa Ismail Abd al-Jawad, 22, from Tel village.
Israel detains brother of former hunger striker Samer Issawi
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — Israeli forces detained the brother of former hunger striker Samer Issawi overnight Wednesday, locals said. Witnesses said Israeli forces raided the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya at around 2 a.m. and detained Medhat al-Issawi. Last Thursday, Israeli forces detained Issawi’s sister Shireen, who is a prominent lawyer, and his brother Shadi. The two are expected to appear in an Israeli court on Thursday. Issawi was released from Israeli jail in December as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Israeli forces detain man in Jenin arrest raid
JENIN (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — Israeli forces detained 27-year-old Mahmoud Mahir al-Atrash in Jenin early Thursday after raiding a neighborhood of the city. Over 15 military vehicles entered the Kharruba neighborhood before arresting al-Atrash, who had recently been released from jail.
Israeli police jailing thousands during trial
Haaretz 14 Mar by Yaniv Kubovich — At least 2,000 people, 60 children now in custody until end of legal proceedings [not just Palestinians]; police commissioner says practice serves as deterrent — In the past two years, there has been a spike in the number of accused people held in custody during legal proceedings. Haaretz found that in many cases they are not dangerous criminals but people who are mentally impaired or cannot afford bail. Between 2012 and 2013, 45,215 people were held in custody until the end of the legal process — 9,000 more than in the previous two years … One of Obied’s clients is a Palestinian minor who was caught in Israel without a visa. “His father’s a drunk, and his mother has cancer. They don’t have 700 shekels to release their boy, so he’ll remain in custody until the end of the legal process. It’s a farce … ”The police ask the courts to hold almost any traffic offender in custody until the end of the legal process. Last December, police asked a Jerusalem court to keep in custody an East Jerusalem driver who ran a red light and crashed into another car. Nobody was hurt and the driver had a valid license and was not drunk. In its request, the police prosecutor mentioned the driver had a criminal record for “holding a suspicious object.”
Health condition of hunger-striking prisoners deteriorating
IMEMC Thu 13 Mar by Chris Carlson — Lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said, after visiting a number of Israeli prisons, that the health condition of four Palestinian hunger striking prisoners has dramatically deteriorated due to both Israeli medical negligence and the fact that they have been on hunger strike for more than 63 days, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
Gaza under double blockade
3-year-old dies due to closure of Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — A three-year-old child died on Thursday after he was unable to receive medical care abroad due to the closure of the Rafah crossing, an activist group said. Spokesman for the National Committee to Break the Siege Adham Abu Salmieh said that Ahmad Ammar Abu Nahl was suffering from an enlarged heart and liver and had been planning to go to Turkey via Egypt for treatment. However, the young child died Thursday while waiting for the crossing to open.
Gaza truce firms up after two-day flare-up
Jerusalem (AFP) Fri 14 Mar – A truce declared by Gaza militants appeared to be largely holding on Friday with the Israeli military reporting a single rocket fired after two days of tit-for-tat violence. “Moments ago an additional rocket hit,” an army statement said at 11:47 am (0947 GMT). A spokeswoman told AFP it was the first to strike Israel in more than 12 hours. It was the sixth to hit since Islamic Jihad declared on Thursday that an Egyptian-brokered truce on the Israel-Gaza border had been restored after Israeli warplanes pounded the territory in response to a barrage of rocket fire by its militants. The truce, which was to have taken effect at 1200 GMT on Thursday, was tested when the Israeli military reported further rocket fire from Gaza hours later and launched retaliatory air strikes for a second night.
