Netanyahu to settler leaders: ‘I fight for you’

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Dani Dayan, the former head of the Yesha settler's council, on January 9, 2013 (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Dani Dayan, the former head of the Yesha settler’s council, on January 9, 2013 (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Netanyahu to settlers: I’m fighting for you, but there are international constraints
Haaretz 29 May by Barak Ravid — Leaders of the Yesha Council of settlements met Wednesday evening with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked him to bring an end to the months-long freeze on planning, construction, and marketing of West Bank and East Jerusalem housing. According to sources that were present for the meeting, Netanyahu told the settlement leaders that he has in fact been advancing their cause in recent months. “You have no shield greater than I,” he said. “I fight for you.” “But there are international constraints and you know them,” he said, according to a source present at the meeting. “Everyone tells me all the time that the peace process is stuck because of the settlements. I reply to them that that’s not true and that the real reason is the [Palestinian] refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” … Netanyahu tried to show sympathy with the Yesha leaders but he did not promise a thing except that he would look into the matter more deeply and consider possible solutions with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit. The facts presented to Netanyahu did not come as news. After all, it was the prime minister who decided to place a freeze on planning and construction in an attempt to prolong the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – and to maintain the freeze after the talks failed to avoid international condemnation, which could involve economic and political sanctions … One of the first consequences was a decision by the German government not to grant Israel hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase German-made missile boats meant to defend Israel’s natural gas interests in the Mediterranean. The Germans told Israel that their parliament would not approve such a move in wake of the collapse of the talks.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement

Capturing settlers: Palestinians on guard against Israeli extremism
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 May by Graham Liddell — Despite mentions in a recent US report on terrorism, Israeli extremist attacks against Palestinians and their property continue unabated, especially in the West Bank. With little to no protection from the Israeli army that occupies their territory, Palestinians have on several occasions in 2014 taken matters into their own hands, taking a kind of neighborhood-watch approach to prevent injuries and damage to their property.  On March 28, residents of the village of Lubban al-Sharqiyya caught an Israeli settler trying to steal a mule. A large group of villagers surrounded the settler, and soon negotiated his delivery to Israeli soldiers via Palestinian liaison officers. Just a few weeks earlier, Palestinians captured a settler as he was destroying olive trees in the village of Talfit, and responded in the same way. These are just two of at least five such incidents reported so far in 2014. “Palestinians are probably taking matters into their own hands because of the sheer lack of (Israeli) law enforcement,” a spokeswoman for the Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq told Ma‘an … In the most recent incident of its kind, Palestinians apprehended three armed settlers who rode “provocatively” into the village of Burin on ATVs. After they were detained and delivered to Israeli liaison officers, a Civil Administration spokesperson told Ma‘an they had entered the village “accidentally.”

Palestinian villages fear encroaching settlement bloc
KUFR Al-DEEK (Reuters) 28 May by Noah Browinng — Palestinians in the village of Kufr al-Deek in the northern occupied West Bank awoke on Sunday to see Israeli earth-movers busily flattening the top of a nearby hill. Locals say it is their privately owned land and that the Israeli government is preparing to build a new Jewish settlement outpost there. They fear it will help consolidate a bloc of Israeli towns, plunging almost halfway into the occupied territory, which they say will deny them a viable future state. “(Israel) wants to link up their colonies, from Ariel to the coast and they need our land to do it,” said villager Ismail Taha, hoarse from shouting at the dozens of Israeli soldiers who prevented him and other residents from reaching the work site on Monday. They say a pair of settlers began squatting on the hillside last week and fear it will be the nucleus of a new community. “It’s stealing, and we have no means to defend ourselves. While they have biased courts, police and an army, we have no money and no power. We’re peaceful, but over our dead bodies will they succeed in taking our land,” Taha said. Twin corridors of around two dozen Jewish settlements housing almost 50,000 settlers extend between the settlement city of Ariel’s 20,000 residents and Israel’s coastal plain…
Israel has declared the 300-dunam (74-acre) tract traversed with olive trees and dirt paths “state land,” a label it has applied to much of the other lands upon which settlements and their connected farming lands have been historically built. “The present case refers to declared state lands on which approved works are taking place lately for the agricultural development of the region. The works are under constant supervision and monitoring,” the Israeli government body responsible for the occupied West Bank told Reuters. Residents of Kufr al-Deek and other villages disagree with the “state land” claim and say settlement activity is expanding. They point out ruined Palestinian cisterns and modest homes on the hill they say Israeli forces demolished in recent months. Looking out on the horizon, the string of nearby settlements appear to be growing, with a whole hillside next to one being flattened ahead of apparent planned construction and settler portacabins pouring down the hillside of another. “Kufr al-Deek is 300 years old and look how small it is. Just one of the settlements there, built in 1985, is already twice its size. Tell me, where can we build our state?” villager Ahmed Ali said.

Settlers damage Palestinian wheat fields near Jalud
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israeli settlers released sheep into a field belonging to a Palestinian family on Tuesday morning near Nablus, damaging a large area of the farmers’ wheat fields, a Palestinian official said Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that settlers from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh released hundreds of sheep into wheat fields into fields in Jalud Meadows south of Nablus. The sheep damaged more than 45 dunams (11 acres) of wheat in the process. The Jewish settlers of Esh Kodesh regularly harass and attack Palestinians from nearby villagers, including Jalud, and in recent months they have regularly invaded the village and targeted agricultural areas belonging to local farmers. Many of the attacks are intended to make life difficult for locals in order to force them to leave and allow settlers to expand their settlements

WATCH: In Jerusalem, ‘Palestinians aren’t allowed to dream’
972blog 28 May by Omri Shenhar — A short documentary film looks at three Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and their struggle to build homes. Filmmaker Omri Shenhar: ‘They drive us in their cabs, build our houses, and collect our trash. But when it comes to their rights we shutter our eyes and hide behind a wall.’

