PA condemns Israeli ‘collective punishment’ following disappearance of Israeli teens

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Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near Hebron on Sunday, three days after the teenagers disappeared from the West Bank. (Photo: Reuters)
Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near Hebron on Sunday, three days after the teenagers disappeared from the West Bank. (Photo: Reuters)

PA: Israeli imposing ‘collective punishment’ on Palestinian people
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 June — The Palestinian Authority on Sunday condemned the Israeli arrest campaign across the West Bank and airstrikes against the Gaza Strip, denouncing the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” by Israeli forces. Spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government Ehab Bessaiso on Sunday also reiterated Palestinian insistence that they have no responsibility for security in the settlements, as Israel continued assaults against Palestinians that began after the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement between Bethlehem and Hebron on Thursday. Spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government Ehab Bessaiso on Sunday also reiterated Palestinian insistence that they have no responsibility for security in the settlements, as Israel continued assaults against Palestinians that began after the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement between Bethlehem and Hebron on Thursday. Bessaiso highlighted that the three youths went missing in the approximately 62 percent of the West Bank that is considered Area C and is under full Israeli control. Bessaiso also said that the detention of 80 people across the West Bank and the bombing of Gaza overnight constitute “collective punishment against the entire Palestinian people,” and called upon the “international community and all international human rights organizations to protect the Palestinian people against the Israeli escalation.” Bessaiso highlighted that even Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody were being punished by Israel, through the banning of family visits and “other oppressive procedures,” even as around 125 administrative detainees entered their 53rd day of a collective hunger strike.

Palestinian killed by army fire near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies [Monday At Dawn, June 16, 2014] Palestinian medical sources have reported that a young Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army fire after the soldiers invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Two Palestinians were injured, many kidnapped. Medical sources at the Palestine Medical center said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Ahmad Arafat Sabbareen, 21 years of age. He was shot by several live bullets in the chest, and died of his wounds at the Intensive Care Unit, in the Palestine Medical Center.  Sabbareen was a political prisoner who was recently released by Israel.  One of the wounded Palestinians, identified as Ahmad Sa’afin, was shot by a live round to the chest. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rounds of live ammunition during the invasion, and during ensuing clashes.

IDF arrests Palestinian parliament speaker in third night of West Bank raids
Ynet 16 June — The IDF arrested dozens of Hamas operatives in the early morning hours on Monday in the West Bank, among them former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Aziz Duwaik [see video] , as part of the ongoing effort to track down the three abducted Israeli teens …  IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz held a situation assessment overnight. In addition to the activity on the field, the government is looking into increasing the pressure on Hamas, the Islamic organization that, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, kidnapped the three teens on Thursday.  The cabinet was set to meet Monday to discuss the possibility of exiling several Hamas leaders in the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. A senior government official said Monday morning that “this option is being examined by the Attorney General. We want to deport a few officials to Gaza, including those in administrative detention on hunger strike.”  “We are looking ahead at increasing the activity against Hamas, with an emphasis on the Hebron area, but this activity begins in the northern Samaria. The closure in the southern West Bank continues,” a senior military official said.  Among other things, Israel plans to shut down different institutions linked to Hamas, and prevent the transfer of funds. In a leaflet distributed overnight, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a Palestinian militant group in the West Bank, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. It is unclear whether the document is credible.,7340,L-4530816,00.html

LIVE UPDATES [as of this writing]
Haaretz 16 June — Latest updates: 10:34 A.M. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch says thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed in search of the three missing teens. “We’re doing everything to bring the abductees home,” he said, reiterating that Hamas is behind the kidnapping and that Israel is holding the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, responsible. 9:40 A.M.: The IDF confirms that a Palestinian man, Ahmad Asabarin, 23, was shot to death overnight by Israeli forces in the Jilazoun refugee camp in the West Bank. The IDF says the youth was shot after he threw a large brick toward the soldiers.Two other youths were moderately hurt in the clashes. (Gili Cohen)