Six rockets fired from Gaza despite ceasefire
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — Six rockets from Gaza struck southern Israel on Thursday evening after the ceasefire, according to an Israeli military spokesman, causing no damage but putting into danger an already tenuous cessation of hostilities. Three rockets struck “open areas” around 8 p.m. across the south and caused no casualties, according to an Israeli military spokesperson, while two rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile-protection system. The attacks follow an earlier rocket attack around 5:30 p.m, which also hit an open area. Israeli military sources earlier denied that a new ceasefire had been put in place but said that “calm will be answered with calm” according to an Israeli media report, echoing statements from top officials in Islamic Jihad earlier Thursday. Israeli news website Ynet reported that an unnamed Israeli security source said that no new ceasefire agreement had been reached, but that Israeli forces would not launch any unprovoked attacks, in keeping with the terms of the 2012 ceasefire. Despite this, earlier in the day Israeli armed forces called up its air force reserves, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Official: Gaza ceasefire in effect
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) updated Thu 13 Mar 18:36 — A senior Islamic Jihad official said Thursday that Egypt had managed to reactivate a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. Khalid al-Batsh highlighted that his movement would adhere with the ceasefire “on condition that the occupation adheres.” “After prompt Egyptian efforts, the terms of the 2012 ceasefire were reactivated Thursday.” Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said Hamas had not been officially notified of the agreement.
Before the announcement Thursday, Israeli warplanes struck several targets in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, security and medical sources told Ma‘an. Locals in Rafah told Ma‘an that airstrikes targeted a smuggling tunnel under the borders with Egypt. Three Palestinians were injured in the strike. Israeli jets also fired missiles at an open area in Rafah. No casualties were reported. A spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that three Palestinian citizens were injured in the airstrike which targeted a tunnel in Rafah. He confirmed that one victim sustained critical wounds and the two others suffered minor injuries.
In a statement, Israel’s military confirmed seven strikes and said they were in response to rocket fire … The statement said that two rockets hit southern Israel on Thursday. Approximately 65 have hit Israeli territory since Wednesday, out of which five hit populated areas, it said.
Renewed Gaza rocket fire after overnight Israeli raids
GAZA BORDER, Israel (AFP) Thu 13 Mar — Gaza militants resumed their rocket fire on southern Israel on Thursday, after warplanes blitzed the coastal enclave, prompting President Mahmoud Abbas to demand Israel end its “escalation”. A military spokeswoman told AFP that militants had fired five rockets but only one struck Israeli territory, causing no harm or damage. The spokeswoman said the total number of rockets which had struck southern Israel since the escalation began on Wednesday was “over 60”, with five of them hitting populated areas … Overnight, Israeli warplanes carried out raids on 29 targets in Gaza, hitting bases used by militants from Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement and from Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the al-Quds Brigade. The strikes, which began at around 8.30 p.m. Wednesday, prompted a sharp rebuke from Abbas who demanded Israel “put an end to its military escalation in the besieged Gaza Strip,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said Thursday. By Wednesday evening, Islamic Jihad claimed it had fired at least 90 rockets at Israel in response to an air strike on Tuesday that killed three of its militants in southern Gaza, which took place after they had fired a mortar at Israeli troops in the area. The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the National Resistance Brigades, claimed to have fired 30 homemade missiles and a number of mortar shells at southern Israel. The PFLP’s military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, and two offshoots of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades also fired missiles at Israel on Wednesday, a statement from the DFLP said. The rocket salvos, which sent tens of thousands of Israelis running for shelter, marked the biggest wave of attacks since a major eight-day November 2012 confrontation between Israel and Hamas. There have been no reports of casualties on either side.
Israel blocks Gaza border crossings
GAZA (WAFA) 13 Mar — The Israeli authorities Thursday closed the border crossings leading in and out of the Gaza Strip, according to local sources. The sources said Israeli border controls shut off the commercial crossing of Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and partially blocked Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for individual passengers. The latest measures follow a 24-hour escalation in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel where Palestinian military groups responded to Israeli forces’ killing of a dozen Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in separate incidents by launching rockets on southern Israel on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities canceled family visits for Palestinian Gazans in Israeli jails.
WATCH: Islamic Jihad in Hebrew: ‘Get out of our country’
Jerusalem Post 13 Mar — In a Youtube video posted on Wednesday night after a barrage of more than 40 rockets from Gaza fell in Israel, a member of the Islamic Jihad threatened the IDF against invading Gaza. “Al-Quds Brigades is ready for your invasion and if you come there will be no other option than for you to die or become prisoners,” the anonymous jihadist, laden in head-to-toe black, read from a piece of paper … Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades took responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, claiming that more than 90 rockets and shells had been fired at Israel, a spokesman for the group’s armed wing, al-Quds Brigades, told Palestinian news agency Ma‘an.“You haven’t yet seen the extent of our capabilities,” the al-Quds spokesman said, additionally threatening longer-range projectile strikes on Israel if the IDF retaliated.