Israel revokes ID of 241 Palestinians in Jerusalem
Middle East Monitor 24 May — Israeli authorities have revoked the ID of 241 Palestinians living in Jerusalem in the last two years, a human rights organisation has said. In a statement issued on Thursday, Al-Meethaq for Human Rights (MHR) said that this policy poses a threat socially and economically to Palestinian residents in Jerusalem. MHR noted that Palestinians submitted 1,255 applications for ‘family reunion.’ The Israeli authorities accepted 405, refused 174, froze 84 whilst 592 are still under process. Regarding the registry of children, where one of their parents hold an Israeli ID, 2,944 applications were submitted. The authorities accepted 2,444 and denied 500. This means that they will not be able to enjoy public health or education services. Palestinian lawyer Yassin Gheith said that the Israeli occupation does not give real reasons for the bad treatment of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem. “They attempt to put pressure on the Palestinians in order to leave the city,” he said.

Revealed: What a partitioned Jerusalem would look like
Haaretz 27 May by Nir Hasson — An Israeli firm has been working for 10 years to perfect plans that would transform the city’s ‘natural’ urban boundaries into a border between two future countries, in a nonthreatening and aesthetic manner — Almost since Jerusalem was reunited after the Six-Day War 47 years ago – an event being commemorated today, Jerusalem Day – various ideas have been proposed as to how the city can be redivided. Possible partition lines were drawn during peace talks at Camp David and Taba in 2000-2001, in U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office and in the bureaus of former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. But for the most part, these discussions ended with drawing lines on a map and debate over how to apportion sovereignty to the sites in the area known as the Holy Basin, which includes the Old City and its immediate surroundings. Very few, if any, sought to figure out whether Jerusalem could actually be divided again – and if so, how would the border look? Would a wall be built in the heart of the city? Where would the crossing points be, and who would be able to use them? What would become of the network of roads and the public transportation system in the area? And so on and so forth. forth.Click here for the interactive map  It is these questions that an Israel-based group of architects headed by Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat and Karen Lee Bar-Sinai have been trying to answer for 10 years now. Decision makers from all the parties concerned are very familiar with their plans. At one meeting between Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for example, the Israeli premier presented the architects’ suggestions for a future border crossing between the Sheikh Jarrah and Beit Yisrael neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Israel prevents Gaza academics from attending Ramallah conference
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israeli authorities prevented 59 Gaza-based Palestinian academics from traveling to Ramallah for a science conference, a statement said Wednesday. The academics said in a statement that the rejection of their applications for permits to travel to the West Bank demonstrated Israel’s intention to divide Palestinians. Israel rarely grants permits for Palestinians from Gaza to visit the West Bank or vice-versa, even though both are internationally recognized as Palestinian territory.

Violence / Attacks / Raids / Illegal arrests

Israeli forces assault elderly man in Aqsa compound
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — Israeli forces assaulted an elderly Palestinian man in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound on Tuesday, causing injuries to his eye, witnesses said. Israeli forces violently assaulted Abu Hani Sharif, 70, after asking him to stop taking pictures in the compound. Israeli officers surrounded Sharif and assaulting him before attempting to make an arrest. Dozens of Palestinian worshipers intervened and managed to escort the elderly man away from the officers. His wife fainted while witnessing the assault.

Palestinian beaten by settlers near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 May — Dozens of Israeli settlers on Tuesday assaulted a Palestinian man on the road between the villages of Mikhmas and al-Tayba near Ramallah.  Ahmad Abbas, 41, from Beitin village east of Ramallah was brutally beaten after he left his cousin’s car to urinate because he suffers from diabetes, his sister said. He was attacked with rods and plastic sticks, and suffered a fracture in his skull and bruises all over his body, the sister added.

Israeli military vehicle runs over teen near Hebron
IMEMC 29 May by Chris Carlson — A Palestinian youth was severely injured after being over by an Israeli military vehicle in the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, according to a local activist. WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency has reported that, according to spokesperson for the people’s committee in the village, Mohammad Awad, 15-year-old Anan Abu-Ayyash was severely injured in the head after being run over by an Israeli army jeep. He was transferred to hospital for medical treatment.

Two-year-old child injured in his chest with IOF bullet
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 May — A two-year-old Palestinian child was hit with an Israeli army rubber[coated steel] bullet in his chest in Beit Ummar village, north of al-Khalil, at noon Wednesday. Local sources said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) clashed with young men at the entrance of the village during a raid and fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas at random. They said that the child Mohammed Ali Abu Maria was hit with a bullet in his chest and taken to a hospital in al-Khalil city.
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VIDEO: Soldiers detain four Palestinian schoolgirls – aged 11 to 15, for picking settlers’ cherries
Mondoweiss 28 May by Ilene Cohen — Another in the long-running Israeli series, You can’t make this stuff up: “Palestinian girls detained for picking settlers’ cherries.” Four schoolgirls, aged 11 to 15. Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson reports: “Because Palestinian schoolchildren in the area have been repeatedly harassed by local settlers, soldiers are now supposed to provide an escort in both directions for all students who attend school in the village of a-Tawani, where the girls study. But because the girls left school early on Tuesday after finishing an exam, the soldiers had not yet arrived, and they started home on their own. When the soldiers finally met up with the girls near Havat Maon, the settlers claimed the girls had eaten cherries from one of the trees and demanded that they be arrested for theft. [It’s well worth it to read the comments]

Many suffocate during clashes with Israeli forces near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 May — Dozens of Palestinians Tuesday suffered from tear gas suffocation during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, according to a local activist. The spokesman of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, said that forces heavily fired tear gas canisters towards a funeral and residents’ homes, spurring clashes with residents and causing many suffocation and fainting cases among them. He added that the Israeli soldiers took over the rooftop of a Palestinian-owned home, closed the town’s main entrance, preventing the movement of citizens.