Israel imposes indefinite closure of checkpoints in southern West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 15 June — The Israeli military imposed an indefinite closure of checkpoints and crossings across the Hebron district of the southern West Bank beginning early Sunday morning, as Israeli forces expanded a search campaign for three settler youth who went missing Thursday evening. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon issued a directive on Saturday imposing the closure beginning at midnight, in a move that has severely disrupted life across the region as thousands of Palestinian workers are unable to travel to work in Israel. An Israeli military statement said that although Israel will “facilitate crossings for humanitarian and medical assistance” in the “Judea/Hebron district” of the West Bank and at Erez crossing in Gaza, traffic for all others would be shut. The statement added that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be open to fuel shipments. Also included in the decision are some 30,000 Palestinians who work in West Bank settlements, many of whom living in the southern West Bank districts affected. Hebron residents under 50, meanwhile, have been prohibited from traveling to Jordan since Saturday.

3 Palestinians injured after Israeli army ‘bombs Hebron home’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Three Palestinians were injured late Sunday after the Israeli army bombed open the door of a house in the city of Hebron, locals told Ma‘an. Locals said that Israeli forces in the Ein Deir al-Baha area of the city blew open the door of a house belonging to Akram al-Qawasami, injuring him and two young children. Al-Qawasami, his eight-year-old son Muhammad, and his young daughter Sujoud sustained shrapnel injuries, the sources said. Soldiers then raided the house and arrested Zaid Akram al-Qawasami. The Israeli forces called through a loudspeaker moments before bombing open the door, the sources added.

House raids in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 15 June — At approximately 3AM this morning, approximately 70 Israeli soldiers broke into a home inhabited by two Palestinian families. The home is located in the H1 region of Hebron, an area officially under full Palestinian authority, civil and security control. The two families, composing of 10 people, were then asked to ‘choose’ a room in which they would all have to stay for several hours; the family decided upon a small bedroom next to the bathroom. However, they were not allowed to use it until a few hours after the Israeli military broke into the house. The family was then told by the Israeli military that they would be occupying the house for two to three days, however the army eventually left at 1PM. The mother of the home is very ill, suffering from diabetes, and failing kidneys. She was scheduled for a dialysis treatment for her kidneys at  a nearby hospital at 8AM, and was forced to miss this appointment, as the soldiers refused to allow her to leave her home. When asked why they denied the mother her treatment, the soldiers claimed that she refused to go to the hospital. In addition, two other members of the family suffer from hypertension. All being denied access to medication, and medical assistance, for several hours. Food and water were also prohibited for several hours, when friends and family attempted to bring food to those inside, they were denied until 12:30PM, 30 minutes before the soldiers left. The purpose of these house raids seems to be due to three Israeli settler youth, missing since last Thursday.

Israel tightens noose around Hebron as house raids continue
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 June — For the second consecutive day, Israeli forces on Sunday continued a major military operation in Hebron in the southern West Bank in search of three Israeli teenagers who disappeared Thursday evening near the Gush Etzion settlement. Although Israeli forces bombarded the Gaza Strip and detained 80 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight, Hebron has taken the brunt of the Israeli response.  Israeli forces have erected checkpoints throughout the city and nearby villages, and since Friday morning have engaged in dozens of raids on private homes around the clock. A Ma‘an reporter on the scene said on Sunday that Israeli forces closed Hebron’s northern entrance with a steel gate and large concrete blocks preventing Palestinian pedestrians and vehicles from moving in and out.  Israeli troops also erected checkpoints at the main roads in the Nabi Younis and Hawawir neighborhoods north of Hebron, inspecting all Palestinians traveling in and out of Hebron. Israeli forces have detained 43 people from Hebron area since the beginning of the crisis on Friday morning, according to Hebron branch of the Palestinian Prisoner’s society.

