Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Water returns to East Jerusalem neighborhoods after 3-day outage
Haaretz 9 Mar by Nir Hasson — The water supply to a refugee camp and three neighborhoods in East Jerusalem was partially restored Friday morning after a three-day disruption in service. Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the Shoafat camp and the adjacent neighborhoods of Ras Hamis, Ras Shehada and Hashalom suffer ongoing water shortages but on Tuesday, faucets went entirely dry. In the refugee camp alone, 20,000 residents were affected, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands of others suffered from the water outage in the three other neighborhoods. Most residents of the area hold Israeli citizenship and have residency status. Water supply to the neighborhoods, which are all located within the municipal lines of Jerusalem but lie on the other side of the West Bank separation barrier, is managed by the same water utility that operates in the rest of Jerusalem. But municipal water utility Hagihon is rarely active in the ground on the Palestinian side of the barrier due to security concerns … Yusuf Amhmar, a Shofaat resident and refugee camp activist, estimated that most camp residents do not yet have regular water supply.“There is very low pressure,” he said. “In the same alley way one home might have water and the other won’t.”
9 Palestinians arrested after farming on land confiscated by settlers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — Two Palestinians were injured and eight were detained on Sunday after Israeli forces dispersed dozens who were planting trees on their confiscated land east of Jerusalem, a local official said. Muhammad Salama, a council member of the village of ‘Anata, told Ma‘an that 100 people from the village were working on their land, which was seized by Israeli settlers in July 2013, when soldiers arrived at the scene. “Shortly after the villagers arrived and started to dig and plant saplings, Israeli police officers stormed the area along with the settlesr and assaulted the villagers with pepper spray before detaining nine young men,” Salama said. He said Mahmoud Mustafa Ulayyan and Muhammad Hassan were taken to the hospital for treatment after fainting due to the gas … A statement from the Israeli police said that a policeman was lightly injured after Palestinians threw stones. An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the incident. Salama said that Israeli settlers had seized 400 dunams (100 acres) of land from ‘Anata and surrounded the land with barbed wire. Residents of the village have filed a lawsuit against the settlers, but an Israeli court decision has not yet been made, he added.
Israeli army razes lands near Bethlehem
IMEMC 9 Mar by Chris Carlson – -Israeli forces backed by bulldozers proceeded, Sunday, to level Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the village of al-Khader to the south of Bethlehem as a prelude to take it over, according to activist Ahmad Salah of the anti-settlements and wall committee. Salah said that the army razed agricultural land, in the area of al-Keshk, adjacent to Avrat settlement which is illegally built on the village’s land, where army forces previously set caravans on. He added that the razing of land by Israeli army is for the benefit of expanding the settlement through seizing more lands.
Otherwise Occupied: The drone and the tent encampment / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 Mar — A small object, about 50 centimeters long, flew above the Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin tent encampment on Thursday, February 27, 2014. It was low, so as to be seen by the inhabitants and their guests, who had arrived that day. That object – or its “nephew,” in Arabic slang – had flown over the encampment, east of Jerusalem, several days earlier. It was a drone. Now the residents had something new to worry about: a callous invasion of their privacy, since their outhouses have no roofs. Since Israel controls the airspace, it is reasonable to assume that the drone is Israeli (and not, say, Iranian). Of what terrible terrorist activities are the people in the tent encampment suspected that would warrant flying a drone above them? Coincidentally or not, shortly after the drone flew over their shacks, pens and tents, inspectors from Israel’s Civil Administration – and not soldiers or agents from the Shin Bet security service, showed up. They confiscated two trucks that had arrived that morning. One held cement, the other playground equipment: a three-seat swing set and a slide with a tunnel and two ladders. Donated by the Italian government, they were a logical addition to the eco-friendly school, built in 2009 out of tires and mud. The students barely had a chance to cheer for the gift, which a delegation from the Italian Consulate in Jerusalem came to present, before it was taken away from them. And the terrible terrorist activities that were presumably stopped by the drone? The installation of a playground and the rejoicing of children.
EU calls for sustained improvements in movement and access between and within Palestinian territory
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 Mar – European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated that the EU repeatedly called for sustained improvements in movement and access within and between the occupied Palestinian Territories, said a statement issued by the Palestinian ministry of information. Ashton made this statement in response to a letter sent by the Ministry of Information on Israeli restrictions on media activities in Palestine. Ashton made clear that the EU has an “established policy of calling for having sustained improvements in movement and access both across the West Bank and to and from the Gaza Strip”. Aston assured the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Information Mahmoud Khalifa that “the EU repeats that policy in the dialogue that takes place at different levels within the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.” Khalifa revealed that the Israeli occupation denied entry to several media delegations that were scheduled to attend an international media conference in Palestine last January.
Racism / Ethnic profiling
Bill threatening Arab representation in Knesset nears enactment into law
Haaretz 4 Mar by Jonathan Lis — The Knesset Constitution committee approved the so-called “governability bill” on Monday, sending it to the full Knesset for a final reading into law next week. The bill’s most controversial provision raises the threshold for entering the Knesset from 2 percent to 3.25 percent of valid votes cast. This change will keep parties with fewer than four seats out of the Knesset. Thus the three Arab parties, each of usually wins three to four seats in election, would have to merge to ensure that they get in.