Ramallah father: I want to believe that the boy soldier who shot dead my son seeks forgiveness
The Observer 24 May by Peter Beaumont — CCTV footage of Nadeem Suwara, shot dead by Israeli forces, spread around the world. Here his father talks of a teenager of the new Ramallah, a world of smartphones, western music and prosperity – but one in which life is still overshadowed by the threat of violence — Towards the end of our interview about his son Nadeem’s short life, Siam Nawara says something unexpected. Nadeem, 17, was one of the two boys shot by Israeli forces whose deaths were captured on CCTV. The shootings took place at a Nakba day demonstration outside Ofer prison on the West Bank on 15 May, while the boys were posing no apparent threat to Israeli soldiers. The shocking footage last week provoked international calls for an investigation … Sitting at his home in a well-to-do neighbourhood of Ramallah on the West Bank, Nawara, 42, speculates that the soldier who shot his son might not be “able to sleep or comprehend what he has done”. He adds that, like his own son, the soldier who killed him was probably a boy himself, perhaps not much more than 19. “I [want to] believe that he wanted to pay his respects and offer his condolences and ask forgiveness for what he’d done,” he says. Nawara suggests that he could forgive this other boy because the true culprit is the officer who gave the order for Nadeem to be killed, who “should have known better” … In the Nawaras’ home, the grainy and fleeting figure caught on a CCTV camera in the few seconds when he was fatally wounded – and since seen around the world – solidifies and becomes human again. The media shorthand of “stone-throwing youth shot by soldiers” is left behind as a more complex person is revealed. Nadeem was not a child of the camps or the poor neighbourhoods but came from a solid middle-class home. His father is the proprietor of one of Ramallah’s best-known hair salons, which is situated next door to his family’s spacious apartment.

Apologies for any duplications of arrests mentioned in these articles. It is not always possible to sort out the different accounts.
Israel arrests 13 Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 May — Israeli forces arrested on Tuesday 12 Palestinians from across the West Bank, in addition to a youth from the Jerusalem area, according to local and security sources.
Sources told WAFA that forces arrested eight Palestinians from the town of Beit Ummar and al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron in the southern West Bank. Forces raided the camp and conducted a raid and search campaign where they arrested three teenagers between the ages of 17 and 19. The spokesperson of the anti-settlement Popular Committee in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, said forces raided Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and arrested five youths between the ages of 20 and 25.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrested two young men from the city of Tulkarem and its refugee camp after raiding their homes. According to eyewitnesses a large military force raided the house of Mohammed Salameh in the city and forced him and his family to evacuate it, detaining them in a warehouse located next to the house before arresting Salameh’s son. Meanwhile, the forces arrested a young man from his home in the Tulkarem refugee camp.
Israeli forces also arrested two 18-year-old Palestinians from the town Ya‘bud to southwest of Jenin after raiding and searching their families’ homes.
In the Jerusalem area, Israeli police, at dawn, arrested a 26-year-old Palestinian ex-detainee after raiding his house in the village of Issawiya in Jerusalem

At least 22 Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank, Occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC 28 May by Saed Bannoura — …Local sources in Jerusalem stated that the soldiers invaded the al-Ezariyya town, east of occupied Jerusalem, and kidnapped twelve Palestinians, including one woman. Hani Halabiyya, spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Jerusalem, told the WAFA Palestine News Agency that at least 25 Israeli military jeeps invaded the town, and broke into dozens of homes before kidnapping the twelve Palestinians … [Ma‘an: The forces arrested the wife of Alaa Bassam Udwan, telling family members she would be released when her husband turned himself into Israeli authorities, Halabiya said. Similarly, Jamil Abu Ziad was arrested in place of his son Hashim, he added.]  Israel repeatedly arrests family members, including wives, mothers and sisters of sought Palestinian activists in an attempt to oblige them to surrender. Halabiyya said that it is likely the arrests were carried out to intimidate the Palestinians into halting solidarity activities in support of all Palestinian detainees, especially since the majority of those kidnapped participated in those nonviolent activities, especially the “Salt and Water” activity held in solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian detainees. A central massive protest is scheduled to be conducted this coming Friday in occupied Jerusalem following Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Several Israeli military jeeps also invaded Jenin city, and the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern part of the West Bank, kidnapping seven Palestinians. Local sources said that several Israeli military jeeps and undercover soldiers driving cars with Palestinian plates invaded Jenin and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition and gas bombs, kidnapping five Palestinians … identified as Arab American University students. In Jenin city, the soldiers also invaded homes and searched them, before kidnapping two Palestinians … In addition, one Palestinian identified as Jom’a Adnan Mousa, 17, suffered fractures and bruises after being assaulted by soldiers manning the al-Jalama roadblock, northeast of Jenin.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, soldiers kidnapped Yousef Gheith, and Shaher al-Qawasma, while a third Palestinian, identified as Bajes ad-Dababsa, was kidnapped in Yatta nearby town. The soldiers also invaded various neighborhoods in Hebron city, and installed roadblocks at the entrances of Sa‘ir town, north of Hebron, Doura and ath-Thaheriyya towns, south of Hebron, and the Halhoul Bridge, north of Hebron, stopped and searched dozens of cars and inspected the ID cards of the passengers.
In Bethlehem, soldiers invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the city, broke into at least one home and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Akram Khader Abu Khdeir, 19.

Israeli forces arrest Palestinians amid clashes overnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israeli forces arrested a number of Palestinians in the West Bank early Wednesday. In the city of Jenin and its refugee camp, soldiers ransacked several homes overnight and fired tear gas canisters at locals, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. Israeli forces arrested eight people, among them the son of jailed Hamas leader Jamal Abu al-Haija and the son of former Palestinian official Wasfi al-Qabaha.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided Majdal Bani Fadil near Nablus and detained 32-year-old Samahir Ali Zein al-Din after ransacking her home, witnesses said. Al-Din’s husband was detained two months ago, locals told Ma‘an. The couple has six children.
In Burqa, also in the Nablus district, Israeli forces detained 18-year-old Tariq Khaled Abu Fanous.

Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 May — Israeli forces detained 15 Palestinians in dawn [Thursday] raids across the occupied West Bank, Israel’s army and locals said. Three men were detained in the Nablus-area villages of ‘Awarta, Salem, and Kafr Qaddum, while six were arrested in al-Jalazun refugee camp and the villages of Deir Jarir and Qatanna. Yasir Hilmi, 32, was identified by locals as having been detained in Salem. Three Palestinians were also arrested by Israeli forces in the Bethlehem-area village of Beit Fajjar, while two more were detained in Beit ‘Awwa west of Hebron.Marwan Tawfiq Audah, 40, and his brother Radi, 36, were detained in Huwwara, Palestinian security officials said.