Egypt ‘intentionally’ ignored Hamas on Gaza ceasefire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — Egypt communicated with Islamic Jihad directly to broker the most recent truce with Israel and intentionally ignored Hamas, a leader for the movement as well as an Egyptian security official said on Thursday. The decision to coordinate directly with Islamic Jihad, the militant group that launched the vast majority of Wednesday’s rocket barrage on Israel, and not with Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, highlights the continuing tension between Egypt’s military and the party. Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told al-Mayadeen channel that the group was “not informed by Egypt about any agreement, and the Egyptian side should have coordinated with Hamas.” An Egyptian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed to Ma‘an that Egyptian national security services contacted Israel and the Islamic Jihad, but not Hamas, in order to negotiate the re-activation of the 2012 ceasefire. He said that Egypt intentionally avoided Hamas for the first time, as they preferred to contact the Islamic Jihad directly for “their good relations and understanding.” The official said that the reason for this avoidance is because Egypt is still provoked by “Hamas’ attitude towards Egypt, Hamas’ interference in internal Egyptian affairs and support for violence in the Sinai.”
Gaza refugees learn of food aid cuts by text messages
GAZA STRIP (Electronic Intifada) 14 Mar by Rami Almeghari — Through a text message on her mobile phone, Naima Abu Hasanin learned that she will stop receiving food aid. The message came from the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), which told the single middle-aged woman from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah that she was no longer categorized as poor. Abu Hasanin is mystified as to how the agency arrived at that decision. A few weeks ago, she was asked to fill in a means-testing questionnaire by UNRWA. “In this one-room home, this table has been here for ages, since the time of my mother, may she rest in peace,” she said. “This refrigerator is already old. Its door is no longer opening and shutting, so I managed to lock it with a regular door lock. You see how rusty it is. Is it because my little home looks tidy that I have become that rich?” Abu Hasinin had been receiving flour, cooking oil, sugar and canned beef from UNRWA. By April, these rations will be cut off. Unable to find regular work, Abu Hasinin is dependent on assistance from the local authority to pay her fuel and grocery bills. The food aid from UNRWA has helped supplement that assistance. Although she has few possessions, she considers herself lucky that her home is not rented, as she inherited it from her parents. Thousands of others in Gaza also face aid cuts….
Gaza woman dies from blast injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — An elderly woman died on Friday as a result of injuries sustained during an explosion in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip a day earlier. Gaza Strip Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that Aisha al-Hamadeen, 62, died as a result of serious injuries she sustained during the blast on Thursday. Al-Qidra added that five people had been injured in an explosion in Beit Hanoun on Thursday night, including the woman as well as two children. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
On Tuesday, four people were killed and six others suffered injuries after an explosion in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, a medical official said.
Why I didn’t make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day
Mondoweiss 13 Mar by Medea Benjamin — When I boarded the plane to Cairo, Egypt, to make sure everything was in place for the women’s delegation headed to Gaza, I had no reason to think I’d end up in a jail cell at the Cairo airport and then violently deported. The trip was in response to a call from women in Gaza to CODEPINK and other groups asking us to bring 100 women from around the world to Gaza for March 8, International Women’s Day. They wanted us to see, first-hand, how the seven-year Israeli blockade had made their situation intolerable … At 8am, 5 plain-clothed men with handcuffs came into the cell, looking very ominous … the men grabbed me, threw me on the ground, put their knees into my back, yanked my arms back so violently that I heard the pop of my arm coming out of my shoulder, and put two sets of handcuffs on me. I was screaming from the pain so they took my scarf, stuffed it in my mouth, and dragged me through the halls of the airport to a waiting Turkish Airline plane. I was in such agony from a dislocated shoulder — you could see the bone just sticking up in the air — that the airline personnel refused to let me on and insisted that the Egyptians call an ambulance.
