Jewish National Fund for West Bank settlers
AIC Alternative News 11 May by Hithabrut-Tarabut — The journalist Raviv Drucker published an internal document from the financial department of the Jewish National Fund on his blog (original piece, in Hebrew). The document details how much the JNF spends on “development initiatives” for settlers in the occupied West Bank. So, what’s on the list? For example, the document mentions the JNF building a “promenade” in the Har Gilo settlement in Gush Etzion costing 2.5 million ILS, but only “on condition that the promenade be called “The JNF Promenade.” There is a “scenic viewpoint and park” built by the JNF in the Mitzpe Yericho settlement near Jericho, costing 600,000 ILS. There is even a “historical heritage site” built in the Rosh Tzurim settlement, one of the settlements surrounding Bethlehem, for 400,000 ILS. And of course, the settlers of Hebron make an appearance as well. Lots of infrastructure, agricultural paths and even a bit of neighborhood renewal. To the best of our knowledge, this is a very partial list. For instance, the big JNF development projects for water-robbing settlements in the Jordan Valley don’t make a single appearance here. These are probably being hidden in other budget items. And the land-purchasing activities, if they are run through the JNF’s subsidiary “Himanuta”, are not shown here. But even based on this partial calculation, that’s about 188.5 millions ILS in ten years, and this is only the small change used to pay for gifts for the settlers, just like that, to maintain good relations with the colonizers on this side of the Green Line. And we haven’t even mentioned the huge budgets for settlements within the Green Line. As a reminder: the JNF’s annual income stands at about ILS 1 billion. Tax exempt, and totally without oversight….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers and settlements / Judaization
Israeli authorities start forestation in Negev Bedouin village
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 13 May – The Jewish National Fund on Tuesday started tree-planting around the Arab Negev village of ‘Awajan which locals consider a step toward displacing the Bedouin residents. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli police detained the head of the regional council of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in Negev Atiyeh al-Asam along with three minors. In addition, a city councilor from the nearby al-Laqiyya village Mirei al-Sani was officially notified by Israeli authorities that he must remove a tent in the village where protestors meet. A higher guidance committee for Bedouin residents of the Negev denounced the detention of al-Asar while he was visiting the village of ‘Awajan to attend protests against the Jewish National Fund. “This detention is an attempt by police to frighten residents and discourage them so as to stop their legal struggle against their lands and houses,” said the committee’s facilitator Said al-Kharoumi.
IDF evacuation gets underway at illegal settlement outposts
Ynet 14 May by Yoac Zitun — Defense establishment officials express concern over potential violence and resistance, hope settlers will comply with court order and voluntarily vacate structures — IDF troops gathered Wednesday at the Ma’aleh Rehavam in the West Bank for the first of three imminent evacuations of illegal outposts. The operation will be the army’s largest settlement evacuation in recent years, and is in line with a High Court ruling that the outposts had been erected on Palestinian-owned land … While most of the settler outposts addressed the court’s orders, either by patching up [boarding up?] the structures or willfully vacating them, three of the 16 residential buildings have refused to comply. The deadline for vacating the structures, which include a synagogue and a mikveh, is May 18. But as the IDF does not evacuate settlers on Friday or Saturday, the operation is expected to be completed by Thursday night, although there are concerns that the settlers may use violent resistance to the move. Hundreds of soldiers, police officers, Border Guard personnel, and representatives of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) have been preparing for the operation. They were to secure court orders declaring the surrounding area a closed military zone, and place blockades and roadblocks near the outposts. The defense establishment was preparing for a wave of “price tag” attacks against IDF personnel and Palestinians in the wake of the operation. The planned evacuation has raised concerns among officials of reprisal attacks before, during, and after the operation. There are further fears that right-wing extremists would attempt to vandalize and destroy Christian institutions as revenge for the evacuation to humiliate Israel in the weeks before the arrival of Pope Francis.
Israeli forces demolish houses, steel structures near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 May — Israeli military forces demolished a number of homes and steel structures south of Nablus on Monday, a Palestinian official and an Israeli spokesperson said. Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that dozens of military vehicles raided the village of Khirbet al-Tawil and demolished steel structures, water wells, and several homes made from corrugated iron, without providing further data.
An spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed the demolitions in a statement. “Today (Monday) early in the morning security forces carried out the demolition of 7 buildings that were built illegally inside firing zones,” the statement said. “The sites were demolished after its owners appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice and their appeals were erased with their consent to exhaust possible procedures.” COGAT said the firing zones, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, were used by the Israeli army “on a regular basis for trainings.”
On April 29, Israeli forces demolished a mosque and three houses in Khirbet al-Tawil.
Blockaded Nabi Samwil suffers lack of food
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 May – Nabi Samwil, a village located to the northwest of Jerusalem under Israeli blockade, suffers from lack of food and cooking gas due to Israel’s denial of entry, a local activist said. Local activist Eid Barakat said that the Israeli forces tightened their blockade on the village and set up a military checkpoint at its entrance. He added that forces prevented the entry of food items and cooking gas into the village for weeks now and obstructed the movement of villagers into and out of their village, forcing residents to leave due to the hard conditions after seizing their land for settlement construction, displacing them.
Israeli forces declare Jenin town closed military zone
JENIN (WAFA) 12 May – Israeli forces Monday declared Zababdeh, a town south of Jenin, a closed military area, according to security sources. They said that Israeli forces stormed Zababdeh and set up several military checkpoints at its entrances before declaring it a closed military zone. They conducted a large-scale search operation, inspected Palestinian vehicles driving into and out of the town and examined passengers’ identification cards.