Gaza under dual blockades

Gaza fisherman shot by Egyptian boats
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 May — A Palestinian fisherman was shot by Egyptian boats in the sea near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Spokesman for the Gaza ministry of health Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an that a fisherman was shot in the face by Egyptian boats off the coast of Rafah. Al-Qidra said that the victim was 16 years old but did not identify him by name. He was taken to the European Gaza Hospital with moderate to serious injuries, al-Qidra added. Although Israeli soldiers enforcing a 7-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip frequently fire at Palestinian fishermen who stray too far from the coast, Egyptian forces — who also enforce the siege, at Israel’s request — do so much more rarely.

Union: Israel navy detains 3 fishermen off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israel’s navy detained three fishermen off the coast of southern Gaza late Tuesday, a local union said. Nizar Ayyash, spokesperson for the Gaza fisherman’s union, said Israeli naval forces detained Ibrahim Khamis Murad, Khamis Ibrahim Murad and Ahmad al-Jizawi while they were fishing off the coast.

Palestinian double-refugees struggle in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Al Jazeera) 28 May by Khaled Alashqar — Palestinian refugees have fled the ongoing Syria war to the Gaza Strip, where they face a new set of challenges — “Death was all over the place. Projectiles were not stopping … we miraculously fled the camp.” This is how Palestinian refugee Alaa Barakat described his last moments in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus in December 2012. Barakat lived in the camp with his wife and two children, a three-year-old and a five-month-old. The Yarmouk camp, which previously housed more than 160,000 Palestinian refugees, was bombarded by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and saw frequent armed confrontations between the Syrian army and armed opposition groups. A government-imposed siege on the camp has led to severe shortages of food, water and medicine, sparking a humanitarian crisis. Some 18,000 Palestinians, and some Syrian families, remain in the camp today. Barakat and his children flew from Damascus to Cairo, and then moved to northern Sinai near the border with the Gaza Strip. He paid $150 to enter Gaza through underground tunnels soon thereafter. The family arrived in Gaza with only the clothes on their backs. Barakat’s wife, Eman, a Syrian citizen, joined them in Gaza three months later after securing a permit from Syrian authorities. “Nothing can describe the feeling of a person when they have to live the pain and suffering again. I started my life as a refugee child in a refugee camp in Syria; I come back today here in Gaza to live the harsh life of refugees once again with my children,” Barakat said.More than 250 families (up to 1,500 people) from Syria are now living in the Gaza Strip. Thirty-four percent of the refugee families are Syrian, and the remaining are Palestinian refugees who had been living in Syria, according to Ali al-Khatib, the head of Syrian Returnees Unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza. Dozens of these are university students who cannot continue their studies because of financial constraints and tuition costs in Gaza. On average, a semester at Gaza’s al-Azhar University costs $450. Gaza is already home to 1.7 million Palestinians, more than half of whom are Palestinian refugees.

Jerusalem Day

Jerusalem divided, unequal as Israel marks 1967 capture
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 May by Charlie Hoyle — As thousands of Israelis march through East Jerusalem on Wednesday to celebrate its capture in 1967, the Palestinian community continues its struggle to survive in a city marked by systematic political, economic, and social divides. Every year, thousands of right-wing Israelis march through East Jerusalem neighborhoods and the Old City in a national holiday described by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism as marking the “liberation” and “reunification” of the city. But for Palestinians, who make up 40 percent of the population, the day is a reminder of their historic dispossession and compounds their ongoing marginalization from a city which was once the political, economic, and cultural center of Palestinian life. Over 75 percent of Palestinians, and 82 percent of children, live below the poverty line in East Jerusalem, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. There are huge discrepancies between East and West Jerusalem in terms of education, health, water access, and planning, while Israel has also revoked the residency of 14,309 Palestinians since 1967, with 106 in 2013 alone. “It’s increasingly obvious that Israel is doing anything it can within its own legal structures to push young Palestinian families and couples out of town,” Micha Kurz from Grassroots Jerusalem, an NGO in East Jerusalem, told Ma‘an.

Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, segregation and discrimination
972mag 28 May by Michael Omer-Man — The following is a collection of facts and figures about Jerusalem, compiled and published on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day.” …The following figures were taken from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS – Heb), the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Ir Amim (IA – Heb). • Palestinians comprise more than one-third (37 percent) of Jerusalem’s residents (CBS) • In Palestinian East Jerusalem, 75.3 percent of residents — and 82.2 percent of children — lived below the poverty line in 2012. (ACRI) • Only 4.4 of the Jerusalem municipal welfare budget is allocated and spent in East Jerusalem. (Ir Imim) • More than 100,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem live beyond the separation wall, drastically affecting their freedom of movement, economic livelihood and access to municipal resources (ranging from garbage collection to the naming of streets to law enforcement). (ACRI) • Despite a theoretical legal right to live anywhere in the city, 99 percent of Jerusalem Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, data from 2009 shows. (Ir Amim) • One-third of all Palestinian land in Jerusalem has been confiscated since 1967. Jewish homes have been built on much of that land. (ACRI). • Israel has revoked the Jerusalem residency of 14,309 (an average of 6 per week) Palestinian residents since it conquered the city in 1967 through 2013. (ACRI)….