Stern Israeli airport security measures questioned
AP 8 Mar –Ben-Gurion Airport stirs debate over tough inspection of passengers, faces accusations of ethnic profiling, harsh treatment of specific population groups — Jack Angelides was about to board a flight out of Israel’s international airport when he was given a curious choice that baffles him to this day. Traveling with a laptop and a stack of printed reading material, he was told to part with one or the other, due to unspecified security concerns. The Israel-based British-Cypriot businessman says he negotiated a compromise in which he kept the computer and several pages, checking in the rest of the documents.”It was a very unpleasant, very uncomfortable” experience, said Angelides, the general manager of the Israeli soccer team Maccabi Tel Aviv. While standing in long lines, walking through scanners and removing belts and shoes are a fact of post-Sept. 11 travels worldwide, Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport seems to stand alone with its security techniques, often leaving travelers dumbfounded. Though Israel denies profiling travelers, business executives, journalists and especially Arabs and visitors to Palestinian areas seem especially prone to being targeted with aggressive questioning, long luggage examinations and even strip searches.
Facebook’s safe haven for Israeli racists
Haaretz 7 Mar by Roni Bar — Posts rejoicing in the death of Palestinians and calls for the murder of asylum seekers have become a matter of course, but police say their hands are tied — Somewhat more than 1,000 people are friends on the Hebrew-language Facebook page Nikmat Hayeudim (“Revenge of the Jews”). They receive daily photo updates on attacks against Palestinian property and people and on leftists. “What a picture, a real pleasure,” one of them wrote under a photo showing a person severely beaten around the head, blood running down his face, lying on a hospital bed. “That’s what should be done to all the Arabs,” another post added, and then continued with a coarse stream of invective including cursing Mohammad. Another Facebook page, called “We’re all for death to terrorists,” has more than 60,000 followers. Next to a photo at a demonstration at the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh is the caption: “Female terrorist leftists clash with IDF and Border Police forces.” One post, which can be said to be typical, says: “May their name and memory be wiped out. Let them die, those leftists…kill them. They’re worse than Arabs!” Under the report of a rape in Tel Aviv, one member of the group wrote: “I swear an oath that tomorrow I’m going to go through the central bus station, call an Eritrean over to the car, close the window on his head and drag him all through south Tel Aviv.”
International Women’s Day
Women behind the lens: Palestinians filming the occupation
972blog 8 Mar by Manal Ja‘bri — For the past several years, Palestinian women from all walks of life have been taking part in a video project to document human rights violations under occupation. In honor of International Women’s Day, one of them tells her story. My name is Manal Ja‘bri, I am 38 years old and I have seven children, between the ages of 9 and 18, and I am the sole breadwinner in my family. I grew up in a house near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. Settlers burned my family’s home and used to beat us on our way to school. One of the problems in Palestinian society is that people don’t differentiate between Israelis, Jews and settlers – they are all settlers to us. I used to think the same way, but over the years I learned to tell the difference. Three years ago, I read a wanted ad in the newspaper for field researchers for B’Tselem, an Israeli organization dedicated to documenting human rights violations in the occupied territories.
A salute to the Palestinian woman / Khalid Amayreh
PIC 8 Mar — …the survival of the Palestinian people wouldn’t have been possible without the legendary steadfastness and resilience of the Palestinian woman. As the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said, the Palestinian woman remained “the faithful guardian of the sacred fire.” The Palestinian woman had to run the “internal front” while her husband, brother, father or son were busy fighting the foreign invaders. As women elsewhere, the Palestinian woman could have easily allowed herself to be carried away by the frantic waves of decadence, corruption and immorality. But her faith proved stronger than all the dehumanizing appeals and seductions. The Palestinian woman often had to (and still has to) fight on two fronts at the same time, the seemingly existential fight against the criminally racist Israeli occupation, and the enduring challenge posed by a society that only parsimoniously granted women their rights and freedoms.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/
PHOTOS: Women leading the struggles in Israel/Palestine
Activestills 8 Mar — In honor of International Women’s Day, Activestills brings you the best 2013 photos of the activist women who push for justice and a better life for all those between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Photos by: Ahmad al-Bazz, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor, Tali Mayer, Anne Paq, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
In pictures: Palestinian women join the West Bank riot police
The National 9 March — Instructors bark orders to a column of Palestinian women recruited to an anti-riot unit, part of an effort to tackle problems caused by conservative attitudes in the West Bank force. All photos by Abbas Momani.
Palestinian women make strides in high-tech
DURA, West Bank (AP) 8 Mar by Karin Laub — Growing up in a traditional society, Abeer Abu Ghaith was often told a woman’s future is in her husband’s kitchen. Quietly, the 29-year-old proved everyone wrong. Abu Ghaith has become the first female high-tech entrepreneur in the West Bank, setting up an Internet employment brokerage and software development firm. Last month, the Palestinian trailblazer was recognized by regional high-tech leaders as a recipient of the Women in Technology Awards in the Middle East and Africa for 2014. Abu Ghaith has put in 16-hour days, showing how the local IT and communications sector can transform the lives of other women by giving them access to jobs and financial independence. Some say the sector, the most vibrant in an otherwise stagnant economy, could double in size over the next five years and employ thousands more. Palestinian women already make up a majority of students in many colleges and universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but often have trouble transitioning into the job market. After they graduate, the traditional gender expectations usually kick in — that they should get married first and worry about a career later.
Gaza’s most renowned businesswoman
GAZA (Xinhua) 7 Mar — In the traditionally conservative Muslim society of the Palestinian Gaza Strip, women do not have much space to run business or occupy a job. But for Mona Ghalayani, one of Gaza’s renowned businesswomen, things are totally different. Forty-three-year-old Ghalayani is a unique example of success amid the political turmoil and economic hardship facing the Israel- blockaded coastal enclave. Ghalayani graduated with a business degree from a Jordanian university. She began her career at 32 as an employee at a restaurant in Gaza. Five year later, Ghalayani decided to start her own business. Now she owns two fancy restaurants and a nice hotel overlooking the Gaza beach.