Settlers cultivate Palestinian-owned land south of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 13 May — Israeli settlers cultivated Tuesday Palestinian-owned land they had previously seized in Khalet al-Nakhleh, located near Wadi Rahhal (Rahhal Valley) to the south of Bethlehem, said a local activist. Coordinator of the Anti-wall and Settlement Popular Committee Hasan Breijah said that settlers from Efrat, an illegal Israel settlement, planted olive saplings in Palestinian-owned land near Wadi Rahhal. Settlers had seized the land earlier and set up a tent and structures made of wood and tin sheets, acting in response to an Israeli court ruling ordering their evacuation.
PHOTOS: Palestinian artist reclaims tools of occupation
[a dozen informative photos of the village and its people[ AIC Alternative News 12 May by Noémie Nussbaumer — Eid is a 30 year-old Palestinian artist living in Umm Al-Kheir, a Bedouin-Palestinian community located in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills. The families of this village live constantly with the threat of their homes being demolished by the Israeli authorities, but Umm Al-Kheir is their home. Eid has seen demolition machines since he was a child and he now he builds the same machines in miniature size from recycled materials he finds in his village. “While in real life these vehicles represent the oppression of the Israeli occupation, in my work I render them back into a constructive element that can be appreciated again for their positive uses”. Many Palestinians don’t like his art because these trucks remind them of the ones that destroyed numerous homes in their village and throughout Palestine. It brings back bad memories … The village is situated near the Israeli settlement of Karmel and because of this, the Israeli army is nearby every night. “We are a peaceful community. We cannot be violent because we are only sixty people and if something happens we cannot hide. During the demolitions I try to calm people down so they don’t do any actions, because later they would pay the price.”
The pope’s visit
Israel requests Pope’s poster be removed from Jerusalem church
Middle East Monitor 13 May — The Israeli police requested a welcome poster for Pope Francis be removed from a building belonging to the church near Jaffa Gate to avoid “inflaming Jewish passions”. The National Christian Assembly Secretary-General Dimitri Delyani described the Israeli request as a “rude act”. “This rude act will only strengthen the Christian and Muslim unity from all over the Holy Land to prove that Jerusalem is an Arab city with a Christian and Islamic civilisation, and no Judaisation programme or ethnic cleansing crimes will erase this well established fact in the hearts of each and every one of us.” “This is our city and we will build mosques and churches and we will receive or expel who ever we want, but when the occupation wants to control it and its people and regards them as temporary residents, this would cause a rift,” Delyani said … Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Bethlehem at the end of the month.
Holy See: Israel turning holy sites into military base ahead of papal visit
Haaretz 12 May — Israel is turning the holy sites into a “military base” for Pope Francis’ May 25 visit, thus driving a security wedge between the pope and the masses of Christians coming to greet him, the Economist quoted a papal spokesman on Monday as saying. “The pope wants to see the people. But Christians won’t be able to see him. … Israel is turning the holy sites into a military base,” said the spokesman. The Economist wrote: “While the Palestinians are opening up the streets of Bethlehem and providing the pope with an open car when he visits their side of the biblical land, Israel is taking no chances. It is planning a strict permit regime, insisting that the Holy Father travels in an armored car, with the public kept at arm’s length behind a security cordon.” Israeli authorities maintain that the security measures are necessary; they and Vatican officials have both expressed fears of anti-Christian attacks by radical settlers when the pope is here.
Orthodox Jews protest at disputed Jerusalem site
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 May – Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Monday near the reputed scene of Jesus’ last supper in Jerusalem demanding that Israel keep sovereignty over the site where Pope Francis will celebrate mass. The pope will visit the Holy Land from May 24-26 and before returning to Rome is set to hold a mass in the site known as the Upper Room or Cenacle, on Mount Zion near the walls of the Old City. Jews revere the site as the tomb of King David, which is on the ground floor of the same building. The site is also important for Muslims. “As soon as they touch the ‘status quo’ of this place, bad things will happen,” said rabbi Avraham Goldstein, accusing the Israeli government of wanting to hand the Upper Room over to the Vatican. Sovereignty over the Cenacle, which was renovated by Franciscans in the 14th century before the group was forced out, is a highly sensitive issue. It is currently part of negotiations between Israel and the Vatican which hopes to recover the site. Tradition says it is where Jesus had his last supper with the disciples, before his arrest and crucifixion. It is also where the Gospels say the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. Israeli President Shimon Peres told an Italian newspaper during a visit to the Vatican last April that a compromise had been reached on the Cenacle, and that “99 percent” of the issues concerning the site had been addressed. However, no official agreement has been announced. “When ‘the crusaders’ come here making the sign of the cross and all kinds of rituals, this place will become idolatrous for us, and we will not have the right to pray there any more,” ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester Yitzhak Batzon told AFP.
Dajani Daoudi family deplores Israeli intent to give Islamic Waqf to the Vatican
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 12 May — Al-Dajani Daoudi family said that it is still considered the custodian of the Elwi Mosque (known to Christians as coenaculum [the Cenacle, the place of the Last Supper]) and the Nabi Dawoud [Prophet David] Mosque in south Jerusalem, affirming that these holy sites are Islamic Awqaf (endowments). Representative of the family Hisham Jamaluddin Dajani said in a press release that the family strongly rejects Israel’s intent to give away the Elwi Mosque to the Vatican and asserted that it would take every legal action to restore this Islamic site. Dajani added that Israel has no right to give up the Islamic holy sites to Christians, noting that Al-Dajani family had been administering and taking care of this Islamic holy site from 1534 until 1948. The representative of Al-Dajani family appealed to the Christian clergy not to accept the Israeli offer to give the Elwi Mosque to the Church, stressing that the whole Nabi Dawoud Mosque and its premises are Islamic endowments.
