Haaretz 13 Apr by Chaim Levinson — The decision to grant retroactive approval to Netiv Ha’avot, approved by Defense Minister Ya’alon, marks the largest appropriation of West Bank land in years — Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has given the state the green light to retroactively legalize the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in Gush Etzion, declaring 984 dunams around the outpost state land in what is the largest appropriation of territory in the West Bank in many years. The Netiv Ha’avot outpost, adjacent to the settlements of Elazar and Alon Shvut, was built without proper authorization in 2001 and was the subject of two High Court of Justice petitions … Last week, heads of nearby Palestinian villages were informed of the state’s plans to appropriate the land, and given 45 days to appeal the decision. The Netiv Ha’avot outpost is home to some 50 families, including Ze’ev Hever (Zambish), secretary of Amana, the organization that is the driving force behind all the illegal outposts. The state’s planned appropriation of land far exceeds the size of the Netiv Ha’avot, which is built on just a few dozen dunams. The decision to convert nearly 1,000 dunams (1 square kilometer) into state land will enable hundreds of housing units to be built in neighboring Elazar and Alon Shvut, turning them into towns with thousands of residents, and will pave the way for settlers in Netiv Ha’avot to submit their own building plans. Within this area lie enclaves of private Palestinian land which will become trapped within the settler real estate. “Declarations of state land became rare after the army declared close to a million dunams state land in the 1980s and 1990s, enough to expand the settlements for the coming century,” said Dror Etkes, who monitors settlement policy. “The present declaration is a faithful reflection of the Netanyahu government’s policy and meant to extinguish the last embers of the negotiations with the Palestinians.”
EU demands compensation for seized aid projects
AFP/I24news 13 Apr The European Union demands compensation payments for three EU-funded humanitarian aid projects Israel has demolished last week, Brussels-based news service EurActive reported Friday. Israel has demolished several European Union-funded humanitarian housing shelters in a highly sensitive strip of West Bank land near Jerusalem, an EU official said Friday. “On April 9, three of some 18 residential structures were demolished… in Jabal al-Baba,” an area outside the sprawling settlement of Maale Adumim, a spokesman for the EU’s delegation to the Palestinian territories told AFP. The tin huts, used to house Palestinians made homeless by severe winter weather at the beginning of the year, were “partially funded by EU member states,” the official said. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told EurActiv that the seizure was “more than a provocation, it is a crime.” … Internal discussions are underway over proposals to demand compensation for such actions in future. Israel issued demolition orders on all 18 structures in February, and EU delegates “raised this with the Israeli authorities” both at that time of and after the demolitions.
Harassment campaign continues in the Jordan Valley
AL MALEH, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 13 Apr — The Israeli military oppression of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley can take many forms, including the systematic confiscation of essential tools and materials, to physical punishment and arrest. The latest act of harassment by the Israeli army in the Jordan Valley took place five days ago in the Al Maleh area, where 26 water tanks were confiscated, depriving the local population access to their water supply. To reclaim the stolen water tanks, the Local Council has been forced to pay 5,000 shekels (over 1,000 euros) to the DCO (District Coordination Office). However the tanks will not be returned for a further 10 days, even after the payment has been completed. Arif Daraghmeh, local councillor of the area, reports that in the early 1990s, the Israeli army built infrastructures diverting the natural course of the water, and that these actions might be the direct cause of several springs drying up in the region. This is just another case of deliberate harassment that ISM has previously reported. Other acts of harassment include physical punishment, demolition of tents and constant intimidation by the Israeli army.
New road in Burin met with settler violence and harassment
BURIN, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 11 Apr — Villagers in Burin are attempting to open a new road, in order to connect the village with the main road heading towards the city of Nablus. This project has been met with much violence and protest from the nearby illegal settlements. The village of Burin has a long history of violence from the surrounding illegal settlements of Givat Roven (to the east), Bracha (to the north) and Yitzar (to the south). Additionally, to the west of Burin is a military training camp for Israeli forces. Due to their illegal neighbours, Burin has had to face attacks against the village mosque, theft of animals from local farmers, and settlers throwing stones at villagers. The building of the illegal settlements surrounding the village has stolen over 14000 dunams of Burin’s land.ISM activists met with Bilal, a Palestinian working on the new road. He described how on the 8th April, settlers from the illegal settlements of Givat Roven and Yitzar arranged a demonstration against the attempted new road, which runs from Burin village, over a large hill, connecting with the road to Nablus. The settlers were marching alongside of the hill and shooting live ammunition up into the air.
