4 more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail on hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Four Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest against their detention without trial, a Palestinian prisoner advocacy group said on Sunday. News of the four hunger strikers follows reports that over 100 Palestinian prisoners began a mass, open-ended hunger strike in a number of Israeli jails on Thursday in protest against being held without charge or trial under a policy Israel calls “administrative detention.” The Palestinian Prisoner’s society received a letter on Sunday from one of the four newly reported hunger strikers in which he confirmed that the group would not end the strike until they were set free …
It was unclear whether the four were in contact with the 100 other hunger strikers, who are located in Ofer, Megiddo, and Negev prisons and launched their strike after Israeli authorities reneged on a 2012 agreement made following an earlier mass hunger strike to limit the use of administrative detention to exceptional cases. Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Contempt for other religions
Baptism in ruins of Arab village disrupted by Jewish neighbors
Haaretz 28 Apr by Jack Khoury — Shlomi residents called out racial slurs, say Israeli Arabs; Shlomi official sympathizes with residents, calling baptism ‘provocation.’ — A baptism ceremony held in the ruins of the uprooted Arab village of al-Bassa on Sunday was disturbed by several residents of Shlomi, the Jewish town that was built over part of the village’s lands. A photojournalist who was documenting the proceedings had his camera smashed in the ensuing altercation. The ceremony was being held in al-Bassa’s Greek Orthodox church, one of the villages’ only buildings left standing. Al-Bassa’s residents were forced out of the area during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, after the village, which is located in Israel’s northern Galilee region, was captured by the pre-State Haganah militia. Residents scattered to Arab communities within Israel and in Lebanon. The town of Shlomi was built on parts of what used to be the village’s land. The church is located in what is now Shlomi’s industrial zone. Former residents of al-Bassa visit the site regularly. In recent years a number of them have sought to preserve and fence off what is left of the village, including a mosque and two churches. Nahariya lawyer Wakim Wakim, a prominent advocate for the expellees’ rights, is descended from an al-Bassa family. In 2002 and again in 2008 he arranged baptism ceremonies for two of his children in the church, and two weeks ago a wedding was held there. On Sunday, another family with roots in al-Bassa, who now live in nearby Kafr Yasif, sought to conduct a baptism at the church. Several Shlomi residents disturbed the proceedings by driving a vehicle toward the buildings and honking loudly. Journalist Zuheir Mata told Haaretz that he had been invited by the family to photograph the event, and that his camera was smashed by a woman from the group of Shlomi residents. “She cursed me and the others present, calling us stinking Christians and other names and curses,” said Mata. “After she broke my camera I filed a complaint with the Nahariya Police. It was embarrassing and humiliating.” Wakim said he has as authorization in print from the Orthodox Archbishop of Acre, permitting him to hold ceremonies in the church.
Israeli Supreme Court to rule on demolition of ‘tire school’ in E1
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — A school made of tires in the sensitive E1 area east of Jerusalem is slated for destruction by Israel, but its case is being reviewed by the Supreme Court, a local spokesman told Ma‘an. Eid Khamis Sweilim, a spokesman of Bedouin communities in Jerusalem district, told Ma‘an that the school in the Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar houses 128 pupils aged eight to 13 from five different Bedouin communities. Shortly after it was built, Israeli settlers from nearby Kfar Adumim appealed to Israeli courts requesting the school be demolished, and it has since faced repeated demolition threats, Sweilim said. The Area-C village’s residential structures have also been threatened with demolition, as they were built without Israeli permission after their construction permit applications were denied by Israeli authorities. “A structural plan for the Bedouin communities has been submitted to the Israeli Civil Administration, but it was rejected,” Sweilim said, adding that the plan was funded by the British consulate-general in Jerusalem. Bedouins in al-Khan al-Ahmar appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against demolition threats, and a decision on the matter is expected to be made on May 15, Sweilim said. The school was built by villagers and international volunteers in 2009, constructed using tires, clay, and a wooden roof because Israeli authorities forbade the use of stone and concrete. Funding for the school was provided by European donors. Al-Khan al-Ahmar is a Bedouin village surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlements of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. E1 is an area northeast of Jerusalem and west of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. Israeli plans for settlement construction in the area have been strongly opposed by the international community, including the US.
