Rioting settlers, Israeli security forces clash in West Bank
JERUSALEM (JTA) 8 Apr — Six Israeli Border Police officers were hurt in clashes between Israeli security forces and settlers in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar. Hundreds of supporters of the settlement located deep in the West Bank near Nablus rallied to the settlement late Tuesday night after Israeli security forces arrived to demolish several illegal structures. People were living in two of the structures; at least two other structures were under construction. One structure was confiscated. The settlers threw stones, burned tires and blocked roads, according to the Israel Defense Forces. They also attacked a nearby IDF guard post responsible for the settlement’s security. Two settlers were injured and eight arrested. About 200 families live in Yitzhar.
On Sunday, the tires of the IDF commander of the Samaria Brigade, Col. Yoav Yarom, were slashed while he was visiting Yitzhar. A teenage resident of Yitzhar was arrested for the crime. On Monday, the tires of a jeep on routine IDF patrol in Yitzhar also were slashed. There have been an increasing number of attacks on security forces in the West Bank by settlers in recent weeks, according to the IDF…
Yitzhar residents said in a statement published in Haaretz that “the policy of demolition and collective punishment by authorities against residents is disturbing. The Israeli government cannot demolish the homes of innocent people as revenge for other isolated illegitimate incidents, as grave as they may be. We call on the security establishment and its leader to stop this policy immediately.”
Settlers puncture tires of military jeep near Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Apr — Israeli military sources have reported that, for the third time since Sunday, a number of young Israeli settlers of the Yitzhar illegal settlement, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, punctured the tires of a military jeep. The sources said that the jeep is used by soldiers who guard the settlement, and that the attack came just hours after a similar attack was carried out against another army jeep used by the military commander in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The Radio Bethlehem 2000 has reported that a number of soldiers complained that the settlers are attacking them “instead of thanking them for protecting them, their families and businesses”. “They are spitting in our faces, humiliating us instead of thanking us”, one soldier said. Another soldier stated that, while the army is guarding them, “they are stabbing us in the back”, and that the attacks were deliberate.
Source: Settler told soldiers to stand aside as they destroyed army post
Ynet 8 Apr by Yoav Zitun — An initial investigation into the settler attack on an IDF outpost early Tuesday morning revealed the soldiers stood idly by as settlers wreaked havoc, and highlighted the army’s inability to deal with Jewish settlers … The Border Policemen had begun to demolish illegal structures at the settlement when local Jewish residents began throwing stones at the troops. Two police officers required medical attention. Settlers at Yitzhar slammed the demolition as a “price tag” attack carried out by the military in revenge for attacks on Israeli security personnel in recent days. An initial investigation by the IDF’s Shomron Regional Brigade revealed that at around 5:30 am Tuesday, some 50 settlers decided to take revenge for the demolitions – which took place hours before in a different area of the settlement by Border Guard officers and Civil Administration forces. The settlers arrived at the small tent outpost, manned by six soldiers responsible for securing the settlement, which in the past has been scene to incursion by Palestinian terrorists. “The Jewish rioters ordered the soldiers to stand aside and promised not to harm them,” said a senior source in the regional brigade. “This went on for three to five minutes, with the soldiers standing by amazed and astounded, then the settlers began destroying the post’s equipment, including tents, heating equipment, a gas tank, bathrooms and water tank – all destroyed,” he said .According to him the soldiers failed to confront the settlers because they lack the training and direct mandate to deal with settlers: “We are not here to deal with the Jews (settlers) and these soldiers weren’t prepared for such a situation in which they need to deal with those they are here to protect. We are currently learning the event and will have to learn the necessary lessons.”
Settlers confront IDF soldiers, and ‘price tag’ finally makes news
972mag 8 Apr by Noam Sheizaf — Clashes between settlers and Israeli forces left several border policemen hospitalized Tuesday morning. While the mainstream media was quick to condemn the settlers’ behavior, it missed the bigger story. We have been asking here for some time why the so-called “price tag” attacks don’t get the media attention they deserve. For those unfamiliar with the term, price tag attacks refer to attacks by radical settler groups – “hilltop youth” and others, mostly from the settlement outposts – on Palestinians and their property, including: beatings, arson, graffiti on mosques, and most frequently – the destruction of olive trees. The name “price tag” represents the twisted logic behind these crimes, which are carried out as a form of retribution by radical settlers every time a few structures or an outpost is evacuated by the army (or any similar event that is not to their liking). There are dozens of such attacks each year. Last week, for example, a shepherd from Burka was attacked with iron rods by seven men who covered their faces with shirts. The shepherd’s skull was broken. Very few people heard of this event (Larry Derfner sought to understand the reasons behind Israeli indifference to price tag attacks, I strongly recommend reading his piece). Today’s (Tuesday) events, however, were different….