Israeli forces destroy a camp where farmers live and work
JAWANA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 11 Apr — Yesterday morning at approximately 7am, the Israeli army destroyed five tents donated by the Red Crescent to a group of farmers in the area of Jawana, between the village of Beit Furik and the ruins of [Khirbet] Tana. Five military jeeps and two civil administration vehicles arrived with a demolition order and proceeded to destroy all the tents. Farmers reported that the Israeli soldiers told them they had to leave the land where the camp was located, claiming that it was in Area C [under full Israeli security and civil control]. They also said the area was being used as a military training ground. Jawana is actually in Area B [Palestinian civil control, joint Israeli and Palestinian security control], and sources close by have said that there are no military training areas close to the village. There were three families living in Jawana’s camp, with a total of 22 children. The Red Crescent was supporting the families by donating the tents, but after this recent attack, it does not seem possible to replace them. The families are now in a very difficult position, Israeli soldiers have also threatened to take away their water tank if they continue to stay in the area.
Israel allows settlers back into contested W. Bank home
Jerusalem (AFP) 13 Apr — Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Sunday approved the return of Jewish settlers to a contested house in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, his office said. The supreme court ruled last month that settlers were the lawful owners of the building in the heart of the occupied Palestinian city, ending a legal dispute lasting nearly seven years. “Following the court decision… Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon today (Sunday) approved habitation of the house,” his office said in a statement. It added that the area military instructor had been told to allow “a limited number of families to the house”. According to army radio, three Jewish families already moved in on Sunday afternoon. A Palestinian negotiator, Mohammed Shtayyeh, condemned the Israeli move which he said prioritised settlements over the ailing peace process … An NGO set up by former members of Israel’s military, Breaking the Silence, meanwhile, said it was the first time since 1980 that Israeli authorities give the green light for a new settlement in Hebron. It would results in new restrictions on Palestinian residents such as the closure of roads and shops, it said … The Rajabis, a Palestinian family, has for years said its four-storey building had been taken over fraudulently by Israeli settlers. A lower court in 2012 accepted their claim, ruling that the settlers’ assertion that they had legally purchased the property “does not hold water”. The supreme court overturned that judgment on appeal.
A new settlement is born in Hebron
[with video, photo] 972mag 13 Apr by Michael Omer-Man — As peace talks teeter, three families move into what will be the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s – with the full support and blessing of the army — Three Israeli settler families moved into a contested home in the West Bank Palestinian city of Hebron, following a years-long legal battle and culminating on Sunday with the authorization of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The new, fortress-like building signifies the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s. The building in question, which is strategically placed between the Old City of Hebron and the major Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, can house some 20 families. Palestinians claim that the property was purchased using forged documents, but Israel’s Supreme Court rejected that claim. Settlers buy Palestinian land through straw companies, the most famous of which is named Al Wattan (homeland in Arabic). (Read more about fraudulent settler land purchase tactics here.) The army on Sunday was present for the settlers’ move-in to the building, which Palestinians call the Rajbi building and settlers call the “Peace House” and “House of Contention.” The move was to designed to allow the settlers to move in on time to hold a Passover seder on Monday night, although the timing in relation to the peace process should not be written off entirely. The move-in was not only protected by the Israeli army; soldiers even helped connect the building to a water supply, an act of compassion and free labor that thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and south Hebron Hills could only dream of.
Settlers burn olive trees west of Bethlehem
IMEMC 12 Apr by Chris Carlson — Israeli settlers burned down a number of olive trees at dawn, this morning [Saturday, April 12, 2014]. Activist Ghassan Njagerh told Radio Bethlehem 2000 that the settlers burned about 27 olive trees planted near the fence of the illegal settlement of “Betar Illit“, between the villages of Nahalin and Husan, west of Bethlehem. He pointed out that the age of the trees was more than 40 years.
Israeli forces storm Aqsa compound, injuring 6 worshipers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning, attacking worshipers with stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, as Muslim worshipers braced for raids by right-wing Jewish groups as Passover approaches. Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that more than 50 Israeli “special forces” stormed the compound through the Moroccan Gate and the Chain Gate during the raid. Al-Kiswani added that Israeli forces “besieged” Muslim worshipers with rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades, and closed the Chain Gate with chains. One of the Al-Aqsa compound security guards was struck by a rubber-coated bullet during the raid, and he was identified as Amjad al-Alami. In addition, five worshipers were hurt by pepper spray used by Israeli officers during the assault. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had arrived in the early morning and stationed themselves near the Moroccan gate watching the movement of all worshipers inside the compound. The soldiers also denied right-wing Israeli groups access to the compound … Dozens of Muslims had spent the night in the compound in anticipation of raids by right-wing Jewish groups, who they expect to enter the compound on the occasion of Passover. Prominent Israeli right-wing organizations have urged Jews to flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Passover in what many worshipers consider a provocation.