Over 300 settlers storm al-Aqsa compound
World Bulletin [Turkey]  28 May — Over 300 Jewish settlers on Wednesday forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the protection of Israeli police before the latter closed the area off to the settlers amid mounting tensions at the holy site. The settlers’ entry into the area, which triggered clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian Muslim worshippers, represents “an unacceptable escalation,” Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs (run by the Jordanian government), told Anadolu Agency. In a statement, the Israeli police said they had closed the compound to settlers following the clashes that had erupted at the site earlier between Palestinians and Israeli troops. But according to witnesses, it was Israeli police that had facilitated the settlers’ intrusion into the compound. At least three Turkish nationals were injured in the violence. “Israeli police assaulted a group of Turkish nationals inside the [Al-Aqsa] complex, injuring three of them,” Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage spokesman Mahmoud Abu Atta told Anadolu Agency. The trio was taken to Jerusalem’s Al-Makassed Hospital for treatment, he said, giving no details regarding the seriousness of the injuries. A Palestinian compound guard told AA that a number of worshippers remained trapped inside the compound’s Al-Qibali Mosque, including a number of Turkish nationals who had come in the early hours of Wednesday to perform prayers. The developments come as Israel marks its so-called “Jerusalem Day,” which is celebrated every year on Iyar 28 of the Hebrew calendar, to commemorate the “reunification” of the holy city in June 1967 when it was captured by Israeli forces.

9 detained as Israeli forces disperse rally near Damascus Gate
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians and injured three on Wednesday after violently dispersing a rally in protest against “Jerusalem Day” in Jerusalem’s Old City. Dozens of Palestinians protested near Damascus Gate and raised Palestinian flags as thousands of Israeli Jews converged on the area to celebrate Israel’s capture and ensuing occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades and assaulted protesters with batons, and nine Palestinians were arrested during the protests … Dozens suffered bruises as a result of the violent attacks on demonstrators as well excessive use of tear gas, and three had to be evacuated to the hospital. Ambulance crews on the scene were prevented from accessing the wounded by Israeli forces, and tear gas was sprayed at one crew as they attempted to evacuate the three wounded. Additionally, police as well as passing Jewish civilians taking part in Jerusalem Day festivities assaulted press crews as they attempted to film the protest, including the Palestine TV press crew. Prior to the arrival of Jerusalem Day rallies in the area, Israeli police forced local merchants to shut down their shops along the route of the march, which leads from West Jerusalem and around the Old City. Participants in the marches attacked Palestinians along the route during the march, while Israeli soldiers stood by without intervening, witnesses said … The rally at Damascus Gate followed tensions at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City earlier in the day, when four Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli policemen after clashes erupted as the police led Jewish groups through the holy site. Jerusalem Day often leads to clashes in the area, as thousands of Jews rally in the predominantly-Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem to mark their control over the area and their support for what they consider to be the day Jerusalem was “unified.” East Jerusalem Palestinians, however, consider these rallies to be a provocation, as the Israeli victory in 1967 led to a military occupation that continues until this day.

Settlers enter Rajabi building to mark Jerusalem Day
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 May – Hundreds of settlers celebrated Wednesday morning by entering the Rajabi building in Hebron’s Old City next to the Ibrahimi mosque. Bassam al-Jaabari, a resident who lives near the building, said that hundreds of settlers started entering it. He said they played loud music and shouted anti-Palestinian slogans. In 2008 an Israeli court removed settlers from the home, leading to attacks against Palestinians. But earlier this year, a court ruled that settlers had purchased the building legally. Many Palestinians who live near the Rajabi building say they are afraid that settlers will attack them or their houses under the protection of the Israeli army.

Main southern West Bank road closed as settlers rally
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 May — Israeli forces closed the main road connecting Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem to traffic on Wednesday in order to empty the road for Jewish settlers engaged in a “bike rally” to mark Jerusalem Day, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that hundreds of settlers rallied on bikes from Kiryat Arba settlement east of Hebron to Bethlehem en route to Jerusalem. The rally caused a heavy traffic jam as the road known as route 60 is the main road for the Palestinians traveling between the southern West Bank and the north and center. The road is also used a bypass road for settlers traveling between Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in the Gush Etzion bloc near Bethlehem and all of the Jewish settlements in the Hebron area.

Detainees / Hunger strikes / Court actions

Kidnapped stroke survivor held under administrative detention
IMEMC 29 May by Saed Bannoura — …The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the Salem Israeli military court issued a four-month Administrative Detention order against Adnan Hamarsha, from Ya‘bad town, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Hamarsha suffered a stroke prior to his arrest more than four months ago, as he and his wife were trying to cross back into the West Bank through the al-Karama border terminal with Jordan. He is currently held at the Majeddo Israeli prison, while his wife is held at the HaSharon Israeli prison; he requires urgent medical attention and treatment.
In related news, the Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, said that an Israeli Military Court ordered detainee Azzam Shweiki, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, under Administrative Detention for an additional four months.  The order came just one day before he finished a previous illegitimate Administrative Detention order. Shweiki, held at the Negev Detention Camp, suffers from various health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

In the absence of absence: A Palestinian family endures, and resists, the Israeli occupation
[with video interview of Abdel-Razeq Farraj] Mondoweiss 28 May by Basil AbdulRazeq Farraj — I am sharing with you one of my family’s many stories with the hope of sharing what I have learned, and continue to learn, from them. I share this story with the acknowledgment that it is not an isolated one nor is the only one– it is a story amongst many others emerging from a particular historical and political moment, and which continuously remind us of the resilience of the Palestinian people and their immense love of life. One month left, two weeks, 1 week, 1 day, 2 hours, 1 hour. Our hearts start beating faster. The family gathers. The room is full with anxiety and hope. We sit on the couch waiting to hear the news. “Your father’s imprisonment has been extended for yet another six months,” the lawyer says. He adds, “It is administrative detention, you know?” As with every other administrative detention, this process of waiting repeats itself. Six more months. Four more. Six more. Four more. Three more. Finally, freedom. Hugs. Tears. We hold tight. Once again, another late night raid and arrest. We wait again. My father, Abdul-Razeq Farraj, the administrative and financial director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, has spent nearly 14 years of his life in Israeli prisons. On the 25th of February of this year, the Israeli Occupation Forces raided our house and arrested him again. My father, along with almost all the other administrative detainees, is on a hunger strike demanding an end for the use of administrative detention