Settler violence: No longer a few bad apples
Haaretz 9 Apr by Amos Harel — Following clashes overnight between settlers and soldiers in Yitzhar, the settler leadership can no longer claim a few extremists are responsible — The commanders of the reserve battalion whose soldiers were attacked by settlers at Yitzhar early Tuesday were afterwards bombarded by journalists’ questions. Why didn’t you fire at the perpetrators of the rampage? How could you allow the Israel Defense Forces to be humiliated like that? But the reservists are not the ones who need to answer these questions. First, it’s a good thing they didn’t fire. True, in the face of a similar rampage in Jenin, they probably would have opened fire (no doubt at the onset of the incident, in which hundreds of protesters at Yitzhar threw stones and blocked the way of border policemen). But those who complain about killing Palestinian civilians when soldiers’ lives are not necessarily in danger, should not urge the army to kill Israeli civilians under similar circumstances. If soldiers or border police had fired at the protesters Tuesday and injured them, the ensuing political and public maelstrom would have paralyzed the country for many days. Secondly, the questions should directed at the senior political and military echelon – the prime minister, the defense minister, the public security minister and the IDF chief of staff, who have for years allowed the extremist wing of the settlers to run amok….
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian’s house near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 8 Apr – Israeli settlers attacked Tuesday morning a Palestinian’s house located 800 meters away from the illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Yitzhar’ to the south of Nablus, according to a local activist. Settlers from Yitzhar, an illegal Israeli settlement built on lands seized from Burin, set tires on fire and threw them on a Palestinian’s house adjacent to the settlement, said Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement construction in northern West Bank. Daghlas added that members of the homeowner’s family stayed indoors out of fear and that Israeli forces surrounded the area.
This came after Israeli forces demolished illegal structures in Yitzhar settlement. Daghlas urged Palestinians to be cautious of settlers who might retaliate through attacking Palestinians and damage their property
Bethlehem: Settlers flood farmland with wastewater
IMEMC 9 Apr by Saed Bannoura — [Tuesday, April 8, 2014] A number of Israeli settlers from the Efrat settlement, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, flooded Palestinian farmlands in al-Khader town with sewage. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader, Ahmad Salah, stated that the settlers pumped sewage into eight dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands belonging to resident Mohammad Yacoub Da‘doa‘, the Radio Bethlehem 2000 has reported. The attacked lands are close to the Efrat settlement, built on illegally annexed Palestinian lands. Salah added that this attack will prevent the family from plowing and planting their land, and will not be able to plant grape vines due to the significant degree of contamination. “The Da‘doa‘ family was preparing for the grape season. They suffered very serious losses,” Salah added. “Those lands cannot be planted any more; this attack was not the first, as the settlers carried out numerous similar attacks against Palestinian lands and orchards in the area.”
Israeli settlers graze sheep on Palestinian-owned land near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 7 Apr – Israeli settlers Monday grazed their sheep on Palestinian-owned land to the east of Yatta near Hebron, according to Coordinator of Anti-settlement National Committee Ratib al-Jabour. Jabour said that settlers from the Israeli settlement of Susia, illegally built on Palestinian land, grazed their sheep on over five-dunum land planted with winter crops, causing damage to crops. Jabour condemned the systematic Israeli forces and settlers’ attempts to vandalize Palestinian-owned farmlands in order to displace Palestinians as a prelude for settlement expansion.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Young family threatened by house demolition
IDHNA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Khalil Team) 8 Apr — After just three weeks in their new home, the Slemiah family from the village of Idhna have received a demolition order from the Israeli army. The newly built house is on land which has been owned by the family for centuries, and the family has now been forced to pay large sums of money to organise many legal documents for the upcoming court hearing. Wesam Slemiah (28), Ansar (22) and the children Line (2) and Laith (4) live in the outskirts of the city of Idhna, west of Hebron in the West Bank. Wesam borrowed money from his cousin to be able to build the house, and the land he was building on has been owned by his family for many years. Shortly after moving in, they received a demolition order from the Israeli army saying that the land did not belong to them. This is something that also has happened to many of their neighbors in the past six years. In order to prove ownership of the land, the family has had to pay large sums of money to different authorities. Altogether, the costs exceed one month of income for the family. They now have all the papers necessary to prove their ownership, and on 24th April their documents will be taken to a court for further decisions.