Visualizing Palestine: Segregated by color
Segregated by Color is a campaign that focuses on the forced separation of families in Palestine through the color based ID system. The Israeli-controlled system of colored ID cards is responsible for separating Palestinians from their loved ones. The system effectively divides Palestinians into five different groups — Israeli ID, Jerusalem ID, West Bank ID, Gaza ID, and refugees in exile — spread over five different geographies. According to Human Rights Watch, over 640,000 Palestinians face the risk of separation from a direct family member who holds a different colored ID.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Israeli forces shoot 2 youths during clashes in ‘Aida camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Two Palestinians were injured on Saturday during clashes between local youths and Israeli forces in ‘Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem. A local source said that the two young men were shot by Israeli soldiers during the clashes, one with a live bullet in the leg and the other with a metal[rubber?]-covered steel bullet. The source said that Israeli forces entered the refugee camp and fired large amounts of tear gas into the refugee camp, where clashes have been ongoing since the afternoon. ‘Aida camp is a frequent site of clashes because it is located beside Rachel’s Tomb, which is surrounded on three sides by the Israeli separation wall despite being in the middle of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
Israeli forces severely beat four minors in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Apr – Israeli forces severely beat Saturday four Palestinian minors at Jaber neighborhood in the old city of Hebron, according to their parents. They said forces assaulted four children aged between 10 and 13 years, beating them with the rifle butts and army boots. The children sustained bruises and were admitted into a Hebron hospital to receive medical treatment.
Israeli settlers assault 3 Palestinian youths in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Dozens of Israeli settlers assaulted three Palestinian youths late Friday in an East Jerusalem settlement, family members told Ma‘an. Abdullah Jibrin, 21, Eyab Jibrin, 20, and 20-year-old Ghalib al-Waari sustained injuries after settlers in the settlement of Pisgat Zeev assaulted them with clubs and knives, al-Waari’s father told Ma‘an. He said Abdullah Jibrin was wounded in the forehead and needed 15 stitches. The three youths had arrived in Pisgat Zeev to withdraw money from an ATM, he said. After an Israeli settler knocked on their car window, they attempted to return to the car to drive away. However, the settler prevented them from doing so, al-Waari’s father said. Over thirty settlers then surrounded the Palestinians and began to assault them. At that point, Israeli police arrived, dispersing the settlers and detaining three of them. The victims then filed a complaint with police in the nearby settlement of Neve Yaakov.
Israeli forces detain Hebron man after settlers invade his house
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man on Saturday evening after he tried to defend his family from a home invasion by Jewish settlers in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, a local activist group said. Mofid Sharbati, 46, was detained by Israeli forces after a group of settlers entered his home on Shuhada street in central Hebron, coordinator for Youth against Settlements Issa Amro said. His brother Zidan Sharbati was wounded during the incident, which began when Jewish settlers entered their homes and began beating the brothers as well as members of their families. When the two attempted to respond, Israeli forces who were on the scene came to the aid of settlers and continued the assault, Amro said. Israeli forces detained Mofid during the incident, while Zidan was evacuated from the scene by an ambulance and taken to Hebron Hospital, where doctors said his wounds were “moderate.”
Israeli settlers attack farmers and shepherds near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Apr – Armed Israeli settlers attacked Saturday Palestinian farmers and shepherds in lands to the east of Yatta in Hebron district, according to a local activist. Protected by Israeli forces, heavily armed settlers stoned Palestinian farmers and shepherds in Khirbet al-Kharrubi and al-‘Arqoub to the east of Yatta, said Coordinator of Anti-settlement and Wall Committee in Southern Hebron Ratib Jabour. Settlers also severely beat two farmers aged 20 and 26 years and prevented them from harvesting their crops and grazing their flocks on their lands
Israeli forces arrest three people; settlers storm towns in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Apr — Israeli forces arrested Saturday three people while settlers stormed towns in the district of Hebron, according to local and security sources. Forces stormed Dura, a town located to the south of Hebron, where they arrested an 18-year-old person after breaking into his family house, tampering with its contents. Forces also arrested two people aged 21 and 23 years, residents of Surif located to the northwest of Hebron, near the section of apartheid wall built on Palestinian-owned land belonging to residents of Karas and Surif.
Meanwhile, Israeli settlers broke into Palestinians’ lands at Khirbet Jamrin in Surif and Marʻiyya area in Halhul, where they terrorized residents.
Israeli forces arrest four in Hebron, raid village near Jenin
HEBRON (WAFA) 13 Apr – The Israeli forces on Sunday arrested four people in Hebron district and summoned one for interrogation as well as stormed a village in Jenin, according to local and security sources … Israeli forces stormed Dura, to the west of Hebron, and arrested a local resident. They also arrested a youth at Ash-Shuhadaa Street in Hebron as well as beat up his brother during the arrest. Furthermore, forces stormed the village of Khallat Hadur, to the northeast of Hebron, and handed a local resident summon to appear for interrogation before the Israeli intelligence. Meanwhile in Jenin district, Israeli army raided the village of At-Tarem near the town of Ya‘bad and stormed several homes of the local villagers. Security sources said forces ordered a 19-year-old out of his home, interrogated him while he was handcuffed and while using foul language against him. He was later released.