High Court to rule whether Palestinians are denied building rights
Haaretz 27 Apr by Amira Hass — Villagers and human rights groups say the Civil Administration discriminates against local residents but approves plans to expand settlements — Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank are not discriminated against regarding planning and building rights and the Civil Administration promotes various plans for them, the State Prosecutor’s Office will inform the High Court of Justice Monday. The prosecution will be responding to a High Court petition to restore powers of planning and building in Palestinian communities in some 60 percent of the West Bank designated Area C − under Israeli civil and military control. The state will also tell the court that any change to military law (which has taken away the Palestinians’ planning powers) changes the status quo in place since the signing of the interim agreements in 1995. Such changes, according to the state prosecutor who wrote the opinion, Tadmor Etzion, are a diplomatic issue and therefore should only be decided in diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The state will therefore ask the court to reject a petition, submitted in July 2011, against the 1971 military law annulling local and district planning and building committees that had existed under Jordanian law. In the place of these committees, the military law placed planning and building powers in the hands of what eventually became the Civil Administration. At the same time, special planning and building committees were established by military order for settlements only. There are currently 16 such committees. According to the petitioners, these committees received the powers and rights that had been taken from Palestinian communities.
Israeli forces seize five Palestinian vehicles near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 26 Apr – Israeli forces seized Saturday five vehicles with Palestinian registration plates near Beit Ummar and Al-‘Arroub camp along Hebron-Jerusalem road, said a local activist. Spokesperson of the Anti-settlement Popular Committee in Beit Ummar Mohammad ‘Awad said that Israeli forces chased Palestinians’ vehicles along the Hebron-Jerusalem road and seized a vehicle belonging to ‘Abdalla Brigheith, 51, although he showed them all required licenses. ‘Awad added that the Palestinian Brigheith cultivates his land, which is not far from his house, and he transports agricultural tools and saplings in his car trunk. Forces seized Brigheith’s vehicle and imposed a ILS 500 fine on him and ordered him to appear before an Israeli military court.
Meanwhile, forces also seized four other Palestinian vehicles in Al-‘Arroub camp
Settlers cut down 60 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Settlers from the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar on Sunday chopped down more than 60 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers raided a neighborhood known locally as Al-Luhuf and chopped down more than 60 olive trees using chainsaws in private fields in the village of Huwwara. Ghassan Daghlas said that the fields belonged to Murad Tawfiq, Bashir Audah and his brother Audah as well as Nayif al-Zeifa.
Settlers cut down over 150 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli settlers on Monday destroyed over 150 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers south of Nablus, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a group of settlers from Yitzhar raided the Huwwara village and cut down over 150 trees. The trees belonged to Nayif Khadir Audah, Ghazi Dawood Salim and Fatima Audah and some were located on property belonging to a local mosque. On Sunday, settlers had destroyed over 60 olive trees in Huwwara using chainsaws.
2 detained after posting signs calling for Muslim ‘evacuation’ at Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli police detained two Jewish teenagers recently after they posted an inflammatory sign on a gate of the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Israeli police said. A statement by Arabic-language Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that the suspects posted an inflammatory sign on one of the main gates of the al-Aqsa mosque compound urging Muslims to evacuate the Al-Aqsa mosque so that Jews can build a Jewish temple in its place. Al-Samri added that the suspects would be referred to prosecution for legal procedures as a result of the act. One of the suspects is 18 years old while the other is a minor, according to the statement. When the two were arrested, police found more fliers similar in their content on their persons.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Settlers beat up farmer near Bethlehem [and run over another farmer]
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 27 Apr – Israeli settlers on Sunday assaulted and beat up a farmer in the village Wadi Rahhal to the south of Bethlehem, said Hassan Burajeyah, coordinator of the anti-settlement and segregation wall committee in Bethlehem. He said settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Avrat were present at the ranch of farmer Mohammad Ayyash, 55 from the village of Artas, when he asked them to leave. They then assaulted and beat him up while also unleashing their dogs to assault him. Ayyash sustained several bruises and was horribly terrified. To be noted, Israeli army and settlers are currently seeking to seize the land where the farmer was assaulted for settlement expansion purposes.
In the meantime, an Israeli settler on Sunday ran over a farmer while he was riding a donkey in the village of al-Khader, to the south of Bethlehem, according to security sources. Ismail al-Sheikh, 70, was run over by an Israeli settler near An-Nashash military checkpoint. He sustained a fracture in the pelvis as well as multiple bruises throughout his body and was transferred to hospital for medical treatment.
Israeli forces injure 3 Palestinians in clashes east of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Apr – Three Palestinians were lightly injured and one was arrested Friday during clashes with Israeli soldiers east of Jerusalem, a local popular committee spokesman said. Hani Halabiya told Ma‘an that during protests in al-Eizariya and Abu Dis against “Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” three young Palestinian men were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets in the lower extremities. Israeli troops also detained a 28-year-old man in the area after pulling him over in his car, Halabiya said. Additionally, Israeli forces stopped a Palestinian photojournalist who works for al-Quds newspaper and forced him to delete the photos he took of the clashes.