Video: Urgent appeal from Gaza to the citizens of the world
Published on Mar 11, 2014 Urgent appeal from gaza to the citizens of the world, Help us ! – Noor Harazeen
Israel-backed ‘solution’ could worsen Gaza’s water crisis
Electronic Intifada 11 Mar by Charlotte Silver — There is no dispute that the Gaza Strip’s people are in dire need of additional sources of water beyond what Israel currently permits them. The 1.6 million residents of the Gaza Strip have been made entirely dependent on a portion of the Coastal Aquifer, an underground water source it shares with Israel and Egypt. As a result, their portion is drastically over-extracted and highly-polluted, with a staggering 90 to 95 percent of the water unfit for drinking … The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coalition (EWASH), a group demanding that Palestinians have greater access to clean water, has written a position paper delineating why a desalination plant is not an adequate or just solution to Palestine’s grave water situation. EWASH underscores that a desalination plant enables the continual denial to Palestinians of the water that legally belongs to them. “Desalination for Gaza, while alleviating the suffering of Palestinians, undercut Palestinian claims to their water resources in the West Bank, including a larger share of the Coastal Aquifer, [therefore] legitimizing Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian water and reducing political pressure on Israel to comply with international water law and international humanitarian law,” the paper says.
Restrictions on holy sites / Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Thousands pray in Jerusalem streets amid new Aqsa restrictions
[photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) Fri 14 Mar — Thousands of worshipers prayed in the streets of Jerusalem on Friday after Israeli authorities imposed new restrictions on Palestinians’ right to pray inside the holy Al-Aqsa compound. The compound — which is the third holiest site in Islam — was mostly empty on Friday after Israeli authorities prohibited all Palestinians under the age of 40 from praying there and set up barricades at the compound’s entrances to limit their access. Many worshipers prayed at the gates of the compound while others prayed at the entrances to the Old City, although a limited number were able to pray inside the Al-Aqsa compound. The restrictions come only two weeks after Israeli authorities imposed similar restrictions, barring Palestinians under the age of 50 from praying in the compound. Those restrictions led to protests both in Palestine and abroad, as many feared such limitations were part of a broader strategy to limit Palestinian access to the compound. The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said in a statement on Friday afternoon that many of the worshipers arrived to find that Israeli forces had set up military checkpoints in the alleys of the Old City. As a result, worshipers gathered at the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis), the Iron Gate (Bab al-Hadid), and Gate of Remission (Bab al-Hatta) to pray as close to the Al-Aqsa mosque as possible, while areas around Damascus Gate and the Lion’s Gate, both of which are gates to Jerusalem’s Old City, saw large numbers of worshipers as well. Scuffles broke out in a number of places with Israeli police forces as a result of the restrictions. The Al-Aqsa Foundation warned that Israeli policies and pressures restricting worshipers’ access to Al-Aqsa were increasing and becoming more common, calling upon Palestinians in Jerusalem and across Palestine to increase their efforts to maintain their links with the compound.
Israeli forces escort worshipers to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) Fri 14 Mar — Hundreds of Jewish worshipers escorted by Israeli troops arrived overnight Thursday at Joseph’s Tomb near Balata refugee camp east of Nablus, locals said. Local sources told Ma‘an that over a dozen buses guarded by Israeli forces arrived at the tomb, who were deployed onto the rooftops of nearby homes during the visit. Worshipers performed religious rites from midnight until the early morning hours, during which time Israeli soldiers remained stationed on the rooftops of private Palestinian homes. Israeli settlers frequently visit Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces, who regularly raid local Palestinian villages and sometimes fire tear gas into the neighboring Balata refugee camp during the visits. Despite lying in an area under Palestinian Authority deep in the West Bank, Israeli forces maintain control at the site and prohibit Muslims from praying there. Palestinians believe that Joseph’s Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yusef Dweikat, a local religious figure. Others believe that the tomb belongs to the Biblical patriarch Joseph. The area is sacred to Jews, Samaritans, Christians and Muslims alike.