Video: Israeli military escort exposed Palestinian children to settler attack
IMEMC/Peace Now 13 Apr by Chris Carlson — On Thursday, April 10, 2014, the Israeli military escort failed to accompany the Palestinian children from the South Hebron Hills villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed as they returned home from school. The children reached the meeting point with the military escort at 12:15 pm, and the escort was supposed to arrive at 12:30 pm, as every Thursday, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) reports. The meeting place is a dangerous area, situated close to the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. International volunteers made numerous phone calls to the District Coordination Liaison (DCL) office and directly to the Israeli army office, but the escort failed to arrive. So, at 1:20 pm the children decided to walk home via a longer path which crosses Palestinian-owned lands very close to the south-western side of Havat Ma’on. Because of the danger, international volunteers accompanied the children. At 1:50 pm two young Israeli settlers attacked the children and volunteers, throwing rocks with slingshots. The attack lasted about three minutes and forced the children to run toward the hills in order to reach the Palestinian village of Tuba.
2 Palestinians detained in overnight raid in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man and a teenager in the town of Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank early on Sunday morning, a local spokesman told Ma‘an. Muhammad Ayyad Awad from the local committee against Israel’s wall and settlements said that several Israeli military vehicles stormed Beit Ummar and ransacked several houses in the town’s eastern neighborhood. The soldiers then detained 17-year-old Muhammad Zuheir al-Allami and 35-year-old Ahmad Muhammad al-Allami. Awad added that Israeli soldiers detonated stun grenades inside some of the houses during the raid, “terrifying children, men and elderly people.”
Israeli forces keep Nabi Saleh gates closed for 2nd day
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Israeli forces kept gates surrounding a West Bank village near Ramallah shut for the second day in a row on Sunday, locals told Ma‘an. Locals said Israeli forces blocked roads and deployed dozens of soldiers in Nabi Saleh on Sunday, a day after the village was declared a “closed military zone.” Soldiers also fired tear gas and stun grenades in the village, making it even more difficult for people to leave the village, witnesses added. Israeli forces surrounded the village and declared it a “closed military zone” on Saturday, subsequently injuring two Palestinian civilians, a local group said. The attack by Israeli forces came a day after Israeli forces detained five — including two Palestinian women and three foreign journalists — and lightly injured a French journalist during a protest in the village, which has held weekly protests for four years against Israeli confiscation of village lands. Soldiers arrived “suddenly” on Saturday to close the village entrances and then targeted locals nearby, shooting a young man with a live bullet and injuring a 45-year-old woman after beating her, local popular resistance group “Intifada” said in a statement. The woman was identified as Wijdan al-Tamimi, while the injured young man was not identified. “Intifada” said that the attack was part of an escalation in military violence against the village in recent months.
Israel places journalist in incommunicado detention
Electronic Intifada 13 Apr by Ali Abunimah — Israel has arrested and placed in incommunicado detention the journalist and researcher Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian citizen of Israel. The Electronic Intifada has obtained the closed court transcript and gag order – which Israeli media are strictly forbidden from publishing – extending the detention and interrogation of 23-year-old Kayyal under the auspices of the Shin Bet (also known as Shabak), Israel’s secret police. The original document and a full translation are available below. According to the court document, Kayyal is being investigated for suspicion of “unlawful travel to Arab countries” and “contact with a foreign agent.” These are, according to the attorney representing Shin Bet, “serious offenses against the security of the state.” These kinds of accusations are habitually used by Israel’s secret police to target and silence Palestinian citizens of Israel who are active in exposing and challenging Israel’s racist and undemocratic laws and practices. As well as being a journalist, Kayyal is a web editor at Adalah, a legal advocacy organization for Palestinian citizens of Israel … Adalah announced on its Facebook page that Kayyal was arrested on Saturday evening at the Sheikh Hussein crossing on the Israeli-Jordanian border … Kayyal “was returning from a conference he independently attended to mark the 40th anniversary of the As-Safir newspaper in Beirut, Lebanon,” Adalah said. Kayyal has frequently written for As-Safir and wrote about his trip to Beirut – his first ever – for the website Jadaliyya. Kayyal considered his visit to Beirut a dream come true and posted images of himself in the Lebanese capital on his Facebook page.
Settler shoots Palestinian as he tried to repair his car
URIF, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Nablus Team) 9 Apr — On Sunday 30th March on the road to Madama (near Nablus), 25-year-old Nidal, from the village of Urif, was fixing his car when a settler with a handgun shot him in the leg … At approximately 9:00 pm, Nidal and a friend attempted to drive from their village of Urif to the city of Nablus. Before reaching the Huwarra checkpoint, they discovered that one of the tires on the car had a puncture. While they were fixing the tire, another car arrived on the other side of the road and stopped across from them. Nidal assumed it was a Palestinian stopping to offer his help, as he walked over to the car he realized that it was a settler, carrying a handgun. The settler shot Nidal in the calf and fled the area. Nidal was losing a lot of blood, so his friend drove to the hospital without fixing the puncture, damaging the car. They arrived at Rafidia hosptial approximately15 minutes after the event. Nidal stayed in hospital for two days and will need to rest for at least three weeks to heal correctly. This not the first time Nidal has suffered from settler violence. Twelve years ago, Nidal was 13-year-old and was playing outside Urif School with two friends. A group of settlers from what would become the illegal settlement of Yezhar arrived at the school and kidnapped the three children. The families and the Palestinian Authority worked hard to have the children released; while they were illegally detained settlers beat the children.