Israeli official: Hebron siege to continue
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — The Israeli army will continue to surround Hebron, erecting checkpoints and raiding houses, until it receives further information on three missing teens, an Israeli official said Sunday. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories told Ma‘an via telephone that the siege on Hebron would continue, resulting in the restriction of movement of over 20,000 Palestinian workers and businessmen who work in Israel. Israeli military operations will continue in Hebron unless new information on the teens’ whereabouts leads the army elsewhere, Yoav Mordechai said. The army is not coordinating with Palestinian Authority security forces, Mordechai added. He reiterated Israeli officials’ claims that Hamas was behind the kidnapping of the youths, without providing information as to evidence behind the claims. Hamas has denied involvement.
Three Israelis, aged 16-19, disappeared Thursday night from nearby the Jewish-only settlement of Gush Etzion. Israeli forces have erected checkpoints throughout Hebron and nearby villages following the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers Thursday night. Hebron residents are being prevented from leaving the West Bank throughout the search.

80 Palestinians detained by Israeli forces overnight across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli forces began a wide-ranging campaign of arrests across the West Bank overnight Saturday and Sunday morning targeting 80 individuals affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including lawmakers and political leaders. The campaign comes as Israeli forces continue their search for three teenage boys who disappeared on Thursday evening from the Gush Etzion Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and are believed by some to have been taken hostage. Hamas sources told Ma‘an that at least 70 of the movement’s leaders and supporters were detained across the West Bank, and on Sunday morning soldiers and military vehicles continued to deploy across Hebron district in the southern West Bank.  Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli troops carried out predawn raids in the towns of Sa‘ir, Taffuh, Beit Kahil, Bani Na‘im, Beit Ula, Dura, and Yatta in the Hebron district and carried out intensive inspections. At least eight Palestinians were detained eventually in those raids. Hamas sources in Nablus in told Ma‘an that Israeli troops detained three Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmakers in the northern West Bank, who were identified as Muhammad Ghazal, Ahmad al-Hajj Ali and Husni al-Burini, along with many other supporters of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad … Similarly, Israeli forces raided the city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank and detained Palestinian lawmaker Abdul-Rahman Zeidan. Israeli soldiers also broke into home of lawmaker Fathi Qarawi and inspected it. Qarawi told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers raided his home at dawn and inspected all the rooms including a garage where he parks his car. He added that Israeli intelligence officers questioned all his children and handed a summons to his son, Hamza, who was at his university dormitories preparing for his final exams. The soldiers left at 5:00 a.m., Qarawi added. Israeli forces also stormed Tubas in the northern West Bank, detaining Fazi Sawafta and Nadir Sawafta. In ‘Azzun village in Qalqiliya district in the north, Israeli forces detained Abdullah Shbeita, Amir Dahbour, and Nael Anaya in an arrest raid. The Israeli military confirmed the arrest raid in a statement, saying that “approximately 80 Palestinian suspects were detained” in overnight raids and promising to use “all means” to find the three missing Israeli settlers…
Palestinians, however, have contrasted the attention received by the three settler youth with the lack of concern for the fate of around 200 Palestinians who are currently being held indefinitely without charge or trial in Israeli prisons, including 125 who have been on hunger strike for more than 50 days.

Group: Israel detained 125 Palestinians since Saturday night
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli forces have detained over a hundred Palestinians in the West Bank since Saturday night, a prisoners’ rights group said Sunday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said that 46 have been detained in Hebron, 23 in Nablus, 16 in Ramallah, 12 in Jenin, four in Bethlehem, five in Tulkarem, five in Qalqiliya, five in Jerusalem, six in Tubas, and two in Salfit.