Council: Israel to confiscate land in Salfit village
SALFIT (Ma‘an) Sat 15 Mar — The Israeli civil administration delivered a notice to a Palestinian village in the central West Bank declaring plans to confiscate parts of village’s land, a local council said Saturday. The village council of the town of Haris in the Salfit district said in a statement that Israel had sent a notice saying it would confiscate 100 dunams (25 acres) of the village’s private land. The land, to be taken from northwestern Haris, will be used to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Revava, the statement said. The statement urged landowners in the village to prepare ownership documents for a lawyer who will file a demurrer against the Israeli decision. The Revava settlement is one of 23 settlements in the Salfit district. It was built in 1991 when Israel confiscated land from Deir Istiya‘s farmers.
Armed settlers occupy village land in Hebron
Arab ar Rashyaida, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Team Khalil) 14 Mar — On Tuesday 11th March 2014 villagers from ‘Arab ar Rashyaida, 15 kilometers (10 miles) west of Hebron, noticed that a large tent and industrial digger had moved onto a hilltop on a villager’s land. ISM Hebron was called and accompanied local people and Palestinian activists to confront the settlers. On arriving at the village, the demonstrators parked on the opposite hill and made their way through the valley to the settlers’ encampment. The settlers were armed with automatic hand guns, assault rifles, and dogs to protect the illegal camp. Resistors confronted the settlers in a non-violent way while settlers took photographs on the phones of all the protestors. After a short time a settler armed with a machine gun and dressed in black with his face covered climbed a wall and started to insult a Palestinian activist, stating that he would kill other Palestinians….
Settlers uproot 30 trees near Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) Fri 14 Mar — Israeli settlers uprooted 30 olive trees on Friday southeast of Yatta near Hebron, a local activist group said. Spokesman for the local resistance committees Nidal al-Haddar told Ma‘an that settlers from the Israeli settlement of Susiya raided the area and uprooted 30 trees belonging to the Shatat family in the village of Khirbet Zanuta. Khirbet Zanuta is located in the South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, an area that lies almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords. In the 1980s, Israeli settlers began moving into the area of Susiya and an archaeological park was established on land expropriated from the local Palestinian village, the original Susiya. Dozens of residents were expelled, and they have been subject to threats of further demolition and expulsion. Settlers from Susiya regularly attack the area’s former residents as well as other nearby Palestinian villages.
Video: Settler seeking to remove Palestinian flag in Hebron gets tangled in barbed wire
Jerusalem Post 13 Mar by Tovah Lazaroff — A settler became tangled in barbed wire after he climbed on to the roof of a Palestinian apartment building in Hebron to remove two Palestinian flags, as seen in a video published on YouTube by B’Tselem … Shadi Sidr, one of the Palestinian home owners and a volunteer for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, filmed the incident. The video opens as the settler, breathless from the climb, gets caught on barbed wire woven into the fence. “Why are you on my roof?” asked Sidr in broken Hebrew. The settler, who had a Russian accent, also spoke in broken Hebrew as he answered Sidr. “I’ve come to talk with you,” the settler said. As he spoke, he hung onto the building’s stone ledge, his shirt stuck in the barbed wire and his feet still on the ladder. His antics attracted the attention of Hebron’s Jewish community, which gathered below to watch the spectacle. The settler, undeterred by his precarious position, asked Sidr to remove the two Palestinian flags. Sidr refused and asked the settler how he would feel if Sidr attempted to climb onto his roof to remove an Israeli flag. “Would that be good?” asked Sidr. “But this roof is my roof. This is all mine, this is my country and my land,” said the settler … A soldier arrived at that moment to rescue the settler from the barbed wire and to assure him the flag would be taken down. The soldiers told Sidr he is not allowed to fly the flag.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Red Crescent pharmacist shot dead in Yarmouk camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — A Palestinian pharmacist who works for the Palestinian Red Crescent Association in the Yarmouk refugee camp was shot dead Wednesday, a statement said. The statement, signed by chairman of the Red Crescent Association Younis al-Kahtib, highlighted that 48-year-old Diab Hussein Muhanna was shot outside Palestine Hospital where he worked. He was leaving the hospital on a humanitarian mission. The victim left behind a widow and four children. He worked for the Red Crescent Association more than 26 years. “Our organization lost five martyrs since the beginning of Syria’s regrettable unrest in addition to dozens who were injured while binding up wounds,” the statement added.