49 Palestinians arrested in southern Israel sweep
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli police forces have launched a “wide campaign” of arrests in southern Israel against Palestinians in the country without permits in the lead-up to the Easter holiday. The police department of the Lakhish regional council of southern Israel said in a statement that in the last week 49 Palestinians had been arrested in the sweeps, including 28 at a construction site in Ashdod, 18 in Kiryat Gat, two in Ashkelon and one in Sderot. Lakhish regional council police spokesperson Lior Ben-Simon said in a statement that all of the detainees had been brought to the police station in Ashdod for further investigation. Ben-Simon added that the majority of the detained were from the southern West Bank region of Hebron and were between the ages of 24 and 34. Nearly 100,000 Palestinians work in Israel, attracted by the prospect of wages substantially higher than those available in the occupied territories. Permits, however, are notoriously difficult to attain, and as a result large numbers of Palestinians work without the appropriate documentation. According to a report released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in October, 34,600 of all Palestinians working in Israel lack a permit to do so. [so much for the ‘security fence’]
Qaraqe‘: Israel ends prisoner’s solitary confinement
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 13 Apr — Minister of Prisoners and Ex-Detainees Affairs, Essa Qaraqe‘, said on Sunday that the Israeli prisons’ administration approved to end the solitary confinement of prisoner Ibrahim Hamed. Around 200 prisoners had earlier declared an open hunger strike as of today in solidarity with Hamed, but Qaraqe‘ told WAFA that the prisoners ceased the step following the Israeli decision.
Gaza under double blockade
Palestinian man shot, injured by Israeli forces in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — A Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip Sunday morning, Palestinian medical and security sources told Ma‘an. Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting small stones from fields near the border, injuring one in the foot … Many people in the besieged coastal enclave collect small stones in order to make gravel for concrete, because the import of concrete is forbidden by the Israeli economic blockade. The blockade has been in force since 2006. Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians. The “security buffer zone” extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones. According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.
Palestinian youth wounded in IOF shooting in southern Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 12 Apr — A Palestinian young man was shot and wounded in southern Gaza on Friday night at the hands of Israeli occupation forces (IOF). Medical sources told the PIC reporter that the 19-year-old youth was hit with a bullet in his knee to the east of Khan Younis city.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Israeli bulldozers break into eastern Khan Younis
IMEMC 13 Apr by Chris Carlson — Several military occupation bulldozers, Sunday afternoon, broke into the eastern outskirts of al-Qarara town in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. A correspondent from Al Ray said that four bulldozers moved from Kissufim military post under the protection of tanks and artillery fire into an area where a bomb exploded the day before. He pointed out that the incursion coincided with heavy, low flying of Israeli reconnaissance aircraft, and an active movement of patrol jeeps along the fence. A home-made bomb exploded last night near the border fence, followed by Israeli artillery firing shells towards Palestinian lands to the east of the al-Qarara town.
Group: Explosive device hits Israeli jeep in southern Gaza Strip
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — The military wing of the Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for an attack targeting an Israeli military jeep near the Kissufim military base east of the Gaza Strip on Saturday. The National Resistance Brigades said in a statement that “the military site Kissufim was also targeted with three mortar shells in response to the ongoing Israeli attacks on unarmed Palestinians.” An Israeli military spokeswoman said that “there was alarm in the area overnight,” and an explosion was heard, but she said that Israeli forces were still searching the area.
Israel to shut Gaza crossing over Passover
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Israeli authorities have decided to shut down Gaza’s only operating commercial terminal for the Jewish holiday of Passover, a Palestinian official said. Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the entry of goods into Gaza, said that the Kerem Shalom crossing will be closed Monday and Tuesday but will resume operating on Wednesday. Fattouh added that the crossing was operating normally on Sunday, however, and construction material for projects funded by the UNRWA as well as fuel and domestic-use gas were being allowed into the besieged coastal enclave.
Child sustains severe injuries after Gaza ‘explosion’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — A 10-year-old child sustained severe injuries as a result of the explosion of a “suspicious object” in a neighborhood west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday morning. Ashraf al-Qidrah, a spokesman for the health ministry in the Gaza Strip, identified the injured child as Tariq Abu Hamda. He added that the boy suffered from shrapnel wounds all over his body, and his left hand had to be amputated at the Nasser Medical Center. The circumstances of the explosion were not immediately clear.