After attack [on] the welcoming ceremony of a freed prisoner: Ihab Hamdan suffers two fractures in the skull
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 22 Apr — The freed prisoner Ihab Hamdan was injured with two fractures in the skull after he was hit by a rubber[-coated steel] bullet in his forehead. Hamdan’s family informed Wadi Hilweh Information Center that Ihab was injured with two fractures in the skull when he was hit with a rubber bullet in the forehead from a close distance during the welcoming ceremony of the freed prisoner Eyad Omar Shalabi in Al-Sowaneh as the Israeli forces attacked the ceremony and randomly fired rubber bullets and sound grenades towards the participants. The family added that Ihab underwent a surgery in Al-Maqased hospital and is in stable condition. Hamdan was released at the beginning of March after completing his 14-month prison sentence.
Israeli forces arrest 2, injure 2 in Jerusalem village
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israeli forces on Sunday afternoon arrested two Palestinians and wounded another two after raiding a shop in al-Issawiya in Jerusalem. Monitoring committee member Mohammad Abu al-Homs told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided a shop for health equipment that belongs to Saad Mohammad Mustafa at the southern entrance of the village and assaulted the shop owner and a customer. Israeli forces used pepper spray, fired stun grenades, and attacked people with batons, causing a Palestinian to suffer burns in his hand. They also injured the shop owner, Mustafa, who was taken to a hospital for treatment. Israeli forces also arrested Nabil Ahmad Mustafa and Jawad Najib Shehadeh from the scene, and verbally abused women in the area, he said.
Israeli forces arrest 5 in West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 Apr — Israeli forces on Sunday arrested five people in the West Bank districts of Hebron, Salfit and Bethlehem, according to local and security sources. In Hebron, army forces stormed the village of Tarqumia and arrested two youngsters, 26 and 31. Forces also stormed the nearby village of Samu‘ and arrested a 28-year-old after raiding, and searching, his brother’s home. They also raided and searched another home in the village. In Bethlehem, Israeli army stormed the town of al-Doha, to the west of the city, and arrested a 20-year-old after breaking through, and searching, his home. In Salfit, Israeli forces arrested a youngster, 27, after assaulting and fracturing his little brother’s hand and shattering his mother’s hand, as they shut off the door of a military vehicle over her hand, reported the Prisoner Club. The forces also stormed their home, causing damage to its contents.
The following three articles are just samples of the Israeli persecution of Jerusalemites. See Silwanic.net for more:
Releasing four Jerusalemite lawyers
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Apr — The District court in the occupied city of Jerusalem decided to release four Jerusalemite lawyers who have been detained for nearly two months. Amjad Abu Asab, head of Jerusalemite detainees and prisoners families committee, said that the District court judge decided to release Amjad Safadi, Nadim Ghrayeb, Mahmoud Abu Sneineh and Amro Iskafi with a 20-thousand NIS bail for each one of them in additional to house arrest with the presence of four guarantors; the judge also suspended them from practicing law until a final decision is made regarding their case. [Their charges are ‘confidential’ according to Ma‘an]
Extensions of arrest and conditional releases
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Apr — The Magistrate court judge extended on Thursday the arrest of three Jerusalemites. Mohammad Mahmoud, Al-Dameer organization lawyer, said that the Magistrate judge extended the arrest of 15-year old Mohammad Dari until Sunday; note that he was arrested on Thursday. The judge also extended the arrest of Ibrahim Dirbas and Mohammad Alayan in order to submit an indictment against them in the District court.
Isolation from Al-Aqsa Amjad Abu Asab, head of Jerusalemites detainees and prisoners families committee, said that the occupation authorities released Mohammad Mufeed Mohammad Fattouh Jo’beh and handed him a military order to isolate him from Al-Aqsa Mosque for six months in addition to imposing house arrest for 15 days on him and a financial bail of 1000 NIS. The Israeli authorities also handed Mohammad Shalabi an order to isolate him from Al-Aqsa for six months.
Re-arresting the free prisoner Mahmoud Abdellatif The occupation authorities arrested on Thursday night the freed prisoner Mahmoud Abdellatif; note that he is under house arrest and is banned from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and he is a resident of the neighbourhood of Al-Sa’dyeh.
294 Jerusalemite prisoners … 80 from Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 20 Apr — The Jerusalemites detainees and prisoners’ families committee and Prisoners Club in Jerusalem issued a comprehensive statistics about Jerusalemite prisoners (number, geographical distribution, age groups, their sentences, and the years they spent in prison) on the Prisoner’s Day. Wadi Hilweh Information center-Silwan received a copy of the statistics which showed 294 Jerusalemite prisoners where 36 of them are sentenced for life sentences and two prisoners that have been in prison for more than 20 years in addition to 37 children under the age of 18 years and three female prisoners. The town of Silwan came first in terms of number of prisoners which reach 80 followed by the village of Esawyeh (39), Shu‘fat refugee camp-Anata (29), Sur Baher 26, the Old City of Jerusalem (24), Jabal Al-Mukabber (17), Qufor Aqab-Qalandia (16), Al-Tur (12), Al-Thori (12), Beit Hanina (10), Wad Al-Joz (9), Shu‘fat (3) and two prisoners from each of Beit Safafa, Al-Sowaneh and Sheikh Jarrah and one prisoner from Um Tuba and 9 prisoners from different areas.
