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Israel approved almost 14,000 settler homes and demolished over 500 Palestinian structures during 9 months of peace talks

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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israel okayed nearly 14,000 settler homes during talks: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 Apr — Israel approved plans for nearly 14,000 new settler homes during the nine months of peace talks with the Palestinians, an Israeli settlement watchdog said Tuesday as the negotiation period formally ended. Figures quoted by Peace Now showed that during the talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved at least 13,851 new housing through the advancement of plans and the publication of tenders. “This is an unprecedented number representing an average of 50 housing units per day or 1,540 per month,” it said. “Netanyahu broke construction records during the nine-month peace talks,” Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer told AFP. Israel’s ongoing settlement building has weighed heavily on the negotiation process, with the Palestinians infuriated by the relentless pace of new construction approvals on land they want for a future state. They have demanded a complete settlement freeze as one of the key conditions for any return to the crisis-hit talks.

PLO: Israel demolished over 500 Palestinian structures during talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Israel demolished over 500 Palestinian structures throughout the US-brokered peace negotiations, the PLO said in a statement Tuesday. Citing figures from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the PLO said Israel demolished a total of 508 Palestinian structures, 312 of which were homes, from July 30, 2013 to April 29, 2014. “As a result, 878 persons were forcibly displaced,” the statement said. The report said that in one case, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley.

Israel’s separation barrier in Jerusalem divides Palestinian family as peace hopes fade
JERUSALEM (AP) 29 Apr –  The six children of Ahmed and Rokaya Khatib shuttle between two parental homes during the week, spending time with their mother in Jerusalem or with their father in the West Bank. Theirs is not another story of a family broken up by divorce. The Khatibs are being kept apart by Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in east Jerusalem, including a towering separation barrier of cement slabs that cuts through families and neighborhoods. Their two homes, built on ancestral lands of their extended family, are just a mile (less than 2 kilometers) apart, but have ended up on opposite sides of the separation barrier. Rokaya and the children have Israeli permits to reach the Jerusalem house through a barrier checkpoint, but Israel has barred her husband on security grounds. “We cannot live the life we want as a family,” said Ahmed Khatib, 45. “It’s not a normal life.” The dispute over Jerusalem forms the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and hope of finding a way to share the city has faded with the failure of the latest U.S. mediation attempt … The story of the Khatibs begins in the West Bank village of Hizme, near Jerusalem. After Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967, it expanded the city limits into the West Bank and took land from more than two dozen villages, including Hizme. Israel then annexed the enlarged Jerusalem to its capital — a move not recognized by most countries in the world. In all, about one-fourth of Hizme’s 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares) ended up within Jerusalem’s new boundaries, village officials said. This included 12 acres (5 hectares) owned by the family of Ahmed and Rokaya Khatib, who belong to the same clan….

Israel authorizes record amount of West Bank land for settlement construction
Haaretz 29 Apr by Chaim Levinson — Most of the newly confirmed state land is in areas of strategic importance for settlers, including outposts that could join up with nearby settlements — A record amount of land – slightly more than half of it outside the West Bank separation barrier – was confirmed as state land last year, a critical step toward handing over the land to settlements so that more homes can be built on it. The 28,000 dunams (6,919 acres) were approved by the Civil Administration’s task force for demarcating state land, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the government coordinator in the territories, told a Knesset subcommittee this week. The so-called Blue Line task force, established by the Civil Administration in 1999, is reexamining land designated imprecisely during the 1980s as belonging to the state. Most of the newly confirmed state land is in areas of strategic importance for settlers, including outposts that could join up with nearby settlements and areas close to the Green Line that could potentially link up with towns in Israel. The largest plot of land is 3,476 dunams near the West Bank settlement of Ariel, while 2,302 dunams were claimed by the state in the southern Hebron Hills. The land reclamation indicates that Israel is not interested in negotiations, said Dror Etkes, who works with Rabbis for Human Rights to track Israeli settlement policy.

Haaretz editorial: Israel’s whitewashed territories
30 Apr — Appropriating land and declaring it ‘state land’ is a historic injustice that is a fundamental aspect of the occupation — The Israeli government and its proxies in the West Bank have never let up in their efforts to portray the settlement enterprise as legal, even though it is a sweeping violation of international law. An ongoing example of this is the work of the Blue Line task force, which was set up by the Civil Administration to reevaluate the validity of the status of state land. Some one million dunams (250,000 acres) of land were declared to be state land during the 1980s, in an effort to circumvent objections voiced by the High Court of Justice to seizing lands for settlement. Appropriating land and declaring it “state land” is a historic injustice that is a fundamental aspect of the occupation. Meanwhile, as the years have passed, it emerged that these designations were not based on orderly examinations of legal ownership, a fact that has embroiled the state in numerous lawsuits. The state has been reexamining the status of these lands for over 13 years. To get a new permit to build on “old” state lands (as opposed to newly declared lands), developers must get the approval of the blue-line team – so named because the state land designations are marked by a blue line on government maps. But in practice it seems that on some of these lands, homes and outposts have already been built. In order to retroactively whitewash them, and to enable other settlements to expand “legally,” the Civil Administration in 2013 re-designated some 28,000 dunams as state land. From the data revealed by Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson on Tuesday, it emerges that most of the land in question is within the municipal boundaries of various settlements, and around half of it is east of the West Bank separation barrier.

Contempt for non-Jewish religions / Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Israeli settlers vandalize church, threaten Bishop of Nazareth
NAZARETH (WAFA) 29 Apr – Israeli Jewish extremists Tuesday vandalized Tabgha church located on the northwestern shore of Lake Tiberias in Galilee. Sources said that Jewish extremists vandalized the church pews and smashed the cross. Meanwhile, a Jewish extremist handed Monday night a written threat to the housemaid of Catholic bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo. According to Alarab news website, the threat was made by a Jewish extremist from Safad against Marcuzzo himself and the Christian community, which stated that they have until May 5th to leave the so-called ‘land of Israel’, or otherwise they will pay dearly in lives for that. Arab members of Knesset condemned the attack and held Israel fully responsible for it. Mohammad Barakeh stated “Threatening the Latin Bishop of Nazareth demonstrates the historical fact that all Arabs, Christians and Muslims alike, are targeted. Our battle has never been sectarian or religious but national.” Talab Abu ‘Arar stated that such attacks are “acts of terrorism that are perpetrated against the Palestinian people in general and are motivated by the Israeli ministers’ incitement against the Arabs.”