Restriction of movement
Israel tests FIFA resolve with refusals of international permits for West Bank tournament
Inside World Football 13 May by Mark Baber — As of Monday morning, Pakistan’s football coach Bahraini Mohammed Shamlan was still waiting for a permit from Israel to allow him to join his team at the Al-Nakba International Football Tournament in Palestine.
Mohammed Shamlan has already had to sit out Pakistan’s first match against Sri Lanka, whilst some players from Jordan, Sri Lanka and the whole Iraqi team are reportedly also still awaiting Israeli permission to travel. According to Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi, the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA have been informed about the problems, which follow the FIFA president’s promise to help Palestinian football to overcome the many problems it faces, including freedom of movement for players and coaches.
Two Israeli-Arabs to take part in ‘Arab Idol’
Ynet [but now removed from their website] 13 May — Two Israeli youths made history by successfully passing the audition stage of “Arab Idol,” the most popular television program in the Arab world, broadcast by Lebanon’s MBC network. Manal Mussa from Deir al-Asad and Hayatem Khalila from Majd al-Krum will be the first Israeli-Arabs to participate in the program; but not the first from our neck of the woods – two years ago Muhammad Assaf, from Gaza Strip , won the competition, and skyrocketed to international success. The two passed initial auditions in the West Bank, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. Though the two were barred from speaking to media, family members told Ynet that the PA arraigned travel visas for them, allowing them to cross into Jordan, from where they entered into Lebanon. Once in Lebanon, the two successfully passed the official audition, and will soon face off in the second round, which will be broadcast live around the Arab world to millions of viewers. Thousands of Arab youths vied for a spot on the program, but only 27 managed to pass the auditions. Their family members explained why the production requested the two refrain from being interviewed, saying that “publicity could create problems for them; the production thinks they are from the West Bank and do not know they hold Israeli citizenship.” Israeli-Arab artists expressed surprise at the two’s ascension to Arab Idol, a show which some claim refuses to cooperate with Israelis. Amal Mussa , Manal’s mother, recently said in an interview that “we’re all proud of her, she could be a success for the entire Arab world, not just in our village of Deir al-Asad. I just want her to know that he uncle from Lebanon called and said that he saw her on TV.” In response to an inquiry from Ynet, the Shin Bet reiterated that traveling to enemy states is a criminal offence. However, the Shin Bet claimed to have no knowledge of the two singers’ movements, and said that it was possible that the police were investigating the incident.
It is worth recalling that at the beginning of April, Majd Kayyal, 23, an Israeli-Arab political activists and journalist was detained by the Shin Bet after entering Lebanon.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Israeli officers attack Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah
[with VIDEO] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 May — Israeli officers assaulted a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem on Monday, a Ma‘an reporter said. The incident in Sheikh Jarrah was captured on film after a reporter happened to witness the event while driving through the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. “I saw Israeli police officers attacking members of the al-Ramadi family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem. Police officers were attacking women with their fists and clubs and the internationally-banned pepper spray. Two women were evacuated to hospital,” the reporter said. The woman in the video, Umm Firas al-Ramadi, told Ma‘an that she was attacked after trying to help her son, who was being harassed by police officers. “I hurried to help my son, and they kicked me in the leg. I started to push them away, then they sprayed gas in my face, and I fell to the ground and couldn’t stand up.” “There was too much humiliation. They attacked my wife with clubs and they kicked her until she fell to the ground,” Abu Firas al-Ramadi said. A spokesperson for the Israeli police, Luba al-Samri, is quoted in the report as saying that a young Palestinian man hurled stones in the area at an Israeli vehicle. She didn’t comment on the attack on the al-Ramadi family.
Settlers beat up Palestinian shepherd with clubs near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 13 May — Israeli settlers Tuesday assaulted and severely beat up a Palestinian shepherd while he was grazing his sheep near the village of Taybeh, east of Ramallah, according to witnesses. Witnesses said at least seven masked settlers assaulted shepherd Sulaiman Kaabeneh, 50, and beat him up with clubs while he was grazing his sheep near the village. Kaabneh sustained bruises and wounds throughout his body, and was transferred to hospital for medical treatment where his case was described as moderate.
Jewish settlers attack Aqsa guards
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 May — A group of Jewish female settlers attacked two Aqsa Mosque guards on Tuesday night with pepper spray. Jerusalemite sources said that the women settlers, who were loitering in the vicinity of the Mosque, suddenly sprayed pepper gas at the Asbat Gate, adding that two guards suffered burns as a result. The sources noted that groups of Jewish women perform Talmudic rituals on daily basis near the Mosque’s gates. Meanwhile, the Israeli police in occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday ordered two Palestinian women and a man not to approach the Aqsa Mosque for two weeks as punishment for chanting Allahu Akbar during a settlers’ incursion into its plazas.
Israeli soldiers assault cameramen near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 11 May – Israeli forces Sunday assaulted four Palestinian cameramen working for WAFA news agency and others and detained them for hours, south of Bethlehem. Soldiers brutally assaulted the cameramen while they were covering an event in the village of al-Kahder, forced them to delete all photos and detained them for hours before releasing them
Israeli forces raid homes in Jerusalem, detain 2
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 May — Israeli forces detained two Palestinian minors after raiding their homes near the Old City of Jerusalem early on Sunday morning, locals said. Local sources told Ma‘an that an Israeli military force stormed the Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood immediately north of the Old City and detained 13-year-old Layth Shalabi from his family home. Separately, Israeli troops also ransacked the home of Asilah family in Jerusalem and detained 13-year-old Iyad Asilah. Family members said Israeli soldiers inspected both houses and confiscated some of the boys’ belongings.