Outside the jukebox: Female sounds of the Middle East
Café Gibraltar 8 Mar — To mark International Women’s Day, Café Gibraltar is proud to present ‘Bat HaMakom/Bint al-Balad,’ (Local Woman), a compilation of songs – some of them debuted here for the very first time – by the most innovative female artists making music in Israel today. [Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic, Persian…] You can download the album for free, courtesy of the artists.Click here to download the full album
Fighting the occupation with a needle and thread
JERUSALEM (Electronic Intifada) 5 Mar by Yara Hawari — Can traditional Palestinian embroidery be made fashionable? The founders of Ibra wa Khayt (Needle and Thread), a recently-opened business in Ramallah have set out to do just that. Tamara Reem had the idea for the project in early 2013 after she added a piece of embroidery given to her by her grandmother to a pair of shirwal (trousers) … The two women have set about finding old thobes (traditional Palestinian dresses) that are no longer used or have worn away, researching from which region or village the garments originated and, if possible, who made them. Giving the embroidered parts of the clothing to local stitchers and tailors, they use them to make new items — until now, mainly trousers and skirts. The buyer of each final piece is told the history of the old clothes on which it is based.
Israeli soldiers forcefully disperse Women’s Day demonstration
IMEMC 8 Mar by Chris Carlson — Eleven Palestinian women were hurt by tear gas inhalation, Saturday, when Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration marking International Women’s Day. Dozens of Palestinian women rallied, early Saturday, near Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem to mark International Women’s Day, reports Ma‘n News Agency. Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint launched tear gas canisters, at high velocity, towards the women in response to the protest. Israeli forces closed the checkpoint to Palestinians immediately after the crowd approached it. As Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters, Palestinian men hurled stones at the soldiers. One protester told Ma‘an that Palestinian women “want to live free from occupation in an independent Palestinian state”.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Settlers ‘attack’ Palestinian families in central Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked Palestinian residents and international activists near Shuhada Street in the center of the flashpoint southern West Bank City of Hebron, a local activist said. Activist Imad Atrash said that a group of Jewish settlers from the Ramat Yishai outpost in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of central Hebron attacked the Abu Shamsieh and Sidr families, as well as foreign activists from the International Solidarity Movement. The attack comes days after settlers erected a banner nearby reading “Palestine never existed! (and never will).” Atrash said that after the banner was erected, “residents asked solidarity activists to protect them from the daily settler attacks” they were facing.
Israeli military jeep hits Palestinian teen, ‘injures her seriously’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — An Israeli military vehicle on Saturday hit a Palestinian girl in the southern West Bank, injuring her seriously, a local spokesman said. Nidal al-Haddar, spokesman for Yatta’s popular committee, told Ma‘an that an Israeli military jeep hit 14-year-old Samirah Tawfiq Awad during a protest in Yatta. Samirah was transferred to a nearby hospital, where medics said she had sustained serious injuries. Locals organized the demonstration to protest against Israel’s confiscation of their land in the Um al-Arayis neighborhood, he added.
Nabi Saleh honors Muataz Washaha
NABI SALEH, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Team Ramallah) 8 Mar — On Friday 7th March the protest at An Nabi Salih took on a special significance after local Palestinian man, Moutaz Washaha, was assassinated in his home town of Bir Zeit on Thursday last week. A group of more than 50 Palestinian locals, activist and journalists gathered for the weekly demonstration against the expropriation of the village’s water spring, which has been diverted to a settlement close by. The protesters, proceeded away from the village down the hill towards the street which separates the village from Al Qaws spring with was stolen by the illegal settlement of Halamish in 2009. Israeli forces launched a slew of teargas against the unarmed protesters. Four Israeli soldiers intercepted the protesters at the settlement road and unsuccessfully attempted to arrest two protesters. After some 25 protesters had made it onto the road more soldiers arrived and attempted to violently arrest two young girls who had entered the road. One of the girls is 14 years of age and she was met with physical violence from soldiers who were intent on arresting her. The protesters prevented the arrests, however during their attempt a soldier hit a local woman in the back with his rifle butt causing her to faint. Activists then called for a local ambulance and gave first aid while local Palestinians argued with the soldiers over their behavior.
IOF soldiers quell march in East Jerusalem, arrest 13 citizens
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) suppressed on Sunday afternoon a march organized by Palestinian activists and residents of the town of Annana, in the area of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. PIC’s correspondent reported that undercover elements, accompanied by Israeli soldiers and settlers, attacked the march that was staged in protest against the confiscation of nearly 1,000 dunums of citizens’ lands. Three civilians were wounded, while 13 others were arrested by the IOF. The participants in the anti-E1 scheme march were assaulted by the settlers, while the Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at them in order to disperse them.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian children continue to be imprisoned
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Team Khalil) 9 Mar — On Tuesday 4th March, 14-year-old Wassem Rajabi from the Jabal Johar area of Hebron (al-Khalil), was detained and driven away by Israeli soldiers on his way back from school. This Thursday, after nine days in prison, his family will go to the police station to find out his fate. Recently, more than 50 children from the area have been arrested and imprisoned. In the last week alone, between 15-20 children were arrested, all under the age of 18. Wassem Rajabi is from a family with few resources. His father died eight years ago in a work-place accident inside the 1948 areas, and he now lives with his mother, an older brother and two younger sisters. When Wassen did not come home from school last Tuesday, his family discovered he was taken by the Israeli military, imprisoned and transferred to Ramallah. He was charged with throwing stones at Israeli forces. His family have stated that he was at home at the time the incident were supposed to have occurred. As Wassem is only 14-years-old, he is too young to be imprisoned according to the United Nation’s declaration of human rights. However, Israeli forces detain and prolong detentions for children on a regular basis. Wassem’s family has been told that he will spend 10 days in prison and will have to pay 2000 shekel, an amount impossible to raise by the family. If they do not pay this money, Wassem he could be facing as much as six months in prison. This coming Thursday the court will give their decision.