Israeli threatens to kill Arab Christians unless they leave the country
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Apr by Saed Bannoura — [Tuesday, April 29, 2014] In a letter delivered to the Latin Patriarch in the Holy Land, Paul Marcuzzo of Nazareth, an Israeli man has said that all Christian priests, and Christians in Israel, must leave the country “or else a 100 Christians will be killed every hour of delay”. The Israeli police in the northern part of historic Palestine said that a 40-year old Israeli man, from Safad, was apprehended.  The police added that the man actually went to the home of Marcuzzo, and handed one of his housekeepers a letter containing death threats to Christians, priests and every person who works for a church in the country. The letter demanded Marcuzzo to inform all priests, except for Protestants and Evangelicals, to leave the country by sunset of May 5, 2014. The letter also mentioned that a 100 Christians will be killed “for every hour of delay” after the deadline, adding that Christians are “desecrating the land of Israel even by breathing its pure air”….

Vandals leave graffiti on mosque in Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP) 28 Apr —  Vandals left anti-Muslim graffiti on a mosque in northern Israel, police said on Tuesday, the latest in a string of racist and religious attacks in the region. “Unidentified people drew a Star of David and wrote ‘close the mosques and open yeshivas’ (Jewish seminaries) on the outer wall” of the mosque in Fureidis, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “The tyres of several cars parked nearby were slashed,” he said, adding that “crimes committed for nationalist motives are extremely serious.”
On April 18, assailants in the nearby city of Umm al-Faham left graffiti on a mosque and damaged its door. Earlier in the month, suspected Jewish extremists slashed the tyres of some 40 cars in an Arab village in northern Israel, and a Roman Catholic convent west of Jerusalem was vandalised by attackers who sprayed offensive graffiti on the walls and damaged five nearby cars. In March, vandals slashed the tyres of more than 40 cars in Arab east Jerusalem, spraying a slogan reading: “Gentiles in the land are enemies”.

Mass protest against ‘price tag’ in northern Arab town
[photos, short video] Ynet 29 Apr by Hassan Shaalan — Residents of Fureidis and Zikhron Ya’akov demonstrated Tuesday night at the entrance to the Arab town against a “price tag” attack which occurred this morning.   Some 2,500 people were at the protest, in which the Jewish residents of Zikhron Ya’akov displayed signs that said “We support our neighbors” and “Bibi, Bennett, and Lapid – arrest the criminals.” The protestors demanded police forces arrest those responsible for Tuesday morning’s “price tag” attack and bring them to justice. In response to the lack of arrests, the town of Fureidis will conduct a general strike Wednesday, which will include schools and businesses. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited the head of the local council to a meeting in order to discuss the matter in length … One resident, Ahmed Marhi, told Ynet: “We’re angry at the government and the police for their silence on ‘price tag’ attacks. It’s hard to comprehend why no arrests have been made. It’s very disappointing that the country cannot reach the criminals, who are still free to vandalize holy places.”,7340,L-4514736,00.html

Israeli bulldozers demolish mosque, 3 houses near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Apr – Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished a mosque and three houses in a Palestinian village south of Nablus, an official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that over 20 Israeli military vehicles entered Khirbet al-Tawil near the town of ‘Aqraba early Tuesday morning. Bulldozers immediately began demolishing a mosque and three houses belonging to Osama Anas, Anwar Sidqi Hani, and Muhammad Hani. The structures were demolished under the pretext that they were built without permits, Daghlas said. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Rightist groups seek Jewish sovereignty over Aqsa mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr – Right-wing Jewish organizations distributed a leaflet across Jerusalem Monday urging Jews to join an emergency conference to discuss means to secure a Jewish presence inside the al-Aqsa compound. The conference, according to the leaflet, will be held Tuesday at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem to address how to guarantee a Jewish presence inside the holy place and to force Israeli police to open all gates to Jews and allow them to perform Jewish rites freely. The leaflet reads that workshops and panels will be held to listen to suggestions on how to impose “complete Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount.” The leaflet claims that Jews, when they enter the compound, are being humiliated, detained, harassed and subjected to physical harm.

Israel blocking Palestinian permits over UN push, IDF officer says
Haaretz 27 Apr by Chaim Levinson — The Palestinian bid to join international organizations is the reason for the recent halt to construction planning in Palestinian villages, said a senior Israeli army officer on Sunday, contradicting what government officials recently told the Supreme Court. The government had said building permits in Area C, which is the part of the West Bank under direct Israeli control, are issued solely according to planning experts. But testimony by Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the West Bank, to a Knesset committee on Sunday indicates political motivations are behind the decision to stop planning and building. “Master construction plans for the Palestinian populations have been frozen as a response to Mahmoud Abbas overtures to the UN organizations,” Mordechai said.

Court to state: Involve local Palestinians in Area C building process
Jerusalem Post 29 Apr by Tovah Lazaroff — Local Palestinians should be more involved in the planning process for their villages in Area C of the West Bank, the High Court of Justice told the state on Monday. It attempted to increase their statutory rights without interfering with the larger diplomatic issues involved in the frozen peace process. A panel of three judges gave the state 90 days to come up with such a plan at the end of the hearing on a 2011 petition by Rabbis for Human Rights … Monday’s debate, the first of its kind since the petition was filed three years ago, was scheduled months in advance. But it fell just one day after the coordinator for government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, announced that the state had frozen pending authorizations for master plans for 19 Palestinian villages in retaliation for unilateral PA moves to shore up its legal standing as a state.