Army invades Bethlehem, kidnaps a Palestinian, searches property
IMEMC Monday at dawn, 12 May by Saed Bannoura — Several Israeli military jeeps invaded various Palestinian communities in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, kidnapping one Palestinian as they searched homes and a masonry workshop. Local sources said that dozens of soldiers invaded the Deheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, violently searched several homes, and kidnapped one Palestinian. The sources stated that the army kidnapped Ibrahim Yahia Da’amsa, 30 years of age, and took him to the Etzion military base for interrogation. Soldiers also invaded the homes of Bassem Abdul-Rahman al-Hasanaat and Ali al-Afandy, and violently searched them.
The Radio Bethlehem 2000 has reported that the soldiers surrounded the area of the Bethlehem Central Market, near the Deheisha refugee camp, and prevented the residents from reaching it. Soldiers also fired several concussion grenades at the Palestinians in an attempt to remove them from the area.
In addition, several military jeeps invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, broke into and searched a masonry shop belonging to resident Amin Abu Ayyash.
The soldiers also invaded the al-Ma‘sara village, south of Bethlehem, and violently searched the home of Hasan Breijiyya, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem.
On Sunday, several Israeli military jeeps invaded al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and detained two schoolchildren. Ahmad Salah, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader, said the soldiers invaded a local school in the town, and detained Ibrahim Hasan Yousef Issa, 14, and Ramzy Hasan Mohammad Salah, 15.
Israeli soldiers target school with tear gas canister
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 12 May — Israeli forces Monday stormed the village of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, and fired a tear gas canister toward a local school, according to an activist. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the anti-settlement committee in the village said that soldiers fired a tear gas canister toward one of the school’s windows, injuring a 14-year-old student who received first aid at the scene. Salah added that the Israeli violations have rapidly escalated since Israeli soldiers stormed the same school and arrested two students on Sunday.
Fourteen Palestinians kidnapped near Qalqilia, one woman near Jenin
IMEMC Monday 12 May by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded different Palestinian neighborhoods in Kufr Qaddoum village, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, kidnapping 14 Palestinians. Local sources said that dozens of soldiers invaded the village, during late night hours, and violently searched dozens of homes, kidnapping fourteen Palestinians … All kidnapped Palestinians were cuffed and blindfolded by the soldiers before they were moved to a nearby security and military center.
In the Jenin district, in the northern part of the West Bank, soldiers kidnapped the wife of a Palestinian political prisoner from ‘Arraba town, invading homes and another structure. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the army kidnapped Fida’ Hosni Sheebany, the wife of detainee Mustafa Sheebany, who was taken prisoner by the army in 2003, and is serving three life terms. WAFA said the soldiers searched the Sheebany residence, and ransacked its property, before invading and searching a home and an agricultural structure that belongs to resident Husam Sheebany. The family said the army interrogated them for several hours, and forced them out of the homes while searching them. Soldiers also invaded and searched the homes of Taiseer Ghawadra, and his sons Waseem, Baseem, and Odai. Property damage has been reported.
Soldiers kidnap seven Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 13 May by Saed Bannoura — [Tuesday 13 May] Israeli police officers kidnapped two female students in the yards of the al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, while Israeli soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Nablus and Bethlehem. Local sources in Jerusalem have reported that dozens of soldiers, and police officers, invaded the yards of the al-Aqsa Mosque, harassed several Palestinians, kidnapped two female students of a religious school, and took them to a police station in the city. The sources added that the arrests came after dozens of Israeli settlers invaded the yards of the al-Aqsa Mosque while chanting anti-Arab and anti-Islamic slogans. Head of the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage, Mahmoud Abu al-‘Ata, stated that the soldiers kidnapped Almatha Nabulsy from Arraba al-Batouf, in historic Palestine, and Mjeda Hawares. The army claimed the two were chanting “Allahu Akbar”, and moved them to the police station near the Chain’s Gate in the Old City.
Abu al-‘Ata said dozens of soldiers and settlers were deployed in the yards since the early morning hours, and harassed several Palestinians.
In addition, several Israeli military jeeps invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus, where soldiers broke into and searched several homes, especially in the center of the city, and kidnapped two Palestinians. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the soldiers kidnapped Mojahed Salah Antar, 27, from Sufian Street in Nablus, and resident Tamer ‘Aahed Aghbar, 17, from Khallit al-‘Amoud area, east of the city.
Several military jeeps also invaded Batteer town, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, ransacked homes and kidnapped three Palestinians. The three have been identified as Bassam Omar Abdul-Latif, 23, Mohammad Nasser al-Qaisy, 21, and Hasan Ibrahim ash-Shamy, 19.
Prisoners / Hunger strikes
Palestinians pledge support as hunger strike nears 4th week
[with photos] AL-BIREH, West Bank (Ma‘an) 13 May by Graham Liddell — Mothers, wives, and sisters of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails delivered petitions to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday, calling for the organizations’ intervention for the lives of their imprisoned relatives. Their sons, husbands, and brothers are among some 120 Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli jails without charge or trial who refused meals for the 20th day in a row on Tuesday. “We are calling for immediate action to end the harrowing policy of administrative detention forever,” the petitions read, according to a statement from the prisoner rights group Addameer … Upon delivering the letter to the Red Cross’ office in al-Bireh near Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians gathered for a rally to support the prisoners.
Shireen Issawi to begin open hunger strike against detention
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 May — East Jerusalem lawyer Shireen Issawi has told family members that she will begin an open hunger strike to protest her detention by Israeli forces, relatives said Tuesday. Issawi was detained on March 6 in an arrest raid and Israeli courts have continued to extend her detention since the arrest, arguing that they need to listen to the prosecution’s case. Relatives visited Issawi on Sunday and highlighted that two other lawyers detained on the same day have since been released on bail. Her trial has been repeatedly postponed and it is unclear on what charges she is being held. Issawi went on hunger strike for four days last week in solidarity with administrative detainees. Her relatives did not specify when she would begin open hunger strike action.