Israeli hospitals bracing for wave of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners
Haaretz 29 May by Ido Efrati — Hospitals across Israel are preparing to take in a large number of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, whose fast entered its second month this week. Some 240 Palestinian administrative detainees are taking part in the hunger strike, demanding to be freed immediately or be put on trial. Earlier this week 40 hunger strikers were admitted to various hospitals. They are part of a group of 80 that started the hunger strike and were joined by other prisoners. Aside from demanding their release, the inmates are striking for an end to open-ended administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold people without charge or trial. Over the years, virtually all administrative detainees have been Palestinians. “We’ve taken in hunger-striking prisoners before but these numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Yitzhak Berlovich, director-general of Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, said yesterday. “The treatment is given by mutual consent of both the patients and the doctors, nothing is done by force. The treatment is subject to medical discretion and in irregular cases we’ll obtain legal advice,” he said … Due to the large number of hunger strikers the Prison Service and Health Ministry decided to divide them among several hospitals, rather than send them all to the hospitals close to the detention facilities … A Health Ministry official said hunger strikers must be under medical supervision of the Prison Service from the beginning of the strike. Prisoners classified as medium and high risk must be taken to a hospital on the strike’s 28th day, where it is decided after examination whether to hospitalize them. Prisoners classified as low risk are examined in a hospital on the 35th day, the official said.

400 Hamas prisoners to join 34-day-long mass hunger strike on Thursday
Middle East Monitor 28 May — Former Minister of Prisoners and Freed Prisoners Wasfi Qabha said on Wednesday that all Hamas prisoners in the three main Israeli prisons are going to join the prisoners’ mass hunger strike, which has been continuous now for 34 days, Palestine Online news reported. Qabha, a former administrative prisoner himself, wrote on his Facebook page that this opens the way for convicted prisoners to show solidarity with their fellow administrative prisoners. “Three of Hamas’s leaders inside Israeli jails, Hassan Salameh, Mahmoud Shreetih and Mohamed Sabha, joined the hunger strike last week,” said Qabha. “On Thursday, around 400 Hamas prisoners are going to join the strike in order to put more pressure on the Israeli authorities.”

Activists close Red Cross office on 35th day of hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 May — Palestinian activists on Wednesday closed the Red Cross’ al-Bireh office in protest against the organization’s “silence” regarding an ongoing prisoners’ hunger strike, the organizers said. “Today we are shutting down the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross because it has failed to play the role it should to protect Palestinian prisoners, especially hunger strikers,” the organizers said. Protesters blocked the doors of the office and denied entry to employees. “Silence is complicity,” the activists said in a statement … Over 200 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails in solidarity with dozens of administrative detainees who have been refusing meals since April 24. Strikers are demanding Israel stop imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial in a policy known as “administrative detention,” a policy based on legislation from the British Mandate period.

Galilee man indicted for hate crimes against Arabs
Haaretz 28 May by Eli Ashkenazi — Police caught Adir Yosef slashing the tires of a car in Upper Yokne’am on the eve of Israeli Independence Day … The indictment says that on the eve of Israeli Independence Day, Yosef drove his car through Upper Yokne’am and shouted, “Death to arabs.” The next day, Yosef sent a WhatsApp message from his cellphone that read, “Kahane was right, the people of Israel stand with Price Tag!!!” Later that day, Yosef, armed with a knife, parked near a car he identified as belonging to an Arab, got out of his car and slashed the other car’s tires. He was immediately apprehended by police on the scene. The prosecution, claiming that Yosef is dangerous, asked to extend his remand. The request was upheld.

Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon

Palestinian refugee families from Syria denied entry to Turkey
DAMASCUS (PIC) 29 May — A number of Palestinian families, who fled from Daraa camp in Syria, are still stranded at a border area near the Turkish city Urfa after they have failed to enter the Turkish territory, according to the action group for the Palestinians in Syria. They have been there for several days waiting to be allowed in, the group added. Turkey imposes entry visas on Syria’s Palestinian refugees, but its authorities have stopped to grant such permits for more than a year without stating why it took such measure. The action group also stated that a number of Palestinian activists intend to stage as of Thursday, May 29, a number of sit-ins outside UNRWA centers in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to protest the measures taken recently by the Lebanese authorities against Palestinian refugees and asylum seekers fleeing the Syrian war.
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Three Palestinian refugees, all from the same family, killed in Syria
DAMASCUS (PIC) 28 May — Three Palestinian refugees, including two women, from the same family were killed on Tuesday evening following a bombardment targeting Yalda town, adjacent to the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus. According to a statement by the Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, three Palestinian refugees from al-Masri family were killed following the shelling in Yalda. The Masris’ casualties were identified as Mahmoud Omar, Khouloud Mahmoud, and Dalal Mansour.
In a related event, a mortar shell rocked the Khan Dannoun camp for Palestinian refugees in Damascus, leading to considerable material damage. Violent clashes broke out around the camp throughout. Limited quantities of food-aid distribution resumed in the Yarmouk refugee camp on Tuesday.
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Other news

Sources: Announcement of unity govt postponed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 May – The expected Palestinian unity government will not be announced Thursday as scheduled, sources privy to the ongoing unity talks between Fatah and Hamas have told Ma‘an. The announcement of the government is likely to be postponed for one week, according to the sources close to the talks who spoke to Ma‘an on Wednesday. But Hamas officials have insisted that President Mahmoud Abbas will announce the unity government on Thursday as scheduled. Senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq told Ma‘an that consultations over the formation of the unity government would come to an end by Thursday and the government would be announced as agreed. With more dialogue, added Abu Marzouq, the upcoming government will be better equipped to carry out its tasks. He added that very important issues had been tackled during the latest rounds of talks including restructuring the PLO. A Fatah-Hamas meeting on Tuesday ended without a final conclusion on forming a unity government.