Sweet and sinister images from Gaza’s hottest artists
Edinburgh (Electronic Intifada) 10 Apr by Sarah Irving — A university museum in northeast England is not perhaps somewhere you would expect to find an exhibition of two of Arab art’s hottest young talents. But in hosting Traces and Revelations, a viscerally exciting new show of paintings by Hazem Harb and Mohammed Joha, the Oriental Museum at the University of Durham has shown that Palestinian art can attract and inspire audiences outside the usual metropolitan circuits … A confession from Dr. Craig Barclay, curator of the Oriental Museum and, with Arts Canteen’s Aser el-Saqqa, one of the brains behind this show, highlights the assumptions that some people will bring to Harb and Joha’s work. “Knowing that the artist was Palestinian, I assumed that Crime Scene was about Israel — the cat killing the dove of peace,” said Barclay in conversation with The Electronic Intifada at the exhibition opening. “But when I talked to Mohammed [Joha] about it he said ‘no — it’s about Syria.’ Which shows my preconceptions.” … Both Joha and Harb seem equally keen to stress the universality of their art. It may come from men who grew up in Gaza’s al-Shujaiyyeh neighborhood, right at the bullseye of Israel’s military occupation. But, as Joha told the opening night audience, “This is art that is for all humanity, not for people from one nation.”
Activism / Solidarity / BDS — and the opposition
VIDEO: In Passover message, rabbis call for divestment from Hewlett-Packard
Electronic Intifada 8 Apr by Ali Abunimah — In this video, members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Rabbinical Council call for divestment from occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard. It is part of JVP’s “Hewlett-Packard: Harming Peace” campaign. The video plays on the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem” traditionally uttered at Passover seder dinners, which Jews around the world will gather for next week. Hewlett-Packard makes electronic systems Israel uses to control the movement of Palestinians and has been specifically targeted in a number of divestment campaigns.
Avoiding accountability: life in Ramleh Prison hospital
GAZA (Corporate Watch, Tom Anderson and Therezia Cooper) 11 Apr — Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles to be released over the coming months that we hope will serve as a resource for action against companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS). Palestinian organisations are calling for action on 17 April, the international day of solidarity for Palestinian political prisoners, against G4S, a British-Danish multinational company working with the IPS, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major investor in G4S. Click here to find out more … Corporate Watch interviewed Akram Salameh in November 2013 at the government’s Ministry of Detainees in Gaza City … According to Akram, far from providing care to people who need it, the hospital simply goes through the motions of looking after the prisoners: “Legally when you have a prison you should have a medical centre. So the hospital is a cover they use in the courts, a facade of legality. The IPS gives basic treatment but seeing a specialist or having an operation may take years.” Akram gives the example of a prisoner named Moatassem Raddad who “has been waiting more than four years years for treatment for intestinal cancer.” According to Akram this is one of the ways that the IPS goes through the motions of providing care while withholding life saving treatment. Akram tells us that patients are put on the waiting lists for treatment but never receive it.
France’s main Jewish group fined for defaming Palestine charity
Electronic Intifada 11 Apr by Ali Abunimah — France’s highest appeal court has ordered the country’s major Jewish organization to pay damages for falsely claiming that a charity supporting Palestinians collected money for Hamas. The 11 March judgment from the Court of Cassation in the northeastern city of Nancy was first reported by the website Al Kanz this week. In June 2010, CRIF, the main umbrella group for Jewish organizations in France, published an article by Marc Knobel alleging that the Committee for Charity and Assistance to the Palestinians – known by its French initials CBSP – was actually raising money for Hamas. The article was published days after Israeli forces stormed the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla to Gaza, in international waters, and murdered nine civilians. Youcef Benderbal, a CBSP official, was aboard the ship and among hundreds of passengers forcibly taken to the Israeli-controlled port of Ashdod. In the days before and after the massacre, the Israeli government engaged in intense propaganda efforts to portray the people aboard the flotilla as dangerous extremists and terrorists.
BBC in the service of Israeli propaganda
Electronic Intifada 12 Apr by Amena Saleem — Over the last five weeks, the trend in BBC reporting to ignore events that show Israel in a negative light, while affording coverage to tenuous claims from the Israeli army that it has uncovered Palestinian “terror” plots, has become quite glaring. On 19 March, a 14-year-old Palestinian child, Yussef Shawamreh, was shot in the back and hip by Israeli soldiers as he foraged for edible wild thistles on his family’s land in the occupied West Bank. The child bled to death. His two friends, aged 12 and 17, were seized by soldiers dressed in black fatigues and wearing black face masks, and taken to a nearby illegal settlement, in handcuffs and blindfolds. There they were beaten for failing to answer questions in Hebrew, a language neither understands. By any standards, the cold-blooded killing of a 14-year-old by soldiers, and the subsequent abuse of his young friends, is appalling. The media outcry if the boy had been Israeli and his killers Palestinian can only be guessed at. As it is, with the dead child being Palestinian, the BBC ignored the story. The previous week, the BBC also failed to report on the killing on 10 March of university student Saji Darwish, also in the West Bank.