Israeli forces demolish house near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Apr — The Israeli forces demolished Monday a Palestinian-owned house in Rafat near Jerusalem, according to a police report. According to a press release issued by the Palestinian Police Public Relations and Information Directorate, Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by 40 military vehicles, demolished a one-room house belonging to a resident in Rafat, razed the land and demolished the retaining wall surrounding it as well as uprooted the grape vines planted in the land.

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian domicile in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr – Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished a steel structure which used to house members of the Maslamani family in al-Tur neighborhood east of the Old City of Jerusalem. Locals told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli troops and inspectors of the municipality of Jerusalem accompanied bulldozers to al-Hardoub square in the area. The soldiers surrounded a steel structure housing members of the family and ordered them to evacuated the house before it was demolished. Witnesses say Israeli officers forcibly evacuated the family and beat them including elderly people and women. The owner’s son Omar al-Maslamani and another man identified as Ibrahim Shweiki were beaten and detained before bulldozers started to tear down the structure. The owner of the house, Abu Omar al-Maslamani, says he built it in April 2013. The house is 60 square meters and made of aluminum, tin sheets and gypsum boards. In February, the Israeli Central Court of Jerusalem ordered the demolition of steel structures used by the family. Omar al-Maslamani told Ma‘an at the time that the court rejected an appeal by the family and informed him and his father that they should demolish the structures in 60 days. Otherwise the municipality demolition teams will do the job and the family will have to pay the costs, he said. The Jerusalem municipality, he added, had been trying to confiscate the family’s tract of land to use it for a public road. The road’s plan was submitted to the Knesset in 2000 and it was not approved.

Israeli forces storm school in southern Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 Apr — Israeli forces stormed Monday Al-Fakhit school and took photographs of it near Masafer Yatta to the south of Hebron, said a local activist … Jabour added that forces broke also into a nearby natural reserve that was recently established by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with Action Against Hunger. They also broke into a resident’s tent near the Al-Fakhit reserve and verbally notified the resident that he should evacuate his shed.

Israeli forces hand [out] demolition notices for dwellings in southern Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 29 Apr — Israeli forces Tuesday handed demolition notices for an animal barn and a dwelling belonging to Palestinian in Khirber al-Fakhit located near Yatta to the south of Hebron, according to a local activist. Forces along with ‘civil administration’ officers handed a resident in Masafer al-Sharqeyya (eastern Masafer) notices to demolish his animal barn and residential dwelling that houses him and his family, displacing them, said Coordinator of the Anti-wall and Settlement Popular Committee Ratib Jabour. Khirbet Al-Fakhit, home to approximately 200 Palestinians living in tents, is one of 12 Palestinian villages that are located in an enclave between al-Tuwani and the internationally-recognized green line. The Israeli forces have seized thousands of dunums of Palestinian-owned farmlands in the area, which has been declared a closed military zone that is only accessible by tractors through a steep, rutted and dirt road. Residents are denied basic services, primarily electricity, running water, and they have no shops and medical clinics. Teachers and students making their way to Al-Fakhit school are frequently stopped, searched and harassed by Israeli soldiers. Such Israeli measures are intended to displace Palestinians living in rural areas to urban centers, like Yatta, in order to seize their land.

Settlers build structure on Palestinian land near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 29 Apr — Israeli settlers on Tuesday began the construction of a shed in Palestinian-owned land to the south of Bethlehem, as a prelude to take over the land, reported Hassan Burejeyah, coordinator of the anti-settlement committee in Bethlehem. He said settlers from the illegal settlement of Avrat, under army protection, stormed a private-owned ranch in Khallat An-Nahlah, a small village near Bethlehem, and proceeded to build a small room out of wood and tin. 55-year-old Mohammad Ayesh, owner of the ranch, attempted to prevent the settlers from storming his land, but soldiers retained his identity card and detained him for hours, said Burejeyah. He said the escalation by settlers against Ayesh’s land continues for the third day in a row with the aim to expand the nearby illegal settlement of Avrat

Settlers set up tent near Tulkarm
TULKARM (WAFA) 29 Apr — Israeli settlers on Tuesday set up a tent near the village of Jubarah, to the south of Tulkarm, and raised the Israeli flag over it, reported witnesses. They told WAFA that settlers from the illegal settlements of Avnei Hefets and Einav set up a tent at the entrance of the village in place of the apartheid wall that used to run through that area and was later demolished, causing a state of tension among residents for fear that settlers might close the Tulkarem-Qalqilia road.

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Detentions

Teens treated for Israeli-inflicted wounds in Jordan detained
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Israeli forces late Monday detained two Palestinian teens returning from Jordan, where they were being treated for wounds they sustained while being mauled by Israeli police dogs months before. Popular committee spokesman Hani Halabiya told Ma‘an that 17-year-old Adam Abd al-Raof Jamous and 19-year-old Juhar Nassar al-Din Halbieh, both from Abu Dis, were detained at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan. Fierce clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces broke in Abu Dis Monday night after the two were detained. The clashes started after midnight and lasted until early dawn hours. Israeli forces shot six young Palestinian men with rubber-coated bullets, while dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation…
Jamous and Halbieh were mauled by police dogs after Israeli forces opened fire on them without warning near al-Zayyem checkpoint near Abu Dis on Jan. 30, a Palestinian Authority lawyer told Ma‘an at the time. Tariq Barghouth said that the two were visiting a friend’s home nearby when Israeli Border Police suddenly opened fire in their direction before releasing dogs on them. Barghouth explained that the dogs mauled Jawhar Halbieh’s body and inflicted numerous wounds before soldiers dragged the two youth on the ground for a distance of 300 meters while simultaneously beating them with rifle butts and kicking and punching them.
The beatings causing numerous fractures in their body and they were later transferred to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem, he added, he said. The two sustained bullet wounds in addition to the injuries inflicted by the soldiers and the dogs, Barghouth said.