Gaza under double blockade
Israeli soldiers shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot and injured two Palestinians on Monday as they were collecting stones from fields in the northern Gaza Strip, a medical official said. Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said two men were taken to Kamal Idwan hospital after being shot by Israeli troops near the Erez crossing. Israeli soldiers stationed at monitoring posts by the crossing opened fire at the men as they collected stones in nearby fields. Both men were moderately injured. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a few Palestinians entered a prohibited area and were acting “suspiciously and meddling with the ground.”
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza fishermen, injuring 1
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — A Palestinian fisherman was shot and injured by Israeli forces off the coast of the Gaza Strip early Saturday, security sources said. Gaza security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli naval squadrons off the coast of northern Gaza fired at a Palestinian fishing boat, hitting a man in the foot. The man was taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital for treatment, the sources said.
Israel re-opens Gaza crossing after 10-day closure
World Bulletin 27 Apr — Israel on Sunday reopened the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing with the southern Gaza Strip following a 10-day closure, a Palestinian border official has said. “Israeli authorities reopened the Karam Abu Salem crossing on Sunday morning, allowing in shipments of goods and food aid that had been denied entry into the enclave for the past ten days,” Raed Fatouh, head of a Gaza Economy Ministry committee tasked with coordinating traffic through the crossing, told Anadolu Agency. Around 400 trucks carrying commercial and industrial goods as well as amounts of diesel needed to operate the enclave’s power plant are expected to be allowed into the strip on Sunday, he said. Israel partially reopened the commercial crossing with the southern Gaza Strip over the past two days amid ongoing closure of cargo terminals with the Palestinian enclave for the Jewish Passover holidays. Karam Abu Salem’s prolonged closure over the past days has led to a fuel crisis inside the blockaded strip.
Protests in 30 European cities calling for ending Gaza siege
Middle East Monitor 27 Apr — Protests calling for ending the Gaza siege were held on Saturday in 30 European cities. Chairman of the Euro-Mediterranean observatory for human rights Rami Abdou said that 30 European cities in 12 countries including Germany, France and Italy, witnessed Saturday massive protests in solidarity with Gaza, under the title “The European Day for Ending the Siege on Gaza”. Abdou said that European streets turned to “an uprising for human dignity”, rejecting the unjust siege on Gaza that entered its 8th year. “That day is the start of a new solidarity wave with the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Abdou told Anadolu agency. “Ending the siege on Gaza is not the cause of Palestinians alone, it’s the cause of every human being with consciousness and all defenders of justice and truth.”
Iran’s Ammar film festival goes to Gaza
PressTV 26 Apr — A various number of cinematic works of Iran’s 4th Ammar Popular Film Festival (APFF) have been screened in Gaza city, Palestine. At the first round of screening programs, the movies were presented for several selected groups in Gaza’s movie theaters. At the second round of the programs, the films are slated to have public screening at mosques and universities, said the festival’s executive secretary Hamed Bamorovvatnejad. Some 10 Iranian productions, participated in the festival in Iran, the have been sent to the festival in Gaza. The films were dubbed into Arabic or granted Arabic subtitles. The selected films for Ammar festival in Gaza represent concept of Palestine in Iran.
Palestinian comedians take on life in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 26 Apr by Hazem Balousha — Despite frequent power outages, a fuel shortage and life under a crippling Egyptian-Israeli siege, Mahmoud Zuaiter has not lost his sense of humour. Instead, the 28-year-old from Gaza City is using comedy to address all those issues, and hopes to inspire other Palestinians to do the same. Zuaiter is the co-founder of a popular Gaza City-based comedy troupe called Tashweesh (“Static” in Arabic), formed two years ago when five childhood friends began recording their own short stand-up routines. The routines have since garnered attention online and aired on a popular television show called Bas Ya Zalame. “Comedy is quite an important tool to keep Palestinians in the Gaza Strip away from gloom,” Zuaiter told Al Jazeera. “Our life is full of… occupation, blockade, prisoners, [and] shortages,” he said, noting satire is a way to keep people “smiling and laughing” … Zuaiter told Al Jazeera that he aims to break misconceptions that exist among Palestinians about their society and themselves. “We are trying… to deliver both the Palestinian society and the Arab world an audible and visual message that the Palestinian youth have numerous skills in art,” he said. Thaer Muneer, another member of Tashweesh, told Al Jazeera that comedy allows Palestinians to talk about otherwise taboo topics.