Israeli forces arrest three, summon others from Bethlehem and Hebron
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 8 Mar – The Israeli forces arrested Saturday three people in Bethlehem and Hebron districts as well as summoned others for interrogation, security sources said. Forces arrested two people from Al-Khader, a village located to the south of Bethlehem, while they were working in Jerusalem for being in the city without a permit. They also handed two people aged 23 and 24 years from Dheisheh camp notices to appear before the Israeli intelligence in Gush Etzion settlement. Meanwhile, forces arrested a 16-year-old minor near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. They also took over the rooftop of a resident’s house and turned it into an outpost in Shuhada Street. They also stormed Sa‘ir and Dura, located respectively to the northeast and south of Hebron, where they broke into some houses and handed several people notices to appear before the Israeli intelligence. Meanwhile, they set up checkpoints in many neighborhoods in Hebron city as well as at the entrances of Saʻir and Halhul, stopped vehicles traveling along the roads, and examined passengers’ ID cards.
Army arrests 3 in Jerusalem and West Bank, summons 3 in Bethlehem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 9 Mar – The Israeli army on Sunday arrested two brothers in Jerusalem, in addition to a resident in Nablus as well as summoned three others from Bethlehem area for interrogation, according to local and security sources. In Jerusalem, army arrested two brothers, 20 and 22, from the neighborhood of Silwan, adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque, and led them to the Russian Compound police station In Jerusalem. Meanwhile in Nablus, army stormed Balata refugee camp and arrested a local resident. Meanwhile, forces handed three Palestinian youths from the Bethlehem area summons to appear before the Israeli intelligence. Forces also set up a flying military checkpoint at the entrance to the nearby village of Burin, searched vehicles and checked commuters’ identity cards.
Army turns house into military outpost near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Mar – Israeli army late Saturday raided a house belonging to a Palestinian resident near Jalazoun refugee camp, located to the north of Ramallah, and turned it into a military outpost, according to security sources. Army forces are still stationed in the house, stressing that forces have recently intensified their operations in that area, which caused the injury and killing of many residents.
Israeli forces erect checkpoints near Nablus villages for 3rd day
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — Israeli forces erected temporary checkpoints at the entrance to the northern West Bank villages of Madama and Burin south of Nablus for the third consecutive day on Sunday. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli troops have been inspecting all locals as they travel in and out of their villages, impeding their movement. The Israeli crackdown against the two villages began three days ago when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the vehicle of a Jewish settler traveling on the Israeli bypass road between the villages and the illegal Yitzhar settlement. Three individuals were detained by Israeli forces in the villages on Wednesday following the incident. The area around the villages south of Nablus is a frequent site of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as it is located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlement of Yitzhar. In mid-February, local settlers threw rocks at Palestinian schoolchildren and attacked a local high school in two separate incidents that led to clashes.
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 27 Feb-5 Mar
Palestinian member of an armed group was killed in the West Bank. 2 members of armed groups were killed and 2 children were wounded in an airstrike. Israeli forces continued to open fire at border areas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces killed a woman with mental disorder, south of the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian civilian was wounded in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in Bil‘in protest. 12 civilians were wounded in other protests in the West Bank, including 4 children. Israeli forces conducted 83 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 48 civilians, including 4 children were arrested. Israel continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank.At least 3 Palestinian civilians, including a 10-year-old child, were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested, north of the Gaza Strip Israeli forces continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. Settlers cut off 400 olive seedlings, north of the West Bank. Fire was set to a house in Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah.
On International Women’s Day, 21 women still held prisoner by Israel
IMEMC 8 Mar by Saed Bannoura — The Head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana, stated that, since 1967, Israel has kidnapped and imprisoned more than 15,000 women, including 1,000 since 2000, and that 21 women are currently held by Israel. Ferwana stated that the army has kidnapped mothers, wives, children and ailing women, subjecting them to torture and very difficult conditions. He said that 21 women are currently held by Israel, and that the longest serving is Lina Jarbouni, who was taken prisoner twelve years ago, and was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment … “The arrests escalated after the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, in late September 2000. This is a form of collective punishment and is in direct violation of International Law”, Ferwana said. “In many cases, women are kidnapped by the army to force wanted Palestinians to surrender, or to pressure detainees to provide information and to make up confessions.” … Ferwana saluted all Palestinian women, all former and current female detainees, and said that, as the world marks International Women’s Day, Palestinian women continue to play an essential role in the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation.
European fact-finding mission to investigate Israeli prison conditions
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — A European fact-finding mission is scheduled to visit Palestine and Israel in March to investigate the humanitarian conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, an official said Saturday. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe‘ said in a statement that a delegation would visit the region on March 19 and would spend three days visiting Israeli interrogation and detention centers, in addition to major prisons such as Ramla and HaSharon. The group will also meet with politicians and representatives of human rights groups both in Israel and in the West Bank, Qaraqe‘ said. According to the statement, the mission will meet with Qaraqe, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi, in addition to representatives of UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Israel’s minister of foreign affairs has said Israel would not allow the mission to enter the prisons themselves, the statement said. “With this, Israel is defying the international community and the European Union,” Qaraqe‘ said. “It is an attempt to conceal war crimes and crimes against humanity that are being practiced against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.” The statement said the mission was established by the European Parliament after Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died during interrogation in an Israeli detention center in 2013.