WATCH: Israeli soldier threatens Hebron teen with gun
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Video footage of an Israeli soldier in Hebron aiming his gun at a Palestinian teenager was posted online Sunday by a local activist group. Youth Against Settlements posted the video clip on YouTube under the title “Attempting to shoot a minor.”  The footage shows an Israeli soldier harassing a Palestinian teenager and pushing him away before drawing and cocking his assault rifle after another teenager walked behind him. The soldier is then filmed shouting insults at both teenagers before kicking one of them in the leg. He then threatens to put a “bullet in the head” of a third man filming the event unless he stops. The Israeli soldier was reportedly from Battalion 932 of the Nahal Brigade and has now been reassigned, according to Haaretz.

Settlers surround, attack farmer near Bethlehem [again]
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 28 Apr — Israeli settlers on Monday surrounded a Palestinian farmer while he was grazing his sheep on his privately owned land in the village of Wadi Rahhal near Bethlehem, preventing him from returning home, said Hassan Burejeyeh, coordinator of the anti-settlement committee in Bethlehem. He said settlers, accompanied by their dogs, surrounded farmer Mohammad Ayesh [or Ayyash], 55, from the nearby village of Artas, while he was present at his own ranch and prevented him to leave. To be noted, the incident came a day following a similar assault by settlers against Ayesh; settlers stormed Ayesh’s land and when he asked them to leave they unleashed their dogs to attack him as well as severely beat him up, causing him several bruises throughout his body.

Palestinian injured after being rammed by settler’s vehicle
Bethlehem (IMEMC/Agencies) 29 April — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian man was injured after being hit by a settler’s car, while working in Beitar Illit illegal settlement, near Bethlehem. The sources said that Sha’baan Abdullah Qandeel, 32, suffered various bone fractures and bruises, and was moved to the Arab Society Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, in the nearby city of Beit Jala. Qandeel is from al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. Beitar Illit settlement was built on Palestinian lands that belong to residents of the villages of Husan, Nahhalin and Wad Fokkin.

Jewish settler tries to run over Palestinian citizen in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 27 Apr — A Jewish settler tried to run over a Palestinian citizen south of Nablus on Saturday night. The PIC reporter said that the citizen was crossing the main road in Hawara village, south of Nablus, when the settler in a white KIA car deliberately headed towards him. He said that calls for caution were voiced in the village following the incident in which the man barely escaped unharmed.
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Palestinians, Israeli military forces clash in al-Eizariya
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli military forces clashed with local Palestinians in al-Eizariya late Sunday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said that Israeli forces attacked a peaceful rally organized by Fatah’s youth movement in support of the al-Aqsa mosque, firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets. Palestinian youths hurled stones and empty bottles in response.
Freelance photojournalist Rami Illariya told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers stopped him and ordered him to leave the area during the clashes because they didn’t want the incident to be documented.

IOF arrests national team player Sameh Mara‘be
JERICHO (PIC) 29 Apr — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested on Monday the Palestinian national team football player Sameh Mara‘be, 22, at Karama border crossing near Jericho after his return from Qatar. The Israeli forces detained and investigated Mara‘ba for several hours before informing his family of his arrest. The football team’s coach affirmed that Mara‘ba was participating in the team’s training camp in Doha in preparation for Football Confederation Challenge Cup in the Maldives next month. His arrest would deprive him from participating in the AFC Challenge Cup, he added.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers have arrested a Palestinian young man, from Tamoun northern Nablus, after leaving his university campus on Monday evening. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers had erected a checkpoint between Nablus and Wad Badhan, where they arrested Abdallah Bani Odeh, an activist in the Islamic bloc at al-Najah University.
In another incident, Israeli occupation forces violently stormed Nafer Abu Majdi’s home in Tamoun village and brutally attacked and beat him. The Israeli forces summoned Abu Majdi for investigation claiming that a donkey belonging to him was tied in area C, which under Israeli full control. However, Abu Majdi confirmed that his donkey is tied up in his home yard and not in the alleged area. This incident has become a source of sarcasm and irony in the town.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided at dawn on Tuesday Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, and stormed Palestinian stores in Jerusalem street adjacent to the refugee camp. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers surrounded the Abu Amer home, which led to a state of panic among the family members.
In a related context, Palestinian youths stoned Israeli settlers’ car on the bypass road southern Nablus. Israeli forces arrived to the scene and carried out combined operations in Hawara and Madma villages. Local sources said that a number of the villages’ youths were detained and searched, while 12-year-old Saad Odeh was arrested and taken to an unknown destination.
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Israeli police arrest 3 students in anti-conscription demonstration in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 29 Apr — Israeli police arrested Tuesday three Arab students from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said local witnesses. Israeli police stormed the Hebrew University campus to disperse a demonstration organized by Arab students against the military conscription of Arab Christians and arrested three students. Students lifted banners written in several languages and chanted slogans denouncing Israeli attempts to enlist Arab Christians in the Israeli army and stressing their affiliation to Palestine. Police assaulted demonstrators using sticks as well as pepper sprayed them, causing several injuries among them.

Palestinian activist given house arrest for a Facebook status
972mag 29 Apr by Edo Konrad — In the latest case of Israeli police detaining Palestinian activists for social media activity, a Lod man is placed under house arrest and has equipment confiscated for openly opposing the enlistment of Christian Arabs on his Facebook page. Israel Police placed Lod resident and Palestinian citizen of Israel Ghassan Munair, 44, under house arrest this week for posting a Facebook status that decried the government’s attempts to enlist Christian Arabs into the Israeli army. According to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Munair was summoned to the local police station, where he was interrogated for a Facebook status deemed by the police to be “threatening.” Munair allegedly posted a photo of Greek Orthodox Father Gabriel Nadaf — a spiritual leader among the Christian population in Israel, and a proponent of Christian enlistment in the Israeli Defense Forces — alongside Finance Minister Yair Lapid, with the following caption: ‘For the sake of freedom of speech and transparency The faces and names of the “honorable” who appear in the following photos are the same ones who want to enlist your sons against your people — remember this’