Sanctions: Israel freezes 19 Palestinian construction projects
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Israel on Sunday indicated it would freeze 19 Palestinian construction projects in the West Bank in an apparent effort to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority in response to a Hamas-PLO deal, Israeli media reported. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, said in a Civil Administration meeting that Israel would freeze 19 construction projects that were approved in Area C as a goodwill gesture at the start of peace talks with the PLO, the Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv reported. Mordechai said Palestinians had started an “intifada” of illegal construction in the West Bank. “It is our duty to apply the law on everyone including illegal settlement (outpost) construction in the West Bank,” Mordechai said. The move to freeze Palestinian construction in the West Bank would mark a third measure of sanctions against the PA since the beginning of April. On April 9, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave orders to Israeli officials to cut all contact with PA officials, allowing only “security coordination” to continue. The next day, Israel froze the transfer of tax revenues to the PA.
To counter Israeli sanctions: PA to start austerity measures, improve tax collection
IMEMC 27 Mar by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank is weighing all possible measures to counter Israeli sanctions and restrictions, including initiating austerity measures and advancing tax collection systems, to be able to cover some of the costs needed to prevent its collapse. The decision was made after Israel imposed sanctions on the P.A, and stopped the transfer of tax money it collects on border terminals leading to the occupied West Bank … Spokesperson of the Palestinian Economy Ministry, Azmy Abdul-Rahman, told the Ma‘an News Agency that, should Israel implement the sanctions, the P.A would have to cut costs in all ministries, and increase tax collection. He added that the P.A. usually gets around $120 Million a month, and that this amount covers 80% of monthly costs, including paying salaries, pensions and providing basic services.
Abbas: New govt recognizes Israel and rejects violence
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that the unity government would continue to follow previous PLO policies and that he remains willing to extend peace talks with Israel, which halted the talks in response to a Fatah-Hamas unity deal signed earlier in the week. During a televised speech kicking off two days of PLO Central Council meetings in Ramallah, Abbas reasserted that he would be willing to extend negotiations with Israel if it pledged to freeze settlement construction and release the last round of prisoners as agreed at the beginning of the talks. Israel has dismissed the conditions. “The upcoming government will obey my policy,” Abbas told the PLO council. “I recognize Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognize international commitments.” “Without Jerusalem there will be no negotiations,” Abbas added, pledging also that the Palestinians would never recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.”
Palestinians plan to join 60 UN bodies, treaties
AFP/Al Arabiya 28 Apr — The central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Sunday adopted a plan to pursue attempts to join 60 United Nations bodies and international treaties, according to a statement from the governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Agence France-Presse reported. The council, under the auspices of president Mahmoud Abbas, “affirms the need for the Palestinian leadership to continue membership of U.N. agencies and international conventions, under the Palestinian plan that was adopted,” the Palestine People’s Party secretary general Bassam al-Salhi said in a statement … The PLO’s statement comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there will be no negotiations with a Palestinian unity government unless the Hamas movement gives up its vision of destroying Israel and embraces peace, AFP reported … “Either Hamas disavows the destruction of Israel and embraces peace and denounces terror, or president Abbas renounces Hamas,” Netanyahu told CNN’s State of the Union. “If one of those things happened, we could get back to the peace negotiations.”
Haniyeh: Palestine our only home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Hanieyh said Sunday that Palestinians have only one home and one land which is Palestine, and he rejected any alternative proposal. Haniyeh said the Palestinians would not accept any form of compensation or naturalization into another country. In a visit to the Jordanian Field Hospital, he said that “we, as Palestinians, have one home and one land which is Palestine. This is our response to the American-Zionist conspiracies that target Palestine and Jordan.” Haniyeh reiterated his rejection of any proposals to give Palestinian refugees the nationalities of their hosts, or to provide an alternative state for Palestinians east of the Jordan River. “We emphasize the right to return for all Palestinians everywhere, and we support our Jordanian brothers in Jordan to respond to all conspiracies.”
Fatah: Elections date to be announced soon, Abbas is our candidate
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Fatah said on Sunday that current Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is the movement’s choice for presidential candidate, and that within the next few days he would set a date for upcoming elections. The statements come only days after Hamas and Fatah signed a historic national reconciliation agreement, reuniting the two largest Palestinian political parties in a consensus government for the first time in seven years.
Ashton calls on Palestinians and Israelis to continue negotiations
BRUSSELS (WAFA) 27 Apr – European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, expressed in a statement on Sunday concerns over the latest developments in peace process, calling upon both sides to remain committed to the two-state solution … “I reiterate the EU’s full support to the US-brokered peace efforts and I call on both parties to remain focused on negotiations and on the unprecedented benefits which peace can bring. Negotiations are the best way forward …
Ashton conditionally welcomed the Palestinian intra-national reconciliation agreement. “The EU has consistently supported intra-Palestinian reconciliation but on clear and certain terms. The EU reiterated that such reconciliation should take place behind President Abbas in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011.” “The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accepting previous agreements and obligations, including Israel’s legitimate right to exist.”