Hamas denies accusations that it kidnapped settler youths
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Hamas on Sunday denied accusations that its members were behind the disappearance of three Israeli youth just minutes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused them of being responsible. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the accusations “stupid” and said that they were a bluff intended to acquire information. Abu Zuhri told Ma‘an that the arrests carried out by occupation forces in the West Bank were “designed to break Hamas,” but they would not succeed in achieving their goal. The spokesman also said that Israeli authorities are responsible for “all of the consequences of the arrest campaigns” in the West Bank, adding the Israeli escalation in the West Bank and Gaza reflects their “state of confusion.” The Hamas spokesperson’s comments come in response to Netanyahu’s declaration earlier Sunday that Hamas was responsible for the abduction of three settler youths on Thursday evening.

Search for missing teenagers includes Bedouin town in Negev
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June – Israeli forces ransacked several homes in the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel overnight, reportedly as part of a search for three Israeli teenagers who disappeared from a settlement in the Gush Etzion area. Witnesses told Ma’an that soldiers were looking for Palestinian workers from the West Bank who could be staying illegally in Rahat.  The sources highlighted that Israeli soldiers have in the past broken into Rahat houses to look for West Bank workers, but this time they did it overnight for the first time.


Settler response to kidnapping

Settlers ‘hurl rocks at residents, houses’ south of Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 June — Dozens of Israeli settlers hurled rocks at residents and houses in a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank on Saturday, a local official said. Jihad al-Nawajaa, head of the village’s council, told Ma‘an that 30 settlers entered the village of Susiya south of Hebron and hurled stones at houses. The settlers also targeted a 13-year-old boy, but his parents were able to pull him inside before he was injured, al-Nawajaa said. No injuries or damages from the attack were reported. Al-Nawajaa said that locals had decided to organize a neighborhood watch to guard against future settler attacks, which villagers expect to increase in the upcoming days due to the recent disappearance of three teenage settlers in the West Bank.

Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles near Bethlehem and Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli settlers gathered on main roads near Bethlehem and Hebron on Saturday evening to protest against the recent disappearance of three teenage Israelis, hurling rocks at Palestinian vehicles. Local Palestinian sources told Ma’an that dozens of settlers took to the streets on the main road between Hebron and Bethlehem which runs near Gush Etzion settlement bloc, gathering where a number of bus stops are congregated to throw rocks at passing Palestinians. The protesters hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles which traveled on the main road, known as route 60. Although the attacks damaged some passing vehicles, no injuries were reported.  Also on Saturday, a group of Israeli settlers demonstrated near Haggay settlement south of Hebron and tried to attack Palestinian vehicles on the main road near al-Fawwar refugee camp. The demonstrators chanted anti-Arab slogans, holding the Palestinians responsible for the recent disappearance of three Israeli teenagers and urging the Israeli government to take action against the Palestinians and impose a “heavy toll.”  Earlier on Saturday, three Palestinians were injured near Nablus in similar attacks by settlers.


Gaza child succumbs to wounds 3 days after Israeli strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 June — A Palestinian child on Saturday succumbed to wounds received during an Israeli bombing three days before. Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that seven-year-old Ali Abd al-Latif al-Awour was injured during an Israeli strike of the al-Sudaniya region in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The strike targeted a Palestinian affiliated with a militant group who was passing through the area on a motorcycle … Seven-year-old Ali was walking by when the strike hit. Israel has killed over 60 Palestinians since last July and injured more than a thousand in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

2 Palestinian women injured as Israel pounds Gaza overnight
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 June — A Palestinian woman and a teenage girl sustained wounds Saturday night in two separate Israeli airstrikes on the Rafah district in the southern Gaza Strip, medical sources said. The injuries occurred as Israeli launched eight air strikes against the Gaza Strip overnight, in what they said was a response to three rockets fired from the besieged coastal enclave the day before. Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an on Sunday that a 15-year-old girl was hit by shrapnel after an Israeli missile hit southern Rafah.  The girl, he said, was in her courtyard when an Israeli missile fired from the air hit a military camp near her house. Al-Qidra added that a 27-year-old woman was moderately injured by shrapnel from an Israeli missile that landed in the Saudi neighborhood in southern Rafah. The woman suffered a fracture in the foot as a result of the attack.
Israeli warplanes also fired two missiles at open areas in al-Salam neighborhood in Rafah and the Saad Sayil military base in the city, though no injuries have been reported.  Two missiles were also fired at a military base for the military wing of the Islamic Jihad south of Rafah.  In Khan Younis, also in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli jets targeted a military base belonging to Hamas’ military wing Al-Qassam Brigades and an open area near an evacuated Israeli settlement. No injuries were reported in those strikes either.