Activists plant olives in land threatened with seizure by Israel
TUBAS (WAFA) 8 Apr – Hundreds of Palestinians and activists Tuesday planted olive trees in land threatened with seizure by Israel in the village of Kherbat Samra near Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley. The event, which was attended by Tubas governor Rabih al-Khundagji, is part of the popular resistance campaign against the Israeli procedures of confiscating Palestinian private-owned land for the benefit of settlement construction. Forces attempted to prevent Palestinians from planting the trees but residents refused to leave and proceeded to plant hundreds of dunums of land with olive trees. Al-Khundagji said the continued Israeli attempts to seize the Palestinian land and imposition of facts on ground are rejected, stressing in the meantime the Palestinian people’s right to safeguard their land against Israeli takeover by similar means
Demolition orders against 3 Arab houses frozen
RAMLA, Israel (Ma‘an) 8 Apr – An Israeli court has accepted a petition to freeze administrative demolition orders of three houses belong to the Assaf family in Dahmash village in Lod Valley regional council in central Israel. The petition was submitted by a lawyer representing the owners and the Arab Center for Alternative Planning. Israeli police informed the families their houses would be demolished in days without a prior warning. However, the orders were not executed thanks to a magistrate court decision to freeze the orders until further notice. Dahmash is the only Arab village within the Lod Valley regional council. The villagers have been fighting for their village to be recognized in order for them to live safely. However, the regional council has demolished many houses under inappropriate pretexts, according to locals. Moreover, the regional council attempted to annex the village to Lod, but a committee to study borders, appointed by the ministry of interior, considered the locals’ arguments and declined the annexation request. The village remained within the region. The committee recommended that an Israeli central court reexamine the village’s structural plan and reconsider the population’s request to recognize Dahmash as an independent village within the borders of Lod Valley regional council.
Army to demolish two homes near Bethlehem
IMEMC 8 Apr by Saed Bannoura — [Late, on Monday Evening, April 7, 2014] Several Israeli military jeeps invaded the al-Walaja village, northwest of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and served two residents with military notices informing them that the army intends to demolish their homes. Head of the al-Walaja Village Council, Abdul-Rahman Abu at-Teen, told the WAFA News Agency that the soldiers placed the orders on the front walls of the homes of both Nidal Shqeirat and Mohannad Hasan Hajahla. The army alleges the two homes were built without construction permits, in and under Israeli civil and military control. The homes are located in the Ein Jweiza area, west of al-Walaja. Abu at-Teen said that the home of Shqeirat is a two-story building with a well and wall surrounding it, while the home of Hajahla is a 150 square/meter, one-story building. The two structures are in the last stage of construction and the families were preparing to move in and settle … Two weeks ago, soldiers handed out similar orders against seven homes; the families appealed to an Israeli court, and managed to obtain a temporary hold on the orders.
Israeli forces demolish shed in Tulkarm
TULKARM (WAFA) 7 Apr – The Israeli forces Monday demolished a shed belonging to a local resident in Shuweika, on the outskirts of Tulkarm, according to the owner. Khaled Mihdawi, the owner, said large forces cordoned off the area and imposed a curfew before demolishing the room, whose owners had been notified about the procedure. Israeli forces previously seized land belonging to Mihdawi for the expansion of the apartheid wall.
Israeli bulldozers destroy agricultural structures, fields in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli bulldozers early Tuesday demolished agricultural structures and leveled fields in northwest Hebron, locals told Ma‘an. Witnesses said bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops entered private Palestinian fields in the Farsh al-Hawa neighborhood and tore down four buildings used for agricultural purposes. The structures belonged to Bassam Dweik, Arif al-Jolani, and the al-Yazori family. Bulldozers also destroyed almond and grape vine fields in the area, locals added.
Thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem without water
IMEMC 8 Apr by Chris Carlson — Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have been without running water for more than a month, victims of a decrepit and overwhelmed infrastructure and caught in a legal no-man’s land caused by the divisions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The residents of the Shu‘afat refugee camp are technically part of the Jerusalem municipality, the Palestinian News Network (PNN) reports. But, they live outside the massive West Bank separation barrier that Israel has built. So, Israeli services are sparse, yet, Palestinian authorities are barred from operating there or developing the water system. The local Israeli water authority says that the existing system of pipes cannot handle the rapid population growth of the area, and it is scrambling to solve the problem. Last week, the Israeli Supreme Court gave officials 60 days to find a solution. But, with the scorching summer season approaching, residents are growing increasingly desperate. Basic daily tasks, like brushing one’s teeth, have become a challenge — showers, a luxury. Families often send their clothes to relatives, elsewhere in the city, to wash them. “Sixty days — that’s a lot of time for us,” said Hani Taha, a local butcher. “There will be chaos here.”