United Nations holds round table in legal aspects of question of Palestine
GENEVA (WAFA) 26 Apr – The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People convened Friday a United Nations Round table on Legal Aspects of the Question of Palestine at the United Nations Office at Geneva. According to the UN Department of Public Information, the round table built on numerous previous events that highlighted the significance of the provisions of international law in efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. This round table, among other things, discussed the legal status of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees in international law. It also considered the issue of Palestine’s admission to the United Nations as a non-Member Observer State and the general legal implications stemming from this status. This included the Israeli serious violations in terms of children arrest, administrative arrest, torture and detention of prisoners under inadequate conditions … The attendees called for the withdrawal of protracted Israeli occupation from the occupied Palestinian territories and bringing it under international law and will of international community. They suggested that Palestine start suing Israel over settlement construction, prisoners’ torture, arrest of children and apartheid practices.
Elected: The man who refused to strip for Netanyahu
Haaretz 27 Apr by Matthew Kalman — Foreign Press Association picks its first Palestinian chairman — “It’s a shame you sometimes have to take off your clothes if you want to see the Israeli prime minister,” observed Reuters’ Jerusalem bureau chief Crispian Balmer on Sunday. Balmer, outgoing FPA chairman, was referring to an incident at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annual reception for the foreign press corps in 2012 when veteran CBC cameraman and FPA board member Samer Shalabi was ordered to strip by Netanyahu’s security detail. Samer refused, the FPA board threatened to leave the event en masse, and he was eventually allowed in. Balmer was addressing the annual general meeting of the Foreign Press Association in Israel and the Palestinian territories (FPA), which represents more than 350 foreign correspondents based in the region. There was a collective mabrouk when Samer made history by becoming the first Palestinian elected as chairman of the FPA.
Turkey to provide aid to West Bank and Gaza Strip
IMEMC 25 Apr by Chris Carlson — Minister of Turkish Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, said that his country would provide humanitarian aid to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in facilitation of implementing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement signed Wednesday. Oğlu emphasized, on Thursday, during a telephone call with the Palestinian Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, Turkey’s full support for national reconciliation between the two rival parties of Hamas and Fatah. He promised to launch diplomatic contacts with the foreign ministers of several states, including Washington, to support the reconciliation. according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.
Bethlehem family condemns daughter’s pro-Israel video
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — A Bethlehem father whose daughter recently released a pro-Israel video has condemned the move, saying that the family “rejects and distances” themselves from the content in a statement made to Bethlehem’s Radio Mawwal. The Anastas family also denied claims that their daughter had been forced to flee, saying that they feared she had been the victim of “entrapment” and was under “pressure” from sponsors who had promised to pay her enrollment fees and housing costs for university in the United Kingdom. The statement comes after a video featuring their daughter Christy was released on the internet in which she spoke of her belief that “God has given this land to the Jews as an everlasting covenant,” and claimed that she was forced to flee Palestine because of persecution for her beliefs. The Anastas family expressed their “surprise” at the video, “deploring and condemning” her words, denying that she was ever forced to “flee” but instead that they she had left of her own free will to study abroad. They added that the video “was a result of direct pressure that Christy is currently experiencing.” They said in a statement that a year and a half ago, a British church official had come to their house and offered to pay for their daughter to attend university in the United Kingdom. After accepting the offer and traveling to the UK, however, the family said that Christy’s behavior had become “incomprehensible and unclear,” and claimed that she was no longer enrolled in university. They did not understand what the men who were paying for her education had done to her, they added. “For as long as we know, Christy’s position was always against the wall and the Israeli occupation, which prevented her from living her childhood,” the family said, stressing that she had expressed this point of view “in more than one television interview in the past.” They also said that they feared that Israeli authorities were trying to “exploit” their daughter “in order to weaken us and get us out of our house, which has been the target of the occupation since the construction of the apartheid wall.” The Anastas family live a uniquely nightmarish scenario, as their house is surrounded on three sides by the separation wall and Israeli soldiers have cameras trained on their home 24 hours a day.
West Bank Red Crescent employees launch open strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Ambulance and emergency service officers of the Palestinian Red Crescent began an open strike across the West Bank on Sunday. Spokesperson for the Union of Red Crescent employees Mahmoud Al-Karmi told Ma’an that about 250 employees started an open strike after they submitted three demands to the association and their demands were ignored … The three demands proposed by the employees were that the Palestinian ministry of education recognize the certificates given to paramedics, equal payment along the line of civil servants, and salary increases and allowances to account for the hazardous nature of their work, similar to governmental employees.