War planes hover over Gaza, border terminals closed
IMEMC/Agencies 14 June — Palestinian sources in the besieged coastal region have reported that several Israeli war jets have been flying over various areas of the Gaza Strip, while Israel also ordered all border and trade terminals in Gaza shut, as the search for three Israeli settlers missing in the West Bank continues amidst the assumption they have been kidnapped, and might have been moved to Gaza. The Milad News Agency has reported that several Israeli fighter jets, and drones, have been seen over various areas in Gaza, especially over the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, the closest to Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, although without geographical contiguity.  Milad also stated that different armed resistance groups have vacated their camps and military centers, while field leaders, even political leaders, are now hiding due to possible Israeli military strikes, assassinations and the possibility of a massive military invasion. Israel announced all border and trade terminals in the Gaza Strip are now closed until further notice.

80% of Gaza gas stations empty after Israel closes crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 June — Eighty percent of gas stations in Gaza are out of fuel and the other 20 percent are sufficient for only half a day, the director of the local Gas Station Owners Union told Ma‘an on Saturday. Mahmoud Shawwa said all gas stations would shut down Saturday afternoon, and that all stations were out of diesel fuel. Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only connection for fuel to enter the besieged coastal enclave, after three Israeli settlers went missing in the Hebron area late Thursday. Shawwa highlighted that the continued closure of Kerem Shalom would paralyze life in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli naval boats open fire on Gaza Palestinian fishermen
GAZA (WAFA) 14 June — Israeli naval boats opened fire Saturday on Palestinian fishing boats offshore Gaza. According to a WAFA reporter, gunfire was heard in the northwest of Gaza; it transpired that Israeli naval boats opened fire on Palestinian fishermen and their boats offshore al-Sudaniya, located to the northwest of Gaza, causing extensive damage to the boats, but no injuries were reported.  Israel has restricted the fishing zone designated for the Palestinians to three nautical miles, violating an Egyptian-brokered cease fire agreement signed in November 2012 stipulating that Israel increase the fishing zone to six nautical miles, which reduced fishermen’s intake

Rafah crossing to open for 4 days
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 June — The Rafah border crossing will open on Sunday for four days in order to allow travelers to cross, the Palestinian ambassador to Egypt said on Saturday. Barakat al-Farra said in a statement that the crossing will open Sunday and Monday for pilgrims, and on Tuesday and Wednesday it will be open for humanitarian cases.  The crossing will be opened both for those leaving and entering the Gaza Strip. The Rafah crossing is the only connection between Gaza’s 1.7 million people and the outside world as a result of the Israeli siege, which is enforced jointly with Egypt. The crossing has been closed for 45 days, and when it has opened previously it has only opened for pilgrims headed to Mecca, leaving other travelers stranded and unable to pass.

Detainees / Hunger strikes

Israel extends administrative detentions despite hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli courts extended the administrative detention of five Palestinians as over 125 prisoners in Israeli jails entered a 53rd day of hunger strike in protest against their indefinite detention without trial Sunday, a statement said. Fuad al-Khuffash, directer of Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights, said in a statement that Israeli courts recently extended the administrative detention of Muhammad Abu Mariya, Murad Malaysha, Muhammad Aqili, Qudsi Shihab, and Muhab al-Jundi. Since the hunger strike began, Israeli courts have extended the detention of over 30 prisoners, the statement said.