Palestinian refugee died of starvation in Syria camp
DAMASCUS (PIC) 14 Mar — A Palestinian refugee in Syria died on Thursday due to the continued siege imposed on the Palestinian refugee camps. The Working Group for the Palestinians in Syria said in a statement that “refugee Hosni Hassan, 54, died due to the poor nutrition and the absence of medical care, in light of the blockade imposed on the refugee camps.” Meanwhile, the regular army and groups of the Popular Front – the General Command -have continued to besiege the Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus, for the 8th month unabated, preventing the entry of food and medical stuffs.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian woman starved to death in Yarmouk
DAMASCUS (PIC) 13 Mar — The Palestinian refugee Fatma Dawood died in Yarmouk refugee camp Wednesday due to the lack of food and medicines in the besieged camp, Action Group for Palestinians in Syria said. The Action Group said on a statement on Thursday that the number of victims in Yarmouk camp rose to 129 martyrs, pointing out that the camp has been under tight siege for eight months
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Activism / Solidarity / BDS — and hasbara
HP: Complicit in Jerusalem’s ethnic cleansing
ECCPalestine 13 Mar — The “Aviv” population registration system, operated by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, is a comprehensive population registry, managing information on age, race, address, country of origin, and religion for Israeli citizens and residents. According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, « To be a resident of Jerusalem, a person must prove that Israel is their main place of residence. Otherwise the population register must be altered. » Maintenance of this population registry system is hence integral to Israel’s continued repression of the Palestinian people. Hewlett-Packard manages the “Aviv” registry, following its acquisition of Compaq Computers in 2002. In 2008, HP was additionally awarded a $74 million contract by the Israeli Ministry of Interior to manufacture five million biometric ID cards, which contain advanced technology that allows the Israeli Population Authority to track and monitor all citizens and residents of Israel – including Palestinian Jerusalemites. Just as Polaroid and IBM were targets for international boycotts because of their joint-production of pass books in apartheid South Africa, we call on the global community to boycott HP for its complicity in Israel’s ethnic cleansing of occupied Jerusalem.
$170m Argentina loss for Israeli water firm Mekorot as BDS spreads southward
Palestinian BDS National Committee 14 Mar — In the latest success for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, authorities in Buenos Aires have suspended a proposed $170m water treatment plant deal with Israeli state water firm Mekorot. The decision came after a campaign by local trade unions and human rights groups that connected Mekorot’s role in Israel’s theft of Palestinian water resources with evidence that the project did not meet Argentinian standards and necessities. Campaigners argued that Mekorot was attempting to export the discriminatory water policies it has developed against the Palestinian people to their country. This victory largely contradicts Israeli claims, last expressed during Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC, that the global south, eager for Israeli technology, are uncontested growing markets.
Italian ‘expo’ will showcase Israeli propaganda
Electronic Intifada 14 Mar by Stephanie Westbrook — The video presentation of Israel’s pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan gives a sneak preview of the level of Israeli propaganda that visitors to the upcoming international exhibition can expect. Named “Fields of Tomorrow,” the 2,400-square-meter pavilion will be in a prime location, right next to that of the host country Italy and at the crossroads of the two main axes of the sprawling Expo 2015 site. The overall theme of the event is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.’ … In the video, Israeli actress Moran Atias, known for roles in Italian TV and film, boasts of “120 years of agricultural research,” spiriting viewers back to times when the Zionist dream was a mere twinkle in the eye of Theodor Herzl, as well as “inventions that have helped put food on the table of millions of people around the world.” A 2012 United Nations “food security” survey shows that Palestinian families are not among the “millions” who have supposedly benefited. Some 19 percent of households in the occupied West Bank and a staggering 57 percent in Gaza are defined as “food insecure.”