Palestinian Christians: Israeli police spoiling celebrations in Jerusalem
Haaretz 9 Apr by Amira Hass — Palestinian Christians are awaiting a High Court of Justice ruling on a petition asking the state and the Israel Police to drop the heavy movement and security restrictions that have prevented worshipers from accessing holy sites in East Jerusalem on Holy Saturday during the past several years. Holy Saturday, which is the day before Easter, falls this year on April 19. The petition, filed in February by several East Jerusalem residents, argues that police roadblocks and barricades in and around the Old City on that day deter worshipers from even attempting to access the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sites for Holy Saturday celebrations. The petitioners have also asked that armed security personnel not be allowed to enter the church. The heads of the five Eastern Orthodox churches and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land also joined the petition … According to the petitioners, between 1967 and 2005 Israel respected the Holy Saturday tradition and its character as a mass event. But in 2006, in a step that was never explained, the police started to erect barriers and screen worshipers before allowing them to enter. The petitioners’ attorney, Assad Masawi, said that in 2010, Palestinian Christian leaders began a dialogue with the authorities that resulted in somewhat improved access in 2011 and 2012. But in 2013 the situation deteriorated again, with reports of police roughing up worshipers and clergymen en route to the celebrations and refusing to allow access to various delegations whose visits had been coordinated in advance….
Right-wing MK tours Aqsa compound under heavy guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Likud MK Moshe Feiglin toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday under heavy armed guard, a Palestinian official said. Azzam al-Khatib, the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Ma‘an that Feiglin was escorted around the compound by Israeli police officers. A group of around 50 right-wing Jews also toured the area, he added.
Gaza runner denied entry to West Bank for marathon
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — The Israeli High Court of Justice on Tuesday turned down an appeal by the human rights group Gisha on behalf of Gaza runner Nadir al-Masri who was denied entry to the West Bank to compete in the Bethlehem marathon on April 11. The panel of judges who rejected the appeal, though, highlighted that Israel’s regulations allow Palestinian footballers and some other athletes to leave the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The judges urged the Israeli authorities to apply the same rule to more athletes. Al-Masri, 34, is an athlete who has joined several international competitions including the 2008 Olympics. He was denied entry to the West Bank in 2013 to compete in Bethlehem’s first-ever marathon. The 2014 marathon is scheduled to kick off on April 11. Court documents made available by Gisha said that al-Masri’s request for permission to join the marathon did not constitute “a humanitarian case … concerning urgent medical treatment.”
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Israeli forces arrest eight in West Bank and Jerusalem, summon others
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 7 Apr – The Israeli forces on Monday arrested five people in the West Bank, in addition to three others in Jerusalem, according to local and security sources. In Bethlehem, security sources said the Israeli forces stormed ‘Aida refugee camp in the predawn hours and arrested two youths, 26 and 19, after raiding their homes. Forces handed two other youths from the nearby villages of Al-Abidiya and Shawashreh summonses to appear for investigation before the Israeli intelligence in Gush Etzion. They also broke through the village of Wad Fukin, to the west of Bethlehem, and searched several houses, yet no arrests were reported.[Ma‘an: Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in the Bethlehem village of Wadi Fukin on Monday, relatives told Ma‘an. A family member said that 30-year-old Muhammad Sabri Manasrah was detained and his father and uncle summoned for interrogation at an Israeli military base]
Meanwhile in Hebron, Israeli forces stormed the village of Beit Ummar and arrested two youths, in their twenties of age, after conducting a search campaign in the village. Forces also raided the town of Yatta, to the south of Hebron, and stormed and searched several homes. They also set checkpoints in many villages in Hebron district which caused a traffic jam.
In Tulkarm district, forces stormed Nur Shams and arrested a 26-year-old after storming his home.
In Jerusalem, Israeli police arrested three youngsters in the old city after raiding their homes in Wad Al-Mufdi Avenue, adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Police also broke through the South African community headquarters in Jerusalem in an attempt to arrest a youngster, said witnesses.
Israeli forces detain teenage Palestinian girl in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Israeli forces detained a teenage Palestinian girl in the Old City of Hebron early Monday, locals told Ma’an. Israeli soldiers stopped 16-year-old Hanin Abu Eisha near the Ibrahimi Mosque and took her to an interrogation center without giving her any explanation, witnesses said.
Seventeen kidnapped across West Bank, houses raided, property destroyed
IMEMC Tue 8 Apr by Chris Carlson — Occupation forces abducted seventeen people from the West Bank, Tuesday, according to reports by local and security sources. Early Tuesday, the Israeli army invaded Silwad, a town located to the northeast of Ramallah, where they kidnapped seven local residents after breaking into, searching and wreaking havoc upon their houses.