In Boston, saying ‘No’ to Pamela Geller’s savage hate
Haaretz 10 Apr by Michael Felsen — Pamela Geller has brought the fight for the right to hate to Boston. Having waged their version of holy war in city transit system ad campaigns in New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere, the American Freedom Defense Initiative is targeting Boston. The AFDI’s Executive Director, Pamela Geller, is also founder, editor and publisher of Atlas Shrugs.com and the Stop Islamization of America organization. If what they’re offering purports to support Israel or defend freedom – as they claim it does – thank you very much, but we’ll pass.Geller’s foray into Boston follows the October 2013 posting in Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA or T) subway stations and bus stops of an advertisement (paid for by the Connecticut – based chairman of the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine) that displays four maps depicting, over time, “Palestinian Loss of Land – 1946 to 2010,” and the statement “4.7 Million Palestinians are Classified by the UN as Refugees.” In response, Geller sought to post the same ad she and AFDI had plastered in a few other transit systems around the country, in screaming capital letters: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” … Ms. Geller, Boston has no use for anti-Muslim hate-mongering – for smearing our Muslim friends and neighbors with outrageous, unfounded stereotyping – at any time, and particularly as we approach the anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing tragedy. Nor are either Israel’s interests or the fragile cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace served by your provocations. Our trains, buses, and stations – indeed, Western civilization -will fare quite well without the benefit of your “savage” posters.
IDF officer dismissed for approving soldiers’ anti-Arab T-shirts
Haaretz 13 Apr by Chaim Levinson — A platoon commander was dismissed and two soldiers in the Nahal Brigade battalion patrol demoted from combat roles for arranging the printing of T-shirts with an aggressively anti-Arab message. The decision was announced late last week by Nahal commander Col. Yehuda Fuchs. The shirts, which were ordered for the graduation of the battalion patrol training course, featured a Hebrew slogan warning Arab mothers that the fates of their sons lay in the hands of the shirts’ wearers, followed by, “Nablus, we’re coming!” A drawing showed an armed Israeli soldier, his face masked, among the homes of the West Bank city. A commanding officer informed Fuchs about the shirts after seeing two members of the battalion wearing them during an evening run last week, and Fuchs ordered an investigation. Citing “moral failure,” on Wednesday Fuchs ordered the platoon commander dismissed from Nahal for having approved the shirts. The soldier who drew the illustration and a Sgt. 1st Class were demoted from combat positions and assigned to administrative tasks. A number of soldiers in the battalion criticized the demotions, arguing that shirts of this type were meant as a joke and were common in the Israel Defense Forces.
Political, other news
Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet on crisis-hit peace talks
AFP/i24news 14 Apr — After rumors of cancellation, negotiators discuss Palestinian application to UN bodies, prisoner release — Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met on Sunday for a three-hour-long meeting in a fresh bid to save their teetering US-brokered peace talks, a Palestinian official said. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat was meeting in Jerusalem with his Israeli opposite number, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho, he told AFP. There was no immediate word from the Israeli side, which was to observe the seven-day Jewish holidays of Passover from sunset on Monday. According to Palestinian media, the Palestinian team rejected Livni’s call for the Palestinians to withdraw their applications to join 15 international treaties and organizations. According to the report, the Palestinian negotiators also called for Israel to completely freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem prior to discussing other issues. The Palestinians also called for the release of a fourth group of veteran prisoners, without the option of exiling them … The talks hit an impasse two weeks ago when Israel refused to release as agreed a group of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinians retaliated by seeking accession to several international treaties.
New Israeli legal campaign accuses Abbas of ‘terrorism’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Right-wing Israeli political parties have begun a campaign to sue president Abbas for “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court in response to the Palestinian Authority’s recent decision to join international conventions and treaties. The campaign comes amid a near breakdown in ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO, and seeks to file legal procedures against Abbas accusing him of supporting “terrorism” and aiding to terrorist organizations. Beginning on Friday, Israeli newspapers and websites have published advertisements calling on Israeli lawyers to join the campaign led by the Israel Law Center to sue Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on charges of supporting terrorist organizations.
One of the prominent leaders of the campaign is chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett, who has been a vocal critic of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. An ad in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth features president Abbas behind bars with a phrase in Arabic reading, “We will terrorize him in The Hague.” Palestinian officials, however, have downplayed the move, pointing out that Israel cannot pursue legal action at the international court due to its own failure to sign the treaties.
Palestinians condemn Israeli sanctions as ‘piracy’
JERUSALEM (AP) 11 Apr — The Palestinian negotiator in Mideast peace talks is calling Israel’s decision to stop tax money transfers “piracy.” Saeb Erekat said Friday that “the Israeli decision to withhold these funds is piracy. … It cannot be maintained.” He also said talks persist, though “gaps remain big.” Erekat spoke a day after an Israeli official said Israel would stop the tax money transfers in retaliation for the Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties. That comes after Israel failed to release Palestinian prisoners as promised and moved forward with more settlements in land Palestinians want for their future capital. Israel collects about $100 million a month in taxes for the Palestinians. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the Israeli move “unfortunate” on Friday.