Lawyer: Negev prisoners could start hunger strike in April
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — Palestinian prisoners in a Negev prison in Israel say they could announce a hunger strike in April, a lawyer said. A lawyer representing the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society told Ma‘an that prisoners in Israel’s Ktziot prison told him that they have many reasons to begin a hunger strike.
Gaza under blockade
Gaza electricity crisis: Qatar-donated fuel running dry
IMEMC Sun 9 Mar by Chris Carlson — The last shipment of Qatar-donated diesel — used to fuel the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant — is expected to run out within four or five days, a Palestinian official said Sunday. The announcement comes after only around two months of steady electricity in the besieged coastal enclave, which suffers from a severe lack of fuel due to a seven-year-long economic blockade enforced jointly by Israel and Egypt. On Sunday, Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairperson of the Gaza power authority, told Ma’an News Agency that the Qatari donation had helped operate two generators and made electricity available on the basis of eight hours on, eight hours off. Qatar donated $10 million to Hamas authorities in Gaza, for fuel, in the wake of the humanitarian crisis caused by severe weather in the region in December.
Fire fighters control fire in Rafah smuggling tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — Fire fighters on Sunday controlled a huge fire inside a smuggling tunnel under the border with Egypt in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, civil defense sources said. Deputy director of Rafah civil defense services Ali Tantawi told Ma‘an that fire fighters were notified of a fire in a tunnel south of the Salah al-Din Route. He reported that it took firefighters “only ten minutes to control the fire,” and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not clear.
Egypt to open Rafah crossing [for pilgrims] for 2 days starting Sunday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip for two days starting Sunday, a Palestinian official said. A Gaza ministry of interior official told Ma‘an Saturday that a group of Umrah pilgrims would be allowed to pass through Rafah, and that a group of pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia would be allowed to return to the Strip. The returning pilgrims have been waiting in Egypt for several days, the official said.
Abu Sabha: Closure of Rafah crossing threatening lives of hundreds of patients
GAZA (PIC) 9 Mar — The Egyptian closure of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip is threatening the lives of hundreds of seriously ill patients, Maher Abu Sabha, the director of borders and crossings in Gaza, said on Sunday. Abu Sabha said in a radio statement that more than 6,000 passengers had registered with the interior ministry wishing to travel via the Rafah crossing, which has been closed for 32 days. He underlined that hundreds of cancer patients and other chronic diseases were among those registering for travel for treatment abroad in view of the lack of treatment in Gaza Strip that has been under siege for eight years. Moreover, hundreds of students and holders of resident permits abroad have also registered for travel via Rafah crossing and their future is in jeopardy as a result of delaying their travel, Abu Sabha warned.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Pro-Gaza activists leave Egypt after brief standoff
Cairo (dpa) 7 Mar — Pro-Palestinian activists have left Egypt after staging a sit-in at Cairo airport in protest against a decision by Egyptian authorities to deny them access to the Gaza Strip, sources at the airport said Friday. The last 14 of more than 60 women activists, mostly French, boarded flights to Britain and Turkey, added the sources. The day-long standoff eased Thursday night following efforts by the French ambassador in Cairo with the activists. The protest came after Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire was deported from Egypt on Wednesday … Egyptian authorities said that none of the activists had secured an advance approval from Cairo to enter Gaza … “The activists‘ arrival without prior coordination was a plot by the Brotherhood and Hamas to embarrass Egypt,” a security source told dpa.
UAE halts project for freed prisoners in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — The United Arab Emirates has suspended a project to build a compound for freed prisoners in the center of the Gaza Strip, a minister said. Public Works and Housing Minister Yousef Aziz said that the “Emirates informed us of the suspension of the project a while ago, since then we persistently contacted officials there to reverse the decision but to no avail.” He said in a statement that the UAE did not give a reason why the project was suspended. Aziz added that 70 percent of the plans and designs for the city were prepared. The UAE donated $50 million to build the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan city on 100 dunams in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, Fatah exchange accusations in Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Mar — The Gaza Strip ministry of interior responded on Sunday to reports of police brutality against a Fatah event in the Hamas-run coastal enclave by accusing activists of holding the ceremony unlicensed, stressing that “nobody can be above the law.” “A group of Fatah supporters organized an activity in Khan Younis without contacting police for approval, and that is a breach of the law and obvious attempt to bring security chaos back,” said Hamas official Iyad al-Buzm. Al-Buzm said that Fatah supporters had “attacked police officers who arrived to enforce the law.” … The accusations signal a potential slow-down in the national reconciliation process between the two rival Palestinian political parties, who have been working publicly towards rapprochement in recent months.
AP interview: Jihadi head says Gaza groups growing
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 9 Mar by Mohammed Daraghmeh — A leader of one of Gaza’s secretive jihadi groups says the al-Qaida-inspired movement now has several thousand armed fighters in the seaside strip, posing a formidable threat to both Israel and the area’s Hamas rulers. In an interview with The Associated Press, Abu Bakir al-Ansari described a movement that is larger and better organized than is generally believed, with dozens of fighters now in Syria, and claimed his group killed an Italian activist [Vittorio Arrigoni] three years ago. He said Gaza’s Salafis have agreed with Hamas to observe a truce with Israel for the time being, but that they are ready to fight at any time. “We have a deal with Hamas to abide by the truce as long as Israel abides,” Abu Bakir said. “But once it violates the truce, we fire our rockets without any consultation with Hamas.”
Hamas: Commander killed in accidental Gaza explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — The military wing of Hamas said on Saturday evening that a field commander was killed in an accidental “internal explosion” in the Hashashin neighborhood of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, while medical sources said that nine others were wounded. The Qassam Brigades said that Ibrahim Nagib al-Ghoul, 30, was killed in the explosion. A spokesman for the Gaza Strip Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that the majority of the nine individuals wounded in the explosion were suffering from serious injuries. Al-Qidra said that five of the wounded were taken to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, while the four others were transferred to the European Gaza Hospital. No details of the cause of the explosion were released.