Her brother, Samer, was released from Israeli jail in December as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Israel puts more children in solitary confinement: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 May — Israel is placing increasing numbers of arrested Palestinian children in solitary confinement, an international children’s rights group said in a report issued Monday. The report came just months after Israel’s army, under international pressure to introduce reforms, agreed to test alternative treatment for children it detains in the West Bank. In more than one in five cases recorded by Defence for Children International in 2013, children detained for questioning by the army reported “undergoing solitary confinement,” DCI said in a statement. This was a two-percent rise on 2012 figures, it said … DCI’s research included 98 sworn affidavits from Palestinian children aged 12 to 17. In October, the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said Israel had agreed to test alternative treatment for Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank. These included issuing summons instead of arresting children at their homes at night. But UNICEF said that “ongoing” violations by the army were rife and included physical violence and verbal abuse. Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, mostly boys, UNICEF found, noting the rate was equivalent to “an average of two children each day.”
Marwan Barghouti joins latest hunger strike
Al-Monitor 12 May by Daoud Kuttab — …According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 186 Palestinians are currently being held without charges. About 140 of these prisoners declared a new hunger strike on April 24 demanding an end to a situation internationally recognized as illegal. A campaign to support the striking prisoners has spread from Palestine all over the world, with a high visibility on social media. On May 8, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners joined their fellow inmates in a one-day supportive hunger strike. Daily protests are ongoing in Palestine and many Arab countries such as Jordan. Imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti has also joined the hunger strike. Administrative detention is a relic of the British Mandate era. The original aim of the practice was to hold individuals for a short period as a precaution. Instead, it has become a common tool for the Israelis when they are unable to provide enough evidence to actually convict someone of a crime in Israel’s military courts. The 1945 British State of Emergency Regulations were harshly criticized before the establishment of Israel by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and two former justice ministers, Yakov Shimshon Shapira and Dov Yosef. An administrative detainee is held for six months without seeing a judge. When a judicial review does take place, secret files are usually presented by the Israeli intelligence service and neither the prisoner nor his lawyer is allowed to see or attempt to refute the materials. Military judges routinely approve requests to extend six-month detentions.
Gaza under dual blockade
Algerian aid convoy denied entry at Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 May — An aid convoy from Algeria was denied entry to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, the convoy’s coordinator told Ma‘an. Muhammad Abu Mirie said that the convoy was stopped by Egyptian authorities, who said the convoy’s entry had been postponed to Sunday. If allowed to enter the Strip, the convoy will deliver medicine and medical equipment to the Algerian hospital in Khan Yunis, Abu Mirie said.
WHO releases short video on impact of drug shortages on haemophilia patients in the Gaza Strip
ReliefWeb 12 May — “All that I’m asking is for a better future for my son. I cannot accept that my son will become disabled. Why? When there is a treatment?” said Sabreen, mother of two children with haemophilia. 29 April 2014, Gaza Strip – On the occasion of World Haemophilia Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a short video [above], “Struggling with haemophilia in the Gaza Strip”, at an event in the Gaza Strip attended by more than 70 people including Ministry of Health senior staff and doctors, academics, staff from civil society and international nongovernmental organizations, representatives of private sector companies, university students, UNRWA staff, the media, patients and their families. Discussion about hemophilia patients’ health and human rights followed the screening of the film, Gaza, 2014 Discussion about haemophilia patients’ health and human rights needs and recommendations followed the screening of the film, Gaza Strip, 2014 The video shows the suffering of 117 haemophilia patients due to the chronic drug shortages in the Gaza Strip, which includes the clotting factors needed by haemophilia patients.
Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza border area
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May — Several Israeli military vehicles crossed into the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, witnesses told Ma‘an.
Locals said the vehicles escorted six Israeli bulldozers, which leveled Palestinian fields near the separation barrier in the northern Gaza Strip. The military vehicles came from the Nahal Oz military base east of Gaza City, locals said
Photos: Gaza worker shot near border
AIC Alternative News 13 May Photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler — Israeli forces shot and injured Palestinian worker Nizar Abdallah Al-Wan as he and six companions began salvaging building materials near Gaza’s northern border Monday morning. Al-Wan’s shooting is only the most recent incident in the Israeli military’s continuing pattern of shooting Palestinians who approach ill-defined “no-go zones” along Gaza’s borders with Israel. Ma’an News cited statements by a military spokesperson that “a few suspects in the area” near Erez crossing who were “tampering with the ground.” After using “riot dispersal means,” Israeli soldiers fired at the Palestinians’ lower extremities, “identifying a hit.” As usual, the military version is completely at odds with the victims’ testimony. Al-Wan says that he was shot without warning after working for only 10 minutes in an area 500-600 meters from the wall. He and his companions did not hear the shot, indicating the use of a silenced rifle such as has been used by Israeli snipers against youth in the West Bank. This is the first reported use of such a weapon in Gaza’s border zone. Only after Al-Wan was shot did they hear a stun grenade explode. No other means were used to warn them … B’Tselem reports that it and other organizations have documented “dozens of cases of army gunfire at persons who posed no threat and were much more than 300 meters from the fence (up to 1,500 meters). In many cases, no attempt was made to arrest the persons, and no warning was given before soldiers opened fire.”
Israeli forces approve 26 projects in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 May — Israeli authorities have allowed the implementation of 26 new projects in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said Monday. Palestinian Authority crossings director Nathmi Mhanna told Ma‘an that Israel approved 26 projects, among them 12 for UNRWA, the UN’s Palestine refugee agency. Mhanna added that 2 million shekels in 1 shekel and half-shekel coins were also allowed to enter.