Israeli police assault workers near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 28 Apr — Israeli police on Monday assaulted and beat up workers bound for work in Israel, while crossing through al-Jalameh border crossing, according to security sources and witnesses. Confrontations erupted following the assault between workers and police, delaying workers from reaching their work on time. The crossing was later opened and they were allowed entry

Israeli police ‘detain Palestinian ministry employee’ at Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Israeli police physically assaulted and then detained an employee of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment in the al-Aqsa compound early Tuesday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals told Ma‘an that police assaulted and detained Raed Zughayyar, who works for a construction committee of the ministry. Zughayyar was detained after a heated argument broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian worshipers and students near the Cotton Merchant’s Gate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians from Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the Hebron town of Beit Ummar on Sunday, a local activist said. An official from the Beit Ummar popular committee against settlements and the wall told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the town and detained Qassam Ahmad Abu Hashim, 19, after ransacking his home. Beit Ummar resident Hmeidan Ahmad Abu Mariyya, 20, was detained at the Allenby Bridge after returning from the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, while Malik Bassam Al-Teet, 15, was detained at the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Road blocked due to Israeli military training near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 29 Apr – Israeli army forces on Tuesday proceeded to conduct military exercises at the entrance of the town of Beit Ummar to the south of Hebron as well as closed the road leading to the town, according to activist Mohammad Awad, spokesperson for the anti-settlement committee in the village.  He said army forces intensified their presence in the area and set a checkpoint at the entrance of Beit Ummar and checked identity cards of drivers and passengers, which caused a traffic jam. The forces also broke through the village for military training purposes and fired tear gas and stun grenades towards local residents. No injuries were reported

Israel arrests six youths, including teen, in Hebron and Bethlehem
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 Apr – Israeli forces arrested Monday six Palestinian youths, including a teenager, from the districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, security sources said. Forces stormed Beit ‘Awwa, a town located to the southwest of Hebron and arrested two people, aged 20 and 15, after breaking into and searching their houses. They also stormed Beit Ummar, a town located to the north of Hebron and arrested a 20-year-old person after breaking into and searching his house, according to Spokesperson of the Anti-wall and Settlement Popular Committee Mohammad ‘Awad. Meanwhile, soldiers stationed at Al-Karameh border crossing, late Sunday night, arrested a 20-year-old person, who is a resident of Hebron. They also handed a 17-year-old person a notice to appear before the Israeli intelligence for interrogation in ‘Gush Etzion’, an illegal bloc of Israeli settlements located near Bethlehem, after breaking into his house in the same town. Meanwhile, forces stormed Dheisheh refugee camp, located to the south of Bethlehem, where they arrested a 22-year-old person after breaking into and searching his house. They also stormed Zaʻtara, a town located to the east of Bethlehem, and arrested a 25-year-old person after breaking into and searching his house

Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians across the West Bank in overnight detention raids, a popular committee spokesman and an army spokeswoman said Tuesday. Popular committee spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided Beit Ummar after midnight and detained four youths — Nour Nawwaf, 18, Yousef Mahmoud Sabarnah, 20, Muhammad Ibrahim Arara, 20, and 20-year-old Amr Jamil al-Alami. Nawwaf is a high school student and the three others are university students, Awad noted, adding that 24 Palestinians have been arrested in Beit Ummar since the beginning of April. Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank town of Ya‘abad in the Jenin district and detained three other Palestinian youths — Yousef Samir Yousef, 19, Muhammad Omar Mustafa, 19, and 20-year-old Firas Abu Bakr. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that the army detained 17 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight — two in Qabatia near Jenin, one in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, four in Yaabad, one in Ramallah, five in Kafr Qaddum, and four in Beit Ummar.


Group: Lawyer commits suicide after ‘torture’ in Israeli jail
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — A Palestinian lawyer who was found dead in his Jerusalem apartment on Tuesday was tortured during his 45-day detention by Israeli forces, the Palestinian prisoners’ society said. A statement by the PPS said that Amjad al-Safadi, 39, was beaten and electro-shocked and put under continuous monitoring. Al-Safadi’s alleged torture led to extreme psychological trauma which pushed him to commit suicide, the statement said. The attorney was released from jail five days ago after spending 45 days in detention. He was put under house arrest, and released on a bail of 20,000 shekels. He was found hung in his Jerusalem apartment early Tuesday, the group said … In March, the head of the committee of Jerusalem prisoners’ families Amjad Abu Asab said that Israeli forces detained al-Safadi as he was visiting Hadarim prison. He added that Israeli forces also raided al-Safadi’s house and confiscated a computer and several documents.

Jerusalem lawyer charged with passing messages to Hamas commits suicide
Haaretz 30 Apr by Nir Hasson — East Jerusalem attorney, who was due to appear in court, was found hanged in his home — An East Jerusalem lawyer recently indicted on charges of contact with a foreign agent and providing services to an illegal organization, killed himself on Tuesday at his home in Jerusalem. Amjad Safadi, in his late 20s, was one of six attorneys arrested three weeks ago by the police and the Shin Bet security service, and indicted for allegedly carrying messages between prisoners and Hamas activists on the outside. The attorneys, however, said they were providing legitimate legal services to the prisoners. Similar charges two years ago against attorney Shireen Issawi (who has also been charged in the current case) ended with a plea bargain and a light penalty. Safadi had been in custody for a few weeks and was released five days ago to house arrest. During his incarceration his family said he was suffering from depression.