Gazans find tuneful resistance
GAZA CITY (IPS) 9 Mar by Khaled Alashqar — Like almost everyone else in Gaza, these six are angry about the Israeli-imposed blockade and the resulting misery. Except that they are expressing their anger through music – without the music itself sounding angry … In these difficult circumstances, these six have chosen to sing through their Watar Band; Watar means ‘tune’ in Arabic. The musical six mostly use Western instruments, and sing in Arabic, English and French. Following the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2009 which led to the deaths of more than 1,400 people and massive destruction, Ala Shoublak, founder and leading member of the band, gathered musician friends to set up the band. “Everything was destroyed, including schools, roads and buildings, and the only theatre in Gaza that belongs to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society was bombed. We just decided to take our music instruments and sit on top of the destroyed theatre and sing for peace and freedom despite the ugly smell of death all around.”
Israeli hummus takes over Gaza supermarkets
Ynet 10 Mar by Elior Levy — Cookies, coffee, soap and even hummus – these are just some of the Israeli products one can find on the grocery stores’ shelves in Gaza, written in Hebrew just like the ones in the nearby Israeli retail chains. Apparently, beneath the surface of the daily military tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, there is a meaningful economic relationship. In 2012 the value import of Israeli products to Gaza stood at NIS 1.3 billion ($375 million), including not only water, gas and electricity, but also food and cleaning products from well-known Israeli companies … However, the high demand for Israeli products doesn’t only stem from comfort and proximity; in fact, Gaza is a captive market as Israel controls the formal movement from and to the strip, so it is easy for Israeli companies to control its market. While Israel makes a profit from selling its products within the Gaza strip, the citizens of Gaza are not given the same opportunities to sell their products. In 2007, after Hamas takeover of Gaza, Israel’s Defense Ministry banned the selling of goods from the Strip, though up until then, 85% of the Gaza-based merchandise was sold in Israel and the West Bank. Israel also controls the scope of traders who can travel in and out of Gaza using a procedure that explicitly encourages trade with Israeli companies only, and specifies rigid criteria defining who is permitted to enter Israel.
‘Iran weapons ship’
Israel says long-range rockets aboard ‘Iran arms ship’
EILAT, Israel (AFP) 9 Mar — Israel said Sunday it had found 40 long-range rockets aboard a ship it intercepted in the Red Sea, charging that it carried weapons sent by Iran to Gaza Strip militants. A statement from the Israeli military said the M-302 rockets with a range of 160 kilometers were found in containers offloaded from the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C. The vessel was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos on the high seas on Wednesday between Sudan and Eritrea and escorted to the Red Sea port of Eilat by two warships. It arrived late on Saturday and was inspected and unloaded on Sunday in an operation dubbed “Full Disclosure” … Iran has flatly denied any involvement with the shipment, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused the Islamic republic of “brazenly lying”. The premier and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon are due to attend a news conference in Eilat on Monday at which the weaponry will be put on display … Hamas as well as Islamic Jihad have denied they are linked to the weapons shipment. And Sudan, where Israel said the weapons were to be offloaded before being shipped overland to Gaza via Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, has also denied any involvement.
Egypt: Iranian arms ship destined for Sinai or Gaza
AP 9 Mar — A senior security official in Egypt says a missile shipment seized by Israel last week was destined for militants in either the Sinai Peninsula or the Gaza Strip. Israel says the shipment came from Iran, which the Islamic Republic denies.
US: We worked with Israel on tracking Iran weapons ship headed to Gaza
AFP 5 Mar — The United States said Wednesday that its intelligence services and military worked with Israel to track the ship carrying an intercepted shipment of advanced Iranian rockets headed for Gaza. The ship was seized late Tuesday night by Israeli naval commandos, who found the M-302 rockets hidden in crates of cement. President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Rockets on Iran weapons ship weren’t meant for Hamas
Ynet 5 Mar by Elior Levy — Shortly after the IDF confirmed that it had seized a weapons-laden ship bound from Iran to Gaza on Tuesday night, a Hamas spokesman called it a “stupid joke,” accusing Israel of lying in order to justify and expand its blockade on Gaza. Such a claim makes sense from Hamas’ perspective, given that it was not the group for whom the weapons were destined, nor did it know about them. Not one of the multitudes of press briefings the IDF has given to the Israeli and international media since the ship was seized has specifically mentioned who in Gaza was expecting the missiles. (Then again, the IDF has not said that they were going to Hamas, either.) Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is the only Israeli official to even give as much as a hint about who was awaiting the delivery. “What has emerged from this operation is that there is a terrorist entity, an Iranian arm, that is funded, trained and armed by Iran,” he said. In other words, the intended recipients of the missiles was Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group closely tied to Iran … The route of the smuggled weapons – from Syria to Iran, and then supposedly to Sudan and overland through Egypt and the Sinai into Gaza – strengthens the assumption that Hamas would not have been the final address. It is unlikely that Damascus and Tehran would make any effort to strengthen Hamas, and it’s hard to believe that Hamas, in its current weakened political situation, would risk the transfer of advanced rockets over Egyptian soil.
Israeli navy intercepts alleged Iran arms shipment near Sudanese port / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 5 Mar — …Israel was quick to make unproven claims that the shipment represents the official political position of the Iranian government, meaning that it may not be trusted either with nuclear weapons or even in the negotiations about its nuclear program:…This, of course, is nonsense … Returning to Pres. Rouhani, he no more sent those weapons to Sudan than Bibi Netanyahu armed the former IDF soldiers who are fighting today in Ukraine. My own confidential Israeli source has offered important information about the raid not reported elsewhere, which provides needed context. This was an operation of the Revolutionary Guards. The shipment was meant for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. The IRG, after dumping Hamas during the Syrian civil war, has embraced IJ as its new ally in Gaza.