Gazan ‘Arab Idol’ performs in Israel for crowd of 10,000
Ynet 27 Apr by Noam ‘Dabul’ Dvir, Elior Levy — Mohammed Assaf grew up in refugee camp in Gaza; comes to Nazareth for first concert in Israel. MK Tibi dances — Recent winner of the singing competition Arab Idol, 23-year-old Gazan Mohammed Assaf, arrived in Israel Friday when the singer performed for an audience of over 10,000 fans near Nazareth on the Sea of Galilee. The television program Arab Idol airs on MBC, a Lebanese station. Arab Idol is thought to be one of the most widely viewed programs in the Arab world and Assaf’s victory won him super-star popularity. The Mayor of Nazareth Ali Salam and Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi were present at the concert in Ilut Stadium and could both be seen dancing. Tickets to the event cost 70 shekels and caused great excitement in Arab Israeli fans … “Assaf worked his way to the top despite poverty and all the barriers that stood in his way,” said Tibi. “I have a lot of empathy for the experience he’s been through. He is received in Nazareth and every Arab society.” “We love you Assaf, you’re at home,” yelled audience members as Assaf took the stage. Other Arab MKs and leaders also attended the concert.
Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Israel
Haaretz 28 Apr by Ofer Aderet — Events began with a two-minute nationwide siren, followed by memorial ceremonies, and reading aloud the names of those who perished — Ceremonies marking Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day began Monday at 10 A.M. with a siren that sounded for two minutes, during which Israelis all over the country stood in silence. Immediately afterward, a wreath-laying ceremony began at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial at Warsaw Ghetto Square, attended by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, MKs, Supreme Court justices, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other officials, along with representatives of survivors and fighters organizations and delegations from Israel and abroad. At 10:30 A.M. the “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony will begin at Yad Vashem, during which the names of Holocaust victims will be read by members of the general public at the Hall of Remembrance.
Sullen Netanyahu reaction amplifies PR success of Abbas’ Holocaust statement
Haaretz 27 Apr by Chemi Shalev — Prime Minister Netanyahu told American television interviewers on Sunday that Mahmoud Abbas’ new statement on the Holocaust was no more than a public relations move aimed at placating Western public opinion in the wake of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Even if the prime minister’s diagnosis is correct, one has to admit that Abbas’ ploy is working wonders, with the active assistance, of course, of Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. This was the impression created by the unusually wide coverage given to Abbas’ Holocaust declaration in the U.S. media: A Palestinian leader who condemns the Holocaust as the “most heinous crime against humanity in the modern era” against an Israeli prime minister who refuses to say even one good word about the declaration, even when pressed to do so. A Palestinian leadership that appears to be stretching out its hand to Israel and to the Jewish people on their day of collective mourning and an Israeli leadership that seems resentful and petulant and determined to deploy Abbas’ statement as yet another weapon in its endless and largely futile “hasbara wars” over Israel’s image.
Analysis / Opinion
Like sheep to the slaughter, like sheep to the occupation / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 27 Apr — There is no comparing the Holocaust and the occupation, but the act of resistance is equally legitimate and just in both cases — I will never forget the fierce arguments in the schoolyard. I was young then, a loud proponent of the “How did they go like sheep to slaughter?” school. We were ashamed of them. Ashamed that they didn’t resist, didn’t fight, didn’t struggle. We wanted fewer martyrs and more heroes on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day. It was a time of shame, overall: I was ashamed of my parents’ non-Hebrew names (Thea and Heinz)… I was young, and now I am old, and everything looks different now. The non-Hebrew names have turned into provinces of longing, and the sheep went to slaughter because it was the only path available. But the schoolyard belief in the imperative of resisting tyranny has remained … Today, on the eve of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day, we should have marshaled the mental strength to empathize with those who live under the tyranny of another nation. Just as we admire the powers of resistance of Europe’s conquered nations, the Partisans and the Resistance, we should be able to understand the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation. It should be one of the lessons of the Holocaust, the opposite of the state’s brainwashing, which is now set to begin in kindergarten. Palestinian resistance is actually one of the feeblest in history. With the exception of the accursed years of the second intifada, when both sides bled, the 47 years of the occupation have been quite pleasant for the occupier. Last week marked the end of another depressing chapter of the longest “peace process” in history, and the Israeli propaganda machine is once again trying to depict the limited Palestinian resistance − now nearly violence-free − as illegitimate and the Palestinians as bearing all responsibility for the failure. What does Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel say to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestine? Sit quietly and don’t dare resist. Sit quietly in the face of the settlements, which continue to be built unchecked on your lands. Don’t dare use terror, but not diplomacy either, which as we know is “political terror.” No civil disobedience and no boycott of the settlements … So we went like sheep to the slaughter, and now we are demanding that the Palestinians go like sheep to the occupation. On this day, at least, Jews and Israelis should understand this.