Transporter of Israeli settlement goods benefits from EU science grant
Electronic Intifada 12 Mar by David Cronin — A transporter of food grown in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has benefited from the European Union’s scientific research grants. Cargo Air Lines, an Israeli firm, and its subsidiary Liège Air Cargo Holding Services (LACHS) have taken part in a €3 million ($4 million) surveillance technology project, mainly funded by the EU. Yossi Shoukroun, the head of LACHS, told me that the freight company handles fruit and vegetables “coming from both Israel and Palestine,” along with herbs and flowers. Asked if such products originate from Israeli settlements, Shoukroun replied that the company does not have “any ability to find out where the product really grows.” This is tantamount to an admission that a proportion of the goods in question are from Israeli settlements. Israel’s main food exporters all trade in produce from settlements in the West Bank. Such produce is routinely labeled “Made in Israel,” even though it has not been grown within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
Northeastern students fighting back against ban on campus Palestine group
Electronic Intifada 12 Mar by Nora Barrows-Friedman — As The Electronic Intifada reported earlier today, Boston’s Northeastern University has suspended the on-campus Students for Justice in Palestine and launched police investigations into students. The administration also threatened two students with suspension or expulsion for distributing mock eviction leaflets on campus, a popular direct action many Palestine solidarity groups undertake during the annual Israeli Apartheid Week of events. The two SJP members who were threatened with expulsion-level charges are the only women of color in the group that distributed the leaflets. A copy of the mock eviction notice — which clearly states that it is not a real eviction notice — can be viewed at the end of this post. Students say the explicit threats of expulsion of the two women has apparently been rescinded due to the outpouring of pressure by SJP activists and supporters of free speech around the country.
How can you tell that Israeli refuseniks are scaring the system?
972blog 13 Mar by Moriel Rothman — This week, a group of 50+ Israeli high schoo0s students and youth penned a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring their refusal to enlist in the army as an act of protest against Israel’s 47-year old military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. And the system is scared. n light of the reactions to the letter, I think it is worth pointing out a few indications as to just how powerful this act is, and how deeply it scares the system. Indication #1. This clip from Channel 2, Israel’s biggest TV news channel, in which a panel of public figures conducts a so-called “interview” with one of the young refuseniks: http://reshet.tv/Shows/todays_talk/videomarklist,233902/ It’s in Hebrew, but it doesn’t really matter if you understand Hebrew or not. Starting from minute 3:00, it is virtually impossible to understand almost anything being said, because everyone is just yelling. (Okay, a few gems that did shine through the bellowing here and there: “you are dishrags,” “you will have the mark of Cain for the rest of your lives,” and “this act reminds me of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin”). Whether you speak Hebrew or not, watch this piece, or at least a few minutes of it, and tell me that you don’t see fear thinly veiled by bulging-veined aggression.
Political and other news
Kerry: ‘Mistake to use Jewish state recognition as deal breaker
Haaretz 13 Mar — U.S. secretary of state says its a ‘mistake’ for issue to be raised again and again, adding that it was already resolved in 1947, when UN Resolution 181 divided Palestine into two states.
Abbas remarks about killing Shehadah ‘dangerous’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) Fri 14 Mar – The Hamas movement said Thursday that President Mahmoud Abbas revealed “dangerous information” in a speech Wednesday addressing the Fatah revolutionary council. In a statement, Hamas added that ousted Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan was aware beforehand of an Israeli plan to target and kill senior leader of Hamas’ military wing Sheikh Salah Shehadah. Shehadah was killed in July 2002, after an Israeli F16 plane fired a 1-ton bomb at a building in Gaza City he was hiding in. At least 15 civilians were killed in the attack and more than 100 others were injured. Quoting Hamas spokesman Salah al-Bardawil, the statement highlighted that Abbas’ remarks were very dangerous and “need a comprehensive investigation.” In a speech in front of the Fatah council, Abbas accused Dahlan of being involved in the murder of six outstanding Palestinian leaders including Shehadah of Hamas.
Dahlan, Abbas feud pushes Fatah to brink of crisis
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 13 Mar by Adnan Abu Amer — On March 5, most of the 77,000 Palestinian Authority (PA) employees located in Gaza received their February salaries, but about a hundred returned from their banks empty-handed. They weren’t paid because of an official decision by the PA against supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, a member of the Legislative Council and a dismissed leader from Fatah, who differs with the PA’s general policy. The decision to stop payment on the salaries has worsened the crisis between Dahlan and President Mahmoud Abbas.