Gaza’s Ark could sail again
IMEMC 13 May by Chris Carlson — The following is a letter posted on May 12, 2014, at the official site of Gaza’s Ark. 12 May 2014
Dear supporters, This weekend representatives of the Gaza’s Ark steering committee met with our Flotilla Coalition partners in London, England, and this morning we are standing together to tell the world that our campaign to challenge the blockade will not be deterred by threats or by violence. The media statement from our London press conference is here. With your support, we got within a few weeks of having the Ark ready to sail. With your ongoing help, we will repair the Ark and be ready to sail in the next few months – we will keep supporters informed. We have been touched by the many expressions of solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza which we have received in the last two weeks. What we need now is for you, your families, friends, co-workers and organizations to all get on board and support this campaign. Please support us now as generously as you can, and please forward this message to any of your contacts who you think would like to support this campaign. Please click here to donate. Thank you so much! In solidarity, Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee
Water in Gaza – what the analysts are saying
DUBAI (IRIN) 12 May — A dry winter in the Middle East is being studied particularly closely in Gaza, where the area’s 1.9 million residents already face a number of largely man-made threats to water security. The following round-up of recent publications by think tanks, analysts and human rights organizations highlights the close link between water security and electricity supplies, and the near exhaustion of Gaza’s coastal aquifer. A power crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has reduced the availability of running water in most households, according to a factsheet produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with more than 30 percent of homes in Gaza receiving running water for just 6-8 hours every four days….
Prisoner ‘dies of heart attack’ in Gaza jail
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May – A prisoner held in a jail in the northern Gaza Strip died early Wednesday, Gaza’s ministry of interior said in a statement. The prisoner, identified only as S.H., was 34 years old and died of a heart attack, the statement said. His body was delivered to his family in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Nasr in the northern Gaza Strip. The man was detained about two weeks ago, locals told Ma‘an.
Gaza police officers attacked while delivering eviction order
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 May — A police officer sustained serious burns on Monday after being attacked while delivering an eviction order in Gaza City, a police spokesperson said. Police officers were delivering the court order to a home in Gaza City when members of the family sprayed gasoline at the officers and set it alight. Four of the attackers were arrested while a man suspected of spraying the gas at the officers fled the scene. One of the officers was seriously burned in the incident.
Poverty in Gaza sustains used-clothing market
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 12 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — Secondhand clothing sellers in Gaza see a steady increase in demand despite the social stigma — Merchant Mohammed al-Masri’s voice boomed through the loudspeaker as he mans his used clothing stand at the popular Firas market in the center of Gaza City. “Prices on fire, pick and choose. Any piece for 15 shekels [$4.30],” he tells dozens of customers as they rifle through the piles of clothing. With sweat pouring down his forehead, Masri told Al-Monitor, “These used clothes attract the poor who are unable to afford new articles. They spend a few minutes choosing whatever is adequate for their needs, all for a few shekels.” Demand is increasing in the secondhand-clothing market as poverty and unemployment continue to rise due to the the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza for the past seven years continues, according to Mouin Rajab, an economics professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University. “Poor Gazan families lack the income needed to buy new clothes. That is why they resort to clothing donated by families who no longer need older items, or buy secondhand clothes sold in popular markets,” he told Al-Monitor.
Solidarity / BDS
Israeli Supreme Court to hear Rachel Corrie appeal
Press Release 12 May — CORRIE FAMILY TO ATTEND JERUSALEM HEARING Nine years after filing a civil suit against the State of Israel for the wrongful death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, her family will have their appeal heard before the Israeli Supreme Court on May 21 at 11:30 a.m. in Jerusalem. The appeal, which will be argued by attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, challenges the Haifa District Court’s August 2012 ruling which concluded that the Israeli military was not responsible for Rachel’s death and that it conducted a credible investigation. “During the past nine years, we have sought accountability in the Israeli courts for Rachel’s killing but were handed a verdict that showed blind indifference to the rights of the victim and little interest in seeking truth and justice,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father. The Corrie family appeal focuses on serious flaws in the lower court verdict which erred by ignoring and misinterpreting essential facts and misapplying legal norms. The appeal challenges the lower court’s total disregard of international law obligations as well as procedural advantages that were regularly granted to the state during the proceedings.
Grace Lee Boggs, Danny Glover object to film screening in Tel Aviv
Electronic Intifada 13 May by Ali Abunimah — Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs and actor and activist Danny Glover have denounced the inclusion of the film American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs in a government-sponsored Israeli film festival this week. “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel,” they say in a statement sent to The Electronic Intifada, co-signed with ten other individuals involved with the award-winning documentary that focuses on the life and work of the 98-year-old Boggs. “As people featured in the film … we were shocked to find the film slated to be screened at the DocAviv festival in Israel on May 13th and 15th. This was scheduled without our knowledge,” the statement notes. The authors of the statement say they asked for the film to be withdrawn but “festival organizers and film producers informed us that this was not possible and they would move forward with the screening, over our objections.”
Fatah official: Egypt to open Rafah permanently after unity
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May — A senior Fatah official told reporters Tuesday that Egypt would open the Rafah crossing permanently after the Palestinian unity government was set in place. Following a meeting between Fatah and Hamas delegations in Gaza City, Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters that Egypt welcomed the establishment of a “legitimate,” internationally recognized government in the Gaza Strip. “Egypt is looking forward to Palestinian reconciliation and they encouraged us,” al-Ahmad said. Egyptian authorities will keep the crossing with Gaza open after the new government is installed, he added. Al-Ahmad arrived in Gaza on Tuesday for what a Fatah spokesman said were meetings to select Palestinian leaders for the unity government. The Fatah delegation at the meeting included Azzam al-Ahmad, Faysal Abu Shahla, and Zakariyya al-Agha. The Hamas delegation was made up of Mousa Abu Marzouq, Khalil al-Hayyah and Imad al-Alami. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said there was a positive atmosphere throughout Wednesday’s meeting. He said the delegations would meet again in the afternoon.