Force-feeding bill meeting stiff opposition as debate approaches
Haaretz 16 June by Jonathan Lis — NGOs cite medical ethics, human rights as line up against Knesset proposal to deal with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners — The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee will on Monday launch two days of marathon debates over the controversial bill allowing the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners, as the bill advances toward its second and third readings. The bill, which is officially an amendment to the Prisons Ordinance, passed its first reading last week, with 29 Knesset members voting in favor and 19 against. The bill authorizes the Israel Prison Service commissioner to ask a District Court judge for permission to forcibly feed a prisoner conducting a hunger strike if medical examinations indicate that his life is in danger.

Israel cancels family visits to prisoners this week
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 June — The Israeli authorities informed Sunday the International Committee of the Red Cross it had canceled the family visits for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for this week, reported the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). “This [decision] has nothing to do with Israel’s claim that this is part of its security measures, but is rather an attempt to impose a collective punishment, with the aim to subdue the prisoners and their families,” said Qaddura Fares, Head of PPC

Other news

Israel looks for new scapegoat in kidnapping case
Haaretz 16 June by Amir Oren — The Israel Police is in the firing line following last Thursday’s events in the West Bank, and heads look set to roll. Commander Yisrael Tal is a veteran officer in the Israel Police, nearing retirement. His associates in that generally unsympathetic organization describe him as kind and friendly. Others of similar rank who served alongside him were promoted. Tal commanded over the police officers’ training course, the Ayalon sector (Holon and Bat Yam) and the Knesset election administration, before he was appointed commander of the Hebron sector of the Judea and Samaria District. His position has turned him into a potential scapegoat after the kidnapping of the three teens, as it occurred under his jurisdiction. Just as they did to Commander Moshe Mizrahi, who served in Tal’s position when Baruch Goldstein perpetrated the massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs back in 1994, it is likely that the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service will attempt to pin the blame on Tal. It seems that the fatal problem was the delay in passing on details of the kidnapping to the IDF and Shin Bet after it occurred. It took four hours, from the first report at around 10:30 P.M., after one of the boys phoned the police emergency line, for the information to be fully understood (when one of the boys’ fathers turned up at the police station). This delay, which gave the kidnappers an entire night’s lead in evading the authorities, is now allowing the other organizations in the investigation to wash their hands of responsibility or guilt. Supposedly, the police made a mess of things, and the others have been called in to clean up.

Support for West Bank settlements dropping among Israeli public, poll indicates
Haaretz 16 June by Yarden Skop — A public opinion poll on settlements in the West Bank, conducted annually for the past six years, shows a trend of decreasing support among the Israeli public for the settlers. The poll also reveals the public is less opposed to territorial concessions and more concerned of international boycotts, and conditions its support for settlers on their combating Jewish lawbreakers in the territories, including so-called “hilltop youth.” The poll, conducted by a think tank led by Prof. Yitzhak Katz, was ordered by the Samaria and Jordan Valley Research and Development Center, and presented at Ariel University. Profs. Miryam Billig and Udi Lebel, who conducted the research, state that the poll shows a drastic decline in public support for settlers since 2009. The poll revealed that 59 percent of those questioned believed the settlements harm Israel’s relationship with the United States government. Half of those polled agreed with claims that the budget for settlements come at the expense of education and social welfare, and 40 percent believe that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are a waste of the country’s money.

Hamas video: Fight against Israeli forces in West Bank
Ynet 15 June by Roi Kais — The Palestinian Authority’s efforts to assist Israel in locating the kidnapped Israeli teens were met with a Gazan counter-response in the form of a video posted on social networks that called to fight against Israeli forces in the West Bank. The video also positioned settlements as the focal point of the conflict and attempted to leverage the abduction into an all-inclusive battle. In addition, a song was released by Palestinians on Saturday mocking the kidnapping of the teens.
Residents of Gaza celebrated the presumed kidnapping of three Israeli teens on Saturday, after Hamas slammed the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israel to find the youths. Led by families of Palestinian security prisoners, candies were handed out in a protest tent set up in Gaza by families to express solidarity with prisoners serving time for security related offences in Israel, and residents praised the “operation in Hebron”, calling for additional kidnappings.”We are celebrating this formidable operation in Hebron,” said Misbach Abed Rabbo, a spokesperson for the families of Palestinian security prisoners. We have always called for the kidnapping of soldiers. We view this as the only just solution for freeing our sons from the occupation’s prisons,” he told Hamas’ local paper.,7340,L-4530419,00.html