Israel bans Gaza newspapers in West Bank
World Bulletin 28 May — Israeli military forces stormed a publishing house in Ramallah in the early hours of Wednesday and ordered its managers not to print or distribute any Gaza-based newspapers in the occupied West Bank, arguing that such newspapers “incite violence against Israel.” Israeli authorities ordered the confiscation of the Al-Resala, Palestine and Al-Istiklal newspapers, which Ramallah’s Al-Ayam publishing house began printing a few weeks ago, according to a Wednesday statement issued by Al-Ayam. The statement added that the publishing house’s managers had received “clear threats” that Israeli authorities would take “firm action” to prevent the printing and distribution of the three newspapers in the West Bank. “This is a continuation of the [Israeli] occupation’s policy of blatantly trampling on the rights of the Palestinian Authority and freedom of the press,” read the Al-Ayam statement. In a statement, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate also decried the confiscation of the newspapers, saying the move came amid “continued Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian press.” Under a recent reconciliation deal between rivals Fatah and Hamas, which control the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively, negotiators from the two groups agreed to allow the distribution of Gaza-based newspapers in the West Bank and vice versa.

Amnesty International urges PA to drop charges against BDS activists
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 May — Amnesty International on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to drop criminal charges against four activists from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement after security forces detained them in April. PA security officers and men in civilian clothes attacked and arrested Zaid Shuaibi, Fajer Harb, Fadi Quran, and Abed al-Fatah Hamayel during a peaceful protest in Ramallah’s al-Qasaba Theatre on April 12.

Israeli army planned to use Paris synagogue as recruitment site
Electronic Intifada 26 May by Ali Abunimah — French Jews have condemned the Israeli army for its plan to use the Paris Grand Synagogue as a recruitment site. “The alliance of the kippah [the ritual Jewish skull cap] and the Uzi rifle is being organized in the center of Paris. Thus the religious Jewish community finds itself invaded and taken hostage in one of its most prestigious sites,” the Union of French Jews for Peace (UFJP), said in a 24 May statement. UFJP, a group frequently critical of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians, was responding to an Israeli embassy announcement that a representative of the Israeli army would visit the synagogue to meet potential recruits. The Israeli embassy in Paris appears to have deleted the notice, but verifiable traces of it remain on the Internet including an image cached by Google and a screenshot tweeted by the French academic Julien Salingue.

Youths admit to burning Bedouin judge’s car
Ynet 28 May by Ilana Curiel — The police have arrested three youths aged 15-17 for setting Judge Nasser Abu-Taha car ablaze last week, it was cleared for publication Wednesday. Abu-Taha is Israel’s first Bedouin judge and the attack was presumed to be either a hate-crime or revenge related to his work as a judge. The three suspects have admitted to setting the car on fire, and even recreated the act for the police. Two of boys claimed they broke into the car, and then decided to burn it in a bid to destroy any fingerprints they might have left. The third youth claimed they set the vehicle on fire to prove they are “men.” The three are known to the police for their role in past thefts.,7340,L-4524760,00.html

Will TLV turn into JLM?
Ynet 28 May by Danny Adeno Abebe —  Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is looking into the possibility of changing the international airport code for Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport from TLV (Tel Aviv) to JLM (Jerusalem).  The move will promote tourism to Israel economically ailing capital, Barkat said. Ben-Gurion Airport is located near the city of Lod, some 20 km from Tel Aviv and roughly 50 from Jerusalem …  Barkat further claimed that it is common for main airports to carry the name of the country’s capital. “Every tourist arriving in Israel should see they are landing in JLM. Jerusalem is a 3,000-year-old brand, and Israel needs to take advantage of that.”…  Members of the Knesset’s Economics Committee did not reject the idea flat out, but most seemed skeptical regarding its feasibility because of its potential political ramifications.,7340,L-4524874,00.html

In rare Israel visit, Lebanese church head hears exiled Christians
KUFR BIRIM, Israel (Reuters) 28 May by Avi Ohayon — A Lebanese church leader who defied warnings from the Hezbollah movement by accompanying the Pope on a Holy Land visit pledged on Wednesday to help dispossessed Christians in Israel. Two Catholic communities in Israel are seeking Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai’s intervention: Arabs expelled from their Galilee village by Israeli forces during the 1948 war of Israel’s founding and former members of a pro-Israeli Lebanese militia now living in the Jewish state. Israel and Lebanon are in a formal state of war, and Hezbollah had warned Rai of “negative repercussions” if he went ahead with his planned trip. The patriarch remained in Israel after Pope Francis’s pilgrimage ended on Monday. Having visiting Tel Aviv’s mainly Arab district of Jaffa on Monday, Rai continued on Wednesday to Birim, a northern village whose Maronite Christian residents were displaced 66 years ago. Israel razed the village in 1953, sparing only its church and bell tower, and many of its former residents and their descendants now live in other communities in the Galilee. Birim villagers, who numbered more than 800 in 1948, and their descendants have campaigned to be allowed to return and rebuild, winning an Israeli high court ruling that has yet to be implemented by the state. Rai said his church would lobby on their behalf through the Vatican. “We are with you, and want to help you as much as possible,” he said in a speech to an audience of several hundred, adding that he could not appeal to Israel as it is “an enemy country”.

Opinion / Analysis

Today’s Jerusalem is neither eternal, undivided nor holy / Emily L. Hauser
Haaretz 27 May — The 21st century municipality is a political construct that is an affront to the Jerusalem to which Jewish hearts have turned for millennia — Jerusalem Day, we’re told, celebrates the reunification of Israel’s eternal capital, symbolizing “the continued historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem.” It’s a moment to remember that, as Prime Minister Netanyahu once said, “Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart.” So we’re told, and so the vast majority of Jews in Israel and abroad believe. Jerusalem is our heart, our soul – a small, holy spot on the map around which everything else revolves. So we’re told. Except that it’s a lie. “Jerusalem” – as currently constituted, featured on maps, and represented by Israel’s government – is not eternal. It is not undivided. And it is certainly not holy. The geographic location to which Jewish hearts have turned for millennia is small, corresponding roughly to today’s Old City; the holy part – the area on which the Israelites were commanded to establish a resting place for the Divine Presence – is more modest still, consisting of the Temple Mount … The 1967 “reunification” of the city included not just the annexation of our holy sites, however, nor even just non-Jewish Jerusalem, but also large swathes of the West Bank that were never considered part of the city by anyone, least of all residents. In all, this came to about 27 square miles. In the ensuing decades, Palestinian-owned West Bank land has been ceaselessly expropriated for new Jewish neighborhoods (such as Ramot, Gilo, and Har Homa), blurring the Green Line almost beyond recognition; by 2008, Jerusalem was more than a hundred times larger than in Zionism’s early days, nearly three times bigger than in 1967. When you find Jerusalem on today’s map, you’re not looking at an eternal entity. You’re looking at a very recent construct, created by politicians for political reasons.