Also early Tuesday, in the Nablus district, forces stormed the village of Tal, where they took with them a 21-year-old after breaking into and searching his house. They also stormed Usarin, a village located to the southeast of Nablus, where they took four people aged between 16 and 23 years, after breaking into and searching their houses.
In the Hebron district, forces stormed Idhna, a town located to the west of Hebron, where they abducted two people; a 26-year-old notary public, who is also a lawyer, along with his 34-year-old brother’s wife after breaking into and searching their house. Forces also seized jewelry, cash and bank checks as they caused extensive damage to the notary public’s house, destroying the doors and vandalizing furniture. As well, early Tuesday, the Old City of Hebron and Haram Al Rama neighborhood were invaded by Israeli troops, where they seized two people aged 21 and 28 years, after breaking into and searching their houses. Forces also stormed Beit Ummar and Beit ‘Awwa, two towns located to the north and south of Hebron respectively, where they broke into and searched two houses after using explosives to detonate the main entrances of the property.
In Bethlehem, forces kidnapped a 46-year-old man after breaking into and searching his house in Al Karkafeh neighborhood. Meanwhile, forces served four Palestinians with orders to appear before Israeli intelligence, according to security sources. Forces stormed Beit Sahour, where they handed a 45-year-old person an order to appear before Israeli intelligence in ‘Gush Etzion’, an illegal Israeli settlement located to the south of Bethlehem, after breaking into his house. [IMEMC: Soldiers also invaded the al-Ehsan Medical Society in Bethlehem after smashing its doors and searching it, causing excessive property damage. They also confiscated computers and documents.]
Also invaded on Tuesday was the village of Sanur, located to the south of Jenin, where occupation forces interrogated residents, serving three people with notices to appear before Israeli intelligence, after breaking into their houses.
Israeli forces detain mayor of West Bank village at checkpoint
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli forces detained the mayor of a West Bank village at a military checkpoint on Tuesday, the mayor told Ma‘an via telephone. Abd al-Athim al-Wadi, the mayor of the village of Qusra, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stopped him at a checkpoint on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus. The soldiers then took him to the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim east of Jerusalem for interrogation, al-Wadi said.
Israeli forces detain 2 in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon arrested two young Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Mohammad Abu Sneineh, 16, and Naji Zughayyir, 20, were detained from Damascus Gate, and al-Wad street respectively. Meanwhile, an Israeli court extended the detention of five people from Jerusalem, Palestinian prisoners’ society director Nasser Qaws said.
Detainees / Court actions
High Court backs longer detention periods for Palestinians than for Israelis
Haaretz 8 Apr by Revital Hovel — The High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday that the state is within its rights to hold Palestinians detainees for up to 96 hours before bringing them before a judge, compared to just 24 hours for Israeli citizens, calling the discrimination in this regard “reasonable and proportionate.” The High Court was ruling on a petition filed in 2010 by attorney Lila Margalit on behalf of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din-Volunteers for Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel … Before the petitions were filed, Palestinians in the West Bank could be held for eight days after they were arrested before being brought before a judge, compared to just 24 hours for Israeli citizens … In response to the petition, the state argued that the circumstances in the West Bank were different than in Israel, and thus required different policies. It pointed to logistical difficulties in bringing Palestinians to trial, due to restrictions on movement, as well as in carrying out investigations in the territories. “In security investigations the individuals being investigated act out of nationalist and ideological motivations and questioning them is more difficult. It is only natural that more time is needed before questioning results in preliminary evidence to support intelligence information,” the state’s response said, in part.
Pro-settler MK’s son who abused Palestinian gets jail time shortened
Haaretz 7 Apr — Israel’s Committee for Prisoners Release shortened the jail time of the son of Knesset Member and Hebron settler Orit Struck (Habayit Hayehudi) by nine months, Channel 10 reported Sunday. Zvi Struck, convicted of assaulting a Palestinian youth, has thus far served 18 months of the 30 he was sentenced to sit in jail. The committee accepted the case made by Struck’s attorney, Amir Sela, according to which he had undergone treatment while in jail. Sela also stressed that Struck had confessed to his actions and expressed remorse. The prosecution opposed the shortening of the sentencing and said Struck still constitutes a danger. The Jerusalem District Court initially sentenced Struck, a resident of the settlement of Shilo, to 18 months in prison two years ago for abusing a Palestinian youth in July 2007, together with another man whose identity remains unknown. The two beat the youth up, bound him, fired their guns close to him, undressed him and threw him naked at the roadside. Three months earlier the two men had beaten up the same youth and killed a young goat. The Supreme Court later extended his punishment to 30 months after rejecting his appeal.