Israeli officials in secret Cairo visit
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 13 May – A high-profile delegation of Israeli officials landed in Cairo on Monday, an Egyptian official told Ma‘an. According to the well-placed official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the delegation boarded a private plane which took off from Tel Aviv. They were welcomed at Cairo International Airport by Egyptian general intelligence officers. The Egyptian authorities have not made any public announcements about what the source described as a “secret mission.” The official said the visiting Israeli officials would meet with their counterparts in the Egyptian foreign ministry and general intelligence service. They were expected to ask the Egyptians to help the new Israeli ambassador to Egypt with his daily operations. They will also discuss mutual relations with Egypt and cooperation between both countries over security arrangements in the Sinai Peninsula, the source highlighted.
FM: Abbas, Kerry meeting will focus on the future of the peace process
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 May — President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Wednesday will focus on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a senior official said Tuesday. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told Palestinian radio that Abbas and Kerry would evaluate the latest round of peace talks with Israel and “determine the reasons for their failure.” The meeting “is not an agreement to return to negotiations,” al-Maliki said, stressing that the PLO’s demands must be met before returning to peace talks with Israel. A Palestinian official told AFP earlier Tuesday that the two leaders had scheduled a meeting in London on Wednesday. But Kerry’s spokeswoman denied there were any plans for the US top diplomat to hold talks with the Palestinian leader during a scheduled trip to London this week. “There’s no meeting planned,” Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that Kerry would be in London on Thursday for discussions on the conflict in Syria.
Netanyahu: In unity deal, Abbas would be held responsible for Gaza rocket attacks
Algeheimer 13 May by Joshua Levitt — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that if there were a unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Israel would hold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. Speaking ahead of meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo, as part of a state visit, Netanyahu described the unity pact as “a turn for the worst” because “Hamas is committed to our destruction.” But he said, “We remain committed to advancing the peace, preferably a negotiated peace.” “We can only negotiate with a government whose constituent parts are committed to peace.
Palestinians detain 3 armed Israeli settlers near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 May — Dozens of Palestinians on Monday detained three Israeli settlers who were driving quad bikes through a village in the northern West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that three settlers entered the Nablus-area village of Burin on four-wheelers and “provoked” residents. Palestinians stopped the settlers and “detained” them in an apartment in the village before contacting the PA security services, Daghlas said. The PA liaison department then delivered the settlers to Israeli officials. A spokeswoman for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed the incident, saying the settlers rode into Burin “accidentally.” “The settlers were taken out from the village by the Palestinians to the hands of the (Israeli) Civil Administration without any damage. In this moment they are handling the extraction of the ATVs from the village,” Sapir Mizrahi said. She confirmed that the settlers were armed and said that it was illegal for Israeli settlers to enter Palestinian villages. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Israeli police were “looking into the circumstances of how they (the settlers) accidentally entered Burin.” Israeli settlers regularly make their way onto Palestinian land in the West Bank, often in attempts to damage Palestinian property.
Heavy rains cause floods in Jordan Valley
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 12 May – Rescue teams of the Palestinian civil defense service on Sunday afternoon found three men who were swept away by floods in the area of Fasayil in the central Jordan Valley. Jericho civil defense services said in a statement that heavy rains which fell in the afternoon caused “deep and vehement” floods. As a result, three Bedouin men who live in Fasayil were swept away along with dozens of sheep. Rescue teams were alerted and they carried out a wide-scale search until the three men were found. They were in good health, according to the statement. But several sheep died in the floods.
Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to six years for corruption
TEL AVIV (Reuters) 13 May by Rami Amichai — Israel’s ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in jail on Tuesday for taking bribes in a real estate deal, a crime the judge said was akin to treason. The first criminal conviction of a former Israeli head of government all but ended speculation that Olmert — a centrist credited internationally with working towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians – might return to political life. He had denied any wrongdoing in the property deal, approved when he served as Jerusalem’s mayor, that led to the construction of the hilltop Holyland apartment towers, a hulking stone complex widely seen as one of the city’s worst eyesores … Rozen ordered Olmert, 68, to report to prison on September 1, effectively giving his lawyers time to take the case to a higher court and request that he remain free until it rules.
IDF: We need NIS 2 billion or we suspend operations
Ynet 13 May by Yossi Yoshua & Gad Lior — Defense establishment says it needs budget injection to continue to function, train soldiers, but Finance Ministry claims army budget is biggest ever; IDF source: Reserve forces aren’t training, growing rusty — The IDF claims it needs an immediate NIS 2 billion cash injection to continue to function to protect the country and in order to conduct ongoing training operations. Though IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz has yet to publically comment on the defense establishment’s financial crisis, senior officers said Sunday that “if additional funds are not given there will be no choice but to stop ground forces’ training, and maybe even those of the Air Force.”
In recruiting campaign, Israeli Police discriminates against Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews
Haaretz 13 May by Yaniv Kubovich — The police say they prefer combat experience, contradicting their goal of getting more Israeli Arabs on the force — The Israel Police recently launched a major advertising campaign urging people to apply to join the force. But under the heading “Job Requirements,” the ads include one interesting sentence in bright yellow: “Preference given to military combat service.” With these few words, the police are effectively discriminating against Israeli Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews and people disqualified for combat by health reasons.