‘My dearly loved Nadim was murdered in cold blood by Israeli soldiers’
Electronic Intifada 15 June by Ali Abunimah — One month ago, 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara was fatally shot in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank town of Beitunia. “My dream of seeing my little son a grown man by my side will never come true. His death came too soon,” Nadim’s father Siam Nuwara says. But with no justice system available for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, Nuwara has launched a public campaign and petition called “No Visas for Killers” to urge the US and Europe not to allow Nadim’s killers to travel into their territory. There are already more than 20,000 signatures on the petition. This brutal end to a young life was caught on security cameras and by CNN, along with the fatal shooting of Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 16, and the serious wounding of 15-year-old Muhammad al-Azzeh. Siam Nuwara took the agonizing decision for his son’s body be exhumed for an autopsy that proved beyond doubt that the teen was killed with live ammunition. Human Rights Watch has called the shootings an “apparent war crime.”

Palestinian father goes on hunger strike in Hungary for reunion with his kids
BUDAPEST (PIC) 14 June– Rakan Hussein, a Palestinian refugee from Syria, started an open-ended hunger strike in Budapest in protest at the refusal of the Hungarian authorities to let him be reunited with his five children, who are still stranded in Turkey. “I had, like hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Syria, to emigrate to Europe because of the war and destruction that ail Syria and after I lost my wife and my mother during the fall of barrel bombs on Muzeireeb town in Daraa,” Hussein explained his suffering to the action group for the Palestinians in Syria. “After an arduous journey, I arrived in Hungary to apply for asylum and managed to obtain permanent residence there, but when I started to process reunion papers, I faced many problems, the first one was the refusal of Lebanon and Jordan to let my children enter their territories for an interview at the Hungarian embassy,” the father elaborated further.  “This made my children risk their lives in order to get to Turkey through an irregular road trip because Turkey also prevents the entry of any Palestinian refugee coming from Syria.” ….

During kidnapping crisis, Abbas’ wife secretly undergoes surgery in Israel
Haaretz 15 June — While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ feet to the fire over the kidnapping of three teenage boys in the West Bank, Abbas’ wife was secretly undergoing surgery on her leg in an Israeli hospital, the Ynet news site reported Sunday. Amina Abbas, known to Palestinians as Umm Mazen, was admitted to Assouta Medical Center in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hahayal neighborhood on Thursday – the day of the kidnapping – then underwent surgery the following day, and was due to be released Sunday. Guards were stationed at her room on the 7th floor Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Ward of the hospital, Israel’s newest. Patients and visitors inquiring about the guards were sent away with a phony story.