Rights group: Israel is the only state arresting the dead for so many years
RAMALLAH (PIC) 8 Apr — The prisoners’ center for studies, a Palestinian human rights group, said that Israel is the only state in the world which has been detaining dozens of dead Palestinians and Arabs for more than 30 years in military graveyards. Director of the center Ra’fat Hamdouna explained that Israel refuses to turn in to the Palestinian families the remains of their martyred relatives, who have been buried since 1978 in cemeteries made especially for them by the Israeli army. Hamdouna added that Israel buried the remains of fallen Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab fighters in graveyards it calls the “Numbers Graveyards” referring to many bodies buried nameless with a number attached to each grave. He stressed that Israel violated the international law when it disrespected the dignity of deceased persons and buried them in a humiliating manner without any regard for any Islamic funeral and burial observances. He also pointed out that Israel is committed under international law to return the bodies and remains of the Palestinians buried in those graveyards to the Palestinian authorities.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/
Occupation raids Cell 10 in Jalbou’ Prison, Ibrahim Hamed declares hunger strike
IMEMC 8 Apr by Chris Carlson — The Prisoners’ Club Society said, Tuesday, that Israeli occupation forces, armed with tear gas and batons, raided Cell 10 of Section 1, in Jalbou’ prison, after forcing the prisoners out. The raid lasted for four hours, during which prisoners’ properties and belongings were destroyed, Al Ray Palestinian News Agency has reported. Thousands of Palestinian prisoners are held in dozens of Israeli prisons which witness repeated attacks and raids by Israeli forces who smash and seize their belongings.
In related news, Palestinian prisoner Ibrahim Hamed will start an open-ended hunger strike next Thursday, if the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) does not end his solitary confinement, according to Ahrar Waladna Center. Director of the center Ahmed Abu Taha told Al Ray, “Hamed’s isolation is due to end next Wednesday, according to a deal signed between the Palestinian prisoners’ leadership and the IPS.” Two days ago, the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners affiliated to Hamas threatened to intensify escalation inside prison in case the IPS goes back on the promise to end Hamed’s solitary confinement after three months, he pointed out. Abu Taha said that the number of prisoners who will launch hunger strike has still not been announced. Moreover, the prisoners’ movement is studying other options. Through their strike, the prisoners will demand the end of Dirar Abu Sisi’s solitary confinement which started in 2011, he added, pointing out that there was a deal to end his isolation at the end of April or, at least, the beginning of next May.
Gaza under double blockade
Israeli military vehicles ‘enter Gaza’, warships fire at fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Several Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said six military vehicles entered Gaza east of al-Qarara. No shooting was reported.
Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza City, causing damages to one fishing boat. A fisherman told Ma‘an an Israeli naval squadron fired at Palestinian boats near the al-Sudaniyya neighborhood. No injuries were reported.
Pilgrims, construction material cross at Rafah
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Some 719 Palestinian, and 107 trucks of construction materials have passed through the Rafah crossing on Monday, a security source at the Egyptian side said. Some 403 Palestinian pilgrims crossed from Gaza into Egypt, while 319 went the other way. In addition, 92 trucks of pebbles from Qatar, 10 trucks carrying 405 tons of cement, and five trucks carrying 372 tons of cement from the UAE crossed the border.
Gaza families shut down PLO offices protesting unpaid allowances
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr – Gaza families who lost members in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on Tuesday shut down the PLO’s main office in Gaza City protesting unpaid allowances. A spokesman of the Martyrs’ Families in the Gaza Strip group told Ma‘an that angry families closed a PLO-affiliated office in charge of allowances and donations for families of Palestinians killed or injured in the course of the conflict. Additionally, offices of Fatah-affiliated lawmakers as well as senior Fatah leader Zakariyya al-Agha were also shut down by the protesters. Some protesters attempted to break into the office of member of Fatah central committee Nabil Shaath. “We have been asking for our rights in a civilized manner for 13 months, but nobody in the leadership has replied and now we became impatient,” Alaa al-Barawi, the spokesman, said. He urged President Mahmoud Abbas, members of Fatah’s central committee and members of the movement’s revolutionary council to work out a solution for the families who haven’t received their allowances for five years.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria
Clashes in Palestinian camp in south Lebanon kill 9
SIDON, Lebanon (AFP) 7 Apr — Nine Palestinians were killed Monday in clashes between two armed groups in the Mieh Mieh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, local sources told AFP. A Palestinian source in the camp said the groups involved in the clashes were not officially affiliated with any major faction. He named them as the Ansar Allah group, led by a former member of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, and the Shuhada al-Awda group, whose leader is close to another former Fatah member, Mohammed Dahlan. A Palestinian official said Shuhada al-Awda’s leader and two of his brothers were among those killed. Another three fighters from the group also died, as well as two gunmen from Ansar Allah. A Palestinian working for an emergency association was killed while trying to transport one of the more than 20 people wounded in the fighting. A Fatah official for southern Lebanon said the dispute between the groups began several weeks ago as a personal disagreement between their members. He said the clashes had stopped and efforts were under way to restore calm in the camp. More than 400,000 Palestinians, mainly descendants of refugees from the 1948 war that attended the creation of Israel, live in camps throughout Lebanon.