Administrative detainees continue their hunger strike
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 29 Apr — Palestinian administrative detainees have continued their hunger strike for the sixth consecutive day Tuesday protesting their detention without trial or charge. The striking administrative detainees stressed, in a leaked letter, their determination to continue their strike till meeting all their demands, calling on the Palestinian people to support their hunger strike and their legitimate demands. About 200 Palestinian administrative detainees started an open-ended hunger strike on Thursday 24th April demanding an end to their administrative detention. For his part, the detainee Ayman Atabich continues his hunger strike for 61 consecutive days, while Adel Shneith continues his hunger strike for 26 days in a row.
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Gaza under double blockade

Activist boat ‘Gaza’s Ark’ severely damaged by explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — An improvised cargo ship built by fishermen and international activists was hit by an explosion in Gaza City early Tuesday, the Gaza’s Ark initiative said in a statement. At 3:45 a.m., a guard on board the boat received a call that the boat would be attacked, the statement said. The guard left, but returned after nothing happened. Then an explosion occurred that caused the boat to sink. No injuries were reported, but the boat was extensively damaged, the statement said. The perpetrators behind the attack remain unidentified and their motives unclear. The boat, named Gaza’s Ark, was set to bring Palestinian products from Gaza to Europe in protest against Israel’s economic blockade on the coastal enclave. “Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism,” David Heap of Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee said in the statement. “But our position remains clear: Neither this nor any other attack will stop our efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends.” “This attack comes as we were almost ready to sail,” said Ehab Lotayef, another member of the Steering Committee. “You can sink a boat but you can’t sink a movement.” The boat was set to sail in spring 2014, the organization said in November. If Gaza’s Ark set sail to Europe, it would mark the first time goods from Gaza have been exported by sea since the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords.

WHO reports higher need for Israeli border crossing for Gaza patients
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Apr — The World Health Organization reported, in its monthly report, an increasing need by Palestinian patients in Gaza to use Erez border crossing, on the borders with Israel, which resulted from the continuing shutdown of Rafah crossing with Egypt. Below is the annual WHO monthly report for March 2014: * Increased access need through Erez: The number of patients’ applications submitted in March to Israeli authorities for health access through Erez checkpoint was the highest since the WHO began monitoring access in 2005; in the first quarter of 2014 the number was 87% higher than for the same period in 2013. The increase in need reflects the continuing problems of access through Rafah border to Egypt and lack of drugs, especially chemotherapy and lack of medical disposables. * Drop in approval rates of permits….

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for two days
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Egyptian authorities will open Rafah crossing on Tuesday and Wednesday to allow medical and humanitarian cases out of Gaza after President Mahmoud Abbas’ request. Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra thanked Egypt for its concern and said it reflected the country’s desire to ease the suffering of the people in Gaza. Egyptian authorities have closed the crossing for over a month, and the regime only opens it on Sundays and Mondays for pilgrims and Gazans stranded in the country.

IOF soldiers detain Palestinian for crossing Gaza fence
GAZA (PIC) 28 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a Palestinian man after crossing the Gaza border fence to the northeast of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Monday. Local sources said that the unidentified man was ordered to strip by the soldiers before detaining him. Meanwhile, IOF army vehicles were seen gathering east of Juhr Al-Deek are [and?] also opposite central Gaza.
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Palestinian refugees in Syria

3 Palestinians killed in Syria; aid supplies to Yarmouk camp stopped
DAMASCUS (PIC) 29 Apr — Three Palestinian refugees have been tortured to death in Syrian regime’s prisons, while aid supplies’ access to Yarmouk besieged refugee camp has been stopped after four days of distribution. Action Group for Palestinian Refugees in Syria has confirmed the martyrdom of three Palestinians after being subjected to severe torture in Syrian prisons, including two brothers. The Action Group has earlier reported that 11 Palestinian refugees were killed in Syria last week. A state of frustration has prevailed in Yarmouk refugee camp after the halt of aid supply distribution without given reasons … Action Group pointed out that Palestinian refugee camps are still subjected to very difficult living conditions especially Yarmouk refugee camp that has been suffering from tightened siege for 10 months imposed by the Syrian regular army and armed groups of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. Daraa refugee camp has been also suffering from acute shortage in medication, while Khan Dannoun has been witnessing a water crisis. Palestinian refugees in Husseinia and Sbeina camps have been prevented by Syrian regime forces from returning to their homes. An electricity and fuel crisis has been witnessed in the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, the report added.
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Other news

Leader: Hamas will not oppose PM in new govt
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Apr – The Hamas movement will not oppose that prime minister of the Palestinian Authority Rami Hamdallah or any other personality heading the coming unity government, a top party official said Sunday. Deputy chief of Hamas’ politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq highlighted that the coming government “isn’t President Mahmoud Abbas’ government, but rather a government of national unity and agreement, and this is what we have signed with Fatah.” In a meeting with writers and analysts organized by the Gaza-based thinktank PalThink for Strategic Studies, Abu Marzouq said the unity government “isn’t political at all”. He added that if the government’s agenda would include possible recognition of Israel, many people would avoid joining that government which is expected to deal with sensitive and broad issues. Abu Marzouq pointed out that the reconciliation agreement Hamas and Fatah signed did not include any secret clauses. The two movements, he added, signed an agreement to implement already signed agreements. Both movements wanted a way out of deadlocks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As for Fatah’s deadlock, added Abu Marzouq, it was the failure of peace talks with Israel after two decades of negotiations. Meanwhile, Hamas’ impasse stems from the new approach to the faction and the Gaza Strip by the new rulers in Egypt. The Hamas official said it was pressure by Israel and the US administration that foiled previous reconciliation efforts during the last five years.

PLO: Israel never gave negotiations ‘a chance to succeed’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Washington’s deadline for reaching a peace deal expired Tuesday, with the PLO stating that Israel actively sabotaged efforts to achieve a two-state solution. “Unfortunately, Israel never gave the negotiations a chance to succeed,” PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement marking the April 29 deadline for peace talks. “To build settlements in occupied land, kill Palestinians and demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes is certainly not the behavior of a government that wants to end occupation but of a government that wants to turn occupation into annexation.” Rather than use the nine-month deadline to achieve a two-state solution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used “every possible tool in order to consolidate its Apartheid regime,” Erekat said.