Analysis / Opinion

The real reason Netanyahu is blaming Abbas / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 14 June — As Israel searches for the three teens suspected kidnapped in the West Bank, the Palestinian president is Israel’s only strategic asset — “What is happening on the ground since the entry of Hamas into the Palestinian government is detrimental. This is the result of letting a murderous terrorist organization into the government.” That, put simply, is Benjamin Netanyahu’s doctrine as he explained it Friday to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.  But the facts are a little different. Netanyahu himself reported in June 2013, some ten months before the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, that 30 kidnapping attempts of citizens and soldiers had been thwarted. Where, then, is the connection between the alleged kidnapping and the establishment of the Palestinian unity government? On Saturday, it was revealed that Palestinian security forces who arrived to help with the search were asked by the IDF to leave the area. How, then, does Netanyahu expect Abbas to fulfill his part of the security coordination? The missing teens reside in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, and were most likely kidnapped in that region. How can Abbas be held responsible for what happens in an area under Israeli control? … Abbas has instructed his forces to cooperate with the IDF on every level. He knows what such an attack does to the Palestinian Authority’s standing in the world, and he hears the dissatisfaction in the Palestinian public over his inaction regarding Palestinian prisoners. Yet Abbas, who is trapped between the Israeli rock and the Palestinian hard place, is Israel’s only strategic asset in this incident, and blaming him has no benefits except for the lip service that Netanyahu feels he should pay his followers. Thus, there is a creeping suspicion that framing Abbas as responsible for the recent events has another purpose: Justifying a collective punishment against the Palestinian Authority and its citizens. With that goal, Israel will try to construct a legitimate justification for labeling the PA as a terrorist organization, or one that supports terrorism, and demand it be boycotted, even by Arab states. It also presents Israel with a good opportunity to “prove” that it was not Israel that derailed the peace process – for how can you negotiate with an authority that has embraced Hamas into its ranks.

Israelis can try, but they can’t ignore the occupation / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 15 June — The only way still open for the Palestinians to remind the Israelis of their existence and plight is the way of violent struggle — The abduction of three yeshiva students in the West Bank last Thursday was ordered in advance – by Israel. At the time of writing, Saturday, their fate was unknown and concern for their welfare outweighed all other issues connected to their disappearance. But no matter what happens in the end, whether they return home safely or not, God forbid, whether the responsible party turns out to be global jihad or the local kind, the context of the action cannot be ignored. Perhaps the operation took Israel’s oh-so-sophisticated espionage agencies by surprise, but it could not have been a real surprise to anyone. Those who stubbornly refuse to release Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have been incarcerated for decades, from before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and some of whom Israel has promised to set free; those who imprison detainees without trial for years; those who ignore the hunger strike by 125 “administrative” detainees, some of whom are dying in hospitals; those who intend to feed them using force, and those who planned to pass sweeping laws to prohibit their release – these people cannot pretend to be surprised or shocked by the abductions. They arranged for them in advance. Israel, which is so worried about the welfare of every one of its citizens, has for years arrogantly ignored the Palestinian concern for the welfare of their prisoners … No one here cares about the thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Last week, Israelis were much more interested in Meir Sheetrit’s housekeeper than in 125 hunger strikers who have been slowly starving to death for 53 days now. Among the thousands of Palestinian prisoners are some base murderers, but also many political prisoners – and all of them are seen as heroes of the Palestinian national struggle. It’s the same in every national struggle. Behind them stands an entire society, which is no less worried about their fate than Israelis are for that of their loved ones …  The only way still open for the Palestinians to remind the Israelis of their existence and their plight is the way of violent struggle. All other paths have been blocked. If the Gaza Strip doesn’t fire Qassam rockets at Israel, the Gaza Strip doesn’t exist. And if, in the West Bank, yeshiva students aren’t abducted, then the West Bank disappears from Israel’s consciousness. (listserv) (archive)

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Collective Punishment is a war crime.

More ammunition for the ICC.

What are you waiting for Abbas.

More crimes.If so, how many is enough, ????.

To riff on Allison Deger’s article: “Gaza comes to Ramallah.”

3 settlers missing and hebron locked down. Netanyahu calls abbas for the first time in one year. Not to discuss borders.
Very colonial. Can imagine back in Dixie in the day.
Zionism is such a joke.

It sounds like the noise over the 3 settlers is designed to draw attention away from the hunger strikers.

The bots are still whining about terrorism , as if the US hasn’t moved on. Are we still in 2002 in the hebrew calendar?

“The bots are still whining about terrorism ” When the issue of the kidnapped 3 and terrorism was being whined about in the Knesset today, Haneen Zoabi reacted by saying that it’s the occupation that is the terrorism as there are hundreds of kidnapped Palestinians held in jail without a… Read more »