Video: Spectators applauded IDF in Eilat: ‘Israeli Pride’
Ynet 8 Mar by Meir Ohayon — Hundreds of people, including tourists, were gathered near the Port of Eilat to watch the arrival of the Iranian weapons ship Klos C, as well as the IDF missile boats INS Hanit and INS Hetz that accompanied it, with applause and warm greetings: “Well done IDF and the Navy!”
Iranian cement and Israeli whitewash / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 9 Mar — A country that basks in the glory of military achievement, no matter how impressive, is not a healthy country — How many times can they show a sack of cement that’s labeled “Made in Iran” before our brain goes numb? How much praise can be heaped on a daring maritime operation before it makes us dizzy? How many times can we listen to the navy commander, surrounded by cameras, of course, radio the chief of staff to tell him “the ship is in our hands” – as if it were Motta Gur’s Six-Day War pronouncement that “the Temple Mount is in our hands” – before the scene becomes a parody?… Israel, which has sold and continues to sell weapons to almost every dark and outcast nation, explains to the world that this is how the (Iranian) evil network operates. Israel, which is armed with almost every kind of weapon in the world, does not allow others to arm themselves with even a little of what it has (what would happen if someone would have taken over an arms ship bound for Israel?). “We are not pirates, we are the Israel Defense Forces,” screamed one ridiculous headline over the weekend … The IDF managed to intercept a shipment of rockets, which were in fact manufactured in Syria and whose destination was not at all clear: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, World Jihad, Sinai and perhaps Sudan – who knows. The route is strange, the destination unidentified. But why deal with unimportant details when the national orgy is at its height?
Israel gets high on a ship hijacking / Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz 10 Mar — Just over a week ago the IDF killed Muataz Washaha, 24 years old from Bir Zeit, in his house; according to the version of the IDF Spokesman’s Office, he had “planned to conduct a terror attack in the near future.” It was also reported that forces of the Border Police’s special anti-terror unit and the 50th Battalion surrounded the house and fired a missile at it. On the television news there was no superfluous talk. After all, our forces suffered no losses. For some 47 years Israelis have become accustomed to living with the culture of kangaroo courts, along with torture, detention without trial, show trials, a consensus of the more prisoners the better. And above all, at the root of the matter – the right to kill. The killing of Palestinians has become a simple matter, and the reporting of it – only for the protocol. The soldiers have been called “warriors” for a long time, a relatively new title, which military affairs commentators use as if has been around forever, like war; but the name has upgraded the duties of the policeman/judge/hangman: To break in with live weapons to communities with unprotected populations, to roar, to scare children at night and kill those sentenced to death … This is the background for the carnival of the hijacking of the Klos C vessel. The press here burst out in great song, filled with testosterone and adrenalin, with praise for the daring deed. For days and nights the party continued, catered entirely by the IDF Spokesman’s Office and its generals. As opposed to the shrugging of shoulders over the killing of “wanted men,” or the ignoring of it, or a brief, dry report about it, or silence, the commentators sang for three days until they dared to ask a question … In brief: What exactly was daring about the takeover by the fleet of a regional power of a civilian ship?
Palestinian refugees in Syria
PLO: ‘Chaos’ in Yarmouk as armed groups return
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 8 Mar — The return of militants from the rebel groups al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to Yarmouk camp in Damascus has brought back tension and “chaos,” a Palestine Liberation Organization official said on Saturday. PLO Executive Committee member in charge of refugees affairs Zakariyya al-Agha said in a statement on Saturday that the return of the rebel armed groups in violation of an agreement reached with PLO factions had brought the besieged refugee camp back to chaos and conflict. Al-Agha stressed that as a result of the entrance of the groups it had become very difficult to secure the entrance of humanitarian aid into the camp, which has been under a siege by regime forces since last summer. PLO officials are exerting as much efforts as they can to try and avoid further complications in order to avert an even worse crisis, he added, highlighting that militants from different affiliations were being urged to leave the camp.
Syria army using starvation as ‘weapon of war’ in Yarmouk
BEIRUT (AFP) 10 Mar — The Syrian army has been using starvation as a “weapon of war” in its siege of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Amnesty International said on Monday. In a report on the plight of Palestinian and Syrian civilians in Yarmouk, the rights watchdog said nearly 200 people have died since an army siege was tightened in July 2013 and access to food and medicine cut. The document, entitled “Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk: War crimes against besieged civilians,” said 128 of the deaths were caused by starvation.
Activism / BDS
Teenagers write to PM: We won’t join an army that commits war crimes
Ynet 8 Mar — Dozens of teenagers sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday declaring their intention to refuse to enlist in the IDF for moral reasons. The teenagers said in their letter that they will not join the army in protest of “the ongoing occupation and the army’s invasion of civilian life that deepens the notions of chauvinism, militarism, violence, inequality and racism in society.” The letter’s authors urge Israeli youth nearing the age of 18 to reconsider “the meaning of army service.” “The Palestinians in the occupied territories live under the Israeli government’s rule, even though they did not choose this government and they cannot influence its decision-making in any legal way. This situation is unequal and unjust,” the letter said. The letter’s authors bemoaned the ongoing “human rights violations” and “acts that are considered war crimes according to international law” that happen in the West Bank, such as “executions without trial, settlement construction on occupied territory, administrative arrests, torture, collective punishments and unequal division of resources like water and electricity.”