Palestinians risk US aid freeze if Hamas join government
WASHINGTON (AFP) 29 Apr  — Palestinian leaders risk forfeiting millions of dollars in US aid if they press ahead with plans to form a unity government including militant Hamas members, US lawmakers and officials warned Tuesday. “Let me be utterly clear about our policy towards Hamas,” Assistant Secretary for the Near East Anne Patterson told a House hearing. “No US governmental money will go into any government that includes Hamas until Hamas accepts the Quartet conditions. And that’s renouncing violence, recognizing previous agreements and most explicitly recognizing Israel’s right to exist.”

US vowed support for Israel on talks with Palestinian unity government, source claims
Ynetnews 29 Apr — Israel has received “a specific commitment from the American administration” that it supports Jerusalem’s vehement opposition to peace talks with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, the New York Times on Monday quoted an Israeli official as saying.  The official told the Times that the commitment had been given to Israel during US President Barack Obama’s first term, and that it had been given once more following his re-election in 2012. A senior State Department official refused comment to the Times, saying the administration was “not going to reveal the details of private conversations.”,7340,L-4514519,00.html

No peace with Israel without defining borders: Abbas
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 29 Apr – There can be no peace with Israel without first defining the borders of a future Palestinian state, president Mahmud Abbas said on Tuesday. “Since the creation of Israel, nobody knows what the borders are. We are determined to know our borders and theirs, without that there will be no peace,” he said as Washington’s nine-month deadline for reaching a peace deal expired, leaving the process in tatters. In a televised address, Abbas laid out his conditions for returning to the crisis-hit peace talks with Israel which have made no progress since they were launched on July 29 last year. “If we want to extend the negotiations there has to be a release of prisoners … a settlement freeze, and a discussion of maps and borders for three months during which there must be a complete halt to settlement activity,” he said.

PFLP withdraws from Central Council meeting in rejection of final statement on negotiations
PFLP.PS 29 Apr — The representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine withdrew from the closing session of the PLO Central Council in rejection of the final statement of the Council on the return to the negotiations, as the statement supports the persistence of the negotiations approach and preparing for their resumption, clearly part of the negotiating track under the auspices of the United States. Based on our call to end the negotiations and the policy of security coordination of the Palestinian Authority, the PFLP announced its withdrawal from the final session of the Central Council so as to not constitute a political cover for the approach of negotiations. The Front had earlier demanded that the final statement make clear not only its rejection of the liquidationist Kerry plan but also call for a final end to the negotiations project as a whole and to security coordination.

Kerry: ‘Apartheid’ was bad choice of words
Ynet 29 Apr by Elior Levy & Yitzhak Benhorin — After a day of outraged responses, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he had chosen the wrong word when describing Israel’s potential future as an “apartheid state” if it didn’t reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. In a statement released by the State Department, Kerry lashed out against “partisan political” attacks against him, but acknowledged his comments last week to a closed international forum could have been misinterpreted. He said he was and is a strong supporter of Israel, which he called a “vibrant democracy.” He said his remarks were only an expression of his firm belief that a two-state resolution is the only viable way to end the long-running conflict.,7340,L-4514388,00.html

Israeli occupation authorities demand Wattan TV to immediately stop broadcasting
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 29 Apr – Israeli occupation authorities sent Tuesday an order to Wattan TV station in Ramallah demanding it to immediately stop broadcasting. Director of Wattan TV station Muʻammar ‘Urabi stated that the order was received by Wattan attorney and expressed his concerns that the Israeli occupation forces would storm his station.He stressed that his station would not stop broadcasting since the order was not legal. He added that Wattan station has obtained an official license from the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology and its transmission frequencies are legal. He noted that Wattan transmission frequencies were inspected by specialists who confirmed that they do not pose whatsoever a threat to the Israeli security. He concluded that the Israeli claims that Wattan TV station transmission frequencies pose a threat to their security are false and are merely aimed to obstruct the Palestinian media outlets and undermine the Palestinians’ right to free speech.

Bus driver sued for calling Ethiopian girl a ‘monkey’
Ynet 29 Apr by Aviel Megnazi — The mother of an 11-years-old girl of Ethiopian descent has filed a defamation suit against a bus drive who allegedly called her daughter a “monkey” and told her to “go to the zoo.”  “How can a person humiliate her in front of her friends in this manner?” the mother, who is suing for NIS 139,800 in compensation, told Ynet.  “She was crying when she told me what happened and said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to go to school tomorrow. All of my friends heard (about this) and will make fun of me,'” the mother said.,7340,L-4514198,00.html

Nonaligned Movement urges nuclear-free zone in Middle East
AP/Israel Hayom 29 Apr — Indonesian foreign minister reiterates demand for Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the nonproliferation treaty, to “renounce possession of nuclear weapons” and join without delay — The Nonaligned Movement, which represents over 100 developing countries, urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United States, Britain and Russia on Monday to convene a long-delayed international conference to promote a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Canadian aid group accused of helping Hamas branded as ‘terrorist’
TORONTO (CTV) 29 Apr — A Canadian organization that provided humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has been formally branded a terrorist group before the start of a court battle over the revocation of its charitable status. In a letter to the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, the RCMP said the federal government had added the group to a list of “terrorist entities” as of April 24 … No one for IRFAN was available to comment, but a lawyer speaking for the group condemned the listing as an attack on humanitarian support for Palestinians. IRFAN did not know the terrorist listing was in the works and had no opportunity to respond or offer its side of the story, Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed said in an interview.