Two Palestinians die in Syria, one of starvation
DAMASCUS (PIC) 8 Apr — Two Palestinian refugees died on Monday as a result of the armed violence and the tragic humanitarian situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said that Mohamed Judi was killed during the armed clashes that broke out yesterday near Aziza town in Aleppo. An elderly man named Ayman Kurdi also died of hunger and malnutrition in the besieged refugee camp of Al-Yarmouk. In another incident, Daraa refugee camp came under heavy projectile attacks from the Syrian regime army and its militias. In Al-Yarmouk camp, the UNRWA relief workers were able to distribute 300 portions of food aid to some Palestinian families and helped some humanitarian cases to leave the camp … The action group also said in a separate report that 16 Palestinian refugee were proclaimed dead from March 31 until April 7 as a result of the conflict in Syria. It noted that five of these victims died of hunger and drought
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Political, other news
Abbas arrives in Egypt for Arab FM meeting
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers. Abbas was greeted at Cairo airport by Egyptian minister of civil aviation Hussam Kamal and a Palestinian diplomatic delegation led by ambassador Barakat al-Farra. He was accompanied by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and foreign minister Riyadh al-Malki. They were scheduled to meet Arab League secretary-general Nabli al-Arabi later Tuesday.
Palestinians draw line at criminal court
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) 8 Apr by Thalif Deen — When Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas decided to defy the United States and Israel over stalled peace negotiations, he formally indicated to the United Nations last week that Palestine will join 15 international conventions relating mostly to the protection of human rights and treaties governing conflicts and prisoners of war. But he held back one of his key bargaining chips that Israel and the United States fear most: becoming a party to the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) to punish war crimes and genocide – and where Israelis could be docked. Asked whether it was a wise move, Darryl Li, a post-doctoral research scholar at Columbia University, told IPS, “I would call it a clever move, not necessarily a wise one.” There’s no question avoidance of ICC was deliberate; that’s clearly a US-Israeli “red line,” he said. So it makes sense as a way to prolong negotiations.
Official: PLO to apply for 48 more intl orgs if peace talks fail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — A Fatah official told Ma‘an Sunday that the PLO would seek membership in 48 international organizations and conventions after April 29 if peace talks with Israel failed. Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Executive Committee, said that the PLO could not make any more concessions after “giving up 78 percent of our land to Israel.” Talks will fail unless the US puts more pressure on Israel, he added. “If the US becomes convinced that the same approach will make no progress, then it will be possible to save the situation. Otherwise negotiations can’t go on.” Additionally, Shaath said the PLO will not continue negotiating to reach “a framework agreement.” “Israel wants a framework for negotiations rather than a framework for a solution,” Shaath said.
Netanyahu orders cutback in contacts with Palestinian Authority
Reuters 9 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a halt to high-level contacts with the Palestinians on non-security related issues, but exempted his chief peace negotiator from the ban, government officials said on Wednesday. One Israeli official called Netanyahu’s order a response to “the Palestinians’ grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks” – an apparent reference to their signing of 15 international conventions last week. The edict came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Israel’s announcement on April 1 of plans to build about 700 housing units in East Jerusalem was the immediate cause of peace talks plunging into crisis.
First botanical garden created in West Bank
RAMALLAH (ANSAmed) 7 Apr — The connection between Palestinians and their homeland has always been very strong: now however it is necessary to preserve the natural environment as a national heritage, setting political battles aside as mainly happened in the past few years. And this is the objective pursued by ‘Junthour Arboretum’, the first botanical garden in the West Bank which has recently been created, and is being finalized, by Palestinian conservationist Saleh Totah. ”Today many Palestinians believe ‘land’ equals business rather than beauty and tradition”, said Saleh Totah, creator of Junthor, while he takes off his Australian cowboy hat to dry his sweaty face. ”People only want to plant olive trees to make a little profit and forget the extraordinary variety of flowers and plants which only a few decades ago populated out hills”. Situated a couple of km from Ramallah, near Ein Kinia in the Palestinian Territories, ‘Junthour’ stretches for around 10,000 square metres on two small hills. Terracing crops typical of the Mediterranean can be seen including plants like oak trees, maples and almond trees.