Irish students vote for Israel boycott by landslide
Electronic Intifada 9 Mar by Ali Abunimah — Students at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) have overwhelmingly voted to endorse the Palestinian call for boycotting Israel. Official results of the 6 March vote showed that 1,954 students voted “yes” to a motion “That NUI Galway Students’ Union actively supports the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] against the State of Israel.” The “no” vote was 1,059. Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird, of NUI Galway’s Palestine Solidarity Society, which actively campaigned for the “yes” vote, said, “This is a landmark victory in Ireland for the growing international campaign to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation of Palestine, and no doubt [NUI Galway Student Union] is just the first of many student unions in Ireland to endorse such a campaign.”
Canadian university students launch Sabra hummus boycott
Haaretz 9 Mar by JTA — Pro-Palestinian student groups at the University of Ottawa have launched a campaign to ban Sabra hummus from campus. Sabra is partly owned by the Strauss Group, a foods manufacturer that the students allege financially supports the Golani Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, according to The New York Times. The students say the Golani Brigade has been accused of human rights violations by numerous organizations. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and the Palestinian Student Association are among the student groups involved in the campaign, according to the university newspaper, The Fulcrum, along with the community group Young Jews for Social Justice.
Erekat: The US administration has not delivered a draft agreement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Mar — The chief Palestinian negotiator said on Saturday that the US administration has not yet delivered any written framework agreement to the Palestinian Authority nor to Israel, denouncing claims otherwise as “baseless.” Saeb Erekat also told Ma‘an on Saturday morning that “the US administration has never suggested that Beit Hanina would be the capital of the future Palestinian state,” referring to rumors that Palestinians would be offered a single suburb of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as their capital … Asked whether Israeli prime minister Netanyahu might have received a written agreement during his recent visit to Washington, Erekat said: “I am not Netanyahu’s spokesman.” Erekat also told Ma‘an that “neither side has been asked to postpone the deadline,” reiterating that postponing an agreement is unacceptable to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu says any peace deal with Palestinians at least a year away
Reuters 9 Mar — Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said any peace deal with the Palestinians would take at least another year to negotiate should both sides accept US-proposed principles to keep talks going. In an Israel Radio interview broadcast on Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated that he regarded guidelines that US Secretary of State John Kerry is drafting for a future deal as an “American document of American positions”. Such a definition could give Netanyahu leeway to register reservations that could discourage staunch supporters of Jewish settlement in the West Bank where Palestinians want to make their state from bolting his coalition.
Arab League rejects Israel as Jewish state
Al Jazeera 9 Mar — The Arab League has backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of Israel as a “Jewish state”, as US-backed negotiations approach a deadline next month. League chief Nabil Elaraby called on Arab countries to take a “firm stand” against Israel’s demands, calling it a deviation from an agreed-upon framework for peace talks. El-Araby delivered his remarks on Sunday as Arab foreign ministers extended their support for the Palestinian leadership at a meeting in Cairo.
Palestinian PM woos Chinese firms for oil exploration
Xinhua 9 Mar — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah called on China to encourage Chinese companies to join a bid for petroleum exploration in the Palestinian territories. Al-Hamdallah said in a news statement after his meeting in the West Bank with the Chinese special envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike that his government has recently approved a bid to invite international companies to explore for oil in the West Bank. He added that another bid is being prepared for exploring offshore gas in Gaza. “We hope the Chinese government would urge Chinese companies to help enhance investment,” read the statement.
Egyptian TV station under fire for promoting tourism to Israel
Ynet 7 Mar by Roi Kais — One of Egypt’s state-owned television channels featured an article this week about the Arab-Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa, which is located near the coastal city of Haifa. The segment explained why the village would be a touristic hot-spot, noting the town’s magic, beauty, enchanting nature and friendly residents. Without much delay, the article brought about much criticism within Egypt, as many social media users expressed their restlessness about the unusual editorial and national newspapers called the segment an embarrassment. A radio announcer on one of Egypt’s state-owned radio stations commented on the debated video: “I am one of the (national) patriots who oppose any form of normalization, cooperation and presentation of materials about the Zionist entity, which we all do not acknowledge. If that television station and its workers have a different opinion, they should present this segment in privately-owned channels and not in one that belongs to a people that object normalization with the Zionist enemy.” The residents of Jisr az-Zarqa, however, are quite satisfied with the sudden express of positivity towards them, though some note it appears they were only used to re-ignite the quarrel between the two neighboring countries.
Right-wing Knesset members lash out at Arabs for ratings
Al-Monitor 7 Mar by Mazal Mualem — Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s remarks against Arab Knesset members aim first and foremost to attract headlines, says Arab Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh in an interview with Al-Monitor, but they sometimes serve Arab Knesset members as well — On the evening of March 5, Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s spokesman sent a lengthy email message to political correspondents. The inviting subject line read: “Watch: Minister Ariel tells the Arab Knesset members, ‘We can do without you.’” The message included a link to a clip documenting the ugly confrontation that had taken place several hours earlier in the Knesset plenary between the minister from the HaBayit HaYehudi Party and a group of Knesset members from the Arab factions … This peek behind the scenes of the housing minister’s media-related conduct is illustrative of the extent to which right-wing politicians gain political capital out of confrontations with Arab Knesset members. Ariel is not unusual: Supporters of the right wing like to see their elected leaders in these kinds of nationalistic displays of power. In the clip, which has already been uploaded on YouTube, the minister is seen reprimanding the Arab Knesset members for failing to understand the significance of the Western Wall for the Jews. As expected, they fought back and a noisy hullabaloo ensued. A day earlier, in a Facebook post, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote that since an Egyptian court had banned the activities of the Hamas movement, it was time to remove its representatives from the Knesset, too.