Doctors in West Bank public hospitals go on strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) Thu 13 Mar — Doctors in public hospitals across the West Bank went on strike on Thursday in response to a decision by the Palestinian Supreme Court which ruled protest action by the doctors union illegal. A member of the union, Majdi al-Jallad, told Ma‘an that doctors were 100 percent committed to the strike, highlighting that only emergency medical cases will be treated … The dispute stems from a decision by the health ministry to ban doctors from working in private clinics.
Analysis / Books
Does Israel have the right to exist as a Jewish state? An excerpt from Ali Abunimah’s “The Battle for Justice in Palestine”
Mondoweiss 14 Mar — The following is an adapted excerpt from The Battle For Justice In Palestine. Copyright © 2014 by Ali Abunimah. Reprinted with permission of Haymarket Books, Chicago, IL. You can buy the book here. Given the centrality of Israel’s claim, the question of whether Israel does indeed have a “right to exist as a Jewish state” deserves serious consideration. A useful lens through which to examine this proposition is the foundational legal maxim I cited at the beginning of this chapter. Put in simple terms, if a person bears a right, then there must be some venue—usually a court of law—where she can seek to have that right enforced, to have a penalty imposed on the violator, or to obtain some other form of legal relief.  In the formulation of the eighteenth-century jurist William Blackstone, “It is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England, that every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress.” His insertion of the word proper reminds us that a remedy must be lawful and equitable. If my neighbor cuts down my tree, a proper remedy might include paying damages to me, replacing the tree, and perhaps some restraining order to prevent him from felling other trees. It would not be a proper remedy for me to vengefully cut down my neighbor’s trees, demolish his house, or kill his children.
Shira Robinson explains the DNA of Israel / Philip Weiss
Shira Robinson has an important new book out called Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State that lays out the foundations of second-class status for Palestinians inside Israel. (A few weeks back we posted the introduction.) An associate professor of history at the George Washington University, Robinson demonstrates how a series of events– Israel’s Law of Return, in 1950; it’s citizenship law, passed in 1952; and its military campaign against Palestinian refugees who were trying to return to their homes– enshrined a weak definition of citizenship for Palestinians that was lesser to Jewish citizenship, because of Jewish “nationality.” This double standard continues to this day, Robinson explains. Lately Phil Weiss interviewed Robinson about her book by phone. She then revised the transcript by email. Q. You use the words ethnic cleansing about 1948. What’s the status of that view among historians? The short answer is during the first three months of the fighting, which began in December 1947, more Palestinians fled from the areas conquered by the Haganah than were expelled, and that from March, and especially April 1948, on, expulsions became more and more systematic. To this you have to add that the majority of Palestinians who did flee, particularly starting in the Spring of 1948, did so at the encouragement of Jewish forces
What next after the domination of religious extremists in the Israeli army? / Dr. Salah al-Naami
Middle East Monitor 11 Mar — Over the past three decades, the Israeli army has undergone a restructuring of its elite as a result of economic, social, demographic and political shifts. This has influenced the atmosphere in Israel and its consequences will surely have an impact on the state’s methods of dealing with its Arab and Islamic milieu. Secular Ashkenazi Jews monopolised Israeli politics, the media, academia and security for decades. Now there are many indicators which suggest that the secularists are losing their influence and positions to members of the Zionist religious trend who seem determined to take control of the outlets most influential in political decision-making circles, as a part of a clear plan. The most distinct achievement of the religious right is its infiltration of the army and security institutions in Israel. Members of religious Zionist groups represent 12 per cent of the total Jewish population in Israel. In the early eighties, they made up just 2 per cent of the officers in combat units of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF); they now constitute 35-40 per cent of the elite brigades and combat units (Israel Today, November 15, 2013). It is worth noting that the percentage of religious individuals exceeds this percentage in some army units. The number of such religious Israelis has also risen in senior military ranks. For example, the senior officers of three out of four elite brigades in the infantry all belong to the religious Zionist trend, while most of the other company commanders and battalion heads are from the same demographic.