Ex-Palestinian prisoner teaches Hebrew and tolerance
DEIR JARIR (AP) 7 Apr – Facing a classroom of Palestinian 10th graders, Hebrew teacher Esmat Mansour asks his students who is for and against learning the language. A few raise their hands in favor, others against and he asks both sides to explain. Mansour believes such debates will help motivate young Palestinians to study Israel’s dominant language. They need to know Hebrew to be able to deal with “the Israeli occupiers,” but also to build bridges in the future, he says. The 37 year old’s view of the conflict with Israel is the product of a violent past, as he at 16 helped three older teens stab to death an Israeli man in 1993. Mansour was sentenced to 22 years as an accomplice in the killing of 30-year-old Haim Mizrahi, and was granted early release last year, along with dozens of other long-held prisoners, in a deal brokered by the United States … “The most important thing is to … value all human life and to learn tolerance,” he said. Then, “we were very young, the political situation was different, we were very much zealots.”
Palestinian envoy in Prague likely killed by booby-trapped book: paper
PRAGUE (Reuters) 8 Apr — The Palestinian ambassador to Prague who died in a blast in January was most likely killed by a decades-old charge of Semtex plastic explosive concealed in a book, a newspaper reported on Tuesday citing a police investigator.
Police had decided Jamal al-Jamal was not assassinated, but had simply unwittingly opening a book booby-trapped years earlier, the source told daily newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes. “It was an unfortunate accident. The ambassador was a thorough man who wanted to put some old things in order, and among them there were two books with explosives,” the paper quoted the source as saying. It did not explain why such a book might have been left at the embassy in Prague …Officers investigating the explosion found other explosives and firearms at the mission dating back to the Cold War. The Palestinians had said they were old gifts from officials of Communist Czechoslovakia, which has friendly relations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation of the late Yasser Arafat … “We are awaiting another expert opinion, but it was Semtex with 99.9 percent probability. The explosive was roughly from the 1970s. It was at least 30 years old,” the police source told the newspaper.
Diaries: Live from Palestine
The scars of Deir Yassin and our determination to survive / Dina Elmuti
Chicago (Electronic Intifada) 7 Apr — My grandmother is a survivor of the Deir Yassin massacre. Sixty-six years later, her scars still bear witness. Deir Yassin is a name permanently inscribed in the Palestinian narrative. Friday, 9 April 1948 is a date forever engraved with infamy. The Deir Yassin massacre is a turning point in Palestinian history, remaining a symbol of dispossession, ongoing erasure and humanity’s capacity for cruelty. When I was in Palestine this summer, my grandmother pointed to the stone home in Deir Yassin where she was born 76 years ago — and my eyes caught a glimpse of a pale scar on her arm. The nostalgia in her voice was so strong, I could almost see the barbaric scenes of terror as if they were being projected from a movie reel onto a screen in front of us. Today, a psychiatric hospital occupies the center of Deir Yassin village, restricting access to its fortified stone homes standing out defiantly against the grid of generic Israeli settlement buildings constructed on stolen land. The village was once home to around 750 people. Located outside Jerusalem and a few hundred meters to the west of the Jewish-only settlement of Givat Shaul, it was known for its peaceful reputation and primary industry of stone quarrying. Slaughter By sunrise on 9 April, the Zionist terrorist organizations known as the Irgun and Stern Gang had raided the village and stormed homes, slaughtering as many people as possible. The victims included unarmed elderly men, pregnant women and children. Large piles of smoking and charred bodies were thrown into a pit, homes were filled with bodies riddled with bullets and walls were splattered with blood. Each spring, almond trees in full bloom filled the air with the sweet fragrance of their blossoms. By evening that Friday, the suffocating stench of blood and burning corpses permeated the air instead. More than 100 people were murdered that day … My grandmother pointed over to a basketball court and park where the stone quarry once stood. Closing my eyes, I tried to commit the details of this place to memory. I opened my eyes to the unsettling reality of settlers standing on the balcony of my grandmother’s home. There are no words to describe the agony of knowing that in order for settlers to now call this place home, they first had to erase its rightful owners from their consciousness. “My father built that house, stone by stone,” she said. “The morning of the massacre, I raced up the steps to get Jamal [her younger brother] from his crib. On my way down, I slipped on bullet casings, cutting my arm as we fell.”