In Palestine and Israel, there are no ‘clashes’ / Charlotte Silver
Al Jazeera 21 May — A video shows two Palestinian boys were killed in calm circumstances, not in ‘clashes’ — Colours clash. Opinions clash. Couples clash. Palestinians and Israelis do not clash. Palestinians protest the colonisation and theft of their land, the kidnapping and imprisonment of their children, the indefinite detention of their fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters. Israelis fortify their occupation, justify their right to detain without charge, and deny their theft of Palestinians’ water, resources and land. And yet “clashes” defines the interaction between Palestinians and Israelis, so much that “clashes” have become a story that we think we already know. On May 15, two teenage boys were shot dead in the West Bank, outside Ofer Prison. The boys had been demonstrating on al-Nakba – the annual commemoration of the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes by Zionist militias in order to establish the state of Israel between 1947 and 1948. Rather than joining the Nakba festivities put on by the Palestinian Authority in downtown Ramallah, Nadim Siam Nuwara, 17, Mahmoud Odeh Abu Thaher, 16, and others demonstrated at Israel’s Ofer Prison in Beitunia, where over 100 Palestinians have been on hunger strike since April in protest of their detention without charge and under secret evidence. Between 1.45pm and 3pm that afternoon, both boys would be killed there. International newspapers and online publications quickly began filing reports of the deaths. The New York Times, Reuters and Associated Press all reported with authority that the youths were killed amid “clashes”. Reuters even included a bold detail that asserted the youth were throwing stones, as if that justified a deadly shot to the heart. “Clashes” – a word that has crept into and made itself very comfortable in the lexicon of English-language media covering the events in Israel and Palestine – is perhaps the most popular euphemism aside from the other ubiquitous and inaccurate word, “conflict”. The word is popular for its supreme utility.

A lawyer for every laborer / Amira Hass
Haaretz 29 May — The industry of legal representation for Palestinians provides solutions for a few, while for many it creates hope that solutions can be found. Even when solutions are found, the achievement is a mirage — From cradle to grave, Palestinians need the intervention of attorneys to proceed along the various avenues of life. This intervention, together with the open doors of the courts, contribute a great deal to Israel’s deceptive charm as a country governed by law. Here are some of the basic activities for which a Palestinian requires an attorney’s assistance: drinking water, taking a shower, watering plants, traveling with a spouse via the same checkpoint, grazing flocks, staying in Jerusalem, living in the family home in a West Bank village or city, keeping one’s village or neighborhood in its long-existing location, studying or working abroad without losing resident’s status in Jerusalem, changing one’s address, adding a floor to one’s home, visiting one’s sick mother, working the land, traveling from Gaza to the West Bank for school or work, living in one’s own home, having guests or being hosted, going for medical treatment, teaching in the school of one’s choice, doing homework by electric light rather than oil lamp, going to one’s own fields, coming back from abroad, and returning to work. Attorneys do not always succeed in helping with these ordinary activities, but without their intervention, a great many Palestinians would be unable to engage in them at all.

Bethlehem walls transformed in the presence of the Holy See
[includes several ‘startling’ images] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 May — …In Bethlehem’s historic Manger Square, however, the Pope will be greeted by a dramatically different scene: huge renderings of classical European paintings of Biblical suffering, juxtaposed against contemporary photographs of Palestinian life. The startling images are part of a project entitled “In the presence of the Holy See” by the Palestinian Museum to welcome the Pope in an altogether unique way by examining the Palestinian experience in relationship to one of the land’s most famous martyrs, Jesus Christ. The banners include scenes of the lamentation of Christ beside a woman sifting through possessions after an Israeli attack on Jenin refugee camp and a man carrying away a body that is simultaneously a Palestinian killed by Israeli fire and the martyred Christ, among others. Museum director John Persekian told Ma’an that the images are meant to help viewers, including the Pope, reframe the Palestinian issue and understand it through a more “humane” lens while also exploring the relevance of Christian teachings today. “We were trying to take the Christian message and teachings and juxtapose them with the current situation, to help us think through what has happened over the last 66 years,” he said. “How do we understand these experiences in relationship to messages of faith, peace, love, forgiveness, and the existence of a just God?” he added. (listserv) (archive)

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Nothing screams ‘Apartheid is here already’ more than an official Israeli political map with no green line.

“Everyone tells me all the time that the peace process is stuck because of the settlements. I reply to them that that’s not true and that the real reason is the [Palestinian] refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” I read that this morning and spewed my coffee. “I fight for you” made me nauseous as well. It’s the only truthful thing he’s said in many, many days/months/years. He ‘fights’ for continued illegal actions/criminal… Read more »

Netanyahu told the settlement leaders that he has in fact been advancing their cause in recent months. “You have no shield greater than I,” he said. “I fight for you.” “In fact,” he continued, “not only am I your King, but…” [and at this point he lowered his voice] “…I am also Captain Israel!” “Everyone tells me all the time that the peace process is stuck because of the settlements. I reply to them that… Read more »

“JERUSALEM — President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on Thursday asked Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister, to form a new unity government, a move that could send Israeli-Palestinian relations into a tailspin and would disrupt any prospect of a resumption of American-brokered peace talks. The decision to form a unity government is the result of a pact reached last month between Mr. Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction,… Read more »

““You have no shield greater than I,” he said. “I fight for you.” “But there are international constraints and you know them,” he said, according to a source present at the meeting.” So many illegal settlements being built under this devious man, even during the last peace talks, so many unarmed civilians killed under the instructions of this evil man, and ALL this while under international constraints….now imagine how much MORE suffering he would inflict,… Read more »