Analysis / Opinion
Abu Mazen’s overlooked surprise concession on settlements / Geoffrey Aronson
Al-Monitor 11 May — If reports are accurate, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed to allow 80% of settlers to remain in settlements annexed to Israel, a historic reversal of previous PLO positions. Peace-making between Israel and the Palestinians has ended. In its place, the battle to explain or rationalize failure has begun. Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas trade accusations. Both blame the Americans. Washington takes an evenhanded approach. It sees culprits everywhere … except in the mirror. All but lost in this noise is real news that many seem to have missed. An unnamed US official, widely assumed to be lead US negotiator Martin Indyk, told Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea that PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “agreed to the border outline so 80% of settlers would continue living in Israeli territory.” In the rarified world of diplomatic code in which much of the official Israeli-Palestine dialogue is conducted, a Palestinian agreement to permit 80% of settlers to remain in settlements that would be annexed to Israel is a bombshell … The settlements Abbas is prepared to surrender include all those established by Israel since 1967 in East Jerusalem, recently described by Abbas as Palestine’s “jewel in the crown,” with the prominent exception of Har Homa abutting Bethlehem.
‘Endangered Archives’ program opens up priceless Palestinian heritage / Sarah Irving
Electronic Intifada 13 May — A project run by the British Library, intended to help preserve and extend access to historically significant archives around the world, will allow researchers and the general public to access ancient and valuable manuscripts from Palestinian institutions. The Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) aims to “contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration worldwide.” … In Palestine, three grants have been awarded to Qasem abu Harb of the Council for British Research in the Levant for work on archives at the al-Aqsa Mosque Library in Jerusalem and the library of the al-Jazzar Mosque in Akka.
Palestinians seek to heal wounds from Hamas-Fatah clashes / Hazem Balousha
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 9 May — Optimism is rising among Palestinians about the implementation of the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, and preparations have begun for the formation of a unified Palestinian government that includes representatives from both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, at the same time, fears remain surrounding the agreement’s ability to restore social cohesion among Palestinians. The rivalry among the latter has deepened throughout seven years of division and mutual recriminations, public accusations, defamation and allegations of treason. Restoring social peace with the victims of the division remains a major hurdle in the reconciliation process. The political split was not confined to the two rival governments in Gaza and Ramallah, but permeated all levels of Palestinian society. The families of those killed and those who were arrested, tortured, abused or had their human rights flagrantly violated have diverging views about the Palestinian reconciliation agreement and the pardoning of the killers and torturers of their sons and relatives. Al-Monitor spoke to Ibrahim Mansour, the brother of one of the victims of the clashes that occurred between Hamas and Fatah in June 2007. His brother was killed by security forces belonging to the Palestinian Authority because he was a member of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Mansour said that he would reject the political reconciliation agreement if the families’ rights were not restored by punishing the killers or at least banishing them from the Gaza Strip. “We are not demanding much. If all seek reconciliation, then they must endeavor to keep those who killed Palestinians in 2007 out of the Gaza Strip, be they members of Fatah or Hamas. I cannot tolerate seeing my mother crying every morning for the loss of my brother Mohammed, who was 25 years old and killed one month after his marriage, and accept that his killer be allowed to live happily here in Gaza,” he said. In contrast, Nidal al-Sarafity expressed willingness to relinquish his family’s personal right to seek revenge against the killers of his nephew Mohammed, who was killed by members of the al-Qassam Brigades, if it meant a return to Palestinian unity. “If the Palestinian people’s higher interest requires that we relinquish our personal right, then we will not hesitate to support the reconciliation agreement and end the state of division that has caused us great anguish for many years. We do not want other families to suffer the way we suffered,” he told Al-Monitor.
Former Israeli minister warns of violence by ‘godless’ settlers / Mazal Mualem
Al-Monitor 9 May — “I have been following these guys for months, the settlers from Yitzhar, and at a certain point I thought they could hurt Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu], too, if he makes a crucial decision. After all, they’re godless.” So says presidential candidate and Knesset member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in an interview with Al-Monitor, in reaction to the growing violence and hate crimes in recent days on the part of settlers and right-wing extremists. The Jewish violence in Arab communities, dubbed “price tag” by the right wing, as well as the equanimity with which a resident of the settlement of Yitzhar said she had no problem with killing an Israeli soldier, take Ben-Eliezer back to the month prior to the 1995 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassination, when he understood that right-wing incitement was spiraling out of control and tried to warn that someone would pay with their life. Ben-Eliezer, formerly minister of defense and chairman of the Labor Party, claims Israeli society is in a true state of emergency. He says determined action can still stop the snowball but believes that someone in the Israeli leadership has stalled dealing with this phenomenon. Al-Monitor: Are events now reminiscent of the atmosphere prior to the Rabin assassination? Ben-Eliezer: It’s exactly the same. One month before the assassination there was the big demonstration in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, at which all the heads of the Likud Party spoke. By chance I happened on the back end of the demonstration, near the Knesset. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by thousands, the subject of cursing and swearing. A young man, who later turned out to be the brother of [Rabin assassin] Yigal Amir, climbed onto my car. The amount of cursing and swearing to which I was subjected was unbelievable and at the lowest levels, including spitting in my face. Luckily for me the police were called and they extricated me in quite a state. I was very agitated. I got to the Knesset and ran straight for Bibi, who was then chairman of the opposition. I told him: “Listen closely, we’re going to have a murder here.” [Former Likud Minister] Dan Meridor was standing next to him. Bibi sent him to check what was going on. He came back and said there was nothing going on outside. The following day, at the Cabinet meeting, I asked to speak and said that I had almost been murdered. I remember saying over and over: “Friends, there will be a murder here” — that’s how I truly felt — until Prime Minister Rabin shushed me. As we were walking out of the meeting, he came up to me, gave me a hug, which was unusual for him, and said: “What are you talking about? It cannot be.” A month later he was murdered. Al-Monitor: Does the Yitzhar group remind you of Yigal Amir’s gang? Ben-Eliezer: Certainly….