Analysis / Opinion / Arts

Recognize Palestine now / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 30 Apr — The Obama administration can no longer be blamed for its failures. Soon, the world will wonder whether Israel is really a worthy member of the international community — …It can’t be claimed that the Obama administration did not invest a supreme effort in order to engender a change in the plot, and it’s also superfluous to blame it for the failure. After all, it’s not the U.S. that is in need of peace, it’s Israel and the Palestinians. But during the pause that he is taking, Obama can compose a new script and even implement it. For example, there is no logical explanation for the continued refusal by the United States to recognize an independent Palestinian state that will receive recognized international status and benefit from the rights of a country under occupation. The old argument to the effect that recognition of a Palestinian state is a matter for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is no longer valid. In the absence of diplomatic negotiations, and when every new attempt to revive them looks like a post-mortem, ignoring the Palestinian demand is like agreeing to a continuation of the occupation. Describing the Palestinian effort to achieve such recognition as a unilateral step also contradicts Obama’s statement that both sides acted unilaterally and both are responsible for the failure of the talks. Whether or not it’s a unilateral step, Palestine is already laying the foundation for such recognition. The reconciliation with Hamas was designed to establish a unified Palestinian leadership, to solder together the two separated parts of the state once again, and to accelerate the diplomatic struggle. If implementing the reconciliation does not lead to disputes once again, Hamas is likely to become a political party with its own ideology, but not a private armed force, as opposed to Hezbollah. When Hamas declares itself a political party, even if it doesn’t recognize Israel, no country, including the United States, will be able to refrain from recognizing the unified Palestinian government.  Such a government would not find it difficult to bring about the reopening of the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian side, to receive financial support from Arab countries, to join all the international conventions, and to demand recognition of its territory within the 1967 borders. That is the little justice that the international community can grant the Palestinians, after proving itself incapable of forcing Israel to desist from the occupation or at least halting the continued Israeli invasion of Palestinian territory.

Analysis: What ‘destruction’ of Israel? / John V. Whitbeck
Ma‘an 29 Apr — When, in response to the threat of potential Palestinian reconciliation and unity, the Israeli government suspended “negotiations” with the Palestine Liberation Organization on April 24 (five days before they were due to terminate in any event), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement asserting: “Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.” In a series of related media appearances, Netanyahu hammered repeatedly on the “destruction of Israel” theme as a way of blaming Palestine for the predictable failure of the latest round of the seemingly perpetual “peace process.” The extreme subjectivity of the epithet “terrorist” has been highlighted by two recent absurdities — the Egyptian military regime’s labeling of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has won all Egyptian elections since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, as a “terrorist” organization and the labeling by the de facto Ukrainian authorities, who came to power through illegally occupying government buildings in Kiev, of those opposing them by illegally occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine as “terrorists.”  In both cases, those who have overthrown democratically elected governments are labeling those who object to their coups as “terrorists.” It is increasingly understood that the word “terrorist,” which has no agreed-upon definition, is so subjective as to be devoid of any inherent meaning and that it is commonly abused by governments and others who apply it to whomever or whatever they hate in the hope of demonizing their adversaries, thereby discouraging and avoiding rational thought and discussion and, frequently, excusing their own illegal and immoral behavior.
Netanyahu’s assertion that Hamas “calls for the destruction of Israel” requires rational analysis as well….

Haaretz editorial: Recognize the Nakba
29 Apr — Israel must make the history of the Palestinians an integral part of every school curriculum — In a special announcement, made in public and in both Arabic and English, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the murder of Jews in the Holocaust was “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era,” and expressed sympathy for the victims and their families … The uniqueness of the Holocaust as the worst crime ever doesn’t mean Israel must ignore crimes committed against other nations, be they Armenians, Palestinians or African tribes. The State of Israel refuses to recognize these tragedies, lest such recognition eclipse the uniqueness of the Holocaust, undermine its foreign relations (in the case of the Armenian genocide) or impose responsibility upon it (in the case of the Palestinians). But Israel is not entitled to exclude the Palestinian tragedy from the historical consciousness of Israeli citizens. It is the flip side of Israel’s rebirth. The dispute over the degree of Israel’s responsibility for the emigration, expulsion and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the War of Independence is a matter for historians. It does not negate the fact that a national and human disaster befell the Palestinians. This disaster must be studied and understood, not merely to fathom the political and diplomatic motives of the Palestinian leadership as they negotiate with us, but as a cultural and human obligation. All the more so when this disaster affects a fifth of the state’s population and millions of Palestinians with whom Israel seeks to end the historic conflict. The Israeli government must, therefore, make the history of the Palestinians an integral part of every school curriculum. It must cease its systematic disregard of the Nakba (the Palestinian term for the “catastrophe” they suffered upon Israel’s founding), arrange a program for touring the ruins of villages that were destroyed, encourage exchange visits and instill in the curriculum the message of the historic partnership between the two nations. This is the road that will lead to understanding and mutual recognition.

WATCH: ‘Rap News’ takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
thejuicemedia 24 Apr —  Decades of failed peace talks have led nowhere; but do not lose hope just yet. Join Robert Foster as he attempts to host the first ever Middle East Peace Raps, using rhyme and reason to bring together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and a representative of Hamas. We investigate the key arguments, counter-arguments and ad-hominems from both sides. But the picture would not be complete without a thorough discussion of “America’s last taboo”, as Edward Said once referred to it: the USA’s role as Israel’s best (and only) buddy in the world (Ok, together with Australia). Featuring special cameos from prominent American Jewish scholar, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, and Palestinian rap legends, DAM, this is an episode for the ages. Join us as we bravely (or perhaps stupidly) take on one of the most bitter, divisive and controversial conflicts of our times: Israel & Palestine. Written & created by Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant in a suburban backyard home studio in Melbourne, Australia, on Wurundjeri Land (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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2 Responses

  1. Kay24
    Kay24 on April 30, 2014, 9:34 am

    The fact that hasbaracuda and apologists keep blaming the Palestinians for the breakdown of peace talks is unbelievable, when you read the list of above crimes by the side that pretends to be the victim in every issue. It is obvious, exactly which party defied US and UN condemnation, and keep demolishing more homes, to steal lands for their disgusting illegal settlements. The fact that Mosques are also demolished simply shows just how arrogant these zionists are, and that they have absolutely no respect nor regard for other religions. How would these criminals react if a synagogue was bulldozed? The whining would be endless.
    It is sad these poor Palestinians have no one to stand up for them, and that they are always the victims who lose so much.

  2. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on April 30, 2014, 5:41 pm

    @ Kate,

    As per usual [and again and again and again] thank you for your diligent and never ending reporting on this heartbreaking issue.

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