Israel’s ‘freeze’ on PA funds? Pure spin
Haaretz 13 Apr by Barak Ravid — Netanyahu’s announcement panders to the right, but the actual funds have already been transferred to the PA — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau held a briefing for foreign media agencies on Thursday, announcing his decision to freeze the transfer of tax money that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, with funds also being confiscated to pay off PA debts to the Israel Electric Corporation and other entities. This was Israel’s response to the PA’s application to join 15 international conventions and treaties at the United Nations, the bureau said. But there was a large disparity between the briefing and reality. Senior Israeli officials said that Israel had transferred to the PA the entire amount of the tax revenues it had collected in March — approximately $100 million — three or four days earlier. When Netanyahu’s bureau announced the sanctions and the freeze on funds to the international media and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, the money was already safely ensconced in the bank account of the Palestinian Finance Ministry. In Yiddish it’s called “Yisrabluff.” In English it’s called “spin.” The senior officials said Netanyahu’s decision to freeze the money, over the objection of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, would only be relevant, if at all, in May, with regard to tax money collected in April … The use of the term “freezing of the tax funds” is only a euphemism for robbery. The money is Palestinian, not Israeli. The collection of taxes for the Palestinians is part of the Oslo Accords, whereby the money is to be transferred directly to the Palestinian Finance Ministry.
Israeli soldiers ‘seize tax clearance slips’ at commercial crossing
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces late Friday began to confiscate tax clearance certificates from Palestinian merchants at the main commercial crossing between Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. The sources said Israeli officers took clearance certificates by force from several merchants at al-Jalameh crossing in Jenin in an apparent effort to enforce the latest round of sanctions against Palestinians announced by Israeli officials Friday. Separately, the sources said the al-Jalameh crossing would be closed from Sunday to Tuesday due to the Passover holiday. Merchants regularly deliver tax clearance certificates the Palestinian Authority, which receives tax revenues from Israel on a monthly basis according to the certificates.
Arab youth take to Nazareth street in anti-IDF draft rally
Haaretz 13 Apr by Jack Khoury — Protesters say inducting Christians into the Israeli military would split Arab society –Groups opposed to the drafting of Christian Arab youth into the Israel Defense Forces, including the youth wing of the Hadash party, staged a protest rally in Nazareth on Saturday in which male and female teens marched into Spring Square in the center of town dressed in military attire and carrying toy rifles. The protesters declared the area a closed military zone and set up barbed wire and checkpoints. Other youths acted as civilians facing difficulty entering or exiting the closed area, to illustrate the difficulty Arab soldiers face when forced to control Palestinians. On the city’s main street, dozens more people demonstrated against the draft. In Arab society, particularly among Christian Arabs, there has been growing debate over the initiative to draft Christian Arabs into the IDF.
Ambassador: Congress pushing sanctions against PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — US Congress members are calling for action to be taken against the Palestinian Authority in response to the applications to join 15 international treaties, Palestine’s envoy in Washington said Sunday. Maen Areikat told Ma‘an that some pro-Israeli US representatives have voiced their demands to impose sanctions against the PA, which including ceasing financial aid. Areikat said the US administration realizes the importance of the PA’s role in the peace process and the importance of financial aid in the current stage. “We did not hear any indication by the US administration about taking action against the PA,” Areikat said
PLO committee to travel to Gaza for reconciliation talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — A PLO committee is to visit the Gaza Strip this week in an attempt to finalize a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, a statement from the office of Gaza’s prime minister said Sunday. The statement said a meeting was confirmed in a Sunday morning telephone call between senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh promised to put forth a sincere effort to implement agreements between Fatah and Hamas reached in Cairo and Doha. Regular phone calls between Fatah and Hamas leaders have been taking place in recent weeks, focusing on the subject of reconciliation between the two factions, the statement said.
PA forces assault journalists, arrest protesters in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Apr — Palestinian Authority security forces late Saturday assaulted journalists and arrested four youths in Ramallah during a protest against normalization with the Israeli occupation, witnesses said. Palestinians were protesting against an Indian band scheduled to perform at the Cinematic Ramallah al-Kasaba, the witnesses said. The band had performed in Tel Aviv days earlier. During the demonstration, Palestinians accused the band of normalization with the Israeli occupation. PA security forces broke up the protest, assaulting journalists and cameramen and confiscating their cameras, witnesses said. The forces also arrested Zayd Shuaybi, Fajr Amoud, Amoud Hamayil, and Fadi Quraan.
Israeli peace activist Ron Pundak dead at 59
Jerusalem (AFP) 11 Apr – Ron Pundak, a longtime peace activist and architect of the 1993 Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, died at home of cancer Friday, aged 59, Haaretz daily reported. In the early 1990s, with the approval of then foreign minister Shimon Peres, Pundak and fellow Israeli academic Yair Hirschfeld forged a secret channel of communications with the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Norway, at a time when such links were illegal for Israelis. “The secret channel, nicknamed ‘the academic talks,’ which took place in an Oslo research centre with the approval of Norway’s government, eventually led to the Oslo peace process,” wrote Haaretz … Peres, now Israel’s president, called him “a warrior for peace until his last breath” in a statement Friday. “He dedicated his entire adult life to the fight for peace between us and our neighbours,” Peres said.