Excerpt from The Battle for Justice in Palestine / Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept 27 Apr — Like most of what he writes and says, Ali Abunimah’s new book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, is provocative, erudite, impassioned, aggressive, and certain to make even some political allies uncomfortable with their tacitly held beliefs (beginning with the book’s very first sentence: “The Palestinians are winning”). One need not agree with all of his views to find the book well worth reading. So much ink has been spilled on Israel and Palestine that at times it seems impossible to encounter anything new or stimulating, but the arguments Abunimah assembles here are so thoughtful and forceful, and placed within a comprehensive, long-cultivated coherent perspective, that it’s almost impossible to read it without thinking about all sorts of old questions in new ways. That this outlook is so rarely heard in Western establishment media circles makes it all the more valuable. Below is an excerpt regarding the coordinated campaign on American campuses to suppress pro-Palestinian advocacy and Israel critiques by equating them with hate speech. This, he argues, is part of a broader effort to render any fundamental critiques of Israel illegitimate in leading American opinion-making institutions. The excerpt has been adapted by Abunimah for publication here, with minor editing and the omission of the book’s ample footnotes:
47 years a slave: a new perspective on the occupation / Eva Illouz
Haaretz 7 Feb — …Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, a specialist in the history and sociology of slavery, defines slavery thus: “The permanent, violent and personal domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons” (quoted in Brion Davis’ “Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World”). Note that this definition does not assume that a slave is necessarily a tradable property. Rather, as Patterson defines it, a slave is someone who is born in a condition in which his life at birth is dependent on the will of a master; it is someone who is born in a condition of dishonor. From this definition, we can describe a condition of slavery as having a number of characteristics. Slavery is a state where one does not have access to citizenship. In that sense, slaves are by definition deprived of the security that membership to a sovereign political community provides. It also means that they don’t develop the skills that come with the exercise of rights and duties toward a political community. This is what Patterson means when he speaks of general “dishonor”: a slave is deprived of the possibility of being recognized by a sovereign cultural or political community. Another characteristic follows: a slave is submitted to a different legal system than the one by which the ordinary, free population is regulated (in many cases in the American South, the law was changed so as to be applied specifically to African-Americans). Hence, in a slave society, the law is naturally made to fit the needs of the ruling group, to exonerate them when needed, and to be especially harsh on the slaves. Third, slaves are used to maintain and extend the property of a master but are denied the right to acquire or extend their own property, through various legal and forceful means. The capacity of slaves to own or increase land and property is very limited or nonexistent. A fourth characteristic is that slaves are the object of arbitrary physical punishment, and their life and death are often the master’s decision. Slaves live in fear, because they know that they can be physically punished, beaten, lashed, killed at any time. Fifth, slaves have very limited social space to move in and out of. In the 19th century, seeing an unknown African-American somewhere was enough to raise suspicion that he had run away.
The ‘smaller’ indignities of occupation / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 28 Apr — I teach writing at a Palestinian university in the West Bank. Several of my students have been gracious enough to share their experiences with +972, albeit anonymously. This is the third of four short essays. Read parts one and two. “As my siblings and I sat alone in an unfamiliar place waiting for my mother, I tried my best to keep a strong face in front of them. How I felt, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of strong. It was the middle of July during the summer of 2006, the first time I came to visit Palestine. My mom, my siblings and I, all made the tiring journey across the Atlantic ocean so that we could visit the place we had a connection to. We landed in Tel Aviv Airport at 3 p.m. and I couldn’t have been more excited to see what this “homeland” was all about. But as we made our way to the visa booth, we were escorted into a long hall with empty white rooms. The soldier, who could barely speak English or Arabic, pointed my siblings and I to a single room and took my mom somewhere else. When I realized what was happening, my panic took over and I rushed to the soldier to tell him to leave us with our mother, but he wasn’t having it. Across the hall was another room with another Arab family, including one older woman. When she saw what was happening she told me to sit down, and not to worry. I couldn’t see how I wasn’t going to worry when I was suddenly in charge of caring for my two-year-old sister, my five-year-old brother and my nine- and 10-year-old sisters. I was only 11 at the time. We sat there for four hours waiting for my mom, but it felt like a lifetime. No one would tell me where she was, or what we were waiting for….” Yes, the Israelis eventually allowed the family to enter the country. But that’s not the point. Not only were these children subjected to discriminatory policies, they went through a frightening experience just because they’re Palestinian. Unsurprisingly, their American passports did not provide them any protection. To Israel, a Palestinian is a Palestinian — regardless of their age or nationality.